A to Z Challenge Book Reviews

My Languishing TBR: Z #AtoZChallenge2022 #Books #Bookreview

Z is for ZzZz

This year I’m taking a break from Faerie and doing an A to Z of my TBR (to be read) list instead. 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’ve decided not to include words like “A”, “The” and “An” during this challenge.

I had to get creative with this one…

Learn more about the A-Z Challenge here.


About the Books

These books were recommended to me by the Amazon algorithms once I started reading PWF (paranormal women’s fiction) — the magical witchy books from earlier this month. I’m a bit obsessed with this genre right now!

But… Some gave me qualms as I read, some had the yuck factor in some way, and others were a snoozefest (too much backstory and not enough reason to care about the character). These are all first in series, so I’ve marked the series on Goodreads also as DNF. I think looking at what made these books land on my did-not-finish shelf and comparing it to what had worked earlier in the month is a good way to understand what I like to read.

About the Book I’ve Read

For many, midlife is the beginning.

It was a day like any other day for Marina Trahan…until she caught her husband in bed with another woman. Before that eye-opening wake-up call, Marina would have described her life as average or uneventful, maybe even boring. But now, chaos and confusion reign supreme. She’d expected to slide through midlife with her unwanted extra pounds, chin hair, and hot flashes and move somewhat gracefully into elastic waist pants and having no verbal filter. But with a wayward husband, a high-maintenance daughter, a lackluster career, and a crazy mother all weighing her down, Marina is ready to wave the white flag of surrender.

Then an intriguing stranger named Alexios shows up out of nowhere and insists she is descended from a goddess and is the only person who can save the world from certain destruction. She has roughly a week to do it. Solving a centuries-old mystery seems like a more interesting proposition than the other situations Marina is facing, so she accepts his challenge. But her search for a magical item of power reveals far more about Marina than she ever knew. Maybe enough to save the world. And even herself. 

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

The humour was good – many LOL moments. The story interesting – especially the bayou setting. But talking about going to church just to gossip, various statements making it clear she doesn’t believe in God, and then saying she won’t stand up even in Jesus Himself appeared [capitalisation my own] – that’s enough. You can write good stories without taking a jab at religion.

DNF at 24%.

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A Paranormal Women’s Fiction Romance Novel (PWF)

When it rains, it pours…

On the eve of my fortieth birthday, Fate has given me a second chance at the happiness I once knew in the odd Southern town of Grimm Cove. But only if I can come to terms with some rather eye-opening revelations. Supernaturals are a real thing. I’m a witch. My high school sweetheart, who happens to be the Chief of Police in Grimm Cove, is my fated mate and a wolf-shifter. Ghosts exist and can be very nosy and meddlesome. Someone is murdering witches left and right. And last but not least, my ex-husband’s barely legal arm candy is taking fatal attraction to new levels of Hell.

I’m no shrinking violet, and with the help of my best friends, I’m going to live life on my terms–come Hell, high water, or magikal mishaps.

Don’t miss out on the next book in the Grimm Cove Series World, Hexing with a Chance of Tornadoes!

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

The title and blurb were promising. Too bad deep into chapter two it was still just a massive info dump.


1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A Paranormal Women’s Fiction with a bit of class, and a lot of sass for anyone who feels like age is just a number!

One day I’m married, living in Seattle, and magic isn’t real.
The next, I’m divorced and living in the guest room of my ex’s hotter- than-sin cousin’s place in Savannah . . . and talking to an animated skeleton named Robert.

I have to admit, Robert isn’t my worst date.

At forty-one, I didn’t think I’d be starting over. But I’ll be damned if my ex thinks I’m down and out because he pulled a fast one on me.
When a job comes my way that offers me a chance to use my childhood training in the shadow world, I take it—I need the money more than I care about my sanity.

It’s dangerous.
I have to embrace the magic and dark of my past.
And I need Advil to keep me going.

So those who’d hold me back better sit up and take notice, because a new woman is in town, and she’s not about to be counted out by anyone.

Even if she does groan when she rolls out of bed in the morning.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

I thought the premise of the blurb was good, but some of the language made me cringe: referring in rapid succession to her ex-husband as Himself grated on my nerves.

DNF 3% in.

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Secrets broke her heart… and have now come back from the grave to haunt her.

