This review was originally posted on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Three women, from three different timeframes have only one thingThis review was originally posted on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Three women, from three different timeframes have only one thing in common - they are condemned for being witches. From 17th Century Germany, to 18th Century Europe, and modern day Australia in a small regional town, we hear from Veronica, Katherine and Paisley. They are each teenage girls with their own hopes and dreams, from worrying about their family, to survival, and the persecution that they experience.
What's immediately evident are the different voices that are given to each girl, which felt authentic to the time period - from the more formal, olden day setting to modern day Aussie English and slang. I was able to pick up which of the characters I was reading at any one time, even though the chapters were extremely short.
Reading Hexenhaus was like reading three different stories in one, with key elements that ran parallel to each other. From their relative innocence before being condemned, to torture and persecution, to the road after everything's been said and done, their stories went in three rapidly different directions. Aside from Paisley, I didn't know whether Veronica or Katherine were going to escape their circumstances because of how severe the charges were laid against them.
From learning about Hexenhaus, a German witch house built to torture young women, the horrific torture devices that were used and the sheer horror these women felt at what had happened, Hexenhaus was a dark and harrowing experience about witchcraft in the 17-18th century. It was evident that you didn't need to really do anything suspicious to be blacklisted as a witch - you just needed to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time to endure these unspeakable events.
There's a strong theme of sexism running through the story, where the fate of many young women were decided from men along. At one stage, a male condemns one of the girls for intentionally beguiling him and casting a spell on him. Another women is blamed for a kid 'seeing spirits' which was sent after them. It was frustrating to see how these women could simply not defend themselves against such accusations, and it's easy to see how far these rumours and accusations can spread like wildfire, causing the townspeople to spiral out of control.
While I was invested in Veronica and Katherine's stories, I had trouble connecting to Paisley who probably had the least interesting perspective. She's defending her mother, the town's fortune teller from being accused as a witch. Perhaps it was done intentionally to illustrate how unfair these accusations were, but I had trouble believing that a kid repeatedly chanting her name was good enough to condemn her from the town. Paisley's perspective was also quite out of place, given the historical settings of the rest of the book.
Hexenhaus provided a fascinating side-by-side glimpse into 17th-18th century witch accusations and today's rumour mill. From witchy persecutions to the strong sexism vibe and how little "witchcraft" there actually was in the novel, it offers more of a historical perspective on witches. While I had trouble connecting to some of the characters, the interchanging chapters and stories kept the story moving.
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
You know when you’re reading a book and you think it’s the best thing ever butThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
You know when you’re reading a book and you think it’s the best thing ever but afterwards you struggle to find the words?
That was Truthwitch for me. I absolutely loved so many parts of it, including the descriptions of the magic, the sisterly bond between Safi and Iseult and the setting. But I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that makes me rave about it, except that it pretty much feels like it was written for me.
Truthwitch contained so many amazing fantasy elements, and I loved how it was all interwoven together into a fun, dynamic action-packed story. The elemental powers was executed wonderfully here, with Safi as a truthwitch who can tell when people are lying, and Iseult as a threadwitch who can see the invisible ties that bind people together. Seeing their powers in motion throughout the novel was so fascinating, particularly where Safi is hunted for her ability, and where Iseult’s vision comes in handy.
The best thing is their sisterly bond with one another as threadsisters. They would do absolutely anything to protect each other and their personalities meshed with each other really well. While Iseult is from a nomadic tribe, Safi is a noble woman who becomes betrothed to royalty. I loved this concept where you’re bound to one another for life, because it means loyalty and never being alone. There are also thread-brothers in the book as well, and it was fantastic seeing the bromance play out between the Prince Merrick and the hilarious Kullen.
We also get a villain’s point of view in the novel, of the Bloodwitch Aeduan who is hunting Safi. The interesting thing about his perspective, is that he gets a lot of character development and we realise he’s not as evil as we think, particularly during his interactions with Iseult. I love seeing this character development ‘behind the scenes’ and Aeduan’s perspective was definitely a welcome part of the novel.
