Posted in Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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*No Major Spoilers*

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her best friend was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

In this month’s book club read, I was interested in the premise of this novel. A unique twist on the zombie/paranormal genre. Teen Wiccans or “witches” as society calls the group. Solving a possible murder case with no help from friends or family.

“A scoop of dried rosemary goes into the bag, followed by salt. Sometimes, magic looks a lot like how my mom prepares chicken”- Undead Girl Gang

When I found out that this was a young adult novel, I was hesitant. With my book readings, I find most young adult fiction to be immature and drama that is unnecessary to the plot. This novel does have patches of teen drama, but it’s not too much to break the immersion. I groaned and complained when I felt like the drama was going on for too long. But overall, it sticks with the main story fairly well.

I know a lot of adolescents go through with body image issues, but it still bothered me how the main character kept saying that she was a “fat witch” or paints herself in a negative light.

One of my favorite parts that I found to be clever in the storytelling was how the girls couldn’t be further than 100 paces apart without the undead girls to turn into actual-looking zombies.

The only character I found to be likable was Xander, who is Riley’s older brother. Over the course of the book, Mila and Xander become close as they both mourn the loss of their friends and his sister. He seems to be a likable guy who I can relate to somewhat from real life experience.

This book’s plot twist blew me away in that I didn’t see it coming! I won’t spoil who the killer is, but if it’s someone I didn’t guess then you won’t see it coming either.

The bad guy’s motives I found to be realistic and relatable. I was worried about how the author was going to explain the motive for doing the evil deeds. Sometimes authors try and pull a huge plot twist, and they make a weak motive or don’t explain the motive very well.

“Most magic is just telling the universe that you’re thankful to be here”- Undead Girl Gang

Overall, I found this book to be a good read if you want a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like paranormal, zombies, high school crushes, and a good mystery, this is the book for you!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmbergo

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*No Spoilers*

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Magician Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and severely injure Magician Thane. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure and reveals the very soul of the man.

I’ve seen this series floating around on my book clubs and groups. The premise seems intriguing, a magician who can wield paper is rather an odd concept. So I jumped into this novel, cautiously optimistic.

On Goodreads, this is not classified as a “romance”. There are certainly romantic themes in this novel. As Ceony is off to rescue her mentor and starts to learn about him, his past, his hopes, and dreams. She steadily falls in love with her mentor, and this drives her further into figuring out a way to rescue him.

As the journey kept going, I started to grow less and less interested. The romance got to be very boring, and sure it was interesting to learn more about Magician Thane. However, her slow progress as “time is ticking away” aspect doesn’t feel like it doesn’t meet expectations sort of like it actually doesn’t matter.

My opinion being what it is, I don’t really want to recommend this book, but if you are still interested this book would be better suited to someone who prefers books about romance.

Buy it on Amazon!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Isabella’s Painting by Ellen Butler

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*Spoilers*

*Thanks to Power to the Pen for giving me the chance to read this novel early*

This novel follows Karina Cardinal as she’s living as a lobbyist in D.C. and dating one of the most desired bachelors, Patrick Dunne. The Dunne family is one of the most famous and wealthiest families in D.C. Martin Dunne working for a contracting company and Patrick following in his father’s footsteps.

Karina accidentally discovers a stolen painting in Martin’s study during a family Christmas party. Curiosity gets to Karina as she starts to research the hidden painting and realizes Martin is dealing with a mafia-tied mystery.

Desperate to help those she cares about, she returns the painting to the rightful owners. However, she ends up being hunted for revenge. Will she survive long enough to solve the mystery and help the ones she loves?

I was enjoying this book for the first few chapters. Stolen painting, classic art, mafia ties, how could you get more suspense? Then when Karina goes to Colorado for a family emergency and her boyfriend, Patrick, shows up soon afterward. As soon as they revealed this, I knew where it was going. Patrick ends up proposing, you know the rest.

The book started dragging with the romance drama. I wanted to get back to the mystery! I don’t want this relationship drama in my mystery books! (Stephanie Plum is the only exception to this rule) About 3/4s of the way through the book the mystery picked back up and I was binging this book as much as I could!

Overall, I thought this book was alright. Interesting premise. I’m all for women sleuths or women detectives, but the deep-seeded romance took what could have been an awesome story into a melodrama.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. Karina is not very interesting, she felt dull and not very strong. Patrick is a jerk and so is Martin. If you’re looking for deep characters you won’t find them here.

I would recommend this if you want a cheesy romance with some light mystery. It’s alright if you like this kind of thing. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Order it on Amazon