Book Savvy Babe
I am a 28 year old stay-at-home mom of 2 young boys. I have always loved reading, and now that I stay at home, I read even more. I read Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary & Historical romance. I am a book reviewer and blogger, and post my reviews at Book Savvy Babe. I am also on goodreads, and I moderate 2 book groups.
This member has not published any books.
Illicit Magic (Book 1, Stella Mayweather Series)
on July 26, 2011
Stella’s life is suddenly turned upside-down when after being attacked; a strange girl takes Stella to an entirely new life. Stella finds out that she is a witch, and there are other people like her, people with special abilities, magical abilities. This group of witches wants to train Stella in her magic, and keep her safe from witch hunters. However, danger continues to plague Stella wherever she goes.
It took me a little while to get into Illicit Magic. When starting a new series, I know that it can take some time to understand the characters and the world, but I had a difficult time with the flow at first. However, the more I read, the more I was able to get into the feel of the story. When Stella begins her training at the house with her fellow witches, I really began to love the book, and Stella. For a girl who was clumsy and a bit socially awkward, Stella adapted really well to her circumstances, and even experiences some steamy romance. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book, especially Evan and Etoile. The magic is very cool, with spells and teleporting, and everyone having their own unique gifts and strengths. This book has a younger generation feel, kind of like a college dormitory group. It was not too young at all, definitely adult and definitely entertaining.
I grew to really like Stella. By the end of the book, Stella is a new person. She has new knowledge and new determination. She holds herself responsible for more than she should, and I am hoping that she continues to learn and grow. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book, especially Evan and Etoile. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for Stella and reading more by Camilla Chafer in the future.
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
on Aug. 22, 2011
*4.5 of 5 stars*
This series is about Jolie Wilkins, a young woman who owns and works as a psychic in LA, until a handsome stranger walks into her shop and completely changes her life. Rand (the handsome stranger), needs Jolie's help to find answers from a ghost. During the process, they find that Jolie's powers and strength are more than either could have thought. Not only does Jolie discover that her powers are strong, but she finds that she is not just psychic, she is a new and powerful witch, and so is Rand. Jolie is suddenly caught in the middle of a war in the underworld, a war where a powerful witch wants to use Jolie's powers to gain total control over all supernatural beings. Rand must keep Jolie out of harm while she learns and trains in magic, and prepare for war...
So, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble is a very good book. This book introduces a whole new setting and paranormal underworld, full of vampires, shifters, fairies, and witches. Their powers are diverse and interesting, and there is quite a bit of sexual tension, romance, and angst. This book is very well developed and so much goes on, it is hard to review without giving away spoilers. This book is the foundation of the series, setting up story lines and various backgrounds for the different characters. It is never dull, I was very much captivated and into the story, I did not want to put it down.
I will say that Rand was kind of annoying at times. He is a more guarded character, and he is the one with a lot of the angst problems. He is attracted to Jolie, but for various reasons, he keeps his distance. I really love Jolie, her character is cute, smart, and she adapts very well to her major life changes. Jolie does have her hang ups as well though, she does not expect much of herself, and has a fairly low self-image. Throughout the book, her character does grow and develop, which is part of why I truly enjoyed this book.
As for the ending, it is NOT a cliff-hanger. However, I was so caught up in the story that I just HAD to see what happened next. So, I immediately cracked open book 2.....
Toil and Trouble
on Aug. 22, 2011
Toil and Trouble picks up right after book 1. This story is a little bit more focused, as there is not as much need for in-depth explanations. With impending war, relationship drama, and surprising plot twists, book 2 in the Jolie Wilkins series is even better than the first book.
In this book, war is imminent, the characters have chosen sides, and war preparations are made. Jolie and Rand still face relationship problems, even though the attraction between them is stronger than ever. If possible, Rand is even more annoying because he keeps holding back on Jolie. At the same time, Sinjin, the vampire, ramps up his pursuit of Jolie making a nice complicated love triangle of sorts. I have to say, I really love Sinjin in this book, his character becomes more prominent and I found that I was really rooting for him at times. Jolie's love life is a hot mess in Toil and Trouble, and it totally fits this book.
Jolie still has self-worth issues in Toil and Trouble. However, I really like that she stands up for herself more in this book. Despite the war preparation and training that doesn't include her, Jolie continues to train in her magic and other abilities. She keeps her independence, and I admire that about her in this book.
