White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton | Book Review

Warlock was an old word. Normal people cast it around without understanding the ancient slur, thinking it meant male witch, when it meant traitor. It was reserved for practitioners gone bad, those who betrayed magic’s first tenet: “do no harm.”

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton

SERIES: Adam Binder (Book #1)

LENGTH: 307 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Blackstone Publishing

RELEASE DATE: 13 October 2020


Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.

It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings… including his first love

My Review

The Three of Swords.

The Lovers.


Adam blinked.

“It’s always swords with you, Adam Lee,” Sue said.

This book had me hooked from Chapter 2 or 3. I had the sample of my Kindle (along with Dark Moon, Shallow Sea – same author, new book), and I couldn’t resist reading it.

Then I went and read the rest of it. In like, two hours.

White Trash Warlock has an incredibly addictive narrative, and an easy to follow writing style. The novel is also quite fast-paced. Plus, it’s fantasy. All of this is a recipe for a book I can’t put down, so it’s understandable why I read and absorbed it so quickly.


As I mentioned above, the prose and general writing style is great and easy to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble reading and absorbing information from a super in-depth high fantasy novel, but I do prefer simpler writing styles. Cuz they allow for me to read more/faster.

The nature of the prose also allows for a rather fast-paced adventure, and the plot usually gets to the point within a reasonable amount of time. Slayton doesn’t waste paper on meaningless filler.

Adam felt the color drain from his face.

“I’m kidding,” Argent said. “Of course I’m kidding.”

Adam glared at her. “You’re teasing me.”

“Yes,” she said.

“You’re a sword-wielding being of immense power, an immortal. And you’re teasing me.”

“Yes, I am,” she said. “What use would I have for a mortal soul?”

The characters in White Trash Warlock weren’t my favorite ones ever, but they were still pretty good. Adam Binder was our protagonist, and I liked him well enough. He went through a lot growing up, but he doesn’t let it define him, and he retains a kind heart and is willing to help out his brother’s fiance, despite a history of familial issues.

I actually found said brother, Bobby/Robert, to be a more interesting character. There’s quite an age gap between the brothers (around 10 years), so there’re a lot of communication issues and misunderstandings abound. Bobby also went through a lot growing up – dealing with the brunt of abuse from their father, and having to carry a lot of responsibility after the man disappeared. I’m looking forward to seeing where his character goes in the future.

Everyone else was pretty much a supporting character. They were all pretty interesting with their own quirks and secrets, but they didn’t feel nearly as important as the brothers. Well, except for Argent. She appeared quite often and was the book’s resident badass. I’d like to see more of her character in the future. I really liked her friendly banter with Adam – they seem like they might be solid bros in the future.

I’ve always been intrigued by tarot cards and what they symbolize. I love seeing them used in fiction, and especially when they have bearing on the plot. I think that they can work as an excellent foreshadowing device if utilized properly (like they are here).


I felt that this was by far the weakest aspect of the novel. The love triangle (or technically, love “v”) was annoying just as it always is, and none of the love interests got much development. Annie and Vic were definitely done dirty here.

I also never felt particularly interested in any of the couples. Annie’s presence is basically non-existent, and Adam did all of his protagonist activities without Vic and then explained the plot to him after events (thank god it was off-page). Plus, Vic and Adam were far to insta-lovey for my liking, so it was hard for me to root for them.

The only relationship to really get any interesting pagetime of note was Adam and his ex-boyfriend. They were also the only relationship that I felt had any sort of chemistry, not to mention they spend the most time together out of all the couples. But I still found them to be formulaic and predictable, and it was kind of irritating.

Final Thoughts

Adam thought that maybe, just maybe, they would be all right. In time. When the grief lessened.

White Trash Warlock is a pretty good urban fantasy series, with a fast-paced narrative. The characters are also pretty multifaceted and development, and are compelling enough to follow.

I think that those who enjoy some of the magic and world building of the Dresden Files or Supernatural (or Supernatural fanfiction) might like it. People who like fantasy with LGBTQIA+ will probably enjoy it as well.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Home: A Murderbot Diaries Short Story by Martha Wells | Book Review

As Ephraim gets up and Ayda can finally walk out of this damn room, she replies to SecUnit’s latest requisition form. It’s for a gunship nearly the size PortFreeCommerce’s transit ring: I think you made this one up.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries

LENGTH: 20 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 19 April 2021


Knowing what would happen, she wouldn’t choose a different planet, a different bond company. Because then SecUnit would still be someone’s property, would be waiting for the contract where the negligence or greed or indifference of its clients got it killed. 

This short story directly follows the events in Exit Strategy and is told from the point of view of Dr. Mensah, who is still recovering from the events of that novella.

My Review

SecUnit is looking down at her. “You can hug me if you need to.”

“No. No, that’s all right. I know you don’t care for it.” She wipes her face. There are tears in her eyes, because she’s an idiot.

This review is gonna be pretty short, as Home – being a short story – is naturally short. Like, it’s only like 20 pages or so. So none of my section/heading breaks today.

