Tag Archives: witches

Review: Into the Mists by Serene Conneeley

Into the Mists (Into the Mists #1) by Serene Conneeley

Enter the swirling mists of an enchanted land, and open your heart to the mystery...

Carlie has the perfect life. A wonderful family and a best friend she adores. A house by the beach so she can go surfing after school. A clever, rational mind and big dreams of becoming a lawyer. A future she’s excited about and can’t wait to begin.

But in a split second her perfect life shatters, and she is sent to the other side of the world to live with a stranger. In this mystical, mist-drenched new land, she is faced with a mystery that will make her question everything she’s ever known about her parents, her life and her very self. A dark secret that made her mother run away from home as a teenager. An old family friend who is not what he seems. A woman in blue who she’s not convinced is real. A shadowy black cat that she’d swear is reading her mind. A deserted old cottage she can’t always find. And a circle of wild-haired witches who want her to join their ranks.

Will she have the courage to journey into the mists, and into her own heart, to discover the truth? And can she somehow weave together a life that she’ll want to live – or will she give up and allow despair to sweep her away from the world forever?

Published 19 May 2013 |  Publisher: Serene Conneeley/Blessed Bee |  RRP: AUD$4.99 

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I met the author, Serene, at a bookclub meeting through Read3r’z Re-Vu and what really appealed to me was Serene’s own loveliness and the book covers. I thought the description was decent but didn’t particularly appeal to my reading taste.

It was a struggle to get through the first half of the book because it was just so choked full of grief that I could only read a small portion at a time. It should be acknowledged that the author has written it well if it could affect me in such terrible ways. However, I did persevere as I was assured of better things to come.

To be honest, I expected this to be more of a fairy story but if it was supposed to be so, that’s definitely not what I got in this first book. What I did get, however, is some education about paganism. The book lost me a bit here as I must confess that I have no interest whatsoever in paganism and at some parts, I felt that it dwelt a bit too much into theories behind it. However, I think for someone who loves paganism or even if curious, this may be something they’d love to read. They are lovely theories but they’re just not for me.

There was one particular part that I really really liked, and without telling too much, it explored a ‘what-if’ for the protagonist. What I really liked was the way the story was written; I just love this type of story (and I can’t tell you or it would spoiled). And at the end, the book raised quite a few more questions that I’d like to find the answer to so I think I’d try the rest of the trilogy and hope for more ‘what-if’.

Thanks to the author, Serene Conneeley, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

Serene Conneeley is an Australian writer with a fascination for history, travel, ritual and the myth and magic of ancient places and cultures. She’s written for magazines about news, travel, health, spirituality, entertainment and social and environmental issues, is editor of several preschool  magazines, and has contributed to international books on history, witchcraft, psychic development and personal transformation.

She is the author of the non-fiction books Seven Sacred Sites, A Magical Journey, The Book of Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic, Witchy Magic and Into the Mists: A Journal, and creator of the meditation CD Sacred Journey. The Into the Mists Trilogy was her first adventure into fiction, and she is currently finishing three Into the Mists Chronicles.

Serene is a reconnective healing practitioner, and has studied medicinal and magical herbalism, bereavement counselling, reiki and many other healing modalities, plus politics and journalism. She loves reading, rainbows, drinking tea with her friends, and celebrating the energy of the moon and the magic of the earth. Her pagan heart blossomed as she climbed mountains, danced in stone circles, trekked along pilgrimage paths, wandered through ancient cathedrals and stood in the shadow of the pyramids on her travels, and she’s also learned the magic of finding true happiness and peace at home.

Find Serene on:  website  |  goodreads  |  facebook   |  instagram

Come back tomorrow for Q&A with Serene! 😀

Review: Sorceress

sorceressSorceress by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Please note this is a review of the third and final book of the Spellcaster trilogy and there may be spoilers in respect to earlier books, Spellcaster (my blurb) & Steadfast (my blurb).

At the end of Steadfast, Nadia made a decision which everyone knew just isn’t going to turn out well. And yet, no one has a better answer. In Sorceress, Nadia continues to feel the terrible conflict of that decision. She senses the darkness is creeping in and taking over her despite her best effort at fighting it. It’s a losing battle but she’s not going down alone and she will save her loved ones. Meanwhile… the world is coming to an end.

No one knew exactly how Elizabeth planned to bring forth the One Beneath but as Captive is being inundated with disaster after disaster, the townspeople rally to keep their town and each other alive. As solidarity prevails in times of peril, so does suspicions in times of stress & grief. The townspeople have now noticed all the strange incidents in the past and are looking for someone to blame. Of course, the obvious choice would be Verlaine with her lack of ‘being loved’ ability. She’s a courageous girl but she needed to be even braver now. Her salvation, though, came from an unlikely quarter. Verlaine, I think, trumps Nadia in this final instalment of the trilogy.

The many perspectives in Sorceress is what made the story flow in an ever changing current. This factor also gave the story the many facets enabling it to sparkle like crystals. It was such a fast read that just builds and builds to a crescendo in the final battle between light and dark.

I’ve really enjoyed the book and this trilogy. In comparison to the first 2 books, I seem to be missing the wham factor of the beginning and ending –they’re just not as memorable / engaging as the first 2 books. I’m quite happy with the ending except for 1 thing but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Thank you, HarperCollinsPublishers for providing copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Teaser Tuesdays: Steadfast

 

teaser

“Holy Christmas, what was that?”  Verlaine came up, already looking at the playback of the video on her phone.  “This town is getting even weirder.  Now we have possessed PTA mom wielding axes.”

~page 61

steadfastSteadfast (Spellcaster #2) by Claudia Gray

 

Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine have saved Captive’s Sound from the dark Sorceress Elizabeth…or so they thought. Despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her Steadfast, Nadia’s magic is magnified and she is more powerful than ever. But there is still so much she doesn’t know about the craft, leaving her open and vulnerable to a darker magic…which has begun to call Nadia’s name.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Review: Spellcaster

spellcasterSpellcaster by Claudia Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: book courtesy of Harper Collins Australia and The Reading Room

One of the most engaging first chapters I’ve ever read. It started in the car with Nadia and her family on their way to their new home when she felt that something just wasn’t right. It ended with Mateo living out the reality of his dream in rescuing her and what may happen in near future. This sense of doom began right from the very first sentence, continues throughout to the very end.

The supernatural component of the book was not the best part of this book. Whilst it helped lent the sinister air to the story and is an appeal to the current market of readers, I didn’t find it to be outrageously unique. The only bit that I found of interest was the way spells are cast; in bringing up appropriate bits in your head / heart to suit the spell.

What I really loved about this novel was the issues Nadia was working through. She was working through a lot of things though mostly as consequence of her mother leaving the family. These issues felt quite real they really cut the heart, and I truly felt for her.

It was weird how hurting someone you loved was even worse than being hurt. That stayed with you longer, and weighed you down all through the night into the dawn.

Spellcaster was a lovely easy read with the right amount of tension (both good, ie. romantic, and bad) to tease you through the story, a real climax good vs evil sort of face off, and ending which leaves you wondering what’s coming next. I can’t wait for the next instalment of this series.

You had to love people while you could, because you never knew how long you had.

Thank you, Harper Collins Australia and The Reading Room for copy of book

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Review: Banish

banishBanish by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Source: Book courtesy of Harlequin Teen Australia

Just look at that cover – extremely eye-catching pink (have you seen my nails today?) with close-up of a gorgeous blond-blue-eyed chick. Yea, I am totally a sucker for pretty covers. I’ve not nailread any other of Nicola Marsh’s works though she seemed to be a prolific author; mostly adult romance novels which I rarely touch. This particular work in the YA / thriller / paranormal fits right within my comfort zone though so it was a snap decision to pick this up.

Alyssa came to New York to live with her aunt in order to escape from a painful past. However, just as she thinks that things are settling down, she’s moving on and is starting to dare to grasp happiness once again, the past came back to haunt her. It’s driving her crazy because she refused to believe in the supernatural… She believes someone’s got it bad for her and her logical head is pushing for a realistic answer. Is she going to get the result she wanted and will it be free of the supernatural?

[Alyssa describing herself] …beanpole strawberry blonde with blah-blue eyes, no curves and a nasty habit of picking at her cuticles

Alyssa was an easily likeable character though I really get the feeling that all her refusal to believe in the supernatural was a little too forced. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. However, she really is a mature character as is evident by her dating older guys. And Ronan! Well, I’ve to say that not only is he HOT, he sounds to be really mature for a 21 year old musician! It was lovely to read a relationship where both sides knew the need to communicate and tried hard at it – a refreshing change in a romance! And let’s not forget the sizzles!

His knuckles grazed my cheek in a strangely intimate gesture that had me wanting to leap into his arms and wrap my legs around him, like some corny scene out of a romantic movie…. He stared at my mouth for another few seconds before he shook his head slightly, as if trying to clear the fog. I know the feeling. Confused, befuddled and totally in lust.

The book opens with a Prologue that was quite thrilling then the book started the week previous to explore events leading up to the prologue. I don’t usually find this type of start annoying but this particular one, I actually did. The start was pretty explosive that I found it hard to settle to read the book. I kept getting distracted and was really impatient to get to that part so I can move onto the next exciting bit but it turns out to be the ending of the book and it was repeated word for word which was somewhat disappointing. I skimmed that couple of pages to read the closing of the book.

Despite the above slight disappointment and the predictability of the mystery (I figured it out midway), I still quite enjoyed the book. Primarily due to the turn of language and the suspense was still there though hubz dared to show up (to pick me up from the station) when I was 5 pages from the end! Arrgh! Banish is a good-easy-read with enough sweetness and suspense to spice it up. I’d recommend it if you’re after some sweet brain-fluff to while away a summer’s day. This is the perfect book to read out in the sunshine.

Thank you, HarlequinTeen Australia, for providing copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Blurb: (Taken from Goodreads)

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

My Blurb:

Diana Bishop is running away from magic. Or at least, she thinks she is. Magic though will not be letting her go anytime soon. Without knowing it, she called a most coveted book in magical history and now, she is being sucked in to the world of magic, whether she wants to or not.

Many creatures are drawn to Diana now and the first one to show himself was Matthew Clairmont, a vampire. He wants the book but he finds himself protecting Diana. Diana, on the other hand, is the modern female and insisted that she can take care of herself until one day, she realised that to survive she needed an ally… a protector…

Diana lives in a world full of creatures that are segregated to their own kind and regulated by a covenant that is being enforced by the Congregation. What would they think of a witch & vampire combo? What is more important to them, the book or to keep this segregation of creatures?

This is one of those books that grabbed me right from the beginning, completely absorbed me into its one and only world, and did not let go til the end. Hell, not even at the end cuz that’s how much I love it!

All right, I have to admit that for some people it might be kinda slow but I actually enjoyed this slow wordiness (did you notice that it’s a bit thicker than the average sized book?). I felt that I was savoring the book real slow too – like one of those slow motion part in the movie and I never wanted it to end. End it had to, of course, but I’m glad the next instalment is nearly here! I’m actually kinda glad I didn’t read this book last year, even though I got it last year, cuz it feels great to be able to jump into the next book almost straight away!

It was just soooo rich in its descriptions of everything. All your senses are practically invaded especially when it comes to smell! From the smell of things to food to wine to other beings, I found this to be really lovely and very atmospheric. I was able to just drown in this world which became my world for a few days 

The smell of the library always lifted my spirits – that peculiar combinations of old stone, dust, woodworm and paper made properly from rags. Sun streamed through the windows on the staircase landings, illuminating the dust motes flying through the air and shining bars of light on the ancient walls. There the sun highlighted the curling announcements for last term’s lecture series. New posters had yet to go up, but it would only be a matter of days before the floodgates opened and a wave of undergraduates arrived to disrupt the city’s tranquillity.

The romance was… slow but oh, so very…sweet! This might not appeal for some of you but I really really loved it. I love the suspense and the wait for the first **swoon** moment and the next and so on. It was seriously romantic!
My first swoon moment:

“You’re welcome.” He tucked my impossible piece of hair back behind my ear, fingers lingering on my cheek. “Come to dinner tomorrow,” he said softly. “My turn to cook. Can I pick you up here at half past seven?”
My heart leaped. Say no, I told myself sternly in spite of its sudden jump.
“I’d love to,” came out instead.
The vampire pressed his cold lips first to one cheek, then the other. “Ma vaillante fille,” he whispered into my ear. The dizzying, alluring smell of him filled my nose.

Right now, though, I’m totally conflicted! I mean:

The gorgeous blond blue-eyed Viking, Eric Northman – Hubba Hubba!

description OR description

The handsome dark French Knight, Matthew Clairmont – **Swoon**!

What say you?

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