I don't want to give away spoilers, but I will say that Toil and Trouble is very surprising. Just when I thought the climax had hit, the story turned a whole new direction. I was completely caught off guard with the plot twists, and I questioned what I previously wanted for the characters. By the time the book ended, I was still surprised, but again I wanted more. I can not wait to see where HP Mallory goes with this series, I am fully hooked on the Jolie Wilkins saga.
The Jolie Wilkins series is original and sensational, a must-read new series. Paranormal fans, you will not be disappointed with these books, I definitely recommend reading them.
In Leah's Wake
on Aug. 22, 2011
In Leah's Wake is a turn from the type of novels I usually read, but the story sounded interesting and I wanted to give it a try. From the beginning of the book, I was drawn into the Tyler family's drama. The issue's this family have are typical of most families, the parents do the best they can to try to raise their children at times putting a bit too much pressure on their kids. The teenager rebels against the parents and the pressure they are under, feeling that their situation is unbearable and unfair. Then there is the younger sibling who has to watch the family break down. It is so easy to identify with this family, and feel for each of the characters as the situation spirals out of control.
In Leah's Wake is told from each family member's view point. At times the mother's perspective, at time Leah's, etcetera. This gives the story more depth and it helped me to understand each character's perspective. Every one makes mistakes, and as Leah separates farther and rebels more, desperation hits the whole family. This is not an easy, happy story to read, but it is an excellent story. In Leah's Wake is beautifully written and I was enraptured with the story. I was a fairly rebellious teenager myself, so this novel really did hit close to home for me.
In Leah's Wake is a beautiful, thought provoking story and I definitely recommend reading this novel by Terri Giuliano Long.
I really enjoyed reading this literary fiction novel.
Unruly Magic (Book 2, Stella Mayweather Series)
on Sep. 22, 2011
*Note: I always try to not write spoilers, but as book 2 there may be slight spoilers from book 1*
In the first book of this series, Stella Mayweather learns that she is a witch. She was moved from England to America to protect her life from witch hunters, she began training in her magic abilities, and she met and possibly lost new friends. At the close of book 1 Stella is in hiding from the witch council, she is confused and alone, and unsure of what to do next. At her new house, she befriends her neighbors, one of whom is the very sexy Gage who seems to be interested in her. Just as Stella is getting comfortable in her new life, her past catches up with her, and a young witch in trouble is asking for help. Stella is once again drawn into trouble with the council and left to question who is a friend and who is an enemy.
I really enjoy the Stella Mayweather series. Stella is an easy-going, every day type of heroine. She is a powerful witch, but she is new to her power and very humble. She can be socially awkward and unsure, but she is easy to like and relate to. In Unruly Magic, Stella is on her own for a good portion of the book, all of her friends from book 1 are unaccounted for, and Stella felt the separation. She developed a friendship with her neighbors, and began to be interested romantically in Gage. I love Gage, he's confident, sweet, loyal, and determined (and extremely good looking). All of a sudden, Stella's old group of friends show up and turn her newly settled life upside-down. Stella's friends don't ever really seem to think about Stella's feelings and her situation in all their witchy drama. With the return of the friends comes more romantic entanglements and confusion for Stella. I really did not like Evan much in this book, he is moody and possessive, and not in a good way. I hope that as the series continues, Stella begins to stand up for herself more and not tolerate the slights shown to her by her friends and romantic interests.
There was not quite as much magic in this book as there was in book 1. There was more focused story line and character building though. The magic that was in Unruly Magic was fun, and Stella continues to grow in her power and abilities. The paranormal community broadens in Unruly Magic, and Gage plays a larger role in that community.
With a well-written and developed story, engaging characters, and provoking romantic entanglements Unruly Magic is a very good read. I highly recommend this series to paranormal and urban fantasy fans. This is not a very dark series, but the paranormal and urban fantasy elements make for a great story and highly enjoyable reading. I would recommend reading this series in order.
on Oct. 10, 2011
Paranormal readers will love Raven's Kiss, this book has it all; action, magic, paranormal creatures, alternate dimensions, and even romance. The heroine of the story is Raven, a woman whose life was turned upside down in 1 night, when she was bitten by a demon. The bite turned Raven into a shape-shifting demon herself, and instead of becoming a cop for the police, she is now a cop for the Recovery Organization, the paranormal police. Raven is full of pent up anger and the need for vengeance, her attacker was never found and she resents how her new life was thrust on her. In search of her attacker, who has been attacking even more women, Raven will go anywhere, even to an alternate dimension. In the alternate dimension, Raven finds that she plays a very important role in her attacker demon's plans. Raven must accept who she is and face her demons to save not only herself, but her friends, and life as she knows it.
