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Witches of the Island #1

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden

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Twenty-eight year-old Cassie Strega can’t escape fate.

All she wants is to live a normal, quiet life delivering the babies in her small town. But when she discovers she comes from a lineage of witches, her life becomes extraordinary—in the gravely dangerous type of way.

Then, she’s reunited with her first love.

Orion, the sultry Fae warrior who broke her heart years before, is searching for a baby. Not just any baby, but the queen of the Fae who will one day lead them in their final battle against the demons determined to rule the world. The same baby who has been calling to Cassie for help in her dreams.

Fighting the intense attraction of their former blood bond, Cassie and Orion work together to find the child. But when the heartbreak that nearly destroyed Cassie nine years before looms once more, she’ll have to decide whether getting involved in the supernatural war is worth losing everything, including her life.

318 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 5, 2021

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About the author

Katie McGarry

36 books12.8k followers
KATIE MCGARRY is an award winning and critically acclaimed novelist of the Witches of the Island series (A Wicked and Beautiful Garden), the Pushing the Limits, Thunder Road, and Only a Breath Apart series and the standalone novel, Say You’ll Remember Me. Katie is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is currently living out her own love story with her husband, three children, her affectionate dog, Rachel, and her very needy cats.

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5 stars
115 (23%)
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176 (36%)
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132 (27%)
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51 (10%)
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11 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 166 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
September 3, 2021
i have enjoyed KMs contemporary YA stories in the past, so i was excited to see what she would do with adult fantasy. and i found this to be a pretty okay effort. not amazing, but definitely not horrible. its a starting point.

the thing is this feels like a YA story, full of your typical YA tropes and with characters who are supposed to be in their late 20s but have the emotional dramatics of teenagers. great if you love that kind of thing (and i do love a dark brooding fae love interest), but because i was expecting more adult storytelling, it was a bit disappointing.

another point is the world-building. theres a lot of it. from fae to witches, angels and demons, from heaven to hell, theres a lot going on in this urban fantasy. and while i would say this book is like 80% world-building and 20% plot, i surprisingly felt like the world-building is lacking at times. its very info-dumpy and rather confusing during some moments. i think readers who enjoy complex fantasy worlds and more character driven stories wont mind this though.

so overall, not quite the story i was personally hoping for, but there are still some elements that i know will make other readers happy.

thanks to the author for providing a copy.

3 stars
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,018 reviews10.1k followers
June 2, 2021
The world building wasn’t quite solid enough for me but I am intrigued enough to continue reading more of the series. The romance was okay but might have been better if we got some background/flashbacks to the first time the MCs fell in love so I could feel more invested. It’s not a bad start to a fantasy romance series but I did expect more.


I can’t believe one of my favorite YA authors when I was a teen is writing an Adult! Fantasy! Romance! With a second chance romance!
Profile Image for Lucie V..
971 reviews1,768 followers
February 12, 2023
This book is free on Amazon today (02/12/2023). 🙂

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Xpresso Book Tour). All thoughts and opinions are my own.

✅ Pace
✅ Witches, faes, and demons (not many demons though)
✅ Main characters
✅🆗 Sexual tension / Romance
✅🆗 Secondary characters
✅🆗 Plot
✅🆗 World-building

Fairy is a glimpse of heaven and hell. It is a wicked and beautiful garden.

Cassie Strega is a nurse who specialized in baby deliveries and lives a quiet and calm life in her little town. Sure she has a little empath gift and can sometimes communicate telepathically, but besides that, she's the very definition of ordinary. Everything changes though when her fae ex-boyfriend walks back into her life with a very pregnant woman with him. Cassie believed that Orion died in the car crash that sent her to the hospital nine years ago and has been devastated since. When the world also suddenly wakes up "knowing" that witches exist and that Cassie is one of them (which would explain the gifts she has), everything goes to hell. Thankfully Orion is there to save her from burning at the stake, but he now needs her help to find a baby that is to become the next fae queen and Cassie finds herself in the middle of a war between fae and demons while trying to figure out how to use her newly discovered powers.

This book is a mix of humans, witches, faes, and demons, and I feel that we've just had a glimpse at the world that Katie McGarry built. The world-building is not bad, but I wish it was more elaborate and that we'd know more about the fae/demon war and their respective world/dimensions. The beginning pulls you right in and the pace is just fast enough to keep you hooked, but I have to say that the plot felt a little thin near the middle/end. There is action, the "quest" to find the baby progresses and the relationships between some characters develop, but I feel that overall the plot is quite simplistic (try to find baby, have a vision about baby, try to find baby some more, convince faes not to kill me, try to find baby again...). There was potential for more politics and scheming with the whole "ruthless faes that hate witches" aspect and even some dual loyalties with the demons claiming to want to free the humans from the faes.

Truth was, I longed to forget the hurt and pined to be with him. To have him touch me, kiss me, love me in such ways I would forget all that destroyed me. But what did that say about me if I allowed it?

I really like the fact that Cassie didn't instantly go back into Orion's arms just because he reappeared in her life and told her that he was still madly in love with her. He hurt her big time, even though he had "good reasons" to do it, and I would have been really disappointed if she'd just forgotten all about it because of his sexy body and intense love promises. Cassie tried her best to keep Orion away from her poor heart, but the sexual tension is quite obvious and the more they worked together to locate the baby, the more intense their interactions became.

