Review of Slouch Witch by Helen Harper

Slouch Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 1
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 342

Date Started: November 14, 2017
Date Finished: November 18, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Hard Work Will Pay Off Later. Laziness Pays Off Now. 

Let’s get one thing straight – Ivy Wilde is not a heroine. In fact, she’s probably the last witch in the world who you’d call if you needed a magical helping hand. If it were down to Ivy, she’d spend all day every day on her sofa where she could watch TV, munch junk food and talk to her feline familiar to her heart’s content.

However, when a bureaucratic disaster ends up with Ivy as the victim of a case of mistaken identity, she’s yanked very unwillingly into Arcane Branch, the investigative department of the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment. Her problems are quadrupled when a valuable object is stolen right from under the Order’s noses.

It doesn’t exactly help that she’s been magically bound to Adeptus Exemptus Raphael Winter. He might have piercing sapphire eyes and a body which a cover model would be proud of but, as far as Ivy’s concerned, he’s a walking advertisement for the joyless perils of too much witch-work.

And if he makes her go to the gym again, she’s definitely going to turn him into a frog.

I put off reading this book. It was recommended to me by a good friend that previously recommended a series I really didn’t care for. This time, he was on the mark, and I am in love!

Laziness can only get you so far in life, that is, unless you develop your own hacks to make life that much easier. When suddenly stuck with a workaholic, Ivy is forced to get up and move a lot more than she’s used to.

This novel has some great characters, one of which is Brutus, a cat. While I won’t spoil anything, most will find that Brutus is probably what their own cat must be like. Cats are definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Getting to explore Ivy’s past while she works with Wintry was well done without any parts that were simply thrown in–Ivy never tells Wintry what happened in the past, allowing him to either believe the lies spread, or figure it out himself.

I love one of the messages of this story– you may take a different job, but you can’t change who you are.

If you like magic with a dab of mystery, this book was made for you. I absolutely love it!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
After teaching English literature in the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Helen Harper left behind the world of education following the worldwide success of her Blood Destiny series of books. She is a professional member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and writes full time, thanking her lucky stars every day that’s she lucky enough to do so!

Helen has always been a book lover, devouring science fiction and fantasy tales when she was a child growing up in Scotland.

She currently lives in Devon in the UK with far too many cats – not to mention the dragons, fairies, demons, wizards and vampires that seem to keep appearing from nowhere.

Review of The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister
Unfinished Fairy Tales
By Aya Ling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 452

Date Started: April 25, 2017
Date Finished: April 26, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

Last night I thought I’d begin a book, not realizing that I would become glued to this novel and not want to put it down. This is the second Cinderella retelling series that I’ve read this month and it was just as amazing as the last, in different ways.

Firstly, Kat joins the story of Cinderella begrudgingly, that is to say, completely against her will. It’s amusing and quite interesting seeing how she tries to combat the old fashioned world she ended up in. All of Kat’s reactions to clothes, as someone who has worn the full effect in Renaissance style clothing, was spot on (do NOT try to have a corset or bodice done up tightly– it IS quite difficult to breathe in!)

Kat is quite the relatable heroine: a girl who isn’t quite comfortable talking to guys, who slowly begins to realize that while things might be seen as the correct way to act in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the way one should act. Kat also discovers that when one isn’t as good at something as another, it is far better to move on and not dwell on it.

Kat has the advantage of coming to understand several different types of relationships while she’s in the fairy tale world. She and her “real” family have unconditional love: they want what is best for each other, and want each other to be happy, even if what they do to be happy doesn’t necessarily make sense to each other. Kat and her fairy tale family have more of a “I love what you can do for me” relationship, which, while quite unpleasant, everyone experiences at least once in their life.

Five stars, would totally recommend.

I absolutely adore how Kat and the prince come to meet and learn about each other. While they have a lot in common, between their need to get away from everything and everyone to escape sometimes, and their desire to help the people, it would have been nice to see them take an interest in each other’s hobbies. Who knows… maybe we’ll see something in book 2?

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit

Review of Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella
Cinder & Ella book 1
By Kelly Oram

Star Rating: 
Genre: YA, NA (New Adult)
Number of Pages: 322

Date Started: April 16, 2017
Date Finished: April 17, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her-her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. … Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement-or his fake fiancée-but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

There is absolutely too much to say about this novel. I’m sure I’ll forget something, because there is SO MUCH that makes this novel amazing.

Firstly, I’ll start off with the fairy tale aspect: the elements of Cinderella are all there, but with an amazing fresh twist. Ella has a lot to worry about, and while she does try to be polite and nice to people, she still has flaws. Ella is stuck with her family, and in this retelling, she simply can’t leave like many likely believe the original Cinderella should have. Brian is every bit a prince with the power to completely change Ella’s life, but things don’t magically fall into place where he sweeps her off her feet– that’s not how the real world works.

This novel does a great job of showcasing how attached two people can become without ever having physically met, how you can come to rely on your friends, no matter how new or old. I absolutely love that this novel shows that meeting people with like interests and not just because you’re in the same general social sphere can give you a much deeper connection.

Written from the perfect perspective, instantly you feel for the protagonists and want them to succeed in life. It’s a book that’s very hard to put down, and I found myself getting quite angry when real life got in the way of my reading.

The story within a story aspect was absolutely thrilling. It’s a great step to acknowledge that nowadays most people form connections with others with similar interests, and loving one particular book series or movie could be the one thing that draws you to someone, forming an irrevocable bond.

Knowing that you should be yourself and do what’s best for you, even if it’s scary, is an amazing lesson I think everyone can learn from.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Review of The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Wizard Heir
By Cinda Williams Chima

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/YA Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 480

Date Started: March 19, 2017
Date Finished: March 26, 2017
Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Sixteen-year-old Seph McCauley has spent the past three years getting kicked out of one exclusive private school after another. And it’s not his attitude that’s the problem. It’s the trail of magical accidents-lately, disasters-that follow in his wake. Seph is a wizard, orphaned and untrained–and his powers are escalating out of control.

After causing a tragic fire at an after-hours party, Seph is sent to the Havens, a secluded boys’ school on the coast of Maine. At first, it seems like the answer to his prayers. Gregory Leicester, the headmaster, promises to train Seph in magic and initiate him into his mysterious order of wizards. But Seph’s enthusiasm dampens when he learns that training comes at a steep cost, and that Leicester plans to use his students’ powers to serve his own dangerous agenda.

In this companion novel to the exciting fantasy The Warrior Heir, everyone’s got a secret to keep: Jason Haley, a fellow student who’s been warned to keep away from Seph; the enchanter Linda Downey, who knew his parents; the rogue wizard Leander Hastings, and the warriors Jack Swift and Ellen Stephenson. This wizard war is one that Seph may not have the strength to survive.

I picked this book up from a used bookstore not realizing it was the second in a trilogy. That being said, after reading this book and the eluded bits about the first, I don’t feel as if I missed anything or don’t understand what’s happened from having started with the second. If you are going to read this series, I would likely recommend you start with the first book, The Warrior Heir.

This was a book I didn’t want to end. Instantly enthralled, it was very easy to empathize with Seph.  There was a depth to this novel that isn’t always seen in YA pieces, the motivations of what people are doing to achieve their goals not obvious at first, but understandable when revealed. On top of the great characterization and development, this book is also well written in a way that makes you want to know what happens next, and care very deeply for the connections the main protagonist makes.

So many lessons can be learned from this book. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with. Trust your instincts.

I read this book slowly, putting it off or only reading in small spurts to try to make it last longer, knowing that a find like this doesn’t come that often. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it to others. I also think this book would likely be amazing for reluctant readers, due to how gripping the plot is.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima began writing romance novels in middle school, which were often confiscated by her teachers. Her Heir Chronicles young adult contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir (2006), The Wizard Heir (2007), The Dragon Heir (2008), The Enchanter Heir (2013) and The Sorcerer Heir (2014) all from Hyperion.

Chima’s YA high fantasy Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King (2009), followed by The Exiled Queen (September, 2010) The Gray Wolf Throne (2011) and The Crimson Crown (2012.)

Chima’s latest series, The Shattered Realms, (HarperTeen) is set in the Seven Realms world, and features a new generation of characters. It includes Flamecaster and Shadowcaster (April 2017) with two more coming.

Chima’s books have received starred reviews in Kirkus and VOYA, among others. They have been named Booksense and Indie Next picks, an International Reading Association Young Adult Choice, to the Kirkus Best YA list, and the VOYA Editors’ Choice, Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Perfect Tens lists.
Chima lives in Ohio with her family, and is always working on her next novel.

Review of The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher

The Seventh Bride
By T. Kingfisher

Star Rating: 

Genre: YA Fantasy

Number of Pages: 237

Date Started: March 13, 2016
Date Finished: March 15, 2016 (early in the morning)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)seventh
Young Rhea is a miller’s daughter of low birth, so she is understandably surprised when a mysterious nobleman, Lord Crevan, shows up on her doorstep and proposes marriage. Since commoners don’t turn down lords—no matter how sinister they may seem—Rhea is forced to agree to the engagement.

Lord Crevan demands that Rhea visit his remote manor before their wedding. Upon arrival, she discovers that not only was her betrothed married six times before, but his previous wives are all imprisoned in his enchanted castle. Determined not to share their same fate, Rhea asserts her desire for freedom. In answer, Lord Crevan gives Rhea a series of magical tasks to complete, with the threat “Come back before dawn, or else I’ll marry you.”