Seeing as System Collapse’s release is imminent, I finally decided to read and review the only Murderbot Diaries thing I hadn’t yet. I don’t know why I never read it when I read the others – I guess that’s just life?

So yeah, this is a little Murderbot story – but instead of our favorite SecUnit narrating it, it was a 3rd person POV from Dr. Ayda Mensah. The story takes place very soon after the fourth novella, Exit Strategy, and is probably best read then.

I rather liked it – Martha Wells always has good prose, and it’s nice to hear from another character in this universe who isn’t SecUnit for once – as much as I love that construct. Mensah is also one of my favorite characters, and I really enjoyed seeing her relationship with Murderbot from her perspective. It was also interesting to see more of the PTSD that we heard about in Network Effect, but didn’t really see – at least Dr. Mensah’s since she wasn’t present much.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

It’s looking down at her still, and she could meet its gaze to make it look away, but that won’t make it retreat. “Is that a bribe?”

She can’t help a smile. It does sound like a bribe, just a little. “Depends. Will it work?”

“I don’t know. I never had a bribe before.”

So my final verdict is: If you have access to ebooks and stuff, and enjoy the other books in The Murderbot Diaries, then definitely pick this one up. It’s a quick and wholesome little read.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman | Book Review

‘You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.’

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

LENGTH: 310 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Fiction

PUBLISHER: HarperCollins

RELEASE DATE: 30 September 2008


Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place – he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings–such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

My Review

It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.

First off, before I start this review, I gotta acknowledge the day, so…

This book was a nice little story to read right before Halloween. (Which is what I did.) It’s spooky, yet so very wholesome.

I’ve only read a couple of Neil Gaiman novels, but out of the two I read (this and Neverwhere) I’ve liked. He has such a weird brain and I love the campy ideas in these books.

Without further ado, let’s move on to the review proper.


Bod said, ‘I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want,’ he said, and then he paused and he thought. ‘I want everything.’

• The characters ▼

I love all the characters. Nobody “Bod” Owens is such a cute little protagonist. I loved reading about all the hijinks and mischief that he got up to throughout the novel. It was great to watch all of his character development as he grew up.

The ghosts in the graveyard were the best part of the novel. I loved all of their weird personalities, and the way they interacted with one another. And they were all super defined as characters.

• The story ▼

This book is heavily inspired by The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, hence the title. So, as a huge fan of The Jungle Book novel and 1967 animated movie, of course I was gonna like the plot here.

I also really like ghost stories, so this was just a recipe for a book I’d enjoy. And I loved the parallels of the themes that the two share. There’s definitely a similarity between the spirit (*cough*) of both books.

We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.

• The atmosphere ▼

The atmosphere in The Graveyard Book is impeccable. Regardless of my feelings on the way that Gaiman writes, he skillfully weaves an excellent, mildly spooky ambience.

• The artwork ▼

The pictures within add so much to the story itself. Dave McKean does such a great job. I especially like the sketchy looking aspect to them, and how they set the tone for each of the chapters.


• The writing style ▼

This one is just a personal preference. I’m not the biggest fan of Gaiman’s writing style and prose. It’s not bad, not at all, I’m just don’t really care for the way that he writes.

I do like the way he writes dialogue, however. Gaiman’s dialogue is pretty good.

Final Thoughts

‘You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.’

All in all, I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It’s a quick and easy, mildly spooky read that’s great for all ages. It’s a nice and wholesome little ghost story with a bit of mystery plot floating in the background.

I definitely recommend this to fans of Gaiman’s other works, as well as those who enjoy a nice ghost story that isn’t really that scary. I think fans of The Jungle Book will also really like it. It’s a perfect read for the Halloween season.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a spooktackular day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

“Hooky” by Miriam Bonastre Tur | Book Review

{Dani} “Oh no – the bus is leaving!”

Hooky: Volumes #1, 2 & 3 by Miriam Bonastre Tur

Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Hooky (Volumes #1 – #3)

LENGTH: 1152 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Comics, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Clarion Books

RELEASE DATE: 7 September 2021 – 5 September 2023


Two twins. one prophecy, and a whole lot of hijinks. From WEBTOON, the #1 digital comic platform, comes a fantastical story about twin siblings Dani and Dorian who have missed the bus to magic school and scramble to find a mentor  to teach them before their parents find out. Perfect for fans of THE OKAY WITCH and the 5 Worlds series.

When Dani and Dorian missed the bus to magic school, they never thought they’d wind up declared traitors to their own kind! Now, thanks to a series of mishaps, they are being chased by powerful magic families seeking the prophesied King of Witches and royals searching for missing princes.

But they aren’t alone. With a local troublemaker, a princess, and a teacher who can see the future on their side, they might just be able to clear their names…but can they heal their torn kingdom?

Based on the beloved webcomic from WEBTOON, Hooky is in stunning print format for the first time with exclusive new content sure to please fans new and old.

