Review of The Book of G by Lily Archer

Villains don’t get happily ever afters, do they?

I have a glorious past full of achievement and renown. I mean, I feel like I must, right? The problem is, I can’t remember it. I can’t even remember my own name. I was found in a river, body mangled and face scarred, with nothing to identify me besides a single embroidered letter.

My memory is a murky blur, but I have a quest, one that will give me back everything I’ve lost. The voice in the water told me so. But the voice seemed to miss a few important highlights—namely the woman who challenges me at every twist and turn of my journey. The woman who tells me I’m a villain. The woman who becomes every fervent whisper of my heart, and every last thought in my head.

If I can complete my quest and recover what I’ve lost, she’ll see we’re meant to be. But villains don’t get happily ever afters, do they?

Lily’s Note: Sometimes falling from a great height can lead to a whole new life. This is a full-length standalone fantasy romance. Let your imagination run wild about who G is and just how wide his evil streak can be (hint: massive.)

Holy. Crap. I knew I liked morally grey, and enemies to lovers can be amazing, but this Beauty and the Beast retelling is one I never expected to find, and a “villain” I never thought I’d love and resonate with. While I did know who G was from the start, I absolutely fell headfirst into this story and was held captive. I didn’t want to put it down! The writing is concise, the world building on point. The spice was incredible and a 5/5 on that alone. There was never a point where I thought I had the ending figured out, and there were still surprises up to the very epilogue. In taking away G’s past, we’re left seeing why he might think of things the way he did: nature vs. nurture, as well as a general lack of education beyond being a manly man. I absolutely love that while he did grow as a person his quirks and flaws remained the same and became understood and almost endearing. The banter and tension in this book is absolutely perfect. All that being said, this book was amazing and I quite loved it, and strongly recommend it if you like: morally grey, enemies to lovers, Beauty and the Beast retellings, and a whole lot of spice.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Castle of Dusk and Shadows by Rachel L. Schade

She’ll do anything to save her family—even marry a fae and face the dead.

Years ago, Elle Blackford’s parents made a desperate deal with the fae kingdom of Ashwood. While her mother and sisters reconciled themselves to a future among dangerous immortals, Elle and her father studied forbidden magic, hoping to find a loophole.

Until Elle’s father dies, forcing Elle’s sister to marry Prince Fitz, heir of Ashwood.

But Elle has a plan to change their fate. For she knows that ghosts wander Ashwood Forest until the royal family sends them into the afterlife. Ghosts that can be returned to life. And she’s determined to save her father from his premature death.

All she needs is powerful magic—magic Prince Fitz possesses.

Taking her sister’s place, Elle marries Prince Fitz to steal his power. But in a world of bloodthirsty fae and vengeful ghosts, being a mortal comes with constant risks. As Elle navigates a kingdom of monsters and tragic secrets, she realizes she might not survive to save her family.

And the key to her salvation might be her arrogant, cold husband—the one she’d planned to rob and abandon. If only she can trust him.

Pride and Prejudice meets Gothic fae fantasy in this loose retelling, full of plenty of romantic tension (not spice).

When you make bold claims that your novel is similar to Pride and Prejudice you better have the ability to back that up. Unfortunately, this book has a plot that loosely resembles some of Pride and Prejudice, but the order is wrong. While enemies to lovers is a great trope, Elle, despite being intelligent, spends so much time hating her husband, then learning about him, but is easily swayed to believe the worst despite knowing Fitz better than what she’s led to believe. In the counterpart, when Lizzy believes Darcy to be capable of horrible things via what she’s been told by Wickham, she didn’t know Darcy at all.

The storybuilding of fae magic is great, as is the idea of someone having to let ghosts pass on and having a glade of souls. The mystery was interesting, with enough hints given along the way for a reasonable person to have an inkling what is going on, just to have that idea dashed by clashing information, despite your heart KNOWING you weren’t wrong the first time. The characters were mostly well developed and had you rooting for their happily ever after. While there is some spice, it isn’t over the top; nothing above kissing.

Overall, a cute, quick read, but The House Witch was a tough act to follow.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The House Witch 3 by Delemhach

House witch Finlay Ashowan is pulled out of the kitchen—and into the fire—as war, family, and love collide in the third book of this fantasy romance series.

Having somehow convinced Lady Annika Jenoure to marry him, all Finlay Ashowan wants to do is settle down, cook some good meals, and enjoy a quiet life in Daxaria. But fate has different plans.

