Book Review: The Centaur’s Last Breath by April Fernsby

Title: The Centaur’s Last Breath
Series: Brimstone Witch Mysteries
Author: April Fernsby
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy
Release Date: July 03, 2017
Format: Kindle
Pages: 149
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Cassia Winter is a witch. With the help of her cat, Stanley, she investigates crime in the magical town of Brimstone.

A centaur has died while out on a run. His death is confirmed as heart failure by a doctor. But the centaur’s father is adamant that his son was murdered and asks for Cassia’s help.

Cassia starts to investigate the centaur’s death and is soon convinced it was murder. Furthermore, she discovers the centaur had made many enemies in the lead-up to his death.

As Cassia and Stanley get deeper into the investigation, a stranger comes into their lives. This stranger is welcome, but things quickly take a turn for the worse and Cassia realises someone is out to cause her a great deal of harm.

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t a favorite of mine. It just didn’t capture and keep my attention like I would have liked it to. I found it all too easy to put this one down and not pick it back up. I had to remind myself that I needed to read it for the review just to get through it.

For one thing, I took the book under the guise that it was a brand new, yet-to-be-released book. It’s not. It was released over a year ago and there are actually twelve books in the series so far. Another issue is that this book is actually book number three in the series so I came into it without any knowledge of what had transpired in the first two books. There’s just enough background that you won’t necessarily need to read the first two, but I really dislike reading books out of order.

Honestly, the characters were rather… meh. I could take or leave any of them – although I can really leave Astrid. But the unrequited love between Luca and Cassia is less stiff and forced, making it painful to read scenes between the two. Astrid’s burning hatred for Cassia is clear throughout the book and it seems to be a far more prevalent point than it should have been. The only character I truly enjoyed was Stanley and that’s probably because he’s a talking cat.

I gave this one 3 stars because it’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. It’s just kind of meh. Maybe it just wasn’t the book for me.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: A Witchy Business by Danica Britton

Title: A Witchy Business
Series: Harper Grant Mysteries
Author: Danica Britton
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy
Release Date: November 17, 2016
Format: Kindle
Pages: 256
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★★★☆

The small town of Abbott Cove holds a secret…

It’s home to the Grant family of witches!
Harper Grant is happy working at Archie’s Diner as she tries her best to avoid the attentions of the town’s gossips.
However, when a body turns up during Abbott Cove’s annual festival, she begins to understand her family isn’t the only one hiding secrets.
With the help of the new swoon-worthy police officer, Joe McGrady, Harper finds herself on the trail of the perpetrator. Will Harper uncover the killer’s identity before it’s too late?

A Witchy Business is the first book in the Harper Grant Mystery series.

I chose to read A Witchy Business because I like books about witches and because, well, it said it was a cozy mystery and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what a cozy mystery actually is. Well, I finally figured out that cozy mysteries are basically mysteries with a little bit of romance sprinkled in and that they’re not very detailed or bloody. They just have a murder that isn’t too gory and some amateur detective who has one reason or another to help the police along.

I was a bit startled to see that for the most part, there isn’t a whole lot of magic involved in this book. Yes, there are a couple of spells cast and a potion or two, but for the most part, the only magic you’ll really see is Harper talking to ghosts. Which is interesting and funny in its own right, but doesn’t make for a particularly magical book. Honestly, Harper could have been a medium and not connected to a long line of witches and the book would still have made sense from her perspective. Being that A Witchy Business is the first in a series, I’m hoping that further books explore the magical possibilities because what fun is a series about witches that doesn’t really have magic in it?

As far as the characters are concerned, even though I know that the new deputy, Joe McGrady, is supposed to be something of a love interest for Harper, I wasn’t impressed with him. He irked me and I just can’t see those two together. Harper is sweet and lovable, talking to ghosts and only wanting to be of some help to them, even if it gets her into some sticky situations. I’m still not sure what to think of Grandma Grant or Jess.

I gave this book 4 stars because it’s a quick read, it’s funny, and it’s cute. I would suggest this one to fans of cozy mysteries as you’ll definitely enjoy it. It would also make a great introduction to the world of cozy mysteries.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: De’Fear by M. J. Reese

Title: De’Fear
Author: M.J. Reese
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Publisher: M. J. Reese
Release Date: August 26, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 15
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Horror Thriller Novels

This is a horror story of a man who began to see hallucinations, had so many battles to fight with, killing a king in his sleep, and a lady who was kidnapped by a man, who she doesn’t know her plans, but she’s not sure if she would make it out alive. If you are considering the shortest and most intriguing horror story, you found yourself one. This is the best story for you .with the right suspense.

I’m not sure what the author was actually going for, because if he was truly going for a psychological thriller, he missed the mark. There was nothing thrilling or scary about this book. At all. There might have been some psychological things going on, but not a whole lot.

DE’FEAR is a collection of two extremely short stories meant to set you on edge. While the second one did leave off on a fairly interesting cliffhanger, I have to say that neither story was particularly grabbing. The book was all of 24 pages on my iPhone’s iBooks, and the book hasn’t even been put on Goodreads as of this post being written.

I found the writing style to be juvenile, which I suppose is to be expected as it appears this is M. J. Reese’s first book and he is self-publishing. This means he is also self-editing which indicates that while he is trying, and I commend him for that, I believe he could benefit from some professional assistance with his writing.

The stories have potential, but sadly they read like the hurriedly jotted down ideas of a writer’s mind that whirls far too fast to keep up with. I believe if M. J. Reese were to sit down and work on just one of those ideas and make it an actual full length novel, he might be able to get his career going. As it is now, I am sad to say that a writer who just needs some guidance may never end up seeing the light of day.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Destiny’s a Witch by Lucy May

Title: Destiny’s a Witch
Series: Wicked Good Mysteries
Author: Lucy May
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 178
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★★★★

Welcome to Charm Cove, Maine – where the Good are Wicked, and the Wicked are Good… or maybe not.

Nothing is ever as it seems, at least not in Charm Cove, Maine. Moira Wicked—yes, that’s actually her name—moves away in the hopes she can escape her fate, or destiny, or something along those lines. She yearns to lead a normal life.

A few years away teaches her one glaring lesson. It’s incredibly difficult to be normal when your first name means destiny, your last name is Wicked, and you actually do come from a family legendary for its witchy ways.

Trying to keep her powers under wraps in the real world is a tad tricky. A love spell gone sideways sets in motion her return to Charm Cove for a spell. As bad luck would have it, or fate if you’d rather, she’s home for one single day when a body turns up floating in the town fountain. The oh-so-charming Charm Cove is turned upside down. Meanwhile, tourists are crowding its picturesque streets, and magic is being bottled up and sold as health remedies.

Moira finds herself in the thick of the murder investigation, all the while trying to hold her nosy family and destiny at bay. Destiny comes in the form of Liam Good. A Wicked is fated to fall in love with a Good once every century. No pressure or anything.

Take a visit to Charm Cove, where Wicked meets Good and where you just might find there’s almost always more than meets the eye.

Destiny’s a Witch is a cute, cozy, kitschy mystery involving a town full of witches, warlocks, and humans. Throw in a bit of romance and you have this adorable story. This is what a cute, cozy mystery should be.

I chose to read this book based on two things – the cute cover and the title. I figured the book would be cute and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. For someone who normally reads books that are either sexually charged, horror, fantasy, or YA, this was a refreshing change from the normal. Lucy May did an excellent job of spinning a tale of murder, romance, and fun without all the cursing and dark themes that normally pervade the books I read.

Moira is a sweet, lovable woman who might have made a magical mistake in the past – one that it seems she can’t let go of as she mentions is multiple times in the book. Liam is the dashing ex-flame who might be an ex but is still a flame and frankly, I agree with the idea that they’re fated to be together, but I’m just the reader, so what do I know? You’ll get a big kick out of the antics of the twins and all the meddling and gossiping about Moira and Liam.

I loved that the background of the town itself was given as opposed to just making the town the place they live and nothing more. It gave the story, and I’ll dare say the series, more depth to have the town itself have a background besides just giving the characters a background. I love the little town and I can’t wait to read more about it.

I did find that there were a few places in this book where the spelling or grammar was off – sometimes words were misspelled, sometimes words were missing, and sometimes the wrong words were in place. If this is something that bothers you a lot, you’ll want to keep this in mind. However, as I did have an uncorrected ARC of the book, it is possible that these issues may be fixed by the time this is properly published.

I gave this book 5 stars for the absolute joy it was to read and how utterly cute this book was. I can’t wait to read the second book which is due out in October 2018.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Dear Rockstar by Selena Kitt

Title: Dear Rockstar
Series: Dear Rockstar
Author: Selena Kitt
Genre: Romance, Erotica
Publisher: Excessica
Release Date: August 16, 2018
Format: Kindle
Pages: 208
Source: BookSprout
Rating: ★★★★☆

The best things in life are crazy…

Sara is obsessed with rock star Tyler Vincent, and as she works to complete her senior year, she’s determined to find a way to meet him—although her best friend, Aimee, keeps telling her to find a different escape from her desperately violent home life.

Complications arise when Dale, the mysterious new transfer student, sets his sights on Sara, and she falls for this rock-star-in-the-making in spite of her better judgment. When Sara wins a contest, she is faced with a choice—travel to Tyler Vincent’s home town to meet him, or stay and support Dale in a Battle-of-the-Bands hosted by MTV.