My Review(s)

Hooky was absolutely the cutest little set of graphic novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far. The art and the characters are both so completely adorable. I love so much about this comic.

Since it was three different volumes, however, and since I gave each volume its own rating, I’ve decided to give each book a mini review and rate them individually. They’re all more than novel length anyway, so it feels completely okay to me to treat them as three installments of a series. Kind of like what I did for the Murderbot Diaries last year.

But I’ll stop blabbering. Here’s the full review.

Hooky: Volume #1

Hooky: Volume #1 by Miriam Bonastre Tur

{Dorian} “Oh, Nico… So you were playing hooky?”

{Nico} “I can’t go to class like this!”

Out of the three volumes, the one is probably the most adorable. It’s also definitely the most lighthearted. So much of it gives me Kiki’s Delivery Service vibes, and I’m all here for it.

The art is so pretty – the author is very, very talented. The art style in general is very Ghibli-esque, which is why it probably reminded me of Kiki. That, and the whole witchy theme going on.

The characters were also very loveable. I love it when stories have twins, and especially twin protagonists. This aspect of the novels honestly reminded me of Gravity Falls (an American cartoon) a little bit. Especially with Dani being the more outgoing of the two, and Dorian being more bookish and shy – it seemed a similar dichotomy to Mabel and Dipper. Of course, they are still very different characters despite their similarities.

I also really enjoyed the other protagonists – Monica, Nico and Mark. They added an additional flavor to the cast, and helped the twins come out of their shells. The characters and character and friendship development were definitely the strongest part of the book, after the artwork.

This is a very festive read for spooky season – even though it’s not at all scary. Fall in general is perfect to read this graphic novel in, perhaps with a pumpkin spice candle burning in the background and with some hot chocolate or tea.

Hooky: Volume #2

Hooky: Volume #2 by Miriam Bonastre Tur

{Dani} “I love you so much.”

{Dorian} “…I love you too, silly.”

In volume two, things start to heat up. The plot definitely begins to move more and become more defined. The author also starts to lay down a little bit of foreshadowing, which is always appreciated.

The art is still just as cute and pretty as it was in the first volume, but then I didn’t expect it to change at all. There’s also more character and relationship development here then before, but then the story has also moved forward as well.

The romance that’s been inching along since volume one, but far more prevalent here, is also completely adorable. I can’t help but ship all the canon pairings – the characters are just so cute together! And the chemistry between everyone, romantic or friendship based, as just so amazing.

But yeah, definitely still festive for the season. The volume might even be more so, as it’s darker than its predecessor. I’d definitely rather read this one in October.

Hooky: Volume #3

Hooky: Volume #3 by Miriam Bonastre Tur

{Monica} “I promise we’ll find a solution. Together.”

{Dorian} “Thank you for everything. Seriously.”

In Hooky: Volume #3 we’re thoroughly embroiled in the plot. Though there’s obviously always been a plot here, this is definitely the most story focused of the three. The first two focused more on character interaction, I found. (This one still focuses on character interaction too, don’t worry!)

(Also, I just realized that I gave all three volumes the same exact star rating, and could have totally just put one star rating at the top of this review, instead of one for each book. Whoops.)

The artwork is, as always, beautiful. I know it might seem a little bit redundant to comment on it a third time, but 1) I really, really like it and 2) there’s been a significant enough that timeskip between volumes two and three that the protagonists have all had character redesigns. And they’re still great, everything’s just a little different.

The romance is also somewhat more prevalent, as the characters are all older now – they’re well into their teens. It’s all just as cute and sweet as it always was, but there are confessions this time around. The chemistry is also as palpable as ever.

This is definitely a solid ending to this graphic novel. I was pretty satisfied with everything about it. And yes, this volume is also perfect reading for autumn, as if you couldn’t already guess.

Closing Thoughts

Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur is a brilliant and adorable graphic novel. I loved nearly everything about it, and even though it’s geared more towards middle grade, I think everyone should read it regardless of age.

Those who enjoy fantasy and comics will probably enjoy it, but I also think that Studio Ghibli fans will also really like it. Actually, I think most people in general will enjoy it.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Festive Reads for the Fall | Autumn Book Recommendations 2023

It’s that time of year again – the time of year where I recommend books for the season! My recommendations of autumn books of 2023! It’s the middle of October, so that means I’m gonna recommend some spooky books and/or just some books with fall vibes in general. There are a bunch of them, after all.

Interestingly enough, it’s also a year to the day since I last recommended stuff to read for autumn. I didn’t even mean to do that, haha. How time sure flies!

I also understand that, once again, it’s a bit late for this kind of post. But! I hadn’t read a couple of books on this list until the last week or so, so I wanted to actually read them before doing this post. So, sorry it’s kinda later in the month again, but I had a decent reason this time, lol.

Now, I know that I usually do these things in lists of five. The thing is though, I’ve just read too many graphic novels in the last year or so that are just too perfect for this post. So, there’s seven recs here. Deal with it, lol.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur

Mooncakes by Susanne Walker & Wendy Xu

What books have you been reading this fall? Have any of them had any autumn or spooky vibes? Do we share any of the same favorites?