So far, Lorna Addams’s forties are not what she expected. After a very public embarrassment, she finds it difficult to trust her judgment when it comes to new friendships and dating. She might be willing to give love a second chance when she meets the attractive William Warrick, if only she could come to terms with what her husband did to her and leave it in the past.

How is a humiliated empty nest widow supposed to move on with her life? It’s not like she can develop a sixth sense, séance her ex back, force him to tell her why and give her closure. Or can she?

Book contains: kick-butt women who are considered middle-aged in their forties but who don’t let themselves be defined by a number, paranormal elements (psychics, ghosts, magic, etc), some strong language (nothing too earth-shattering), sexy scenes but they aren’t 50 shades of OMG or anything, and a nice heaping helping of a second chance at first love. Doing midlife right!

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

The funeral opening scene was slightly insane. But what bothered me was her inner monologue that her kids shouldn’t be there to say goodbye to their father. But okay. The next scene, though, where Vivien shows up and immediately wants to be friends was just too unbelievable.

DNF 11% in.

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A mountain of regrets. A bargain with a mischievous faery. Could tinkering with her past create a better future?
Joey Whitmore longs to escape her dead-end world. Facing a midlife crisis at age forty-two and still living with her mother, getting fired from yet another job is the proverbial last straw. So when a fae trickster in human guise offers a chance at changing her history, she figures there’s nothing left to lose.

Though skeptical of his magic, Joey accepts the sly prince’s enchanted hourglass and begins a reckless journey back in time. But as she tries to act as her own fairy godmother and reverse her mistakes, her blundering interference causes a chain of catastrophic consequences.

Will Joey’s attempts to alter her deadbeat destiny end up erasing her entire existence?

Over the Fairy Hill is the first entry in the Magical Midlife Misadventures paranormal women’s fiction series. If you like relatable characters, paranormal twists, and laugh-out-loud humor, then you’ll love Jennifer L. Hart’s endearing tale.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

“Yet the part no one talked about was the discarded life that he or she had outgrown and slithered away from like an old snakeskin.” This wording about transpeople made me uneasy. It’s like the author, by likening them to snakes, evoked older imagery about snakes being dark creatures, not to be trusted, evil. And that connotation is just yuck. Also, all the woe in the MC’s life seem to be because her husband is now a “glamorous” woman. And though the premise on the blurb sounded good, this intro just didn’t sit right with me.

DNF 5% in.

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Divorce comes as a relief when you discover your husband is a walking cliche and having an affair with a woman half your age. When life gives you lemons… give yourself a magical makeover!

One day I’m married, living in the triangle, and working as a head nurse at one of the country’s best hospitals.

The next, I’ve shed a hundred and seventy-five pounds of idiot and find myself encountering ghosts, dragons and pixies while taking care of a sick patient.

Losing my sanity didn’t seem like the worst thing to happen since I moved back home with my mom and nana.

But I have to make the best of this mess for the sake of my children. And I refuse to give my ex the satisfaction of knowing he literally drove me crazy.

I didn’t mind rolling with the punches… I just never imagined those hits would come in the form of magic. Witches, shifters, and Fae don’t exist, right?

This new world I’ve discovered is dangerous. The Tainted want to kill me, innocent paranormals want my help, and the son of Hades needs me to find demons.

Give me an Ibuprofen and watch out. I’m not about to stand by and let someone else ruin my life. I’m a middle-aged woman on a brand-new mission, and nothing’s going to stop me.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

“Hattie was more affluent than God…” Really? You had to go there? With so much richness in the English language, you had to say this woman was better than the Supreme Being?

DNF 4% in.

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A Paranormal Women’s Fiction novel for anyone who thought adventure and magic stopped at forty. Guess again, it’s just the beginning.

I never expected I’d be one of those people who had a midlife crisis. Sure, I’m over forty, and married, but my kids are grown and moved out. Life is steady, if predictably boring.

That all changes when my husband asks for a divorce and my whole world crashes. Everything I thought I knew, everything I am, gone in an instant.
But I am not about to give up. After all, at my age, technically, I’m only halfway there.

I am ready to tackle my do-over; my chance to become the me I’ve always dreamed of. Starting with moving into my late grandma’s cottage and adopting a new kitten.

However, my new life is a little odder than expected. Old books suddenly appearing in my house. Neighbors going missing. A supposed lake monster, and a strange man who likes to skulk around with an axe.

