Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I previously read one of the author’s other books, Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch, and absolutely loved it. I was very excited to read this one since it acts as a prequel to the Eva Evergreen books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as Eva Evergreen. 

This is a Cinderella retelling and because of that, the book felt constrained plot wise. I didn’t feel as though the story benefitted from being a Cinderella retelling. If the book was just a regular middle grade fantasy without the Cinderella aspects, it still would have worked. I also felt that the book wasn’t as magical as Eva Evergreen. Eva Evergreen had a certain charm about it and I was hoping this book would too since it is set in the same universe. 

Additionally, for a book with the word “dragons” in the title, it was light on the dragons. The book never seemed to fully explore the dragons and Alliana’s relationship with them. (Maybe this will come in a later book?)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like some things about the book. I enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Grandmother Mari and Nela. Each of them had such a special relationship and bond with Alliana that was heartwarming to see. I also liked the parts that did feature the dragons. 

Overall, there were some things I liked about this and some things I had issues with. I hope there is a sequel to this book since there’s still more to explore with Alliana. If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy, I would say to give it a shot! 


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Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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Rating: ★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher (Algonquin Young Readers) for promotional purposes.

This was such a whimsical and enchanting read! The story was full of magic and wonder. It’s not a surprise this book won a Newbery Medal. It reminded me of the fantasy books I read as child. 

The characters were also a standout. I particularly liked the supporting characters of Glerk, the swamp monster, and Fyrian, the tiny dragon. They added a lot of heart to the story. 

The best part of this book was the writing style. It was so beautifully written. The prose flowed so lyrically; it had a poetic quality to it that added to the magic of the story.  

My one critique was that the book moved at a slow pace, especially in the beginning. It took a while for the story to take off. 

My edition was the Gift Edition which included a full color map, chapter opening illustrations, and a bonus prequel story.  As with all fantasy books, the map was very helpful and made the story easy to follow. The illustrations were cute and I enjoyed the prequel story that offered more insight into Xan, the witch. 

Overall, this was a spellbinding middle grade fantasy! I recommend this book to both young readers and adults. 


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Review: Tidesong

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was such a cute graphic novel! 

I’ve read Mooncakes, which is another graphic novel the author co-wrote, and loved it so I knew I needed to read this one. 

The artwork was of course amazing. The art was very adorable and was appropriate for the middle grade audience of this book. Additionally, the font was super readable. It was one of the clearest and most legible fonts I’ve come across in a comic book or graphic novel. Fun fact: the font is actually the author’s handwriting that was turned into a font. 

Sophie was a relatable character. I can see many kids relating to her struggles to learn magic and her feelings of failure.

I found the storyline to be very basic. I know this is middle grade, but the plot could have been more fleshed out. For example, the magic system between the witches and dragons could have been explored more. Also, the beginning of the book happened so fast. Sophie was on the train to her relatives super quickly with very little background information. 

Overall, I recommend this book to readers of all ages who love magic, witches, or dragons. This book also makes a great gift because it is a gorgeous hardcover! 


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Review: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch (Eva Evergreen #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was the cutest book ever! Seriously. It was like a Studio Ghibli movie in book form. 

First off, the world building in this book was incredible. I could easily picture the quaint seaside town of Auteri with all its little shops and its Festival of Lights. I wish it was a real place! 

The characters were another highlight. They were all so lovable. I loved Eva’s friends, Davy and Charlotte. Watching their bond and friendship grow throughout the story was so heartwarming. The townspeople were also charming. I loved how they came together and helped Eva. 

The book also had cute illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. The art style is similar to the cover art, very Japanese inspired. The pictures added to the whimsical nature of the book. 

The only thing that this book needed was a map. The world wasn’t overly complicated that it needed a map to be comprehensible, but maps in fantasy books are always so helpful, so I prefer them.

Overall, this was a feel good, wholesome, witchy read, perfect for spooky season. Readers of all ages will love reading about Eva and her adventures. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! 


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Review: Snapdragon

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was such a cute graphic novel!

The story was so heartwarming. I loved how Jacks and Snapdragon’s backgrounds and pasts were connected. There were some parts where I was wondering on the relevance of some things (like the story of One-Eyed Tom), but it all came together at the end. 

However, in regards to the plot, I wanted more about the magic. Since this is a book about a witch, naturally there is magic, but it was a little vague on how it all worked. I would have loved to seen it explored in more detail. 

The diversity and representation in this book is amazing! There was so much black and LGBTQ representation. For example, Snapdragon’s friend, Lulu is transgender. I loved seeing how Lulu slowly came out to be the person she was meant to be! 

