Saving the world is such a bother when it makes you late for tea.
By day, book-loving wizard Lily Singer manages library archives. By night? She sleeps, of course. In between, she studies magic and tries to keep her witch friend Sebastian out of trouble. Much to her displeasure, he finds it anyway and drags her along with him.
From unmaking ancient curses to rescuing a town lost in time, Lily and Sebastian fight to avert magical mayhem. Meanwhile, Lily s mysterious past begins to unfold a past hidden from her by those she trusts most. Will she be able to discover the truth despite them?
You know those books that grab you in the moment and then later you question whether you’re really as interested as you’d originally believed. Well, this was one of those books for me. I was super intrigued by the book at first, but once it appeared on my Kindle I decided some of the other books I owned seemed more interesting. Thus, it was a while before I worked my way around to this one.
Such was a mistake. I should have picked this one up straight away, as it’s a wonderful read. Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus: Beginnings is a brilliant introduction to what promises to be a mind-blowing series. So much happens within this one, and by the end of the story I needed to know what happened next. Without a moment of hesitations, I jumped straight into book two.
Told in three parts, this first book in the series does a wonderful job of introducing us to the world and the characters.
Part one follows our female lead, and gives us so many details of the magic world. It’s one of those worlds that pulls you right in, leave you wanting more. Although I wanted more, it wasn’t due to a lack of understanding. The world is beautifully crafted, we find out so much about the magical systems. The ease at which the world come to life is a thing of beauty.
Part two follows our male lead, giving us an interconnected story. It’s not directly related to the first part, but it is linked in ways. I positively loved this section of the book, as I found myself falling madly in love with our male lead. He’s such an interesting character, and this part of the story helped to expand the world even more.
Part three returns us to our female lead, and works to bring the story together in a beautiful way. It was such a beautifully crafted story, such a great way of bringing everything together, that I found myself making all kinds of excited sounds as I was reading.
Honestly, whatever tentatively I’d experienced was quickly brushed away. Everything about the story appealed to me. A wonderful magical system; characters I came to love; humour; a hint of mystery; and so many questions relating to the overall world. Not the kind of questions that leave you unsure of what you’ve read, just the kind of questions that leave you wanting more.
Without a doubt, this is a story more people need to pick up. This needs to become a favourite of so many people, as it’s an astounding story.
I can't say I overly enjoyed this book. It's not a bad book, it's just not for me. I didn't like the protagonist and I didn't like the plot set up. Which are the two main components of books, so, yeah. The first third was an interesting story arc but then we have an "interlude" which seemed to maybe be some character building for the secondary character but no, the second two thirds of the book are about this story arc. The first arc bears no relevance to the second and I'm not sure it was even mentioned again.
The protagonist is a stuffy old lady who believes in manners, tea, and homebaked goods - except she's 25. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of those things, I think they're all brilliant, but when your character trait is "I knocked on someone's door randomly to find their deadbeat roommate, how dare she not offer me a drink" - you're not quaint, you're an ass.
Also, Lily is a wizard - not a witch, and Sebastian is a witch, not a wizard. And yes, they are two different ways of using magic in this story, but I feel like the author is making a point just to make a point, but it's not one worth making.
Just started this book and I don’t like the main character. Starts off with her on a date where she sneers at a guy for liking hamburgers (and for being fat) and for liking to play games. If you’re going to make us feel for the main character, having her be sooo superior to her date isn’t the way to go.
Also, she’s described as being 24 and had been a head librarian. Uh. I know there are young people who get responsibility but nothing in this book supports why she would have been head librarian there after graduation.
Not a likeable heroine and it looks like I’m being setup for an unenjoyable world. Nope. Not today.
This book was a delight, plain and simple. It got reccomended to me because I enjoy books by Gail Carriger, and while the Lily Singer books are set in a completely different era and place, I still feel like they have a similar vibe. Lily is a character that is very relatable for many bookish people, I feel, but she is still a strong enough character that I can still see her as her own personality rather than an empty slate I'm supposed to project myself onto. I loved her contrast with Sebastian, and the way the two interacted with each other.
I was a little surprised by the way this book was built up. There were three separate parts in the book, but they all work very well together. The first part does a good job introducing the reader to both Lily and the world she lives in. The second part changes the point of view to Sebastian, who shows a completely different side of this world both with his character and the different way he uses magic. I found the way wizards and witches work in this world fascinating, and very clever. The third part throws the two things together, continuing off the second story, it presents a wonderful magical conflict for the two leads to solve together.
All in all, it was a bit of a fluffy read but in the best way. This book is like drinking a hot cup of tea (or for me: hot chocolate) on a cold day.
Three stars, because I suspect it achieved what it was meant to achieve: a lightweight book with magic for a reader who's between child and adult (I don't want to say "teenager" because it adds a whole 'nother set of issues). People who are too young for Stephanie Plum, maybe?
If we add up Sebastian and Lily and divide by two, you might have two interesting characters. As we start out, Lily just isn't very interesting, and Sebastian is trying too hard to be interesting.
I was intrigued by the way each part of the story required a 2-3 hour drive out and back same day. There seemed to be no reason for that, and the trips weren't described.
The magic system is OK, the plot works, and I like the gentle reminders that bad choices in life can lead to bad outcomes.
Not sure about the part where Lily gets the chronosynclastic infundibulator (call it something else if you like but *I* know what it is) and just punches the buttons that looked like the right ones. But I guess no one wants to write the magic book where, 200 pages in, the heroine's last word is "oops!" Or even the one where they finally get the McGuffin and it doesn't do anything and the bad guy wins.
Worth reading, but I doubt I'll look for #2. I'm not the target audience.
This was such a fun read and I am so glad I picked it up. I heard about this book in one of my facebook groups, added it to my wishlist and then grabbed it a few weeks later when I saw it was free. Before I finished this book I had already bought book 2 as I already knew by then I wanted to continue this series. Love, Lies and Hocus Pocus Beginnings is a fun read filled with adventure and magic set in the current day world. I quickly got immersed in this work and had a lot of fun reading about Lily and Sebastian their adventures.
This books is split up in three parts, first we have adventure surrounding a ghost that Sebastian and Lily work on. Then we get an interlude, which are a few chapters form Sebastian his point of view which actually serves as the set-up for the third part where we go back to Lily her point of view. While I was a bit surprised at first when I saw epilogue at 30-40% in the book, I thought the three part set-up worked well here. I think they are officially labeled as two episodes, so you basically get two adventures in one book. I liked getting to know the characters a bit in the first part and then seeing Sebastian his point of view was so fun as we learn a lot more about him as a character and his magic, which are all things Lily doesn't know yet.
The book focuses on Lily and Sebastian. Lily is a wizard and a librarian. She was quite the interesting character, she's a bit strict, studious and prim and proper as well. She likes to bake and drink tea. She was a tad too serious at times, but I could relate to her and Sebastian was just the perfect character to work alongside her as she's such a contrast to her personality. Sebastian is charming, easy going and likes to make jokes. Or at least he acts that way, his point of view really gave some insight in his personality. I liked seeing how Sebastian got Lily involved in all kinds of trouble, but I am pretty sure she doesn't really mind even though she pretends to at times. It was a lot of fun to follow the adventures of these two and I feel like we got a good idea of their personalities and some topics are touched upon that I am sure we'll learn more about in later books. There is still a lot about them we don't know, but I hope we get to discover that in later books. I already want to read more about Lily and Sebastian.
And then there is the world building, which is so expertly done. I loved getting immersed in this world. It really felt like the author thought this all out, how the magic worked, the wizard society and even the spells and artifacts we come across. It felt like the magic made sense and had rules in how to guide it. It was a bit confusing at first what the difference was between witches and wizards, but I felt that getting Lily's point of view helped to clarify what wizards were and then the chapters form Sebastian his point of view gave me a better insight in what witches were. I like how both where very different and while the whole wizard things sounded cool, I thought maybe the witch thing was even more interesting. I liked feeling like this world and the magic in it made sense and was all thought out. And I just wanted to know more and see more of the magic. I also liked how while there was magic it also took place in the normal world, it has a bit of an urban fantasy feel when it comes to that.
