Review of Bewitching by Jill Barnett

Bewitching
By Jill Barnett

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 464

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)bewitching200
What’s a duke to do when a carefully selected bride rejects him rather than marry without love? He salvages his pride by marrying the next woman who falls into his arms. Joyous Fiona MacQuarrie bewitched the Duke of Belmore the moment she appeared from nowhere and knocked him over…literally. Joyous MacQuarrie is a Scottish witch whose powers of white magic are not always easy for her to control. When Alec’s pride makes him choose to marry her, Joy turns the life of the most serious and snobbish duke in England upside down. Too soon Alec finds his well ordered and controlled life a mess, because he married a witch–one who turns him to fire when he kisses her, who charms everyone around her, and threatens to destroy both their lives as scandal looms over her. Too late, Joy discovers she’s desperately in love and not even the strongest magic can seem to turn her into a proper duchess, or make her husband love her. Passion holds them spellbound in an irresistibly funny and tender tale of two opposite but lonely hearts.

Review:
Joyous was quite easy to relate to, as many of us have had things we have wanted to badly to be good at and yet fail, despite our best attempts.  Schooling is quite reflective of Joy’s trials, since many have a subject they simply cannot master, even if they are interested in it.  While necessary, I found the opening chapter of the novel tedious and a bit boring, though that could be seen as how life seemed for Joy as she tried to master her magic.  Once past the beginning I couldn’t help but become enthralled within the story, but I had to push myself over that hump to get into the meat of the tale.  Nothing is as it seems within the depths of Bewitching, and with great use of foreshadowing and hidden agendas, it is impossible not to fall bewitched yourself.

41xswK+IwUL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)


Check out Jill Barnett’s Amazon page.







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Review of A Witch’s Concern by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Concern
Book 4 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 237

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)25010389
Michelle has been figuring out what her life is like now that the demon has been killed, and Sylvia and Varro are dead. Even the clans of witches trying to attract her to their way of life have backed off and given her a chance to grieve. Her relationship with Elron is stronger than ever, but there are things left unsaid.

On the way to her parents’ wedding, the delicate calm she’d been living in is broken. Witches are out for her blood, her family is caught in the crossfire, and friendships are threatened. Work doesn’t let up either, and she partners up with Elron to deal with magic gone wild. Michelle finds that her problems are larger than one clan of witches, and is forced to choose between the people she holds dear and the way of life she loves.

This is the fourth book in a series, following A Witch’s Trial. It is a standalone novel, however, your reading experience will be greatly enhanced if you’ve read the previous books.

Review:
After such an odd and life changing ending as seen in A Witch’s Trial which I reviewed I absolutely had to know what came next for Elron and Michelle.  The progress they have made from disliking each other is astounding, and I was quite glad, because it was something I had wanted to see from the first book in the series.  This book held a lot of questions for me, namely about why Elron and Michelle are choosing to stay so distanced.  I am hoping that this question will be answered in the future, so I will not get into detail about what, in particular, I kept expecting to see.  While this novel had the same issues as the previous ones, this time part of the descriptions actually mattered, which made me quite pleased.  Certain locations that are frequently referenced also had major impacts on the story, with important plot points happening there.

Unfortunately, while there was a lot about this novel that is different from previous ones, the plot itself seemed more of a run off from the end of the previous book, and not powerful enough or gripping enough to have been made into a whole novel on its own.  While the page count was around the same as the last couple of books, I felt as if the story as a whole was more of a novella than a novel.  I loved the ending, and look forward to reading more in the future, but I wish that some of the happenings that seemed like side events were more important in this novel (though it is evident they will be important plot points in books to come).

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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Review of A Witch’s Trial by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Trial
Book 3 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 236

Season Read: Fall

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Synopsis:(From Amazon)
When Michelle pulls an old book out of a fire, she finds answers and heartbreak. The book confirms that a demon walks the land, though according to legend they were all dead. Now, she needs to rediscover the secrets to killing demons before her loved ones fall victim.
Elron’s budding relationship with Michelle suffers a blow when his mate returns. While he struggles with love and guilt, it becomes clear that not everyone gets their happily-ever-after.

This is the third book in a series, following Witch for Hire and A Witch’s Path. Your reading experience will be greatly enhanced if you’ve read the previous books.

Review:
Once I read the 2nd book in A Witch’s Path series, titled, A Witch’s Path which I reviewed I wanted more, immediately.  So I went forth and purchased this third book and began to read.  While not everyone gets their happily ever after, how they have to go about preserving the future is likely not something anyone but Conneely could have dreamt up.  Though A Witch’s Trial suffers from some of the same issues as the previous novel (too much detail/description of unimportant things), the story itself is gripping, and has some great foreshadowing throughout.  The further we continue into Michelle’s world, the more we get to understand her relationships, which makes her even more human.  A Witch’s Trial is a great read, which will have you quickly buying book four to continue the adventure.

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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Review of A Witch’s Path by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Path
Book 2 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 240

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)21570552
After a near death experience, Michelle has vowed to do her job, magical assistance for the police, and leave the heroics to someone else. Besides, life should be settling down for her since the trolls have been captured and the sorceress was neutralized. Unfortunately, the power behind the sorceress wants her dead, Elron starts acting funny, a magical creature wreaks havoc on a town, and there’s trouble with the werewolves. As if that wasn’t enough, the clans have started to notice her power and she has more reasons than ever to fear the clans.

