Monday, July 1, 2024

Book Review: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst


Kiela has always had trouble dealing with people. Thankfully, as a librarian at the Great Library of Alyssium, she and her assistant, Caz—a magically sentient spider plant—have spent the last decade sequestered among the empire’s most precious spellbooks, preserving their magic for the city’s elite.

When a revolution begins and the library goes up in flames, she and Caz flee with all the spellbooks they can carry and head to a remote island Kiela never thought she’d see again: her childhood home. Taking refuge there, Kiela discovers, much to her dismay, a nosy—and very handsome—neighbor who can’t take a hint and keeps showing up day after day to make sure she’s fed and to help fix up her new home.

In need of income, Kiela identifies something that even the bakery in town doesn’t have: jam. With the help of an old recipe book her parents left her and a bit of illegal magic, her cottage garden is soon covered in ripe berries.

But magic can do more than make life a little sweeter, so Kiela risks the consequences of using unsanctioned spells and opens the island’s first-ever and much needed secret spellshop.


From the get go Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst won my heart. Who knew the Cottage Core Aesthetic could overflow into a book, but it has with her magical new book. Also who knew I would read a fantasy and totally enjoy it, certainly not me, but Spellshop made that happen also =0)

This book is beautifully written, it's cozy, yes, seriously. Yo will want to tuck in with a cup of steaming hot tea and have a long read. It is delightful, sweet, slightly romantic , has small town vibes, a plot that will keep you engaged. The fantasy in the book is even magical and cozy..... you will garden in a magical garden, help a mermaid baby, ride seahorses, and that is only the beginning.

Main character Kiela is much like me, she is not fond of people, she works in a library or she did, but she had to escape to her childhood home on an island to escape death. Have you ever lived in a small town? Well her home town is small and of course there are problems, mostly noisy neighbors. There is conflict of course, but it is fun and resolved quickly. Also, there is a good amount of comic relief in the story from Kiela's sidekick, who happens to be a spider plant names Caz.

Please pick this one up, but don't try and take it seriously- it is not meant to be, it is the escape we all well need right now.

Book Review: A Daughter Of Fair Verona by Christina Dodd


Knives Out meets Bridgerton in Fair Verona, as New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd kicks off a frothy, irreverent, witty new series with an irresistible premise—Romeo and Juliet’s daughter as a clever, rebellious, fiercely independent young woman in fair Verona—told from the delightfully engaging point of view of the captivating Rosie Montague herself…


Since I have been a young girl I have loved the story of Romeo and Juliet, call me a hopeless romantic, but I can remember the first time I read it thinking I needed a Romeo in my life, along with crying my eyes out.

Over the years I have read several adaptations of the story, everything from horror to dark romance and I for the most part enjoyed all of them, mostly because I loved seeing how the authors used their imagination to rework the story.

In a Daughter of Fair Verona, Romeo and Juliet survived their usual death and have a daughter named Rosaline ( if you have read Romeo and Juliet you will know who the original Rosaline is ). Rosaline is 20 and unmarried, something that is unheard of at the time, but she has not found a suitor she has felt deserved her.

She evidentially finds herself in trouble when she falls for a wedding crasher of sorts when she meets him at her official betrothal to a suitor her parents finally force upon her. Of course the unsuitable suitor winds up murdered and Rosaline is the prime suspect . She sets out to find the murderer and clear her name.

I really enjoyed the character of Rosaline, she was witty, clever, stubborn and funny. Romeo and Juliet are in the book, but the story mostly centers around Rosalina. I felt the author put a lot of thought into thee story and the characters and loved her take on them. I also think it kept it from being just another cozy mystery.

This book was so much fun and many times I found myself laughing out loud at its wit and charm.

This is also the first book in a new series by the author, and the story does end with a bit of a cliff hanger so I am anxious to see what happens next.

Be sure to pick this one is a most enjoyable read !