Book Review: Rags to Witches by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Relics Cozy Mysteries
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 3 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

I have to say that I did enjoy this one more than the first, maybe the characters are starting to grow on me as I get into the book and their story a little more.

While attending the wedding of a friend, the night is going beautifully and even Ruby Mae and Luke are having a good time. However, at the reception, the groom is stabbed and of course Ruby is on the hunt to find out who had tried to kill Harrison and why.

Potential spoilers beyond this point.

I feel like our main character, Ruby Mae has either grown a little between this book and the last, or maybe the author is getting a slightly better handle on the character as a whole. She feels a little more her age, a little more wise, because when she starts to dig into the attempted murder, she actually reaches out for help. Instead of thinking she can do it alone, and blundering her way through the mystery, by asking for aid of the head of the coven she’s granted access to the library for her research.

But also by asking for help, she’s not alienating people by making sneaky decisions and moving forward against people’s wishes. I found that I liked that she wasn’t only asking for the help but also listening to others. It made the mystery flow well and I enjoyed getting to know the other members of the coven that she’s been bonding with since joining.

Over all the mystery was weaved well throughout the story, and I loved that the key item for this mystery was a magical sewing machine. I think it’s so interesting and smart on how it was presented and used in the story. It was also interesting that the company came to collect the item at the end, giving a hint at just how much that’s going on in the outside world, away from our little town we’re not seeing. As a reader, I enjoy knowing that the authors are aware of the world even if we only get a hint of the world continuing to move on its own outside our scope. Knowing there might be other stories that might get told later in this same world.

Book Review: Flea Market Magic by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Relics Cozy Mysteries
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 3 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

I picked up Flea Market Magic because I finished the other series by the same author and wanted to check this one out to see if it would be both of the same caliber and contain the same lovable characters. I was pleased to find that this is set in the same universe as her Southern Charms Cozy series with Charli – something easily distinguishable because of the use of the Spell Phones that are in the book.

As a whole the concept is interesting. Ruby and her family live in Jewell, NC – which qualifies as its own township so the neighboring town they would normally be part of technically has no jurisdiction within their borders, which comes into play a little when the family finds a dead body not just on their land but in one of their buildings. The family themselves deal with antiques and refurbished goods, but also host a flea market with stalls from other people on their land. While out picking through other flea markets to pick up new products, they also keep a keen eye out for any magical related items.

One of the other key features of the family, which I found interesting, was that they store magical items in a family vault that only the family can find and open. And while they do sell magical items to the magically inclined community, they also do a fair bit of safe keeping on the more dangerous relics that they stumble across to keep them out of the wrong hands or off the market entirely.

Possible Spoilers beyond this point.

Like I said above, I find the concept interesting and I am intrigued to be able to dip into the same universe as her other series but see a new aspect of the world and the lore. Ruby’s family tends to stay a little to themselves it seems, making sure to keep the family business going, but at the same time our main character is dating a vampire. I do like that we’re getting to see more of the vampires in this series because in last series while there are some vampires living in town we don’t get a deeper dive into them.

As a whole, I’m not entirely sure how old Ruby is supposed to be but she does come off as naive and impulsive. She’s been told that this magical item is dangerous. She’s been told not to touch it or try to use it, no matter how much it might help them. She’s even been shown what happens to the people who have used it, because just before she uses it she has to help save the woman who used it before her. But instead of listening to the people around her from family members to her own vampire boyfriend that has seen people use it to no good end, she forges ahead like she has an idea of what she’s actually doing.

She also seems really reckless about using her magic in front of the non-witch folk, which is both dangerous and technically against the magically inclined rules that she’s supposed to be following. To the point where one of the guys actually starts to get uppity about what she might be doing, suspicious because she does things to him on two different occasions.

For someone who’s grown up in magic all her life, knowing the rules and how careful they have to be – I feel like if she’s as old as I wanna pin a finger on how old she should be she’s technically too old to be doing both of these things.

While the other series got four stars from me across the board, because I’m a little unsure of the characters and I didn’t bond with them as fast as I did the characters from her other series, I’m dubbing this three stars. It’s definitely an interesting concept, and I’m intrigued by the family dynamic, the vampire boyfriend dynamic, as well has her needing to join the local coven as part of her deal for some help to see how that plays out. And I will continue the series at least for another book, but at the same time I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I was the other series.

Book Review: Preserves & Premonitions by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

Back with Charli, only we’re headed out of Honeysuckle Hollow because there are some things that Dash has to handle back home in Red Ridge. Their bond doesn’t do so well when they’re apart, which means an automatic trip up to witness exactly how pack life goes for the shifter and his pack. A trip I was both prepared for and not fully prepared for, but loved every minute of while we were on that journey.

Probably Spoilers Ahead.

As a whole, I think this was my favorite book of the series. The story was just a little darker than the past books, coupled with the pack politics that we take a hard dive into. We, and Charli, aren’t just getting a peak at the pack politics and life, but are literally thrown to the wolves to learn it.

A death in the Red Ridge shifter pack means Dash has to sniff out the killer and find what happens. But in order to investigate the death with Charli in tow, they also have to play the intended card which doesn’t go too well with some of the other pack members. Some, especially after his brothers no so careful handling of the pack, have a grudge against witches as a whole now. So when Dash starts bringing her around and basically saying they’ll be mated so it’s fine that she’s there, it doesn’t go over well.

I was a little worried romance wise how this was going to play out considering they were still bonded to. But I’m happy with how the romance portion of the book and storyline settled by the end. I also really loved how the bond played into the story and how they were able to use the bond to their advantage but also how it ended up being a weakness between them for a very dangerous reason as well.

The wrapping up of the bond felt a little too snap my fingers and it’s done and you can go on your way now. However, I can live with it because I liked how the book as a whole went. I did really like getting to see her worlds shifters and how they run both on a how they interact together but also on how they interact with the law here.

As a whole this was my favorite book of the series so far. However, I’m curious and excited to see where we go with the note from her cousin at the end of the book, setting up for the newest one that feels like it will be released forever from now =)

Book Review: Cornbread & Crossroads by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

Just as things are starting to get better and even out, nothing can stay quite in a small magical community like Honeysuckle Hollow, right? Of course not.

Following the events of the last book, Honeysuckle Hollow has started to be overrun by the fae as they flock to find a new home in a town that will actually accept them and let them be actual citizens instead of bound help or second class. But when Gran falls ill, the town’s expanse rate is the least of Charli’s concerns as she races against the clock to figure out what’s wrong with Gran and save her.

Probably spoilers below.

The book starts out showing the growing concern in the town because far more are flocking to the town than Charli had expected. What she finds out is because you have to speak carefully to the fae, when she’d invited them to Honeysuckle Hollow, her words had invited everyone. Not just those who were being mistreated in Charleston. Which is leading to the town expanding at a rate that’s starting to be hard to contain not just in housing but also jobs and everything as well.

It’s also started to pull out some of the same issues in some of the older witches of Honeysuckle, like Aunt Nora who’s making her unhappiness at her quite little town turning into a buzzing city very well known. In order to try and help the newcomers mingle with the town and everyone have the ability to get to know each other, the town’s welcome committee – which Charli is part of – creates a pot luck that everyone can enjoy.

Leading up to the potluck, we’re able to glimpse Mason and Charli’s relationship budding more and the two of them really connecting in this new space. At the welcome we get to meet some of the new fae as well as the new shop owner who’s opening a massage parlor on main street. Mysterious, flirty, and covered in strange tattoos, what’s to be suspicious of him at all.

