Book Review: Serpent & Dove

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin – Serpent & Dove #1 – HarperTeen – Published 3 September 2019

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Synopsis

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

My thoughts

Serpent & Dove is an evocative fantasy, with witches and the clergymen that hunt them, one girl torn between two worlds, determined to survive, and very steamy romance.

Lou is a witch. Having left her coven, her magic is something she keeps hidden from most people to avoid the stake and the Chasseurs who hunt witches. But Lou also has another secret, one that makes her do dangerous things. When she and her friend and fellow witch, Coco, attempt to steal a magical ring, she unwittingly puts herself in the crosshairs of Chasseur Reid Diggory. Neither she nor Reid could ever work together, but their paths are irrevocable tied when they are forced into an arranged marriage. As the Chasseurs continue their hunts and the witches grow more bold in their attacks, Lou must keep her identity hidden or risk certain death – from both sides.

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Book Review: For This Life Only

For This Life Only

For This Life Only – Stacey Kade – Simon and Schuster – Published 30 August 2016

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Synopsis

A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him. 

My thoughts

I really enjoy Stacey Kade’s writing, so For This Life Only was a must read for me. It is just as heartbreaking as the summary makes it sound, as well as uplifting and purposeful. I loved the themes of this story – grief, soul searching, faith, families of the church, expectations and choosing to do the ‘right’ thing even when you’re not sure what that is.

In Jace’s family he is the destructive twin, while his brother Eli manages to effortlessly maintain the levels of perfection their dad craves. Jace wants to play baseball, while Eli will probably follow in their father’s footsteps and become a pastor, Jace is happy to go out partying and drinking with his teammates while Eli will be with his equally perfect girlfriend or at bible camp or writing his next debating speech. They are two halves of a whole. So Jace’s life is shattered when, in a car accident, Eli is killed and Jace is saved. It challenges his view of the afterlife, faith and his family as they too start to crumble around him. But the town’s outsider, the one girl he has been told his whole life not to go near, offers Jace some hope, a person to talk to about his darkest fears and reveals that even Eli was keeping secrets…  Continue reading