I’m going to need to lean on my friends, new and old, to help me navigate my midlife crisis. Together maybe we will find a way to beat the family curse ruining my second chance at life.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

The verbal abuse from her husband, that she just stood and took, told me everything I need to know about the main character. Instant dislike for someone who refuses to look out for themselves – for however many decades her marriage had lasted. And her kids, who she took care of exclusively her whole adult life, were like strangers. Well, that tells me even more. Not likeable.

DNF 4%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Every woman goes through changes in their forties.
Just not… these changes.

Robin Brannon was a normal wife, mom, and antique shop owner until a brush with death turned her day-to-day life upside down. Now she and her two best friends are seeing things that belong in a fantasy novel. Ghosts. Visions. Omens of doom. Nothing that belongs in the peaceful mountain town they call home.

Added to that, Robin’s marriage is on the rocks, her grandmother’s health is failing, her mother is driving away the customers at her shop, her teenage daughter refuses to get her drivers’ license, and her left knee aches every darn morning.

Robin doesn’t have the time, energy, or knees to unearth the secrets buried at the bottom of Glimmer Lake, but fate doesn’t seem to care. Some secrets are just dying to be exposed.

Suddenly Psychic is a stand-alone paranormal women’s fiction, and the first book in the Glimmer Lake series by USA Today Bestseller, Elizabeth Hunter, author of the Elemental Mysteries.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

So she isn’t happy with her life, goes out at night with her friends – driving on a dangerous road she’s uncomfortable with – and they all nearly die. Then some paranormal stuff. Then back to being unhappy. There’s even a lot of head-hopping within a chapter – and calling her own dad at his full name and surname when he enters a scene. Okay. But then there’s this conversation between the three friends where one attacks the other for being Catholic and believing everything in the New Testament but not believing in psychics. Seriously? Why attack religion?

DNF 23%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A Paranormal Women’s Fiction for anyone who feels like age is just a number and midlife still has magic!

When 49-year-old Belladonna Barrone’s mobbed up husband does her the favor of dying in a car accident, she thinks she’s finally free of the crime family she unwittingly married into. Then the boss tells her that she has to complete her husband’s last job before that freedom is truly hers.

No big deal, she figures. Until things go south in ways she never imagined. Suddenly she’s thrust into a whole new world that makes the mob look like kindergarten. Vampires and werewolves are real? How is that freaking possible?

Her dreams of a new life disappear faster than wine at book club as more problems arise from her husband’s dark dealings and the unbelievable complications caused by her supernatural entanglements. Only her strength and determination (and some wild new friends) will see her through this next chapter, but the odds are against her.
How much more can her life suck? She’s about to find out…

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

So much exposition, looking at everyone at the graveside, thinking about what had gone before. Yawn.

DNF 4%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

It’s paranormal women’s fiction for lovers of magic, mayhem, and a solid afternoon nap (when they can squeeze one in.)

Katherine wasn’t looking for anything extraordinary in her life. She had a job she loved, a husband she adored, and a home in the beautiful seaside town of Moonstone Cove.

Okay yes, she worked too much and had fallen out of touch with all her friends, but that happened to everyone, right? And sure, she was feeling a little creaky in the mornings and couldn’t drink coffee after noon, but that was just life in middle age.

Four minutes was all it took for fate to run away with anything that resembled normal.

Now Katherine is trying to place mysterious psychic visions into her previously ordered life. She’s playing referee between a displaced Southern mama and a sarcastic mechanic with a chip on her shoulder. And her quiet life has been upended by a mysterious rash of violent acts by students at her school.

Thankfully, her new friends have powers of their own, and together they just might discover who or what has it in for the quiet citizens of Moonstone Cove.

Runaway Fate is the first book in the hot new Paranormal Women’s Fiction series, Moonstone Cove by USA Today bestselling author, Elizabeth Hunter. It’s fiction for lovers of magic, mayhem, and a solid afternoon nap (when they can squeeze one in.)

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

It was okay – not terribly exciting except for what happened at the gym. All the talk of the women of Glimmer Lake felt like a huge push to go and read something else – the Glimmer Lake books. The talk of a girl killing her horse made my stomach revolt. More slow stuff. And then the main character talks to the girl who killed her horse and… Ugh!

