Kelsie can often be found curled up with her cat, a cup of English tea, and a good book. Most of her childhood was spent gallivanting through magical lands such as Pern, Hogwarts, and Middle Earth. While Kelsie wanted to grow up and become a dragon rider, she fell more along the lines of becoming a hobbit.
Magic is in the Air
"Love is Love is Love"
Romance the Night Away
Favorite King Arthur Retellings (I'll die on this hill)
Overall Favorite Books
This book deserves a review better than I can put into words. A stunning tale of revenge, grief, and secrets, Hafsah Faizal doesn’t pull any punches. A Tempest of Tea tells the story of Arthie Casimir, a criminal mastermind who runs not just a tea room, but also a bloodhouse for vampires. When her livelihood is put on the line, she and her crew will partner with unexpected characters to pull off an impossible job. Everyone loves a good heist, but this story will draw you in with its lush world, imperfect cast of outcasts, and delicious romantic tension. Interweaving fantasy elements with the economic and systemic impact of colonialism, Faizal will have your emotions running high. This book left me bereft in the best way possible, kicking my feet and screaming into the void until the next book comes out. A must read for all in 2024.
Described as Heartsopper meets A Knight's Tale, this book did not disappoint! Set generations since the original King Arthur ruled, our main characters Arthur and Gwendoline have been betrothed to each other since their infancy. The prospect of marriage becomes tricky once Gwen and Arthur discover each other harbors romantic feelings for the opposite gender. Gwen has fallen hard for a lady Knight who is fighting for the respect her skills deserve. Arthur, who has been anything but a saint, finds himself enthralled by Gwen’s brother, the future king of Camelot. This book has it all; banter, gay idiots in love, and action. The main characters really are hot-mess expresses, and it makes them all the more relatable for it. Perfect for readers who enjoy Arthurian retellings, queer love stories, and funny banter!
WOLFSONG is a story of love, heartache, loss, and family in all of its shapes and forms. Klune perfectly encapsulates the feeling of wanting to belong, and finally finding that place. Having grown up being told that he was nothing and would never be understood, Ox’s world changes when the Bennett family moves in next door. With them, he finds a sense of belonging, especially with the youngest son Joe. Intrinsic in its writing, Klune conveys the emotions of the characters in such a way that they become tangible. I found myself crying, laughing, and basking in the feeling of belonging. A slow burn, queer romance with a group of flawed and imperfect characters you can’t help but fall in love with. One of the best novelizations of found family I have personally read, I hope those who read this feel like they are one of the pack.
Like its namesake, Foxglove will seep into your veins and infect your heart with its dark, gothic ambiance and its lush, florid world. Picking up where Belladonna left off, we once again follow Signa as she races the clock to solve another murder. All the while, she must play along with the games set forth by Fate, balancing his zealous charm with her desire for Death’s companionship. Shifting between Signa and Blythe’s points of view, we find there is more to each woman than meets the eye. Adalyn Grace breathes life into the amorphous concepts of death and fate, creating both charming and flawed characters that will entrance readers alike. The twists and turns of this book maintain its whodunit feel, blending certain danger with charm. A beautiful story woven together with threads of romance, heartache, mystery, and desire, this sequel does not disappoint.
A thrilling and mesmerizing story, MISTER MAGIC will stay with you long after you read it. 30 years after the end of a very popular children's program, the 5 child actors have reunited and been brought back to the show's filming location in Utah. Val, the old leader of the group, has no memories of the show, and in that case, no recollection before the age of eight. She goes along in order to find the mother she thought dead, but the house and her old show mates have other plans for her. As the story unravels, the unease and the feeling that there is more to this show and its host, MISTER MAGIC, grows. Jumping between viewpoints and unreliable narrators, the corrupt and twisted truth of the show and its real agenda comes to light. Kiersten White manages to interweave heavy themes alongside perturbing children's rhymes, adding to the uncanniness of the entire book. Heart-wrenching and captivating, MISTER MAGIC will show you that the magic of friendship might just save the day. The ending left me with tears in my eyes, a sense of fragile hope, and a feeling of loss at what could have been.
