Review of The Noose of a New Moon by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
Devereau Webb is in uncharted territory. He thought he knew what he was doing when he chose to enter London’s supernatural society but he’s quickly discovering that his new status isn’t welcome to everyone.

He’s lived through hard times before and he’s no stranger to the murky underworld of city life. But when he comes across a young werewolf girl who’s not only been illegally turned but who has also committed two brutal murders, he will discover just how difficult life can be for supernaturals – and also how far his own predatory powers extend.

The Noose Of A New Moon follows on from the events in Midnight Smoke, the third book in the the Firebrand series although it can be read separately.

Review:
So, to start, clearly I read this AFTER finishing the Firebrand series. That did not make much difference, in my opinion. It actually did make things make more sense to me about why certain people were unavailable. On to the book- I did like that this took a slightly different and bit more humorous edge than the Firebrand series, but it didn’t quite draw me in as well as the Firebrand series did. I still enjoyed being in the world and getting to know the characters; perhaps I’m still team Fred and that’s why. Nonetheless this was a very interesting situation that Devereau found himself in, and not something that I think anyone would figure out before it was fully revealed. I look forward to reading the second book in this series and of course recommend Harper’s books!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Dark Whispers by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
The Supernatural Summit is about to start at the DeVane Hotel in London. Vampires and werewolves, ghouls and gremlins, and pixies and druids have all come together to find better ways to get along with the human community and address the strict laws which govern their existence. It’s a real opportunity to change the world for the better and I’m proud to be a part of it.

But there are protestors camped outside the hotel and dangerous rumours circling about one of the delegates. When a dead body is discovered, I know it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

I have to find the murderer. And I have to find them quickly.

Dark Whispers is the fifth book in the action-packed urban fantasy Firebrand series.

Review:
This book was just perfection. There were so many twists and turns and getting to see a supernatural summit while also seeing how Lukas and Emma work to keep things separate between their personal and private lives was perfection. I didn’t expect the level of twists involved in this particular story, but I quite loved how it ended. The level of planning that went into the murder was unexpected. One thing I think we would all agree with is wanting more Lukas and Emma beyond this series! Ah!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Midnight Smoke by Helen Harper

Synopsis:
Supernatural Squad might be small, but we’re growing in power. The vampires and werewolves of London are beginning to respect me more and I feel like I know what I’m doing – even if I don’t yet understand what I truly am.

Unfortunately, there might be a few snags to deal with. I’m trying to avoid Lord Horvath, the black-eyed vampire leader who seems intent on a more intimate relationship. There’s also Devereau Webb, who runs a small criminal syndicate and has offered me a mysterious gift that I’m certain I don’t want. And across the span of one single day, supernatural hell breaks loose across the city of London.

A suicidal vampire has climbed up the London Eye.

Three werewolves have hijacked a tourist bus.

This might prove to be the longest day of my life.

Midnight Smoke is the third book in the thrilling Firebrand urban fantasy series.

Review:
Holy Hell, this book had so many amazing parts! Without giving anything away, Webb’s gift is fantastic, and the spark between Lukas and Emma finally lights in a way that it’s unable to be forgotten/ignored. This book set the scenes for connections between Supe Squad and CID as well as how well Emma interacts with the supernaturals. Cannot wait to start book 4!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Secrets of the Specter: A Haunted Mystery, A Magical Cat & A Modern-Day Candlestick Maker by Molly Fitz and L. A. Boruff

Secrets of the Specter: A Haunted Mystery, A Magical Cat & A Modern-Day Candlestick Maker (Meowing Medium Book 1) by [Molly Fitz, L.A. Boruff]

Synopsis:
I’m Mags McAllister, and I am an honest-to-goodness modern-day candlestick maker. I work in my family’s shop in the historic district of Larkhaven, Georgia, and also make a pretty penny from sharing videos of my process online.

My life is simple, quiet, and all mine… until a white cat with mismatched eyes shows up outside my shop and refuses to leave. When I take him home, things get really weird. As in, I can now see things and people that were never there before.

It gets even freakier when a voiceless spirit introduces herself to me via a handwritten letter. This specter claims that I share her name and will also share her fate if we can’t solve the mystery that’s haunted our town since 1781… and quickly because she won’t be able to maintain her strength for much longer.

Talk about a cold case! Can I find a way to free my eighteenth-century counterpart? Or has my new feline companion just signed my death warrant by opening my eyes to the secret supernatural plane in our otherwise sleepy small town?

Review:
I decided to switch genres a bit to something modern and quirky in honour of Halloween, and I am oh so glad that I a) managed to finish this in one day and b) read this! I quite love Molly Ftiz’ writing style, and I absolutely adored how she opened the story. In many ways, it reminded me of doing an in character book talk where a character is coming up and telling you everything about themselves, but the way it tied into the story was excellently done and I loved it. I loved all the modern social media/internet tie ins. It’s a very pop/now book, but that’s part of what makes it so neat.