And if course, thank you to everyone so much for reading, and I hope that you have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch” by Melinda Taub | Book Review

I suppose if this were a proper book I’d begin it something like, “Miss Lydia Bennet, youngest of five daughters to a father hopelessly entailed, had few advantages in life, but not too few to squander.”

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub

LENGTH: 400 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: 3 October 2023


A sparkling, witchy reimagining of Pride and Prejudice, told from the perspective of the troublesome and – according to her – much-maligned youngest Bennet sister, Lydia.

In this exuberant retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet puts pen to paper to relate the real events and aftermath of the classic story. Some facts are well known: Mrs. Bennet suffers from her nerves; Mr. Bennet suffers from Mrs. Bennet, and all five daughters suffer from an estate that is entailed only to male heirs.

But Lydia also suffers from entirely different concerns: her best-loved sister Kitty is really a barn cat; Wickham is every bit as wicked as the world believes him to be, but what else would one expect from a demon? And if Mr. Darcy is uptight about etiquette, that’s nothing compared to his feelings about magic. Most of all, Lydia has yet to learn that for a witch, promises have power…

Full of enchantment, intrigue, and boundless magic, The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch, has all the irreverent wit, strength, and romance of Pride and Prejudice–while offering a highly unexpected redemption for the wildest Bennet sister.

My Review

This was my first spell. I thought nothing of it at the time. All small children think they can control the world around them.

Before I start, I myself have a bit of a confession to make: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I’m not much interested in Jane Austen at all. The only book of hers I’ve read was Sense and Sensibility, and I didn’t much care for it. So, I’ve not read much of her work, and I honestly have little interest in it due to that which I have not really being my kind of book.

So why did I decide to pick this one up and give it a shot? you might ask. The answer is simply: Magic and witches and retellings. I love all three very much, and especially retellings. Usually I go for classic fairytale ones, but I’m always up for a classic anything retelling.

So, I decided to try The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch out. I gave it a shot. And I really enjoyed it. Of course, it was written in such a way to mimic the writing and prose of the time, which is something that I’m normally unsure about, but I was determined to read it so I’d psyched myself out about it. And yeah, as I just mentioned, I liked it quite a bit.

But I’ll stop rambling on about this and get into the review proper. I’ve gone on long enough, after all.


I spent the evening on my mother’s lap, being squeezed and kissed and lamented over, while my sisters petted and caressed me and brought me sweets and bits of ribbon.

The next day, I threw myself in the creek again. Well, what did they expect? A good thing witches float.

Even though she irritated me quite a few times, I really enjoyed Lydia Bennet and her narration. Sure she was incredibly naive and made many irritatingly stupid decisions, but as this book is technically an epistolary novel (actually it definitely is, fight me) it had a present Lydia looking back at the past, particularly her past actions. A character looking back at herself, and calling out the same decisions and actions that I found to be stupid and naive and irritating, was incredibly refreshing, even if Lydia was being far too hard on herself about it all.

“As if you could,” she said scornfully. “I’m in this shape because I choose to be.” But I saw a flash of doubt pass over her face. We had never met another witch before.

My aunt laughed. “Isn’t that just like a cat. Everything has to be your own idea.”

I also really liked Kitty Bennet, and Taub’s interpretation of her as Lydia’s cat familiar. And maybe it was because she was a cat that I liked her so much – I am very fond of kitties after all. (Mine is on my lap, right at this moment as I write this review, haha.) I also enjoyed how she still had the attitude of a cat even in human form. The author understands cats well – they’re all a little bit arrogant, they like to imagine that everything is their own idea, and yet they can be incredibly loving and loyal. And incredibly weak to pets. Lydia and Kitty’s relationship as sisters was also very sweet, and I was always rooting for their sisterhood.

Her eyes widened. “My God, I think you’re right. How did I not see it before? Someday you’ll have to teach me how you do that.”

“Do what? Observe things and think them through?”

“Yes, that thing.” She frowned. “Well. Let us go ahead with it then.”

Miss Maria Lambe was also a favorite character of mine. I really enjoyed her determination, as well as her incredibly kind heart that she nearly constantly hud behind a cold veneer. She was such a strong person, perhaps the strongest in the book, which is strange to see as that is usually the protagonist in several female led tales. Miss Lambe is also not originally from Pride and Prejudice, but from another of Austen’s works, one that was never completed. But Taub write her in in such a way that she fit perfectly into the story. I loved that she was added.

I really enjoyed her slow-burn friendship with Lydia. Despite the constant denials from both characters, they were most definitely friends, and their growing bond was one of the things that kept me reading during the book’s slowest parts. I wanted to know more about Maria’s secrets just as Lydia did. I wanted to see the moment Lydia and Miss Lambe accepted their friendship.

You walk on the earth every day, taking it for granted. You never think that one day it may shake beneath your feet.

Something is beginning. The thought came to me unbidden.

