Review: The price guide to the occult by Leslye Walton

Title: The price guide to the occult

Author: Leslye Walton

Genre: YA paranormal fiction

Publisher: Walker Books Australia

Publication date: 1 March 2019

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Walker Books Australia:

From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting tale of magic and murder. When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Instead, guilt and fear led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona invoked the privileges of a witch; she cursed them. But such a spell always comes with a terrible price, and in punishing the island’s residents, Rona also bound her family ever tighter to them. Fast-forward to the present day and all Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. And she has reason to hope that she may have escaped the thorny side-effects of the family matriach’s curse. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. The author – Nor’s own mother – seems capable of performing magic that should be far beyond her capabilities. And such magic always requires a sacrifice. A storm is coming. It’s coming for Nor.


*Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*Review2

Just reading the blurb of the book made this seem like it was right up my alley! A dark paranormal with Witches, the promise of trouble and magic that comes with a price?? Yes please!! For the most part the blurb did deliver! I liked learning about the history of the town and Nor’s family and all the past witches. I liked that the atmosphere seemed darker. This one would be a great Halloween read if you ask me! However, as I don’t normally do much more research into a book other than reading the blurb, I was a bit surprised at just how dark some of the scenes and content were!

Luckily for me I have not had issues with self-harm, so I was able to read the entirety of the book no problem. However, for those who consider self-harm or the mention of self-harm a trigger than please do your research on this one before deciding if it’s for you or not. As it is not an issue I have had myself I also can not really comment if the author depicted this well or not. For me it seemed a bit odd at times as in it didn’t add a whole lot to the story but other times, I felt it gave more depth to nor as a character as we got more insight into her feelings at those moments.

I thought the pacing was very up and down. As in I always wanted to keep reading even though for the most part it felt very slow and a lot of build up to the final few chapters. Having said that though I overall mostly enjoyed it and those final few chapters had me on the edge of my seat! I also loved that the ending lead to the possibility of a sequel. I am unsure if this is actually happening or not. But I kind of hope it is as the way it left off seems like the sequel would be very high stakes and fast paced which would be awesome!

In conclusion, I enjoyed this one for the most part. The paranormal aspects and the darker mood were great. However, there were some issues with pacing and the way some things were represented. Overall if this sounds like something you are normally into, I would definitely recommend giving it a go and that is why I am rating it 3/5 stars. Let's Chat!Have you guys read this one? What are some of your favourite darker witch reads? Until next time happy watching and reading! 

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Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

41577908Title: Enchantée 

Author: Gita Trelease

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Publication date: 26 February 2019

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Pan Macmillan Australia:

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . .

When smallpox kills her parents, seventeen-year-old Camille is left to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .

Enchantée is a compelling historical fantasy and is Gita Trelease’s debut novel.


*Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*Review2

I don’t tend to read or enjoy historical fiction very often. This is normally because I find the plots tend to be very slow and a bit of historical information overload. And I also find that authours tend to focus a lot on the positives of a time period while glossing over or not mentioning the negatives of that time. Having said this I believe Trelease has managed to write a story with Enchantée that runs into none of these problems. Overall I really enjoyed this read. 

For me, the fact that this story is an historical fantasy and not just a historical read, allowed for a more multifaceted and fast-paced plot. The magic system is more subtle than many found in the YA fantasy genre. However, it seems to fit so perfectly with the setting and time era. And the way Trelease describes the use and weaving of the magic is just superb. Essentially the magic system is just the magic of illusions, making one thing appear as another or in another way. However, the idea that one needs sorrow to make this magic work, I found unique and allowed the book to have a slightly darker tone. As we all know magic always comes with a price! 

I also think Trelease did a fantastic job of describing the state of Paris in 1789. The way she described and brought Versailles alive made me wish to travel to Paris right away. She managed to give the palace such a whimsical quality while still mentioning the filth and not so royal behaviours. Trelease also did not shy away from describing the darker, negative events and aspects of Paris at this time. The poverty, the civil unrest, the class issues and the beginnings of the revolution. These were all things that made the story seem more real despite being a work of fiction. 

