Review for Witchling by Ari Harper

witchling

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Ari Harper
Title: Witchling

Genre:  Young Adult/Paranormal

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Itching For Books
This review is part of a book blog tour for Ari Harper’s Witchling. The tour is hosted by Itching for Books who is also hosting a giveaway for this book (click below):

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Series: Curse of Kin #1

Released: November 29th 2012

Publisher: Lycaon/Breathless Press

Purchase: Amazon

About the Author

Ari Harper never wanted to grow up.

To offset the limitations of aging ungracefully, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she wants.

Gods, witches and demons surround Ari while she spins her magic, doing mainly what they tell her to do. Given a chance, she prefers to work amongst chaos, which is good because she is constantly surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her stories, some of them even get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm.

www.ariharper.com

Okay, now here’s my review for the book!

Background:

Amazon Description:
Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland, or so she thought until she discovers the family secret.. now her world is forever changed.

Descended from a long line of witches, she discovers she is the one who has to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her.

And if that isn’t enough, she must learn to use magic from the man called Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches…and a god. It is Bones who has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons.

Can Nera succeed and resist the charms of the man who gets under her skin at every opportunity?

Opinions:
Witchling is the first book in a series. It follows Nera in her adventures when she discovers her family’s secrets. Finding out you’re a witch can be intense enough, but finding out you’re a witch and the only one to stop a 800 year old curse is another. Together with her uncle and friends, Nera must focus on training and enhancing her abilities to save not only the people she loves but the world.

Characters:
The story is written in first person following Nera. Nera is a spunky girl who is not afraid to tell you what is on her mind. This has the tendency to get her into some trouble – especially with her protector, Bones. She’s not your typical girly girl, but loves to run and be athletic. This gives her edge when she trains to help break a 800 year old curse that plagues her family. Although she is a strong character, she still has some growing up to do. At times, I felt that her five year old brother was more mature than her. Perhaps, it is the teenage hormones, but her bickering was a little much at times in the book. Jasper, her uncle that is cursed, lives in an old castle – his family home. He is a loveable character who is also like a father figure to Nera and her friends. He has some magic and helps train Nera for the upcoming battle, but it is Bones (real name Brian) who is the main trainer. Brian is not only Nera’s trainer but protector. They are destined to be together forever – part of the job requirement of a protector. This doesn’t bode too well with Nera who starts a fight with him at any opportunity she can. She doesn’t like being bossed around, and Bones does just that.  I think my favorite character out the book was Roman, Nera’s brother. He’s a smart little boy and very mature for his age. He also plays a small part in this whole story. The characters in the book are eclectic – human, gods/goddesses, witches, demons, and even a dog. You never know who has powers in this book.

Plot:
The plot mainly focuses on the prep work for defeating Edrith (which will break the curse.) Training does not always go so well and there are attacks that stop their progress. They only have a short amount of time before Edrith attacks Nera, and that puts some strain on relationships. The story itself moved along well – there is always something happening – although I found the main components of the story a little repetitive. What I mean is the scenarios might be different but the underlining current was the same. The climax of the book does hold the battle that they have been training for; the story does not cut off at a cliffhanger before that. The story was entertaining, but I would have liked to see a little more background explained with some of the characters. There were also a few things that were not tied up at the end that I thought should have been. (I can’t really go into details about that because they would be spoilers, so I will leave the comment like it is.) One loose end that could have been addressed in the book (that is not really a spoiler) is how Jasper could live all that time in his castle without anyone questioning it. I understand that it is a little remote, but the man drinks a ton of tea (and obviously eats.) Surely, people would notice if a man came into shop and never changed, right?

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I like the book. If you like young adult books with a paranormal twist, then you might want to try this book out.

 

Review for Woman King by Evette Davis

woman king

My Rating: 3/5

Author:  Evette Davis
Title:  Woman King

Genre:  Paranormal

Background:

Amazon Description:
Meet intrepid political consultant Olivia Shepherd. Born an empath, she inherited the ability to read people’s emotions. Since her youth, however, she has rejected her gift-that is until an ancient time walker helps her reclaim her skill. Olivia’s powers draw the attention of the Council, a secret supernatural political organization. When Olivia accepts an assignment to run a high-profile campaign, she’s quickly drawn into the Council’s perilous politics. A chance encounter introduces Olivia to William Ferrell, a man with his own connections to the organization. Readers who enjoyed “A Discovery of Witches,” “The Night Circus,” and “The Historian” will enjoy Woman King.

Opinions:
Woman King is the first book in a soon-to-be trilogy. It primarily takes place in San Francisco. Olivia is an empath that has blocked her ability most of her life because of the affects it had on her mother. Suddenly, her career and emotional state changes dramatically. She meets a time-walker set out to help her. Through the time-walker, she learns that a demon has been targeting her because she is weakened from not using her powers. Her world turns upside down as she copes with learning how to strengthen her abilities to protect herself from the demon and learning that there are a lot more paranormal things to this world than she originally thought – and she falls for one of them.

Characters:
The story is written in first-person through Olivia. Olivia – after denying her gift for a long time – embraces her empathic abilities and discovers new adventures and job opportunities with the help of a new friend, Elsa. Elsa is a time-walker that was sent by her grandmother to help Olivia. Through her new connection she sees the world differently. There are “Others” that walk with regular humans – vampire, werewolves, witches, and even fairies. Olivia must train herself physical, mentally, and emotionally to overcome the destructive power of a demon. Yet, a demon is not the only thing that Olivia should be worrying about.  She eventually falls in love with William, who is not quite human himself. Olivia is a strong character who learns to overcome her own limitations and help those around her. Without adding any spoilers, I’ll try to stay vague on this next part. I was a little surprised that the one character disappeared at the end without finding out something of what happened to him/her before the book concluded. I was also surprised by the general acceptance of Lily’s love choice compared to an earlier discussion, and a scene between two characters and Olivia in Paris (however brief.)

Plot:
The story followed Olivia through her rediscovery of her gifts and talents, which also included a new job with a political campaign. The story moved along well with a few surprises incorporated. I think the ending of the story was a little premature. I didn’t feel that any main questions/issues brought up in the book were answered. I understand that there are two other books planned for this series, but I expected at least a few things to be tied up by the end of the book.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, this was a good book – I mainly lowered my stars due to the ending. If you like paranormal stories and even behind the scenes political campaigns, you might enjoy this book.

 

Review for The Witch’s Salvation by Francesca Pelaccia

the witch's salvation

My Rating: 5/5

Author:  Francesca Pelaccia
Title:  The Witch’s Salvation

Genre:  Historical Fantasy

Background:

Amazon Description:
A witch who demands humanity. The immortal families who denied her of it. Two mortals commanded to right the wrong. That is the fate of the urban princess Anasztasia and the renegade prince Matthias, born shockingly mortal to two immortal families. If they go back in time and restore the witch’s humanity, she will grant them immortality. She will also break a 550 year-old curse that imprisons Matthias’s family in their ancestral homeland and exiles Anasztasia’s family from it. But to make their lives their own, the heirs must return to the most dangerous day in their families’ past, Easter Sunday, 1457. This is the day Vlad III, aka Dracula, massacred all nobles and their families involved in the death of his father and older brother. How can Anasztasia and Matthias reverse the past when their families will not speak of their wrongs? How can they refuse when the witch owns their lives? An expansive and immersive fantasy novel, The Witch’s Salvation takes readers on a remarkable journey through immortality, time travel, family curses and one of history’s most nefarious figures.

Opinions:

The Witch’s Salvation is a story about righting the wrongs of the past between century-old families. Over 500 years ago, a witch cursed two families – the Barbats and the Senestis. One was banished out of the border while the other was trapped within. The witch also made the families immortal. And, no. Not vampires or werewolves. Just immortal.  Until two children were born – one to each family: Anasztasia to the Senesti family and Matthias to the Barbat family. Their mortality surprised their immediate families who kept this secret to preserve the honor and pride of the royal names. They are thrown together and meet the witch who gives them two choices to remove the curse. One is to combine the two families through marriage. The other is to go back in time (only mortals can travel to and from the past) and bring back a golden chalice that belonged to her people. For the second choice, they only have one day – until sunset of Easter. However, this is the day that Vlad III (yes, the one that Dracula was based upon) massacred their families. It is a dangerous mission if they choose to accept it.

Characters:
The story is written in third person, following Anasztasia and Matthias. Anasztasia considers herself a goody-goody who does what her family – especially her grandfather – says. She was raised in New York but taught all the protocols of being a royal princess (in name only) of the House of Senesti. She travels to Romania for her eighteenth birthday, where she is presented to other nobles. Being back in Romania, her family wants to seek out the witch who cursed them to see if she can make Anasztasia immortal. Anasztasia is a strong female character. She is later called a “warrior princess.” But, she has a great heart and compassion for people. Through this adventure, she discovers what it is like to be free. For the first time in her life she believes that she is living. Matthias is from the House of Barbat. His father went to the witch and made a deal to go back in time to help reverse Matthias’s mortality. However, he never came back (two years ago.) Matthias wants to find him and bring him back. He is bitter towards his own grandfather and family. He is also the only one in his family that can leave the border as he pleases. IN addition, he is the one who starts the ultimatum with the witch. Going back in time, he helps saves some gypsies while seeking out his father. He also learns how to live and learns more about his family. The other characters were well-written and took on a believable quality.

Plot:
The plot moved along well. There is adventure and mystery throughout the book. The curse and the story of the families become more complicated as the characters move forward. They discover themselves and form alliances with relatives that have long been dead. Anasztasia and Matthias discover the true horrors of what happened to their families in the 15th century, and the cruelty of Vlad III and his commander. The story was original and kept my interest as I read.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had magic, time travel, adventure, and mystery. If you like these things, then you should try this book.

 

Review for Poison Heart by Emma Jean Hoffmann

poison heart

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Emma Jean Hoffmann
Title:  Poison Heart (Poison Heart Trilogy)

Genre:  Paranormal

Background:

Amazon Description:

“She killed her true love.
She gave his kingdom to the vampires.
She turned her back on her sworn duty to protect the innocent from the evil that preys on them, vowing to never pick up the sword of duty again.
She wants to die…
But the gods aren’t that merciful to the truly despicable. Imogen is forced to pick up her sword in a quest to rescue the kingdom from the hands of the vampires. And its’ not long before she realizes the horrible truth. To succeed, she will have to revisit the haunting sins of her past, and find a way to recapture her heart from the poison it drowns in.”

Opinions:

Poison Heart is a story about Imogen and her battle with herself and the evil around her. This story takes place in an alternative European setting during “medieval times” and involves vampires, werewolves, warlocks, orcs, etc. My vampire stories are limited so if I was comparing this book to Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It would definitely be Buffy.

Characters:
The story is mostly written in first person – through Imogen. There are a few parts that are written in third person by other characters in the book. When the reader first meets Imogen, she is in a depressed state being physically and mentally abused. However, this quickly changes into hate as she seeks out to battle against evil vampires. Although she considers herself weak, she continues fighting and moving forward with plans. She is not the typical heroine and has a complex layer to her character. The bad guys in the story are essentially that – bad. There are a few surprises with some characters, but you can read about that for yourselves.

Plot:
The plot moved rather well. There was action, adventure, and fighting. It also had times of reflection for Imogen that allowed the reader to dive more into her motives and character. I was little curious about exactly what happened between the death of Imogen’s love and how she got to where the beginning of the book started. It was just briefly summarized, but I would have liked a little more information on the turn of events. There were also some grammatically errors in the book and what I call “comma happy” writing. [I’m all for commas, but there were a lot in this book. Perhaps some other forms of punctuation such as semi-colons and hyphens would help in the later books?] The story leaves off for the next book but has a conclusion for the current book.

The Bottom Line:
Overall it was a good read. If you like paranormal/fantasy type stories with mythical creatures that are mostly evil, then you might like this book.