“A Curse for True Love” by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

Evangeline Fox always believed she’d find herself inside of a fairytale one day.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

SERIES: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Book #3)

LENGTH: 385 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 24 October 2023


Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after…

Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. 

But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out.

But first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts. Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test.

My Review

The air crackled with something that made Evangeline think of little sparks. Then she felt a tingling on her wrist in the shape of her broken heart scar.

Jacks had arrived.

A Curse for True Love was… okay. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just kind of gotten tired of this trilogy, but it didn’t do too much for me.

Then again, I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate on the first two books. And I gotta say – I think a few of my opinions have shifted a little. That, and I just can’t with the stuff about this series that has been annoying me, anymore.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say here. Let’s get on with this review.


“This is a very bad idea,” Jacks murmured.

“I would have thought you liked bad ideas.”

“Only when they’re mine.”

The thing that I’ve always enjoyed the most about OUABH and its sequels has definitely been the setting. I love the way that Garber describes the world that she’s created. It just sounds so beautiful and mystical. Like a fairytale (which is almost certainly what she was going for, judging by her main character).

I still love the Magnificent North. It’s still one of my favorite new worlds that I’ve read about in the last few years. I love how it just reeks of magic, and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with this mystical land in this trilogy.

The pacing of A Curse for True Love and its predecessors has always been nice and brisk, which has always been one of my favorite things about them. I love a good fast-paced book. It’s just so… fast. Which makes it a pretty quick read – I’ve never taken more than like three hours to read any of the OUABH novels.


She needed to back away, to call her for guards, to tell him to leave. Her heart pounded impossibly fast.

But she found herself saying, “You’re not here to hurt me.” “You don’t know that.” A muscle ticked in his jaw. “This morning I nearly tossed you over the side of a bridge.”

“You also just killed someone to save my life.”

“Maybe I just enjoy killing people.”

Even though I enjoyed a few of the characters a lot in the first book, and even a little bit in the second, I’m kind of just done with them now. My irritation has reached a crescendo.

Evangeline Fox has always annoyed me somewhat, but I’m just tired of her. She was essentially reset at the end of the last book (spoilers?) and I hate that trope. Ironically enough though, she actually seemed to be more proactive than she’s ever been before, which is something that I found hilarious. But yeah, she’s probably in the bottom half of my protagonist rankings.

Jacks was interesting to me at first, and I still find him to be entertaining at times. But even his character has worn me down. I also don’t really understand why Evangeline is so into him – he’s such an ass. Like, he’s flirty and a douchy kind of charming to read about, but if he was a real life romantic prospect… ugh. No thank you.

Apollo also had a very interesting character assassination at the end of TBONA (book two). And now he was a total piece of work here – an even bigger a-hole than Jacks. But he was entirely devoid of personality, and frankly, a actual character the first two books, so it didn’t feel like I got ripped off or anything.

The plot has always been a little bit nonsensical and convoluted, but I found it to be the most noticable here. It also brought more attention to the storytelling flaws retroactively in the books one and two.

Even though the novels in this trilogy are very fast-paced, the plot ebbs and flows strangely. So there are parts where nothing happens, and then suddenly too many things are happening too fast. And nothing really has time to breathe.

Also, the OUABH books have a problem with major plot threads being ultimately pointless. For example, many of the events of book two. These problems continue in A Curse for True Love.

The romance in this trilogy has always been slightly ick to me. Jacks has never read like a healthy romantic partner, and there has never been any chemistry between Evangeline and Apollo.

And that has not changed in book three, believe me. If anything, the relationships are even more toxic. Jacks seems excessively unhealthy at a few points here, and Apollo is straight up Tamlin on steroids. Seriously, if you thought Tamlin from ACOTAR was bad and you hated him, you will absolutely despise Apollo here.

Final Thoughts

She remembered telling herself that night not to turn around. Not to look. And when she had looked at him, she’d tried to glance for only a second.