“Heaven, hell and earth, Cassie. I will move each and every single one for you.”

I wasn’t sure if I liked Orion MacAleese or not at first. He is a strong and proud warrior Fae tasked with finding the faes' queen-to-be. He is also fiercely in love with Cassie and proved that he would do just about anything for her. While Orion has a sweet (and intense) side, he also kept a lot of secrets from Cassie, and this whole "I made the decision for the both of us because it was in your best interest and I only wanted to save you" comes from a good place, but REALLY annoys me. At 19 years old, Cassie was old enough to have a say in her life, even though we also saw that she was head over heels in love with Orion... Still, I find that it's a jerk move and I'm glad that Cassie didn't forgive him as soon as he walked back into her life.

Also, while the two main characters are developed enough and interesting, the secondary characters are really secondary to the story. We know nothing about them besides what they look like and their very basic backstory with Cassie so it was hard to get attached to them and it really felt like they were there just to add to the cast and because Cassie and Orion needed to talk to other people from time to time so the author created characters for them to interact with. They have potential though and I hope they will be more fleshed out in the next book.

The ending is not a cliffhanger and while some questions are answered, there are still many unanswered questions that will hopefully be addressed in the next book which I plan on reading when it comes out.

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Profile Image for Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥.
518 reviews316 followers
May 25, 2021
A Wicked and Beautiful Garden was an enchanting tale that will sweep you away! With magic, questions and the unknown swirling around, it made this book impossible to put down. If you’re a fan of fantasy or urban fantasy, then you’ll definitely want this one on your tbr!
Once upon a time, I had fallen in love with him, and to him, I was nothing more than a momentary distraction.

Cassie Strega was kind, caring and felt so much around her. She loved her job of delivering babies and living in her quiet, little town. So when her ex walked back into her life, everything changed. The loss of Orion had devastated Cassie years ago. Little did she know that she would need his help soon. The world was about to wake up knowing that witches exist, and Cassie was one of them. But he needed her help too. Orion, who was Fae, was searching for a baby. She was their queen who was to lead them into battle against the demons. And that same baby had been calling to Cassie. With so much at stake and up in the air, their fates were irrevocably tied together...for now.
“Take what you need from me, Cass.” His hot breath tickled my ear. “Take everything and all you need. I’m yours.”

I wasn’t sure what to think of Orion MacAleese at first. He was a warrior Fae that was tasked with finding their queen. And while he didn’t always play by the rules, it was obvious that he still cared for Cassie. Fiercely. He would do anything to protect her and he showed her time and again exactly that with his actions and words. While Orion could be thoughtful and caring, he also had kept many secrets from Cassie. And Cassie struggled with his deception and secrets, while trying to ignore the passion that was running between them.
Making the strands a rugged mess, Orion shoved a frustrated hand through his hair. “What do you want me to say?”
I slapped my palm against the table. “I want the truth!” I whisper-shouted . “I want this black hole in my brain to be gone. I want to know what happened to us!”

I loved learning about Cassie’s powers right along with her. She had always been able to read human’s emotions, but as she learned about controlling the elements I was fascinated. I also loved watching what Orion was capable of, I was jealous of his transporting skills! But with life and death situations surrounding them, and fate constantly pushing them together, it was hard to ignore all of the emotions there. Cassie tried her best to keep Orion at an arm’s length away, but as we got peaks into their past it was so obvious how wonderful they were together. As they continued to work on their common goal, to find the baby, it became harder to ignore that they belonged together. And the chemistry, lust and love that swirled around them.
“Heaven, hell and earth, Cassie. I will move each and every single one for you.”

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden will keep readers hooked from beginning to end! I’m so happy that the ending was the perfect stopping spot! We got to breathe for a moment and even got a few answers, but there are still so many unanswered questions. From how their world worked, to those around Cassie, to even her past, I can’t wait to learn it all! If you’re a fan of JLA, I think there may be a good chance you’ll enjoy this book! There were quite a few elements in this series that reminded me of a few of JLA’s series, so if you like her stories then I think you’ll like this one too! I can’t wait for that next book!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Profile Image for Shirin T. .
402 reviews40 followers
August 8, 2021
A Wicked and Beautiful Garden, Witches of the Island #1 by Katie McGarry is a romantic urban fantasy story with humans, witches, fae, and demons no falling angels.

Cassie dreaming about a child, a baby girl who hasn't been born yet, needs Cassie's help, she's a queen. Cassie should protect the queen so she can protect the king.
Orion, Cassie's Ex-boyfriend is a fae and he's supposed to protect the baby, as do the demons. But, who really cares about the unborn child and protects her??
There is a war between fae and demons, witches have an important role on both sides. So, many want them dead. In meanwhile, when the whole world is in chaos, Cassie begins to understand some secrets and learning to properly use her power, in a very short time, she should choose, which is very hard when she is so in love.

A very romantic story with suspense and fights. The story didn't finish, I like to know what will happen to them.

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and Netgalley for giving me the chance to read A Wicked and Beautiful Garden by Katie McGarry, I have given an honest review.
Pub Date: 05 May 2021
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,060 reviews127 followers
May 3, 2021
Don’t be scared of the dark. Without the dark, we can’t fully appreciate the sun. Without darkness, we would never appreciate the light.”

