Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Cover image - Serpent & DoveTitle: Serpent & Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication date: 3 September 2019

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Harper Collins Australia: 

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy duology will leave readers burning for more.


*Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for sending me a finished copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*Review2

I loved this book. I Loved This Book!

And again for the people in the back: I LOVED THIS BOOK!

That would be my very quick short review.

But you know me I love a ramble so lets get into why I loved this book. The first thing is the writing itself I mean what a debut! I was enthralled from page one, could not put it down! I was hooked even when the plot itself slowed down from time to time I still just wanted to know what would happen next and the feelings the writing invoked! I mean I laughed, I gasped, I cried this book and the writing really did make me feel it all.

Secondly I loved the bad ass women characters and the strong female friendship in this! I loved it! I love that we are getting more strong, brave, smart, talented, unconventional, out of the box from societies norms main female characters! and Lou and coco are just some of the best! No competition just support and raising each other up like the queens they are!

Also witches and the witchey vibes! My gosh, you all know that vampires will always hold my heart but witches are really giving them a run for their money this year and this book was no exception! Loved the dark undertones, the different types of witches and hearing about the law and how witches were treated in this time period. I loved that Lou’s magic always required an equal price and the patterns show up as gold threads.

Last but not least and actually my favourite thing about this book is the enemies to lovers romance trope, the forced marriage trope and the will they wont they slow burn that this was! It was so good the way Lou and Reid acted around each other and how this developed and changes over time with and without them realising.

Also Ansel is a precious bean and too good for this earth! The plot was great and had so many twists and turns that I did not see coming! I absolutely can not wait for book 2!

In conclusion, I actually loved this book and it has taken the spot for my favourite book of the year so far! There is not one thing I can think of right now that I personally didn’t like about this book. 100% do recommend if anything I have said above even slightly intrigues you. This book is hands down a 5 out of 5 stars from me.  Let's Chat!

Have you read this one yet? What did you think? What are some of your favourite witchey reads? Let me know in the comments below! 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: 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: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

17670709Title: Crown of Midnight

Author: Sarah J Maas

Genre: YA fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication date: August 2013

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood – but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom.Review2

So as you may know by now I am rereading the Throne of glass series in preparation for Kingdom of Ash. You can see my review for Assassins Blade here and Throne of glass here. I think Crown of Midnight is my current least favourite in the series. If I was to write an extremely short review it would go something like this:

Part 1: NOTHING!!

Part 2: EVERYTHING!!

Special mention: Chaol is the worst. What a toss pot!

However, I endeavour to always be honest with my reviews and explain my feelings so here is a little more in depth look at my thoughts on this book. The book itself is divided up into two parts. So I think that would be the best way to divide up my thoughts as I have very different opinions on both parts.

Part 1: I described this part as nothing above because I feel that is literally what happens here. For almost the entire first half of the book nearly nothing exciting happens! Is there some important information brought up for the series to continue? Yes. Do certain relationships change and develop? Yes. But other than knowing Celaena is playing a dangerous game, I think the adventurous, mysterious side to this story is kind of non-existent to me in this part of the book. I also think that we barely get to see any of the bad-ass skills Celaena developed and used in the previous two books. But more listen to her remind us that she does have these skills and in fact is the best. Although I mostly do still like Celaena in the first half of this book I like her a whole lot more in the second half. Dorian is by far my favourite in the first half of this book and watching him deal with his struggles is one of the redeeming qualities of this first half.

Part 2: Boy oh boy do things get waaaayyyy more interesting in the second half of this book! If the whole book was like the second half this would be a five star read for me! So much happens!! So many emotions from soul crushing sadness to adventure to mystery to shocking revelations this part has it all. Relationships are changed yet again. We finally see some more of Celaena’s skills and I think the plot really develops here. I also love every interaction between Celaena and Dorian and seeing new dynamics develop between them. Also, the ending to this book was still great and impactful even reading it for the second time!

In conclusion, I absolutely love the second half of this book. However, I find the first half of this book pretty lack lustre with only a few interesting or redeeming aspects. Side note, I have always found Chaol to be meh but this book just confirmed for me that he is a tosser. Hence, although the second half of the book is probably worth 5 stars I can only rate this book 3.5/5.Let's Chat!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Are you doing a re-read for KoA? Is Chaol an absolute tosser? Until next time, happy watching and reading! 

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Review: One small thing by Erin Watt

39934900Title: One small thing

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: HQ young adult

Publication date: June 2018

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.Review2

This book was actually one of my most anticipated books of the year. What Tamika? A non-fantasy read was one of your most anticipated this year?! Yep that’s right. I absolutely loved When it’s real by Watt. It was such a cute, quick, fun read. So, I was hoping to get the same kind of feelings out of this read. As although I love fantasy reads I also love romances and reads that give me all the cute loved up feels. This book however was not like that. At least not in such a black and white way.

