Book Review: Spellmaker (Spellbreaker Book 2) by Charlie N. Holmberg

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Sometimes, I wonder if it’s better to be informed or ignorant. Or, rather, informed and depressed, or ignorant and happy.

Charlie N. Holmberg, Spellbreaker

This book is a part of a two-book series that follows the life of Elsie Camden. A somewhat culmination to the Spellbreaker series, Spellmaker continues the story of Cuthbert Ogden, Bacchus, Master Merton, and Elsie. Set in England in 1895, this world includes aspectors, spellbreakers, runes, and astral projections. I would say it a combination of romance with fantasy.

Even before I begin talking about this book, I would highly recommend that one read the books in order. Spellmaker is continuing the plot where Spellbreaker ended, and it is difficult to comprehend the former without reading the latter. I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The author does a great job of creating a magical world that fits right in with our existing world. I enjoyed this world where certain people could cast spells while others could break them. The author has included minor details like depicting side-effects on people when they use magic extensively and has tried to incorporate elements of 1895. While I felt the book was lagging initially, the plot does pick up. However, I found the ending to be disappointing. It seemed as if the author invested elaborate efforts in building the story and was tired while writing the climax.

Spellbreaker does answer several questions that were raised in Spellmaker. However, it also does create additional questions, some of which never get answered. It does mention on Goodreads that while the author began this as a two-book series, she may consider converting this to a trilogy. As a reader, it terribly disturbs me that not all is clarified, hence leaving behind plot-holes in the story.

I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It is not a bad one, however, if you skip this, you are not missing on much.

Book Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

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Women helped each other in ways small and large every day, without thinking, and that was what kept them going even when the world came up with new and exciting ways to crush them.

Alyssa Cole, Let Us Dream

I first came across this book as a recommendation from the VP of Marketing at Goodreads. She mentioned this on a podcast- What Should I Read Next? I don’t usually delve into the genre of horror, but after all, it was the recommendation of someone at Goodreads. I had to give this a try for sure.

And boy was I not disappointed. Written by Grady Hendrix, this book struck a chord with me. Set in the town of Charleston, the book revolves around the life of Patricia Campbell who gave up her career as a nurse to become the perfect wife and mother. However, not much seems to go in her favor. Her husband is distant, her kids are ungrateful and her days never seem to end. Her only respite lies in the company of her book club friends. Made up of Charleston’s mothers, the book club regularly meets to discuss true crime books. The story takes a major turn when James Harris enters. Local children start going missing and as Patricia begins her investigation, she uncovers a truth that could shatter their unsuspecting community.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s writing style and especially liked how he built the plot and the climax of the story. The story is intense, captures your attention, and keeps you on your toes. Every character has their own background story, and it shows that the author has invested time and words in developing his characters.

Set in the 90s, the author has touched upon multiple social issues. The author explores the relationship between the white and black women in the South, the emotional burden that housewives have to bear while carrying about their day-to-day duties, and the misogynistic and controlling nature of husbands. He has tackled issues such as domestic abuse, the value of African American lives, and the struggle of American housewives.

I had this in the audiobook format and I would recommend listening to it. This was an intense read for me and I was hooked to the book till the end. I give it 4/5 stars.

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Book Review: You Have A Match by Emma Lord

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She’s my steadfast friend, my support when I am weak, and my cheerleader when I am discouraged. I can’t imagine life without my best friend, my confidante, my sister.

Anonymous

Written by Emma Lord, author of Tweet Cute, this book is hilarious; and a breathtaking journey of family, sisterhood, friendship, and love. It was also recently selected as a pick for Reese’s YA book club.

Abby signs up for genetic testing to support her best friend/secret crush Leo as he tries to find his biological parents. After all, there is nothing that she doesn’t know about herself. Surprise of surprises, she comes across the existence of a sister, who is none other than an Instagram influencer named Savannah Tully. The novel follows them as they meet up at a summer camp to bring their set of parents together and figure out why their parents gave Savvy up for adoption.

It is a light and breezy read; I completed it within two days. I thoroughly enjoyed the love story between Abby and Leo. I found the characters relatable, and they were so well written that I wanted to read more about them. I especially admired the plot (very Parent Trap) and the balance that the author achieved between the romance and Abby and Savvy’s story.

The book has elements of reconciliation, loss, love, sisterhood, friendship, and finding oneself. It is a fun-filled, feel-good mishmash of romance and family love. I give the book 4/5 stars. The book is a fun read, and I would recommend it to fans of YA. I received an ARC from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange of my review.

To buy the book at Amazon India: https://amzn.to/39FixM0

To buy the book at Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2NbuaTj

Book Review: Loner by Georgina Young

Being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.

Charles Bukowski, Women

Following Lona Wallace, Loner takes you on a journey of solitude, friendship, exploration, and life. Lona is a university dropout who was pursuing arts and photography. Lona struggles with being around people and enjoying their company. She finds solace in Tabitha Brooks (Tab)- her best friend and truly enjoys her company. Loner is Lona’s journey as she tries to find herself and grapples with wanting but not wanting people/company in her life.

I found the writing style to be refreshing. It has small chapters and choppy sentences. But somehow, they make the book fun to read. Tab and Lona’s friendship steals the show. They are complete opposites but weirdly in perfect sync with each other. It is emotionally heavy to observe how dependent Lona is on Tab and the extent to which she loses herself in Tab’s absence. However, it is also satisfying to see Tab emotionally support and strengthen Lona.

It is also my first LGBTQ book. While I was apprehensive of doing justice to the protagonist and understanding her journey, the author has done a great job of portraying Lona’s confusion and grapple with her sexuality. Several of the secondary characters were fun to read about- Sampson, Nick, or George. Lona’s Grandpa is my absolute favorite. With a common interest in photography and reading, the duo shares a great relationship. I especially appreciated the arc their relationship takes when Grandpa moves in with Lona’s family, when he falls ill and is admitted to the hospital, and, finally, when he shifts to a nursing home.

The book is suitable for someone in their 20’s. While I loved the writing style, it didn’t seem as if I found the book at the right time in my life. I couldn’t relate to the protagonist’s struggle with dropping out and finding herself, as I never underwent anything similar to this. However, Lona’s introverted behavior, struggle to say the things she means, and navigate growing up is a funny and witty read.

I give this book 4/5 stars. I enjoyed the ride and reading about Lona’s intimate thoughts. However, the writing style with choppy and short sentences is not for everyone. So be wary before you pick it up.

I was given an ARC from Netgalley for my honest review.

Book Review: Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind by Alex Neumann

Title: Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind
Author: Alex Neumann
Publisher: Pearson Press
ASIN: B08K3ZJZXH

Initially, I was approached by the author for a book review in exchange for a copy of the book. However, I ended up downloading it from Netgalley. I was apprehensive about reading a self-help book, as they are all similar and regurgitate the same material. And while Neumann’s book did have repeat material, his writing style was impactful.

He has split the chapters into sub-chapters, and as a reader, I liked it. It made it easier to enjoy the chapter and made it an intricate weaving of smaller stories to depict the larger picture. The author used real-life stories to inspire and motivate his readers. I genuinely enjoyed his selection of anecdotes as they were well-connected with the lessons. Neumann pushes his readers to overcome obstacles and find solutions. The book uses multiple Buddhist principles and talks about redefining success.

However, I wish the author had included more practical advice. I appreciate books that include a list of steps or worksheets. It allows the readers to utilize the lessons that the author imparts. The book did feel repetitive and drawn-out in a few sections. It did fail to reel me in.

I would give the book 3 out of 5 stars. A good read.