I really enjoyed all the witchiness and the magic. It felt a natural and organic part of the story, despite its inherent unnaturalness. Much of the story took place in autumn as well, and made it feel even more perfect to read for the season. Plus, I really just like books set in fall – it’s my favorite season.

The setting itself felt extremely authentic as well, which is something that I always enjoy in historical fiction, especially if done right like it is here. Sure, all the tangents about gossip and dresses got annoying every once in a while (I like stories to just go), but that just made the Authenticity Meter go up higher, as that was what some lives were like back then. I also just really liked the descriptions of the balls and outfits.

I really liked the romance here. Primarily Kitty and Denny’s. I don’t know how theirs went in the original P&P, or if it was even present at all, but they were so cuuuute together here. I was always rooting for them from the first second. And theirs was the only one I cried about (and multiple times at that) – it just hit me so hard for whatever reason.

“You do not believe me,” Wickham said. “That is no matter. You will.” And he cupped my cheek in his hand, and kissed me.

Lydia and Wickham’s was sweet too, in it’s own way. Since I’ve never read P&P, I don’t know anything about what their original relationship was like, or how exactly Wickham was presented there. But I really liked how their relationship was built up here, and how Wickham was a literal demon. It just made their dynamic incredibly interesting.


The pettiness got old really fast. It was something that almost constantly irritated me whilst reading Lydia Bennet, Witch. Every time someone started to be petty, I wanted to scream.

It’s also the reason I didn’t like any of the antagonists and several of the other characters. They were always being petty and nasty about nearly everything! They were so annoying.

The pacing in this novel was also a nightmare for me. I don’t care what the consensus on The StoryGraph is – this book was slow as hell. One of the slowest of burns of slow-burns for me. There’s a reason that I don’t normally read slow-paced books; I don’t typically have the patience for them.

Final Thoughts

Love your best friends. Forgive your worst friends. Remember, always, not to judge people too hastily, for everyone is living out a story of their own, and you only get to read the pages you appear on.

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet Witch by Melinda Taub was a wonderful witchy retelling of a classic novel. It also paints Lydia, a character that many people don’t care for, in a different and more likable light. The novel also keeps up the vibes of 19th century England that make it feel very authentic. It may not have been on my fourth Most Anticipated Reads of 2023 list, but that’s only because I discovered it too late.

I think that Jane Austen fans will probably enjoy it, though I can’t really speak about it as I’m not an Austen fan personally. I also think that those who like retellings and historical fantasy will like it as well. This book is also perfect to read during the fall and October in particular, with a pumpkin spice candle burning in the background if you have one.

Have you read any of Jane Austen’s work? What did you think of it? Have you read Lydia Bennet, Witch? What do you think of it?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a beautiful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Book Review: “The Chalice of the Gods” by Rick Riordon

“I couldn’t trust anyone else! You’ve already turned down immortality once, Percy Jackson.”

The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordon

The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordon

SERIES: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book #6)

LENGTH: 288 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Disney Publishing Group

RELEASE DATE: 26 September 2023


The original heroes from The Lightning Thief are reunited for their biggest challenge yet: getting Percy to college when the gods are standing in his way.

After saving the world multiple times, Percy Jackson is hoping to have a normal senior year. Unfortunately, the gods aren’t quite done with him. Percy will have to fulfill three quests in order to get the necessary three letters of recommendation from Mount Olympus for college.

The first quest is to help Zeus’s cup-bearer retrieve his goblet before it falls into the wrong hands. Can Percy, Grover, and Annabeth find it in time?

Readers new to Percy Jackson and fans who have been awaiting this reunion for more than a decade will delight equally in this latest hilarious take on Greek mythology. 

My Review

“I am a guy of limited talents. If I can’t kill it with water, a sword, or sarcasm, I am basically defenseless.”

So. A long time ago, waaayy back in like 2007, I read a little book called The Lightning Thief. And it led me to discovering my favorite series of books in my middle school career.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians was a huge series for me and my friend group growing up, and basically until high school. Even though there were a couple of really not good film adaptations, it didn’t dampen the books whatsoever for us. The Last Olympian was the most hyped book of 2009 for like my entire grade at my school, and I still consider it to be one of the greatest finales ever written.

And sure, Rick Riordon continued the PJO saga in other ways after TLO, but I never could get into the Heroes of Olympus series, and The Trials of Apollo… exists. (It’s really not as bad as people say – it just has a very, very rocky… first couple of books. (I didn’t really mind them, though.))

So when The Chalice of the Gods was announced, I was filled with disbelief. I never dreamed that there’d be another Percy Jackson book. In the greater Riordon universe? Sure. But another book with the original trio of main characters from the series that started it all? Never in my dreams had I imagined this happening.

I’m going to continue with my usual likes and dislikes momentarily, but before I get into it, I just want to let everyone know one thing: I absolutely loved this new adventure. It was everything I’d hoped it’d be. It wrapped me in nostalgia exactly the way I hoped that it would. This novel was a Percy Jackson fan from the ’00s dream. (And it’s also just as welcoming to newer fans.)


