Blog Tour Review: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)

Title: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Review:

1800s: Ren Scarborough is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Reapers and Shinigami collect souls when a person is ready to die. Since Ren is half Japanese living in London, her British Reaper family and community doesn’t recognize her as one of their own. After two centuries of living like this, Ren decides to travel to Japan to find her true identity as a Shinigami. Her half-brother, and only true friend, Neven, travels around the world with her. When they arrive and meet the Japanese goddess of death, Ren is given a seemingly impossible mission, to hunt dangerous Yokai demons, that will finally give her the acceptance she has always craved.

This was an intense and wild story. Ren and Neven encountered many demons and creatures from Japanese folklore. Ren had learned about some of the demons in her studies of her culture, but some of them were not the same as the tales. Both the British and Japanese soul collectors had their own methods of doing their job, so Ren had to get used to a whole new system. Though Ren felt like an outsider at home in England, Neven became an outsider in Japan, since he didn’t speak the language and didn’t look like the residents. It was an interesting look at if it’s harder to be born as an outsider and never know any differently or if it is easier to choose to live in a culture as a visible outsider.

The ending of this story was intense and fast paced. It left me wondering if the next book will be about Ren, based on where the story left off. I’m really curious to see what the next book in this duology will be about.

The Keeper of Night is a great book with Japanese folklore.

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

About the author:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Have you read The Keeper of Night? What did you think of it?

Review: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess

Title: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess
Author: Nancy Springer, Serena Blasco
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enola Holmes is on the case! A graphic novel adaptation of Nancy Springer’s bestselling mystery series about Sherlock Holmes’ resourceful younger sister!

Raised by her mother on the family’s country manor, Enola wakes on her 14th birthday to discover that her mother has disappeared, leaving only a collection of flowers and a coded message book. With Sherlock and Mycroft determined to ship her off to a boarding school, Enola escapes, displaying a cleverness that even impresses the elder Holmes. But nothing prepares her for what lies ahead. Her journey quickly leads her into the dark and sordid neighborhoods of London where she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess. Will Enola evade her two brothers and succeed in her new independent life, even as she continues to follow her mother’s trail?

This delightfully drawn graphic novel adaptation also includes a portfolio of pages from Enola’s secret notebook.

Review:

Enola Holmes, younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, wakes up on her 14th birthday to find that her mother is missing. Her mother left without leaving a note, so Enola asks her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft to help search for her mother. However, her brothers want to send Enola off to boarding school because they think their mother has run away for good. Enola must escape the life her brothers have planned for her so that she can continue searching for her mother, and maybe solve a mystery or two along the way.

I love reading adaptations and retellings of Sherlock Holmes stories. This one was original because it was about Sherlock’s younger sister. However, it did not portray Sherlock in a positive light. Him and his brother Mycroft wanted to send Enola off to become a proper lady, when all she wanted was to find her mother.

Enola was a fun character. She was determined to find her mother, and was willing to do anything to complete her goal. She was also creative and great at problem solving. At the end of this graphic novel, there were some pages from Enola’s notebook, with her notes on the case and details about how she solved problems. This was some fun insight into her character.

The Case of the Missing Marquess was a fun mystery graphic novel!

What to read next:

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer, Serena Blasco

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Other books in the series:

  • The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
  • The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

Have you read The Case of the Missing Marquess? What did you think of it?

Review: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)

Title: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow.

But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner-none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.

The Mirror: Broken Wish marks the first book in an innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, Jennifer Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it.

Review:

1848, Germany: When Agnes and Oskar moved to their new town, they befriended Mathilda, the witch next door. Once Agnes gets help from Mathilda to have a child, she stops speaking to her, breaking the promise that Agnes made to be friends with her. This sets off a chain reaction that creates a curse that will affect her family for years to come. Sixteen years later, Elva, Agnes’s daughter, can see visions when she looks at her reflection. Her family keeps this a secret because they don’t want her to be labeled a witch. However, once Elva sees a vision of her home being destroyed, she realizes that she could get some helpful information from these visions. Elva befriends the Witch of the North Woods to learn how to improve her magical skill, but she’s in danger of ruining her future by taking control of her visions.

I love fairytale retellings. This story had similar plots to a few different fairytales, such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White. Even the Grimm brothers were mentioned, traveling around Germany to find fairytales for their book.

This book is the first in a series that will follow a family through generations. I love this concept because it will be fascinating to see how this family’s curse, stemming from Agnes breaking a promise to Mathilda, will affect the family over time. The next book, Shattered Midnight, will be released in a couple of weeks.

Broken Wish is a great fairytale!

What to read next:

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Have you read Broken Wish? What did you think of it?

Review: The Merchant and the Rogue (The Dread Penny Society #3)

Title: The Merchant and the Rogue (The Dread Penny Society #3)
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

London, 1865

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her freedom and an income, and while she is grateful for the stability it brings to her life, she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a penny dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. But with no one to share his life with, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at Vera’s print shop is aboveboard. When a growing criminal enterprise begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

Review:

London, 1865: Vera Sorokina runs a print shop with her father. Though her father doesn’t like writers, she sells and reads the Penny Dreadful stories. Brogan Donnelly is a member of the secret Dread Penny Society, a group of writers who write Penny Dreadful stories and help those who need saving. Brogan had been questioning his membership in the group because he felt guilty about lying to his sister about it. The Dreadmaster gives Brogan permission to leave the group, so that he is no longer lying to his sister, and go investigate what is really going on at Vera’s print shop. Brogan works there under a pseudonym and must help Vera to figure out who is threatening her community.

This is another fun story in the Dread Penny series. Vera and Brogan were both immigrants with mysterious backgrounds. They both kept secrets, and they didn’t necessarily know everything that had happened in their pasts that led them both to London. Though they were from different cultures, Russian and Irish, their circumstances as immigrants to London drew them together.

One of my favourite parts of these books is that there are penny dreadful stories included throughout the novel. There are always two stories, one written by Mr. King, one of the best penny dreadful authors, and another by one of the protagonists. These stories relate to the main romance plot, but they’re also very entertaining in themselves. I really enjoy reading these stories within the novel.

The Merchant and the Rogue is a great Victorian novel. I hope there will be more in the series!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Merchant and the Rogue? What did you think of it?

Review: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine… and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Review:

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell travel to Romania to compete for a place at the school of forensic science at Bran Castle. The castle was home to Vlad the Impaler, a legendary vampire. On their trip to Romania, a body is discovered on the train, impaled with a stake. Then, other murders start happening, with all signs pointing to a vampire murderer. Audrey can’t help but investigate these murders, which bring back the memories of her investigation of Jack the Ripper.

A Romanian castle was the perfect setting for this vampire themed novel. The history of the castle was important to the story. There were also descendants of Vlad present which added to the historical elements and the long family feuds.

There were some very creepy scenes. I actually didn’t find the autopsies and murders to be the most gruesome parts. A couple of scenes had bat and spider attacks, and I found those much more disturbing. However, these creepy scenes were worth it for the surprising ending!

Hunting Prince Dracula is such a creepy read. I can’t wait to read the next one!

What to read next:

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Other books in the series:

Have you read Hunting Prince Dracula? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: At Summer’s End

Title: At Summer’s End
Author: Courtney Ellis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl’s country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship’s country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from the trenches, locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world’s gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer’s End delivers a portrait of a noble family–and a world–changed forever by the war to end all wars.

Review:

Alberta Preston is a young woman who dreams of being a painter. When Bertie is invited to the Earl of Wakeford’s home of Castle Braemore to paint the estate, she defies her parents’ orders and leaves to make her mark in art. However, when she arrives, the job isn’t what she expected. The Earl, Julian, lives locked in his bedroom, having come back from the Great War injured. Bertie spends time with the Julian’s younger siblings, but she can’t help but try to crack the isolated earl. As they spend more time together, Bertie has to figure out the secrets hidden in the estate.

When I saw that this book was described as Downton Abbey meets Beauty and the Beast, I knew I had to read it. I don’t usually read books set in the 1920s, but I really enjoyed this one. The time setting alternated between the present with Bertie at Castle Braemore and scenes from the years leading up to the war that explain what Julian’s life was like before the war. This was a great way to show the events that led up to Bertie arriving.

There were many different types of trauma that affected Julian and his siblings. Julian had been physically injured in the war, which affected his mental health. His older sister was a widow with two young children. His younger brother didn’t conform to societal expectations, so he had to live his life secretly on the estate. His youngest sister no longer had a relationship with Julian, despite being close before he left for the war. All of these siblings had deep secrets that drew them away from high society and united them in a close bond.

At Summer’s End is a beautiful story about life after war.

