Review: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic #1) by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like MagicBlood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dang, this was good!!! I can’t stop smiling.


Voya Thomas is initially excited for her Calling. It’s a task each witch in her family must complete before they are able to come into their powers.

The tasks are assigned by different ancestors and over the years have varied in detail and difficulty.

The ancestor who assigns her task, however, is known to be tough, as she should be. Her life was extremely tough, parts of which are shown to Voya through visions.

After Voya fails, she is given an unprecedented second chance, but her task seems impossible. Not only does the task seem impossible, the stakes are higher than ever.

Generally, if a witch fails in her Calling, she doesn’t gain her powers. Yeah, that sucks, but you can overcome that. You just have to live like any other person without magical abilities.

For Voya, if she fails, her entire family will lose their powers. Every single one of them! Their livelihoods are based on their powers, and most importantly, her little sister’s life depends on their powers.

Her task is to destroy her first love. Problems, Voya has never been in love, not even close, and she’s a little against killing someone.

The task seems clear, there is no way around it, so in order to save her family, Voya must make the ultimate decision. Can she take a life?

I loved this book from the very start. Sambury created such an intricate and addictive story with Blood Like Magic.

I absolutely adored the mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy elements. A lot of the story is based around a corporation that has created a genetic match-making program; I love those sort of futuristic tech elements added to a story. They definitely make my nerd heart soar.

Additionally, I quickly became attached to Voya. She’s a very likable character. She drew me in and had me feeling everything she was feeling.

The Thomas family itself, is full of drama, but also love and support. Voya had many special connections within her family and I think those relationships really provided her with the strength she needed to progress with her Calling.

The love interest, Luc, was fun to learn about as well. He’s had an interesting life up until the time he meets Voya and is frequently misunderstood.

In Voya, he found someone he could open up to and watching their relationship evolve made me swoon. Somewhat enemies to lovers; so, if you’re into that…

This did not end how I thought it would end. There were so many twists that I never could have predicted. My jaw spent the last quarter of the book on the floor!

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. Liselle Sambury is amazing and I predict a long, successful career ahead of her.

I fully expect this will end up as one of my top books of the year. An absolutely phenomenal debut!


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Review: A Phoenix First Must Burn, Edited by Patrice Caldwell

A Phoenix First Must BurnA Phoenix First Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and it did not disappoint! Definitely one of the most unique anthologies I have ever read.

A Phoenix First Must Burn is full of super diverse SFF elements, black girl magic and lyrical storytelling. This is a book everyone should be reading right now!!!

I always find it difficult to review anthologies. As with any anthology, there were definitely some stories I enjoyed more than others.

However, with this being said, there is something for every reader. Whether you are a fan of science-fiction with futuristic societies, fantasy with earth magic, mermaids or vampires; you will absolutely be able to find stories within these pages to sink your teeth into!

My personal favorite was, Kiss the Sun by Ibi Zoboi. It was heavy and dark, speaking to the history of colonization, as well as continued oppression of native cultures in areas heavily touristed by privileged whites.

You could feel the Afro-Carribean influence throughout the story. It is actually the first I have ever read by Zoboi and I am really looking forward to picking up more of her work.

Kiss the Sun centered around a group of Soucouyants. I had never heard of a Soucouyant and have discovered they are a type of magical entity in Caribbean folklore.

They are shapeshifters and sort of like vampires, in that they drain blood, or spirit from the individuals they attack. Now I am fascinated and want more stories where these supernatural beings play a role; if you know of any, comment down below!

Other stories I loved include, Elizabeth Acevedo’s, which followed a slave uprising on a sugar plantation, which I believe, if I understood the Afterword correctly, was loosely based upon an actual revolt in 1522; Melie by Justina Ireland, which followed a magician’s apprentice on her hunt for mermaid tears and dragon’s heat; Hearts Turned to Ash by Dhonielle Clayton, which included a bottle tree, a tradition I learned about recently in Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong novel; and, The Actress by Danielle Paige, where a witch and a vampire take center stage.