The highlight of this book for me though was the characters. Trelease brought each different character to life so well that despite having issues remembering all the French names and noble titles I could easily distinguish between their personalities and traits. I also love the variety of characters from heroes to villains, nobles to the poor. This book has it all with a strong female heroine, a passionate romance without excessive physical contact, female friendships, scheming villains and monstrous human beings. 

Despite enjoying almost everything about this book I did find the relationship between the main character and her sister to be underdeveloped and at times annoying. I also struggled with the bits of French included. There is a glossary in the back of the book. However, I did not realise this until I was about 3 quarters through. Meaning until then I had to guess at the meaning of what was being said in French. Therefore, I am giving this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend to any lover of YA, fantasy or historical fiction. Let's Chat!Do you read a lot of historical fiction? What is your favourite time period to read about? Do you like reading about magic systems alongside true historical events? Let’s chat in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading! 

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Review: Sun Warrior by P. C. Cast

35890206Title: Sun Warrior: Tales of a New World 2

Author: P. C. Cast

Genre: YA fantasy

Publisher: Pan Australia

Publication date: 31/10/17

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Pan Australia: 

The second novel in the epic ‘Tales of a New World’ series by New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast. 

The battle lines have been drawn.

Once from rival clans, Mari, an Earth Walker, and Nik, a Companion, now find themselves fighting to save each other and their people from destruction.

Thaddeus has betrayed his own people, killing Nik’s father and destroying their entire clan. But he wants more. He wants the power he believes Mari has stolen from him and his people, and he will do anything to get it back, even if it means destroying everything in his path. There is only one way to stop Thaddeus, and it means a harrowing journey for Mari and Nik into the heart of darkness.

“P.C. Cast builds an engaging world and cleverly smudges the line between fantasy and speculative fiction . . . the world and the slowly rising tension of the story are spooky, compelling and fun.” Good Reading


Thank you to Pan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Review2

If you missed my review of the first book in this series Moon Chosen you can find it here. During my read of this second book, I had some similar thoughts to the first book. I again think the cover and the sketches at the start of each chapter are absolutely stunning and give a little something extra to the reading experience. I also still believe that the story should be aimed towards an older audience at least new adults and not the YA audience. This is because there are many themes such as rape, murder, violence and racism that may not be processed or interpreted in an ok manner by people of a younger mindset.

Having said that I do believe that some of the messages that P. C. Cast appears to be trying to get across in this story are good for people of any age. Including that women are strong and capable and great leaders just like men. And more importantly that no matter someone’s culture, upbringing and skin colour we are all human beings capable of great things.

I found this second instalment more enjoyable than the first. Because we know about the world and magik systems there was less to learn. But still enough to learn to keep things interesting.  Also without spoiling anything, this book is much more fast-paced than the first, given where the first book ended and the plotlines that ending opened up. I also really enjoyed getting to know some of the lesser known characters in this book! Danita, as well as the Lynx Bast and her companion, were some of my favourites! I also loved the action-packed ending of this book and am excited to see which direction the story will go in the final instalment of this series.

The only thing that I really didn’t like when reading this was that the magic system in regards to the animal companions seemed to drastically change in this book and although it made sense sometimes other times it didn’t. However, this didn’t drastically affect my reading experience and certain things may make more sense in the next book. At least I hope they do!

In conclusion, I again loved the set up of the book and the fast-paced but still character driven nature of the story. I thought some of the themes were a little mature but overall love what P. C. Cast is trying to express. Therefore, I am rating this book 4 out of five stars! Let's Chat!Would you rather be magically linked with a dog, lynx or horse? Have you read this series what did you think? Let’s chat below! Happy watching and reading! 

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Review: Moon Chosen by P. C. Cast

32184253Title: Moon Chosen: Tales of a New World 1

Author: P. C. Cast

Genre: YA fantasy

Publisher: Pan Australia

Publication date: 25/10/16

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Pan Australia: 

New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast brings us a new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed. A world filled with beauty and danger and cruelty…

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival clan, strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before.

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik.


