Book Review: Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross

Always Practice Safe Hex (Stay a Spell #4)
Pub Date: 24 May 2022
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

📖 SYNOPSIS

There’s a reason no one messes with a grim…

Livvy Savoie is a people person. Not only does she have the magical gift of persuasion, but her natural charisma charms everyone she meets. She hasn’t met a person she didn’t like. Until her annoyingly brilliant competitor walks through the door. No matter how hard she denies it, loathing isn’t the only emotion she feels for him.

Grim reaper Gareth Blackwater is rarely, if ever, moved beyond his broody, stoic state. But the witch he’s partnered with in the public relations contest is destroying his peace of mind. He’s convinced that the flesh-melting attraction he feels for her is merely her witchy magic at work.

But forced proximity proves there is more than magic sparking between them. Livvy learns this enigmatic grim’s abilities are beyond any supernatural she has ever known. And when Livvy becomes the obsessive target of a dangerous wizard, Gareth proves just how powerful he truly is. Because no one is going to hurt his Lavinia.

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Sexual harrassment (on-page), sexual assault (on-page), child abuse, light BDSM

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp [174]

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent your time curled up reading in bed with or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’ll be wrapping up my Sunday in bed still reading The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. This is a pretty slow-going re-read for me simply because work has taken over my life and I have zero brain cells and energy for anything else? 😭 I’m very behind on my buddy read and I feel terrible about it!

📖 SYNOPSIS

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and that it may already be too late.

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Let’s Talk Bookish: Collecting Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join in the bookish discussion fun, check out the January 2023 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

Collecting Books

(SUGGESTED BY ZAHRA THE OWL)
Prompts: Do you enjoy collecting books? Do you feel like physical books are overpriced? Do you buy books after you’ve read them to add to your collection? Do you buy special edition collector sets? How invested are you in your book collection? 

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Spotify Wrapped Book Tag

Hey friends, I hope the week is treating you right. One sleep ’til Friday and two sleeps ’til the weekend—let’s go! ✨

Today I’m doing a tag that I saw Elli @AceReader post a few days ago and though I’m usually terrible at matching songs to books and vice versa, I couldn’t resist giving this a try. I’m also hoping to participate in the Sound of Madness reading challenge this year so I thought this could be a good warm-up to that!

The idea of this challenge is to put your 2022 playlist on shuffle, and for the first five songs, you need to pick a book you read in 2022 that fits that song. It doesn’t have to be a perfect fit. You just have to explain why you chose that book for that song.

Edit: Thanks to Jennifer @My Book Joy for finding the original creator of this tag: Rosina @Lace and Dagger Books!

This tag is also going to spotlight what a basic pop junkie I am but that’s OK—I’m living my best life! 😂 I’m also choosing matching books limited to my 2022 reads, so that should make it more fun, lol. On that note…

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ARC Review: Moonrise Over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks

Special thanks to Algonquin Books for providing a digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Moonrise Over New Jessup
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pub Date: 10 January 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

📖 SYNOPSIS

Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a thought-provoking and enchanting debut about a Black woman doing whatever it takes to protect all she loves at the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alabama.

It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear. But as Raymond continues to push alternatives for enhancing New Jessup’s political power, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town.

Jamila Minnicks’s debut novel is both a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Readers of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Robert Jones, Jr.’s The Prophets will love Moonrise Over New Jessup.

⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS

Sexual assault (minor mention), racism, racial slurs, hate crimes (brief mention), death of parent (off-page, mentioned), police brutality (minor mention), physical violence, slavery (brief mention)

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Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp [173]

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent your time curled up reading in bed with or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’ll be wrapping up my Sunday in bed starting my re-read of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I’m reading this (and hopefully the whole series) with Julie, Chris and Joanna and I’m excited but also nervous to dive back in because I know what’s coming! 😂 But I’m looking forward to crossing a series off of my ‘need-to-finish’ list so let’s do this.

📖 SYNOPSIS

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and that it may already be too late.

Read More »

New Year’s Book Tag!

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all doing okay and taking care of yourselves. 💜 I’m back with the first tag of 2023 and it’s fittingly the New Year’s Book Tag! It’s only mid-January so it’s definitely still okay to do this tag, right? 😜 I was tagged by the wonderful Kerri @Kerri McBookNerd and if you haven’t already, I would encourage visiting her blog for some great content, especially fantasy related.

In the interest of keeping this intro short and sweet, I’m simply going to dive in. This tag was originally created by booktuber Heather @Bookables.

How many books are you planning to read in 2023?

I’ve set my Goodreads/Storygraph goal to 150 books. Same as last year but I have a feeling it’s gonna be really different this year with work and all.

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