To summarize: I can't say enough good things about this book. It grabbed my attention quickly and I got immersed in this book and the world the author had created and didn't want to leave. I ended up ordering the second book before I even finished this one as I knew I wanted to continue with the series halfway through this book already. This book is a lot of fun, there is magic and artifacts, wizards and witches and more. It follows the adventures of Lily and Sebastian, they are almost opposites in their personalities, but they are so fun together. Their personalities sometimes clash, but it also felt that due to their opposites they worked well together. I felt like I got feel for both their personalities as this book is split up in three parts and the middle part is from Sebastian his point of view while part one and three are from Lily her point of view. This also helped to get to know more about both wizards and witches. But at the same time there's so much more to know ad I hope to learn even more about these two in the next books. And the world is so well crafted, it felt like things made sense and like the author really thought things through. I can't wait to read the next adventures of these two!
Okay I'm excited about this new magical mystery series. It follows Lily, a wizard and grumpy librarian, and her friend Sebastian, who is a witch that's always getting into mischief. The first part we see Lily help Seb with a curse/ghost possession, in the second part Seb tracks down a missing thief, and in the third part the two of them are trapped in a time loop.
This was a great first book. I got just enough info about the wizard/witch world and I can't wait to learn more. I really liked Lily, honestly she is my kind of grump. Just wants to be left alone with her books and her cat. Seb was so funny and I'm really curious to learn more about him. The mysteries are fun and entertaining and I'm curious to see where this series will go.
Rep: female MC (I feel like she could be aspec), Black side character, alcoholic side character.
CWs: Addiction, alcohol consumption, alcoholism, violence, gun violence, car accident, cancer/terminal illness of a child, death of parent (past).
Trigger warning: fat shaming right out of the gate.
DNF. Well that was a let down - I was hoping for fun quirky magical cozy mystery feel and instead got slapped in the face with the fat shaming in the very first scene. Like I get it - the author was trying to make it clear that it was a bad date, but when they harped on the date's weight and then made a point of showing them eating not one but two meals... yeah it left a bad taste in my mouth, no pun intended. On to the next ebook in my TBR I guess :/
I've been waiting more than three years for the next Dresden Files book from Jim Butcher, and as much as I love Harry Dresden, absence is not making my heart grow any fonder. In fact, I think I have a new favorite wizard: Lilly Singer.
A big thanks goes to author Lydia Sherrer for bringing a new world of wizardry to life in her Lilly Singers books. So far, I have read only the first, Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus: Beginnings, though the series has thus far expanded to four titles. Book 1 introduces Lilly and her partner in magic and mayhem, Sebastian Blackwell, who, while alternately infuriating and endearing, is never boring.
One of the most appealing things about Sherrer’s magic world is its elimination of gender stereotypes of Harry Potter's wizarding world. (Sorry, Universal Studios—the phrase was irresistible.) In Sherrer’s writings, wizards and witches can be either male or female. What distinguishes them is the source of their abilities. Wizards’ powers are innate—something they were born with. Witches cultivate relations with creatures such as fairies and pixies, supplying such delicacies as moldy pizza (for the somewhat bizarre “mold fae” who eat decaying things) in return for magical favors.
Sherrer’s first title does a good job of introducing the characters without slowing the action with backstories. Within a few pages, Lilly’s embroiled in the book’s first adventure, one involving a haunted mansion and an ancient curse. With the main characters sufficiently developed, the novel turns to a second adventure, involving a friendship betrayed, a search for a stolen magical item, and a desperate race to avert potentially disastrous supernatural repercussions from magic misused.
The majority of the book is written through Lilly’s perspective, but Sebastian is also given a turn as the point-of-view character—a well-used
tool to help readers understand Sebastian’s inner self, and to show that he is much more than the charmingly irresponsible rogue he may seem.
One note for younger readers—or the parents of younger readers: While the cover art and typeface of this book is somewhat reminiscent of middle-grade or young-adult fiction, the novel is written for adults, with adult characters, who on rare occasions use adult language.
A book series with a lot of potential, but unfortunately falls flat due to cliches and the uninspired writing. The characters and world established make way for a promising series.
Plot: Appreciative and quite interesting, though nothing new. The way in which the characters use their environment is quite interesting (magic, alternate species etc).
Characters: Sebastian is arguably much more interesting than Lily. Sadly the main character can be seen as a little unlikable due to her lowered emotional limits and 'old lady' persona. She takes herself too seriously despite the books charming style. Although this was probably done for juxtaposition, it doesn't quite work. Sebastian on the other hand, (our alternate main) is very amusing and colourful, and despite the potential dislike for Lily, they go together quite well. I am hoping that the rest of the series will work this out.
Writing: I think this book is best for a 10-13 year old audience (children to low YA). It does have themes of violence and drug use, but how it conveys it's message is a little juvenile. It's still easy to appreciate however at any age, but will be most excited for a younger audience.
I’m not sure why, but I don’t usually read a lot of fantasy. I used to, when I was younger, and I enjoy movies and series about it, but these days I don’t seem to have the patience for some of the world building, complicated names, and tonnes and tonnes of characters that seem to be the usual fare in many of these stories. When I saw this book and read what it was about, something made me check the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon, and I enjoyed what I read. And yes, I was right. I did enjoy the book. Although I love a good story and an ingenious plot, I’m a characters’ reader first and foremost. And that was what attracted me to this book. We have a female character, Lily Singer, a librarian, bookish and studious, shy, socially awkward, conservatively dressed (a pencil skirt, a blouse, and heels are her uniform), and a wizard (yes, not a witch). And a male character, Sebastian Blackwell, a charmer, full of social graces, always looking for a shortcut rather than hard work, casual and untidy, and always able to get on the good side of people. Well, most people. Ah, and a witch (yes, a witch). Although in classical literature men used to represent the intellect while women were nature, the intellectually superior woman paired with a man who is more into faith or instinct rather than brain is not unusual these days (from the X-files to Harry Potter, and even the Simpsons), and here it works well. The two characters like each other (so far not in a romantic way, although all is possible and I haven’t read the rest of the novels in the series), and drive each other insane (opposites attract), but their abilities complement each other and they make a good team. Where Lily studies spells, books, and ancient knowledge, Sebastian can get help from fae and mundane alike (mundane are non-magical beings, although Sebastian has no powers of his own. That’s what distinguishes wizards from witches, who have to channel other beings’ powers). Their interaction is fun, light, and humorous, and their backgrounds are more similar than they realise. They are comfortable with each other but not to the point of revealing all their secrets to the other. And there is plenty of room to further develop their relationship in future books. The book is divided into a couple of stories or episodes. The first is one is a full case that gives the reader a good sense of who the characters are and what their relationship is like. It’s a ghost story, a case that Sebastian has been booked to solve but he needs Lily’s assistance. This story, although, written in the third person, is told from Lily’s point of view, and it has all the elements ghost story novels would love. A haunted house, the ghost of a man trapped by a scorned woman, spells… There is an interlude, again in the third person, from Sebastian’s point of view, that introduces what will be the next case, which is quite a personal one for Sebastian, as somebody has stolen a family heirloom, a magical object that alters time. Sebastian’s point of view helps us understand the young man better, and gives us insight into some of his actions that Lily lacks. Lily has to come to the rescue once again, in a case that introduces complex elements and concepts, including a time loop, and discusses in more detail elements of world building and the powers peculiar to objects, wizards, and witches in this world. Both stories are quick paced and interesting, and although the cover (that I think is superb) perhaps seems geared towards a younger audience, the book touches on issues such as drinking, terminal illnesses, and its take on magic is more philosophical and scientific than would be expected in books for a younger audience. There are delightful characters (a fae that loves mouldy pizza, for example), there are things that make one’s mind boggle (the time loop), and the information about this alternative world is interspersed with the story, without slowing down the action or requiring pages and pages of explanation. The glossary at the end (the book ends at around 92% in e-book format, and the rest is the glossary, about the author, and a sample of the next book in the series) clarifies further some of the aspects of the story and some of the terms used, but there is enough explanation in the text itself to understand the plot without needing to go backwards and forwards to check the terms/ A couple of quotes from the text: Criminals were sadly predictable, especially those with so little self-respect as to wear their pants around their knees. Though probably only thirty or forty, her wrinkled skin, sunken face, and stringy hair made her look more like fifty. (Sorry, this one I highlighted because I’m 52, so I worried that’s how women in their 20s think of us…) As I haven’t read Harry Potter, I can’t comment on similarities and differences, but there is a conversation between Sebastian and Lily about the nature of magic (including mention of the books with the boy with the scar) and here is what Lily says: But unlike in stories, magic is part of nature, it doesn’t defy it. The only reason mundanes call what wizards do “magic” is because it’s science they don’t understand yet. The book is set in the South of the USA (the library where Lily works is in Atlanta, Georgia) and the location and language add to the charm. I don’t want to enter into a lot of detail to avoid spoilers, but let’s say that I’d love to have access to some of the spells and magical objects Lily uses (oh, book lovers; you have no idea what she can do with books!). In summary, this is a fun read, two stories in one book, set up in a recognisable world, with some added ‘magic’ and magical creatures, familiar but not quite as we know them, whose main characters become our friends and are people we’d like to spend more time with. Recommended to readers who like fantasy but prefer to engage with the characters rather than to read detailed descriptions and a lot of world-building, and who are looking for fun dialogues and quick-paced stories. Ah, and if you love cats, you’ll adore Sir Edgar Allan Kipling. I was sent an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
My youngest daughter Zoe (11) read this book recently. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy from an event. Zoe loved it and actually read a lot of it while we traveled for spring break. In Zoe's words, here's what she thought of the book:
"I loved this book! It was filled with exciting action and mystery. I would say that there was absolutely nothing I disliked about Love, Lies & Hocus Pocus. You can really picture what is happening as you read. Recommending this book to people who like action and mystery. Thank you for writing this book. I really enjoyed reading it! <3 "
Notice the heart she added at the end. LOL I will be getting the next one for her soon. It always makes me proud when my kiddos really get into a book!
I did not finish this book because the first few pages stopped me dead. The opening scene featured Lily Singer, the main character, on a bad first date. A bad date can provide a great setup for drama or comedy or both, but right away the author turned to fat shaming and food shaming to illustrate just how disgusting the man really was, as if his endless narcissistic monologue wasn't enough. I decided to give her a pass and just keep reading, but on the very next page, I found Lily wretchedly longing to escape, spending multiple paragraphs wishing she could teleport and thinking about using magic to get away. Apparently she couldn't just be frank with this man and cut the date short. This is when I decided I didn't want to spend any more time with her.
I listened to the audio version of the book and the narrator was great! She changed her tone and inflection based on the character and I really enjoyed her style. The book itself was good for a first in the series. The plot was interesting, but it moved very slowly as there was a lot of explanation on the magic systems. I have to admit that I’m not overly fond of the main character, Lily. She seems pretentious and rigid. However, I love Sebastian. More please :) I’m really hoping they don’t end up an item, because Sebastian deserves someone who isn’t annoyed by just seeing his name pop up.
This was cute story...good start to a series. The main characters were very likable especially Sebastian! He had all sorts of snappy remarks and the way the voice actor portrayed him, made me love his character.
This book has magical creatures, witches, wizards, ghosts, spells...all the makings of a book I like to read/listen to. It was humorous mostly due to Sebastian and the way Lily got annoyed with him.
Overall I enjoyed the book and loved the characters.
This is an utterly delightful book with two amazing main characters. Lily Singer is probably the world's coolest librarian wizard and Sebastian may seem a bit like an irresponsible man child in the book's opening but he quickly shows depth and intelligence. The magic system is creative, well developed, and ORIGINAL! As a pagan, I found myself relieved to find a story that makes magic fantastical yet steeps it in a form of logical and scientific foundations. The book is divided into two stories but the dynamic charm flows effortlessly. I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys witches, paranormal, mystery, etc as well as anyone looking for a read that is simultaneously light and full of substance. I will DEFINITELY go get the next book in the series!!!