I had ideas on who the mysterious person we were looking for might be but I was constantly (pleasantly) redirected by suggestions of what Mags was thinking, which I found utterly delightful. It’s quite a light read, but quirky and fun. I would highly recommend it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Witch for Hire by Molly Fitz

Witch for Hire (Paranormal Temp Agency Book 1) by [Molly Fitz]

Synopsis:
My name is Tawny Bigford. I’m 35, single, and I love hot showers. Seriously, all I wanted was a hot shower to start my day off right, but when I went to confront my landlady about the broken plumbing, I wound up talking to her corpse instead.

Now everyone thinks I’m to blame for her murder—not the best way to make an impression on the new neighbors, let me tell you. But how can I prove I’m innocent when I know practically nothing about the woman I supposedly killed?

Especially not the fact that she was the official Beech Grove Town Witch. Her former boss—a snarky black cat named Mr. Fluffikins—says I have to fill her vacated role until the real killer can be caught and brought to justice.

So, whether I like it or not, I’ve just been recruited to the Paranormal Temp Agency. Now I need to solve my landlady’s murder, figure out how to wield my newly granted powers, and maybe even find a way to fit in around here.

Yup. All in a day’s work for this novice witch.

Review:
This was a light, quick read and very well written. Easy to fall into, chapters were nice, concise and gripping. There wasn’t a lot of time wasted with flowery words or unimportant details. Everything flowed well and quickly, and the chapters really flew by. It seemed to take next to no time to read this book, even though it is 214 pages (though maybe that’s because I’ve been reading so many 400+ epic novels lately). There was constantly a reason for wanting to turn the page, and no time time.

Naturally I quite adored that Molly Fitz chose an author as the protagonist! How fun is that! That made it even more enjoyable for me. What made this book even more relatable is that Tawny admits to being a flawed individual with a broken relationship in the past, who is single, and 35. I suspect there are many like myself that wonder why there are no adventures or fun stories once you get to around the 30+ age and are female, except those of being a mother. It was so much fun to have a protagonist who is a bit eccentric but still living life.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Synopsis:
Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . .

Review:
I’m so torn in what to say here. I love that we get an adventure, and there is so much up and down, but oh my goodness the ending is so openly ambiguous I can hardly stand it!

I love how these books take something from the past and meld it into the future, of how Violet feels as if she’s bound to repeat Freddie’s path in the past, but Violet is a very different person than the Freddie that we learn more about. I love all the characters, and in the end I was quite pleased with Violet’s choice, but I wish there was a more definitive (happy) ending, because there is so much left that could go wrong.

This book series is a whirlwind and I am not quite sure how to articulate all of my thoughts about it. I absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it. There are so many fantastic thriller/horror elements, and I definitely felt my fair share of H. P. Lovecraft vibes from this one, as well as a little bit of the uncertainty and ambiguity of V. C. Andrews.

Thank you, TikTok(BookTok). I absolutely loved these books.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Synopsis:
You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop–a must-read for fans of Beautiful CreaturesThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Review:
This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It was light and airy but deep and gripping, like the breeze off water. There are haunting moments of past between Violet and those she has loved, and so many mysteries. The synopsis does nothing to prepare you for the whirlwind you’re about to jump into reading this book. So many twists and turns. Unlike many stories with absentee parents, this one actually makes it seem like, while still weird, it was normal for this family. From the beginning Violet’s oddness made me think she would be an unreliable narrator, and while in some ways parts were unreliable, they were for a completely understandable reason. The ending twist I really hadn’t expected and I quite enjoyed!

This is a great coming of age story, with a hint of that thriller in there. I definitely can see the F. Scott Fitzgerald vibes. There were also a lot of odd metaphors and older references which, while peculiar, really solidified the setting. I actually really loved the peculiar names some characters have, and the names themselves are such that the actual time period this is supposed to be in isn’t quite clear, but it’s a wonderful and addictive book all the same.

I actually bought this book and the sequel based on a booktok (TikTok section dedicated to books), though I can’t recall which video convinced me to do so. Keep sharing that book love with people, and if you have a recommendation that you’d like me to read or review, feel free to email me.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Synopsis (from Amazon):

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

Review:
This story felt like it went on forever, and I never wanted to set it down. There are twists and turns everywhere, both supernatural and common teenage problems to see and deal with, and all of it very relatable. Bellamy’s father is known for being crazy, and people worry or laugh suggesting she’ll be the same, so already, Bellamy has to deal with being ostracized and belittled, even if just for being smart at times.

