First Line Friday #14

It’s getting very late, but I was, uh, busy. With stuff. I’m here now, though, and am participating in yet another First Line Friday.

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words, but I saw it over at One Book More.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by its content? Its first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

📚 Take a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open it to the first page
📝 Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
📙 Finally… reveal the book!

Here are the first lines:

Outside, wind rattled the wooden chimes in warning. In the distance, waves crashed against the shore; the frantic whispers of water growing louder as if the sea was a mage summoning vio- lence. On this date-for nearly a decade now-the storm followed the same pattern. Next, thunder would roll in quicker than the tide with lightning cracking electric whips across an unforgiving sky. The devil demanded retribution. A blood sacrifice for power stolen.

It wasn’t the first time he’d be cursed by witches, nor would it be the last.

Any guesses? Here’s some lovely photos of books for your viewing please while you ruminate…

Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco!!

(Did you guess it right??)

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

SERIES: Kingdom of the Wicked (Book #1)

LENGTH: 384 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Jimmy Patterson

RELEASE DATE: 27 October 2020


Two sisters.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked—princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

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

See ya ~Mar

Shelf Control #7: Haunting the Deep

It’s that time of the week again, so it’s time for some more Shelf Control. Shelf Control is an original feature created and hosted by Lisa @

It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out this post at

This week I’m talking about a sequel that I’ve had sitting on my shelf for a while. It’s Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather.

About Haunting the Deep

Series: How to Hang a Witch Duology (Book #2)

Length: 344 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, YA

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Book Description

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic… where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship… and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

Why It Languishes on My Bookshelf

When I Got It: October 2017

Why I Wanted to Read It: I thought the plot looked super interesting.

Why I Haven’t Read It Yet: I hadn’t even read the first one – How to Hang a Witch – yet, and when I did eventually read that one, I didn’t like it as much as I had hoped to.

Will I Ever Read It?: Probably not. Like I said, I wasn’t super into the first book, and I didn’t really like it enough to read its sequel. But who knows what the future holds? Things can change on a dime, after all.

§ • § • §

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? See you on the flip side for more bookish things!

Witches, Werewolves and… Baking? | Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu [A Book Review]

A story about love and demons, family and witchcraft.

About This Book

Title & Author: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

Illustrator: Wendy Xu

Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Romance, Graphic Novel

Length: 256 pages

Publication: Oni Press [October 15, 2019]

Book Description: Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled through the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old, in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

My Review

Star Rating: 🍰🍰🍰 • 3 / 5 cakes!

So. D’you wanna tell me what’s going on?

Okay, to start off this review, I want to immediately make clear that this graphic novel was absolutely adorable. Saccharinely sweet, one might say, and not just because of the gorgeous cover.

At its core, this book is just a chill, slice-of-life story, with some fantasy and romance elements added to the mix. (I know. I have to stop it with these baking puns.) And I enjoyed it for being what it was. Not to mention, the main characters were pretty likeable, which is exceedingly important in a novel. So, before I get into the stuff I didn’t like as much, let’s talk about the things this book did that were fantastic.

First of all: the characters. I liked Nova 🪄🧹 and Tam🐺🌳 – the protagonists. I liked how Nova was a witch and how she used the knowledge and magic she’d gained through her studies in her daily life. It seemed so casual and natural, and there was nothing forced about it. (I also enjoyed how Nova being hard of hearing was handled. I didn’t really know where to put this, but I wanted to mention it, so it’s here.)

I also liked Tam and their werewolf powers, and how the book emphasized that werewolves have magic, which is different from witch magic. I thought that was really cool, and it’s something I’ve never really seen before in a book. I also loved how the book handled Tam’s enby status. It was just a part of their character, and wasn’t their one and only defining character trail. Tam is also self-conscious, brave, and protective.

I missed you too.

Tatyana 🧪💡 was the absolute best character in the novel, though. I loved how she was a total science nerd, and the scepticism she showed towards what could be done with magic, despite knowing that it existed. I also loved how supportive Nova’s grandmas were, and how the relationship mostly focused on in Mooncakes wasn’t the romance (though there was romance) but the found family aspect.

Also, before we get into my cons for the book, I really want to highlight the artwork. It’s seriously good. The cover is merely a prelude to the amazing pictures inside. Wendy Xu is a very talented artist, and should definitely be recognized for it.

Now, it’s time for my grievances. First off, the antagonists sucked. I know, I know, it’s a slice-of-life. But I just kind of expected the villains to be better, is all.

Second off, I did not appreciate the insta-love between Tam and Nova. I should clarify that this point in particular is probably a me thing: I’m a slow-burn type of gal. But I also feel like getting together at the end of Chapter 2, after only meeting again for the first time in years at the end of Chapter 1, was a little too fast. Yeah, I get it – they’re teenagers. It still bothered me. I also would’ve liked to get to know Nova and Tam as individual characters more before we got to know them as a couple. I much preferred all of the found family stuff. (The lesbian grandmas were perfect, though. I loved reading them interact.)

Also, one last criticism. I hated how Nova tried to rub in one of the antagonist’s faces that she was gonna make out with Tam. Like, this individual obviously did not care whatsoever. Not to mention, it seemed kind of childish for a 17-year-old; it honestly sounds more like something a 12-year-old would do. And also, the antagonists were too stupid to use this information, freely given, as some sort of leverage. Like, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop for most of the novel. (Minor spoilers, I guess?)

Anyway, Mooncakes was, over all, pretty great. It was beautifully illustrated, with a likable setting and characters. (Who doesn’t love a witchy story set in New England?!?) This book is great for those of you who enjoy gorgeous graphic novels and some fantasy. It’s a wonderful, cozy read, perfect throughout any time during the fall, though near Halloween might be the best.

Have you read this book? What are your favorite things to read around Halloween? Thank you all for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

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