Introduction Meet Lily: A librarian in Atlanta who also happens to be a wizard. Her best friend, Sebastian, is a witch with a powerful knack for finding trouble. Add a sprinkle of fae and a dash of wizards, and just a hint of ghosts, and you’ve got a full ensemble.
Conflict and Plot A tea snob, Lily’s prudish ways are ever on the brink of corruption by her witchy best friend, Sebastian. Between cups of tea and research binges at the library, Lily manages to wrangle the supernatural dilemmas Sebastian always manages to provide.
Characters Each character in “Beginnings” is well-written, fully-formed, and introduced in a very specific, thoughtful manner. I had no issue with keeping characters straight – except for some of the fae, perhaps – and I truly felt that I knew the characters.
I related to Lily in some ways: she’s not the va-va-voom girl, and you won’t catch her half-assing anything. I had a harder time relating to her rigid nature though I did find the contrast between her decorum and Sebastian’s nonchalant, unkempt ways hilarious. I did relate to Sebastian in some ways too. He’s got street smarts and knows what it takes to get the job done – albeit not so tidily as Lily might.
My favorite character in “Beginnings” is Sebastian. He’s rough around the edges, messy, and blows down the doors of formality. But he’s a good friend with loyalty coursing through his veins. I was particularly impressed with Sherrer’s ability to shift to Sebastian vastly different perspective in the interlude; it’s a wonderful shift from Lily’s stricter ways.
Style “Beginnings” is segmented into two episodes and an interlude. The episodes feature Lily and her world of wizardry while the interludes show Sebastian’s witchy behind-the-scenes work. Though vastly different – including the writing styles – this provides a perfect harmony which draws the reader in.
Her idiomatic chapters boast a crisp, learned tone. The tension increases from one segment to the next, allowing readers a gradual look into the protagonist’s dreams, mirroring her own inability to face some of her deepest wants.
The conclusion of each episode is satisfying, yet still leaves the reader wanting to know more. In particular, I was drawn into the interactions of Lily and Sebastian, whose opposite natures are really paired well.
Recommendations “Beginnings” was a fun read. The episodic formula flows wonderfully, making the read a fast and enjoyable experience.
I loved the interlude most of all, because of how truly diverse Sherrer shows her writing to be. The episodes are so distinctly separate from the interlude in tone that it’s almost shocking at first.
I’d recommend this book to readers of urban fantasy, and other fantasy readers looking for a light, fun read. This interested in the lighter side of the paranormal will likely be interested as well.
Additional I received a copy of “Beginnings” from the author in exchange for a fair review.
I don't know that I would go looking for more books in this series, but if the library had one of them available when I was after a new read, I'd check it out.
I enjoyed the world-building here, and liked the divide between wizards and witches so that was a plus.
I didn't really connect with Lily as much as I would have expected to. She hit me as kind of prissy and uptight, and while I get that this was intended to be a "the librarian is a nerd" sort of thing, sometimes that really works and you feel a kinship with the nerdy librarian, but for me, with Lily I kept thinking: "for Pete's sake, girl! loosen up! You're a wizard - enjoy it!!" but I never felt like she did and I was sorry about that.
I loved Sebastien! He was a hoot, and probably what I liked best about this story.
Overall, this was a fine, enjoyable paranormal cozy-type story. I liked it. I didn't love it, but it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of days.
I believe this has potential but because it was so short, by the time I'd got into it properly, the book had finished...abruptly! Not a cliffhanger exactly, more like a chapter finisher.
What it has done, though, is leave me needing to read the rest of the books and find out if my guesses are true. I want to learn more about the fae side of things, her family and of course...more magic!
I thought I would try a new series; this one sounded pretty interesting. I wasn’t really that impressed. The writing seemed a little stilted, it just didn’t flow naturally - and the main character is a young twenty-something that acts like she’s a prim & proper 60 yr old. But it does have its redeeming qualities and I’m always willing to give another chance. So I’ll see how I feel after the 2nd book. Maybe I’ll get hooked on the series once I get to know the characters better.
This book was a good read. Nice and easy. It flows well and even though the story did not go deep it was informative and fun to keep moving along without stalling. Looking forward to the next book in the series.