We all know that Katie McGarry is the queen of the whimsical contemporary novel that warms our hearts. It's something that brings us comfort. Here she delivers us something different. She dips her feet into the adult world of fantasy romance and it is magnificent.

The opening line of this novel instantly draws you in and it's hard to put down after that. With each page comes something different to suck you fully into this novel. There are twists and turns that you'll never see coming and it'll amaze you that this is her first time trying out this genre. The more I read, the more this reminded me of some of our favorite fantasy romance authors. If you love Jennifer Armentrout, then you’ll love this book!

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden is a book that you need to read instantly.McGarry introduces us to a whole new world and it is stunning. It had a second chance romance that was to die for involving Fae and Witches. This swoon-worthy novel is one you definitely need to add to your tbr. It was so damn good and you won't be disappointed.
Profile Image for AJ.
2,868 reviews930 followers
April 26, 2021
“Heaven, hell and earth, Cassie. I will move each and every single one for you.”

5+ epic stars!

I literally just finished this book, and my heart is racing, my hands are literally shaking as I type this, I’m so full of feels, adrenaline, and just… everything! OMG, what an absolutely incredible, amazing read! McGarry has written some of my all-time fave YA books, and when I first read the blurb for this one, I knew I needed it. I was right. This is McGarry’s first adult urban fantasy novel, and she has delivered something truly special with this fantastic story – full of action, suspense, heartwrenching emotion, and an epic, epic second-chance romance, I was captivated from the first page and couldn’t put this book down.

Twenty-eight year old Cassie has experienced more than her share of heartache, and she’s finally settled in a small town, delivering babies and pretty much keeping to herself. But her world shifts when her fae ex-boyfriend and first love appears out of the blue – nine years after his supposed ‘death’. And if that’s not enough, her entire life is upended when she learns that she is a witch, and she is sucked into a dangerous new reality.

Cassie knew that Orion was fae, but she didn’t realise that he was a warrior for his race. His current mission is to find a newborn baby, who is actually the fae queen - and it just happens to be the same baby that has been calling out to Cassie in her dreams. Not wanting anything to do with the man who betrayed her and shattered her heart, but determined to help the baby she is somehow bonded to, Cassie agrees to help Orion, and she soon finds herself emersed in the world of the fae (not all of whom are happy to see her back in Orion’s life), while trying to figure out her scary new powers as a witch, all while searching for the baby before it’s too late. And in the middle of all of that, she is torn between her grief and anger over Orion’s betrayal, and the still-present connection that has surged strongly back to life.

Set in the real world with fantasy and paranormal elements, McGarry has created an intriguing, well-developed and exciting world. There is a fantastic bunch of characters – some you will love and some you will hate – with wonderful dynamics, and I loved getting to know Orion’s fae buddies, Mercutio and Shaw, and the fabulous Wren. I’m hoping we get a lot more of them in future books, but this book absolutely belongs to Cassie and Orion.

Cassie is strong and brave, and completely relatable. She’s been through and overcome so much, and it’s so special watching her come back to the ‘family’ that she found as a 19 year old – now with so much more wisdom and life experience. She’s not the naïve and needy young girl she once was, and I loved watching her really come into herself as the strong and independent woman that she is. And by her side through it all is Orion, the man who shattered her heart, but the man who still loves her deeply. Their connection is palpable, and the chemistry and sexual tension between them just drips off the page. They share an emotional bond that is so beautifully written, but there is so much that they need to deal with in order to truly find their way back to each other and I was in a world of swoony feels as they do just that.

“Letting you go is the hardest thing I’ve done. I don’t know how to describe to you how you’re a part of me. How you will always be a part of me. That without you, I’m lost.”

“My walls are lowered. You won’t find regret, you won’t find pain. You’ll find a man who wants nothing more than to love you.”

But there is so much more to their reunion than just overcoming all of the lies and hurt from the past. There are consequences to their reconnection that are way out of their control, and with secrets from the past and visions of the future influencing their every move, they’ve got a lot to figure out.

“To be with you, I will do anything,” Orion continued. “To protect you, I will give my life … I will break every rule necessary to keep you by my side.”

All this while a supernatural war is brewing as humans turn against paranormals, demons fight to control the human world, and the fae fight to save the world, and the future of their race. Cassie is in the middle of it, fighting for her life, and it’s a wild journey.

This review just scrapes the surface of the story, but I don’t want to say any more because you just need to dive in and experience this one. The story twists and turns, there are secrets and surprises, and I love that I never knew what was going to happen. The action is exciting, the mystery is suspenseful, and the love story completely stole my heart. And through all of it, there is a wonderful character story as Cassie figures out her role in it all. McGarry has written this story beautifully, and the feels are intense, and kept me emotionally invested the whole way through.

I freaking love this book! It’s an incredible read that has me on an absolute high, and I can’t wait to read it again! It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it’s not too painful. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of A Stormy and Sultry Sea later this year.

5+ epic stars!

