Blogtober Book Review: Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

GoodReads Summary:
Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.
With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down.
Witches of Ash and RuinReview:
I picked up Witches of Ash and Ruin forever ago when it was a Kindle daily deal. I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I picked it up for Sapphic September and because I was ready to read some spooky books. This fulfilled both of those desires.
This story follows Dayna and several other characters. I liked that there were a few different points of view. Dayna is from a heavily religious family so she would much rather spend her time with her best friend and her family. It helps also that she’s training to become a witch alongside her best friend. I really loved how much of their friendship was in the book. They were so supportive of one another and that was an excellent dynamic is Dayna’s otherwise chaotic life.
Enter Meiner, more chaos for Dayna’s life. Meiner is a very angry person. She really struggles to control this anger and I thought that was fascinating to read about. I wouldn’t say I liked Meiner, but I liked what she brought to the story. When her and Dayna start flirting I wanted to scream in the best way possible.
This story does so many things. Dayna is bisexual and struggles with OCD. Meiner also struggles with OCD and her best friend (but also nemesis) keeps kissing her without her consent because they sort of dated in the past. There were so many interesting and complicated relationships, from romantic to platonic to familial. This book sucked me in and spit me out in pieces.
Overall, I highly recommend this story. The setting is in a small town in Ireland. So, there are tough conversations about Dayna’s sexuality. But the setting was beautiful and historic and I really felt like I was there, alongside the characters. I definitely will be reading more from this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

Summary:
Lennon Davis doesn’t believe in much, but she does believe in the security of the number five. If she flicks the bedroom light switch five times, maybe her new L.A. school won’t suck. But that doesn’t feel right, so she flicks the switch again. And again. Ten more flicks of the switch and maybe her new step family will accept her. Twenty-five more flicks and maybe she won’t cause any more of her loved ones to die. Fifty times more and then she can finally go to sleep.
Kyler Benton witnesses this pattern of lights from the safety of his treehouse in the yard next door. It is only there, hidden from the unwanted stares of his peers, that Kyler can fill his notebooks with lyrics that reveal the true scars of the boy behind the oversized hoodies and caustic humor. But Kyler finds that descriptions of blonde hair, sad eyes, and tapping fingers are beginning to fill the pages of his notebooks. Lennon, the lonely girl next door his father has warned him about, infiltrates his mind. Even though he has enough to deal with without Lennon’s rumored tragic past in his life, Kyler can’t help but want to know the truth about his new muse.
All Our Broken PiecesReview:
All Our Broken Pieces has quickly become a new all-time favorite book of mine. So, I have to send a huge thank you to EBS and Her Reads for recommending this book to me. I would have read this in one sitting if I hadn’t fallen asleep while reading it at about 2am. I just could not put it down. The writing was flowery, but not overly so. The characters were flawed, but relatable. The romance was sweet and swoony. I just loved everything about it.
Lennon was flawed but worked hard every day to accept her flaws and love herself anyway. She was a little quirky and that just made me love her more. She was a trivia buff which I thought was an interesting chapter opener for the chapters with her perspectives. I loved her relationship with her younger half-brother, Jacob. He’s so sweet and innocent and the way he and Lennon interact just warmed my little heart every time Jacob was on the page.
Kyler was not my favorite in the beginning, but after we got past the ‘damaged tough guy’ facade I started to really like him. When he started to open up and let himself be vulnerable around Lennon, I really loved him. Seeing him learn how to love himself through Lennon’s eyes. He’s also a writer which I enjoyed seeing. I feel like I don’t read enough books that have male characters that write. It’s always the female main character that wants to be a writer.
My favorite thing about this book was the family dynamics and relationships. The sibling bonds between Jacob and Lennon were so sweet and I loved everything about them. Then there was also Kyler’s relationship with his sister Macy. I thought they were so well done and they really hit me in the feels. They made me thing about my siblings and I loved it. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lennon and her step-mother, Claire. I have a step-mother and Claire totally reminded me of her. Claire tries her best to love her and be there for her in whatever way that she can, even if Lennon isn’t always receptive to it.
The only thing I didn’t like was Andrea. She was awful, but it was never really explained why she was awful and there was no real resolution to their situation. This bothered me a little, but not enough to dampen my love for the book as a whole.
Finally, the OCD representation was really interesting for me. We see Lennon explain it in simple terms so that Jacob can understand, but we also get to see here explain it to Kyler and again to her dad. I feel like I learned a lot about it. I can’t personally speak to the accuracy of the OCD rep, but I thought it was well done from an outsider’s perspective. I also really appreciated the inclusion of therapy for Lennon. She sees a therapist, Levi, twice a week. He’s totally my favorite. I loved him. He was funny and stylish and a great addition to the story. There are also a few weeks where Lennon stays at a recovery center. I thought this was also a great addition to the story.
Overall, I adored this book. It has a mixture of a few different stories that it’s sort of retelling. There’s the obvious, Romeo & Juliet, that is referenced specifically while they work on an English project and then seem to fall into the story with certain events. There are also some Phantom of the Opera themes too along with a hint of Beauty and the Beast. I think this was an excellent contemporary story with characters that I adored. I think anyone that enjoys reading stories about mental health, this is a must.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.