Follow Aconite Cafe for more books!
Facebook ~ Facebook Group ~ Instagram ~ Discord ~ Newsletter

Title: Beyond the Wand
Author: Tom Felton
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

I went into this book thinking it was going to be more about mental health and addiction struggles, and that was a mistaken assumption about the contents. (Totally on me, I read way to much into some of the advertising of the book.)

Tom tells us his life story. 90% of the book is a nod to Harry Potter in some way. If you are a huge fan of the books or movies you’ll enjoy this behind the scenes look at how they were made and Tom’s antics during his time on set. Between the one liners of bringing non-HP chapters back to HP and all of the HP talk, JKR should maybe be taking a cut from the royalties of this one. LOL Only kidding. There are a lot of points that feel like acknowledgements to the cast members, or personal letters he wished he’d shared with them. All of it gives a cool light to the films. (Not that I’ve watched all of them. ha)

The last less than 10% of the book glosses over Tom’s struggles with mental health and alcohol addiction. He doesn’t dive too deep into it all, just gives the quick notes that there was a problem, and he had a reality check that woke him up to where he’d gone wrong.

I’m not saying that this wasn’t a fascinating read, just that it is meant for movie fandom followers. There are some great thoughts on what life is really about, and it comes full circle by the end which is inspiring. So all and all a solid read.

I recommend the audio book, as it’s read by Tom, and his voices add to the experience of the read.

Title: Hotel Magifique
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Rating: 4/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

While the plot was extremely predictable, but the world build was enchanting.

The magic design was unique, and the hotel fascinating. I kept being drawn forward by wanting to know what magic ran everything, and how the problem would be solved.
But I would have liked a little more time in the end, instead of rushing through the wrap up.
Overall a decent read, with well picked narration for the audio book.

You’ll love this story if you enjoy happily ever afters, escape type plots, and magical flare.

Title: The Death of Jane Lawrence
Author: Caitlin Starling
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

I’m in a book drunk stunned state as I write this.

Looking back through the chapters I’m not sure what was real and what was imagined.
With the title leading me to believe that Jane would die in the books I read the pages expecting the tale to end with her death from misplaced trust and mismanaged magical exploration but that is far from what happen. Going into the book with this assumption made it a more engrossing read.

As Jane began to unravel from her nightmare, and tried to deal with reality it’s hard to parse out what parts of the story are placed in reality, and what parts are in Jane’s destressed imagination. The ride is a fantastic gothic plot.

The imagery throughout is described to the perfect level of detail, setting the reader square in Jane’s life, living her trepidations of a newly married woman and path of discover. I honestly can’t pin point the spot that Jane was no longer mentally in reality anymore.

You’ll love this story if you enjoy gothic mysteries with paranormal flair and medical procedures.

Title: The Merry Dredgers
Author: Jeremy C. Shipp
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

This book is a ride, and I think Netflix should jump on this.
It’s right up their dark yet wonderous alley. It has Wednesday vibes, with a sprinkle of cult documentary mixed in. Do you ever read a book and feel like it would make the perfect movie? 100% this book. The imagery is perfection and plot has early twenties dark drama all over it.

I’ll be honest, I’m knocking a star off mostly because I really felt the ending was unsatisfying and that is completely a “I’m a weirdo and want ALL the aftermath” thing. So if you are okay with endings that don’t give you all the details, and finish out all the threads pretend I gave it five stars.

Seraphina is weird, whimsical, and I love her. Her authentic self is well written, and following her on this journey left me on edge with each turn of the story. We all need siblings as dedicated to finding out the truth as she is.

I love that she goes on this journey for justice, but ends up also find out a lot about herself too. A bit ironic since that is the supposed point of the merry dredgers in the first place.

The abandon theme park setting is swoon worthy creepy, with all of the cast having various quirks, some of which are hard to place if they are drug induced, mental ailments, or just living their best life. It’s all surreal, yet life like, and each chapter builds to the ending in a comforting way that I relaxed into the cultists too and was shocked at the reveal.