An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,683 reviews595 followers
May 6, 2021
5 Stars

Wow...I am on a roll with choosing books that captivate me...the downside of that is that I haven't been able to get any work done this week since I'm sneaking these stories during work hours! :-)

When I first started this and found out that it was an urban fantasy, I almost stopped reading it because it's out of my comfort-zone. Thank goodness that I stepped out and gave it a try because I instantly fell in love with Cassie and Orion. Cassie is a kick-ass heroine where Orion compliments her journey.

But that ending? Wowsers! I don't know how I feel about what is going to happen next. I am scared I'm going to end up disappointed with Cassie or Orion...what is going to happen next? And why isn't the next book listed so I can add it to my list? I don't want to forget and never get my answers!
Profile Image for Jennifer Sellers.
131 reviews35 followers
July 2, 2021
After reading the descriptions of this book, I was immediately excited ! (Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for the free copy!) I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series because I am hooked!!

This book had everything that makes me want to devour a book and never put it down! I simply love it when our main character has constant interaction with their love interest, while continuing to tease and delight! I don’t mean this in a needy stalker kind of way, but I like a lot of character interaction.

What I also LOVE is when the main MC is not a teenager!! Can I say this again? I LOVE WHEN THE MAIN MC IS NOT A TEENAGER!!! I’m sure this has to do (in part) with being in my 30’s but also, it makes me feel kind of gross when the MC is a teen.... like, yuck.

Back to this beauty! The premise of this book very quickly caught my attention, and honestly, never let it go. It is quite different than most books I have read lately when we have a history of intimacy with a harsh brake and LOTS of character growth during the separation. BUT, the reasons behind the separation are things we as readers can come to terms with. . . Which is all I can say without giving too much away.

If you love a good love story that has intriguing characters and loads of growth along the way, I strongly recommend “A Wicked and Beautiful Garden!”
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,349 followers
May 9, 2021

I was intrigued by this book because it's something completely new for Katie McGarry.

Some quick thoughts:

▪︎ I think if you like some of the early 2010s YA paranormal books, you're going to enjoy this one. There are fae, witches, and demons! Note that this book is an adult novel.

▪︎ The book does feel a little info-dumpy at times and this first book definitely feels like a set-up to a bigger storyline.

▪︎ I'm not entirely convinced by the romance just yet but I can see its potential. The chemistry is there but I'm excited for a little more angst and emotions in the next book.

▪︎ I liked the main character, Cassie, a lot and enjoyed reading about her navigate this new world. I look forward to her learning more about her powers and being more comfortable wielding them.

CW: slut shaming, accident (in past), parent in abusive relationship, childbirth
Profile Image for Amy .
2,710 reviews
May 5, 2021
4.5 Stars!!

“From the moment I saw you, my world changed. It’s not a euphemism. It’s as true as the sun rises in the morning and the stars shine at night. I saw you before you realized there was anything like me. The ground beneath me gave way and I fell hard…I fell fast. I knew in that moment that God had made me for you, and it was my job to love you, care for you, protect you, putting your needs before my own–even if your happiness meant my suffering.”

“Heaven, hell, and earth, Cassie. I will move each and every single one for you.”

When I first came across this book, I was like sign me up, please! I am a huge fan of Katie McGarry’s and have read almost every YA novel she’s written. So, when I heard she was releasing an adult fantasy book, I knew it was not to missed, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. A Wicked and Beautiful Garden sucked me in from the very first page and I could not wait to see how this story would play out….

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden follows the story of Cassie and Orion. All Cassie has ever wanted was to live a quiet and normal life. But, when she discovers she’s a witch, any hope of normalcy flies out the window. And if discovering your a witch wasn’t bad enough, imagine how Cassie feels when she’s reunited with her first love. Orion broke Cassie’s heart many years ago and is now back and on the same quest as Cassie. In order to find the destined queen of the Fae, Cassie and Orion must put aside their past and work together. This quest will be anything but easy. There are many risks and obstacles ahead and Cassie must decide if this is a fight she truly wants to be in….

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden is a captivating read from beginning to end. I found the storyline to be refreshing and intriguing. I was instantly hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. I loved all of the paranormal aspects of the story and the author's take on these fantastical creatures. I thought Cassie’s character was real and easy to relate to. Her emotions were palpable. I felt as though I was experiencing everything right along with Cassie. I desperately wanted to hate Orion, but I just couldn’t. He’s the most likable jerk! Sure he made mistakes and hurt Cassie, but he thought he was doing them for the right reasons. His followed his heart and never got over the pain he caused. You could tell that he truly loved and adored Cassie and would do anything to win her over. He was 100% swoon-worthy and I was excited to see if Cassie would give him another chance.

Cassie and Orion’s journey is not an easy one. It’s filled with lots of ups and downs and obstacles along the way. Their pull and chemistry was off the charts. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with and you just can’t help but root for these two to figure things out and find a way towards a happily ever after.

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden exceeded my expectations and took me on one wild ride. This book is filled with lots of action, danger, suspense, and sexy good times. There are unexpected twists that will leave you on the edge of your seat and an ending that will leave you dying for more. The stage has been set and the stakes, higher than ever and I for one will be anxiously waiting to see how it will all come together.