With supernatural uncertainties, Tate and Bellamy find themselves having to figure out a mystery, while also learning about each other and how to associate with someone physically disabled. All in all, I thought the situations, and their reactions to them, were very realistic, and the story was gripping and quite wonderful. I certainly recommend, especially to those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast.

Star Rating: 

Review of Spellbound by Sara Celi

Spellbound
By Sara Celi

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 248
Winter 2018

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
This beauty is a real beast… High school senior Holly Kent has everything she could ever want perched at the top of Eastside Country Day’s social structure. She’s one of the most gorgeous girls in school. She wins every award. All the boys want to date her. And all the girls want to be her. But when a jealous rival casts a spell and ends Holly’s reign as queen bee overnight, she loses it all—including her beauty. Forbidden to reveal her situation to anyone,  Holly must adjust to a new life and find out if she has the strength to change her heart before it’s too late. Carson Isaac lives on the fringe of Eastside’s social scene. He never quite fit in, but an education at one of the city’s best schools could help jumpstart his future. Then, one fateful winter day, he sees his secret crush—the real Holly Kent—for the first time. Nothing will ever be the same. As romance blossoms, can Holly and Carson navigate their new reality in time? Or will they be bound by the evil spell forever?

Review:
While some part of this novel were a little flat (Holly’s relationships with her parents) it did well to show how fake people can be, and how they care very much for appearances. In that regard, the novel reminded me of the book Beastly by Alex Flinn (which is also a great book). There were great lessons to be learned, and depth to our protagonists.

This book left me with so many questions though! Did they ever become cordial with her old best friend again? What did she decide to do after high school? How did her relationships with her parents change?

Looking for a nice YA fairytale retelling: read this book!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Amazon Top 100 and Barnes & Noble Bestselling Author, Sara Celi, has lived all over the United States. She calls the Greater Cincinnati area home.

Sara has spent more than a decade working in journalism and broadcasting, with jobs both on-air and off-air at TV stations in Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications, magazines and newspapers, and she is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. Since the release of her debut novel, The Undesirable, in 2013, she has authored several other works, including Hollywood Nights, Natural Love, Prince Charming, and The Palms.

Sara graduated cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004.

In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, write, travel, run long distances, and volunteer her time to local charities.

Want more of Sara Celi’s books? Stay up to date at http://www.saraceli.com, or sign up for her mailing list using this link: http://saraceli.com/?page_id=446

Review of The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty by Melanie Cellier

The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty
The Four Kingdoms Book 4
By Melanie Cellier

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 22, 2017
Date Finished: December 24, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
They call her the Sleeping Princess, but Celeste is far from asleep…

Celeste has been cursed since her sixteenth birthday–just not in the way the rest of the kingdom thinks. All they see is her breath-taking beauty, marred by her foolishness. Only she knows that she retains her brilliant mind. And it’s a secret she must keep at all costs.

Over the years she’s grown accustomed to the necessary deception. After all, her life depends on it. And she’s even found a way to protect her kingdom, working from the shadows. But now a dangerous new threat has emerged, one that Celeste can’t defeat alone. She needs the help of a newly-arrived prince. One who’s altogether too handsome and too charming. Somehow she needs to keep her secret, save her kingdom and find a way to free herself from the curse. The last thing she has time to do is sleep.

In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, it’s only the princess’ mind that is asleep. And sometimes appearances can be deceiving.

Review:
Oh my goodness. This book was absolutely fantastic. While various parts of the original Sleeping Beauty were kept alive, the curse, the gift of fairy godmothers, this was a completely different and wonderful tale. The duality of Celeste was expertly done, and will remind most of how others perceive them versus how they are inside.

William was phenomenal, and as perceptive as I thought he would be. All of the characters had great depth and I quite enjoyed the story altogether.

The Four Kingdoms and Beyond the Four Kingdoms are some stories I believe anyone who is a fairy tale buff/aficionado would love, and they’re included on Amazon Unlimited.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Melanie Cellier grew up on a staple diet of books, books and more books. And although she got older she never stopped loving children’s and young adult novels. She always wanted to write one herself but it took three careers and three different continents before she actually managed it.

She now feels incredibly fortunate to spend her time writing from her home in Canberra, Australia where they don’t have a beach but they do have kangaroos hopping down the streets. Her staple diet hasn’t changed much, although she’s added choc mint Rooibos tea and Chicken Crimpies to the list.

She is currently working on The Four Kingdoms, a series of young adult fairy tale retellings.

Visit Melanie at her website: http://www.melaniecellier.com or follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Melanie-Cellier-689002674569364/ for all the latest news on The Princess Companion and other upcoming Four Kingdoms stories.