Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: These Witches Don’t Burn (These Witches Don’t Burn #1) by Isabel Sterling

*No Major Spoilers*

Trigger Warnings: Toxic Relationship/Emotional Abuse

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I saw this book on TikTok, and it caught my eye because it reminded me of a book I read in the past, Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson. The cover also caught my eye having each of the girl characters as Tarot cards gives off a good vibe for what’s to come! So let’s summon the energies for my review of These Witches Don’t Burn.

First off, I have to say 3/4s of this book focuses on the breakup between Hannah and Veronica. Veronica is a toxic partner and she keeps trying to beg for Hannah’s forgiveness and tries to coerce her into them getting back together. I hated these parts of the story because Hannah is trying to stay strong against the things Veronica is saying, but having been raised together doesn’t make this an easy task. I almost gave up on this book because of the toxicity and remembering the event that caused this breakup.

However, after a major turning point in the story, the toxicity goes away and we go back to focusing on the mystery at hand. The mysterious person stalking Hannah and Veronica was somewhat predictable, however I felt like the clues were misleading a bit and the villain was in my pool of suspects, but after process of elimination, you’re only left with one option. So the mystery element of this novel overall is okay.

However, certain points in the book was powerful emotionally with negative and positive ones. I felt like I was Hannah in those moments and not just someone observing her story. Even though this story is told in first person, I often feel like more of an observer of the events in the story rather than living through the character. Not sure if that’s a quirk of mine or just not being able to relate to characters sometimes.

Overall, this book was alright, I remember Undead Girl Gang more fondly even with all of it’s moments of melodrama, but These Witches Don’t Burn is saturated with melodrama and it makes so much of the story suffer in my opinion. So if you’re a fan of melodrama with a dash of mystery then this book is for you. If not then I’d check out Undead Girl Gang.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

RAPID REVIEW: The Tale of the Outcasts (The Tale of the Outcasts #1) by Makoto Hoshino

*No Major Spoilers*

This is the story of Wisteria, an orphaned girl lost in darkness, and Marbas, an immortal being who shares her loneliness. The unlikely companions met on a quiet, uneventful night, and they set off together in search of the light. What begins as a chance meeting on the edge of the late nineteenth-century British Empire soon became a full-fledged journey to find their place in the world.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I found this novel at my local library. The beautiful artwork and Beauty and the Beast-like story caught my interest. Happy to say that this is a lovely story full of heart, and the complications between found family and blood family.

I love how Marbas’ character develops over the course of this story. He is closed off emotionally a distant towards Wisteria, he doesn’t fully understand how attached to him she’s become over their time together. He is just resigned to spending all of eternity alone.

Do not worry though, the relationship between Wisteria and Marbas is strictly platonic. I don’t know how it grows and develops in the future, but I am invested in this storyline and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Overall, I loved The Tale of the Outcasts. The artwork is beautiful, and I am a bit of a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings apparently. I would recommend this manga for fans of romance, the supernatural, and found family vs blood family tropes.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

*Spoilers Incoming!*

**This novel contains descriptions of magic, blood, gore, and violence. Rated for 14+**

Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.

Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.

The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

When I found this novel at my local library it sounded like an interesting premise. Haunted library, demonic possession, and chaos all around; sounds fun right? Well, I tend to be picky about my Young Adult fiction sometimes. When I read a novel, I am more of a ‘don’t beat around the bush and say what you want to say’ kind of person. This whole ‘oh he has to hate me for my simple mistake’ and ‘she doesn’t want me. She wants boy X,Y, or Z.” When they are both clearly into each other is annoying and aggravating. Maybe that’s just me getting old, or maybe I’m not much of a romantic.

This novel is Ms. Bovalino’s debut novel, and I have a difficult time just completely tearing down this book. It has it’s good qualities and it’s bad qualities. My complaints lay with things I consider to be a major factor in my enjoyment of reading. Those being character dialogue and character development.

Now, I can tell that she put a lot of love and care into Eliot. I clearly understood his motives and his backstory. Tess on the other hand, I never fully understood her motives, even though she kept repeating them at least once a chapter. Maybe Tess and I got off on the wrong foot in the beginning, and I’m blowing this out of proportion.

If you wanted peace, you wouldn’t wear the devil’s face.

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

Tess’s reasons for going to this boarding school revolve around her parents being bad with money and making poor business decisions while the economy is struggling. She is giving up her dreams of going to her dream college just to make sure she can protect her little sister Natalie. I felt that not only keeping Natalie, who’s 13, in the dark about everything is naïve. I think a 13 year old has the capacity to understand that her parents made bad financial decisions. However, her older sister will still be there for her when she needs someone to talk to.

Tess throughout the story is so concerned about paying for this prep school, surely she would qualify for financial aid or scholarships because of her parents’ financial situation. If she discussed that I must’ve missed it because doing so would’ve helped ease the stress a bit.