Thank you Berkley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Miss Lattimore’s Letter by Suzanne Allain

The Heiress Gets A Duke by Harper St. George

Have you read At Summer’s End? What did you think of it?

Review: Miss Lattimore’s Letter

Title: Miss Lattimore’s Letter
Author: Suzanne Allain
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The woman who never made a match of her own is making matches for everyone else in this hilarious comedy of manners from the author of Mr. Malcolm’s List.

Sophronia Lattimore had her romantic dreams destroyed years ago and is resigned to her role as chaperone for her cousin. Still, she cannot sit idly by when she becomes aware that a gentleman is about to propose to the wrong woman. She sends him an anonymous letter that is soon the talk of the town, particularly when her advice proves to be correct. Her identity is discovered and Sophie, formerly a wallflower, becomes sought after for her “expert” matchmaking skills. 

One person who seeks her out is the eligible and attractive Sir Edmund Winslow. As Sophie assists Sir Edmund in his pursuit of a wife, she wishes she could recommend herself as his bride. However, she vows to remain professional and uninvolved while aiding him in his search (especially since the gentleman surely does not return her affections).

Three unexpected arrivals soon show up at Sophie’s door—the man who once broke her heart, a newlywed who is dissatisfied with the match Sophie made for her, and the man madly in love with Sophie’s cousin—all wanting her attention. But when her onetime beau and Sir Edmund both appear to be interested in her, Sophie can’t figure out if she’s headed for another broken heart­­ or for the altar. How can she be expected to help other people sort out their romantic lives when her own is such a disaster?

Review:

Sophie Lattimore is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster who lives with her aunt and cousin. Her cousin, Cecilia, is having her first season out, and Sophie is meant to be her chaperone. When Sophie overhears a man talking about proposing to the wrong woman, she sends a letter to him so that he can marry the right woman. Sophie becomes the talk of the town when everyone hears about her successful matchmaking skills, more people want her help. Sir Edmund is a charming man who wants Sophie to assist him in finding a match, and Sophie begins to fall for him. Then, the man who was the love of Sophie’s life, before he married someone else, shows up, confusing her feelings. One of the women who was the subject of Sophie’s matchmaking also shows up, disappointed in her marriage. On top of that, Sophie has to help her cousin find an appropriate match, but now she doubts her matchmaking skills. With all of these conflicting romantic relationships, Sophie has to wonder if love is for her or if she should stay a spinster forever.

This regency romance story showed a different side of the typical romance. Most stories show a couple getting together and getting married at the end, but not what comes after. Sophie hadn’t gotten married at the end of her coming out season, so she was considered a failure and a spinster who was now too old to get married. She had to deal with the fallout from the marriages that she had arranged but weren’t working out well. This story shows what could go wrong in a regency romance.

I would have loved to see more action in the story. There was a lot of describing things that happened, rather than showing them happen in real time. Some conversations were condensed, when I would have liked to see them happen on the page. I really enjoyed the story, and would have liked even more of it.

Miss Lattimore’s Letter is a fun regency romance.

Thank you Berkley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Have you read Miss Lattimore’s Letter? What did you think of it?

Review: The Gentleman and the Thief

Title: The Gentleman and the Thief (The Dread Penny Society #2)
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gentleman scribes penny dreadful novels by night and falls in love with a woman who is a music teacher by day—and a thief at night. 

LONDON 1865

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Review:

Hollis Darby is a gentleman with the secret job of writing penny dreadful books under a pseudonym. He comes from a wealthy family, who no longer has any money, so he must support himself with his books. Hollis was attracted to Ana Newport, a music teacher, as soon as they met. Ana is also from a wealthy family, but they lost their money and belongings when her father went bankrupt. Ana has a secret: she steals back the belongings that the elite families took from her family when they were struggling. These small robberies begin to draw attention in the city, earning the thief the name, “Phantom Fox.” Hollis and his friends at the Dread Penny Society investigate the robberies, though he isn’t prepared for what he discovers.

Hollis and Ana appear to be in different levels of society but they have similar backgrounds. Ana is working class and Hollis is upper class. However, both of their parents made mistakes that lost their family money. The difference is that Hollis kept up the appearance of wealth, whereas Ana had to work to survive.

This story also includes short penny dreadful stories, told in chapters throughout the book. These are stories that are written by characters under their pseudonyms. I love that these stories also relate to the plot and what is happening in the main narrative. These short stories are a great addition to this Victorian novel.

