Mini Audio Reviews: Wild is the Witch, Belladonna, Our Crooked Hearts

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

Mini Audio Reviews: Wild is the Witch, Belladonna, Our Crooked HeartsWild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin
Published by Sourcebooks Fire (8.2.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 320 pages
Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes
Narrator: Laura Knight Keating
Source: Library

3 Stars

Iris Gray knows witches aren't welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches' Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they're keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.

Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she's about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.

New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches' Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.

My thoughts

Overall this book was just okay for me. It fell completely in the mediocre middle ground – okay characters, okay world (albeit a bit vague), okay plot. It doesn’t really stand out in the sea of Urban Fantasy and witch books, and there’s nothing really all that special about it; but I did enjoy it while I was listening!

The main thing that stood out about this book for me was the owl and the forest setting. Other than that it was pretty forgettable. I outright disliked the romance – even though it’s enemies-to-lovers, it’s quite insta-lovey. I also found the love interest insufferable in the beginning, so it was hard to change perspective to see him as a love interest and not an immature, lazy coworker.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Characters: 2.5/5
World-building: 2.5/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 1/5
Narration: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Wild is the Witch, Belladonna, Our Crooked HeartsBelladonna by Adalyn Grace
Series: Belladonna #1
Published by Little Brown (8.30.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 416 pages
Length: 13 hours, 14 minutes
Narrator: Kristin Atherton
Source: Library

4.5 Stars

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation, and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

My thoughts

This one totally took me by surprise! Firstly, I want to say: the audio is fantastic. I highly recommend! Usually females narrating males are just meh, but daaayum. Kristin Atherton NAILED Death’s voice. It actually reminded me a lot of Morpheus from Sandman (the show, not the audiobook), which is probably why I found Death totally swoony. *sighs dreamily* It’s been a while since I had a book boyfriend, lmao! I’m not usually a fan of romance, but this one was *chef’s kiss*

It’s basically enemies-to-lovers, and has a glorious slow burn. I was head over heels for Death, let’s be honest. There were a few scenes where I was fanning myself!

This book started strong, too! It grabbed me from the very first chapter, which is something I highly value in books. I’m afraid to read the sequel because I enjoyed this one so much!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 4.5/5
Feels: 4/5
Narration: 4.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Wild is the Witch, Belladonna, Our Crooked HeartsOur Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 342 pages
Length: 9 hours, 51 minutes
Narrator: Chloe Cannon, Emma Galvin
Source: Library

4 Stars

Secrets. Lies. Bad choices. Dangerous magic. . . . This is Our Crooked Hearts, a contemporary fantasy "so precise and enthralling that the only explanation is that Albert herself is a witch" (Booklist, starred review)

On the way home from a party, seventeen-year-old Ivy and her soon-to-be ex nearly run over a nude young woman standing in the middle of a tree-lined road. It’s only the first in a string of increasingly eerie events and offerings: a dead rabbit in the driveway, a bizarre concoction buried by her mother in the backyard, a box of childhood keepsakes hidden in her parents’ closet safe. Most unsettling of all, corroded recollections of Ivy and her enigmatic mother’s past resurface, with the help of the boy next door.

What if there’s more to Ivy’s mother than meets the eye? And what if the supernatural forces she messed with during her own teen years have come back to haunt them both? Ivy must grapple with these questions and more if she’s going to escape the darkness closing in.

Straddling Ivy’s contemporary suburban town and her mother’s magic-drenched 1990s Chicago, this bewitching and propulsive story rockets towards a conclusion guaranteed to keep readers up all night.

My thoughts

Melissa Albert 10/10 knows how to bring the atmosphere. I think her settings are my favorite part of her books! This one was creepy and wholly unique just like The Hazel Wood.

I loved the dual POVs/timelines between Ivy and her mom, Dana, and the audiobook narration was fantastic! It was cool to see Dana’s perspective and get little snippets at a time. There’s an air of mystery that keeps you going because the full picture only reveals itself gradually in small pieces.

This had the perfect amount of witchy vibes while being dark and atmospheric. Albert’s books make me wish magic were real, because in her books it feels totally plausible!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 5/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 2/5
Narration: 4/5
Cover: 2/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Jessi (Geo)

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