DNF 35%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

A Paranormal Women’s Fiction with a bit of class, and a lot of sass, for anyone who feels like age is just a number!

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She’s only there to find out why a woman she’s never met would leave her a house. A veritable castle that has seen better days. She couldn’t possibly accept it, but the lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she’s scared of it. The house. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who’s a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she’s a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they’re right.

Check it out on Goodreads.

Forty-something Defiance Dayne only recently discovered she comes from a long line of powerful witches. Added to that was the teensy, infinitesimal fact that she is what’s called a charmling. One of three on the entire planet. And there are other witches who will stop at nothing to steal her immense power, which would basically involve her unfortunate and untimely death.

No one told her life after forty would mean having to learn new lifeskills—such as how to dodge supernatural assassins while casting from a moving vehicle—or that the sexiest man alive would be living in her basement.

Whoever said life begins at forty was clearly a master of the underappreciated and oft maligned understatement.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review


Mixing up names: Defiance or Dephne or Deph? Annette or Nannette or Nette? Completely irritated me.

It’s a good book, though, despite the name mix ups and typos. It kept me turning the pages. As for the end…? What a cliffhanger.

Loads of magic, twists and surprises. A fun read.

4 unicorn star rating


So I knew something bothered me while reading book one, and now I know: subtle references to how Defiance was the best thing since sliced bread. Only, in terms of religion. When this was made abundantly clear in this book, I DNFed. 13%

1 unicorn star rating

About the Book I’ve Read

Torie Bliss thought that being over forty and having your husband dump you over your favorite meal would be rock bottom. Then she learned that the perfect life he had created for them was built on a foundation of lies.

A very public fall from grace leaves her penniless and homeless. Thinking she had nothing else to lose, she decides to move in with her estranged mother in a picturesque town in the mountains of North Carolina. Only to discover that her mother is quite the witch. Literally.

And so is Torie. They are from a line of witches who develop their magic after the age of forty. As if hot flashes and night sweats weren’t enough, she now has to contend with wild magic that she has no idea how to control.

But she must learn to tap into her strange new powers to help her new friends solve a terrifying mystery.

Someone is killing off shifters in the sleepy town of Singing Falls, and if Torie can’t get her act together, she just may be next on the supernatural serial killer’s list.

Can Torie let go of her past in order to embrace her new future?

Find out in this exciting paranormal women’s fiction novel that proves you’re never too old for good hex. 

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Jumping point of view not even a page in… Not a good sign. DNF

1 unicorn star rating

My Book

All About Blogging: For Authors

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?

*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.*

Want a taste of my writing? Sign up to my newsletter and get your free copy of Unseen, Faery Tales #2.

Success! You're on the list.

11 thoughts on “My Languishing TBR: Z #AtoZChallenge2022 #Books #Bookreview”

  1. Ronel you are a good reviewer. You are able to sum up the overall plot enough to draw the reader in. I also appreciate that you are honest if you like the book or what put you off (that is not easy to do).

    It’s been great seeing you again at A to Z. Wishing you the best with your new books. (Moonie)
    Crime by Steven Slack

  2. Oh my goodness, this was a bad string of books for you! I suspect in any hot new sub-genre there will be a lot of books trying to jump on the bandwagon, and they can’t all be great.
    You certainly have your work cut out for you to make any sort of dent in this pile! Thanks for sharing, and good luck!
    Z is for Zany

  3. These all sound great. I love the Zodiac Academy covers. I’ve read quite a few YA paranormal novels but I didn’t realise there were so many witchy books out there with 30-50 year-old protagonists. I need to explore this genre a bit more.

  4. I’ve been DNF’ing a lot more of late. In the old days, because I was a quick reader, I felt it wasn’t a waste of my time. But now I’m older, and my TBR list towers, I really don’t have time to waste.

    I’ve very much enjoyed your A2Z Ronel – even if you’ve added to my TBR list! 🙂

  5. I think your candid reviews would be very helpful to a would be reader. I hope the algorithms serve you better suggestions in the future.

    visiting from A to Z

    (I have such an enormous pile of to be read books)

  6. You learned an important lesson years before I did: life is too short. If a book isn’t for you, DNF it and don’t look back. Think of that pile of TBRs in my bedroom…in the living room…in the spare bedroom… I like how you calculate the percentage of book you read before giving up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.