In the end, this book was everything I wanted and was hoping for. I fell in love with the characters and their story. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Cassie and Orion next. I’m sure it will be another wild and crazy ride and I can’t wait!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 9 books2,689 followers
April 8, 2021
Fantastic read for any fan of romance--or of Katie McGarry. Katie again delivers a riveting and winning adventure full whimsy, witchery, and suspense. With characters that jump off the page, immersive world-building, and a sexy, chemistry-filled couple, this one will have you reading late into the night. And then asking yourself--where is the next one??
Profile Image for Erry.
37 reviews1 follower
May 13, 2021
I got this book free in exchange for an honest review.

When I realised that Katie McGarry was going to write an Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance I was beyond intrigued. This quickly turned into excitement when I was informed that I would be receiving an ARC of the novel.

You see during my teen years, I read and loved McGarry's novels. Pushing the Limitswas a series that was heavily rotated in my list of books that I re-read constantly. They were some of the first books that I bought on my Kindle. While I did not love the Nowhere But Here series as much, they greatly enticed me. By the time that McGarry was publishing Say You'll Remember Me and Only a Breath Apart I was transitioning away from reading YA and so I didn't read them. Needless, to say, I was beyond excited to read McGarry's foray into Adult fiction just as I am currently trying to foray into the world of adulthood.

One of the things that I was super curious about was how McGarry would manage to write this specific genre of Adult fiction. The genre of Fantasy/Paranormal Romance is one that is saturated with explicit sex scenes. Knowing that McGarry is a Christian (a thing that she has mentioned in her acknowledgements and sprinkled through her novels) and that she mostly writes YA, I was curious to know how she would balance writing and her faith and transitioning into a more mature narrative.

The other thing that caught my eye about the novel was the mention of Cassie Strega, the main protagonist, being a midwife. Something about this particular occupation existing in a fantasy world had me thinking about Sarah Beth Durst, an author who I truly and undeniably love. With these thoughts plaguing my mind, I delved into the book and found myself completely and utterly confused.

The novel follows Cassie, a midwife, who lives her daily life helping to deliver babies. However, she is haunted by dreams of a baby that needs help. Things get absolutely crazy for Cassie when Orion, Cassie's ex who she thought was dead, appears in her life again revealing he is also looking for the baby. Soon Cassie learns that things are not as they seem and she finds herself having to trust Orion and work with him.

Every aspect of this book reeked with potential but ultimately fell flat for me. The question of McGarry's faith was in part answered by her world-building. The concept and the world-building that McGarry does sounds interesting in theory. Fairies, angels, demons, and witches existing and all fighting against each other allying themselves to God or Satan. Humanity has just become aware of the supernatural and it has caused a lot of hate and prejudice. Yet the way that McGarry establishes her world left me confused and really apathetic.

​My lack of care for the world-building was largely because I didn't feel connected to Cassie, Orion, or even any of the minor characters. As a product of this lack of connection, I truly didn't care about Orion or Cassie or their relationship. The will-they-won't-they aspect of the novel was completely lost to me because I honestly didn't care. Cassie and Orion have a magical mental connection that allows them to feel whatever the other was feeling and telepathically communicate. This mental connection is used as a means to create steamy scenes between the characters. However, because McGarry never truly takes those intimate scenes to the next level, we are often left with "fade to black" endings, for a lack of better words, and clumsy descriptions. That plus the fact that Cassie and Orion were characters that I didn't connect to, made it hard to stay invested in their relationship, a plot arc that took up most of the novel.

Another gripe I had with the novel was the pacing. The book would sometimes meander here and there before ramping up and then becoming exciting before they go back to doing little. Additionally, the book only picks up at the climax, and I wonder if this was an element of McGarry finding a way to introduce the world and characters. The last issue I had with the novel was the aspect of "slut-shaming" that the character Calypso faces. Calypso is one of the characters who is described as being very sexual, yet she is a character who Cassie immediately butts her head and who is jealous of Cassie.

Overall reading A Wicked and Beautiful Garden reminded me a lot of reading Twilight. However, not the good parts of Twilight that made me love it so much as a teenager, but the parts that made me criticise it as an adult. With this in mind, I a curious to know if I would have liked it better in my teen years.

Overall, I wish Katie McGarry luck as she forays into a new world of writing and hopes that she can smooth out the things that fans of her work found challenging about her novel.
Profile Image for Jessica *The Lovely Books*.
1,219 reviews619 followers
April 28, 2021
McGarry can do no wrong. I repeat. McGarry can do no wrong! I am in love with this new take on the Fae. The story was one that I was engrossed in from start to finish because the plot, the characters, and the writing was both beautiful and rich. It was also romantic as all her out!

“From the moment I saw you, my world changed. It’s not a euphemism. It’s as true as the sun that rises in the morning and the stars that shine at night.“

This is a second chance romance between Cassie and Orion. The two were deeply in love but when tragedy happened. Now a decade later, Orion is back in Cass’s life. The two must race against time to find a baby. Not just any baby either. But the next Fae Queen.

Of course it’s not going to be easy. Especially with everyone against the idea of the two soulmates being together. That’s part of the fun though! The fact that it’s wrong is certain people’s eyes, makes it that much more delicious. Orion is your next book husband...he’s just that good!

“There was a tingling in my blood with that long look. The type of tingling that made me feel as if Orion were thirsty, and I was the last drop of water in the middle of the desert. The type of long look that reminded me how marvelous it was to be that drink and how I had never felt that way with another man in my life.“

I want (need!) the next book. The way the story ended, I just know so many juicy things are about to happen. I can’t wait to see how things unfold!

*Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Ana LibrariAna.
402 reviews5 followers
April 30, 2021
Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I am a fan of Katie McGarry’s books and was thrilled when I have received an arc of her new book. This was different than any of her other books. All of Katie’s books I have read before are contemporary and aimed mostly at young adult readers. So, when I saw that this book was adult fantasy, I was even more excited because I love fantasy books. It is very courageous when authors step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Not only did she write a different genre, but for a different audience as well.

This book follows Cassie, a midwife/nurse practitioner, who is haunted, actually compelled, by dreams of a baby that needs her help. When Orion, her ex (whom she thought was dead, suddenly appears it seems he is looking for the baby as well. She is hesitant to work with him due to everything that has aspired between them. Did he fake his own death? Was their love even real for him? When her world crashes and everyone is going after her, she has no choice but to work with him. Their attraction is strong, but is that enough? Will she be swept by him so much , that she will forget herself?

“Don’t be scared of the dark, Cassie. Without the dark, we can’t fully appreciate the sun. Without darkness, we would never appreciate the light.”

The concept of the book is very interesting. Fae, angels, demons, God, Satan, witches all present in our realm and we are beginning to be aware of it. I have a feeling we will learn even more about the setting in the sequels.

What I love about Katie’s books is that she really makes me feel. She excels in romance. Katie makes me connect to the characters and makes me feel for them and everything that is happening to them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with this book. I just did not form a connection with the characters and did not really feel the connection between them either. Orion, the Fae warrior sounds awesome and I would usually swoon all over him, but in this book, it just didn’t happen. I also did not feel the connection between the main characters. Their desire was obvious, and so was their connection- but for me, it seemed forced, not real. Just on paper, so to speak. The romance had its moments, but it just didn’t work for me. Here is a book with this big romance, big love, and passion, and I did not feel a thing. It all boiled down to desire and as much as I am usually all game for that, it just seemed too repetitive and bland. The character that spiked my interest the most is Mercutio and he only appeared in the last few chapters of the book.

The ending made me very curious about what will happen next and I have a feeling that the sequels will be much more to my liking. I sense shifts in the making and will definitely be on the lookout for the sequel that is coming on in October.

Profile Image for Naomi.
556 reviews23 followers
May 1, 2021
I'm not going to lie, if I had known this was not a standalone book and ended on a cliffhanger, I wouldn't have read it. The book was good, solid storyline, interesting characters but it ends on a cliffhanger with the couple separated and not fully together. I think this is important to mention.

I've read a few of Katie McGarry's YA books and loved them so I was really excited about reading her first adult book. As I've said, the premise is really interesting and I really enjoyed the romance up until a certain point. This felt more like a YA book with 30 year old characters. Nothing really happens between Cassie and Orion. It felt a bit anti-climatic. And I now realize it's probably because this is going to be a trilogy or duology. I wouldn't have minded if they actually were together by the end but it's not the case here. I also have a terrible feeling that there might be a love triangle in the future, and I really hope I'm wrong about it.

All in all, I enjoyed the story, I think it's another great take on the fae, witches and demons, but I was really disappointed by the ending and the romance felt more like a YA book than an adult. I will read the second book because I'm curious about what's coming next and I really want some closure for Cassie and Orion.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Galy.
642 reviews36 followers
May 23, 2021
I received this ARC from the author cause I'm part of her Review Team in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! All opinions are my own.

I'm part of the review team for the books of Katie McGarry and I can't tell you how excited I am! I've read part of her Pushing the Limits series and I have just one more book to read in the Thunder Road trilogy! I love her books so when I saw the opportunity I had to sign up!

Cassie was used to her life as a midwife and nurse practitioner in a small town. But when Orion, her Fae boyfriend from almost ten years ago whom she thought was dead, appeared out of nowhere everything started to change. He was looking for a very important baby and he needed her help cause Cassie had been dreaming about this baby. So the two of them started working together to find the baby while Cassie tried to ignore her feelings for Orion cause he already left once before and she couldn't get through that heartache again.

This is the first book in a new series and what an ending! I need to read the next one now! It was a fast read and I enjoyed every bit of it. Full of magic, creatures, romance, friendships and mystery. The story quickly caught my interest. I was really intrigued in what happened in Cassie's past and Orion's too. The tension between them was great. Cassie and Orion's flashbacks were intense and it was such a good way to see how in love they were at nineteen and how broken they are in the present.

The magic in this book was fantastic. I hope we get to see more of it in the next books in the series. The grimoire was an interest detail to the story. And I love when there are different creatures in fantasy books, it's so much fun to read about them.

The characters that I loved the most were Cassie's grandmother and how she helped her while growing up, Orion, of course, because you could see how much he cared about Cassie, Mercutio, who was such an amazing friend! And Wren cause even though she was guarded she helped Cassie a lot. And of course, Cassie, who was stronger than she thought.