You’ll enjoy this book if you love cults, and eccentric communities living alternative lifestyles. Superhero siblings to the rescue with a splash of personal growth and self discovery mixed in.

Thank you to the publisher, Meerkat Press, for a copy of this book.

Title: Hell Bent
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

Does the ending mean there’s going to be another?!? I don’t know why I went into this book thinking it was some sort of duology, but oh my gosh it’s not and I’m so excited at the possibility of more books!

In my mind, this series is what happens at Yale, so don’t even try and change my mind about it.

The progression of this story is perfection. I loved the start of this book. Getting us intrigued with a scene, then jumping back to about where the last book left off. Such a good teaser. Alex and the rest of the characters experience so much personal growth in this installment and I love it. With Darlington out of the picture, it gives everyone else the chance to step up and be the expert in their own way.

Alex being able to really work through the trauma she left behind when she came to Yale does so much for her character. It plays into every aspect of this story without really beating the reader over the head about it. While her past caught up to her, it also brings new meaning to what’s happening in the present. The foreshadowing, wow.

I have to admit, I was a little sad, someone and someone never moved forward romantically but there’s always next book right? Or is this sexual tension happening between them in my mind?

If you enjoyed the first book, you’re going to be obsessed with this one. Everything that made the last book great is double down on, and we get so much more information about the world without it feeling forced. So many questions are answered, while opening up many more rabbit holes to be explored.

The audiobook is A+, switching narrators for POVs and all. Loved it.

Title: Wow, No Thank You.
Author: Samantha Irby
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

First I need to thank the person that responded to Nowhere Bookshop on Instagram when they said “Tell us a fun fact, and we’ll give you a rec” The person replied that they had a sock fetish, and this was the recommendation for that.

While I don’t have a sock fetish, I do have an odd need to satisfy my curiosity when it comes to strange correlations. This one did not disappoint, the sass rolling out of this book was exactly what I needed to start the year.

Samantha is hilarious, relatable, and down to earth. This book is for all those anxiety riddled introverted people out there that regret past them made plans that they knew full well future them would cancel. Or if you’ve ever stayed awake at night reworking a conversation you had ten years ago.

I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by the author, and it totally made the book funnier. I’m off to read everything else Samantha has ever written because I need more of her self deprecating humor in my life.

Title: Spare
Author: Prince Harry
Rating: 5/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

I was always confused by Harry decided to go so public with their side of the story, and this book really explains it so elegantly. I’m glad he got the chance to get to a point that he could openly tell his side. Someone needs to make the step to change the narrative, and peel back the curtain.

The royal family in the press is no different than Jersey Shore show. No sellable story? Make it up.

This memoir is eye opening in many ways. While it’s definitely all the tea you’ll ever want on the drama that went on during every aspect of Harrys life, it’s also much more than that. The book gives an inside look at a scared little boy that no one really gave any mind to. So many spares before him went through this painful experience. Living in a fish bowl with everyone wanting to see the fish they decided lived inside all while he is screaming, banging on the glass to just be heard.

The tragedy of how his mothers death tied in with the media, did anyone even learn anything from that? It seems like all that was learned is that, if the media wants a story, they need to create it and no one that buys their stories will hold them accountable forever for it. Because the press doxed his military location innocent people died. There should have been more outrage from the public, stopping buying of that paper or whatever. But no, it was just another story, another payday.

So many people want an inside peek at someone’s baby, someone’s pain, someone’s moment. “Well they sign up for it by being famous.” but the majority of the stories in the papers are made up. Does the public really want fake stories? Would they rather hear the famous person’s truth or the media’s lies? Is there a way to be famous while also having a private life? A line that respect deems uncrossible?

