A to Z Challenge Book Reviews

My Languishing TBR: S #AtoZChallenge2024 #Books #BookReviews

S is for Secrets

Learn more about the challenge here.

I’m doing folklore and book review posts to reach and please a larger audience. Previous years have shown select interest in both and to minimise blogging throughout the year, I’m focusing my efforts on April.

Focusing on an A to Z of my TBR (to be read) list, each letter will have books starting with that letter on my list, a book I’ve read and reviewed (with the review!) and one of my books matching the letter with a link about more info about the book.

I chose the books this year quite randomly from my Goodreads Want to Read page. Some are quite creatively added to letters.

If you’d rather check out my folklore post for today, go here.

Learn more about the challenge here.

You can read reviews for from previous years for this letter here and here, and my year-end reviews here, here, here and, most recently, here.


About the Books I’ve Read

This series was recommended to me years ago, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it.

About the Book

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven #1) by Pat Esden

Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle’s real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .

Now Merlin’s demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin’s uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can’t defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

With the focus on magic and Chloe growing up, I’d say this is more New Adult than Paranormal Romance, though it does have a lot of steamy scenes. Dark Paranormal New Adult Romance?

As the title suggests, the magic is on the dark side – necromancy, shape-shifting, communing with spirits, etc. But it’s not as dark as some other things I’ve read.

For lovers of Arthurian mythos, Merlin and Nimue make an appearance and play an important part in the climax.

Of course, I like the dog! (And he is safe and happy throughout – even when he seems in danger – so I didn’t DNF when things got a little dark around him.)

There’s even a mystery plot loosely woven through the story – which is what leaves you wanting to read the next book.

If you like spicy witch stories with lots of magic and the fate of the world riding on the heroine’s choices, you’ll like this book.

Trigger warnings: brain washing, animal cruelty, arson, murder, blood, language.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Things She’s Seen (Northern Circle Coven #2) by Pat Esden

The coven’s under investigation. Its future is in peril. And for one troubled young psychic, the coming battle will threaten her newfound freedom—and brings back a dangerous desire . . .

Exploited as a child medium, Emily Adams escaped to grow up on the streets—and hit rock-bottom. She took shelter with the prestigious Northern Circle, intent on staying only long enough to get back on her feet. But the Circle is still reeling from a devastating supernatural attack and betrayal. And vengeful High Council of Witches investigator Gar Remillard is determined to make Em surrender the truth—and disband the Circle forever.

When Em’s psychic ability allows her to see Gar is haunted by a formidable ghost, her attempts to free him challenge Gar’s rugged French Canadian heart and rancorous loup-garou instincts. But even as their new alliance and past connection kindles into raging desire, a malevolent force rises up to destroy them—the Circle and even the High Council.

With all she’s grown to love on the line, Em must draw on her darkest nightmares and alliances with the dead to outwit and out magic a force who can imprison souls with a flick of the fingers and command legions of wraiths with one word. . .

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

With the focus on magic and Em growing up, I’d say this is more New Adult than Paranormal Romance, though it does have a lot of steamy scenes. Dark Paranormal New Adult Romance?

As the title suggests, this is about what her magic allows her to see – and the dark things in her past because of it. Big trigger warning here: Em was physically and emotionally abused by her aunt and mother throughout childhood (e.g. locked in a van in the sun because she refused to eat).

Em is a psychic medium: she helps the spirits who need it to move on or to get help. The opening scene has her following the spirits of kittens to where they were abandoned on a railroad – she saves the surviving ones and everyone has a HEA (which I like about this author’s books: the animals are all okay in the end).

I like Gar – he really is a rebel knight.

For lovers of Arthurian mythos, Merlin makes another appearance during the climax.

Some mysteries from the previous book were resolved with more questions raised – especially about the High Council.

And though Em’s magic is all about the dead, this book is about her getting her life back.

If you like spicy witch stories with lots of magic and the fate of the world riding on the heroine’s choices, you’ll like this book.

Trigger warnings: brain washing, animal cruelty, arson, murder, blood, language, gore, child abuse, ghosts, gaslighting.

4 unicorn star rating

About the Book

Entangled Secrets (Northern Circle Coven #3) by Pat Esden

The Northern Circle coven’s future is in question once again. But this time, hearts and souls are on the line, making the stakes higher, the magic more crucial, and the battle more fateful than ever before . . .

Pregnant and alone at twenty-one, Chandler Parrish sought refuge within the Northern Circle coven’s secluded complex. Never revealing the identity of her child’s father, Chandler has raised her now eight-year-old son, Peregrine, in peace, and used her talent as an artist and welder to become a renowned metal sculptor. But her world is shaken to the core when Peregrine shows signs of natural faerie sight—a rare and dangerous gift to see through faerie glamour and disguises that could only have come from his father’s genes. Worse yet, the boy has seen a monstrous faerie creature trailing Lionel Parker, a magic-obsessed journalist determined to expose the witching world.

But the very man who threatens the witches’ anonymity may also be key to healing Chandler’s long broken heart. As dangerous desires and shocking secrets entangle, new faerie threats and demonic foes close in on the coven and High Council. Loyalties will be tested. Fierce magics will be called upon. And Chandler will have to face her past to save all she holds dear: her coven, her child—and perhaps even her own soul.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Though Chandler is a lot older than Chloe and Em, is a mother, has a career, and more responsibilities, I’ll still classify it as New Adult because most of her issues stem from when she was about 20 and should have been resolved then instead of eight years later – but her son’s age is important for the plot… So with all the Urban Fantasy stuff in this series, I’ll just label it as that with a steamy romance subplot.

I enjoyed this book until about ¾ through when everything that could go wrong went wrong, Nimue and her ilk was needed for the climax, Peregrine’s father acted as expected – meaning that it was a bit predictable. And personally, I didn’t like that they used the Lord’s name as an expletive. It felt a lot in the last quarter of the book as if the author was putting down Christianity and other books (e.g. Harry Potter) in lieu of actual dialogue. The copy-paste of the healing ceremony was also irritating.

And though it all neatly works out and though I think Chandler is awesome, something feels off about this story… I did like the Black Dog, though.

A good end to the series (as I won’t be reading any future books).

Trigger warnings: wraiths, demons, gaslighting, language.

3 unicorn star rating

My Book

Small, Everyday Fae (Origin of the Fae #1)

Remember that you can request all of my books from your local library!

I hope you enjoyed this. For more books I’ve read and reviewed, check out either my Pinterest board about reviews or my Goodreads profile. Alternatively, you can check out my reviews on BookBub. Have you read any of the books? Loved or hated any of them?

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*FYI, my reviews are my honest opinion and if something bothers me, I tell it straight. How else will anything change? My opinions are based on being a voracious reader and book buyer, not an attack on the author.*

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