The next book comes out in October and I can't wait to read it cause this story had a plot twist I didn't see coming and I look forward knowing more about it!
Profile Image for Oana D. L..
456 reviews74 followers
July 4, 2021
When it comes to this kind of stories i'm always happy and excited to read them ASAP,but this time it took me a few days until i finally got the chance to finish reading it and understand what it happened.
Confused?A little.
This wasn't the typical story about Fae and witches.It was a little more ...complicated,but the love story?Well,i approve.
The whole story was complicated from the beginning until the end,a rollercoaster of emotional moments and a little crazy,but it was good.I hated some characters,i loved the others.
It was interesting how the story evolved and how things started to change step by step.
But,despite everything i wrote above,i couldn't give it more then 3 stars.I love reading about witches,fae and demons.I love the complicated mess that usually happens when those three are involved,but this time it was exactly how i expected it to be and i wished it was a little better.
Action?Yes.Good love story?Absolutely.Amazing characters?Oh yeah.Overall?It was okay,i liked it and i want to read the next book.
Profile Image for Stephanie James.
3 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2021
Girl who doesn’t know she is a witch. Hot broody Fae love interest. End of the world. Cute!
Profile Image for Dee/ bookworm.
1,345 reviews4 followers
October 26, 2021
STEAMY. Really good story, sometimes confusing but I really like the main character, she seems genuine. I really like the other witch in the story. She is real and herself and doesn't apologize for that. Some of the scenarios seem far fetched (even inside a novel). I am excited to see what happens in the next book.
Profile Image for Kimmm.
430 reviews
February 12, 2022
A wicked and Beautiful Garden is about twenty-eight-year-old Cassie. She is a midwife in a small town, her life is finally peaceful maybe a bit boring but she is content. Of course, it all gets ruined when her Ex-boyfriend, who broke her heart and also happens to be a sultry Fae warrior comes back into her life. Cassie gets pulled down into his world, she suddenly is fighting the intense attraction, discovering her new powers, trying to find a baby, discovering secrets, and just trying to survive.

I love Katie McGarry, I will read whatever she writes. She is one of the reasons why I love romance books so damm much. When I saw she was writing her first, fantasy, adult book I was all on board. The characters were interesting to read about, seeing pieces of their history and how they are now. Their open wounds and all that good stuff, was really good. The concept is really cool, and had me hooked from the very beginning. I have to admit that you can clearly see that this is her first fantasy novel. The world building isn't that great developed, the pacing is sometimes a bit off, I was confused a few times and had to read back to figure stuff out. But our main character is also still figuring stuff out for herself so it’s always fun to learn with her. The flashbacks help allot. She did amaze with moving on from YA, the characters are mature and I didn't get a teenage vibe which is really great.

I had so much fun reading this, a few issues here and there but overall, I’m so excited to read what is in store for the next book because I have a feeling stuff is gonna change xD.

Rating: 4,0 / 4,5 can't decide yet.

PS. I just found out there is a third book coming and I thought it was a finished series.... shit, I hate waiting for a series to finish 0,o
Profile Image for diana.
827 reviews117 followers
April 27, 2021
Review originally posted on My Bookish Escapades.

I don't know what to say. I was too busy SWOONING to really pay attention to anything else. Lol. But seriously, Katie McGarry's foray into adult fantasy romance? Book goddesses freakin' blessing to mankind.

I've read my fair share of paranormal fantasy books and I can honestly say A Wicked and Beautiful Garden is now one of my favorites. (A re-read is definitely in the future!) The writing is amazing and the plot is addictively unique. I was fascinated with Fairy and honestly wanted to see more of it. I love the turns the story took and how it never went the way I expected. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of this world. There is so much more to uncover. And I want more!

McGarry gave the fae/witches/demons combination her own unique twist and she balanced it so well with the romance. I don't think I say it enough but second-chance romance is the second best trope next to enemies-to-lovers. (I will fight you on this. Lol)

I read this in one sitting and I just want the sequel to magically appear in my Kindle so I could have more Orion and Cassie. And Mercutio. (I think he's my favorite.) I'm also very much invested in the Tierney/Shaw ship. Oh and that ending? Gave me some Supernatural baby-Jack era vibes and I LOVED it!

“Every game has a story,” her grandmother continued. “A beginning, middle, and end. The game of life isn’t an exception."

"You won’t find regret, you won’t find pain. You’ll find a man who wants nothing more than to love you.”

I received an ARC to read and review. Quoted excerpt/s may change in the final print.
Profile Image for Taylor Fenner.
Author 12 books108 followers
May 5, 2021
OMG!! Loved this book so much and can’t wait for book 2!

I've always found Katie McGarry's YA contemporary romance books bingeable and her fantasy debut does not disappoint.

I immediately liked Cassie. She's a strong, smart character who is so good at helping others. I was able to really connect with the character because I was raised by my grandmother and she passed away last year, so I could kind of understand why it was hard to talk about her grandmother, even if the other characters didn't understand.

Then there is Orion. *Swoon* Seriously, this guy oozes sex appeal and the tension between the two throughout the book was palpable. Their relationship is the ultimate slow-burn dance, the I-shouldn't-want-you-but-I-do trope.

9 years ago, Cassie was in an "accident" and believed Orion died in that accident now he's back and very much alive. But Cassie isn't that lovesick puppy she was at 19 and she isn't about to just fall at Orion's feet. Orion is searching for a baby, the future Queen of the Fae that will tip the scale of the battle between Fae and Demons forever - and he believes Cassie can help him find the baby.

Cassie has been dreaming about a baby for a while now. The child needs help and is reaching out to her. And when the world wakes up and realizes witches are real (and that Cassie is one) and a new, dark wave of witch hunts become the norm Cassie has no choice but to go with Orion.

As Cassie and Orion search for the baby, twists and turns linger right around the corner drawing you deeper and deeper into the story. I read this book in 3 days and couldn't put it down.

This book is perfect for urban fantasy/fantasy-crossover readers. It keeps you guessing what is going to happen next and just when you think you know, something else happens to throw you off and the ending leaves you dying for the next book.
Profile Image for Renae.
498 reviews17 followers
May 20, 2021
When I first heard about this book I was both excited and nervous. Nervous because even though I have always loved Katie’s YA books, writing a good Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance is hard. But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at not only how good this was but how much I enjoyed it!

I absolutely loved Cassie from the get go, her internal thoughts were so funny. I love strong, sassy heroines. I loved that she was kind hearted person but had real backbone when standing up for herself and others.

Orion, what can I say, I wasn’t too sure about him to start with mainly because of what happened between him and Cassie, and how badly he left things between them but he really redeemed himself.

His utter determination to win her back was something else. And the fact that even though he wanted her back so badly, he was willing to walk away from her if that was what she truly wanted, was so refreshing to see in a character/story like this. Orion has my heart 😍

I don’t want to give away too much about the story as I feel you need to experience everything first hand but expect to be amazed.

If you love Fae, witches, demons, a sizzling second chance romance and an epic save the world story line then definitely check this book out!

I cannot wait for the next book!

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.
Profile Image for Alicia.
343 reviews14 followers
April 27, 2021
When I found out that Ms. McGarry was writing an adult novel I was super excited. I’ve loved each of her YA novels to date. But to find out that this novel has a paranormal twist to it, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

I haven’t read a paranormal/supernatural book in many years. I’ve devoured many in my “reading career” but I haven’t been back in a long while. I really cannot say why I haven’t read one in so long, but I have Ms. McGarry to thank for bringing me back to this genre.

Cassie and Orion’s story is one of heartache and turmoil. Two people whose love is immense, but I’ll-fated, at least in some people’s eyes. They’ve been separated for many years and are brought back together for a single purpose: to find the baby.

This story is just so beautiful. There is action, angst, humour, and there were more than one scene that brought tears streaming down my face. The devotion and love between Cassie and Orion just jump off the page and deep into your being. Not going to lie, I was angry with Orion at first (you’ll read why), but he is just truly a perfect Hero to Cassie’s Heroine.

I cannot wait to read the next book and find out what else happens to these two.
Profile Image for Deanna (A Novel Glimpse).
3,302 reviews36 followers
July 26, 2021
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

I don't normally reach for fantasies, but when I heard Katie McGarry was releasing one I knew I had to read it. I've loved everything she has written and I expected no different from A Wicked and Beautiful Garden. I have to admit that it took me a bit to get into this tale and that at times the fantasy stuff overwhelmed me. There's some info dumping and world building that needs to occur and that stuff always slows me down. Once I got more into that stuff, I was locked into finding out about Cassie, Orion, and the baby. I really liked Cassie. Orion wasn't my favorite at the start, but he redeemed himself for the most part. I'm still not sure about their relationship, but they had some great chemistry. I guess I just need more time to believe in their romance. As for the baby...Well, that's the big mystery. I liked how the mystery of the baby was involved in Cassie finding out more about herself. I am curious to find out where the story goes from here. 
Profile Image for thesebooksiread.
374 reviews25 followers
May 5, 2021
Wow. Wowza. I literally just finished the book and I’m just sitting here like what did I just read?! It blew me away. I couldn’t stop reading and each page had me hooked until the very end.

This story was so unique yet had familiar elements so it didn’t need chapters after chapters of world building. The uniqueness was in the way the paranormal world was built and woven into earth. The way she explains the world and all it’s elements is easy to understand and remember. It wasn’t confusing and I was able to follow along perfectly.

The characters were also outstanding and I loved every single character we read (even the baddies)! Cassie is a strong survivor and I loved seeing her strength even when she didn’t. She was no nonsense with was awesome and I loved her thought process and how she found her truth. Orion, what can I say? I love him. He’s wonderful. I won’t say more because I want you to experience him as I did. Wren, Shaw and Mercurio were AWESOME. I can’t wait to get more of them as well! Amazing group of characters.

This story was mysterious and intriguing and such a page turner! I cannot wait for the next book! This book was absolutely amazing and I loved it sooo hard.
Profile Image for Nextbookaroundthecorner.
871 reviews8 followers
September 18, 2022
It had been a few years since I read my latest book from Katie. Long Way Home was already seven years ago. Yikes! Needless to say: I was happy to receive the arc for A Wicked and Beautiful Garden.

The big difference with the other books I’ve read so far from Katie, is that this one is a fantasy, whereas the rest is YA. Fortunately, Katie can create the same gut wrenching, tear-your-heart-out tension between her main characters, regardless the story.

So, same as her earlier books, Katie left me confused, heartbroken and full of questions: how will this end for Cassie and Orion? What will happen to the baby? Will Cassie learn to use her witch powers?

I can’t wait to find out in the next part of the series! Four out of five stars from me and a special thank you to Netgalley for providing the arc.
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