But it had been impossible. Jacks had been the moon and she’d been the tide, controlled by his impossible force. That much had not changed.

Even though the list of stuff I didn’t like is longer than the things I did like, I still found myself rating this kinda high. I think it’s because I loved the Stuff I Liked, combined with some nostalgia. All in all, A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber is an okay book.

If you liked the Caraval trilogy and the first two books in the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy, you’ll probably enjoy this one. Also, if you like whimsical, mystical fairytale-like stories, you might like this too.

Have you read A Curse for True Love yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any of Stephanie Garber’s other novels? What did you think of them?

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you have a whimsical day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

My review for Once Upon a Broken Heart

My review for The Ballad of Never After

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:

First Line Friday: 9/22

Okay, so explanation time. I got sick this week. It has majorly sucked. So that’s why I haven’t hardly posted this week at all. Now let’s move on to First Line Fridays.

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:

Be still now, and I will tell you a tale.

It begins deep within Verloren, the land of the lost.

Do you know what book it is? Here’s a little hint. Or two or three, you know the drill by now.

Do you know the book now? If you don’t, here are some gorgeous pictures of novels to scroll through while you consider it…

Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… Cursed by Marissa Meyer!!

(Did you guess it?)

Cursed by Marissa Meyer

Cursed by Marissa Meyer

What books have you been reading lately? What’s on your TBR that you’re most excited about?

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Majestic Monday #15

Ugh, it’s been waaayy too long since I’ve last done this post. I’m sorry – things have just been kind of nuts over the past few weeks.

Anyway, for anyone who is not aware, Majestic Mondays are a (supposedly) weekly meme I created, wherein I highlight an awesome looking book cover and talk about what I like about it. And that’s pretty much it.

This week the novel art I’ll be gushing over is The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. It’s the sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart, another cover that I’ve admired in a prior Majestic Monday post.

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

LENGTH: 416 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books

RELEASE DATE: 13 September 2022


Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can…

Book Cover Rating: 💔💔💔💔 • 4 broken hearts

Much like the first book in this series, I really love the cover here. However, I honestly think I prefer the lavender to the rose gold used on OUABH’s. It’s for no reason in particular, though – I simply like purple covers, as people who’ve seen this post before may be aware.

I love how the black background appears to be a starry night sky. It makes me think of constellations – even more so with the beautiful purple arrow that takes center stage on the cover. It makes me think of Sagittarius a little, especially when a mythical figure known as the Archer exists in this series’ universe, and has a significant part to play in this book especially.

But yeah, Stephanie Garber’s publisher has a knack for choosing some very gorgeous cover art. And I mean all the cover art. The bindings are also lovely pastel colors, and the back covers are both pretty starry skies, similar to their fronts.

So yeah, sorry again for not doing this post for over a month. I promise that it’s never intended – stuff always seems to happen, and weekly wrap-ups were beginning to take a toll on me, so (double) posting on Mondays was hard. I’ve missed doing this post, though, so since Weekly Wrap-Ups are currently on a hiatus of sorts, you’ll probably see more of these.

And as always, thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have a stupendous day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Shelf Control #14

It’s been three months since I’ve participated in this feature. Whoops. (Ugh.)

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books languishing on our bookshelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a whole lotta fun, so if you’re interested in participating yourself, click the backlink above.

This week I’m gonna highlight a book I’ve had for a couple of months, but (obviously) haven’t read yet. It’s Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

SERIES: The Inheritance Cycle (Book #1)

LENGTH: 528 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

RELEASE DATE: 1 August 2003


When fifteen-year-old Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and, gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save–or destroy–the Empire.

Why It Languishes on my Bookshelf

WHEN I GOT IT: March 2023

WHY I WANTED TO READ IT: Two reasons- One: I never finished the series (I only read the first three books), and, Two: Murtagh, a new adventure set in the same universe, is releasing later this year.