Fin’s father, Aidan Helmer, fire witch and servant of King Matthias of Troivack, has arrived in the kingdom with devastating news: Annika’s brother Charles has been taken prisoner, and the only way his life will be spared is if Annika or Fin goes to plead his case. Given that an attack from Troivack is imminent, there’s no way some trickery isn’t involved in this plot.

Now it’s up to Fin, with the help of his family, friends, and wily kitten familiar, Kraken, to attempt a daring mission of rescue and espionage. But he’ll need to move quickly—because if he can’t find a way to fend off his father and keep Daxaria safe, all his dreams might go up in flames.

With twists and turns around every corner, The House Witch 3 brilliantly concludes this irresistible trilogy, replete with romance, magic, courtly intrigue, mystery, and humor.

Despite some sad parts, I would say that this book was an absolutely phenomenal end of Finlay’s adventures. Kraken shows that, just like Annika and Finlay, opposites can attract. His tenacity and ingenuity always leave one laughing and amused, though also thoroughly impressed. I absolutely adored seeing everyone come into themselves and realize that you don’t have to compromise yourself or your morals to be the best you can be. I also 100% love seeing Annika through this book, and the reminder that she is a very capable person, but that sometimes even hyper capable people end up being softened.

I love this series so much, and I cannot wait for the next two series, Princess of Potential and The Burning Witch. You can even join Delemhach’s Discord server.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The House Witch 2 by Delemhach

House witch Finlay Ashowan must contend with matters of the heart, hearth, family, and kingdom in the second book of a whimsical and winning fantasy series.

As a wielder of domestic magic, Finlay Ashowan likes to keep his affairs as neat and orderly as his kitchen. But between his work for the King and Queen of Daxaria and a new (secret) relationship with Lady Annika Jenoure, his life is anything but tidy.

For one thing, if Annika and Fin are to continue their romance, they’ll need to sort out the pesky issue of Fin’s being a commoner—before Annika is forced into a political marriage that interferes with her own carefully laid plans.

For another, pressure is mounting as the war with Troivack draws ever closer. When Fin requests time away from the castle to rest, the King agrees but under a very particular condition: Fin must brave the streets of Austice as a spy, sleuthing out the plans of the Troivackian troops allegedly hidden there.

Further complicating things, Fin’s estranged father is on his way to Daxaria, an unexpected and unappreciated arrival that’s bound to wreak even more havoc in his son’s life.

As Fin forges new friendships and alliances—magical and non-magical alike—he becomes even more enmeshed in courtly intrigues, old feuds, and very personal problems. And the more he tries to clean up the various messes in his life, the more apparent it becomes that his troubles are only just beginning . . .

This book was absolutely everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in a continuation of Fin’s story. Fin seems to get himself into quite a lot of trouble while managing to also work his way into good graces and freedom in most cases. The story is quite intriguing, and Fin just feels a bit like home. I believe most people can relate to him and would love this portion of his story because the journey was very much about what he can do and believe himself capable of outside of merely being a witch and having magical powers. Everyone goes through imposter syndrome at some point in life, and it’s good to see that when you learn to trust in yourself, things may work out better than you had dreamt.

A few quotes I absolutely adored regarding home and Fin are, “You found your own reason and strength to go after your fate. You didn’t let others push it upon you, or let it be taken away.” (Chapter 6, page 48) As well as Fin’s own thought that, “A true home gives people hope.” (Chapter 17, page 133) Of course, we cannot forget his quip that “Anything a mage can do, a witch can do better.”

At the time of posting this review I had already finished this book as well as the conclusion of the trilogy. I cannot wait to get both reviews out so I can get the next book by Delemhach, The Princess of Potential, but unfortunately it isn’t out until June 27th!!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The House Witch by Delemhach


A heartwarming and humorous blend of fantasy, romance, and mystery featuring a witch with domestic powers and the royal household he serves . . . dinner.

When Finlay Ashowan joins the staff of the King and Queen of Daxaria, he’s an enigma. No one knows where he comes from or how he came to be where he is, which suits Fin just fine. He’s satisfied simply serving as the royal cook, keeping nosy passersby out of his kitchen, and concocting some truly uncanny meals.

But Fin’s secret identity doesn’t stay hidden for long. After all, it’s not every day a house witch and his kitten familiar, Kraken, take to meddling in imperial affairs. As his powers are gradually discovered by the court, Fin finds himself involved in a slew of intrigues: going head-to-head with knights with less-than-chivalrous intentions, helping to protect the pregnant queen, fending off the ire of the royal mage, and uncovering a spy in the castle. And that’s only the beginning—because Fin’s past is catching up with him just as his love life is getting complicated . . .