I particularly loved Prince Merik, because of the antagonistic interaction he has with Safi. He’s a typical arrogant Prince, but Safi teaches him a lesson or two about pride. Their banter is fun and filled with sexual tension and develops over the course of the novel. I love books that tease the romance but doesn’t make it the main plot line.
All of this builds into an epic action scene at the end of the book, where all the powers are exhibited as the stakes get higher. I was glued to the final pages as everything that we’ve learnt about the world and the powers explode into action!
With great character interactions, lots of fun banter and most of all, a fantasy world filled with magical powers, Truthwitch is exactly my kind of book. I’m so glad to finally have a book live up to it’s hype and I absolutely loved it!
I received a review copy from the book from the publisher....more
I love the blend of witches and alternate dimensions in this series, but FirewaThis review appears on Happy Indulgence! Check it out for more reviews.
I love the blend of witches and alternate dimensions in this series, but Firewalker wasn’t as good as the first book. A few scenes had me suspending my disbelief and the whole book lacked emotional connection.
Connecting to the main character is a major part of enjoying a book, and even in the second book, I still couldn’t connect to Lily. She has Lillian, her evil alternate self inside her head, talking to her and showing her memories in an attempt to justify her evil decisions. Lillian is evil, she kills without a second thought, and wants to manipulate Lily in coming back to her world. But instead of confiding in the people who care about her, Lily keeps it a secret. And this leads to the drama in the book, especially when it comes to Rowan.
Although Lily is a powerful witch, she still needs a knight in shining armour, whether that’s Rowan, her best friend Tristan, or her coven who can look out for her. That’s something I admired Lillian for, as evil as she was, at least she was strong, fearsome and could lead. Lily has a long way to go before she can be a worthwhile opponent, because of her extreme dependency on others. She’s still a rather passive character and her character growth is very slow.
The romance was a major part of the book, and many of the problems between Rowan and Lily could have been solved with open communication. For most of the book, they are really sappy, avoiding the problems that matter, but I just wanted them to be open with each other. Rowan came from an alternate world where he was in love with Lillian, until she turned evil and killed his father. So it’s kind of weird how he justifies his love for Lily, in that “maybe I always loved the Lily in Lillian”. Because although you’re the same person but in a different world, it’s the choices that really make you who you are. I also wasn’t a fan of Tristan’s intense jealousy over Lily and Rowan. D-r-a-m-a.
Some of the scenes weren’t believable, particularly where Breakfast, Una, Tristan and Juliet easily accepted Lily and Rowan’s explanation. Imagine if someone walked up to you and said “I’m a powerful witch, and my friend here is from an alternate dimension. Want to join us?” My immediate reaction would be disbelief and I’d think it was a joke. But nope, these guys just went along with it, it felt way too easy, and the explanation here is purely because they “felt drawn to the willstones”.
Another scene is where one of Lily’s family members is killed, and there is absolutely NO emotional reaction whatsoever. Lily or her sister didn’t react. I felt nothing. She didn’t even check in with the rest of her family to make sure they were okay.
Despite all this, I enjoyed the world building with the alternate dimensions of different extremes based on ruling ideologies – one with an extreme dictatorship, one as a ruined wasteland. There was more development of the willstones, where they’re like an extension of one’s Will and entrusting a witch with it is like the ultimate trust. I also enjoyed contrasting ‘present’ world with the fantasy one, and bringing across the coven from one world to the next. The secondary characters were also enjoyable, although I didn’t get to connect to them very deeply.
The lack of emotional connection, scenes that made me suspend my disbelief, and the romantic drama in Firewalker affected my enjoyment of the book. This sequel wasn’t as good as the first, but I did like the unique premise and the deep world building. I’ll still continue with the series, but I’m definitely less excited about it than I was.
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
You know how Angelfall broke the barrier for every angel book ever, bringing tThis review appears on Happy Indulgence - check it out for more reviews!
You know how Angelfall broke the barrier for every angel book ever, bringing the post-apocalyptic genre into the mix with the overused angel genre? Brew does exactly the same for witches, and turns them from warty frog turning hags into scary, spell wielding, terrifying creatures who are wiping out the world from their war - Salem's Revenge.