With time running out and each task more dangerous and bizarre than the last, Rhea must use her resourcefulness, compassion, and bravery to rally the other wives and defeat the sorcerer before he binds her to him forever.

This story is an unbelievably cute fairy tale in its own right.  Not only does the protagonist have spunk and pizzazz but she also isn’t fooled into thinking she’s in a magical perfect situation after being randomly proposed to by a lord.  Although she cannot refuse, she shows the fear that most fairy tale females lack, and because of that, she uses caution which is generally overlooked by not only the Brothers’ Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson characters, but also by Disney princesses.

From the beginning I saw glimpses of fairy tales.  There was mention of fantasy creatures doing mischievous things, and with a miller’s daughter, it would be hard not to expect Rumpelstiltskin to jump out.  Though there were several fairy tale and fantasy story connections from Rumpelstiltskin to Alice and Wonderland mixed with The Wizard of Oz, this book is a completely novel piece– innovative, imaginative, down to earth and impossible to resist the charm of.  Five stars.

Author Bio: (From Amazon)
T. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon, an author from North Carolina. In another life, she writes children’s books and weird comics. She has been nominated for the World Fantasy and the Eisner, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, Nebula, Alfie, WSFA, Coyotl and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections.

This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups. Her work includes multiple fairy-tale retellings and odd little stories about elves and goblins.When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies.

Review of The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

The Golden Braid
By Melanie Dickerson

Star Rating: 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Number of Pages: 320

Date Started: January 2, 2016
Date Finished: January 3, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)24867658
The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower. 

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

I’ll start by saying that this is part of a series of fairy tale retellings and I started in the wrong order.  If you want to start in the correct order, I believe the first on is The Healer’s Apprentice.From the beginning there are a few details that make it impossible not to know that our heroine/protagonist is, indeed, Rapunzel.  Starting with the obvious, her name is the same, but then she also has the quite long golden hair.  I greatly enjoyed that Rapunzel’s mother was given much more depth than the usual story allows, and that she appeared to have reasons for what she suggested to Rapunzel and the things she tried to make Rapunzel practice.  All in all, she was quite well done, and while empathetic, still quite villainous.  Rapunzel herself was also greatly characterized, ambitious, and well learned.

This was the first time I have seen a fairy tale so artfully mastered and wrapped around religion and the bible.  I quite enjoyed watching Rapunzel learn the scripture and contemplate what it meant to her, the reader left to assume that her mother had never spent much time speaking of religion.  For many, there needs to be a belief that someone will be there watching out for them, wishing them well, and loving them– especially for those who may not have a physical person out there doing so, and in that regard, entwining religion and God was quite perfect.

Unfortunately, while I did love the majority of the story, the reveal of who Rapunzel truly is (who her parents are) was too easily pieced together based on little snippets of foreshadowing given throughout the book, which made the official knowledge a bit lackluster, since, as a reader, it had been known for quite some time.

Overall, I greatly recommend this book, especially to people who wonder why their parents try to tell them to do certain things, to any that worry no one loves them or cares, and to those who believe every damsel in distress can’t save herself.

71pR6EFJ7UL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Melanie Dickerson is the author of Historical Romances, and her favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency, which shows her love for Jane Austen and the fact that she has memorized the Pride and Prejudice movie–the one with Colin Firth, of course. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at


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Review of Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

By Lisa Mantchev

Star Rating: 
Genre: Steampunk, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Young Adult
Number of Pages: 267

Date Started: December 5, 2015
Date Finished: December 8, 2015

Synopsis:(From Amazon)91RBFPPpCNL
A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

This book is my first steampunk novel I have read, and I absolutely loved it!  There is mystery, crime, and the ticking away of Penny’s life.  Throughout the novel the relationships of the characters take center stage, and it is the relationships that move the plot along just as much, if not more, than the action(quite befitting of a novel about a clockwork heart).  There are hints of romance that develop but don’t detract from the story, which makes the story all the more believable.

I absolutely loved the fashion, descriptions of the fashion, and all of the neat mechanical inventions used throughout the novel.  If this is how all steampunk is, I’m glad that this book was my first taste, because I can’t wait for more!

71siuVKPRFL._UX250_Author Bio: (From Amazon)
Lisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. When not scribbling, she is by turns an earth elemental, English professor, actress, artist, and domestic goddess. She shares her abode with her husband, two children, and three hairy miscreant dogs.

She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan,) the series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.) Her Kindle #1 Bestselling young adult steampunk novel, TICKER, is available from Skyscape. Her near-future young adult collaboration with Glenn Dallas, SUGAR SKULLS, is forthcoming from Skyscape.

Her adult urban fantasy collaboration with A.L. Purol, LOST ANGELES, is now available on Kindle along with its sequel, LOOSE CANON.

Her first picture book, STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS, is now available from Paula Wiseman/S&S, to be followed by SISTER DAY! and JINX AND THE DOOM FIGHT CRIME.

Stay updated with all the fun and glitter at her author website:

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Review of Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon
Codex Alera Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 688 (paperback)

Date Started: November 15, 2015
Date Finished: November 19, 2015 (around 2am)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)29396
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.” “Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

This book was recommended to me by a great friend, Maria Picone of Sky Tango Freelance, who knew that I had read The Dresden Files and felt that I was missing out.  Cheers, Maria– you were totally correct.  This book is AMAZING.  I don’t want to be disloyal to my love of The Dresden Files, and my love for The Dresden Files hasn’t changed, but this book is on a completely different level and comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges.

There is not a single character that does not have a purpose, who has no definition, or redeeming qualities.  I cared just as much about seeing what happened to the antagonistic characters as I did the protagonists.  Everything is explained incredibly well, in ways that made sense and helped draw a reader further into the book.  The furies originally made me think a bit of the daemons in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, but furies are unique individuals, and though they are connected to the characters they are not part of a whole.  Although the novel appeared from multiple standpoints this didn’t cause any sort of disconnect from chapter to chapter.  There were times when I desperately wanted to be following one part of the story, but was just as easily drawn into the happenings of another character.

While this book is quite lengthy, I found it to be hard to set down, and perfect.  While this adventure appears to be concluded, with all of the loose ends tied up, there are many ways that the series could continue after this particular title.  I have some speculations in regards to how some of these characters may be connected and I intend to keep note of them, though I believe whether or not my conjectures are correct will be shown, in time.

I cannot say enough about this book, and I cannot wait to read more!  Way to go, Jim Butcher.  Way to go!

Author Information:
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 detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

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Review of Love on Laird Avenue by Cindy A Christiansen

Love on Laird Avenue
By Cindy A Christiansen

Star Rating: 
Genre: Romance
Number of Pages: 211

Date Started: 10/22/2015 (rough guess)
Date Finished: 10/24/2015 (definitely when I finished it)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)laird
Tatum Stewart is trying to make it on her own
without her over-protective father. She starts a new computer consulting business and buys a new bungalow on Laird Avenue in Sugar House, Utah. She has no idea that the forces of evil are working against her that is, Burke Woods. His grandfather owned the home during Prohibition, and Burke wants the valuables stashed in her basement. Tatum’s dream home soon turns into her worst nightmare requiring her to hire the local renovation expert, Ryan Bulldarren. Who knew he would come with his own protection manual when he buys her a Bullmastiff dog as her new security system and sets about sabotaging her dates. Can these two quirky individuals figure out what Burke’s up to before it’s too late? Can they manage to keep their relationship strictly business?

This book is one of the best romance novels I have ever read, and I didn’t want it to end.  While Tatum was originally annoying and hard to relate to the reasons why made a lot of sense, and it was great seeing her overcome her problems and hangups while trying to become a responsible adult.  While Tatum was a bit hard to like it was impossible not to love Ryan from the start.  Ryan has some legitimate problems that he could have fixed, but his brother and father didn’t realize the amount of strain they put on him by demeaning his intelligence instead of looking for a reason Ryan couldn’t seem to do certain things well.  Together Tatum and Ryan learn that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself, and sometimes an unlikely ally can turn out to be one of the most inspiring people you have ever met.

This book is so incredibly real.  I absolutely love Christiansen’s explanation of Ryan’s life and the tribulations he has had.


Christiansen makes having a disability relatable in a way that not many others could.  There are many people who have likely been in situations like Ryan growing up, and there are probably still thousands of people who have never been diagnosed with learning disabilities and are instead thought of as lesser of a person.  Ryan overcoming his disability and learning how to cope is inspirational to those who may be in similar situations or know people who have been.  Most realistic of all is the fact that Ryan could very well be a real person, who really went through this and learned, finally, how to live life to the fullest.

I really think this novel could have an amazing novella follow up, and I’m sure anyone who reads it would know exactly what I’d like to see!

christiansenAuthor Bio: (From Amazon)
Cindy A. Christiansen writes sweet romance with humor, suspense…and dogs! With over thirty health issues and two autistic children, she struggles to write but finds it cathartic. She loves going where only her characters can take her. She loves dogs and always includes them in her books and features them on her covers. She donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs.

Although she’s an LDS Christian author, she finds writing about a character’s relationship with God as private as she does bedroom scenes. She chooses to let the morals of her characters speak for them.

She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.

Check out Cindy A. Christiansen’s Amazon page.

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Review of Bewitching by Jill Barnett

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.

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)

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