Review: Spellbook for the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

I had seen a lot of hype surrounding this book on twitter – lots of authors and publishers getting ARCS, which were beautiful, by the way. So, it’s one that’s been on my radar for a while, even though I had no idea when it was coming out. Then I went book shopping with Maddie and happened to see Spellbook For The Lost and Found on the table and I NEEDED IT. I picked it up practically as soon as I got home (which hardly ever happens) and I feel like I genuinely have some stuff to say about it, so let’s get to it.

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Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked, Star Cursed, Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Genre: Supernatural (Witches), Romance. Sisters = buzzword
Published by: Speak. Pages: 352, 384, 368 respectively
Rating: ★★★★

This series has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. It’s the story of three sisters who are all witches in a society where if you’re rumoured to be a witch you’re either imprisoned or hanged. There’s also a prophecy that claims one of the sisters will either be the undoing of witches or will help them rise. I loved the drama and the the way every single relationship is written! For a series that was recommended to me by a friend in my Lit class almost four years ago, I’m surprised I didn’t pick it up sooner, because it’s really not one to be missed!

(Warning: As I’m going to be discussing all three books in one post, you might find the reviews of books 2 and 3 spoiler-y since I’ll be noting how the plot progresses.)

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Witching Hour: Meeting Laure Eve and Katharine & Elizabeth Corr!

On Halloween, the spookiest night of the year, Carys, Bee and I headed to Waterstone’s for their Witching Hour event with Laure Eve, author of The Graces and Fearsome Dreamerand Katharine & Elizabeth Corr, co-authors of The Witch’s KissThis was beyond exciting because we were all caught up with everything these authors had published, and I’m a long term fan of Fearsome Dreamer, happily placed as one of my favourite books of all time!

witches-1

So, here are some of the things that these wonderful witchy ladies had to say about their books, what influences them and why witches make such great characters!

Biggest theme of the book?

Outsider syndrome – The Graces deals a lot with outsiders and what it’s like being on the outside looking in. It’s something that so many people can relate too, because loneliness is a common human experience and the grass always looks greener on the other side, whether or not that’s the reality!

Siblings – One of the core relationships in  The Witch’s Kiss is between Merry and Leo. As Katharine and Elizabeth are sisters themselves, the bond between siblings is super important. We’re all in the same boat, wanting Leo as a brother in real life! It’s the same for The Graces, because where would that book be without the trio of witchy siblings?

Favourite witch of all time?

Jadis from The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Sure, she has her faults but she’s a strong leader, and who wouldn’t be seduced by hot chocolate and turkish delight?

How do you deal with relationships?

“Set them up then set them on fire.” – Laure Eve, 2k16.

Why do people love witches so much?

It’s the feminism, of course! Witches are all about strong bonds between powerful women, and that’s really attractive for girls to read about. We may not be magical, but they’re definitely role models! Also, with magical stories, there’s so much for your imagination to latch onto and weave into a story, they make such amazing reads!

How do you write your plot twists?

Corrs -They only wrote what they wanted to write. None of the twists were engineered, the plot is just where story naturally went.

Laure – Everything was engineered, so River only shows you want she wants to. The whole book is narrowed to River’s vision. Every plot twist needs to feel right, like there are enough clues so you’re not surprised by what happens!

What are your future plans for your books?

Laure –  Thought, when she was first writing it, that The Graces  would be a standalone but now there’s a sequel, from Summer’s perspective slated for September next year. The only bad thing about sequels is that you have to living up to the expectations of the first!

Corrs  – The Witch’s Tears happened so fast. They had six months to write sequel, with a lot of focused and intent to get it done. In the sequel, wizards will be explored!

 

Spoiler Review: Half Lost by Sally Green

26404831Half Lost by Sally Green
Genre: Paranormal, UKYA
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 335
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★
Series: Half Bad (#1) | Half Wild (#2)

OPINIONS. I have them. This is the last book in the Half Bad trilogy, and since I’ve reviewed all of the others it seemed only right that I reviewed the finale. (Also, I was in too deep to stop) I supposed this book lived by to my expectations considering I’d already been spoiled on a major character death thanks to a Twitter rampage that after the initial release. A list of questions seemed like the only way to approach this review, so here we go.

  • Why did nothing happen in the first half?
    • Basically, Nathan and the crew spend the first half of the book roaming around different campsites trying to find Hunters and, more importantly, Annalise. Other than that, I have nothing to report. It was slow paced and super boring.
    • In fact, the beginning was very reminiscent of Mockingjay. I mean, a group of people trying not to trigger booby traps with some death thrown into the mix.
  • Was The BIG Death necessary?
    • Simple answer? No. It was emotionally manipulating to the audience, I felt, and severely damaged the character development steps made in previous books.
    • Gabriel is a sweet child and did not deserve this fate.
  • ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME THAT THE IMAGES ON THE FRONT OF THE BOOKS ARE ALL NATHAN?!?!
    • He’s a boy in the first. In the second he discovers he can turn himself into a wild animal to feel more in control. AT THE END OF HALF LOST HE TURNS HIMSELF INTO A TREE. The tree is Nathan. Nathan and the tree are one.
    • It’s genius, but I’m still a little mad at it.
  • What other gifts does Nathan have?
    • He’s in possession of so many, but he managed to control so few? He still had so much potential but the ending was so rushed we didn’t get any of it.
  • Nathan is just so hellbent on his stupid revenge plot he gets himself stuck in a bundle. He was literally invincible at the time, as well.

