Category Archives: book review

Review: A Bit of Magic, A JL Anthology

Bit-of-magic-coverThe oldest story can be made new again, changed and altered until it is reimagined and restored.

Pride interferes with happily-ever-afters: a proud princess is tested and tests the prince in return; a young thief is caught red-handed and must make amends; and a vain queen struggles to save her stepdaughter.

Finding love is not a simple task: a hero searches for the ideal magical bride; an innocent librarian is charmed by a man with a menacing secret; a queen takes a spoiled prince as her sole deckhand, and a well-intentioned princess seeks to make things right with her father.

Change causes chaos, for better or worse: a scheming cat seeks to better the lot of his daydreaming master; a cursed pirate captain is given a second chance when he finds a young stowaway; a spoiled teenager suffers the consequences of turning her best friend into a toad, and a thief and a rebel hiding secrets meet at a ball.

Follow these characters on their journeys as eleven magical tales are turned on their heads and seen from new perspectives.

My Review:

Rating: 5 magical stars

I generally prefer to read novels rather than anthologies because it takes really talented authors to weave a tale complete with interesting plot, characters and a satisfying ending within a few thousand words. But the stories in this anthology are really well-written with interesting characters and twists to the old fairy tales. Of course, there were a couple that wasn’t to my taste mostly because of my obsession with HEAs, but even they were really well-written and would appeal to readers who don’t have my quirk πŸ™‚

My favorites from this collection are:

1. The Thief and the Spy by Katelyn Barbee – This was a unique twist on Cinderella with really well-developed characters, intriguing plot and very interesting backstory. Add in the magical talents that certain people of the society have and I was really sucked into the world. I ended up wishing that the author develops this story into a novel so that I could read more about them.

2. Vanity by Kristy Perkins – This was a hilarious take on Snow White where the Queen actually did not plot to kill Snow but had to face the suspicion of her people because of a ‘corset incident’. She actually tries to find Snow White and bring her back, but all her plans are foiled. The ending of the story really blew me away, I never saw that coming πŸ™‚

I also loved the other stories especially, The Scarred Shepherdess, The Veiled Queen, and Monsieur Puss. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, I highly recommend that you give this a try. I bet you’d love it as I did.

Have you read this anthology already? If so, what’s your favorite story?

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Review: Heart of the Winterland By Kristen Kooistra

HotWThe Princess
On her 200th birthday, the enchantment that holds Princess Calisandra in a state of apathy breaks. Full of questions about her kingdom’s history and what lies outside the borders of her snow-cursed kingdom, she leaves home in search of answers.

The Sorceress
Fate has always been against Amee. Orphaned as a baby, she grew up with darkness snuffing out what little light she could find in her life. When her spirit breaks, she sequesters herself in the border forest. Powerful and angry, she waits …

The Guardian
An orb formed to protect Cali, Voice has never had a purpose beyond caring for the princess’s needs. But as she joins Cali on her journey and the spell that confined her breaks, she starts to wonder about her place in the world.

The Captain
Captain Kota, in forced exile from her homeland, swears that never again will she be powerless. Ascending the ranks of the Shayal guard, her latest mission is to find the one who has escaped Duke Bludgaard.

The Fugitive
A desperate search has brought Angel far from her home, but now Captain Kota’s relentless pursuit keeps her from her task. When she crosses paths with a naΓ―ve princess and a sage orb, she finds more than she anticipated.

~*~*~*~

My Review:

Rating: 5 Stars

A fantastic story with gripping characters!

I just finished reading Winterland and am already itching to read the next book. I loved everything about this novel – the story, the characters, the plot twists and the amazing way Ms. Kooistra has weaved the back-story with the present.

Heart of the Winterland takes us through a magical journey with Princess Cali who wakes up after 200 years with new emotions that bombard her senses as the dampening spell cast upon her weakens. She leaves her home, Trabor, which is cursed to be a land of eternal winter to go on an adventure to meet other humans outside her borders.

Ms. Kooistra has done a fantastic job of showing us the range of emotions Cali feels as she meets different people on her journey and how she evolves from a child-like, innocent princess to become a queen who’ll lead Trabor into the future.

Cali and her guardian (the magical orb, Voice) meet various people along the way – the mysterious fugitive Angel, Captain Kota, Rose and others who help Cali to become the queen she is meant to be.

But of all the characters, my favorite is Amee, the dark sorceress who took revenge on the royal family of Trabor. Ha ha! You heard me right πŸ™‚ I love the antagonist of the story too. That says a lot about Ms. Kooistra’s talent in writing gripping characters. From the first moment I met Amee, I connected to her, felt all her pain and rooted for her.

And that’s one of the things that really touched me about Winterland. It shows throughout the story that no one is completely evil. Everyone is shaped to be who they are because of things that happened in the past and, if they’re given a second chance, they can come out of the trap of negativity they are in and find their path.

All in all, I really loved reading this novel and would recommend this for all lovers of fairy tale, fantasy adventures and magical worlds.