While Gran isn’t feeling well, she’s seeming okay so Charli and Mason take a small trip to his home town to get away. Which was a sweet edition for the couple. But when Charli comes home, not all is right. Gran can’t be woken up and no one knows what’s going on. Aunt Nora is moving in to take over her position as Head of the town council. And Charli is upset with her brother for not calling her sooner when Gran fell ill, because now she feels guilty that she and Mason had a good time while things were happening in the Hollow.

Mason is stuck still back home because he’s been asked to assist on a case he’d started working on before he moved to Honeysuckle, but Charli has her friends, her brother, and even Dash is back as Charli works to try and figure out what’s wrong with Gran. But also, what’s wrong with her friends, because they’re starting to act funny or have changes that don’t quite make sense. Things become especially dire when the town closes it’s borders and wards itself in so that no one can come or go from the town, trapping Mason on the outside at Charli’s time of need.

With no other choice, she has to turn to Dash to help her in a dangerous power move in order to save Gran and the town as a whole.

Over all, I think this is one of my favorite of the series so far. I will say, I’m getting to the point between Dash and Mason where I wish the author would just pick one already. We’re six books in, Charli seems to be picking Mason, but we’re still throwing Dash into the mix to stir the pot, turn her head, twist her heart, and make her second guess some of her choices. And I feel like at this point, if Charli is choosing Mason – then let her choose Mason. I thought, with the shifter being engaged, that would have been the end of that, but nope, he’s no longer engaged when he pops up in town, so if course it just stirs the pot between the triangle even though Mason and Charli have shared ‘I love yous’ with each other.

Not only do we stir the pot with him being in town, but at the end Charli has to bind her soul to his to outwit the crossroads demon, so she’s now magically tangled and tied to Dash. And while the author does do a really good job of the whys and it completely fits in the story as plot. The constant back and forth pull between the men is officially getting old.

What I did love too though, was the introduction of the crossroad demons and the lore with them, as well as the deeper dive into the fae since they are a smaller problem that have to be dealt with as far as housing and the like. As well as using them to bind the crossroad demon to her word when she can’t claim Charli’s soul for the deal. It’s a good mystery, a deep and wonderful lore to burrow into and a fantastic edition to the series as a whole.

Book Review: Collards & Cauldrons by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

I’d say we’re back to Honeysuckle Hollow, but we’re actually leaving the small, cozy town this time in order to travel to Charleston for a witch’s conference. A good chunk of the witches follow Gran in order to represent their town, network, and attend some panels that touch on magic and the community. Only things don’t turn out a quiet convention like everyone planned. When they say out of the frying pan and into the fire, this book definitely meets that in kind of energy in all the good ways.

Probably spoilers within.

Charleston is definitely a different feel and environment from Honeysuckle Hollow. With Charli’s hometown, it’s completely inclusive of the magical community but has wards and barriers set up to keep the humans out so it can be this small save haven for the magical community. But with Charleston, because it’s a big, bustling city packed with witches, hidden fae, and humans alike, there are a lot more rules to navigate in order to keep the magical community hush hush.

And after a coin toss between Mason and Matt, well, Matt, Charli’s brother had to stay home and be on duty while Mason was able to accompany the group of witches to the Conference. Can’t take all their Wardens from the town in one go after all. Especially not their best two together. Which makes things both interesting and awkward since Mason’s memories never came back to him so Charli’s been both emotionally upset at everything, understandably, as well as heartbroken because she’s lost everything between Dash being engaged and now having nothing relationship wise with Mason. The two do have a nice talk and agree to be friends, and just kind of use this as a fresh start between the two, which as a whole sounds nice but with everything she’s been through is also understandably hard for Charli.

But even her friendship with Mason pales in the excitement when we learn that Charli’s cousin Abby will be meeting her at the conference. Like Charli, I was excited to meet a member of her blood family since we haven’t really gotten to know them too well or much.

Before too much can happen though, one of the elite of Charleston’s witches is murdered. Everyone in the hotel is put on hotel arrest by the Charleston Wardens, who want nothing and no input from Mason despite him being a Warden himself. And worst of all, Gran is the one accused of murdering the woman.

It’s a high stakes game for Charli and the Honeysuckle crew because all eyes are on them since a member of their council, and the high seat of it at that, is being pointed at. The Wardens are complacent in arresting and pinning her for it, and when we finally do meet Abby things are super awkward and weird.

The pacing of this book was good and it felt almost like a noose tightening around my heart the closer we got to the end of the book and the more frustrating the turn of events because it wasn’t looking good for Gran until the very end of the whodunit. Coupled with the surprise from Charli’s blood family and this book left us on quite the rollercoaster ending. One I would gladly ride again, honestly and one that I likely will since I’m already neck deep in the next book.

I will say I was a little disappointed that Charli’s family was offered to a point but then almost like snatched away because while we learned some interesting things we didn’t get a larger scope into their world and with the way that door closed I’m not sure if, when or how we’ll see any of them again. Which leaves a …lot of still curious questions unanswered about her blood family.

Book Review: Barbecue & Brooms by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

The fourth installment of the Southern Charms Cozy series definitely wasn’t a disappointment to me. The twists and turns within this book, not just from a mystery side but also from the romance side and magic side were definitely interesting and kept me wanting to continue even when it was late and I really needed to get to bed so I could function as a human being for work the next day. Spoiler: I stayed up anyway to continue it.

Spoilers ahead because I like to discuss what happened in the book!

After everything that happened in the last book with Tucker’s family, he’s taken his father’s old seat on the Honeysuckle Hollow council and as a way to bring the town together in an effort to show Charleston’s council they’re strong and don’t need to be absorbed into the bigger city, he’s organized a barbeque cookoff and broom racing contest. Which as a whole, definitely sounds super fun to me. The citizens of Honeysuckle form teams to compete against one and other – in a friendly competition of course – and even have outsiders helping. Not only that, it draws the attention of a few outside groups who come in to complete along side the citizens.

As well from the last book, Charli and Mason’s relationship has been steadily growing closer. He’s been teaching her how to ride a brook, they’ve been dating ish, and they’ve even shared their magic so that she could get a better handle on how he used his magic to navigate the broom for flying. All things are looking up for the couple as a whole until the night Charli is taking down the names of the teams competing in the barbeque contest – because one of those teams is made up of Dash and his brother. Suddenly, with no word that he was even coming back into town to her, with no warning or heads up he’s just sitting at one of the campfires when she moves to take down the team’s name and roster.

Naturally it spurs hurt in her – because after a couple months of not hearing from him, and then coupled with he’s back in town and never reached out to tell her, he’s just suddenly in front of her. And he doesn’t even really great her, instead staying in his camping chair with his beer and just saying her name, like he hadn’t been gone for all that time. Naturally, Charli’s heart flips because she’d been interested in him before he’d left. Also naturally, Mason turns somewhat caveman over Dash’s return and request, eventually, to talk to Charli about what’s happened while he’s been away.

I know that I’m not among the more popular opinion, and while I’m hoping it doesn’t happen TOO much, but I liked the tension between Dash and Mason for Charli and who she’s trying to figure out to give her heart to. Honestly, in the end, it’s both of them. I kind of like that as a whole, the love portion of Charli’s life is legitimately as messy as real life, because in real life you don’t always get to choose who you love and you can love more than one person at the same time. Which makes things super complicated with the revelations that come from Dash and the state of Mason by the end of the book. I’m not a huge one for the tug and pull of a rope contest for someone’s heart if it goes on too long, but I can completely understand thinking you’re moving on with one person only to have person two come crashing into your life and while theoretically you shouldn’t want or be interested in them all those feelings come back.