The Gentleman and the Thief is a fun historical romance!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Gentleman and the Thief? What did you think of it?

Review: Escape to Witch City

Title: Escape to Witch City
Author: E. Latimer
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook, Hardcover
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a world ruled by fear of witches, some secrets are deadly. A thrilling new fantasy adventure set in historical London for fans of V.E. Schwab’s City of Ghosts and Serafina and the Black Cloak.

Emmaline Black has a secret. She can hear the rhythm of heartbeats. Not just her own, but others’ too. It’s a rhythm she’s learned to control, and that can only mean one thing… Emma’s a witch.

In a world where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences and all children who have reached the age of thirteen are tested to ensure they have no witch blood, Emma must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something. The truth about their sister, her Aunt Lenore, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago.

The day of the test comes, and Emma’s results not only pair her up with strange new friends, but set her on a course to challenge everything she’s ever been taught about magic, and reveal long-buried family secrets. It seems witches may not have been so easy to banish after all. Secret cities, untapped powers, missing family members — Emma is about to discover a whole new world.

Review:

Emmaline Black is the niece of Queen Alexandria. The Queen’s mission is to find and destroy all the witches. When Emma turns thirteen, she must be given a test to see if she has any witch blood. Emma is nervous about it, because she suspects she is a witch. She has the ability to hear heartbeats of people who are near her. Emma is also curious about her other aunt, who was a witch and was banished from the city. After Emma gets tested, she teams up with some new friends to find the truth about her family and the witches.

I love middle grade books about witches! This was book with a spooky, Victorian setting. Their society has a history of hunting witches, but Emma doesn’t know the true reason why. Her aunt, the Queen, hunted out witches to find the Witch City. Emma and her friends had to be sent there to find the secrets of the witches.

The witches in this story had unique powers. Emma had the ability to hear people’s heartbeats. Another character can persuade anyone to do anything, while another has the ability to control birds. These were powers that were quite useful to them but I haven’t encountered them in a story before. I really liked these original abilities.

Escape to Witch City is a fun middle grade witch story!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray by E. Latimer

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Have you read Escape to Witch City? What did you think of it?

Review: The Coming Storm

Title: The Coming Storm
Author: Regina M. Hansen
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Music, myth, and horror blend in this romantic, atmospheric fantasy debut about a teen girl who must fight a powerful evil that’s invaded her Prince Edward Island home—perfect for fans of An Enchantment of Ravens.

There’s a certain wild magic in the salt air and the thrum of the sea. Beet MacNeill has known this all her life. It added spice to her childhood adventures with her older cousin, Gerry, the two of them thick as thieves as they explored their Prince Edward Island home. So when Gerry comes up the path one early spring morning, Beet thinks nothing of it at first. But he is soaking wet and silent, and he plays a haunting tune on his fiddle that chills Beet to the bone. Something is very, very wrong.

Things only get worse when Marina Shaw saunters into town and takes an unsettling interest in Gerry’s new baby. Local lore is filled with tales of a vicious shape-shifting sea creature and the cold, beautiful woman who controls him—a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Marina. Beet is determined to find out what happened to her beloved cousin, and to prevent the same fate from befalling the handsome new boy in town who is winning her heart, whether she wants him to or not. Yet the sea always exacts a price…

Review:

1950, Prince Edward Island: Teenager Beet MacNeill has always been close with her older cousin Gerry. On the night when his son, Joseph, is born in her house, she sees Gerry’s ghost and hears his fiddle song, so she knows he has died on his journey home. A year later, Gerry’s mysterious mother dies suddenly. Her niece, Marina Shaw, appears and takes her place in town as the mysterious loner. However, Marina seems to be able to control Gerry’s baby. Beet is the only one who holds the key to saving baby Joseph.

This was a mysterious story filled with folklore. There was a mix of Scottish and Eastern Canadian folklore. As the story progresses, the real secret behind Marina’s sudden appearance becomes clearer. The story was slowly unraveled through Beet’s present narrative and some flashbacks about people in the town who have met a strange woman throughout the previous century.

The setting of Prince Edward Island was an important character in the story. The beaches and water were influenced by the magic wielded by Marina and Beet. Music was also an important part of the story. All of the senses were used in this setting, so I really felt like I was in PEI while reading the story.

The Coming Storm is a beautiful Canadian story.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

Have you read The Coming Storm? What did you think of it?