Book Review: The Witch’s Revenge: Myth and Magic, Book 1

Book Review

The Witch’s Revenge: Myth and Magic, book 1

By: S.W. Millar

Urban Fantasy
4 stars

My name is Henry Stone.

Twenty-four hours ago, I was a regular twenty-one year old with a regular life. Over-protective parents, annoying best mate, about to graduate from uni and start a Masters in Creative Writing.

All that changed when I witnessed something I was never supposed to see, and it got my parents killed.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I discovered I can do magic. Not the rabbits out of top hats kind, either. I know it sounds crazy, but I’m a witch. A real one.

Now I’m on my way to a top secret training academy for supernatural assassins—known as The Covert Executioner’s Network (COVEN)—with nothing to my name except the clothes on my back, my parents’ wedding rings, and a sworn oath to avenge their deaths.

I’d say wish me luck, but I think my luck has already run out.

I really enjoyed S.W. Millar‘s The Witch’s Revenge. The Magicians meets Shadowhunter Academy, it was a ride of constant excitement. A straightforward magic system, with plenty of eggs laid for future adventures, I’m looking forward to more. Give me demons, Mr. Millar!

Henry Stone is an oft-times infuriating protagonist, but I find that true of so many main characters. Wanting to slap them is often part of the fun of reading these suspenseful adventures, and I found it true here. Lots of angst, of past trauma poisoning the present, lovers of The Dresden Files will definitely like Millar’s debut. Well-paced, The Witch’s Revenge will keep you flipping pages long after you should have gone to bed. Even after, if you’re like me, you’ll be wondering about his nuggets of reference to Camelot and sorcerers and demons…I’ll be waiting in anxious anticipation for book 2.

Happy Reading 🙂

Book Review: Verity

Book Review

Verity

By Colleen Hoover

psychological thriller, romantic suspense
3.5 stars

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night her family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue loving her.

This was my first Colleen Hoover novel. I really think I fell into that over-hype-ruined-my-experience experience with this one. I’d heard so much about the crazy twist, that I spent too much time trying to find it. I don’t really do that as I read. I don’t like to make reading a job, I just want to be caught up in the story and let it happen.

Still, right away, I was curious. I was eager to read. At 40%, I was in it; properly tense, flipping pages, excited to continue forward. By 65%, I was a little like, ‘okay, got it, can we move on to the next phase, please.‘ I may have done a little skimming at this point… This is where my rating fell off. When a book feels tedious to continue, for any amount of time, stars fall.

When I reached the end, I was satisfied. I hate not knowing if my less-than-5-star-review had to do with this hyped-anticipation that forced me to read with an over-analytical eye. This is why I try not to watch movie previews anymore. Ever since Terminator 2 when they ruined the big reveal by telling you ahead of time. I still haven’t gotten over that…

If you like psych thrillers mixed with romantic suspense, this is a good one. Just read it without trying to figure it all out ahead of time. Just let it come. Unless, of course, that’s your thing. If it is, I think you’ll still be in for a treat

Happy Reading 🙂

I’ve started a Facebook group to talk about books. If you have anything to say about this book or any others, come join. I am always looking for people to talk books with. Click here to join.

Book Review: The Space Between Worlds

Book Review

The Space Between Worlds

By: Micaiah Johnson
4.5 Stars

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

You had me at Multiverse.

This book really did have fabulous characters and a smart world. Cara was fun to follow, and even more fun to cheer on. After finishing this book, I wanted to go back in and see all I’d missed the first time through (it’s back on my TBR).

A great journey into what we think we’ll do for personal gain, then what we decide when family and our self-respect are on the line. Cara faces this, must decide to stay the course to earn her climb up the ladder, or risk it all to do what’s right.

And, multiverse… I know for me, there was nothing else to say.

Happy Reading 🙂
~CMM

Book Review: Empire of Dragons

Book Review

Empire of Dragons, Cursed Empire: Book 1

By Rachel Schade

YA fantasy, royal/guard, enemies to…, betrayed, morally grey
5 Stars

One empire. An age-old hatred. Two girls risk everything—even their souls—for their people.