A marriage of Heartstopper and Crazy Rich Asians, this book will have you squealing from both cuteness and undeniable attraction. Meet Dylan, a teenager who works in his Aunt's struggling Chinese takeaway restaurant. Then we meet Theo, a rich son of a wealthy, absent father, and he’s interested in more than just the delicious food. After a chance encounter on a delivery, Theo enlists Dylan to be his pretend boyfriend at a family member's wedding. Dylan tries to balance his very real feelings for his fake boyfriend, while also working on his entry for the Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake competition that might help save his Aunts business. A funny and heartwarming story, this book explores young love, grief, and navigating family duty with personal wants.
-Kels (2 flames)
SILVER IN THE BONE takes you on a gritty adventure following two siblings as they try to find a way to not only survive but break a deadly curse. A gripping story that takes King Arthur and his court, and spins it as you have never seen. Ten years since they were abandoned by their caretaker, Tamsin and Cabell must now go in search of the powerful ring that their foster father was said to have been carrying. With the hope that this ring will be able to break the enchantment on Cabell, the siblings soon find themselves working together with a surprising group of characters in a land thrown into despair. The bonds of siblinghood will be tested, as Tamsin finds that doing anything to save her brother might not be enough. Chilling, heart-wrenching, and full of adventure, this book will make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions. This story has it all; magic, history, an enemies-to-lovers romance, and a twist that will have you begging for the sequel.
Lukens has done it again! A YA romance that encapsulates awkward young love, this grumpy/sunshine story will have you visibly smiling by the end of it. Spellbound follows two opposing apprentice wizards, Rook and Sun, as they band together to save their teachers from certain punishment. After the passing of his grandmother, Rook has done everything he can to have magic back in his life, resorting to him becoming the secret apprentice to Antonia Hex. Dangerous and erring less on the side of legal, Antonia agrees to take Rook under her wing, even though he can’t perform magic. Opposingly, Sun is a bright but reserved wizard who is apprenticed to Antonia’s nemesis, Fable, who adheres to the rules of the Magical Consortium. While initially very much opposites, Sun and Rook find the support, respect, and understanding that they've always wanted in each other. A magical story that blends found family, non-binary representation, and self discovery, I highly reccommend this book to anyone who loves dumb idiots in love.
-Kels (1 and a half spice)
Personally, I can’t think of a better outcome when accidentally summoning a demon than this book here. Although prophesied to be the most powerful witch in centuries, Mariel struggles with her magic, and instead prefers baking over casting spells. When summoning flour accidentally summons a demon named Ozroth, Mariel does all she can to refuse giving him her soul. While very much a formidable and ruthless demon, Ozroth finds something alluring about the witch, and soon feelings blossom that neither one can deny. Containing feelings of self doubt and the struggles of familial pressure, this book can be surprisingly relatable to readers. This forced proximity romance is charming, witty, and spicy. Anyone into plus sized, kickass heroines and broody, hard on the outside, soft on the inside men, this book is for you!
-Kels (4 flames)
A cozy cottage-core romance akin to Howl's Moving Castle, Flowerheart follows a young witch as she struggles to control her magic. Following a spell gone awry that leaves her father slowly dying, she seeks help from a past childhood friend. The cost of his help may come at too high a cost. This story weaves a cozy tale of a girl trying to not only mend her magic, but the relationship she once had with her friend Xavier. Flowerheart encapsulates witchy, romantic, cottage-core vibes, while still creating commentary around self acceptance, even the parts we can’t control. Finding the strength in one's own self is the true magic of this story.
Life is hard when so much of yours is surrounded by death. BELLADONNA tells the story of orphaned Signa, passed from one family member to the next after each one mysteriously dies. Shy of her 20th birthday, Signa is moves to be with her last relatives alive, the Hawthorne's. Death is no stranger to this home, as Signa soon finds that her cousin Lillian has died from a mysterious disease, one that is also about to claim her daughter. With the help of an elusive stable hand and Death itself, Signa won't stop until she can figure out what is killing her family, or who. Adalyn Grace blends a Victorian setting with a sinister touch while also weaving in a forbidden love story. The twists this story takes will keep you wanting for more!
This is no teen romance about vampires and witches. Our lead heroine, Diana, is an established scholar and definitely not repressing any magical powers. After finding a strange alchemical text in the Bodleian library, the walls Diana had put up around that part of her life starts to crumble. Memories from her parent's death and secrets that have long been kept start to surface. Amidst this chaos, Diana meets a mysterious vampire, Matthew de Clairmont, and while they should be enemies, he might just be what she needs to make sense of this new world around her. An adult fantasy romance that blends history and and magic into a story so well told it feels real. Incredibly smart, heart-wrenching, and romantic, A Discovery Witches is a must read.
