Review: The Near Witch

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Book: The Near Witch
Author: 
V.E. Schwab

Blurb:

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

My Review:

My first encounter with V.E. Schwab’s work was her Shades of Magic series, and I immediately fell in love. So when I heard that her out-of-print debut was around the corner, I didn’t hesitate to hit that pre-order button. I knew I was in for a treat and I was not disappointed!

As the blurb says, this story is part fairy tale and part love story. The narrative centers around a young woman who lives in a small town, trapped by the expectations of the men around her, but aching to follow in her late father’s footsteps. She’s wise beyond her years, and living in that special point of adolescence/young adulthood where she hovers between relating to children and wanting to be an adult, taken seriously by her seniors. Add to that that the men in her life are dismissive of her ideas on the basis of her needing to stay in her place as a girl, and that makes for a great heroine with a righteous rebellious streak. Lexi doesn’t care what rules she has to break if it means saving the people she cares about.

The world of this book is one I didn’t want to leave. Its mythos, while simple, was so well-developed and immersive that it felt like it could be real. My favorite kind of fantasy is the kind that feels like it could be happening in real life, and fairy tales that manage to spin magic with a touch of realism are my kryptonite. It made me wish the story was longer, if only so I could spend more time in that world.

I think my favorite part of the story, however, was how the character that should have been the prince in shining armor was more of a damsel in distress. Lexi was very much in command, and though she had many forces acting against her, she never really needed saving, or felt helpless, and was fully capable of kicking ass and doing what needed doing. Cole, on the other hand, while valiant and brave, played more of the role of the person that needed saving. This story had the familiarity of a fairy tale, but has a unique spin to it I wasn’t expecting.

All in all, if you’re a fan of fairy tales (think Holly Black’s work), then this should definitely be your next read!

Rating: 5/5


Like my review? Leave a comment with a book/movie/show you think I’d love!

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Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

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A wild review appears!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done reviews of any kind on here, so I want to get back to it. I’ve been really good about my reading goals for the year so far (shooting for at least 52), and I’m excited about how much reading I’ve been getting done, so I want to share that excitement with you guys while simultaneously attempting to revive this blog. Maybe after I get into a regular rhythm, I’ll open up to submissions so I can get more indie writers in my life.


Book: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Blurb:

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.

My Review:

This was an odd book. I picked it up because I recently read Smoke & Summons and absolutely loved it! So I wanted something by the same author to hold me over while I wait for Myths & Mortals. That brought me to this one.

To be honest, it was a little slow and underwhelming for me, maybe because I loved Smoke & Summons so much. A lot happened around the main character, Maire, but it never felt like she was the one driving the story. I’m sure that was intentional, since she spends most of the story as a slave and it’s more of an introspective piece that examines her past. Still, based on the blurb I’d expected something with more action, and I was a bit disappointed at having figured out exactly what the secret was long before Maire did.

The world is pretty cool, though, and while the characters didn’t keep my attention I was curious about how the world worked.

In the end, I still enjoyed it, and would recommend it to people who like a lighter read with good world-building.

Rating: 3/5


I’ll be trying to post these at least once a week, so keep an eye out for them!

As always, think happy thoughts!

Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology

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Ambrosia-ebookTitle: Ambrosia
Genre: Poetry
Synopsis:

*Delight in the nectar of the gods. Feed your mind with Ambrosia*

Whispers to the gods are like honey from a poet’s lips. When several poets raise their voices together, it’s a sacred feast of memories and dreams. Poetry is divine food for the soul, full of emotional and celestial feeling. Join us in our longing, our pain and passion, heartache, logic and insanity, fear, faith, confusion, hope, unity, solitude, daily life, political strife, and more. 

From the creative minds of Eric Keizer, A.L. Mabry, Sam DeLoach, Alyssa Trivett, Mello Sakia, Stacy Overby, Phillip Matthew Roberts, Veronica Falletta and Stephanie Ayers. 

The Poets of this project have partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and all royalties will be donated to this charity.