Revenge failed her…

After slaying the former empress, Lo vowed to never kill again. But when her path crosses with a mysterious thief, she begins to work as a vigilante—and to develop forbidden feelings—leaving her with an impossible choice.

Revenge fuels her…

Since her mother’s death, Jalie has been a hopeless prisoner in her own palace. Until a goddess grants her a brutal gift that could be the key to her freedom…if she can get past the soldier tasked with guarding her. As tension brews between them, he challenges everything she’s ever believed about her enemies.

There are two ways to get me to read a book. Say time-travel or say dragons. I dropped my entire TBR to read this dragon book, and I was not disappointed.

There is no “good” guy in Empire of Dragons, and I love it for that. The slow burn, forbidden royal/guard subplot was perfectly crafted, and the other–well, I had all the feels for the poor sod who just couldn’t undo past decisions. At least, that’s how I looked at it. While I didn’t necessarily like Lo, I appreciated her story, and her twitchy thief was the perfect compliment to her.

Excellent world-building, with just the right amount of magic to make it fun. I appreciated the direct god-sourced power and the tease of a possible conflict between said gods that may or may not be influencing events (this is just my reading too far between lines I have no business peering at. We’ll see if I’m even close or over-examing).

The conflict is real. It’s complicated. Each character is both right, and wrong, in their view of events, and the world. Each of them is stuck in the worldview of their own personal trauma. And isn’t that true of all of us? The only way I see this working out without everyone dying is for them to swallow their pride and look at everyone with the same compassion they expect for themselves. This is why I love fantasy. Looking at real issues–real, everyday events–just with dragons.

The next book in the series is one I’m genuinely looking forward to. Luckily, I only have a few more weeks to wait. If you love fierce female characters with angsty-forbidden love undertones, dragons, and systemic conflict, pick up Rachel Schade‘s Cursed Empire series.

Happy Reading 🙂

Book Review: Prophecy, book 1 of The Canellian Eye

Book Review

Prophecy: The Canellian Eye, book 1

By: Caroline Noe
4 Stars

Destiny can be savage.

The towering monolith of Erulia’s Prophecy stood for millenia in the watery paradise of Canellia, its warning unheeded.

That time is long past.

In the wake of dying twin suns, this generation faces extinction under the onslaught of an Ice Age.

Then, in the depths of despair, a child is born, bearing a singular birthmark: the symbol of their foretold saviour, Jehul’s Eye.

In a bid to find New Canellia, the Chosen youth launch into space, following their Prophet, Quaylan.

But where is he leading them?

“Long ago, when the stars were young and everything was possible…”
This second line of the book caught me, and while I’m not sure the author meant for me to take so much out of it, I did. It encompasses both the heart-swelling hope and nostalgia we often think when looking back, but infuses the sentiment with the reality of how ridiculous that can be.

“…when everything was possible…” It’s kind of a silly idea, yes? Was the universe different, fundamentally, when it was young that made things possible then that aren’t now? An entire philosophical discourse is reflected in that half sentence. At least for me.

I feel the main characters are tasked thus so. An impossible task blended perfectly with blind faith and pure grit. A wonderful grand scheme that is as fun to read as it is real and clever.

I was especially taken with the world and people of Canellia. The perfect use and creation of, what I imagined as, an elvish origin tied into a sci-fi world that was simply fantastic. The insane travels, the hardship of the first phase of their mission that is as exciting as it is heartwrenching. All followed by the reality of frustration that blending into a new world and culture would bring, multiplied by the questions of if their god and prophet can really come through.

Science Fiction fans who want a touch of something new, read this. People who love stories that revolve around social issues, read this. Love watching the convoluted way prophecy unfolds? Read it for that too.

Also, this book is why you should have more faith in indie authors 🙂

Happy Reading 🙂
~CMM