Things go from bad to worse when Michelle’s best friend is abducted, and she must decide between her friend and her vow to stay out of dangerous situations.

A Witch’s Path is the sequel to Witch for Hire and continues the story of Michelle and Elron.

Review:
Wasn’t really sure what I felt like reading, but I suddenly remembered that Witch for Hire had a sequel/was the beginning of a series, so I bought A Witch’s Path and decided to read on.  Oh my goodness!  While there are some lulls in the novel, predominantly over description that is simply unnecessary, and some grammatical/editing errors, this series is a gem!  I absolutely adore the characters and find them easy to relate to (though I forget what colour Michelle’s hair is, perhaps because her friend Amber’s hair is always described in such detail).  Although I had a slight hunch over one of the big bad evils to emerge, it floored me when I found out exactly who it was.  Definitely not a novel to be missed!

61P034pMUPL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
I live in North Georgia with my dog and a mountain of books. We sweat through the summer and freeze through the winter. Life as we know it comes to an end when so much as a single snowflake falls out of the sky.

For fun, I play with my dog, read, knit, crochet, paint, tie-dye, and do origami. I make a great pizza. I’m negotiating with my roommate over sea monkeys and working on a vegetable garden.

Black tea and water are my favorite beverages. I’m a huge fan of the Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Arrow.  A few of my favorite authors are Ann Bishop, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Tamora Pierce, Raymond E. Feist, and Christine Feehan.

Also check out N. E. Conneely’s Amazon page.

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Thank you! 

Review of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott

Star Rating: 33ca69cabaa0cbc84d3d2435e6201f63
Genre: Fiction/Classical
Number of Pages: 280

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

Review:
When I was younger I read the Great Illustrated Classics version of this novel, and I loved it.  The kindle version of this novel is free, so I would greatly recommend a purchase, though I do have a leather bound edition from Barnes and Noble.  This novel has a great way of showcasing many difficulties that people have while growing up, and I love that it is often the girls’ mother who teaches them lessons about their behaviour.  Although there are some sad parts, I do believe everyone has to deal with separations and trials in life, and it is better to be prepared.  While I did not particularly like the shift between the first half and the second half of the novel, in which Alcott breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience, I can understand why she did.  Like Jo, Alcott is not capable of keeping her opinions on her writing to herself.

I would also add that while there are a lot of various renditions of Little Women in film my absolute favourite is the 1933 edition with Katharine Hepburn, which you can find here.  I will likely write a review of the movie and how close it is to the book in the near future.  I absolutely adore the movie, so much so that I purchased the DVD (because my VCR ate a VHS, so my VHS version of this movie is no longer watchable).

Louisa_May_Alcott_headshotAuthor Bio: (From Wikipedia)
Louisa May Alcott (/ˈɔːlkət, kɒt/; November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelistand poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886).[1] Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such asRalph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.

For a more detailed biography of Lousia May Alcott, please visit her wikipedia page, but if writing a paper, don’t use Wikipedia as a source.

 


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Review of Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files
Short stories from The Dresden Files
By Jim Butcher

 

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 432Side-jobs-by-jim-butcher

Season Read: Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher-a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a novella exclusive to this collection that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago’s only professional wizard.

Review:
I highly disagree with the synopsis.  Go read the first book first.  It’s awesome.  The whole series is awesome.

As for the reviews: what can I say without giving away important plot points?  Some of the short stories I liked more than others, but they were all good.  I liked getting to see more into Harry’s relationships with both his brother and with Billy and Georgia.  Harry is so REAL, that it’s no wonder Chicago would go crazy without him.

Author Bio:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a more detailed biography of Jim Butcher, as well as a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

 

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Review of Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

Castle in the Air
A Companion to Howl’s Moving Castle
By Diana Wynne Jones

 

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People
Number of Pages: 400

Season Read: Late Spring/Early Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)castle-in-the-air-by-diana-wynne-jones
Young merchant Abdullah leads a humble life. Or he did until a stranger sold him a threadbare—and disagreeable—magic carpet. Now Abdullah is caught in the middle of his grand daydreams. Waking one night in a luxurious garden, he meets and falls instantly in love with the beautiful and clever Flower-in-the-Night. But a wicked djinn sweeps the princess away right before Abdullah’s eyes, leaving the young man no choice but to follow. This is no ordinary quest, however, for Flower-in-the-Night isn’t all the djinn has stolen. Abdullah will have the so-called help of the cantankerous carpet, a cranky genie in a bottle, a dishonest soldier, and a very opinionated black cat. Will this motley crew be able to find the djinn’s mysterious dwelling and rescue a castle full of princesses?

Review:
Howl’s Moving Castle was sheer perfection.  While this novel is set in the same world, and many of the previous enchanting characters resurface, it seems removed from the amazing setting we came to love.  Abdullah may be easy to relate to, given that he is always lost in a daydream, but he seems otherwise boring.  His family is horrid, and although Abdullah does find a quest, it is half by luck that he does.  While the adventure was interesting it took quite a while before the characters from Howl’s Moving Castle became prevalent.

Nevertheless, looking forward to see what the third book connected to these two is like!

Author Bio:
Diana Wynne Jones has had a career spanning four decades, and for more information about her, please visit her Amazon page.

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