A magical story that shows that finding and believing in who you really are can help others do the same. For people who like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Nanny McPhee, this story ticks all the boxes; magic, found family, and a grumpy/sunshine relationship. Against the rules of their society, Mika agrees to train three young witches who have been taken in by an absent guardian after they were all orphaned. While witches should not spend time together for fear of there being too much concentrated magic, Mika can't help but try to give them the childhood she did not. Helping these three young girls and their mich mash of adults who have taken up the parental duties leads Mika down a road of self discovery and recovery. A heartwarming book that makes you laugh, scoff, and maybe even shed a tear.
-Kels (Spice: 2)
Banter, enemies to lovers, royalty, what more could you need? For people who love the trope, "I hate him so much that I might actually be in love with him". This story follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the first female president of the Unites States, and his surprising relationship with British Prince, Henry. Having run in the same circles for years, Alex can't stand the perfect, blond haired prince. After creating an international incident involving a very expensive wedding cake, both men must pretend to be best friends. What happens is a growing attraction that neither of them was ready for. A romance that also addresses the political side of being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the pressures of being in the public eye. This book genuinely made me laugh out loud and squeal with joy. 10/10 for banter and idiots in love.
Defeating evil is easy, telling your best friend you love him...not so much. After saving the kingdom from the evil tyrant, Arek becomes stuck as the new king with no way out except death. If that's not bad enough, he must marry someone by his 18th birthday in 3 months or else he will fade away. The easy solution would be to confess his love to his best friend Matt, the awkward mage who has been by his side since they were kids. What ensues is a story in which everyone knows these two idiots are in love except said idiots. This YA fantasy romance is a great story with a found family and a happily ever after. An amazing Merlin and King Arthur retelling that asks the important question, 'So what does happen after the evil king is defeated and the kingdom is saved?'
A scream in the library brings together a group of 4 strangers, but just how random is it? A mystery within a mystery, this book draws you in for the initial murder and keeps you for the story unfolding underneath. Follow along as Freddie, an aspiring Aussie writer tries to solve the mystery surrounding the scream that she and her three new friends heard in the Boston Public Library, and the murders that follow. Getnill creates an engaging story while breaking the novel's fourth wall by following each chapter with commentary from a reader, framing the initial story as an in-progress manuscript.
A heartwarming and poignant coming of age story that proves that being true to yourself and not what others want you to be will always triumph in the end. Witchcraft is for girls, and shapeshifting is for boys, or at least, that's what thirteen year old Aster has been told. But what happens when he can’t shift, and instead feels the draw of witchcraft instead?While Aster struggles with his love of witchcraft, the other shifter boys in his group begin to vanish. Aster knows he can help but the adults in his life turn him away because he shouldn't be doing magic. With the help of a non magical new friend, Aster finds the courage to be true to himself.
For fans of Sara J Maas’ series, Throne of Glass, A Broken Blade is a gripping tale of an assassin who just wants to be free. As the King's favored assassin, Keera spends her days finding and killing traitors to the crown. Meanwhile, a mysterious figure called the Shadow starts to make moves against the King, putting Keera’s fate in jeopardy as she is unable to stop him. There is more to the Shadow than meets the eye, just as there is more to Keera. After an illuminating trip to the Faelands, Keera must decide if she will continue to serve the crown that does nothing more than kill halflings like her, or partner with this growing movement to take down the King. This book has everything from enemies to lovers, fated mates, action, and a touch of spice. Blair does a great job of creating a dark and broody love interest, while also creating a main character who carries her own demons. This book had me guessing at the true intentions of those surrounding Keera, and a twist very much uncalled.
-Kels (3 spice) (TW: self harm)
If you have ever watched the Netflix series, Castlevania, and wanted the three main characters to “smash”, then by golly this book is for you. In a world where Reapers and Vampires exist, albeit not exactly cohesively, Remy Pendergast finds himself an outcast from both. The only son of an elite vampire hunter, the circumstances surrounding his birth have led to the belief that he himself is half Vampire. After cases of a new breed of vampire attacking villagers surface, Remy intends to investigate alone. Things change when he meets the vampire heiress, Xiaodan Song, and her annoyingly arrogant fiance, vampire lord Zidan Malekh. Together, the three of them begrudgingly work to solve the mystery of who is behind this terrifying new group of creatures. This book gave me everything I wanted, from action, paranormal, and a surprising amount of spice. The romantic tension between the three is written perfectly, making the relationships all the more impactful. This book will make you throw itself at the wall, and I don't know if there is a better review than that.
-Kels (4 spice)
The classic tale of King Arthur but gender swapped and a little bit gay? Sign me up! In this retelling, we follow Emry, one half of the Merlin twins. While her brother Emmet has never had to fight to learn magic, Emry has fought and taught herself all that she can. Prince Arthur, on the other hand, is not what everyone thought he would be. Brought up to believe he was a spare, his parents inability to have another son leaves him as the only choice. After pulling the legendary sword from the stone, Arthur learns that any chance he had at having his own life is over. When Emmet is summoned to the castle to become the apprentice wizard, Emry disguises herself as her brother and takes his place. Emry, disguised as her brother, becomes close to Arthur, finding that each of them is unable to stay from each other. This causes a Mulan moment and gives Arthur a sexuality crisis. A YA fantasy romance that is full of banter and surprisingly cheeky characters, The Other Merlin is a fun read for anyone interested in Arthurian history, idiots in love, and cheeky banter.
-Kels (2 flame)
For anyone who wants a warm blanket and hot cup of coffee reimagined as a book, this is for you. Legends & Lattes follows Viv, an orc barbarian who has spent her whole life moving from one dangerous quest to another. Deciding that she is done with that lifestyle, she completes one last job that gives her a magical item that brings good luck to those who wield it. Viv's dream is to open a cafe, and finds the perfect spot in a bustling city called Thune. There she meets Cal, Tandri, and Thimble, who all in their own way make her dreams come true. With the help of her newly accumulated friends, her cafe thrives, even as old friends become enemies. At its heart, this story shows that it is never too late to start your dream, and no one has to adhere to what people think you should be. A story with a found family and slow burn romance, this book will make you feel warm and fuzzy by the end. Who doesn’t love a cozy, gay D&D story?
A romance for booklovers alike, The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks pulls you in with the plot and surprises you with the love story. Wandering through life, Maggie Banks finds herself in the town of Bell River, asked to help run her friend's struggling bookstore while she's on maternity leave. Unlike your average bookstore, this one is kept in the past by the literary society, intent on maintaining the store as it was at the time of a famous author, in which the whole town has now been centered around. With the old books not selling, Maggie takes it upon herself to start selling current books off record, trying anything to garner business for the store. She does this while hiding it from the watchful eyes of Ralph Bell, the descendant of the famous writer, and his employee, Malcolm. As her underground bookselling turns into a secret book club, Maggie finds herself risking not just the bookstore, but her heart as well. A romance novel that not only conveys a story of love, but also how the effects of understanding history, even the bad parts, can have on the present.
-Kels (3 spice)
A heartwarming series following the blossoming love between two English schoolboys, Heartstopper is one of my favorite graphic novels to date. The series follows Charlie, a nervous and sweet, openly gay schoolboy, and Nick, the popular and seemingly straight school jock. Paired together in one of their classes, they slowly begin to form a friendship that changes both of their lives. Their relationship grows as the series progresses, causing Nick to come to terms with his apparent bisexuality. As a whole, this series does an amazing job with portraying the staggering amount of challenges that come with not just one's teenage years, but coming to terms with one's own sexuality. Heartstopper recreates those childhood butterflies that come with having a crush, and makes you, as the reader, squeal with joy. This series had me laughing and smiling while I read it, and I can not recommend it enough.
-Kels (TW: eating disorders, self harm)
Eden’s Everdark is a spooky middle-grade story that deals with grief, finding your roots, and self-discovery. After the death of her mom, Eden and her father travel to the island her mother's family has resided since the end of American slavery. When she arrives on the island, Eden learns the history of both her family, the island, and those who have perished. After dreaming of a witch that she saw in her mother's childhood sketchbook, Eden finds herself transported to Everdark, the ghostly version of the island, and unless she can free herself, she too will turn into a ghost. In order to escape from the Witch of Everdark, Eden must find room to heal not only her own past but those of the spirits ensnared by the Witch in this plane. This book does an amazing job of dealing with grief, and the generational trauma that enslavement has caused millions of families. A chilling story that makes you feel as if you are trapped in the Everdark along with Eden, fighting alongside her to be free.