Their triangulated relationship is pushed to its breaking point, but there is another, deeper secret Dale’s been keeping that just may break things wide open…

Turn up your collar, feather your hair, and splash on some Polo, because we’re going back to the ‘80’s when MTV played music videos, there was no such thing as American Idol, and becoming a star meant doing nothing short of crazy for that one, big break.

If you’re a teenager looking for a new book about teen angst and relationships, don’t bother with this one. Yes, I know the description reads like a really cool YA novel that is set in the 1980s. But it’s not. Trust me. There’s a warning that I found at the very end of the book that should have been at the beginning – this book is for purchase/reading by adults only. There’s a very good reason for that.

For one thing, although it does take a bit to get to it, there are some explicit sex scenes in the book. Not enough to make me say the novel is exactly erotica – most erotica novels I’ve read don’t have a plot other than having sex – but enough to know that this book isn’t for anyone who isn’t an adult. Another thing that made me realize this book was not for teens but for adults were the themes of domestic violence, marital infidelity, and even eating disorders that come up in the book. This book has a plot and “smut” isn’t it.

I found Sara to be a sweet, lovable character who is simply caught in a horrible situation. Because of this, she’s become obsessed with Tyler Vincent, a rock star & actor. She writes him “letters” which are never sent, just kept in a notebook because they are more or less her diary. Sara’s best friend Aimee is also sweet, lovable, and has her own issues to work through – some of which we see in the book. After seeing a glimpse of Aimee’s story in the book, I’d actually like to see a sequel of sorts to this one that explores more of Aimee’s story, just because. Dale is the kind of guy I’d love to have around. He cares more for Sara than you’d think he would and given what you’ll find out as the book goes on, he’s extremely tolerant of Sara’s obsession with Tyler Vincent.

This book was extremely well written. I had to look up a few things to make sure they’d have been in use in the 80s because there were a couple of things I thought were too modern – but I was wrong, they were in use back then, I just didn’t remember them. If there were any spelling or grammar errors, I missed them because I was too busy paying attention to the story itself.

I gave this one 4 stars because it’s a very well written book, but I wasn’t expecting the type of book I got based on the description and synopsis.

I received a copy of this book free from BookSprout in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: SNEAK PEEK of Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Title: Seafire
Series: Seafire
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

I was so excited to get to read the sneak peak of Seafire and then… I wasn’t. I thought for sure that a story about a group of girls running a ship and trying to stomp out the bad guys was going to be a super interesting book. But the sneak peak really wasn’t all that interesting. Sure, there was a fair bit of action in the sneak peak I read, but it didn’t make me excited to continue reading.

Honestly, the only reason the sneak peak gave me to continue reading is the possibility of finding out the ending of the cliffhanger the sneak peak left on, but even then, I’m not particularly inclined to say I need to rush out and get the full book so I can read it.

I gave this one 3 stars because it’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. It’s just kind of meh. Maybe it just isn’t the book for me or maybe it’s not the book for me right now.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★★★

Wicked meets The Little Mermaid in the captivating origin story of the sea’s most iconic villainess, perfect for fans of Heartless and Dorothy Must Die.

Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.

If you’ve ever seen The Little Mermaid, and you’ve ever wondered how Ursula came to be who she is, this is the book for you. Trust me.

I’ve long been a fan of The Little Mermaid, but it never occurred to me that perhaps the sea witch wasn’t always that way. A half human/half octopus I mean. Not evil. I just assumed she’d always been evil. It never occurred to me that the sea witch might have a back story. So Sea Witch was the back story I didn’t know I needed.

What happens when you have a mermaid bent on revenge, a witch who has to hide her magic from everyone – including her best friend, and a prince who loves one but not the other? A story that needs to be told, that’s what!

I loved the idea that The Little Mermaid‘s Sea Witch had a back story. I love books like this – where a particular character, especially the villian – gets a back story so we know what happened to make them a villian. So we can see that these bad guys weren’t always bad guys. Something happened to make them that way.

Sea Witch is Sarah Henning’s debut novel and I have to say, she knocked this one out of the park. This book is seriously one of the best back story novels I’ve read. The characters are likeable and perfect for the story.

Nik – the prince and Evie’s best friend, he makes for the perfect hero in this story.
Evie – a witch who can’t let anyone know she’s a witch, Nik’s best friend. Her story is a sad one.
Anna – Evie & Nik’s other best friend, sadly she’s not around for most of the book… or is she?
Annemette – the mermaid (you knew there had to be one here, right?) who tries to capture her true love’s heart.

By the time all the twists have played out, you’ll understand why the Sea Witch is who she is. This one got 5 out of 5 stars for me because this is an amazing debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Sarah Henning comes up with next.