Brew fulfils my thirst for a book that is completely and utterly the reason why I read - to find a book that resonates with my tastes. From the epic journey the characters are taking, to the outlandish characters they face, to the witches with different classes, to the post-apocalyptic world and thirst for revenge, and the witty banter between Rhett and Laney - I loved every minute of David Estes's new debut featuring witches, warlocks and warls.
I am always a fan of books that have different classes of paranormals, and the witches in Brew reminded me of Xmen. They have their own specialties and powers, from necros who raise the dead, to pyromancers with their fire, and even sirens who draw foes in. Reading Brew is like an epic adventure where you don't know what quirky personality you are going to stumble into next, and whether they are friend or foe. Not only will the characters meet each witch class, they will also stumble into some outlandish personalities such as The End, a mercenary group of witch hunters, a life saving beggar, a quirky magical weapons dealer and more.
The characters in Brew were an absolutely delight and written really well - from Rhett Carter, the vengeful orphan and witch hunter who only wants his friends back, to his companion, Laney who is the guns blazing all out girl who looks out for her little mute sister, Trish. Not to mention the best pet ever - Hex, a magical dog who has been the subject of witches' experiments for years. With this crew, you never know what is going to happen, and there are some shocks and developments along the way that will endear you to them.
I enjoyed the witty banter between Rhett and Laney, as they find a friend and like-minded soul in each other, and I'm glad it didn't resort to romance. The two have an antagonistic relationship, and Rhett still has his girlfriend Beth on his mind throughout their journey.
Dystopian stories are notorious for their info dumps, but the world building and development of the Salem's Revenge and the world overrun by evil witches was woven intricately into the rest of the fast paced plot. Every word in Brew is written with purpose, whether it's Rhett reminiscing about his lost friends, to telling us about the witches, to the character development and friendship between the characters, or all out action.
I loved every single element of Brew, from the scary witches, to the quirky and outlandish characters, to the focus on friendship between the two main characters. Brew balances the dark and foreboding apocalyptic elements and scorned characters with lighter, fun-filled banter and utterly quirky characters, and you'll love every minute of it. Discovering books that really resonate with me - this is why I read books.
Brew had everything I look for in a book: action, suspense, awesome characters, chilling twists. 5 EPIC STARS!
I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review....more
Chasing Magic signifies the end of my monthly buddy read on DowThis review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Chasing Magic signifies the end of my monthly buddy read on Downside Ghosts, which makes me sort of sad (at least until the next book comes out). While Chess’s world is definitely dark, gritty and an emotional investment, I’ll kind of miss revisiting the world of Downside every month. This series just keeps on getting better and better; while the world building, slang language and Chess’s drug dependency takes a while getting used to, once you’re there you realise how awesome it is.
Sadly, Chasing Magic did not live up to the last two books in the series for me. Usually we’ve been guided with a Church case and/or a murderous case in Downside. While this book started off with a murderous case, there seemed to be a lot of elements coming into play here. The case was not central to the plot, and a lot of other things were happening in Chess’s life and it just took me a while longer to get into it.
The drug addiction takes a turn for the worst. It’s really disturbing seeing Chess rely on it increasingly in her day to day life. She literally relies on the separate drugs to take her through her daily life, to numb her feelings and make her forget her traumatic past. I really hope that the author will move towards a better resolution for her, because I’m kind of getting tired of seeing her make bad decisions over and over again. Fair enough she’s damaged inside and scarred for life, but can this woman please get a happy resolution for once?
And that would be where Terrible comes in. They’ve finally managed to work out their relationship, and I think we’ve all established that he’s some sort of salvation for Chess. She’s finally coming to terms with having someone who actually loves her despite all her issues. Lex really disappointed us here and we see that perhaps all the power is getting to him. His behaviour really disgusts me and I’m really glad that she’s picked Terrible.
I just love how there’s a huge high at the end of the book (no pun intended) where Chess is empowered and you realise that she’s actually really good at her job at banishing spirits. Because she’s got such a low sense of self-worth, she has no fear in the heart of danger and she does everything she can to save people.