Thank you to Pan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Review2

I think for this review I will start with the things I loved and then move onto the things that were OK or that I am not so sure about.

I absolutely love this cover! It gives such a magical/ mystical vibe and uses all of my favourite cool tone colours! However, you would be forgiven for thinking this book had anything to do with werewolf’s! This is what I expected going in and it was not the case! That is in fact a German Shepard on the cover, not a wolf. Similarly, to do with the composition of the book, I loved the full-page sketches at the start of each chapter. These gave a little something extra to the story and linked in with the main character being an artist/ having a love for drawing.

I really love the concept of this world and the “magic” system and just the overall idea. It is very unique, and I haven’t personally read anything similar. The story is set in the future many years after a apocalyptic event. From what I can work out, the earth was scorched because humans were too interested in technology and stopped caring for and paying attention to the earth and nature. After these events those who survived went different ways and eventually turned into the groups we read about in the story.

The main groups the story revolves around are the Earth walkers who rely on the moon for healing and other magical gifts. The Tree tribe or Companions which have the power of the sun, and this is where the Shepard’s come in as this tribe has magical links with dogs. And lastly the Skin Stealers, those who stayed in the city after the destruction of earth and suffer from a pretty bad skin condition haha. We also hear mention of cat people and wind riders/ horse people which I believe we will hear more about in books two and three.

I really like how each group and magical aspect was introduced. There was a lot of information and although it felt a little overwhelming at times it didn’t feel info dumpy. everything was very descriptive, and I could easily picture what was going on in my head. P C Cast also seemed to try to address/ include some pretty serious issues and themes. Which I personally thought gave the story more meaning.

Now this book is advertised and a YA series however I think that it is more of an NA series. As most of the main characters are 18 years of age or older with only a few younger side characters. This along with the themes that include: depression, suicide, rape, racism and violence. Make for a more mature story in my opinion. If any of these topics are triggers for you I would suggest thinking carefully before picking this book up as some of them are very prevalent throughout the whole story.

Although I loved the uniqueness of this story and it wasn’t info dumpy, it was fairly slow or a slow burn/build. This story likely could have been 50 to 100 pages shorter. For the first 350 pages or so nothing really action packed occurs. There are some little incidences where things occur, and you think it might ramp up but then the story moves along again. This story is very character driven. This didn’t bother me too much as it felt like I was still learning and uncovering interesting things about the world. But it is different to what I am used to and was a struggle at times. Don’t worry though the last part of the book really amps up and builds to some interesting plot twists/ occurrences which I think will take the next book in a more fast paced direction.

The only other thing I was unsure about is the way Cast tackles the idea of racism in this book. Personally, I think she was trying to represent how people are not born racist they are raised and taught those ways by others. And how it is important not to judge people by the colour of their skin/ culture especially when you do not have the whole story. However, I can see that some things such as the MC darkening her skin with clay to fit in could been taken in a bad way.

In conclusion, I found this world and concept for the story very interesting and unique. I loved learning about the different groups of people and the “magic’ system. And despite this book not being very action packed and pretty slow for the most part. I did enjoy it and am excited to see where in goes next! Which is why I rated this story a solid 3 stars! Let's Chat!

Have you read this book or series? Did you enjoy it or not? Have you read anything else by P C Cast and did you enjoy her writing? As always happy watching and reading! 

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Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night

34775591Title: Crowns of Croswald

Author: D. E. Night

Genre: MG/YA fantasy

Publisher: Stories Untold

Publication date: July 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.Review2

I was provided with a copy of The Crowns of Croswald from the publisher (Stories Untold) and authour D. E. Night in exchange for my honest review.

This book comes across as middle grade to very early YA literature. I do not normally delve into middle-grade books and I think this sometimes made it harder for me to read/ get into especially to start with. However, the premises of this story and the very Harry Potter-ish vibes that I got from the get go was enough to intrigue me.

First off, I want to take a moment to talk about this book visually. I am in love with the cover of this book. Now as some as you regular lovelies may know I have an obsession with the Fae and fairy’s, so I could be biased! But just look at it, so cute and pretty and magical! The inside of the book also has cute chapter header art that looks like little hand sketch drawings. The book also included some mix media presentation in the form of some letters etc. I think all of this really makes the reading process just a little more special and interesting.

