Review of Spirit Witch by Helen Harper

Spirit Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 3
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 268

Date Started: November 19, 2017
Date Finished: November 20, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
If anyone appreciates what it means to be dead to the world, it’s Ivy Wilde.

Barely recovered from her brush with necromancy, Ivy is flung once more into a world of intrigue, adventure and potential death and disaster. It’s not her fault – it just so turns out that she’s now the only person in the entire world who can communicate with the dead. And they’re a chatty bunch with a list of demands.

When the ghosts offer information about a witch-hating mass murderer in return for Ivy’s help, she has no choice but to get involved. She might be getting herself into more trouble than she realises though – and that’s even before she’s dragged to Sunday dinner so she can meet Winter’s family…

Review:
Winter seems to go through a bit of an existential crisis, and it’s interesting to see him so capable but unsure of the direction of his future. It becomes obvious that spending so much time together is rubbing off on the two main protagonists. While Rafe and Ivy work on figuring out a mystery, while trying not to let their relationship get in the way, one finds another relationship far more pressing and urgent–theirs with Brutus. Brutus is, by far, my favourite character in the series. His random quips of intense insight make up for how lazy he is most of the time, not to mention the hilarity of claiming an inability to do more–much like our slouch witch used to do.
“You like Eve.”
“Love Ivy.”

In the end, I felt that everything and everyone was mostly where they should be. I wish it had been a bit more longer, and not thrown into the epilogue. Most of what I’d hoped would happen throughout the entire series had come to pass, though I would have liked to see more happen to Tarquin. I am quite sad to see the series finished, but have since started another book by Harper, and look forward to reading more written by her in the future.

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.

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Review of Star Witch by Helen Harper

Star Witch
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic Book 2
By Helen Harper

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 334

Date Started: November 18, 2017
Date Finished: November 19, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Ivy Wilde, the laziest witch in the West, is still entangled with the Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment. That’s not a bad thing, however, because it gives her plenty of excuses to spend more time with sapphire eyed Raphael Winter, her supposed nemesis. And when he comes knocking because he needs her to spy on the latest series of Enchantment, she jumps at the chance. Hanging around a film set can’t be hard … or dangerous … right?

Review:
The relationships in this novel were spot on! Not just Ivy and Rafe, but the interactions between all the characters were realistic and believable. Seeing Ivy thrown into an uncomfortable situation and need to adapt while Rafe stays nearby, their reactions to each other gave as much entertainment as the reality show bits they were supposed to be enthralled with.

I didn’t see this coming, her going on the television show that had been hinted about in the first book, but once more was learned about the television show, how it was essentially survivor meets people needing to use magic, it sounds like something I would also want to watch. Because of this reality television section, the mysteries were multiplied, and I am not ashamed to admit that I hadn’t figured out who it was before the reveal.

Like any book series, I do have a favourite character. While I empathize with Ivy, wanting to get results without work (who wouldn’t want to do that?!) I LOVE Brutus.

I loved this second book, and I couldn’t wait to read the next in the series! It’s a great series, and one I highly recommend!

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 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.

Review:
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 A Witch’s Demon by N. E. Conneely

A Witch’s Demon
Book 6 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 304
Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
For months Michelle has known another demon would come after her. What she doesn’t know is that it’s already stalking her friends, hunting her colleagues. Instead, her attention has been focused on learning all she can about witch clans, the engagement ring on her finger, and why Elron won’t set a wedding date.

Elron has a secret, one he’s afraid could ruin his relationship with Michelle. He knows the demon has arrived. He knows it’s only a matter of time before it strikes.

When a detective from a neighboring town calls Michelle, some secrets will be revealed, but will she discover the demon in time to protect the people she loves? Will she survive a fight not just for her life but for her very identity, the core of what makes her a witch?

Review:
I felt like this novel was really a turning point in the series, from fun and sometimes serious to tragedy. So many odd things happen in this novel and while Michelle is trying to piece everything together there’s a lot of “I could have saved them” moments. While the price of what might work is steep, Michelle thinks it is worth it.

One can’t help but worry about the end “gift” may end up as more of a curse…

All in all, looking forward to reading more.

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.

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

A Witch’s Rite
Book 5 in A Witch’s Path series
By N. E. Conneely

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 278
Season Read: Fall
Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Michelle is getting used to her new life, one with clans, parents, a loving grandmother, and a boyfriend. But her old responsibilities are still around. The police still need her help, and balancing all her obligations is becoming more difficult, but police cases won’t wait for anyone, and when the police call, she has to answer.It starts out like any other case. Suspicious magic has been reported, and the police need Michelle to help them check it out. When it turns out that the magic is deep in the Cohutta Wilderness Area, Michelle asks Elron to accompany her. It isn’t long before she’s learning just how much she doesn’t know about the woods.When that small problem turns into a really big problem, spells are flying, danger is everywhere, and only one question remains. Will they escape alive?

Review:
This story, slightly longer than the last, was absolutely brilliant. There were many points where the reader would be left uncertain of what may happen, which is always the best type of book to read. As Michelle and Elron continue to grow their relationship they are forced to realize that while together they are strong, they each have their own advantages and need to work together when obstacles arise. There wasn’t an overabundance of unnecessary descriptions, and everything flowed quite well.

Of course, at the end, all you can want is… more!

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.

Review of Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Jinx
By Sage Blackwood

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy/Young People/Young Adult/Children

Number of Pages: 384

Date Started: June 22, 2016
Date Finished: June 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)jinxThe highly acclaimed first book of a fantasy adventure series set in a mysterious forest, starring a daring new hero.

“Readers will thrill to journey with Jinx” (SLJ, starred review), a wizard’s apprentice, as he sets off on a quest through the dangerous Urwald, a magical forest full of wizards and were-creatures, and discovers that it is more complex than he could imagine, and that it needs him more than he could ever guess.

This humorous and smart tween fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Septimus Heap, The Sisters Grimm, and Fablehaven.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Review:
This story is magical.  I am so glad that this book is the first in a series because as I got further and further along I was really worried that I wouldn’t get to continue on and learn more about Jinx’s life.  The Urwald is perfect.  Simon is the perfect differentiation from Jinx’s stepparents.  Jinx is refreshing and unique without shoving anything in your face.  The characters are gripping, the plot is intriguing, and I found myself less and less willing to set the book aside.  I definitely think this book is along the lines of Howl’s Moving Castle but this book has such unique qualities that it’s hard to compare it to anything.  The magic seen is new, refreshing, and interesting.  Everything you thought you might have known about magic and magical creatures might be right, or it might be turned on its head, depending on the person.  There are great morals, and it’s overall an amazing book.

Author Information: (From Amazon)
Sage Blackwood was born in Chicago and grew up in New York State. She graduated from Antioch College and the University at Albany, and taught ESL for many years. Her first fantasy novel, JINX, was selected as a Best Book of 2013 by Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Amazon.

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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