While these are the stories that resonated the most with me, as I mentioned before, this has stories for every type of reader. It’s super diverse, extremely fast-paced, empowering, uplifting and a must read for 2020. This group of authors, and Patrice Caldwell, as editor and contributor, nailed this!

Update: My library hold has FINALLY come through!!! I’m so excited; definitely reading this week!!!




It’s official, this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020!

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Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Did I enjoy this book?
Great question.

I finished this over 10-days ago and although I remember reading it, I cannot actually recall too many specifics in regards to the plot.

From my limited recollections, there’s this girl, Esta, she lives in modern times but has the ability to time travel. She works for a mysterious Professor sort of figure who gives her an assignment to travel back to 1902-Manhattan and steal an ancient book that holds some magical secrets.

She is told that she also needs to stop the magician, who is apparently after this book as well. The magician is an actual performing magician named Harte Darrigan. They are both trying to steal the book from the mysterious and sinister ‘Order’.

This Order has worked to try to squash magic and those with it…or something. They created something called ‘the Brink’ which is a force around the island of Manhattan that traps those with magic inside…or something.

There is a lot of action, some fight scenes, some romance, a gang of magical peoples and some other things I can’t quite remember. I did listen to the audiobook for this and I am questioning whether or not that was the correct medium for me to take in this story.

It does jump around quite a bit in time, setting and perspectives, particularly in the beginning and I’ll admit, I was pretty much lost for the first 300-pages.

Overall, this didn’t leave much of an impression on me either way. There were some things about the story I like, Esta and Harte specifically, and I thought the concept behind it was super intriguing but I think it did too much to quickly. I could totally see this being broken up into two separate books.

While I am happy I read it, I am not even sure I am going to continue on with the series. I might because I already own the second book but I would seriously need a refresher course on what this is even about.

There was quite a good plot twist at the end but that left me pondering how logistically that was even possible. Then you are calculating time jumps, trying to figure how something could have actually worked. It was a lot. I give it three and a half shrugs up.

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Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless (Everless, #1)Everless by Sara Holland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world where the old adage, time is money, is more than just a saying, Jules Ember is watching her dear Father slowly waste away.

His remaining time is quickly being drained for things as simple as rent and sustenance. He won’t allow Jules to help but she refuses to stand idly by while his time slips through their fingers.

When an opportunity presents itself for Jules to make a lot of time relatively quickly, she jumps on it, even though it means returning to the kingdom they were forced to flee 10-years earlier.

The Gerling boy, Roan, is due to marry the Queen’s adopted daughter, so obviously they will need all hands on deck for a royal wedding.

Jules gets selected to be a part of the preparation crew and once inside the kingdom all sorts of memories begin to flood back to her. Jules once played with Roan in these very halls and upon seeing him again, a spark rekindles.

The past becomes clear as more and more pieces are revealed and Jules discovers her life is not at all what she thought. Buried secrets come to light that shake her to her core. Soon, Jules finds herself in a fight for her life and the sanctity of the kingdom, gaining unexpected allies along the way.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant surprise for me as I had heard some not great reviews.

Yes, I have watched the movie In Time with Justin Timberlake. No, it did not affect my enjoyment of this book in anyway whatsoever.

I feel like the concept of time as currency is not something that was first dreamed up with that movie. I feel like that concept, with the wealthy being at a startling advantage over the poor, is something that has been explored in various forms in the science-fiction genre for a while. I could be wrong though.

In all seriousness, I did enjoy this a lot. I thought it was fun to read and the writing kept me engaged throughout. I very much enjoyed the legends of the Alchemist and Sorceress at the heart of the story. Who else would love a prequel based on those legends?

I do have the second book, Evermore, gracing my bookshelves at home and plan to pick it up soon. I am interested to see where this story goes from here!

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