Now with Eliot, his parents are wealthy enough he could’ve gone to any school he wanted. However, he goes to the one where his dad used to be on the school board, even though he is closer with his mother. He wants to learn more about the magic he shares with his mother, even though he is the reason he and Tess unleash a demon into the world he is still more than willing to help Tess destroy the book and the devil right along with it.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. The premise was promising, but the execution of the characters and their dynamics wasn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy YA romance with their paranormal activity then I’d say give this book a shot. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean you shouldn’t borrow it from a friend or local library.


Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: X-Files: The Truth is Out There by Various Authors

*No Spoilers*

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a chilling collection of all-new tales of dark secrets, alien agendas, terrifying monsters and murderous madmen.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As I always do when it comes to anthologies or short story collections, I take my favorites or most memorable stories and talk about them. For example with other short story collections I’ve reviewed, I usually talk about my favorites and least favorites. However, with this collection, I just did a top five of my favorites. I actually wanted to talk about seven of the stories, but my perfectionism won out, so I narrowed it down to my top five.

There isn’t a bad story in this collection, I enjoyed all of them, but I’m going to be discussing my favorites today. So, in order in which they appeared in the collection, here we go!

We Should Listen to Some Shostakovich by Hank Phillipi Ryan

No X-Files story is complete without some Mulder loves Scully action. In this story, Mulder and Scully have left their jobs at the FBI to get married and decided to start a family. As a wedding present, they receive a mysterious painting from one of Scully’s long lost uncles. As they delve deeper into the painting’s history things get dangerous. 3.5/5 Stars

Mummiya by Greg Cox

When a mummy is shot near a college, it’s up to Scully and Mulder to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction. This story is a good one for fans of Egyptology. There’s a lot about the history and religious beliefs to dive into. I don’t want to go into this story too much because it is a good one and worth the read. 4/5 Stars.

Male Privilege by Hank Schwaeble

The CDC is called to a small Arkansas town where a majority of the male population has developed breasts overnight after the town’s Sadie Hawkins Dance. Scully asks to tag along because she wishes to study this outbreak and maybe provide some insight due to her medical degrees. Mulder asks her if he could come along as well and she hesitantly agrees as long as he doesn’t pester the locals about aliens. However, things quickly derail as Mulder goes to the local library to look into the town’s history and things more mythological may be taking place here. This one made it to my list based solely of all the sarcastic jabbing Mulder gives the local sheriff regarding his newfound breasts, and how the sheriff wasn’t offended by the jabs. Pure dry humor in my book. 3.5/5 Stars.

Snowman by Sarah Stegall

A couple of military men are climbing up Mt. Rainier tracking a lost group of military soldiers that went missing. Soon they come across not only the remains of the missing soldiers’ camp, but their corpses as well. As they continue the trek they come across Mulder on the hunt for the missing expedition as well. However, something on the mountain is tracking the group and the myth of Sasquatch may not seem so far fetched. I love stories about Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti. This one is worth checking out! 3.5/5 Stars.

When the Cows Come Home by David Farland

Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate some crop circles and cattle mutilations. Soon things become stranger as they found out that the rancher’s neighbor is a Skinwalker and controls his cattle by whistling. This story was alright, but I wish it could’ve gotten more fleshed out. Scoring this one mainly for the Skinwalker, crop circles, and cattle mutilations. It’s the last short story of the collection so read it if that’s your kind of jam. 2.5/5 Stars.

So there’s my five favorite stories of The Truth is Out There. Like I said earlier, all of these stories are good in their own right. So I would definitely check out this collection if your a fellow X-Files fan or into the weird and supernatural.


Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Stoker’s Wilde (Fiction Without Frontiers #1) By Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

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*No Major Spoilers*

Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The fight will take them through dark forests in Ireland, the upper-class London theater world and Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell.


I have read about the supernatural and paranormal in the past, but Stoker’s Wilde comes with a twist. A story about two historical writers coming together and battle the world of the supernatural. I knew I had to read this as soon as I discovered the sequel to this novel has Teddy Roosevelt joining the duo. So let’s dive into Stoker’s Wilde

First off, I love how Bram Stoker was just a friend of Oscar Wilde’s brother in this story. He didn’t want to go on this wild goose chase to hunt a werewolf. Werewolves don’t exist. However, with the help of Stoker’s curse, they soon find the werewolf was the captain on one of the ships in the harbor. Afterward, the duo set off into the world of the supernatural, willingly or not.

One thing I liked was how the story progressed through journal entries and letters to loved ones and friends. However, I was getting confused because I started getting minor characters mixed up. I’m not sure if I would still be confused if I read the ebook or not. However, this was a small complaint I had as I was listening through the audiobook. 

Stoker’s Wilde was a tale full of twists and turns. I couldn’t put this book down until I found out who was the leader of London’s vampires as well as what a member of royalty had to do in all of this puzzle. The conclusion will leave you breathless and ready for more! 

I would highly recommend Stoker’s Wilde for fans of horror, historical fiction, and alternative history. I can’t wait to dive into the sequel of this novel and reuniting with these lovable characters again.