Harry tells his story (in the audiobook he narrators) so well, the pain is palpable. The lack of anyone getting him a therapist after his mother’s death, the way the game was set up for him to lose all the way at the beginning. It’s painfully raw. But sadly understandable. Everyone in his family has to pick a side, they have to throw family under the bus to keep up their own persona in a positive light. Would the family releasing statements at each point Harry demanded for them done anything to change the outcome? Who knows. So many want drama even when there is none to be had.

Harry was a throw away. He did all the drugs, drank himself into bad press, all because it was okay for him to look wild. It was his job as the spare to not get the mental help he needed, to be the bad apple of the family. Would his mother have been any different if she’d lived? How much earlier would Charles have married had they been able to continue to funnel lies about Diana to the press? Or would her living have over shadowed his existence for the rest of his life?

The society we live in has created this problem with the press. It’s also going to have to create the solution. Harry’s story plays out all over the world, celebrities being stalked, their kids being harassed. We want media to consume, and we build up these celebrities by demanding access to their lives, but is any human really capable of withstanding the press? What’s worse, it’s more than just asking the famous person to bare the burden, everyone they ever speak to also has to bare it. How many people would have been able to not give in if they were in her dad’s situation?

If you have no interest in the royals or Harry, this book is an interesting perspective on the press, and a behind the curtain view of what the tabloids do to the person being displayed on them. It will make me think twice about giving a click to stories in my feed, giving views to media.

TW: Death-parent-animal, Suicide, Miscarriage, Addiction, War.

Title: Spring’s Arcana
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Rating: 3/5 Stars

View Review on Goodreads!

This book ends on an abrupt, not really a cliff hanger, but also not a real ending. Kind of like the whole story was written and they decided to break it up into two books. Just picked the half way point to stop the story.

Had 60% of the pages not been info dumping, and flowery writing that focused on stuff not important to the scene, the book might have been able to fit Nat’s full journey within it’s pages. So needless to say, once I hit the 70% mark I realized we weren’t getting the full story, and hoped it would at least end on a climactic ending. But it was really just eh.

If you have seen the John Wick movies, this book feels like a rip from that. But instead of a man out for revenge, it’s a teenager *surprise you have magic* on an adventure to save her mom who is likely, probably, going to kill her anyway if she succeeds. But you only get 1/2 of the adventure, which is mostly just world building (lots of great potential with the Russian folklore and such) and long monologues about the un-natural world from multiple POVs.

It was intriguing enough to keep me picking up between other reads, but not interesting enough to make me want the second half of the story. (NOTE: It also didn’t help that the copy provided to me by NetGalley / TOR Publishing Group wasn’t properly formatted. So there were numbers, and odd spacing throughout making for a distracting read.)

The characters all had personality, but they were very predictable if you’ve watched / read any paranormal stuff like Supernatural, etc. Very YA, and very lackluster main character.

You’ll enjoy this book if you enjoy magic in plain sight stories based in Russian folklore. Colorful writing, with the world building being it’s own character to follow throughout the story.

Thank you to NetGalley and TOR Publishing Group for providing me an early copy of this book.

Title: This Wicked Fate
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Rating: 5/5 Stars

There are so many things I adore about this series, but the ending of this book, seriously, it’s perfection. It’s the perfect balance of sadness, mixed with hope and new beginnings. It brought the entire cast through many personal growth arcs, and if you loved book 1, you’re going want to read the conclusion.

The botany and mythology elements were planted into the story so well. It never felt like an overload, or being force fed world building for the sake of world building. Hecate rarely ever gets fiction prime spotlight, and this book does her every bit of justice she deserves.

This story picks up pretty much right where book one ends, with everyone still in a numb shock over what happen. We get more world building woven into the story in a smooth manner. There are more secrets, revelations and tears. Plus sass, friendship and a hint of romance. Every character in this book feels life like. They all have their own story to tell and Kalynn brings it to life with her words.

While this book ends in a very complete manner, I won’t lie. I want more adventures from Briseis and her poison garden.

If you love mythology or want to try the plant flavor of magic on for size, you’re going to fall in love with this series.

Leave a Reply