Book Review: The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad

  Join us for this tour from June 1 to Jun 28, 2021!

 Book Details:

Book Title:  The New Enchantress (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions, Book 3) by Sunayna Prasad
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  175 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Amazon KDP
Release date:   March 2021
Content Rating:  PG: Some intense scenes and mild language.

Book Description:

The point of no return has come!

It’s the summer before high school and life is about to change for fourteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer hexes her with everlasting powers, requiring her to become an enchantress. If she cannot learn to control her magic pronto, she will forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s eternal slave.

In order to control her powers, Alyssa must gain control of her emotions. With the struggles of adolescence and disasters everywhere, catastrophes are bound to happen! It’s only a matter of time before Alyssa’s world changes, for better or worse…

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Meet the Author: Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji, and A Curse of Mayhem and is constantly creating and brainstorming new ideas.

Sunayna also loves cartoons, traveling, and thinking outside the box.

She lives in New York.

Connect with the Author:   website ~ twitter ~ goodreads

 

Enter the Giveaway:

THE NEW ENCHANTRESS (An Alyssa McCarthy Magical Missions) Book Tour Giveaway

My Thoughts (Book Review):

The New Enchantress is Book 3 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. This book follows Alyssa as she once again gains magic powers and has to become an enchantress. She has to learn to control her powers otherwise she will forget everyone she knows and loves and become a slave to the evil warlock. The story starts off with an upcoming middle grade graduation sleep over where we see Alyssa and her friends gather at her house to spend some time. However, Alyssa’s spirits are dampened due to the loss of her laptop and her newly gained magical powers. Being a moody young teen, she takes it out on her friends causing some backlash.

I found this to be quite childish in the way the friendships are handled. Some of the things the girls say or Alyssa says do not seem to fit with a young teen. It was difficult for me to relate to them as young teens with the way they talked and behaved. However, the writing in this book is much much better than the previous two books and the focus on the plot has been strengthened. I appreciate and acknowledge the maturity in the author’s writing when compared to the previous books, though I believe that there is room for further improvement.

The plot is much the same as the previous books with something going wrong and Alyssa setting out to fix it. One thing however is how she has to learn to control her emotions to be able to control her powers and thus foil the warlock’s plans. By the end, she learns the meaning of friendship, of thinking about things beyond herself and of giving back. I like how this was handled in the book.

Overall an entertaining magic filled read that will keep readers busy for an evening or two!

Guest Post by Sunayna Prasad:

How I Chose my Novels’ Time Settings

We may be living in 2021 (and a global pandemic), but the events of my stories take place over 10 years ago.

In “The Frights of Fiji” and “A Curse of Mayhem,” the year revealed is 2010. “The New Enchantress” is set in 2011. So, my MC, Alyssa would actually only be a few years younger than me if she were real. She would have just turned 24 this past April.

While that may sound disappointing to certain people, there is a reason why the stories take place a long time ago. Some editors pointed out that the stories were set when my readers were babies or really little and suggested that I updated the first book’s setting, which got revised as a new edition in 2018. However, I am glad that I rejected that advice. The editor also understood and agreed that authors should get to choose to set their stories whenever they want.

But I will share two reasons why the events of my “Magical Missions” series take place in the early 2010s.

1: The first installment was originally written and published in the early 2010s.

I started working on book 1 after a bad turnout with a poorly written novel that I published just around high school graduation. I began work on it in 2011 and published it in 2013 as “From Frights to Flaws.”

I chose the 2010 setting because at that time, I wanted my MC to not only be close in age with me, but also have technology not be too advanced or primitive. In “The Frights of Fiji,” there is even the mentioning of an iPod and the iPad getting released soon.

I know technology and times change drastically and quickly. And if I were to write an unrelated book today, I would probably set it around or close to this time.

Which brings me to my next point:

2: You never know what will happen as you live.

There is a lot of controversy and discussions on the dilemmas of writing a story in today’s world, with a pandemic and restrictions on how to live because of it. Some say set your stories in 2019 or a little earlier, and others give all sorts of chaotic advice.

Some authors change their stories to make the characters live in the covid-19 pandemic, where they have to wear face masks, socially distance, refrain from activities like kissing and traveling. I personally would avoid doing this.

Some experts even suggest omitting the pandemic from your stories in order for readers to escape from the stress we’re living through. But they also worry about it misleading future generations about what the world really experienced during 2020 and 2021. So, certain writers might just leave out the dates or years their stories take place as the pandemic could be a thing od the past once the books are finished or when people get it them.

Therefore, I am glad that I stuck with my original time setting. Readers still enjoyed the stories, regardless of the years they take place.

Although I plan to make the final installment’s last setting no later than 2019, my little (not so) secret is that… there is no pandemic happening in my book’s universe.