The story has a very magical feel from the get go with a whole new world and magic system being presented. With this comes many new names of places and objects and many definitions of these things. As well as many things being given similar names. At the start of the book as in the first five or so chapters this feels kind of like a big info dump and it at times was quite confusing even to me an adult trying to read this middle grade book. However, I think the author may have been aware of this issue as even the MC comments on the overwhelming nature of all she (and in turn the reader) is learning.

“You all really should start coming up with new names for things”, She told the Selector. “It’s all very confusing.” 

Having said this though once I did start to remember the names and meanings of certain new magical things I was able to get into the story a little better and even fell in love with some of the things D E Night has invented. My favourite would have to be the Hairies, tiny little fairies with glowing hair that they use as lights! How cute and magical is that! I want one!! In green and silver please!

I also found that the time flow of the story felt very jumpy at times and some of the interactions between characters did not always seem natural. However, this was minor and did not stop me from enjoying the magical journey as despite my little issues that aspect was still strongly there. This book was a mysterious, magical, fast paced adventure. And those feelings and that Harry Potter like nostalgia had me wanting to go along this journey with Ivy and find out what happens despite any issues I may have had. The ending was also very dramatic and enlightening but left many leading plot lines. Which leave me intrigued to know what happens next!

In conclusion, as I do not read middle grade often I do not have much to compare to what they are like. And I did have a few issues with the writing such as info dumping and character interactions. However, this may be a common occurrence in MG books, I am not sure. So, for me personally, these issues were a little off putting from the story. However, I overall enjoyed the book and the magical adventure vibes. I loved learning about the magic system and creatures and would continue on with the series when future books are released. Therefore, this book was a 3.5 star read for me!   Let's Chat!Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Do you read much middle grade or early young adult fiction? As always happy watching and reading! 

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

20617636Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J Maas

Genre: YA fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication date: September 2014

Rating: 5/5

Warning the synopsis contains spoilers if you have not read the previous books in this series! Read at your own risk! 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

Review2

Continuing on with my reread in preparation for Kingdom of Ash was one of my favourites from this series, Heir of Fire. If you missed them I also reviewed Assassins Blade, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight.

If I was going to give the most basic review of this book without my usual rambling I would simply say: Amazing new characters are introduced! CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!! Character development everywhere!!

But what fun would one of my reviews be without my rambling, fangirling nonsense? Not very fun at all! So, buckle up kids and grab a snack why we both try to sort through all my feelings about this brilliant book!

This book is one of my favourites of the entire series so far. One of the biggest contributing factors to this is the new characters that are introduced! Firstly Manon Blackbeak and we might as well throw in the whole 13! I absolutely loved Manon from the first moment she was introduced to me and upon rereading my love for her has only grown! She is beautiful and fierce and skilled. But she also isn’t perfect and has a lot of growing and developing to do. I believe little bits of this growth starts to occur in this book. The second character introduced in this book that I love is Rowan. Hot, skilled, tattooed fae male! Must I say anymore? Can he be an Ass? Yes! Does he also grow a shit tone throughout the story? Also yes! Honourable mention goes to Aedion as I don’t mind him in this book but I know he grows on me a hell of a lot in the next book!

I think this book takes the series in a new and exciting direction. We gain so much information about the world, certain characters pasts, the king and his plans. Is it a lot of information to take in? Yes, but I believe it is done in such a way, evenly throughout the book, that it only made me enjoy the reading experience more while getting excited about where the story could go from here.

I can’t really touch on the character development side of things more than I already have without spoilers. However, I will say almost every main character goes through events that allows us to learn more about them and for them to learn more about themselves. There are also many interactions between the main characters that play a part in the way they grow or go backwards. And we see how their personalities and wants etc change over time. I love this and especially like the journey Celaena goes through. Her development is by far my favourite of the book.