Filled with fascinating characters, courtly intrigue, political machinations, delicious cuisines, cuddly companions, magical hijinks, and will-they-won’t-they romance, The House Witch is the first in a captivating new series, guaranteed to satisfy the tastes of any reader.

The first volume of the hit romantic-fantasy series—with more than a million views on Royal Road—now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible!

This book pick was a luck of numbers, where I asked my husband to pick a number and the number he picked was the one for this novel!

Fin is everything we didn’t realize we need in a character. He’s absolutely perfect, and from the beginning his distinct personality had me chortling. Fin is both sarcastic and incredibly defensive over the people he cares about. While he might be slow to open up, given his unique abilities, he finds himself making friends where he least expects it when they realize he just wants everyone to be respectful and caring. This book is cozy and wholesome; a story where people realize they are more than just what they appear to be on the outside and that everyone has the potential to greatness.

I absolutely adore the way the magic system in this world works. Magical people have an affinity, but how strong and capable they are also depends on their own feelings towards themselves and their powers. I also quite love the hidden sides to all the characters we meet and get involved with along the way; you never know what people may be hiding. There was one blaring error throughout this novel, however, in that Finlay’s mother’s name changes from Katherine to Katelyn from the beginning to the end of the novel. It does stay consistently Katelyn from chapter 46 on, but I do wish the author had gone back and changed the name in the beginning. A great quote from Katelyn during this book is: “The Goddess talks to you about what you alone can do.”

At the time of writing this novel I am already the majority of the way done with book 2. I highly recommend this book for a nice cozy humourous fantasy with a hint of romance and a little mystery.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

From bestselling author Scarlett St. Clair comes a dark and enthralling reimagining of the Hades and Persephone Greek myth.

“Let me worship you,” he said.

She remembered the words she had whispered to him in the back of the limo after La Rose. “You will worship me, and I won’t even have to order you.” His request felt sinful and devious, and she reveled in it.

She answered, “Yes.”

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring in title only. Since she was a little girl, flowers have only shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hoped to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist. All of that changes when she sits down in a forbidden nightclub to play a hand of cards with a hypnotic and mysterious stranger.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. But nothing has ever intrigued him as much as the goddess offering him a bargain he can’t resist.

After her encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead, and his terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—a love that is both captivating and forbidden.

I’m not quite sure why everyone is enamored with this book. I found it somewhat lackluster in development. While one may argue that the characters grow during the novel, it is almost a secondary thought to how their instant connection and love match can continue. So many parts of this novel hinge on how naive and too trusting Persephone is and instead of organically allowing her to grow it seems as if she chooses to only accept Hades at his word/face value in matters of the flesh and not those of morals. While there are plenty of Greek Mythology based persona within the novel, in many cases it seemed as if the name was used without the connections for which they were so widely revered and known. Hades is the one God who appears to be better in reality than how they are portrayed. While there are plenty of steamy scenes, any sort of true love story is overshadowed by how physicality becomes the main connection between Hades and Persephone, especially when they mention not even knowing anything about what the other likes to do for hobbies, when they had been allegedly spending time together for around 5 months.

All in all, it’s a retelling, sure, but if you’re looking for something that hits more of the classic misunderstood but not just in need of an instant connection stories, I’d recommend Meg Cabot’s Abandon.

Star rating: ✯✯✯

Review of A Bond of Broken Glass by T. A. Lawrence

The shoe fits, but she’s no Cinderella.

Ellie knows what she wants in life:

  1. Open a glassblowing shop in the art district.
  2. See her father retire.
  3. Marry for love. (If she can find someone who can keep up, that is).

Winning the fae prince’s heart doesn’t make the list.

So when Prince Evander throws a ball to find a human bride, Ellie respectfully declines. And when she reads the morning paper and discovers the prince danced the night away with a mysterious stranger, only for the woman to flee at the stroke of midnight, Ellie can’t help but laugh.

Until she learns the mystery girl left behind a glass slipper.

Ellie’s glass slipper. From the set that went missing from Ellie’s workshop.

So when the idiotic prince decides it’s a good idea to use the slipper to identify the love of his life (because, you know, no two women could possibly share the same shoe size), Ellie doesn’t hesitate to prove the slipper is hers.

Little does she know there’s been a modification to her work of art. The prince may or may not have attached a fae bargain to the shoe, and when Ellie places it on her foot, she finds herself both legally and magically betrothed to the very prince she detests.

Not that Prince Evander is thrilled about the situation, either. After all, he’d thought the shoe would only fit Cinderella.