I honestly wasn’t the biggest fan of this story but three main factors pulled me in from the beginning: 1) Male witch. 2) UKYA 3) morally grey (erring on bad) MC. If those things pique your interest too then I would recommend reading the first book. Then you can battle with writing style and characterisation when you decide if it’s worth continuing. Half Wild although more vulgar than any of the other books was my favourite of the series (against popular opinion), so maybe my dislike of this end was inevitable. I’m just glad I have something else to tick off my series list.

Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

25917801The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
Genre: Supernatural, Romance
Published by: Skyscape
Pages: 565
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★.5

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

I requested The Casquette Girls because of the New Orleans setting which seemed pretty perfect for a witchy story. I did not know however, that I was signing up for a vampire book as well. If vampires and witches are alive in this universe does that mean other supernatural creatures will be added as the series continues? I’m not sure if I’m willing to stick around long enough to find out.

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Review: Hexed by Michelle Krys

21417354Hexed by Michelle Krys
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Published by: Corgi Children’s
Pages: 369
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon 

Another witchy read, this time Hexed, which had a bit of hype on booktube when it was first released. I decided to finally pick it up after months of it being on my shelves because the sequel came out quite recently. Again, the characters were pretty typical for the genre, all that was missing was a southern belle. However, there were some curve balls that made this story different to what else you might’ve read.

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Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

5287473Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 323
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5
Where to find: Goodreads | Amazon

You would not believe the amount of time that this book has just been sat on my TBR gathering dust. The cover that I own is not great, so I can’t say I was particularly looking forward to reading it to begin with. Then I read Rebel Belle, which was super fun, so I thought, why not give Hex Hall a try?

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Review: Half Lies by Sally Green

23361016Half Lies by Sally Green
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 61
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I reviewed Half Bad a little while ago, and decided that it probably wasn’t going to be a series I would complete unless it was available at my library. However, I was totally ready for being in the same witchy world, but with different characters! I liked the last portion of Half Bad and Half Lies definitely explained some things!

It’s written in a diary format from the P.o.V of Michele, the sister of Gabriel who was probably my favourite character in the book. You can see just how lovely and protective Gabriel is, he’s such a considerate cutie! I think I connected with these characters more than I did with Nathan, so I hope there are more novellas like this in the future.

What I liked most was probably the length – only 61 pages! I thought that Half Bad was too slow for my liking, so to have the same sort of content e.g. witches finding their power, romance, and backstory explanations.

It’s exactly the kind of novel that I enjoy! If you like the Half Bad series, or heck, even if you weren’t the biggest fan of the first novel, then I definitely recommend reading Half Lies, because if anything, it’s made me a little more excited for the second book in the series.

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half B71STxe1DUVL._SL1500_ad by Sally Green
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Published by:
Penguin
Pages:
395
Format: Paperback
Rating:
★★.5
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

I think everyone has already made this joke, but Half Bad wasn’t half bad. I bought this book because I’d seen a few people haul it on booktube, but mainly because it was being sold for £3. I’m not the kind of person to give up a bargain, and for such a hyped book, it seemed like a great price. However, I was surprised with the tone of the novel – it was a heck of a lot darker than I was expecting, and a lot more graphic. I’m using the term graphic loosely as there isn’t any nudity or violent gore, but quite a large helping a torture, which, surprisingly, isn’t all that fun to read, even if I did only buy the book for £3.

I struggled to finish Half Bad, but was intrigued enough to continue to the end. I don’t think the cliff-hanger was enough to make me want to continue the series, because I really didn’t connect with the characters, or the world, particularly. I doubt that I will be picking up Half Wild, but if it’s only £3 then you never know.

I very much enjoyed the first section, due to the fact that it was written in second person. Granted, it did make it that bit more gruesome considering the fact we were locked in a cage, but I was excited by the prospect of reading in this perspective. My enjoyment soon dwindled when I discovered that the world I was reading happened to be a particularly ruthless one. Just because I didn’t enjoy Half Bad is not to say that anyone else will dislike it, in fact, before writing this review I read many five star reviews, and agreed with the majority of their points. It just transpired that Half Bad wasn’t for me.

Nathan Byrne is our main character, and he is the son of a Witch and Black Witch, which is unheard of, so the Council are extremely cautious and keep a close eyes on Nathan. The problem is, they’re prejudiced and don’t think that Nathan, even though he’s living with his family of Whites, is going to end up being a Witch Witch himself. An important quote to remember at this time would be “The wand chooses the wizard, Harry.” Everyone around Nathan tells him that he’s going to be a White witch, he can fight the evil darkness and he won’t turn out like his father, and to be quite honest I’m surprised that no one else saw Nathan’s true identity sooner.

My favourite character was probably Annalise and I liked much prefered the story when Nathan was younger, except for the fact that he kept getting beaten up, of course. There was a lot of family history to do with the Black Witches that was slightly confusing, and I did get lost at some points and had to refer back. On the other hand, I liked characters like Ellen and Gabriel who were introduced later on in the plotline, and would probably only read Half Wild just to read more about them.

What I wasn’t expecting, that made me keep reading, was just how much adventure there was. Towards the end, it became very much about trying to survive, and the back alley streets and apartment were reminiscent of one of my favourite books ever, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Suffice to say I enjoyed these bits best.

I do love a good short chapter and there are plenty of those in Half Bad. They make the action seem quicker and the slow parts seems quicker too. I find that when I’m not really in the mood to read it’s always nice to have short chapters so I can get that sense of achievement a lot quicker. Overall, I’m glad that I read it and gave it a chance, because the build-up and suspense was excellent – perhaps a bit long winded, but it got to the exciting bits eventually – but it just wasn’t the type of witch book that I enjoy. Not enough magic in my opinion! I think I’ll just wait for the rest of the series to be released so that I can gauge other peoples opinions on whether or not I should continue.