Book 1: The Lost Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
Pages: 260 pages
I found this to be a gripping story and a great introduction to a Paranormal series. The little bit of love story thrown into it was beautifully done. It was a relatively lighthearted read, if dealing with a power hungry madman turned kidnapper can be called lighthearted. As long as you don’t take this book – or the rest of the series – too seriously, it’s a really enjoyable read. Not something to get into if you’re looking for something that’ll make you think, but enjoyable nonetheless.
For anyone thinking about reading this series, there are intimate scenes between characters (such as stripping) but the actual sexual acts themselves are not expressly stated.
The mystery of a magical book draws the reader in. Trying to find out why the book was sent to Lizzie, and by whom, is what made me pick up this book in the first place. While you don’t get to know the specifics in this book, the magic and intrigue that comes along with a Lost Library is enough to get me to keep reading to find out more. More about the book that Lizzie discovers at the start of the novel, more about the magic that takes place in this world, and more about the Library itself.
Hey, I can’t help it if I’m a sucker for a good library.
Book 2: Spirited Legacy
Rating: 5/5 stars
Pages: 286 pages
Can Lizzie stop getting kidnapped please? It kind of seems like that’s all she does. Not really, I know, but she does end up as a hostage a lot. (No, just me?)
I’m glad that Lizzie started learning how to use her powers more in this book. I can’t imagine thinking you don’t have magic for 30 years and then all of a sudden having to rely on it to survive. The 3 step process that Pilar taught her seems quite handy, even if Lizzie isn’t that adept with it at the start.
One thing’s for sure, I can certainly relate to Lizzie wanting to work in a library. Sure, she’s helping decipher the magical titles of the books, but even that sounds cool. Once that part’s done I’m sure that she’ll be allowed to actually read the books to help share the information in their pages. And that’s where I start being jealous.
Her great (times a lot) aunt Matylda was an interesting character to get introduced to. Matylda is a great way for the plot of this book to progress. Having ghosts be real and not just imprints of the life that was is an interesting take. I for one am in favour of this take on ghosts. It’s also a good way to get some history of the library brought into the story without the main characters having to sit down and do research on their own.
Who would have thought that Lizzie would have a rare magical ability that allows her to fade? Definitely cooler when Lizzie does it than when Worth does. It was also really cool to see her fade to John. It’s true, the people who mean the most to you in life begin to feel like a place. They’re safety for you. So it makes sense that Lizzie went to her safe place – John’s arms.
It was also interesting to see how Worth’s powers could be considered to be those of a psychic vampire. It makes sense, since he was siphoning off the magical essence of other people. The fact that it wasn’t just a temporary depletion of a person’s magic but total depletion resulting in death was intriguing. I’ve read about psychic vampires in other worlds but I’ve yet to read about them where any magic they take from their victims is gone from them for good. In most cases, I’ve seen psychic vampires draining magical powers but those powers are then able to replenish themselves. Harry being able to overcome this and figure out how to save Sarah’s life was pretty smart. Well done, Baray.
It was cool to see Lizzie take a more active role in trying to defeat Worth, even though she was obviously terrified of the guy still. I wonder how long Worth is going to be the big bad of the story. The scent void that they discover while sneaking into Worth’s place seems like an interesting plot point – and very useful.
Book 3: Defensive Magic
Rating: 3.25/5 stars
Pages: 294 pages
Well, now I know how long Worth is going to be the Big Bad of the story. Looks like his daughter is taking up the reigns. I wonder what Margot’s going to do now that her father is dead – all by her planning. I know that sociopaths don’t care, but killing your own father (or at least orchestrating his death) because he “got in your way”? That’s a little much.
Margot certainly caused a lot of trouble for someone who wasn’t in the story like at all. Heck, I spent the first 3/4 of the book trying to figure out who this mysterious bad woman was. I looked extra hard into every interaction that went on in the book. I even thought that Heike was just a really good actor for a while. It disappoints me when an author doesn’t actually give enough clues for the reader to decipher a puzzle. Almost as soon as Margot was revealed to be a character it was also revealed that she was the Big Bad of the novel – and possibly the rest of the series. And of course, her motives for what she was doing were also laid out quite neatly. Convenient.
I’m interested to see how this crocodile shifter is going to impact the main storyline. Will he cause problems for the main crew by helping Margot? Or will he try to get revenge on Margot for Worth’s death? And will the witches of the Coven of Light continue to help Margot further her plots?
So… Kenna’s mother is a witch? Whaaaaaaaaat? Yeah, didn’t expect that. Apparently it’s not just Lizzie who has magic in her family but didn’t know about it. Poor Lizzie, having to keep this secret from her best friend. About her best friend’s mom no less. Though I do appreciate the fact that Gwen was willing to give up her secret so that she could help Lizzie and her Lycan mate out.
And can I just say how badass Gwen is? Her “cool” outfit aside, she’s willing to risk her life to do what she perceives as right. I know it was hard for her to call Lizzie and admit that she was a witch, but once she did she was willing to be right in the middle of things if it meant doing what needed to be done. She had no problem with jumping on a plane to go to Las Vegas and help save the day.
Speaking of Las Vegas, way to introduce both Big Magic and Dead Zones. Big Magic, of course, being the magic that’s created when the sum is greater than its parts alone. Seemingly very dangerous and volatile stuff. Dead Zones, on the flip side, are areas where magical beings don’t do well. I can’t wait to see these things be explained further in the future of this series. Dead Zones themselves seem like very interesting plot points, especially since it seems to impact magical beings negatively.
It was sweet that Lizzie started to meet some of the pack members, but it’s about time that she met the entire pack, no? I know that meeting the council of elders is a good start, and that she’s met John’s closest friends, but as the Alpha’s mate she really needs to find time to meet the pack members. And try to understand what her role as Alpha’s mate is. I know that John and Lizzie’s lives have been hectic since meeting each other, but sometimes you need to learn how to prioritize. You know?
Book 4: Witch’s Diary
Rating: 3/5 stars
Pages: 242 pages
Surprise Kenna, you’re a witch! Also, you’re pregnant! If that’s the price for having magic, I don’t want it. Sorry, I love children but I do not need a surprise like that in my life.
I understand that Kenna thought that she was barren and thus didn’t need to take precautions while sleeping with Max, but that’s not true at all as she learned. I myself have a friend that got into this exact situation. Her doctor told her that she wasn’t going to be able to have kids so she stopped worrying so much about using protection. Guess what happened. (She got pregnant like right away, of course.) People really need to learn that protection is important. It’s not just about not getting pregnant, although that is an important part of it, but also about protecting yourself from STIs. And also, please remember that “the pull out method” is bullshit and won’t prevent pregnancies. Don’t listen to anyone who says that’s a reliable solution.
Poor Kenna having her mom kidnapped right when she needs her most. Not only does she need the help with her magic, she also needs her mom during her first pregnancy. Especially since Kenna thought she wouldn’t be able to have children at all.
Also, these people seem to get kidnapped a lot. I understand a kidnapping can be a good plot point, but it seems a little over used in this series. Hopefully Baray will think of something else to keep the plot going and kidnappings are getting a little stale for my tastes.
However, the way in which Gwen was kept captive was interesting. The Coven of Light definitely has some questionable practices. Using death magic to create a prison to trap Gwen was certainly an interesting route to go. It was also an interesting way to further explain how Big Magic could be used in a real world (for this world at least) way. I wish there was more magical explanation and world building in the series like this.
Another thing that I found interesting was the introduction of Well Springs of magical power. It was cute that Kenna assumed that it wasn’t a big witchy secret and just told Harrington about them – thank you Diary – as if he should have known already. As the antithesis of Dead Zones, these springs of magical energy seem that much more powerful to me.
Speaking of the Diary, I find it really interesting that the Spellcaster that spelled the book did it in such a way that only a fellow Spellcaster that was friendly with a witch would be able to read it. And that the book knew that Lizzie was friendly with a witch even before Kenna got her powers. I know that she was friendly with Gwen long before that, but I can only imagine that Baray meant for the Diary to know that Lizzie’s best friend was a witch that just hadn’t come into her magic yet.
While there’s many more things I could discuss about why I enjoyed reading this book, one of the things that annoyed me a bit was that Baray messed up the names of her characters twice. It threw me off how in the middle of a scene between Kenna and Max, they were being called Lizzie and John. I understand that Lizzie and John are the main couple of the series, but this could have been prevented with a little bit of proofreading – or someone reading the book thoroughly – before being published.