WHY I HAVEN’T READ IT YET: I kept getting distracted by other books.

WILL I EVER READ IT?: I don’t know, actually. I’m not as revved about rereading this series or reading Murtagh as I was at the beginning of the year. Who knows, though.

Anyway, thank you for reading and have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar

The Books I Hauled from the First Half of 2023

Okay, so I know that July started a week ago, but I’ve been busy! …And sick, unfortunately. But I’m finally here to show off all the books that I’ve hauled during the first half of the year.

And yeah, the reason why I’m doing a big post about this halfway through the year instead of during my monthly reading wrap-ups… Well, it’s because I don’t do as large of book hauls as most of the rest of the book blogging community. So I decided to do two massive posts including all of the books I’ve gotten during both halves of the year.

Let’s go!

NOTE: Large pics are books I’ve hauled and read, and medium pics are books that I’ve just hauled so far.

Unraveler by Frances Hardinge
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Mass
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
Alice by Christina Henry
Red Queen by Christina Henry
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
The Elements of Style: 4th Annotated Edition by William Shrunk and E.B. White
Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
Antimatter Blues by Edward Ashton
Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons
In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune
Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth
I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson
Witch King by Martha Wells
Deltora Quest: 21st Anniversary Edition by Emily Rodda
Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

If you’re here, congratulations on making it to the bottom of this very long, photo filled post! Wow, I collected more books over the past six months than I thought I did! I didn’t even realize this until I finished up this post, haha.

What books have you read this year so far? What books have you hauled? Do we have any of the same ones?

And as always, thank you so much for reading, and have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“Song of Silver Flame Like Night” by Amélie Wen Zhao | Book Review

It is the duty of those with power to protect those without.

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao

SERIES: Song of the Last Kingdom (Book #1)

LENGTH: 459 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Delacorte

RELEASE DATE: 3 January 2023


“Perfect for fans of The Untamed. I loved it!” —Shelley Parker-Chan, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of She Who Became the Sun.

In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China.

Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died.

The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life.

Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.

When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.

Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. 

Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

My Review

The map lies within.

When the time is right,

This ocarina will sing for the Ruin of Gods.

So… it’s been awhile since my last book review. Whoops, sorry. I just had the absolute worst reading block this past month. But now it’s gone, and I’m more than ready to do another one. (And to read more books!)

I pretty much went into this book nearly blind, which is something that doesn’t normally happen. But I saw the cover, skimmed the summary (quickly enough where when I got around to reading the novel, I retained nothing), and then read Song of Silver, Flame Like Night.

And I really enjoyed it. I had a few annoyances with it, sure, but I ultimately really liked it.

Stuff I Liked

The practitioner spoke after a little while. “I seem to have forsaken my manners when we first met.” His eyes were still fogged with exhaustion, but his voice was pleasant again, imperial and commanding, as when they had first met back at the Teahouse. “My name is Zen.”

Zen. It was a monosyllabic moniker as ordained by the new Elantian laws but it was something. A half-name, a half- truth… yet it would do for now.

Lan pulled her lips into the ghost of a smile. “I’m Lan.”

Lan was a decently likable protagonist. I didn’t find her as annoying as most of the sassy, badass lead female characters that I’ve read, which is a good thing. She made a really big, really stupid decision about midway through the book though, and that’s something I’m having some trouble wrapping my head around. Like, it really, really bothered me. A lot.

Zen, our deuteragonist, was also a great character to follow. He was very much a foil to Lan. In several different ways, I actually found him to be the more interesting protagonist out of the two.

I also really liked the supporting cast. De’zi was a kind and humorous mentor (and father to Zen) figure, and I really liked him, even if I did figure out all of the twists and secrets involved with him way early on. Dilaya was someone I was kind of annoyed by throughout most of the book, but I knew she’d be getting some character development later on (a lot of which is probably gonna be in book two), so I started to like her near the end. Tai and Shán’jūn were also a highlight. Their relationship was cute though underdeveloped.

The setting and Chinese folklore influences were probably my favorite things about the novel. Zhao paints a beautiful and brutal fantasy world in her writing, and it comes together in a wonderful story.

The plot itself is also really good. I always like storylines that feature a quest, and this has a very interesting and compelling one. I also like the use of the invasive colonists, known as the Elantians, and how their magic and technology differ from our protagonists’ Hin culture. It really highlighted the stark differences between the two.

Stuff I Didn’t Like

“I wish for you to not go anywhere without me. In this world and the next. I wish for you to choose me.”

So, I really hated the romance between Lan and Zen. I knew that it was coming (the writing wasn’t exactly subtle about it), and hoped that it would be executed well. It wasn’t. (SPOILER) There is literally a freaking proposal three quarters of the way in between Zen and Lan, and they’ve only known one another about three weeks at this point. Three. Weeks. It’s completely ridiculous. I hate insta-love. Except when insta-love is written well. (This, was not done well.)

There was also a lot of fridging going on at the beginning of Song of Silver, Flame Like Night. A gross amount. Not only does one individual die, but multiple. Death flags are everywhere, so it’s not unexpected. Just disappointing. (I don’t really like fridging, by the way.)

The last thing that really irritated me, was that the climax was kind of obnoxious. The main characters were all flipflopping between emotions too often and extremely out of character (to me), and everything is moving almost ridiculously fast. There’s also no sense of distance, and it was hard to tell how much time was passing. It was really annoying to read.

Closing Thoughts

Yin and yang, good and evil, great and terrible, kings and tyrants and heroes and villains. The tropes in the classics of old are but a matter of perspective. Really, they are two sides of the same coin. He who lives to tell the tale decides which side to pick.

So yeah, I really liked this book. Do I recommend it? Oh, heck yeah! Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amélie Wen Zhao is a fantastic new fantasy novel. Fans of fantasy with romance (YA in particular) will most likely enjoy this book, as well as fans of xianxia and danmei.

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

See ya ~Mar


“Witch & Wizard” by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet | Book Review

It’d been two and a half months since I last did a retrospective book review – not to mention that I’ve been in THE WORST reading slump – so I decided that it was more than time for another.

Retrospective Book Reviews (previously Reading Retrospectives), for those who don’t know, are basically book reviews, but they’re on books that I read before I started this blog. So, in order for them to get their day in the sun, I go back through them and see if my opinion when I originally read them holds up.

This week, I’m re-reviewing a book I read a couple of years ago. It’s Witch & Wizard, the first book in the aforementioned YA series, written by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet.

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

SERIES: Witch & Wizard (Book #1)

LENGTH: 314 pages

GENRES: Dystopian, Fantasy, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Jimmy Patterson

RELEASE DATE: 14 December 2009


The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager.

But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they’d never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents–and maybe the world?

My Review

So, I’ve been in the worst reading funk that I’ve been in for a long time. For whatever reason, summers are rough for me, and I almost always end up with a reading block for some duration of the season.

So I thought, what better way to get the brain wanting to read then skimming over a book I didn’t really care for when I read it, and re-reviewing it for the blog?

No better way, I decided. So here we are. Onwards, to the rant!

The Rant

Witch & Wizard is an aggressively mediocre book, that was the brainchild of a collab better James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. Yes, the same guy who wrote those godawful Maximum Ride books, and just pumps out like twenty books a year on average. (His poor ghostwriters…) And yes, if you couldn’t tell by the title, this is going to be a roast.

So let’s get straight to the point: this book sucks. Like, when I first attempted to read it as a young teen, I think I only got two thirds of the way through. Then, when I finally got through the thing years later as an adult, I didn’t like it. Yes, I admit, I gave it three and a half stars. But I also gave The Savior’s Champion three and a half stars, and Blood & Honey two and a half stars. I read all three of these books when I’d just started out reviewing books online, and I was afraid to be critical.

