Once A Witch | Book Review

Genre: YA Paranormal with witches

Pages: 290


“Your daughter will be one of the most powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon for us all.”

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and on the day she was born, her grandmother proclaimed she would be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin’s magic never showed up. Now, seventeen years later, she spends most of her time at boarding school in Manhattan, where she can at least pretend to be normal. But during the summers, she’s forced to return home and work at her family’s bookstore/magic shop.

One night a handsome young professor from New York University arrives in the shop and mistakes Tamsin for her extremely Talented older sister. For once, it’s Tamsin who’s being looked at with awe and admiration, and before she can stop herself, she agrees to find a family heirloom for him that was lost more than a century ago. But the search – and the stranger – prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the past sins of her family, and unleash a power so strong and so vengeful that it could destroy them all.

My thoughts

My rating: two out of five stars

All you expect to happen in this book – it does happen. That’s it. The villain is obvious from the start, and then makes his plans clear and that’s the plot. I kept reading this book waiting for a surprising twist that I felt never came. The world and magic, with each family member having their own power, was cool, but never really used to its full potential. I didn’t expect the time travel, but even that wasn’t exciting as a part of this story.

As for the main character, Tamsin, she made the book start out great with a real insight in how much she hates being the only one without powers in her family and being treated as an outsider because of it. But that whole problem quickly disappears along with Tamsin’s uniqueness.

“We were playing a game,” he mutters. This used to be one of Gwyneth’s favorite defense lines whenever the adults found any of us coated in ice, our lips blue with frost. “You were playing,” I snap. “She wasn’t.” I present the bear to the tear-stained child, who regards me doubtfully with big brown eyes. “You’re just jealous,” he mutters. “Because you can’t do anything.” Before I can stop myself, I whip the toy back from the toddler’s hesitant fingers and mash it over the boy’s head a few more times. 

Once a witch (p. 33)

Also the guys are written strangely? I wouldn’t recommend this book. The first 50 pages was quite promising, and then it just went so far downhill.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin | Review

Pages: 452
Genre: young adult, paranormal


This book is confusing af, but it starts simple enough with a friendgroup who goes to an abandoned building for fun, but it suddenly collapses on top of them and kills everyone but Mara Dyer, the main character. She wakes up in a hospital, disoriented and not able to recall anything of the incident. But no one else has answers to what happened either. What they know is that four teenagers went in, but only one came out.

Struggling with memoryloss and PTSD, Mara convinces her family to move away, talking about fresh beginnings and less reminders, but not really believing it herself. She’s having flashbacks and hallucinates, memories of her and her two dead friends and boyfriend constantly haunting her dreams. Slowly, but surely her memories seem to return, but she doesn’t know how to make sense of it all.

My thoughts

Rating out of five:



This book has more psychological elements than paranormal ones, which was okay, but confusing for the main part of this story. It’s written to be all mysterious, but honestly I just grew impatient and annoyed. Mara believes she’s going crazy, but won’t immediately find help because of her overprotective mom who seems to control much in her life. At first I found it a bit extreme as I realize she needs help to function, but she’s already back at school so how bad can she be? But when shit goes down, I realized Mara might need more supervising than what is shown from her own unreliable narrative.

And she should not be in school full-time! How would anyone allow it, hadn’t it been for the sake of the story and her love interest being there? As Mara slowly works out her new life, or pretend to, she meets a mysterious boy named Noah Shaw. She is repeatedly warned against him for his reputation of dating and dumping girls. I won’t comment on this relationship anymore than I wouldn’t read this book for the romance because it’s very stereotype “bad boy turns good for The One Girl” with a twist or two. Still, even if it’s nice twists and I like Noah in himself, they don’t really work good together. Mostly he’s just there, saying a few lines and filling out the plot when necessary.

I feared for a long time this book would be all stereotype high school drama, because it was clearly heading that way, but right before I laid the book down in defeat strange things started to happen around Mara Dyer. The book was back on track! When the plot twist came I was done again; I saw it long time coming and it couldn’t have been more expected. If you’ve read a couple of paranormal ya I think you’ll figure it out. It’s not a bad twist, it just reflects the biggest problem of this book – it’s predictable. Some occurences might be unexpected and interesting, but the plot and story as whole goes in a boring straight line.

There’s two more books in this series, which could turn out better now that it took 452 pages to reveal one secret and lay the base of the story, which really has just been “high school drama with paranormal stuff somewhere”. I don’t think I want to read two more books like that. The title is good; “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” is just what happens in this book, but nothing moreDid you like this book? Is the second and third book better?

Halfway to the Grave by Jeanie Frost

Pages: 360
Genre: fantasy, paranormal

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This book made me laugh;

“His lips brushed over my knuckles, impossibly soft. He looked into my eyes and killed me”. (Not literally I think???)

The expression on his face melted me completely. I knew I had the goofiest grin plasteret on my lips, and didn’t care. “There”, he said as he finished tying the laces on my left shoe. “Now you won’t fall.” Too late. (It’s so cheesy it hurts my pitch black soul)


It’s an thrilling and easy read with half-vampire Cat who teams up with the powerful vampire Bones to hunt down other vampires. She goes from stopping attackers at bars to trying to unravel a network similiar to human trafficking, only for blood. A half-vampire is apparently the perfect vampire hunter as she can be used for both bait and weapon, but that doesn’t keep them from sinking their fangs into her throat. Ouch, I felt for that girl.

My thoughts


No one warned me this would be a vampire romance kind of book, but I should’ve guessed. It wasn’t the worst I’ve read (that would’ve deserved an award), but I got tired of it towards the end. The relationships in this book is heated and a good balance between “i want to protect this person” and “they have to choose themselves”. There’s no pretense, which I liked, but nothing very special either in my opinion. A lot of flirting and bickering, if that’s your thing.

You should read this book for the romance and action, more than for an amazing plot. As a whole, “Halfway to the Grave” is good enough, but I’m more excited to see how the story continues from here on!

– more (good? not sure) quotes –

“No, I took precautions,” he replied, searching my eyes. It was then that I noticed he was so tense, a single blow might have shattered him. “I stripped you and hid your clothes so if you woke up angry about what happened, you wouldn’t be able to run out without talking to me first.”

Not for a minute did I believe that this wasn’t goodbye. Still, I had loved and been loved in return, and there was nothing greater than that.