Review of Borage (The Plague Tree Coven Book 1) by Gill McKnight

Astral is a Fireside witch of the influential Projector family. Borage, her familiar, is a cat with a rather prickly personality. She’s not a  powerful witch, but she makes up for it with her kindness and the ability to make anyone feel at home and comforted. The new High Priestess of her coven has a nasty streak and when she gives Astral an important task to fulfil, we wait for the other shoe to drop. I won’t say anything more about the plot as it would be too easy to give something away. But I can say it’s brilliantly done and wonderfully satisfying. 

The descriptions of people and places were delicious. Lush and imaginative . One particular character description was stunning and made me stop and re-read it-just to take in an amazing piece of writing. It’s also very funny and Astral is completely adorable. I want to know a Fireside witch just like her. Abby Black is more than we first think. Think Ice Queen boss mixed with hot, mysterious and enticing object of desire. It all goes in ways I didn’t see coming. This is the kind of book that grows on you more and more as it reveals itself. 

The world Gill McKnight has invented is beautifully crafted, with depth and humour and an addictive quality that means I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Wonderful. 

I was given this ARC for review. 

Review of ‘Floodtide’ by Heather Rose Jones

‘Floodtide’ by Heather Rose Jones is a historical fiction story, set in a land where magic and mystery has its place. Told from the point of view of a teenage servant girl, it lets the reader see all echelons of society, and how they deal with an impending flood – and the serious health and societal implications it brings. Roz was dismissed from her previous job as a laundry maid after being reported for indulging in indecent acts with another young woman. What looks like the worst thing that could happen turns out to be the start of a new life, with its share of challenges – but with new friends and a new purpose.

I was transported to another place and time by the author. Heather Rose Jones has a talent for meticulous world-building and her writing shows intelligence and a flair for her craft. The story was beautifully teased out, with secrets we get to know as Roz does. Roz was an interesting character. She knew what she could expect from life but there were some things she was willing to defy expectations for.  And that could get her into a lot of trouble. Liking girls was always going to be a problem – but she wasn’t the only one. The hierarchy of society was integral to this story, and adding that to the idea of charms and mysteries made it a fascinating read. The word that comes to mind when finishing this book is exquisite. I loved it.

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Spinning Tales’ by Brey Willows

Maggie McShay leads a boring life, in a boring apartment, with a boring job – and with a cat who doesn’t seem to like her. What she wants is some magic in her life and when she answers an ad to look after a fairy tale cottage it appears that things may be looking up for her.  The story is of Maggie and her friends as well as a world of fairy stories. It is told in a way that you will not doubt this place really exists. As they work together to save the world from evil villains, Maggie finds out much more about herself and this new world than she could ever have imagined. 

From the minute she answers the advert you feel the excitement along with her. We learn as she does and it’s fascinating. I adored Maggie. She was curious, sweet and feisty. Kody was hot, hot, hot – and didn’t Maggie know it. The whole cast of characters in this book leapt off the page – they were vivid and exciting.

The story was wonderfully, magically imaginative. And you know, I didn’t doubt for a minute that the cottage existed exactly where she said it did! The self-discovery by Maggie was pivotal and her growing feelings for Kody were sensitively dealt with. I loved the story and the imagination behind it but most of all I was enthralled by the use of language. It was beautiful and poetic and lyrical. The skilful use of metaphor and simile took the writing to another level. The descriptions of people and places came alive for me. ’Spinning Tales’ is excellent and I highly recommend it.

I was given this Arc for review by Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley.