Tag Archives: witches

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Book Review: Coven, by Jennifer Dugan

Sooo, funny story about how you can think you remember something and be completely wrong. I knew I signed up to read and review Coven, by Jenifer Dugan and Kit Seaton. So, I wasn’t surprised when it showed up in the mail. Usually when I receive a graphic novel, it’s from Rockstar Book Tours. So, I set the book aside, waiting for the email to tell me my assigned tour date. And I waited and waited and waited.

Finally, it had been so long I went to the website searching for the tour dates and was confounded to not be able to find anything listed. That is until a few days later, when I received the polite email from Bookish First reminding me not to forget to post my review. Oooooh, that’s where I signed up! Bookish First has no assigned dates; I could have reviewed Coven the day it arrived. So, I dived right in.

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Emsy has always lived in sunny California, and she’d much rather spend her days surfing with her friends or hanging out with her girlfriend than honing her powers as a fire elemental. But when members of her family’s coven back east are murdered under mysterious circumstances that can only be the result of powerful witchcraft, her family must suddenly return to dreary upstate New York. There, Emsy will have to master her neglected craft in order to find the killer . . . before her family becomes their next target.

my review

I generally really enjoyed this. I thought the art was gorgeous and the book portrayed the volatile, hyper-focused, but not always very logical mindset of teens well. It handled the grief aspect equally as well.

I liked the plot (though I figured out who the villain was very early on). There was a little humor, a lot of diversity, and I thought Emsy coming to accept her coven as family counted as personal growth. I can imagine her, Ben, and Ash as the power trio of the up-and-coming generation of the coven.

I did think the pacing a bit off; the beginning dragged bit more than needed and most of the action is packed into the last third. Plus, I feel like we could have been given more resolution between Emsy and her California friends. But all in all, I’ll call this a win. I’d be happy to read another contribution from Jennifer Dugan and/or Kit Seaton.

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BEWITCHING A HIGHLANDER

Book Review: Bewitching a Highlander, by Roma Cordon

I accepted a review copy of Roma Cordon‘s Bewitching a Highlander through Rockstar Book Tours. The book has also been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for further information, including an excerpt, author bio, the tour schedule, and a chance to win a copy of the book.

 

Defying all for the love of a bewitching lass.

Breena MacRae, a healer from Skye with a touch of witchery in her blood, embarks on a dangerous search for her missing father. She arrives on the Isle of Coll, seat of the vile Campbells. There, she encounters the debonair future chief to the Dunbar Clan, Egan, who rescues her from a Campbell sentry.

Egan Dunbar is on Coll to keep the peace between the feuding Campbells and Dunbars. But when he catches Breena in a lie, he agrees to help her find her father to pay back an old debt and get to the bottom of the secrets she’s hiding.

As their attraction for each ignites like a firestorm, Breena and Egan realize a future together could trigger deadly consequences—a clan war between the Campbells and the Dunbars. Is Egan willing to betray his clan for love, even though he knows Breena is keeping secrets from him? Can Breena trust him with her family secret and put those she loves at risk?

my review

This is one of those books that is really hard to review. Because, objectively, it’s fine. The writing is readable. (I read an ARC, so can’t comment on editing.) The characters seem likeable. The world holds together, etc. For the right reader this is a guaranteed 5-star read.

But, honestly, it was just a passable read for me, for reasons that are almost completely subjective. First, I picked this up for the witchery. Fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres. But the magic part of this book—the fantasy aspect—is very light. VERY LIGHT, practically non-existent. Which makes this much more a historical romance, than a historic fantasy romance. Which is fine, obviously, just not what I was looking for.

Second, I’m just not a huge fan of narration that is full of hyperbole, especially when it’s how characters characterize the romance. By which I mean when characters spend the whole book thinking super exaggerated thoughts about the other. Each is ‘the most’ this, or ‘the only’ that, or ‘the first/last’ whatever. I think it lacks nuance and subtlety. But I know some readers love it.

Plus, I think that if you took out all the repetition and that hyperbole, you’d be forced to acknowledge that very little actually happened in the book. And the one big life threatening thing that did happen, was completely random and not particularly well stitched into the rest of the plot. Similarly, the plot twist was super obvious. I predicted it before the 100 page mark.

Lastly, as far as I can tell, this is the author’s first book. (I can’t find any others, anyhow). But I spent this whole time I read Bewitching a Highlander thinking I’d missed a first book in the series. These two characters are meant to have met before, in events that are referenced. I thought they must have been side characters in another couple’s story. (That’s 100% how it read). But then I discovered there isn’t another book and was confused.

All in all, I know this sounds like a negative review. But it just wasn’t the book for me. For those who like this particular sort of book—mildly spicy, Scottish historical romance— this will be a winner. I’m certain of it. For me, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. But I’d read another Cordan book

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Other Reviews:

Bewitching A Highlander Blog Tour

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Book Review: Hex After Forty, by M.J. Caan

I picked up a copy of M.J. Caan‘s Hex After Forty on Amazon…Well, technically my husband did. Whenever he gets digital credits he lets the add up and then gives them to me to buy ebooks with, since we share libraries.

hex after forty mj caan

Torie Bliss thought that being over forty and having your husband dump you over your favorite meal would be rock bottom. Then she learned that the perfect life he had created for them was built on a foundation of lies.

A very public fall from grace leaves her penniless and homeless. Thinking she had nothing else to lose, she decides to move in with her estranged mother in a picturesque town in the mountains of North Carolina. Only to discover that her mother is quite the witch. Literally.

And so is Torie. They are from a line of witches who develop their magic after the age of forty. As if hot flashes and night sweats weren’t enough, she now has to contend with wild magic that she has no idea how to control.

But she must learn to tap into her strange new powers to help her new friends solve a terrifying mystery.

Someone is killing off shifters in the sleepy town of Singing Falls, and if Torie can’t get her act together, she just may be next on the supernatural serial killer’s list.

Can Torie let go of her past in order to embrace her new future?

my review

I wouldn’t call this all out bad, just shallow and scattered. I liked Torie and all the friends she made in her new town. But I could barely tell all the ladies apart. Plus, the plot and mystery doesn’t really develop so much as just kind of stutter along until the villain decides to reveal themselves.

The writing is perfectly readable, though the editing has a few (though not an overwhelming number) hiccups. I raised a particular eyebrow at this one, “They knew her mother in this life, new her in a way that Torie did not.” <.<

But I do have to make a half-joking objection to calling a book Hex After Forty, which is obviously a play on Sex After Forty, which Torie even says at one point, and then not having any sex in the book, barely even the beginning of a maybe future romance. That’s just mean.

All in all, I wouldn’t warn anyone off the book but I’m not in any hurry to continue the series either.

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