Raven's Kiss is a very fun book to read, the characters are entertaining and easy to like. The paranormal elements are diverse (there are all kinds of supernatural creatures) and the world in the book is very creative, the supernatural blend well with the mortal world. I love the concept of the alternate dimension in Raven's Kiss, this unique concept gives the story that extra something, the world gets more intriguing. In the alternate dimension, there are the same characters as in the original dimension, but they have made different life choices, and are therefore different people, with different personalities. I really like Finn, the leader of the Recovery in the alternate dimension, and Raven's new crush. They work well together, and for the most part, their relationship is believable.
I did have some minor issues near the end of Raven's Kiss. When lives are on the line, and time is of the essence, Raven and Finn take some time out for themselves. I found this just really unrealistic, and rolled my eyes a bit. In the later part of the book, some of the magic and happenings were a bit over-the-top as well. However, despite these minor issues, I really enjoyed the book.
Raven's Kiss is action packed, never slow, and always entertaining. The romance in this book is not excessive, it fits the story and all that Raven is going through. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for Raven. I will read more from Toni LoTempio in the future. Readers who like paranormal, urban fantasy books will likely enjoy reading Raven's Kiss.
Devious Magic (Book 3, Stella Mayweather Series)
on Feb. 07, 2012
*3.5 of 5 Stars*
The Stella Mayweather series is a charming, engaging series about a witch who is learning to make her way in a supernatural world she never knew existed. Conflict comes at Stella from all sides, from power-hungry witches, an evil brotherhood out to exterminate all magic users, and romantic entanglements. In Devious Magic, the 3rd installment of the series, Stella Mayweather’s past comes back to haunt her, this time in the form of the mysterious brotherhood who want to eradicate all witches. Stella is targeted by the brotherhood and forced to travel to England to confront the group and save a friend. In the meantime, relationship troubles arise between Stella and Evan, and Etoile proves to be a true friend. Stella is determined to rescue a friend from the brotherhood, even if it means making drastic decisions.
I really like how this installment does not focus on the witch’s council and all their drama. The focus is centered on the brotherhood, an original enemy that we haven’t heard much from since book 1, which gives the story a new feel and adds in some intriguing new characters. Also, Stella goes back to England and learns more of her past and begins to figure out where she belongs in life. I really like Stella’s character, she has a girl-next-door feel, she is not your typical kick-butt, tough heroine. Stella is a woman unsure of her abilities and her place in the world, but she is fiercely loyal to her friends. The more Stella adjusts to and learns her magic, the stronger she becomes. I get annoyed at Stella at times though, she has a tendency to be very passive. She lets Evan, and sometimes her friends, dictate to her, and while she eventually stands up for herself a bit, she is always apologizing. Her character really is growing, so I hope that she continues to stand up for herself and become more confident.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed with Devious Magic was Etoile and her openness with Stella. In the past, I have never really known what to make of Etoile. She acted as Stella’s friend, but she was often stand-offish. In this book, Etoile and Stella grow closer as friends, and Etoile starts to open up a lot more, which is a big step for a private, proper person such as Etoile. Next, I just hope Stella can work out which men in her life are really good for her.
The pacing in Devious Magic can be slow at times, part of this comes from Stella’s character being a bit more on the passive side. The characters are not big “charge-forward-ask-questions-later” characters. There are lot’s of discussions and details that slow down the storyline at times. However, a good portion of the detail is important at later points in the story making for a well rounded plot line. The story itself is engaging and there are several new characters that caught my attention. I was very pleased with how this story wound up, and the setting is set for future books.
Devious Magic is a solid, satisfying installment in the ever-charming Stella Mayweather series. The quality characters and writing earn this book a Book Savvy Babe rating of 3.5 of 5 stars. The Stella Mayweather series is one that has fully captured my interest and I have enjoyed reading each book in this series. I am invested in the characters and the story as a reader, and I am looking forward to future installments. As a side note, while there is some sexual content and romance in this book, romance in not a focus of the story, which is why I classify this series as a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series, not so much a romance. I recommend the Stella Mayweather series to readers who enjoy paranormal and urban fantasy books.