While we went on a global lockdown in March 2020 and lived with many restrictions since then, my characters continued to live typical lives (going to concerts, bars, etc.). I feel like after going through the difficult time that I never expected, I was uncomfortable making my characters go through that, even if I won’t publish a book set later than 2019. Also, many people crave escapism from stressful times.

There is a work of fiction that has specific dates throughout different moments of the protagonist’s life, and events of the main story take place in 2020. But the characters don’t have to wear face masks, socially distance, quarantine, or have any other pandemic restrictions. They basically live a normal life, except for the domination of advanced technology. This is the film, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines.”

All in all, those are the reasons I chose my novels’ time setting.

Book Review: A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad

About the Book:

History, like magic, has a habit of repeating itselfIt’s been six months since thirteen-year-old Alyssa McCarthy left magic behind for good. Or so she thought…

Then the enchanted objects that protected her disappear. Now a skeleton named Errol has cursed her with magical powers that keep getting her in trouble. Suddenly strange things are happening with disastrous effects, and if Alyssa can’t remove the magic, she will lose everything she holds dear.

In order to get rid of her unwanted wizardry, Alyssa will have to boost her bravery and confidence and determine who Errol really is. But every time Alyssa uses an enchantment, Errol is one step closer to getting his flesh back and becoming alive, and he will do anything to achieve his goals…even if it means destroying Alyssa’s happiness.

Originally published in 2016 as “Wizardry Goes Wild” and “The Unruly Curse” in 2019, “A Curse of Mayhem” is book two in the exciting and suspenseful “Magical Missions” series.

My Thoughts:

This is Book 2 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. The story follows Alyssa as she tries to lead a normal life putting magic aside. However, it is not as easy as that and soon Alyssa embarks on another missions to save herself. This time, the plot centers around her place with less focus on travel. As Alyssa tries to rid herself of her newly acquired magical powers thanks to a curse, the reader is in for an interesting adventure, making new friends along the way.

There are some new characters in the story and this makes Book 2 interesting. Alyssa is still a little hard to connect with, but this can still be ignored for the overall story. Though the writing is still pretty amateurish, the focus on the plot and storyline has improved greatly. As compared to Book 1, Book 2 is more engaging and has quite a few magical elements to it that will delight young readers. Overall, I think that this book is handled much better and young readers would enjoy it greatly!

Book Review: The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions #1) by Sunayna Prasad

About the Book:

A world of magic and adventure awaits for 12-year-old Alyssa McCarthy. A sorcerer kidnaps her to an enchanted island, filled with magical creatures and technology, but also danger. It is up to Alyssa to defeat the peril and overcome the warlock.

My Thoughts:

I read and am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour by iRead Book Tours.

I truly love reading middle grade and YA fiction! I love the feeling of adventure and the various scrapes the characters get into. This is what drove me to sign up for the blog tour and start reading this new series by Sunayna Prasad.

The Frights of Fiji is Book 1 in the Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions series. In this book, we are introduced to Alyssa, a 12-year old who lives with her uncle and cousin ever since her parents passed away. Right from the beginning we are introduced to the existence of magic as Alyssa meets Simon, a talking bust and then discovers a plot that involves kidnapping her. Initially it felt weird as Alyssa tries to convince her uncle of the existence of magic. As the story progresses, we are introduced to a world of magic and magical technology, chronicled along the lines of what we have and use in general. We are introduced to various characters and the evil warlock who is plotting to capture Alyssa.

The writing is amateurish and abrupt in sections, jumping from one thought to another. The characters are not well developed and I was not able to connect with any of them, though I did like Simon a little. I also found the level of explanation into the technology used to be unnecessary and somewhat repetitive. All this made for a difficult read.

However, there are elements to the plot that have potential and make for an interesting story. There is travel to a new place, magical locations and rules that are not known to normal people and so on. I like how Alyssa and her friends work together to foil the plan of the warlock and find a solution to their predicament. Overall, this would be a one time read at best, but I am definitely going to read on to see what happens!

Book Review: A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

About the Book:

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

My Thoughts:

The story follows Princess Jiara as she deals with the death of her sister, a marriage proposal from the man her sister was previously engaged to and the responsibility to step up for the sake of her family and her people. In addition to this, Jiara has to find a way to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death and bring the murderer to justice.

Initially, I liked the concept of the book and the idea of a vengeful ghost who can actually cause harm was intriguing. As the story progresses, I like how Jiara grows as a person and her distress while trying to read and learn a new language is brought out rather delicately. However, some parts of the story were rather abrupt and the character development was not strong enough. King Raffar is interesting, but the reader doesn’t come to know him as a person. We do not also get a chance to understand how he governs or what he thinks. With a strong focus on Jiara, her struggles and triumphs, it is difficult for the reader to connect with other characters.