The art style worked well with the story. The color use in particular was incredibly well done. I liked how vibrant the art was. 

Lastly, I thought they should have stuck with the original name of the novel, Roadkill Witch. Snapdragon is too basic of a name for this slightly odd (in a good way) graphic novel.

Overall, this was a charming graphic novel with a dash of magic. If you’re looking for a quick read this spooky season, give this one a try! 


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Review: All Our Hidden Gifts (All Our Hidden Gifts #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Walker Books US) in exchange for an honest review. 

I was very excited to read this book because it focuses on tarot and I recently just learned how to read tarot. 

Speaking of tarot, I liked how there were pictures of the tarot cards scattered throughout the book. I think that is so helpful for readers who may not be familiar with tarot cards and what each card looks like. 

When it comes to the characters, there is so much representation. Roe is non-binary. Maeve has a lesbian sister. But my favorite character was Fiona, Maeve’s Filipino friend. As a Filipino myself, I love seeing Filipino representation so when Fiona was first introduced, I was ecstatic. I loved that Fiona’s family was a little witchy. Her tita (aunt) is a fortune teller who helps them and tells them about the White Lady (Kaperosa in the Philippines). I found it so refreshing to see a nonwhite representation of witchcraft. So often witchcraft in books is so centered on a white perspective, but witchcraft is in every culture, as Fiona’s tita illustrates. She mentions that versions of the White Lady exist everywhere, in different cultures and places. 

As for the plot, it started off really strong with the mystery of Lily’s disappearance. But about halfway through, it stalled and lost some of its momentum. I felt like it dragged on a bit in the middle. I believe there will be a sequel to this book, and I think the book did set up a sequel very nicely. 

Overall, I recommend this book for anyone looking for a witchy YA read! 


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Review: Serene

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such an interesting and unique read. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. 

At the beginning I was super into this book. I found it mesmerizing in an odd but good way. I loved the scenes with the parties and New York night life. It had such a cool vibe and was an intriguing blend of fantasy and high society. However, once the book got into the more spiritual stuff it kind of lost me for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting but there was just so much of it. The characters were constantly globe trotting from place to place and it got repetitive at times. The cool vibe I got from the beginning was gone.

As for the characters, I loved the love interest, James. His character was so fascinating. Like the way he was described was so beautiful. The book states, “His voice, like a drop of sepia in water, as if he came from several generations of opera singers that had all committed suicide” (pg. 7). I wish he was in it more and that we got to know more about him and his life. It was touched upon but there could have been more. 

Overall, this is a unique read. If you’re looking for something different to read, definitely try this book out. 

Review: HausMagick

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book. 

I was so excited to read this book because I am super interested in witchcraft and I love interior design and all things homey. I was not disappointed.

First off, this is a beautiful coffee table book. Everything about it is high quality from the pages to the photos. It makes the perfect addition to any coffee table or bookshelf display. 

Just a little side note: since this is a coffee table book, this book is not meant to give you a large or comprehensive overview of witchcraft. If you’re looking for that, I suggest reading something else. 

Secondly, I love love LOVE that the author brings up cultural appropriation in witchcraft. It’s a small little mention but much appreciated. She also includes a recommended reading  list at the end for those who are interested in learning more about the original context of some of the practices. 

I also loved the self help elements. Even though this is a book about homes, the self-help elements felt very natural. It ultimately boils down to how YOU connect with your space.

Overall, this is the perfect coffee table book for those looking to add a little magick to their home and life. 

Review: Anna Undreaming (The Metiks Fade Trilogy #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I haven’t read much urban fantasy before so I had no idea what to expect going in, but I ended up loving this book. 

This book gave me a ton of Alice in Wonderland vibes especially in the second half, which I was totally digging since I love Alice in Wonderland. The book had the same dream-like quality and mad characters that Alice in Wonderland has.

The premise of the book was so creative. People with the ability to build new worlds is such a fascinating concept.

The whole book was absolutely stunning in terms of execution. Welsh writes brilliantly and through his prose crafts a gorgeous world. 

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My favorite character was Elise. She was just so fun and quirky and I loved that about her. I hope we get to see more of her in the following books. 

As someone who majored in philosophy in college, I enjoyed the philosophy references throughout the book. Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Camus were all mentioned by name.

The glossary at the end of the book was tremendously helpful in learning about the their world. I used it numerous times while reading. 

The one thing this book was missing was a map. I would have loved to seen a map of The Realm. 

Overall, this was a fantastic start to a magical new trilogy! I can’t wait to find out what happens next and learn more about these characters.