The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic #2

Published October 12, 2021 by Simon Schuster

400 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

Review: **Please note that this is the final book of a 4 book series so if you have not read the other books there may be spoilers ahead.**

When I heard that there was going to be one more book in the Practical Magic series I was INSANELY excited. I jumped at the chance to get an early copy of this book because I love the stories of the Owens women. The story picks up with Franny and Jet in their 80s, Gillian and Sally in their 40s, and Antonia and Kylie in their 20s. Jet hears the infamous deathwatch beetle and knows that it’s almost her time to go. She spends her remaining time with those she loves and after discovering something in the Owens Library, sets up Franny to find a way to break the family curse that their ancestor Maria set upon them centuries ago. But it’s not Franny who finds what Jet leaves behind for her. Let me tell you that when that happened, I knew that all sorts of things were about to happen and not all of them good. Kylie finally discovers the truth about who she is and who her family is after her mother, Sally, had spent all those years hiding it from her daughters.

If you have read and loved one of the previous books in this series, The Rules of Magic, then you will be very happy to find that a familiar face has returned to the story. Franny and Jet’s brother Vincent! Vincent is also the absentee grandfather to Gillian and Sally. Before they were born, Vincent had faked his own death to escape being drafted into the army during the Vietnam War. He fell in love with a man named William and the two of them absconded to France, leaving behind everything and everything they ever knew. When Kylie goes off in search of answers, Franny, Gillian, and Sally board a plane to France to see Vincent and enlist him to help them find her. Seeing them all together again was wonderful even if the circumstances weren’t the best. Add another plane ride and another character later and we have the incredibly interesting Professor Ian Wright in England.

I don’t want to say a whole lot more in regards to the plot because once you hit that point in the story, it’s hard to keep out the spoilers. But let me tell you that it was absolutely incredible. I loved being with these characters again in their story and the new characters that were introduced to the story, with the exception of Tom Lockland (you know what you did, Tom!). The writing is everything I’ve come to love from Alice Hoffman. Everything flows so easily and so descriptive that I have no trouble playing the story out as a movie in my head which is one of my favorite parts about reading. She has a way of making it feel as though the reader was right there in those moments. I fell in love with these characters more than I had loved them before. As sad as I am that this is the end of this series, I believe it was the perfect conclusion. I highly recommend reading this book. I can’t wait to re-read the entire series again in the near future from Maria’s tale in Magic Lessons, to the introduction of Franny, Vincent, and Jet in The Rules of Magic, with Gillian and Sally in Practical Magic, and finally this continuation of Franny, Jet, Vincent, Gillian, Sally, Antonia, and Kylie’s story in The Book of Magic.

5 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

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Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Empire of the Vampire #1

US Publication Date: September 14th 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

752 Pages, Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.


It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff comes Empire of the Vampire, the first illustrated volume of an astonishing new dark fantasy saga.

Review: *Note: I received an exclusive 400 page sampler from the publisher so this review is based solely on those 400 pages.*

It comes as no surprise to anyone that has been following me for awhile that Jay Kristoff is one of my favorite authors. I am also a huge fan of vampires so when I found out that he was writing a book trilogy about vampires…. I almost lost my mind in excitement. And when St. Martin’s Press sent me the exclusive sampler, whoa boy! I was torn between wanting to devour it and savoring it because I knew that the sampler was going to leave off on a massive cliffhanger so if I finished it too quickly I would be left dying inside waiting for my finished copies to arrive. (And yes, I did say copies plural… but more on that later.)

From the moment I cracked open the sampler, I knew I was going to be in for the ride of my life. There was a huge sense of forboding but in the way that you know you’re reading a vampire novel if that makes any sense. The story starts out in Gabriel De Leon’s present and then proceeds to backtrack to how he came to be in his present circumstances as Jean-Francois of the Blood Chastain records Gabriel’s oral history via the written word and sketches. In that sense it had a similar setup to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. And yet, Gabriel is a captive which is likely the only reason he is being so forthcoming in telling the details of his life and how he became to be the Last Silversaint. The banter between Gabriel and Jean-Francois is absolutely hilarious which provides a nice bit of levity amongst the heaviness of Gabriel’s tales. Gabriel has lived a rather hard life which is evident from his stories so those brief moments of humor really help to break things up. There is even more humor added once Gabriel arrives at San Michon and the other silversaints are introduced… be prepared to write down some really fantastic insults!

Jay Kristoff’s writing really has a way of immersing the reader into the worlds he creates and it is no different with Empire of the Vampire. It was incredible to visualize certain scenes in my mind and have them match up very similarly with the illustrations. And let’s talk about the illustrations…. wow!!! Bon Orthwick (aka @monolimeart on Instagram) did a phenomenal job on the illustrations for this novel. Bon’s attention to detail in transforming Jay’s words into these stunning illustrations… just amazing.

Everything about this book so far has completely drawn me in! I love all of the different editions that are out there and had actually preordered 6 different editions for my collection! The book published in the UK last Tuesday so I actually received one of my UK editions yesterday and my first US edition is currently out for delivery! The Waterstones special edition is the one that arrived yesterday and it is bloody gorgeous! I can’t wait for my other editions to arrive and add them to my shelf. I have continued reading the rest of the book with the Waterstones edition.

*Please note: These are not glamorous vampires. This book is graphic in terms of violence and sexual content so proceed at your own risk.*

I received an exclusive sampler of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 bloody fangs!

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UK Edition

Available to purchase:

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry by Kate Pembrooke

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Not the Kind of Earl You Marry by Kate Pembrooke

The Unconventional Ladies of Mayfair #1

Expected Publication: July 27, 2021 by Forever

349 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton series will adore this stunning historical romance debut, where a wary wallflower enters a fake engagement with one of London’s most eligible bachelors.

The one woman in London who doesn’t want to marry him is now his fiancée.

William Atherton, Earl of Norwood, is as shocked as the rest of London to discover his betrothal via an announcement in the morning paper. Furious at what appears to be a shrewd marriage trap, William tracks down his alleged fiancée before her plans can affect his campaign for a coveted political post. But then William realizes an engagement, however fake, may benefit them both…

Miss Charlotte Hurst may be a wallflower, but she’s no shrinking violet. She would never attempt such an underhanded scheme, especially not with a man as haughty or sought-after as Norwood. Yet his suggestion to play along with the betrothal has its merits… and the longer they pretend, the more undeniably real their feelings become. But when the true culprit behind their engagement is revealed, can their newfound happiness survive the scandal?

Review: Ever since I read Jane Austen in high school I have loved Regency period romances. I was so excited when I got this one in the mail from Forever. From the first moment that William and Charlotte met I was hooked. Charlotte is a woman who values her independence in a time when most women had to rely on men to make their way in the world. And at first glance, William appears to be an arrogant, prejudiced man on similar lines to Mr. Darcy. Their first meeting is explosive and rightly so. Hard to imagine how anyone else would have reacted under the circumstances of having your betrothal announced in the morning paper to a man or woman whom you had never met before. When they both agreed to move forward pretending that they were in fact engaged, I knew it was going to be good. I really enjoyed that Charlotte continued to be her own person throughout the charade of their engagement and working to help her new friends make new homes and jobs for war widows. There were many delightful secondary characters in this book that I am hoping will make appearances in future books in this series. While the story and outcome was a little predictable, there were many moments that made this book it’s own. I am already eagerly anticipating the second book in this new series. This book is perfect for fans of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Duke & I by Julia Quinn (first season of Bridgerton on Netflix). This book comes out tomorrow so make sure you check it out!

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

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To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

The Regency Vows #2

Published April 6, 2021 by Atria Books

384 Pages

Goodreads Summary: The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

Review: I adore regency period romances so I knew that this one would be right up my alley. I hadn’t read the first book yet when I requested it on NetGalley but wanted to read that first before reading this one. I wouldn’t say that it is 100% necessary for you to read the first book in this series to be able to read this book but there is some continuity. The focus of the first book is on Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley and the second book focuses on Lady Diana Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham. Diana is a widow who has no desire to marry again because she enjoys her freedom too much so when Jeremy comes to her with his proposition, she decides to take him up on it. Diana and Jeremy soon realize that there may be more to their relationship than what they had planned. While the story is a tad predictable, it was still a fun read. I really loved Diana and Jeremy’s banter. They were such fun characters. I definitely liked them and their story more than Violet and James from the first book. Their story felt more petty and ridiculous whereas this one was fun, witty, and cute. I am hoping that the third book will be about Emily and Julian. If you’re looking for a flirty historical romance, I recommend checking this book out.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

June 2021 Book Haul

So I may have gone a little crazy buying books in June… In my defense, I re-discovered the amazing book prices at Goodwill and the majority of my haul came from two very successful Goodwill trips. It’s really hard to pass up books when paperbacks are $1.49 and hardcovers are $1.99! I also got a few from Barnes & Noble as well as Book of the Month club, Half Price Books, Thriftbooks, Amazon, and publishers. From all of these books I had already read Where the Crawdad Sing by Delia Owens and A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker but I wanted physical copies for my own library. In June I read The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska and really enjoyed it. From Grand Central Publishing I received an early copy of the paperback edition of The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. It is the sequel to The Royal We which I really enjoyed. After this month of book buying I will definitely be limiting my book purchases in July.

  • People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska
  • Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
  • The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
  • A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • Mrs. Mike by Benedict & Nancy Freedman
  • Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy
  • Travels in Alaska by John Muir
  • The Last Seance by Agatha Christie
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • The Other People by C.J. Tudor
  • Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • Black Hills by Nora Roberts
  • Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
  • The Liar by Nora Roberts
  • Hideaway by Nora Roberts
  • Irish Born trilogy by Nora Roberts
  • Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
  • Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts
  • Heart of the Sea by Nora Roberts
  • Irish Hearts by Nora Roberts
  • Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
  • Girl A by Abigail Dean
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
  • Elevation by Stephen King
  • Copper River by William Kent Krueger
  • Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser
  • A Witch in Time by Contance Sayers
  • Jo & Laurie by Margaret Stohl & Melissa de la Cruz
  • Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
  • Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart
  • False Mermaid by Erin Hart
  • The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart

Have you read any of these books?