Although the synopsis hints at some traumatic past events I possibly naively thought that this would not have such a huge effect on the content and themes of the book. The first little part of this book looks like it is going to be a cute, awkward, teenage love. Party and mysterious guy included. However shortly after thing’s get much more complicated. Almost all of the relationships between the characters in this book are defined or effected by the death of the MC’s sister.

Because of this the story deals with some pretty heavy themes and ideas. Including, Death, the loss of a child, dealing with and or suppressing grief, abusive relationships and rape. So, if any of those are triggers in any way for you I would carefully consider whether or not to read this book. Death is a concept I often struggle with and is my biggest fear, so that issue was a little hard for me to read about. However, I really liked the way the book dealt with a lot of the issues. It forced me to consider my own beliefs and morals in terms of how the characters reacted and related to certain things. The romance side of things was not missing all together either and although it was done in a way that made me question if it was right, it was enough to keep me drawn in and feel more comfortable with the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for bringing to light certain things as well as the cute romantic moments. However, some of the themes were hard for me personally to read and process. I was also not overly satisfied with the ending of the book, it felt a bit rushed and lack lustre to me. Therefore, this book is a solid 3/5.

Let's Chat!Have you read this book? What were your opinions? Where you expecting something a little different? Do you like Erin Watt’s other books? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading! 

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Review: The Assassins Blade by Sarah J Maas

18315788Title: The Assassin’s Blade

Author: Sarah J Maas

Genre: YA fantasy

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication date: March 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.

Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…

Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine and find out how the legend begins in the five page-turning prequel novellas to the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.Review2

I finally picked up this book for the first time a couple of weeks ago to read as part of my overall ToG reread in anticipation of the KoA release. I can not believe it took me so long to pick this book up! This collection of novellas about Celaena’s past, filled in so many gaps in her back story that I didn’t even know I was missing! I should mention that although this is my first read of this particular book, I have read all of the other books in the series at least once (excluding Tower of Dawn).  This collection of stories made me feel every emotion under the sun! Just as Celaena did as she experienced the events that unfold.

This book was an adventure and a half just like you would expect. Full of swagger, killing, betrayal, friendships, feelings, romance and everything in between. I think the writing style of these novellas is actually slightly better than the first few books in the series, expected given a writer’s style will develop and grow the more they write (this was published after ToG and CoM). I think this writing is neater and more descriptive and even more emotive. However, I may find scene’s in later books more emotive now that I am more aware of the backstory.

Now that I have yelled at you about my feelings on the collection overall. I am going to try to list my opinions on each of the novellas without rambling too much! haha who am I kidding? Here comes more of me yelling at you about my feelings!

The Assassin and the pirate lord

  • Classic swaggering, angry Celaena but who can’t help but fight for those worse off. I love this side of her.
  • So, this is the infamous Sam Cortland. I didn’t think I would like him this much from the get go. But he is just one of those people you can not help but like.
  • why does Rolfe hate Celaena so? OH!!! That will do it! Although well deserved!

The Assassin and the healer

  • I didn’t know it was possible to hate Arobynn Hamel more!
  • So, this is the Yrene Towers I have heard about but was yet to read about. By the end of this Novella I grew to like her and hope big things come from her later.
  • Overall my least liked Novella. Somewhat slow paced. I don’t like seeing Celaena down and worried or unsure of herself. But likely contains important info for ToD and KoA.

The Assassin and the desert 

  • Loved seeing yet another part of this world.
  • Loved learning more about Ansel and her back story with Celaena.
  • Great to see one of the reasons Celaena is so good and seeing her with another teacher.
  • But that ending! why!

The Assassin and the underworld

  • Did I mention I hate Arobynn?!
  • Love seeing the planning behind Celaena’s missions.
  • Aw Sam!!
  • Hey there sapphire eye’s! Don’t think I didn’t notice you!

The Assassin and the empire

  • Celaena’s apartment, romantic cuteness
  • I HATE AROBYNN HAMEL!!!!! AAAAHHHHH!!!
  • I will never read the words I am Celaena Sardothien, and I will not be afraid in the same way ever again!
  • I am broken there is nothing left. Someone send help!!!

In conclusion this book gave me way more than I expected. I now feel that the rest of the series will make even more sense and more of an impact on me having read these novellas. Overall, I thought the book was well written and took me on an emotive adventure! all of this is why I have given The Assassins Blade a rating of 4.5/5. That .5 was taken off because this is not my favourite book of the series and because I am still trying to put back together my heart after Maas shattered it into a million and one pieces!Let's Chat!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you read this before or after reading the other books in the series and how do you think this effected your reading experience? Until next time, happy watching and reading! 

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