The Witches of Cambridge by Menna Van Praag #Review

cambridge_universi_1722980iAmandine Bisset has a secret power only known to a few, the ability to sense the emotions of others but not why they are feeling those emotions. In The Witches of Cambridgeby Menna Van Praag, Amandine has started to hate her power and wishes she had a power more like her student Noa’s, the ability to hear the innermost thoughts of others.  Noa hates her power, her inability to keep those thoughts to herself has led to a lifetime of loneliness so when an artist offers to take her power away Noa jumps at the chance, but slowly she starts to wonder what losing part of yourself costs.

I really enjoyed The Witches of Cambridge, it is not the type of novel I usually read or review but once I started I couldn’t put it down. Van Praag does a masterful job of weaving the different story lines of the different characters into a cohesive whole after the story gets going. It felt like it took a little while for the main story lines to start just because there are so many main characters and we had to get everyone’s backstory to understand their motivations. The great/bad thing about Witches of Cambridge is Van Praag would take us along with one character for awhile before switching to another character and every, and I mean every, time she would switch to another character I wanted to keep reading about the previous character but two pages into the current character I would just want to follow along with that character. The Witches of Cambridge is a great fun read and my edition included reading group questions so it would be perfect for book clubs.

You can read an excerpt here.

witches of cambridgRating: Star 4copy

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Title: The Witches of Cambridge

Author: Menna Van Praag

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 287

ISBN: B00XG9BSPS

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Release Date: December 22, 2016

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

How To Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks Review

In How To Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks, Luciana leaves everything she has ever known to marry a man feared throughout the land but, in the process, save the life of the father she never knew. Enacting the charade that she must is much harder than Luciana anticipated, and not only must she navigate a social structure she has no experience with, she must decide if she can trust the man that everyone fears, her betrothed.

Lord Leo, the infamous Beast of Benwick, has accepted the lonely existence that his power over lightning has caused him until he meets Luciana and he starts to yearn for more. As the danger around the two of them escalates, will Leo be able to save the woman who has brought light into his dark life, and, more importantly, can he save her from his devastating touch?

I will admit, by the end of Kerrelyn’s Love at Stake series, I had kinda lost interest. Don’t get me wrong, I devored the beginning of the series and they are high on my list of favorites to reread but I just wasn’t that into the last few books. BUT (and this is a big but) I flew through How to Tame A Beast in Seven Days, I love the world that Sparks’ has created. The friends/blood sisters who were raised together not knowing who they are but setting off to save their world one fantastic (presumably) book at a time are intriguing and just the right mix of strength and weakness . Now realize that I enjoy reading fantasy novels (David Eddings and Terry Pratchett anyone?!) so its not too surprising that I would enjoy a good fantasy romance novel. However, Sparks has done a fabulous job world building, the character development is believable and intriguing, and I literally finished How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days and immediately went looking to see when the next novel will be released (August 2017) because I can’t wait to read it. I highly recommend How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days whether you have read fantasy novels before or not.

You can read an except here.

The Embraced Reading Order:

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

So I Married a Sorcerer (August 2017)

Rating:

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

Author: Kerrelyn Sparks

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 415

AISN: B01KFWX5CC

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

The Paper Magician by Charlie Homlberg Review

paper craneCeony Twill has worked so hard to fulfill her dreams of becoming a Metal Magician but on the eve of her graduation she is asked to become one of the few Paper Magicians and once bonded to a specific type of material she will only be able to perform magic with that material. The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg begins with Ceony arriving at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane but not everything is as it seems when it comes to paper magic and sometimes we are lead to where we need to go even when it wasn’t part of our original plans.

When Magician Thane is attacked soon after Ceony’s arrival, it will take all her ingenuity, courage, and determination to save him from the practitioner’s of the forbidden dark arts.

I picked up The Paper Magician because it has been awhile since I read a true fantasy (as opposed to a paranormal/scifi/fantasy mix) and awhile since I read a Young Adult novel. The Paper Magician is an interesting fantasy novel, very different from most of the high fantasy I have previously read. In the world Holmberg has created, you only get a glimpse of the outside world as Ceony spends most of her time in the cottage or in a specific spot trying to save Thane (I’m not going to say too much because it will give away part of the novel) but the rules of magic are interesting and the few characters are well developed but it is Holmberg’s way with words that I really enjoyed. The images she weaves are, dare I say, magical.  Little pearls of wisdom are disbursed throughout the novel and are so spot on, “The ghostly images lasted only a moment longer before fading away, as all unread stories were wont to do.” But ultimately the great theme of the novel is summed up as this “Everyone has a dark side! But it’s their choice whether or not they cultivate it.” The Paper Magician is a fun fantasy novel that is well worth a read and I look forward to reading The Glass Magician. 

You can read an excerpt here.

The Paper Magician Series Reading Order

The Paper Magician

The Glass Magician

The Master Magician

paper magicianRating: Star 4copy

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Title: The Paper Magician

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Format: eBook

Page Nos.: 226

AISN: B00HVF7OL0

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: September 1, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin #Review

As you can imagine from the title, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin is a retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre only with paranormal creatures added. Is this humorous retelling Jane is the daughter of vampire slayers being raised (after her parents are killed by vampires) by her vampire aunt and three vampire children. I have to admit the scene where her cousin John attacks her takes on a whole new level of scary when you add in the fact he could easily drain her blood.

I enjoyed that Erwin kept the original story line for the most part, light gothic elements and truly a story about Jane coming of age and staying true to who she was. The one place, interestingly enough, where I felt like Erwin deviated from the original story was how there was some discussion about souls or minds being linked across distance in the original Jane Eyre. For example there were the twins who were part of the house party at Mr. Rochester’s that the doctor was there asking them questions, truly believing that souls could communicate across distance. So this one paranormal element that was in the original story, was left out in the new paranormal version of the story. I just that it was amusing that this was where Erwin deviated from the original, other than the one moment that Rochester calls out for Jane but it felt slightly out of nowhere especially considering all the other paranormal elements.

If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I think you will be entertained by Jane Slayre. I giggled through quite a bit of it (I mean really, zombies with bits falling of them while they are performing their tasks as servants) and appreciated the additions of the truly gothic elements. If you are expecting a more serious retelling of Jane Eyre you are better off just rereading the original but if you are interested in an entertaining couple of hours then Jane Slayre is a fabulous choice.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon no background

Title: Jane Slayre

Author: Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

Format: Paperback,  eBook

Page Nos.: 402

AISN: B003E7WJJQ

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: April 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica