Review of Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

The spirits of the dead do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as ravenous, hungry spirits. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who whisper about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being whose extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, Artemisia discovers that facing this hidden evil might require her to betray everything she believes—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

This book is amazing. From the beginning we are completely drawn in and immersed in a high stakes world. Artemisia is different from most of the Gray sisters who work with the dead; she finds it peaceful and feels as if she doesn’t bother anyone there. It’s interesting where Artemisia sees herself and where others want her, and how despite knowing what she doesn’t want, she knows she has to protect people, and the only way she can consider doing that is to go against what she was taught as a Gray sister. I love the strong female protagonists in this novel, and that most aren’t what you would expect. I love the real tribulations and fears that are shown and worked through because even though you’re in a fantasy world, there is always something that people fear or makes them uncomfortable. There were little dips and nods that reminded me a bit of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (last book in The Shadow and Bone trilogy).

I finished this book two days ago and while I did start this review yesterday, I needed time to put the finishing thoughts in order. This book truly touched me. I love how death was considered a part of life, and how no matter whether you want or don’t want something, sometimes the best course of action, or what makes you the best candidate to do something, is because of what you DON’T want to get out of things; that sometimes what is necessary and what you want won’t align, but it still has to be done. I would highly recommend this book, as well as the other two Rogerson books I’ve read, An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. I feel as if I lost something great by finishing this book, and it will take something truly amazing to be able to pick up from here.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Happy New Year! 2022 Book Recommendations…

In 2022 I read/wrote book reviews for 73 books (that’s one down from last year)! Of course there are always a few stand out authors/series/books so of all the books I read my top recommendations would be:


A Dreadful Splendour by B.R. Myers
A Victorian spiritualist who made her way by swindling people ends up in jail. Her salvation is a stranger who asks her to help a grieving widow move on, except Mr. Pemberton doesn’t seem like the heartbroken man she was supposed to manipulate. He believes his fiancée had been murdered, and he wants her to help use her trickery to convince the murderer to confess. When odd happenings begin around the manor, they realize there may be more to the Somerset ghost than originally thought.

The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Gläser 
A forgotten book can hold such power! Emma finds a book that whatever she writes in comes true, but there are consequences. Unfortunately someone else has realized the power of the book, and she has to rely on the new boy with a sour face and rude disposition, Darcy de Winter, to help. A mixture of fairy tales meets Jane Austen, this story will suck you in and enrapture you.

The Raven Spell by Luanne G. Smith
Ian Cameron finds himself bludgeoned and almost killed, demanding answers from two witches, Edwina and Mary Blackwood with odd abilities. As their secrets are slowly unveiled, Edwina attempts to help Ian figure out his lost time and the investigative case he was on. As they search through London for a missing person, and a series of gruesome murders, they find clues that threaten the unshakeable bond of being a twin.

A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth, a librarian who had been orphaned and raised by the library staff, is implicated in the crime of releasing the most dangerous magical book. The only choice she has is to go to Nathanial Thorn, even though as a sorcerer he should be her mortal enemy. Once with Thorn and his demon servant, Silas, she finds herself caught up in a centuries-old conspiracy, racing to keep the great libraries, and the world, from going up in smoke.


Helen Harper
Amazon PageWebsite
Originally recommended to me because of her Slouch Witch books, I found her writing style quite enjoyable, with mysteries that I often don’t quite figure out before the end. I quite enjoyed that series, so when I started reading The Firebrand series, I was surprised how much I absolutely adored her way of writing a quirky detective who doesn’t exactly listen to what she’s told, despite having been the best in class before being “demoted” to working with the supernatural squad. Very English, great descriptions of locations with The Firebrand taking place predominantly in London, England.

Tessonja Odette
Amazon PageWebsite
Having just started another one of her books, I can say I was drawn in from the first sentence. The depth of her characters and politics within her novels is quite endearing. Her retellings of fairy tales I’d long known and loved were refreshing and while they did have a connection, the story doesn’t merely follow the same path we already know, and there are certainly times when it seems that there will not be a happy ending. I ended up reading all of the books in the Entangled in Fae series and found that none of the characters were as I expected them to be, and their depth and uniqueness made them all the more enthralling to read about.

LJ Andrews
Amazon PageWebsite
Oh my goodness, she writes amazing fairy tale retellings mixed with Vikings. Once you start reading they are impossible to put down, and I binge read the entire series she’d done of The Broken Kingdoms (which starts with a Beauty and the Beast retelling) just to find the next one won’t be out until February 21st! Soon, I’ll get to continue! Her writing immediately draws you in and immerses you in the world, and her characters are both flawed but likeable. Her characters drastically change throughout the books and grow, making you feel as if you’re truly along for the experience.

K. M. Shea
Author PageWebsite
She writes some amazing fantasy books. I first got hooked on The Fairy Tale Enchantress books, but there hasn’t been a book of hers I’ve read that I haven’t loved. Her writing is refreshing and her plotlines interesting and you’re never quite sure what you might be getting yourself into. Also absolutely loved her Court of Midnight and Deception book series, and of course Pack of Dawn and Destiny!

Review of Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

While the book might take a little bit to fall into, the world is vast and well described, quickly letting the reader become absorbed. I quite enjoyed Elisabeth’s journey from start to finish, a library child, and one that was raised with biases that she will have to work with and against in order to save everything. I loved the idea of redemption, and especially the thought that things in the world are usually not black and white- there is the possibility for something to be dark and evil, but just as much possibility for it to be used for good. This was bittersweet to finish, and wish I could’ve had a few more chapters to hear just a bit more of what happened at the end…

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