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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 2 star ratings
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    Unique and Dark

    Thank you Fantastic Flying Fiction Book Club, NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Witches Of Ash And Ruin By: E. Latimer *REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆ Welcome to the small Irish town of Carman. In Witches Of Ash And Ruin, set in this unassuming place, Celtic lore, unknown dangers and revelatory truths combine, creating a complex dynamic tale. History repeats when someone replicates the serial killer once known as The Butcher- running rampant once again. Dayna, the reverend's daughter, recently outed as bisexual and suffering with OCD, along with her best friend, Reagan, and ex-boyfriend, Sam, make the connection to the historic serial killer and the latest target-witches. Dayna and her coven realize the grave danger they face, thus bringing all of their powers to bear. Magic and murder face off in brutal ways. This story is raw and dark, even more so because it's a young adult novel. It's a different sort of paranormal with witches unlike others I've read. Dayna and her coven are made of sterner stuff with more fortitude, and they present as a formidable force, indeed. The cast of characters are very diverse and representative of LGBTQt, OCD and other cultures. I am glad to see mental illness given proper attention because it's widespread but overlooked most of the time. This story is told from multiple points of view, and the author gives each a distinctive voice. Normally, I get confused by multiple perspectives, but I stayed on track this time. This is a well written story with a unique premise. There is much to recommend Witches Of Ash And Ruin, but remember it is a darker side of young adult paranormal fiction. If you can handle that, this book is waiting for you!
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    cold bones and my warm fuzzies

    The witchy book I didn't know I was waiting for. It's dark, with serial killers, blood magic, cultish churches, and immortal gods. It's also got a very sweet slow-burn romance between two of the younger witches, and from about page 5 forward, I just needed them to make out already! One of my frustrations in the queer book world is that mm romances tend to be warmer and richer than ff romances – but this pairing finally feels as strong and focused as we're getting in the mm world. I loved how multigenerational this story was, with the coven ranging from age 5 (in flashbacks) to old age. It's a pretty women-centered story, with a few men at the fringes, including an ex-boyfriend who could be troublesome, but I root for his good nature to win out. With the setting in Ireland, it's quite white; there are two amazing witches of colour, but little exploration of their unique cultural identity beyond witchcraft. Along with the main witchcraft and murders plot, the story explores mental health from several angles, including debilitating OCD, familial trauma, behavioral inheritance, age and dementia. There's no cut and dry good and bad in this book, so much as layers of love and hurt and intention. Before I was even halfway through the book, I was already hoping this would be a series, as one book just isn't enough for the themes and characters it holds. I'm pretty sure I'll get my way, as many of the themes and story elements that the book opened are not fully resolved. It's rare that a book hits me in my cold bones and my warm fuzzies all at once. In fact, I think it's never actually happened before – so well done, E. Latimer. I'm really happy to have read this!
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