Book Reviews

Serpent & Dove Book Review

“Maybe men can learn a thing or two from women.”

Shelby Mahurin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis (from back of book)

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all. 

My Thoughts

I had high hopes from this book because I read so many good things about it…however, I was disappointed. I feel like this book had SO much potential but it fell a little flat for me.

I loved the concept of church vs. magic but felt it wasn’t executed well. There really wasn’t that much magic in the book, but there was a lot of churchy-ness. The religious aspect of the book was fine, but I felt like it was there to counter the magic aspects, but it just ended up being a lot of religious jargon and not enough witch stuff to make it make sense. I loved Lou’s character so much. Lou, CoCo, and Ansel were the positive points for me throughout the story. Lou is a fierce fighter and has lived quite the life. Then, SM makes her fall for Reid who is the definition of BORING. I don’t know that I’ve read a book with a more boring lead male character (that probably isn’t true, but at the moment it is). I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy read was because of how his chapters were executed in the audiobook. I only read a handful of chapters, but listened to the rest, and found his chapters to just be blah. I didn’t like the voice of the person on the audiobook and found Reid’s chapters to be dull. I wanted to see more from Lou, or even would have liked to see a chapter in Ansel’s POV.

It wasn’t until the last quarter of the book that I was truly invested in the story. There was more action in the last chunk of the story than the entire book put together. I wish the action was more spread out through the story. That being said, I feel like the book was way too long for what was going on. Some parts could have been scrapped completely, and nothing would have really changed.

I guess if I learned anything from reading this, it’s not to believe the hype of books. This is the third book that I’ve read into they hype and been disappointed. The first was the Shadow and Bone series (I made it halfway through book 2), second was Cruel Prince (I made it to chapter 4) and now this one. Sign. Will I buy book 2 of this series…yes…yes I will. Only because I was intrigued by the end of book 1 AND because cover is stunning. I’m willing to give Blood and Honey a try…yes..open mind and all that jazz.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed by this book, but I didn’t hate it. It did have some redeeming qualities (Lou and witches) that made me interested in reading. I hope that book 2 has more action and magic than this book. I’d love to see less church/religious politics and more witchy-goodness!

Book Reviews

Fables and Other Lies Book Review

I pity those who can’t get lost in fictional worlds.”

Rating: 4/5 Cups of Tea (Stars)

Back of the Book Synopsis

Do you believe in curses?

I never did.

Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish.

Not until it came true.

Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

I knew I should have stayed away from him. I should have run the other way when he called out my name, when he flashed that sinful smile of his, but instead, I walked toward him, leaving the light behind. Instead, I go against all reason, against all warning, and attended the gala of the year at his dark, allegedly haunted home at the top of the hill.

The moment I step foot inside I know I’m in trouble, but there’s something about River that magnetizes me, reels me in, and when he asks for the impossible, I find it impossible to turn him away.

My Thoughts

This was one of the last books I bought in 2020 and it was the first book I read of 2021. I was intrigued by the title, the cover, and the length of the book. I hadn’t intended to make it my first read of the year, but I’m glad that I did!

I loved the main character, Penelope (Penny for short). She told the story well and I was interested in the story she had to tell from the beginning of the prologue! Her friends were a fun add to the plot as well, as was the main male character, River Caliban.

The gothic storytelling and use of fables (and other lies) is something I don’t usually dive into. I really enjoyed how two feuding families, a curse, and everything in between played out. We just watched Holes, and it reminded me of the curse and families in the movie…which was ironic and funny. The supernatural aspect of the story was done well also. It wasn’t overwhelming but held enough of the plot to keep us moving through and engaged in the story.

The island that Penny grew up on celebrates Carnival once a year, for a whole week, and that’s when most of the book takes place. I would have liked to have more description of different activities that were happening because it was fun and interesting, but also because Carnival was a large part of the plot. The way the costumes and festivities were described was done very well and I had very vivid images of what was going on in my head.

The main part that left me unfulfilled in this book is the lack of romance. There is some, but it’s slow burn and pretty brief. With the book being a little over 200 pages long, the slow burn doesn’t really work and by the end, I was invested in the relationship and wanted MORE. The romance had so much potential because it was unique, but I was sad when it ended and I didn’t have all the sexy times I anticipated.

Later in the story there are a few chapters that switch POV. However, this switch also changes the writing from first to third person and that was quite jarring for me. The chapters were very short during these switches and I don’t know why the change from first to third happened. I didn’t necessarily feel like anything was gained by doing so, so I’d be interested to find out the author’s reasoning.

Overall, the plot and characters were fabulous. I have never read anything by this author and will definitely be checking out more! It’s an easy and quick read and was worth picking up. I’m happy to be starting 2021 on a high note!