Overall, I did enjoy Chasing Magic and again delving into the world of Downside, it just wasn’t as brilliant as the previous books for me. I’m interested in seeing where Stacia Kane will be taking this series, and whether we’ll finally get a resolution for the poor, damaged girl that is Chess....more
Eh, I'm not quite sure what to think of this. The start was really promising, but the plot sort of loses itself shortly after the twActual rating: 3.5
Eh, I'm not quite sure what to think of this. The start was really promising, but the plot sort of loses itself shortly after the two main characters and then it turns into a heavy paranormal romance that was kind of unexpected.
It starts out with Diana, a professor at Oxford stumbling upon the Ashmore 782 manuscript. Diana also happens to be a witch who wants to be a human, and all manner of supernatural creatures turn up and stalk her to see how she summoned the manuscript. One of these creatures is Matthew Clairmont, another super smart professor who also happens to be a mysterious vampire.
At the starting point, I was really impressed with the detailed descriptions of Diana's world at Oxford and the historic accounts about Ashmore 782 and witches. Unfortunately, this impression disappears quickly after Matthew enters the picture.
From Chapter 8 onwards, you basically get a better written, adult version of Twilight, with a bit of witch and history thrown in. I wouldn't have minded the whole paranormal romance part even though it was somehow unexpected, however over the entire course of the book the Twilight references were endless.
Here's what I mean (contains spoilers): - Matthew's vampire possessiveness and over-protectiveness of Diana. - His stalker tendencies over watching Diana sleep. - Diana's apparent innocence and less adult moments, where you wonder where the smart professor has disappeared off to - The money and the riches that Matthew uses to shower his attention on - The fact that menstruation was brought up and that vampires aren't affected by it - Matthew's intense longing for Diana which seemingly came out of nowhere related to his wanting to hunt her - Matthew's family taking her in all of a sudden as their own - The only way they can be happy together is if Diana turns into a vampire - No sex, even though these are two grown, consenting adults
I could go on more, but you get the picture. It's as if the author has taken the main concept of Twilight and added several parts to it but that's still not enough to make it a completely different story. It just frustrates me because this had so much potential to be great, and the authors writing is definitely enveloping and descriptive. It kind of feels like I've read this story before.
Not to mention the convoluted plot (or lack thereof), I mean with all the mention of the manuscript (how many times was Ashmore 782 mentioned within the first few chapters?), the brief parts about planning a war, and the Knights of Lazarus, these things were all very interesting but barely touched upon. Instead, most of the pages are covered on the food that is being served or of Diana's yoga sessions. The book could have been condensed so much further if the less essential things were made more brief.
I'm hopeful though. Now that we've gotten the whole debut and setting out of the way, perhaps the somewhat strange lead into the next book will be better covered in Shadow of Night.
I had high hopes for this book after hearing about all the interesting places Diana Bishop (witch and historian) and Matthew (her vampire husband) wouI had high hopes for this book after hearing about all the interesting places Diana Bishop (witch and historian) and Matthew (her vampire husband) would visit using time travel. Unfortunately, what resulted in between the hefty 600 pages, was a lot of frustration, boredom, and just a general feeling of "make it stop".
The Discovery of Witches, the first in the series, had so much potential but just ended up having too much of a resemblance to Twilight and too much irrelevant waffle. Shadow of Night is even worse in that regard. While the Twilight veins have disappeared here, Shadow of Night not only capitalises on the worst frustrations of the first book, but adds its own as well.
Where we left off in The Discovery of Witches was Diana and Matthew heading to the past to find a witchy tutor for her powers, and to uncover the Ashmore 982 manuscript.
But when you pick up Shadow of Night, its best you forget where we were, the time travel elements, segregated world of witches, vampires and daemons, witch powers, and that snobby and possessive Matthew that you know (in other words, everything that was good about the novel). For you'll be thrust into the 16th Century with a bunch of historical characters and a bunch of new names that only history majors would recognise.
Both Diana and Matthew are also strangely different in this novel, and for the worse as well. Diana's "daftness" and complete stubbornness to listen to anyone who makes sense (including Matthew who is only looking after her best interests) plagues the entire novel. Matthew's snobbery, distance, possessiveness and all of that are emphasised too. These people just refuse to listen to each other, which is probably why they are perfect(ly annoying) together.
A fantastic novella about 18 year old Chess before she became a Debunker. It answers a lot of questions about how she came to be, and neatly adds insiA fantastic novella about 18 year old Chess before she became a Debunker. It answers a lot of questions about how she came to be, and neatly adds insight into Chess as a person, her insecurities, trauma, drug abuse, and skill and dedication with her role at the Church.
It's a great place to start as a tester to whether you'd like the Downside Ghosts series or not.
The second book in the Hollows series is written much better than the haphazard style of Dead Witch Walking. I'm glad I stuck with the series becauseThe second book in the Hollows series is written much better than the haphazard style of Dead Witch Walking. I'm glad I stuck with the series because it's a really unique and interesting one. Firstly, it seems like the author has done with some good editing and slowly interweaves the world building with what is happening at the time, instead of having huge info dumps at random intervals.
Rachel Morgan slowly learns to stand on her own and develop her powers further in this book. As an FIB consultant, she's assisting in a murder investigation using her strong intuition and witchy powers. The host of side characters such as Ivy, Nick, and Jenks are developed further and they are complex characters so it's interesting to follow.
There's some interesting developments to follow in this book, and I especially find entertaining how tomatoes are feared by all humans due to them containing a virus that wiped out 1/4 of humanity. This book is multi-layered and has complex characters and developments, and it is easily enjoyable.
I recommend The Hollows series to anyone who hasn't started it yet, and keen to start on the next one.
As one of the most popular urban fantasy titles out there, I was really excited to start The Hollows series. I have a thing about the supernatural, evAs one of the most popular urban fantasy titles out there, I was really excited to start The Hollows series. I have a thing about the supernatural, ever since I was young I've been intrigued with the world of witches, vampires, werewolves, and the like. The blurb to Dead Witch Walking sounded promising.
Once I got into Dead Witch Walking however, I found it difficult to get into. There's just something about the writing that is difficult to follow. Too many fragmented sentences, and there wasn't really a proper introduction. I felt like I was an outsider looking in, although I'm certain that it's just 'first in series' syndrome as the writer warms up her characters and the world building.
There were some intricacies which kept me reading, such as faithful companion Jenks, the interesting world-building, and how Rachel was going to get herself out of her own mess.
I found the relationship between Rachel and Ivy strangely perverse. A few times during the book I was questioning whether Rachel swung that way or not, but she did clearly state that she didn't. It's evident that the characters are quite complex, which will probably develop over time.
I'll keep reading because it's fascinating so far, and hopefully the writing gets better from here on out (and I've heard it gets really good, so I'm keen on following the series further).
It's not often that a book has me cringing, wanting to throw it down in frustration and never to return to it again. Unfortunately, Beautiful CreatureIt's not often that a book has me cringing, wanting to throw it down in frustration and never to return to it again. Unfortunately, Beautiful Creatures was written so badly and unconvincingly so that's what I would have done, if not for a reading challenge I was trying to complete.
You'd think such an interesting and unique premise about witches and warlocks would be difficult to get wrong. Unfortunately, the book was written in such a bland, boring manner that it failed to grab me at all. Not to mention that some of the writing is just plain bad. It was contradictory, involved one too many broken sentences, and was rather confusing at times, making it a chore to understand what the author is trying to get at.
Unlike most YA books, it is written in the point of view of a teenage male, but the authors trying to put themselves in a teenage boy's shoes mostly involved talking about how hot some cheerleaders were at the school. There's barely any character development and you're just meant to accept that Ethan just falls in love with Lena, because he's been dreaming about her all of this time.
The plot (or lack thereof) just seemed to drag on and on forever. So much so that at the end, I wondered why I bothered wasting my time on reading this book when there are so many other more interesting things to do.
Also at the most crucial moment when the plot is meant to take off, the authors throws us into a random, unimportant, and rather frustrating side track in the form of a surprise party. Who cares about the other school kids when you are meant to be finding out what happens to Lena after ramping this up for the ENTIRE book?