Bad Magic and the Big Top (Blackwood Bay Witches #2) by Misty Bane

The circus has come to town. But first, Dru Rathmore Davis has to do something about the dead clown on her doorstep. She wakes up one morning to discover her bookshop has been broken into, but something more sinister awaits.

Life in the sleepy seaside town Dru moved to recently has been anything but sleepy. It’s been a month since she found out she’s a witch, can see ghosts, and talk to animals. And now she, along with her Guardian, Harper, have to contend with an influx of acrobats, fire breathers, and – to Dru’s disdain – clowns. As a clown hater myself, I feel her pain.

While Harper and the rest of the police force are on the case, Dru pulls her former life’s private investigator skills out of her back pocket. As circus performers start dropping like flies days after their arrival in Blackwood Bay, it’s all hands on deck despite Harper’s pledge as a Guardian to keep Dru away from all things dangerous.

Bad Magic and the Big Top by Misty Bane is the second installment in her Blackwood Bay Witches series. It’s not as good as the first, but it’s a quick little cozy mystery if you’re into that sort of thing. I enjoyed Harper and Dru’s friends but wishing they were more thing, and their banter is realistic. Dru is the kind of woman who isn’t looking for a hero to save her, and I find it relatable and refreshing. This one needed more Granny and the rest of the Coven. Granny’s sarcastic demeanor and the witches lovable personalities were definitely missed.

But I did enjoy the breaking and entering chicken escapades. As someone who lives in a town where chickens occasionally get loose and stop traffic, it’s frustrating and hysterical and I loved that it showed up in a book I was reading. Also, I’d really like my own cleaning fairies. That would be fire.

Goodreads rating: 2 of 5 stars.

Would I read it again? Probably not.

We can’t kill our way out of this one.

Have you ever done a double take at a quote or a book title? I had that moment a few days ago when I came across this promo image on Pinterest for A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. Released in 2018, apparently I added it to my never-ending TBR list on Goodreads, and it’s a novella – a side story to Maas’ best selling Court of Thorns and Roses series (also added to my TBR). While I’m currently making my way through some autumn inspired reads, the title and tagline of this have me entirely too intrigued. Hopefully I’ll remember to come back to it in a few weeks, and not leave it lost on a virtual shelf for another three years.

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

I looked up Cassandra Clare recently and had one of those moments where you realize just how old you are. I’ve been reading Clare’s works since 2007 and recently recalled a memory where, upon reading her outline for all her Shadowhunter books, I realized I’d be 30 by the time she finished. It’s been fourteen years; she’s still writing and I’m still reading.

I had to google to see where I’d left off in the universe and was pleasantly surprised to see I was only two books behind. So I’m not terribly late to Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. I did have to research a little to familiarize myself with the timeline though.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this installment introduced Will & Tessa Herondale’s children, formally of Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I’d forgotten how much I liked the Victorian era Shadowhunters. I might have to reread that series again.

Cordelia Carstairs has come to London under the cover of becoming parabatai to Lucie Herondale. Together, they will be closer than sisters, warriors bound together in a ceremony many young Shadowhunters take part in with those closest to them. But really, she and her mother and brother have come so that she can seek someone to marry. With her father awaiting trial in Idris for a terrible crime, marriage is the only way her family can save their reputation.

She’s lonely, seeing strangers in every face except her girlhood friend Lucie, and Lucie’s older brother James. Soon, she becomes swept up in the lives of the next generation of Herondales, Fairchilds, Lightwoods, and Blackthorns. There’s fancy dress balls, picnics in the park, and explosions in secret laboratories. Sadly, only a whisper of Church, a cat with the lifespan of a warlock, who appears in most Shadowhunter novels.

Demon activity has been quiet for many years. Even though nephilim continue to train, the young know nothing except stories of what it is to be a true hero. But when demons begin to strike in daylight – unheard of behavior, and Shadowhunters become ill from wounds healing ruins can’t fix, Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves (James’ group of social miscreants) become entangled in a story with deep and dark ties to their own. With London under quarantine against the attacks, Cordelia learns the true meaning of family and being a hero.

Review: Tomb of Ancients (House of Furies #3) by Madeleine Roux

*This book was provided to me in exchange for a fair review.

The final showdown between gods and monsters was a bit hard to follow, if I’m being honest. I’m hesitant to post this, but I’m going to. The fact of the matter is not all books or book series are five star-worthy. I would rate this one three stars out of five.

The final part of Louisa’s story opens in London, where she and her friends are trying to begin their lives as normal people. How we got to London from the First City, where book 2 left off in a cliffhanger fashion, we’re not really sure, but the first few chapters of Tomb of Ancients hit hard and fast. There’s a ball and bloodshed, and the fancy ladies and gentlemen of the 1800’s get zombified, and we have an intriguing build up with Louisa’s sister but it ends up being for nothing because her memory of the aforementioned ball and bloodshed get wiped from her mind and she’s not mentioned again. And this all happens before we once again return to Coldthistle House and it’s fantastical characters who never have a chance to be fantastic, or the actual story of the third book begins.

I was so excited to receive Tomb of Ancients for review. But honestly, this entire series has such potential, but it falls so short it’s not even worth it to summarize the third book. There are such well thought out scenes that are strung together in a way that it’s obvious large cuts were done in editing without a proper final read through to make sure it all still makes sense.

It feels like the characters and world that were created were never given a fair chance.

The epilogue though. Someone who has suffered through these books please write a fanfic exploring the epilogue.

Review: Court of Shadows (House of Furies #2) by Madeleine Roux

I was not the biggest fan of the the first House of Furies book. It was slow and clunky, but within it’s lagging pages was the start of an intriguing story. I intended to read the next book in the series but wasn’t in any particular rush to do so.

Fast forward about seven months – I was in the beginnings of a summer of rereads when I was contacted to review the third book in the series, and since I knew there was potential there, I agreed. So while Tomb of Ancients sat on my shelf, I deep dove into Court of Shadows and I’m glad I did.

There’s an order to things at Coldthistle House. And though I strayed away into other lands and time, I found myself sucked back into the House, and the story it has to tell. So did Louisa Ditton. The story opens with Louisa back at the House, again working as a maid, and terribly missing her friend Mary and her relationship with Lee Bremerton.

The strange and mysterious cast of characters that reside within the house’s walls are rattled. A young woman and her fiancee’s family are the current guests when a convening of the courts is announced that spins the house into chaos. Terrifying creatures whose sole purpose is divining the truth out of you at all costs are around every corner. A vengeful ancient god arrives as the bride-to-be dies before her time. And there’s a journal that must be translated before Mr. Morningside stands trial.

Louisa strikes a deal to translate the journal and free herself and her friends from the house, and in doing so unlocks a story of what happened Before. Before Morningside came to be and before the ancients were laid to an enchanted sleep. The horror and mystery within the journal are an epic story within a story.

Court of Shadows is a considerably faster paced read than it’s predecessor, and a much better story overall. I can’t wait to start the third book and see how it all plays out. I hope we learn more about Louisa’s powers and her background, as well as more about the house’s employees.