Payback’s a Witch – Lana Harper
Witches, sorcerers, magic, competition, LGBTQ+, romance, fiction.
Emmy ran away from Thistle Grove and the witch part of her to find her path and to run away from the heartbreak that had happened. This is all the fault of Gareth who broke her heart and she put a self-exile away from home. However, there is a tournament where she has to be a part of that is tradition. She runs into a familiar face, Talia, who just got her heartbroken. Talia tells Emmy it was Gareth’s fault. The next day she runs into her best friend who’s also got heartbroken by Gareth. Talia proposes an idea to get revenge, the three women that Gareth dated, together with getting revenge. Each of them goes with that idea. As time progresses, Emmy learns that her being away has caused some emotional wreckage with not only her family but with those who loved and cared for her. She also begins to fall for Talia during the tournament. Emmy has to choose her destiny, stay here or leave town again.
I got this book strictly because of booktok. I was curious because of the way that booktok was advertising this book as a witchy queer romance comedy. Let me tell you that booktok was not wrong. This was fun and sweet and insane to read. This had some elements of a slow-burn romance which is good for this type of novel. I loved how all three women ganged up against this one dude which was funny. The author did a great job with the witch lore and some world-building that was like breadcrumbs in the story. Harper wanted the audience to focus on the revenge and the romance part. The lore was simply helping the plot along and it wasn’t too distracting. Each character had and served a purpose for the plot. Highly recommend getting this novel to read. It was fun and romantic to read.
The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina – Zoraida Cordova
Inheritance, families, magic, fiction.
Orquidea is feeling her end coming and she invites her to her funeral as well as an inheritance to her descendants. Her magic. Those who grew up didn’t take the magic seriously and others were annoyed with it. There were a lot of secrets that the Montoyas kept from each other and all came out when the magic was handed down. There is a force that doesn’t want Montoya’s family line to have magic.
This book recently came out and I was intrigued by the plot. I loved this novel and the cultural lore that was present in this as well as magic. I love novels that have lore and mythical explanations that help understand the novel’s plot more. This also had an interesting family dynamic that is intriguing and satisfying to see the bonds get stronger despite the weak bond at the beginning. The transformation of the Montoyas from the first chapter to the last was certainly so paced that nothing felt rushed. Some flashbacks helped the story along. All in all, this novel was beautifully and magically written.
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
Fantasy, magic, abilities, monsters, orphan, young adult, fiction.
Soldier and orphan Alina goes with her fellow soldiers into the Fold to discover and take down some of the monsters. She discovers that she has powers of a very powerful Grisha. She is taken to the King and enters his court. Not only that but she was an apprentice to The Darkling. She starts training and learning about how to use her powers. Not only that but she learns more about the new world she is in but she misses the simple life before this extravagant life she was forced into. The Darkling wants Alina to help him destroy the Fold. Something darker and sinister is brewing and Alina tries to decide what to do that is right.
I saw that this book had a lot of hype and I didn’t understand. I read it and still don’t understand. I love writing and world building. Some of the characters seemed too cliched for my taste and I felt that I had read this before. Even though it’s fairly new, I read the trope before and didn’t really care for it. I know this is a part of a series but I will not continue the series as this didn’t get my attention that much.
Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
Latinx, magic, day of the dead, ceremonies, transgender, coming of age, culture, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Yadriel wants to prove he’s a brujo worthy to be a part of the brujos. Despite being transgender, he still tries to convince his family to allow him to prove his worth. As they don’t want to accept his gender he will not stop trying to convince them. One night a spirit left the world and that spirit is their cousin. Defying the rules he goes to find where his cousin went and summons his spirit. Except that wasn’t his spirit but of a fellow high school student that died that year. Yadriel also accidentally summoned a relentless spirit that doesn’t want to leave. Yadriel has to clean up the mess he made and prove to his family his gender.
This was the most beautifully written young adult novel that I ever had read. I was so sad that this book was short and I had binge read this. This novel speaks so many truths behind the fiction of how some families in society do not accept their child’s gender and the pronouns that they prefer. I loved the ending and found it perfect. Usually there are only novels that have families either shun them or the protagonist is accepting of themselves. Never in between and this book made my heart warm and glow. There was some romance and a lot of science fiction going on. I loved it and I would’ve loved it more if there wasn’t a potential dead love interest. That got me bummed out in the end. Overall, I loved this novel and was so glad to have read it.
Where Dreams Descend – Janella Angeles
Young adult, retelling, burlesque, magic, shows, competition, mystery, fiction.
Kallia has been training and using her magic for basic tasks but she wants a challenge. Jack, her Master, doesn’t want her to leave where she resides even though he can’t really stop her from entering the competition for the Conquering Circus. She arrives at the audition when accidents and other people who are magicians go missing. Marco doesn’t like how Kallia is effortlessly skilled and tends to have chaotic control of her magic. This doesn’t stop her from wanting to compete.
This was pretty good overall for a retellingish novel. I could tell it was inspired by Phantom of the Opera but this was fresh with a woman of color that added diversity and representation. I loved it. I loved the world that the author created and just wished that the pacing was a bit faster. It was slow at first and then it picked up some speed. The world building was excellently paced and enjoyed the characters. Can’t say more than that because otherwise it will spoil the good stuff.
Amari and the Night Brothers – B.B. Alston
Supernatural, magic, missing persons, African Americans, fantasy, adventure, POC representation, children’s literature, fiction.
Amari is trying to fit in and not feel much like an outcast. Also, she wonders what had happened to her brother and wants answers. She gets mystery mail that reveals that he nominated her to join the Night Brothers. She ventures to get accepted into this magical society but before she has to go through training and tests. Ultimately she will try to fit in and be accepted into this society while trying to find her brother. Some strange and unusual things occur at the Night Brother academy and she has to obtain the stolen items to return as well as find the traitor of the Beauro.
I had seen a TikToker read and review this book. I instantly knew I was going to love this book. This takes parts that I enjoyed about Harry Potter and parts of Percy Jackson, combined into this beautiful and stunning children’s book. I love a good female heroine and Amari was that for sure. I finished this in one sitting and I am still stunned by the magicalness of this novel. This had POC representation and a lot of lore but not too much that it would be overwhelming. I have to say that I am sort of mad that there are no sequels to this novel, but when the moment that Alston produces another book I will be instantly buying. The writing is amazing and adventure packed. This novel is good for all ages really because I think this is really fun to read. I highly suggest to not only get this book for one’s self, but as a gift for a middle grade, high school, or a gift to anyone. All ages can enjoy this phenomenal novel.
Reincarnated as a Familiar: Vol 1 – D.S. Craig
Magic, familiars, manga, light novel, fiction.
An elementary teacher gets hit by a box and falls becomes unconscious. When she comes to, she sees a rather large girl in front of her. Confused, she asks the young woman what happened. The young woman introduces herself as Lesti and tells her where they are at which is Alandrian Central Magic Academy. She begins readjusts to her new life and goes on a journey with Lesti.
This was so interestingly different and loved reading this light novel. A vastly different premise and plot than I am used to personally, but this was great. I would have preferred to read the manga version, but this sufficed for sure. The writing was great, and the characters were interesting. Interactions felt natural and the lore felt genuine. Can’t wait to find the manga to add to my collection, however.
The Guinevere Deception – Kiersten White
Magic, impersonation, knights, knighthood, king Arthur, Camelot, young adult, fiction.
Merlin’s daughter, disguised as Guinevere, is delivered to King Arthur. Merlin sent her because she knows how to protect Arthur and Camelot from dark magic. The story is that she is to become the Queen of Camelot but in secret she’s protecting Arthur. During her stay she comes to love Camelot and willing to do anything to protect Arthur and the citizens of Camelot. A mysterious knight catches her attention and some dark mysterious threat looms over Camelot.
I’ve been always fascinated by King Arthur stuff and tales of Camelot. It is hard to find literature of that interest with a female perspective or through the female character’s point of view. This book legit brings that to the table. I must get my hands on the sequel for sure. I’m utterly thankful for this work and again I love the author. She writes beautifully and the details are out of this world. I need to read more of this author. I do recommend this author because she does research and plays with lore in a good way that doesn’t make the literature confusing but rather unique.
Eona – Alison Goodman
Dragon, magic, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
After nearly escaping, Eona and others are on the run and must find a safe place to regroup and formulate a plan. One of the plans is to find Prince Kygo and take back the kingdom from Lord Sethlon. Eona is facing the loss of nearly all the Dragoneyes and the sadness all the other Dragons are feeling. She must set that feeling aside to figure out how to find the Prince first then later worry about how to use and wield her Dragoneye powers. As they travel, they learn of Eona’s immense power that is hardly controlled. She learns of her ancestry and connections to the Mirror Dragon. When they reached a small tavern, they make rest there. The next day, they find Kygo fighting men and it takes all Eona’s will to stop him from fighting. When he loses the murderous rage, he regains conscious and they all are grateful for his recovery from the madness. He begins to learn about Eona and appoints her as his advisor. Both Eona and Kygo together and one of the things that is needed to be taken care of is rescuing Lord Ido to help Eona be trained to master the dragons in the meantime. This means returning to the Palace. This becomes a rescue mission and what they did not expect that this would mean war. That they would have to fight for the Palace and for Prince Kygo to claim the throne that is rightfully his.
I had mentioned in my last blog, one I had done for Eon, that I had to go find this in the garage of my parents due to the wanting to read this duology. I had learned the term duology while researching terms for how to label a two-book series. Anyways, I loved this sequel because it had the fire and passion that was left as a cliff hanger in the previous book. Eona learning of her ancestry was a vital and important character development for this book. She discovers herself and how important she is to Prince Kygo. That drives her passion and will to fight. I love Eona because she is so strong willed and knows of her weaknesses but does not let that get in the way at all. This novel was so beautifully written and presented, just as the first one. I could not put this book down at all. I do recommend hunting this duology down and read them. I always am recommending novels and this one is no exception because I had read this once before and rereading this one put me through nostalgia once more.
Eon – Alison Goodman
Dragon, magic, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Eon is training to become the new Rat Dragoneye. The only danger is that Eon is a girl named Eona disguised as a crippled boy. She can sense Dragon power and her only chance is to be disguised as a crippled boy. Unfortunately, women are not allowed the ability to wield Dragoneye powers. Once the ceremony begins, she tries her hardest to get accepted by the Rat Dragon. When she was not accepted by the Rat Dragon, she finds herself meeting and accepting the lost Mirror Dragon. No one has heard from the Mirror Dragon in centuries. She confides in Lady Dela of her situation, and Lady Dela tells her to follow what she finds right. Eon must continue the disguise even though her dragon is a female and requires female energy. Lord Ido plans to expose her truth and attempt to take over the kingdom that is rightfully is not his. It belongs to Prince Kygo, who Eona, sworn to his mother to protect and befriend Kygo. Kygo knows of this and made Eona swear only of mutual survival only and Eona agrees. When the King dies, chaos ensues, forcing all to scramble. Lord Ido nearly killed all the Dragoneyes for their power except for Eona. Lord Sethlon has overthrown the kingdom in the disappearance of Prince Kygo. Eona must make a life altering decision to fight for what is right and for her life.
I had read this book in middle school and loved this so much. This novel is underappreciated and does not seem to be noticed. It has a feeling of Mulan but with more magical lore that adds to the sense of danger that Eona faces. The discovery of finding out the missing dragon was a female one and the sense of female empowerment from that fuels Eona’s passion for fighting for the right is amazingly everything I could ever hope for in the novel or any novel in general. I had to go through my parents’ garage to find this hidden treasure to reread because it was hard to find, in my opinion, but I rather had my original copy I had. I really enjoyed this novel when I first read it and I enjoyed it more when I reread the novel just to get more familiar with the book a bit more because it had been years since I’ve read it. I do recommend the novel to all audiences, not just young adults.