Because let’s remember, that in book two, before Dash left, he was the one making a solid effort with her and actually making headway in the relationship department while Mason had pushed her to arms length because of what happened at the cupid event coupled with his job. So it’s not like she wasn’t able to form a connection before Dash had to head home to take care of pack things and then ended up not talking to her. So it’s not surprising that even with trying to move forward with Mason, her heart remembers all the effort Dash had made before he’d disappeared. It feels real and messy, and I am hear for it.

I love the mystery aspect of this book too, because this time we aren’t revolving around a dead body that Charli has stumbled across. Lucky’s luck has been stolen, and while there’s a threat of death because his luck and his life are tied together so if it’s not returned he will die, he’s not dead yet and like Charli and her death curse in book one, there’s time to save him! I also love the magic hijinks that happens with Charli and Mason’s magic swapping for a time, as well as all of the witches in Honeysuckle coming together to work in helping save Lucky.

The ending and the whys of the mystery were also compelling, made sense, and worked really well for the plot and characters. I am honestly excited to see what new mystery will be cooked up in book 5, as well I’m very here for seeing where the Dash – Charli – Mason triangle goes. In the long run, I’m hoping that we do actually settle with her heart, because the push and pull between the two men can get old, right now I am actually very here for it. Also! the twist at the end with Charli’s blood family, I am here for exploring that in the next book too! So on to the next!

Book Review: Sweet Tea & Spells by Bella Falls

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Author: Bella Falls
Publisher: Evermore Press
Series: Southern Charms Mystery
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Medium: Audio Book

Back to Honeysuckle Hollow for a third time, and I can’t say that it’s getting any less magical to join Charli and her town for more mysteries and excitement. With the wedding of her cousin, Clementine, and ex-fiancé on the horizon, what could go wrong in such a magically inclined town. Especially when Tucker’s family has brought in a world renounced chef to cater the affair.

Potential spoilers ahead.

While Charli doesn’t exactly get alone with her Aunt Nora, she does get along well with her cousin Clementine, and it’s really nice to see the two of them trying to repair some of the bonds in the family despite Clem’s mother trying to stop it. After hearing a few things that she shouldn’t have between the caterer, Duke, and his employee, Charli grows concerned about his intentions and his overall person. It becomes increasingly her problem when Duke decides to rent one of the buildings on main street that her brother owns and she manages.

The guy is a world class creep of the tallest order when he makes advances on Charli when they’re alone. As if it wasn’t bad enough he wanted to move in and create direct competition for Sweet Tooth’s. Not that he gets that chance. With the soon to be groom looking like he might have done it without remembering and blame being pinned on one of the fairies in town, Charli pushes to try and figure out this mystery so it won’t hopefully ruin her cousin’s wedding or bring down a friend.

All the while, with Dash having cut off all contact with Charli after leaving, it’s left the door wide open for her to explore her feelings with Mason. Though the lingering hurt that Dash has been in contact with a mutual friend but not her does end up distracting her just a hair. But when you like someone, and you thought that they liked you, it’s definitely not an easy thing to swallow that they’re cutting you out of any communication. Especially knowing they’re find talking to a friend at least.

The characters, even the secondary ones, are all still just as vivid and alive in the third installment, maybe even more so because we really dig into the town and some of the town’s politics in this third installment of the series. I love that my concern from book two didn’t come to pass, because it wasn’t the out of towner that did the murder, and I really loved that despite everything, Charli helped to ensure that the wedding wasn’t interrupted by the murder, so Clem and Tucker could have their day before everything hit the fan with the fall out of the mystery.

I’m excited to see Clem and Charli bond and heal the family, bringing it back together. Though even with Tucker seemingly in love with Clem, it’s still worrisome and odd that he seems to still have feelings for Charli. Not that she needs any more men in her life right now with Mason doing a good job of wooing her and her mind and heart still upset about Dash. I also love that her friends in town were encouraging her to use one of the storefronts on Main Street and have her open a shop so she can really utilize her talents in magic to make a living.

I’m definitely here for the next one and can’t wait to see where it all goes both with Charli’s business as well as her relationship with Mason. And I do hope we get to see Dash again!

Release Day: First Impressions by Alicia Chumney

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Happy Release Day To:

Author: Alicia J. Chumney
Publisher: Alicia J. Chumney
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Jane Austen Variation, Pride & Prejudice Retelling
Found: Amazon

Synopsis

Lizzy
Focused on getting as many scholarships as possible, running and academics are the bulk of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Barnes’ life. When Liam becomes her newest teammate and classmate, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than her pursuit of a debt-free college experience.

Liam
When William “Liam” Davis’ parents are killed in a car accident, he’s sent across the state to live with his overbearing Aunt Catherine Delgado.

Starting over during his Senior year of high school was not something he ever expected to happen and he finds himself in uncertain territory as he struggles to adapt to the changes happening in his life.

Meeting Elizabeth Barnes happened to be an added bonus.

As they grow closer, Aunt Catherine gives Liam an ultimatum that disrupts their friendship: Liam and his sister can get the therapy they need if he stops being friends with ‘that Barnes girl.’

Can they overcome the obstacles in front of them or will graduation be the end of their time together?

First Impressions is the first book set in a modernized and loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This story follows Liam, Lizzy, and their friends and family through their Senior Year of high school. The complete trilogy follows Liam and Lizzy through high school and college, through the trials they experience during six years of their lives.

Release Day: The Olympus Trinity by Brian Coggins Jr

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Happy Release Day To:

Author: Brian Coggins Jr
Publisher: Brian Coggins Jr
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy Adventure
Found: Amazon

Synopsis

Zeus, the King of the Gods, fears no man, being, or anything of nature in the universe except one thing . . . the loss of family. Opposed to the cruel ways of his vicious father, Kronos, Zeus has strived endlessly in instilling the traditions his mother Rhea taught to him—Family is Everything. In spite of all his protection over his children, destiny ignores no one.

When a mysterious figure comes to his home, Zeus discreetly turns to his reticent brother Hades, God of the Underworld, for answers. Unfortunately, the rebellious and uncontrollable Ocean God, Poseidon, seeks for the answers his way that collides the troubled lives of the forefathers.

Needing to cast aside their differences, the Olympus Trinity must work together if they are to unravel the threads of a perilous mystery of their past.

— — —

Interested in my review? You can find it on my blog here.

Book Review: The Olympus Trinity by Brian Coggins Jr

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Author: Brian Coggins Jr.
Publisher: Brian Coggins Jr.
Genre: Mythology
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: April 11, 2022

Synopsis: When a mysterious figure comes to Zeus’ home, he turns to his brother Hades for answers. But Poseidon is seeking answers too, and his way clashes with Zeus’. The three will need to put aside their differences if they are going to unravel the mystery that’s tied to their past.

Review:
Note: I’m going to try and keep it as spoiler-free as possible because this is a new release. Also, I was given an ARC copy of this book and am leaving my honest review.

I love mythology and grew up deep in some of the Greek Myths, so when I was asked to review the book I was really excited to do so.

The setting of the universe for this novel was interesting and incredibly unique, with there being different planets that the gods travel to. The descriptions, for the most part, do well is helping me be immersed in the area we were in at various times. As well, the plot of the book was incredibly interesting in the way they weaved various myths through the novel as a whole.

The personalities for the gods were an interesting choice and like the dialogue seemed to shift occasionally between formal and having a more royal sense to it and occasionally sliding into being a little more casual and what you’d expect to hear today. However, the tension between the brothers was well done and kept you hooked on watching their interactions unfold.

The writing in the book kept the story moving forward and kept you well immersed in the novel, though at times I had to reread sections because occasionally it got a little clunky. But overall, the plot and the big theme of family kept me going to the end. Some of it, in my opinion, could be a little more smoothed out, but as a whole, the story is a good read and it’s a great start to what will clearly have more to come.