Together, the unhappy couple must discover a way to break the fae bond, but there’s danger along the way.

And what’s more dangerous than falling in love with someone whose heart belongs to another?

Hilarious and filled with witty banter, this not-so-retelling of Cinderella takes a fresh spin on the classic tale, pairing the dangerous politics of Alondria with the swoon-worthy chemistry of a romantic comedy. A Bond of Broken Glass is the third in a series of interconnected standalones, but you just might recognize a few faces along the way.

Evander and Ellie are absolutely perfect! There’s danger, a mystery, and a very surprising reveal of who was behind all at the end. We see both Evander and Ellie mature during the story, from fairy tales and belief that hard work is all it takes to have all you want in life to realizing that determination may be able to do much, but you have to work with what fate puts in your path. I absolutely adored the characters in this; they were truly perfect. While the King is NOT my favourite person, Queen Evangeline more than makes up for how turbulent the King can be. The absolute end I had not suspected at all and found it was positively perfect. This book has been my favourite so far in the series; in part because I absolutely loved Ellie’s no nonsense attitude and that she wasn’t just going to give in to Evander because he was a prince, despite whatever complications might arise by trying to be contrary (here’s looking at you, fae bargain!) One of my favourite parts was when she thought, of course Evander just assumes everyone has a faerie godmother!! I am very much looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. Great job, T. A. Lawrence!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Word so Fitly Spoken by T. A. Lawrence

One stunning bride.
One wedding.
One night with the king.
One execution come morning.
Rinse and repeat.

When the fae king of Naenden returns home to his palace only to find that his human queen has committed treason by conspiring to assassinate him, he has the queen executed and decrees that once every mooncycle, he’ll marry a human woman from the kingdom, only to execute her the following morning.


Unless one woman offers herself as a sacrificial bride for the rest.

Asha isn’t worried about being chosen, of course. The decree was quite clear about beauty being among the top criteria for being selected as one of the king’s unfortunate brides. And Asha is no beauty, all thanks to the illegal magic that inhabits her body, leaving her scarred and missing an eye. The same magic that occasionally possesses her voice so it can amuse itself by telling a never-ending story with a string of horrible cliffhangers.

The problem is, Asha might not be a beauty, but her sister Dinah is. When Asha realizes Dinah is in danger of being selected as the king’s sacrificial bride, Asha decides she can’t live with that risk. So she offers herself instead.

Except on the night of their wedding, the king grants Asha a final request.

Naturally, she asks to tell her sister one last bedtime story.

Naturally, the king eavesdrops.

The question is…

Will the story save her life…or ruin it?

A tale of love and betrayal, vengeance and sacrifice, magic and romance, this imaginative retelling of 1,001 Nights will keep you guessing with each turn of the page.

I would start off by calling this a very different fairy tale retelling. You know that you’re caught up in a fairy tale given the description, but the place, characters, and story really suck you in. Most fairy tales are left open- there aren’t many details and set things, that way they can adapt and change while keeping the same lessons no matter when and where they are told. That being said, the reader is deeply immersed in the world Lawrence designed, quickly enraptured by the unique magic system, balance between fae and human, and between the rich and poor. While the fairy tale itself might have inspired the story, there are so many twists and turns that it truly has a life of its own. There are several beautiful examples of people not always being what they seem/appear to be, as well as cases showing actions prove more of a person’s character than words. Once started, especially toward the last third of the book, it becomes absolutely impossible to put down.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg

Dead wizards, stolen enchantments, and broken promises force a young spellbreaker out of the shadows in the next thrilling installment of the Spellbreaker series by the bestselling author of The Paper Magician.

England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.

Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.

With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands.

This book was absolutely perfect. While Elsie finds herself quickly lost in a dark place, the reader is gripping for dear life waiting to see what happens next. The relationship between Bacchus and Elsie is brilliant and it’s wonderful to see it develop, but it’s also just as awesome to see the ties Elsie already had strengthen and solidify. This book did a great job of showing that there is more to people than meets the eye, and that the world is rarely as black and white as we believe it to be; even things that might appear outwardly bad could be the first step towards trying to do something good.

What I absolutely love about Spellbreaker and Spellmaker, similar to Holmberg’s The Paper Magician series, is how the entire system and use of magic is made up and explained. Though similar to The Paper Magician series in having magic, and having to pick a discipline, it was quite different in how the magic classes were set up and what they represent/can do. It’s a completely unique way of looking at magic and I really quite loved it, and wished there was more to read.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