Lastly the other reason I adore this book is for the spectrum of feelings it forces me to go through and feel. Every time I read it. This book is all the feelings! ALL OF THEM! From heart ache to joy, despair, anger, love, triumph, surprises, shocks and everything in between! Basically, be prepared for an emotional roller coaster! Who am I kidding? You can not be prepared. Just feel it all, it’s easier that way! Haha!

In conclusion I love pretty much everything about this book! The characters, the plot, the feelings it’s all great. I really don’t think I can fault it. Other than for me personally Chaol’s chapters are a little boring. So, since I am pretty much grasping at straws for things I don’t like and overwhelmed by the things I loved this book is a 5/5 read for me! Let's Chat!What did you think of this book? Who is your favourite character in it? What is your favourite Maas book? Let’s chat in the comments below! As always, happy watching and reading!

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ONCE UPON A TIME: My thoughts so far

once-upon-a-time

Title: Once upon a time

Creators: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Spoiler Alert: Just a warning that there is very likely to be spoilers in this post due to the fact that I am just so excited and angry about certain things I can not express myself without them. So if you’re like me and hate spoilers do not read this post, yet, if you haven’t seen seasons 1-3.


 

So I know that this show has been around for a while now but for a number of reasons I had just never made the decision to watch it until recently. However now I wish I would have watched it much sooner! This show Oh my gosh! Let me tell you I am now a big fan and absolutely love everything this show brings to television.

For those of you that don’t know Once Upon a Time is a show that fits into the genres of fantasy, action and romance. The show is mostly set in a small town called Storybrooke as well as the enchanted forest. The show is Centered around Emma Swan: “the product of true love” and in this case the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. In what is in my opinion creative genius that must take weeks of planning and creating this show portrays old school fairytales, nursery stories and Disney tales in a modern day setting and manages to intertwine them all together. 

The fact that the show is centered around magic and fairytales is just one of the reasons I love this show! I also love the elaborate out of this world costumes, the plot twists, the great acting (In terms of TV shows) and many of the characters (others I just love to hate). I am going to take this moment to share with you guys some of my favorite characters from the show and I can’t start with any other one than Hook. Where do I even start? Killian Jones (Hook) is a sexy beast, pirate, funny, ladies man with a bigger heart than you would first think. Not to mention the way he falls for Emma and has her back is the best thing and had me swooning. Not to mention when him and Emma actually finally get together I was literally squealing like a school girl! I mean seriously it took Emma long enough! Which brings me to my second favorite: Emma Swan, although she frustrates me immensely sometimes, her large heart, bravery and wit by far make up for it and you can’t help but love her character. Lastly one that was a bit unexpected for me and I am still not 100% sure why I like him so much myself is Rumplestiltskin. I mean yes he has done horrible things and still continues to do so, but he has also done heartwarmingly great things for the people he loves, and I think it might mostly be the fact that Robert Carlyle is just brilliant in the role I mean seriously he is great! There are so many other great characters and things about this show but if I sat here and wrote about them all this would be the longest post in history and not to mention I don’t want to spoil everything, just in case you ignored my spoiler warning.

As I think I’ve made very clear, I love this show and am pretty much addicted. Because of this however I am left quite angry. Why you ask? Well I had finished season three which is when Emma and Hook finally get together (Squeal!!), and so obviously wanted to go straight on to season four to see how their relationship grows as well as how the rest of the plot carries on. So I went and looked online for places where I could buy season four on DVD near my home only to discover that it was not available in Australia. Ok no big deal, no need to freak out yet, surely the release date is soon right?! So I go on to look that up only to discover that it isn’t anytime soon and that it is only currently airing on Australian TV now! So now you are probably thinking why don’t you just watch it now then, as it airs?  Which was exactly my thought process at the time, however they are already about halfway through the season and therefore there is no way for me to watch the episodes I have missed without using illegal means (which I know some people are ok with but I don’t like doing especially to shows I love). So now I am left to wait for the DVD to be released in Australia so I can catch up on my addiction. I really hope the wait goes quick so I can stop being sulky and frustrated. Not to mention I miss Hook already!!

Have you guys had the pleasure of watching this show? Who are your favorite characters? Do you have to deal with the delayed airing to? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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