  • The characters ▼

She let the thought drift away into the Land of Half-Formed Thoughts About Things That Could Kill Percy Jackson. I spent a lot of my time in that land.

Percy Jackson is back, and he’s just as sassy as ever. Sure, he’s slightly more mature than he used to be, but saving the world twice will do that to you. Riordon also seemed to be writing him in such a way that evoked as much nostalgia as possible. Or maybe that was just me coming back to the series after ten plus years. (It was probably me.)

Annabeth Chase is still awesome, and her and Percy’s chemistry is just as strong as it’s ever been. Annabeth was Percy’s best friend and a good character before she was his girlfriend, and that careful character work is still prevalent today. Their friendship is also still strong, even though they’re very serious about each other, which is something I’m glad about. So many series can’t or won’t keep this aspect of the relationship up after the couple gets together, and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

I imagined us sitting around a table together, sharing a good meal and laughing about all the crazy things we’d done in our lives.

And last but certainly not least, Grover Underwood is back! Everyone’s favorite satyr is back on an adventure with his two best friends. And he never felt like a third wheel. Ever. Not that I doubted he would for a moment, but he never was. Which was awesome. He’s just as kind and enchilada (and aluminum can) loving as he’s always been, and I’m so happy that he and Percy are still super close bros.

There weren’t really any of the major supporting cast that appeared, like Clarisse or Nico or Chiron. (Nor any of the major new characters introduced in Heroes of Olympus.) It was nice to see Percy’s mom and stepdad again, as well as some of the Olympians.

  • The story ▼

The plot was as fast-paced and as fun as it’s always been. There’s always something going on, but there’s also always time for character moments and development. Rick has perfected his plot-heavy-stuff and let-the-characters-breathe ratio.

  • The writing and voice ▼

Percy Jackson and the Olympians has one of the greatest first person POVs that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s so extremely well done. Especially considering how difficult it is to pull first person off effectively. (Third person is usually considered easier to do.)

But Percy has always had a unique voice that isn’t too cluttered up by random unnecessary thoughts (which is a problem several books have). And he’s a genuinely fun character’s head to be in, which is also something I can’t say for all first person POV novels that I’ve read.

After an uneventful weekend, Annabeth broke into my room at 4:30 A.M. Monday morning, which sounds a lot more exciting than it actually was.

  • Nearly everything else ▼

I don’t really know what else to say here. Just, pretty much everything about this book was amazing. I loved it so much, and it meant so much to me, as a longtime fan of this series.


  • Maybe some nitpicks? ▼

I didn’t have any huge problems with this one. Part of it might be my giant nostalgia goggles, but I’m pretty confident that this isn’t it. I think that this is just a genuinely good book that has a lot of what I like to see in books. Sure it might be geared younger, but I don’t consider that a bad thing.

Final Thoughts

You’d be amazed how many teachers, administrators, and other school staff are monsters in disguise. Or maybe you wouldn’t be amazed.

The Chalice of the Gods was peak nostalgia. It felt like a love letter to the entire series, and for fans new and old. It has the same charm and adventure as the original five books.

I feel like I can only recommend this to those who are already fans of the PJO novels. Since, you know, it’s the sixth installment. But it’s a hearty recommendation for them.

Have you read any of these books? Were you excited for The Chalice of the Gods? Are you a fan of Greek myths?

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Book Review: “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab

What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

LENGTH: 444 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 6 October 2020


In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

France, 1714: In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever – and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

My Review

It is sad, of course, to forget. But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten. To remember when no one else does.

So, confession: I’ve never really had any intention of reading this book. I don’t really know why exactly – I guess I’ve just never thought it might be a book for me. But I absolutely adored A Darker Shade of Magic and loved the Shades of Magic trilogy as a whole, so when my mom wanted to buddy read it, I decided why the heck not?

And, spoiler alert, I loved it. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is just… so beautiful, but also heartbreaking. Aside from it being a more slower paced book, which are books that I sometimes annoying for me to get through, there was only one caveat I really had with this novel. But I’ll get into that in a bit. Let me sing its praises a little bit first.

My Praises

And the first thing I gotta gush about Addie LaRue is how much I love how the relationships are written. Not the romance, even though I liked that as well. But the relationships as a whole.

Every time someone forgot Addie, my heart cracked just the slightest bit, even though I knew it was coming. But when someone Addie loved so fiercely forgot her (ex: her father), my heart really started to break. This book made me cry twice, and one of the times was about Addie’s relationship with another character.

The second thing I really enjoyed were the characters. Though there is a little bit of a plot, I found the book to be primarily character driven.

“I remember you.” Three words, large enough to tip the world.

Addie is our MC of course, and even though a lot of her earlier decisions (as in, a lot of the choices that she made in the flashbacks), she did grow on me, and I really began to feel for her later on. (Though she did still annoy me at certain points.)