My Review:

I’ll preface this the way I preface all my poetry reviews: I’ve never been a huge fan of poetry. It’s not really something I read for fun. That being said, this is yet another poetry collection I’ll find myself coming back to now and again.

From the first poem, to the last, you can feel the raw emotion behind each and every piece. Rather than present one large picture, like the last poetry collection I read, this one presents an array of beauty, longing, pain, and every other emotion you could think of. Not every poem deals with vast emotion – many focus on quieter moments, small snippets of a life not difficult to imagine. I found myself settling into these poems the way I settle into a favorite novel. Like a warm blanket at the end of a long day, if that makes sense.

It’s not only the emotion behind the words that make this a great read, either. The technical aspects contribute just as much to the experience. Many of the poets play with format in a way that increases the enjoyment of the work. Some of the poems I had to read out loud, as they were lyrical and begged to be actually heard.

Like I said, this is one I’ll be coming back to every few months. If you like poetry, don’t miss out on this great collection! Not to mention, proceeds are going to a great cause.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Still processing Cursed Child feelings…

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Image from pottermore.com

Hello!

So I meant to get a post up yesterday but things got busy and then when I finally had some free time/motivation, my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally decided to show up. Of course I dropped everything. I have so many feelings. Too many to really put in words but I’m going to try.

I guess here’s my review/recap/thoughts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Fair warning, I can’t really fully process/review this without spoilers, so SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

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On Ghostbusters

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Image courtesy of geek.com

Every once in a while I watch a movie or show that I can’t help but comment on. This is one of those times.

So I managed to convince my boyfriend to go see Ghostbusters. He wasn’t too keen on it but went anyway. Personally, I didn’t have very high hopes for it, but I’m not about to not fund a lady-led film with potential, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I tend to reserve judgment on movies until I’ve seen them myself so this was no different.

Maybe it was my low expectations, but I really, really enjoyed it! It was funny – seriously funny – without being vulgar or stupid. It seems to me that most comedy nowadays (unless targeted at children) is one or the other. This was just good, family humor. In the interest of preventing spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail. I will say this, though: Chris Hemsworth really needs to explore his comedic potential more in the future.

As far as the main cast goes, They were awesome. There was nothing particularly groundbreaking about the movie’s feminism, and I think that’s the best part. All the female characters were just doing their jobs and at no point did it seem preachy or anything. I’d say it was a pretty well-done gender bent reboot. The only problem I had with the female characters had less to do with gender and more with race. The one black character is the only non-scientist, and while that’s a nod to the original, it’s an overdone trope I can do without. That being said, she wasn’t stupid and wasn’t only street smart, so I’ll give the writing that.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie and kind of hope they use it as a jumping point for more films like it (lady-led and hopefully going away from the usual tropes). As far as action comedies go, this one gets the job done.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Book Review: Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) by Jen Wylie

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Broken Aro Cover

Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) By Jen Wylie

Happy Wednesday!

I know – it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these. However, I’m super excited to tell you guys about Broken Aro!

A while back, I signed up as a reviewer on Our Write Side (if you’re interested in reviewing books, check out the application here), and the first book I chose to review is Broken Aro (The Broken Ones #1) by Jen Wylie. I was a bit iffy at first – I don’t usually read high-fantasy type books, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised the further I got into it.

But, before I get into the review, here’s a synopsis (keeping it spoiler free as possible!).

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Lucifer Pilot – A review, I guess?

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Image found on screenrant.com

So I didn’t know this show was starting until a few weeks ago. I know nothing of the source material other than what a quick Google search reveals: the character was created by Neil Gaiman for The Sandman comics and then got his own spin-off series, Lucifer. Both comics were published by DC, so this is my second foray into a DC-comic inspired TV show (Gotham being foray #1).

Can I just say I was in love by the ten minute mark? If you’ve read anything under my Secondhand Soul tag, you know I’m a sucker for redeemable demons. I’ve also always been a fan of the idea that Luci’s just doing his job – that he does what he’s supposed to because that’s just how things are. Which seems to be the case in this new show.

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