Book 5: Necromancy
Rating: 3/5 stars
Pages: 102 Pages
This storyline was cute, but a little rushed. I would have said this was a companion short story instead of the 5th book in the series as very little happened in it. As well, I felt that the ending was rushed and the main conflict of the book was handled a little too conveniently.
I understand that this book takes place at the same time as Witch’s Diary, but there’s a lot that could have been done here that wasn’t. In Witch’s Diary, almost nothing was said about what Lizzie’s secret project was. Yet even in this book, when the reader is only dealing with said “secret” project, almost no new information was given.
Sure, we’re told that one of the necromancy books that Matylda showed Lizzie was acting up. But that doesn’t mean that we were really given any information about the project. “Stop the spread of the necromancy powers”. Sounds easy in theory, but this would have been a great time for Baray to explain how necromancy works in the world.
While it’s interesting that another magical power was introduced to the world, mainly the nymph that took over Elin’s body, more should have been done to further explain those magical entities that have been touched on but largely unexplained. (I’m looking at you, dragons.) Knowing as little as we do about nymphs, this story seemed very convenient. It read almost as if this book as an afterthought when Baray couldn’t decide how to handle the undead Lycan that she introduced in Witch’s Diary.
I enjoyed spending a little bit more time with Matylda, but I am sad to see her go. She could have been a great character to watch as the story progresses. Of course, she was a loose end, a plot device that was no longer needed. So I understand having her move on, I just wish she didn’t have to go. She was definitely one of the more intriguing characters, in my opinion.
Also, isn’t it a little convenient for both Kenna and Lizzie to be pregnant at the same time? And for both of them to find out at the most inopportune time? I feel like Baray is just recycling plot points which she doesn’t need to do with so little actually done in the world. It’d be nice to get to raise your child with you best friend’s child, but this was a little too convenient, timing wise.
The ending of the story, at least, made me laugh. Lizzie’s parents were so blasé about her being with a Lycan and magic in general. It was kind of obvious that Lizzie got her magic from her dad’s side, as her last name was literally changed from Kovar on that side, but it’s good that it was officially said. And the fact that her mom was disappointed when she thought Lizzie wasn’t going to tell her about a pregnancy was cute. Surprise! Two secrets for the price of one.
Lost Library Shorts Collection
Rating: 3/5 stars
Pages: 304 pages
Forgiveness and Clara & Logan: It was very cute to see Logan and Clara’s story, from the very beginning to the present. It was interesting to see how the time and distance didn’t diminish their love for each other, just showed Clara that she was stronger than she originally believed. From where I am in the series, I can’t help but wonder when Lizzie found Clara and told Logan as it hasn’t happened in the 5 books I’ve read. I haven’t read the series yet, but I’m leaning towards thinking that Lizzie finds Clara through the Spirelli Paranormal Investigations. In fact, my curiosity about this has led me to get the first season (or first 6 stories) in the SPI series.
Revealed: I enjoyed experiencing Max’s introduction to the Lycan. From the way they were speaking about the incident in the main story, I expected Max to have been super calm throughout the full thing. To see him freak out – yet still be able to defend himself – was refreshing. It’s nice to see the usually unflappable Max stunned stupid. I also enjoyed how easily he accepted Chris for who she truly was. Even Lizzie had a harder time with it! It makes me wonder what Kenna was thinking when Lizzie told her about the magic book and her Lycan love. After reading Witch’s Diary and seeing that Kenna isn’t always as calm as she appears on the outside, a scene like this from her point of view would be super interesting to read.
Krampus Gone Wild
Rating: 2/5 stars
Pages: 53 pages
I can’t wait to see how this fits into the main storyline of the series if Baray decides to bring them into it. It would be so interesting to see the little “devils” interact with characters such as Gwen and Kenna. Heck, even Max having to deal with them would be entertaining.
The Covered Mirror
Pages: 34 pages
I thought it was really cute to see a story in the world that has a set of different main characters. The fact that Kenna and Gwen slipped in there without making a scene was really well done. I can’t wait to see how the mirror impacts the main story – and what it’s janky magic is.