But those days are over. Now, I’m gonna say what I actually think and feel about these books.

Let’s get started with the thing that has always annoyed me with this book: the villain and the villain’s name. He appears at the beginning of the book in a flashforward, and then appears very little throughout the book. I never found him very threatening, even when I first read it. Also, he’s only referred to as The One Who Is The One. Very annoying to read, as well as extremely uninspired.

The dystopian world and the magic system also don’t make any sense. There’s no buildup and there’s no background on like anything. And there was just far too much action and far too little character introspection. Whenever I get to the end, I still never feel like I know who our main characters – Whit and Wisty Allgood – are. (Plus, their POVs read exactly the same. They’re really not that distinguished from one another.)

The most grating thing about Witch & Wizard, however, is most definitely the invented slang. It just doesn’t feel like… actual slang. I’m sorry, but as someone who was definitely a teenager when they first read it, I can definitely say then and now that no teenager or kid will ever use Erlenmeyer as a slang term. NEVER. It’s waaayy too long, and not at all catchy. And the rest of the invented slang is also pretty clunky and unnatural.

Honestly, I found this book at least as messy as the Maximum Ride series. It really felt like a disaster to read. (And to read again.)

By this rant, you’re probably wondering why I gave this such a generous one and three-quarters stars. Well, that’s cuz I know that there are far worse books – heck, I’ve read some far worse books. So that’s why.

You’re also probably wondering why I haven’t added any quotes to this review, like I usually do. It’s because this book is straight up cringe with its writing. This is actually something I didn’t really notice as a young teen, and is definitely something that my adult eyes identified. So kids and younger teenagers probably won’t find the (nonexistent) prose and (bad) dialogue to be cringey.

But since you’re clearly curious, here’s a couple lines, just for you:

You know things have gone bad when military marches pass for pop music.

and the absolute cringiest part of the novel

I kept on talking without really thinking, until it turned into a chant:

They’re afraid of change, and we must change.
They’re afraid of the young, and we are the young.
They’re afraid of music, and music is our life.
They’re afraid of books, and knowledge, and ideas.
They’re most afraid of our magic.

Closing Thoughts

So yeah, this book is bad. But I’ve somehow read and heard about worse, so this one got a slight pass. A slight. I still find it terrible, even though I know it could’ve been worse.

There’s a good chance that a younger teenager or preteen will like this, but I just can’t bring myself to recommend it. If you’re an adult, read anything else. If you’re a kid, read Percy Jackson or something. There are far better books than this one.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and have an extraordinary day/night.

See ya ~Mar


First Line Friday #17

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:

Gladioli for courage. White carnations for luck. Hellebores for peace.

Though I’d filled the sitting room with flowers and wrapped myself in their sweet perfume, I could not forget the Council’s warning.

Any guesses on the book? Here’s some lovely book photos while you think about it…

Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell!!
Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell

Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell

LENGTH: 345 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 14 March 2023


Perfect for fans of Margaret Rogerson and Tamora Pierce, this standalone YA debut is a stunning cottagecore fantasy romance about a girl with powerful and violent magic which she must learn to control—or lose everything she loves.

Clara’s magic has always been wild. But it’s never been dangerous. Then a simple touch causes poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest.

The only way to heal him is to cast an extremely difficult spell that requires perfect control. And the only person willing to help is her former best friend, Xavier, who’s grown from a sweet, shy child into someone distant and mysterious.

Xavier asks a terrible price in return, knowing Clara will give anything to save her father. As she struggles to reconcile the new Xavier with the boy she once loved, she discovers how many secrets he’s hiding. And as she hunts for the truth, she instead finds the root of a terrible darkness that’s taken hold in the queendom—a darkness only Clara’s magic is powerful enough to stop.

Thank you so much for reading, and have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

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