Thursday, 22 October 2020

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman


"Love could ruin your life or set you free; it could happen by choice or be a well-planned decision."

Magic Lessons, Alice Hoffman

Magic Lessons is the newest prequel to Practical Magic. This is my first book in the Practical Magic series (can you believe Practical Magic is over 25 years old?!), but I don't think this affected my enjoyment of the novel at all. It's witchy, emotional, and captivating.

Magic Lessons is the origin story of the Owens women and the curse that follows the men who love them. It begins in England with Maria Owens, the matriarch of the Owens bloodline. As a young girl, Maria is sold as an indentured servant and shipped off to New England where she begins to practise the Nameless Art of magic. Always willing to help out a friend or neighbour in need, Maria does her best to spread kindness where she can. However, she is unable to heed her mother's warnings about protecting her own heart, and she falls for a man who cannot care for her in return.

This is a book that asks to be read slowly, as you savour the descriptive writing and the magical recipes throughout. Hoffman's lush writing really transports the reader to the time and place of the novel, which happens to be Salem during the witch trials of 1690s. This is a tale of courage, trauma, mental wellbeing, survival, revenge, and, above all, the many different kinds of love.

Hoffman writes characters incredibly well, even Maria's crow, Cadin, has his own, unique personality and is a true character in this novel.

In Magic Lessons, Alice Hoffman illustrates for us how the truest bonds of love can never be broken, even with magic.

Magic Lessons is out now and available from your favourite bookseller or library. Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy to enjoy. I definitely look forward to picking up the other books in the series, and I especially cannot wait to finally watch the Practical Magic movie!


Sunday, 18 October 2020

Spooky, Gothic, and Magical Reads For Fall

Recently, I was asked for some seasonal fall reading recommendations. Here are a few that might keep you up at night!

Books I've read
🖤Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
🖤The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
🖤Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
🖤House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
🖤Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Books on my TBR
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Happy Reading!

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz


Blazewrath Games is the debut YA fantasy novel from Amparo Ortiz. I would describe it as Quidditich meeting the Hunger Games with a generous dose of dragons.

When Lana Torres has the opportunity to participate in the dangerous, but internationally popular, Blazewrath Games, she knows she should feel as though it is a dream come true. She's always wanted to play for her home country of Puerto Rico. However, when the Sire - a dragon cursed into human form - starts attacking dragon sanctuaries, the tournament is in jeopardy.

Blazewrath Games is engaging right from the beginning. Lana is an easy protagonist to like, and I found all of the character arcs in this novel to be believable. It's rare for me to find a YA novel I enjoy that doesn't have a romance as part of the central story, but the characters are interesting enough and the sport of Blazewrath is fascinating enough, that the plot can focus on Lana's journey.

The ending is satisfying but also hints at what will continue in the second part of the duology.

I love how the author weaves her own culture into the story so you truly feel that it is a Puerto Rican fantasy, which I have never read before. A POC #ownvoices novel with plenty of LGBTQ+ rep....more like this please!

Blazewrath Games is out October 6, 2020 from your favourite bookseller!


Disclaimer - Thank you to the Canadian Manda Group for sending this copy my way.