I also really liked Henry. I think it’s because he’s different compared to other male main characters that I usually come across while reading, and it was refreshing for me in a way. His and Addie’s budding friendship (and romance) was very sweet. And at first it might feel as if they’re moving too fast – but circumstances are revealed later on that recontextualize many earlier scenes.

Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.

And then there’s Luc. Ah, Luc. I have a lot of feelings about this demonic entity. He’s intentionally written as attractive and he has one of those kinds of personalities, but I still kind of hated him. I don’t really know what it was about him exactly, but I think part of it was that I found it a little hard to comprehend how a creature that existed from the beginning of the universe, could become so thirsty for a human girl. It just didn’t make sense to me. And yeah, I know part of it was because he wanted to run the deal, but he was still thirsty for Addie.

The Caveat

“Nothing is all good or all bad,” she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”

I really didn’t like the ending.

As I read through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I fell in love with it more and more. Of course, I knew from almost the beginning that this was most likely going to be a four star read (because I cried), I thought that that would be it. (If a book makes me cry, I usually give it at least three and a half stars.)

But that ending, it was just so… neutral. Undetermined. It kind of almost felt like Schwab didn’t really know how to end the novel, honestly. But yeah, basically the end of the book disappointed me. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it just didn’t vibe with me.

In fact, I originally rated Addie LaRue four stars because the ending bothered me the way it did. But after some distance from finishing the book, and reflecting on the novel as a whole, I decided to alter my rating. Because it really was a good book, and I really did ultimately enjoy it a lot. (Even if what I considered to be the main conflict of the book was never resolved.)

Closing Thoughts

And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.

Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?

Were the moments of beauty worth the year of pain?

And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says “Always.”

Even though I thought the ending sucked, ultimately The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is a very good book. It’s one that I heavily recommend as well, particularly if you like character driven slow-burns with just a dash of fantastical romance.

Also, before I close it off, there’s one other thing I forgot to mention. The back-and-forth between the past and present was really well done. And I’m usually really iffy about this type of storytelling. It’s always either hit or miss – and I guess this was a hit for me.

As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar


“Yumi and the Nightmare Painter” by Brandon Sanderson | Book Review

The star was particularly bright when the nightmare painter started his rounds.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

My Review

Yes, she said, bowing her head again. Tell me what you need, and I will do whatever I can.

Please, it said. Free. Us.

All went black.

So, after reading A Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, I decided that that would be it for Brandon Sanderson novels for awhile. Most of his books were set in the same universe – even if they’re on different planets and stuff – so I kind of felt intimidated by it all.

But then I saw the cover for Yumi and the Nightmare Painter and read the summary, and I absolutely had to read it. Even though it was set in the Cosmere universe, and I knew it would be filled with all kinds of references, and might even feature other characters that I didn’t know, I really wanted to read it.

And despite this, that there were a ton of references that I didn’t understand, and that there was at least a character or two from other books, I was still able to really enjoy it. Honestly, that’s probably because I don’t need the most context to enjoy a book, even when it’s a spinoff or something. I know, that’s really weird. But it’s something that I’m able to do for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much fanfiction, and I’m used to jumping into a new fandom where I’ve never seen or read the original media, and then I have to figure out the original story on my own. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed this book. I should probably just give up the ghost and start reading an actual Brando Sando series already.

The Characters

Once, she would have assumed that she couldn’t hide, no matter how good the disguise. She would have assumed that people would instantly know a yoki- hijo. But she had lived in Painter’s world. She’d been normal for a week and a half at this point.

I loved the characters in this book so much. They were so relatable in their own ways, despite the fact that they came from such different worlds to each other, and to our own.

Nikaro “Painter” is our male co-protagonist. He’s the embodiment of “deep” and an “angsty teen.” Or at least, that’s the front that he puts up – that’s what he wants himself to believe. But what he actually is, is a lonely, sensitive young man, who feels a little aimless. I loved his character development into someone who accepts who he is, and becoming a so-called “hero” in his own right. He was a great character to follow, and his dialogue with our leading lady was fantastic.

Said leading lady is Yumi, one of the yoki-hijo, a young woman that has the power to summon the spirits of her land and assist the people with them. She’s quiet and reserved, and she holds the entire world on her shoulders, and the stress that builds up because of this is what triggers the inciting incident. Her character development was also fantastic, and I loved watching her grow into an independent young woman.

Most of the other characters were very minor, but they were still pretty good, even if their impact on the story is smaller.

Our narrator, Hoid, has appeared in many a Brandon Sanderson novel. Admittedly, I did a little research after I read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter in order to find this out, though I suspected as much. I liked his narration, and the little bits of his personality throughout. His spren, Design, was also a highly enjoyable character, and I loved hee interactions with Yumi and Painter. Both Hoid and Design made me want to read the Stormlight Archive very, very badly, so despite its length, I’ll probably end up reading it soon.

Design nodded toward Yumi. “Why do you like her?”

“I don’t. We’re forced to work together.”

“Nikaro. Do you want to try that again, and make it sound persuasive or something? Because I’ve only had eyes for a few years, and even I can see straight through you.”

The romance between Painter and Yumi was very sweet. They were a very easy couple to root for from the beginning – they’re such cinnamon rolls! I also love how obvious they were about it, even though they tried not to be.

The other character relationships were also nice. I liked how Yumi bonded with Painter’s former friends. There’s a few nice female friendships here. I also liked Design and Hoid’s relationship, and how you can infer so much about it, even with their pretty much non-existent interactions throughout the novel.

The Setting

The hion lines were the colors of Kilahito. Needing no pole or wire to hold them aloft, they ran down every street, reflected in every window, lit every denizen. Wire-thin strings of both colors split off the main cords, running to each structure and powering modern life. They were the arteries and veins of the city.

The setting was so cool. I loved the contrast between Yumi’s bright and warm world, to Nikaro’s dark, cool one. The hion line lights that powered and lit everything up were also very interesting. I also really loved the contrast of cyan and magenta (it made a very pretty cover).

The matter of how Painter and Yumi’s worlds were tied together was something that I was guessing until it was revealed. Why, oh why, did I wait until this year to read a Brandon Sanderson book? Why? They’re just so good!

The Plot

The story of this book – or should I say stories – was so, so good. Sanderson said he was inspired by the manga Hikaru no Go, Final Fantasy X, and the anime Your Name, and it really shows. Before reading this book, I was aware that it was inspired by some Japanese media, and I’d already guessed that Your Name was one of them while reading, because of what happens after the inciting incident.

The B other plot wasn’t quite as interesting. I don’t care what Hoid says in his narration – this was Yumi and Nikaro’s story! And even though I’ve read this book cover to cover, I still consider it to be the primary plot.(Again, I don’t give a crap about what Hoid claims.)

This was a very character driven book as opposed to plot, however. There was quite a bit of plot, don’t get me wrong, but it was what one would call a slow-burn. That didn’t mean the book was boring – far from it, in fact. The characters were so entertaining, and narration so fun, that it made up for that entirely. Such a well-written novel.

Final Thoughts

Art doesn’t need to be good to be valuable. I’ve heard it said that art is the one truly useless creation-intended for no mechanical purpose. Valued only because of the perception of the people who view it. The thing is, everything is useless, intrinsically. Nothing has value unless we grant it that value. Any object can be worth whatever we decide it to be worth.

So yeah, do I recommend Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson? Hell yeah I do! It’s a wonderful story, with a sweet little romance, as well as lots of interesting commentary about art. (Particularly with the AI stuff going on now.)

This book was wonderful, and the art was so pretty. I love, love, loved the art so much! Aliya Chen is a fantastic artist, and the art also added to the slight anime vibe of the novel.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed! And I hope that you have an awesome day/night!

What Brandon Sanderson books have you read? Have you read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter? What did you think of them if you have?

See ya ~Mar


Weekly Wrap-Up: 5/29 – 6/4

This last week was so much more productive than the ridiculous week before, and I’m so happy. Now, I’m back in the groove! (Yes, I know this is technically a day late. Shut up.)

I haven’t had the best start so far this current week, but I’m hoping I can pick up the momentum a little bit nonetheless. And yeah, I’ll go into it a bit more closer to the end, but I’m not expecting to post like last week. I’m hoping to have almost as much proclivity as usual, but we’ll just have to find out how much together.

Anyway, on with the wrap-up!

Monday 5/29: Majestic Monday

Last Monday, I did the first Majestic Monday that I’ve done in a long time. It felt great, and I’m excited to post more of these in the future. For those who don’t know, Majestic Mondays are when I gush over covers that I like.

Majestic Monday #13

Wednesday 5/31: WWW Wednesday

On Wednesday, I, as per usual, participated in another WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday 5/31

Thursday 6/1: The Stardust Thief Review

Thursday was when I finally posted my review for The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. It’s an excellent Middle Eastern fantasy that I absolutely adored. I gave it ★★★★★.

The Stardust Thief Review

Friday 6/2: First Line Friday

Last Friday, I participated in First Line Fridays. It’d been a bit since the last time I was able to (courtesy of the power so generously deciding to go out the week before), but I managed to do it last week. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words.

First Line Friday #16

Sunday 6/4: May 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

On Sunday, I finally got around to posting my monthly reading wrap-up for May 2023. It’s no later than I usually get to it, but I usually take a bit to get to it sometimes. I didn’t read and post as much as I’d have liked last month, but what can you do? Sometimes life just gets in the way.

May 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

Books I Read Last Week

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Witch King by Martha Wells

Goals for 6/5 – 6/11

This week I’m aiming to be almost as productive as last week. The key word here being almost. See, there’s sort of a vacation-y kind of thing going on at the moment, so my spouse and I are doing some stuff this week, which means I’m gonna be distracted. Like, a lot. So I’m hoping to post at least four times, but we’ll see.

But yeah, not a lot specifically planned this week. I just want to post a few things of anything really.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading, and have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar