Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Review: It Takes A Witch

It Takes A Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery #1) 
By Heather Blake
*** 1/2 stars
“He does manage the bookstore, which is currently my favorite place on earth." Her eyes glazed over. "All those books. If I married him, I could probably work there the rest of my life. Nothing would make me happier."

"What about love?" Ve asked.

"Oh," Harper said solemnly. "I love books.” 

― Heather BlakeIt Takes a Witch
After reading a bunch of duds, this cozy actually had characters that didn't suck and a plot that made sense.  I was getting really tired of heroines that were too stupid to live, but Darcy had believable issues (ok, there are magic powers involved as well, but that didn't make anything less believable), and her attempts to solve the mystery actually made sense. For one, she actually *wanted* to get the police involved. And when that didn't turn out to be a viable option, she turned to the hunky former-cop. See, things making sense and characters acting reasonably. Was that really so hard?! 

Darcy wasn't the most engaging protagonist I've ever read, but she wasn't "screw-up-cute" or "clumsy-adorable" and I don't think there were any occasions where she made me want to throw the book in frustration. (Man, I've really read some losers lately.) She seemed like a real person, and I appreciate that. And the supporting characters were also interesting and well-developed. Even the the character who everyone kinda hates was redeemed by the end. I loved that.

The town itself seemed like a magical Stars Hollow. It's a magic-themed town, but only some of the townsfolk know that real magic exists. Those with magic are called Crafters, and each Crafter family has a different ability. Darcy, her sister, and her aunt are Wishcrafters. When someone makes a wish out loud, and they're pure of heart, the Wishcrafter must grant the wish. The world building here was pretty cool, and the first I've read like that.  

But the best part, bar none, are the familiars. If you don't love Pepe, you're wrong.


Ok, now my brain is busy imagining that Stars Hollow, like Enchanted Village (the name of the town in It Takes A Witch), has folks secretly hiding magic abilities, while other townsfolk know nothing about it. Miss Patty and Babette definitely have magic. Taylor Doose definitely doesn't. And he's constantly frustrated because he knows that Something Is Up, but can't figure out what. Kirk is totally a squib. Luke has magic, but is curmudgeonly about it, like everything else. Suki, yes. Jackson, probably not. Lorelai and Rory are No's, but they are completely enchanted by the magic, even though they don't know it's there.

I would totally watch that show. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Winter

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) 
By Marissa Meyer
**** 1/2
“She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.” 
― Marissa MeyerWinter
I finished it! Man that was a long book! And STRESSFUL. Even knowing that HEAs were assured, this book kept me in a constant state of worry. 

While the cover and title are given to our fourth heroine, Winter, I didn't feel like this was necessarily her book - all the stories entwined perfectly and felt very balanced as the changes in viewpoints progressed the plot. It didn't feel like Winter was the major focus; that being said, I still felt like I really got to know her and Jacin. Like I said, everything was really well balanced. 

This series was fantastic - I connected to all the characters and loved them all, Iko in particular. I sort of find myself shipping Iko and Kinney...

Now can we get an epilogue? I'd like to hear more about those Happily Ever Afters...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9) 
By Darynda Jones
"I took a quick sip of my coffee before explaining. "I'm, like, stupid smart. I'm probably a prodigy of some kind."" --The Dirt on Ninth Grave, Darynda Jones
I love this series so much. There was a major twist that occurred at the end of book #8 that sends Charley to Sleepy Hollow, New York, where of course she meets the headless horseman. 

I won't go into what the twist is, but it changed Charley's circumstances. Despite what was a pretty big change, the book itself didn't really differ in tone or structure from previous books. If you're anticipating a major change, the way I was, you're not going to get it. That being said, I've enjoyed the tone and structure for the last 8 books, so I'm not too disappointed in the way this one played out.

Charley remains our snarky heroine, Reyes still steams up any room he enters (good thing since the story takes place during a New England winter), and Cookie is still the best friend we all wish we had. We have various threats of natural and supernatural natures and the story arc progresses further. All in all, this series still ranks among my favorites, and Ninth was another great addition to it.

**I received an Advanced Review eGalley of this title from NetGalley**

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Review: Witches of East End

For once I'm going to use the Media cover
since I liked the show so much better!
Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) 
By Melissa de la Cruz
“Joanna, like her daughters, was neither old nor young, and yet their physical appearances corresponded to their particular talents. Depending on the situation, Freya could be anywhere from sixteen to twenty-three years of age, the first blush of Love, while Ingrid, keeper of the Hearth, looked and acted anywhere from twenty-seven to thirty-five; and since Wisdom came from experience, even if in her heart she might feel like a schoolgirl, Joanna's features were those of an older woman in her early sixties.” 
― Melissa de la CruzWitches of East End
Another book picked up because I enjoyed the TV show - and another book that was kinda "meh" in comparison. I've never read de la Cruz before, but she's prolific and popular, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, there wasn't really anything I liked about the book. The plot was spotty; the characters were dull (and occasionally too stupid to live); and the resolution was tied up too neatly and entirely told, not shown. TV-Joanna was a total BAMF and a force to be reckoned with; Book-Joanna, not so much. And Wendy, my favorite character from the show, didn't exist in this book. Maybe she'll show up later. Maybe she was a creation for the show. I don't know, but I missed her. 

I feel like the show took all the weakest points from the book and patched them up. Plus, they had a fantastic cast, so connecting to the characters was easy. I didn't connect to any of the characters in the book, and frankly, sometimes I just didn't like them. The twist was interesting (book twist was different from TV twist), but so quickly revealed and resolved it didn't feel like it mattered. 

This is one of the few times where I'll definitely recommend the TV show over the movie. And wholeheartedly at that.