In terms of the plot, the author has done a good job and the surroundings are well described. The kingdoms, their locations and the people are touched upon albeit only a little, but enough to give us a sense of the places. Overall this is a light YA fantasy read that has great potential and wraps up quite well in the end. The book can be read quickly and is rather enjoyable for those who enjoy the genre!

Book Review: Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

A blast from the past, nostalgia hit me as I picked up this book once again to re-visit the sights and smells (trust me some are rather nasty, especially in Goblintown) of Muddle Earth.

About the Book:

Muddle Earth (Muddle Earth, #1-#3)

Joe Jefferson is an ordinary schoolboy from ordinary Earth. At least, he was. But something strange happened when he was walking his dog, and now he’s Joe the Barbarian—fearless warrior-hero, summoned by Muddle Earth’s leading wizard* to slay ogres, wrestle dragons, and bravely confront villains.

Joe doesn’t feel much like a warrior-hero.** But evil is stirring in the heart of Elfwood, and the people of Muddle Earth need help (although most of them don’t know it yet). Perhaps Joe Jefferson really is a hero after all. . . .

* Actually, Muddle Earth’s only wizard. And he’s not very good.
** He doesn’t really look much like one either.

My Thoughts:

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a very long time, but even more so, this book has remained close to my heart for much longer! This is a book that was a part of my childhood and honestly is one of the few books that made me laugh as much as I did.

This is a story of a young boy Joe who ends up in a situation he never expected to be in. All of a sudden, he is in Muddle Earth, portrayed as the fearless warrior-hero who has come to save them from evil. This is a hilarious adventurous story that follows Joe as he figures out how to survive and finds that everything he does is somehow accepted by the people of Muddle Earth.

Readers are in for a treat as we encounter ogres, dragons, a wizard (who is not very good), and a kid who is quite smart and also rather lost. The story is hilarious and will have the readers in splits. There are pictures to accompany the text which are brilliant and add an even more eccentric spin! I love how the characters are portrayed through the pictures.

This is very much a treat and should be read by all children. Even adults are in for a hilarious adventure!

Wrap-Up: Books Read in March 2021

Hey guys! 

Here’s my wrap-up post for the Month of March! (A little late for this post, I know! But I have been busy and I lost track of these posts!)

I read 9 books in the month which is a major improvement! I am quite happy to have kept the reading streak going.

I thoroughly enjoyed the below books and as you can see, they span a whole lot of genres which kept me entertained.

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Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Book 3)

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Once again, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts or book recommendations! You can also just stop by to chat, I’m almost always around! 🙂

WWW WEDNESDAY – 14/04/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

A variety of genres actually!

Twinfluence by Grace Costello (Goodreads Author), 

Nina Walker (Goodreads Author), M.F. Lorson (Goodreads Author)

Twinfluence

The Frights of Fiji by Sunayna Prasad

The Frights of Fiji (Alyssa McCarthy's Magical Missions, #1)

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hoping to get started with my brand new copy of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The book has an amazing cover and spray painted edges! Considering that this is one of the most talked about books, I am excited to join the fan club!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: The Wraith’s Memory (Between Gods and Mortals Book II) by Whitney Rines

About the Book:

The Wraith's Memory (Between Gods and Mortals Book II)

The massacre of a village by a mysterious group of conspirators spreads division and war across Liansea and chases survivors to the last strongholds standing, Terimah and Nismyth.
When Terimah’s strict entry rules cost more refugee lives-Mortal and Amaranthine alike, refugees turn to Nismyth and their open-gate policy. Unaware of the corruption being cultivated in the ruling family, infecting everyone from the upper echelon down to the lowest villagers.
    When a mysterious illness brings tragedy to the village of Aritehn, wounding both the population and trust in their rulers, many villagers including a young man named Chiron, seek ways to save Aritehn themselves. An interview with Nismyth’s military recruiter sets his course when he is sponsored for education instead, and exposed to more of the corruption than before. Choosing to defy his sponsor costs him more than he could ever fathom and sets a dark path ahead of him.

The Wraith’s Memory follows Chiron’s beginnings and walks the path leading him to his future, and the one who might hold the path to his redemption.

My Thoughts:

This book is a fast-paced dark fantasy that will keep the reader engaged. The story follows Chiron as he seeks a way to save the village of Aritehn while finding his way to his destiny. The story is well-written and the author brings to us characters who are worth reading about and knowing. There are many unexpected twists and turns in this fantasy adventure that brings to us a world with wraiths, wyverns and many other creatures.

It took me some time to get into the book, but on pursuing ahead, I found the book to be quite enjoyable. The story will make you love some characters, hate some and then again re-think your opinions of them. This book is a good fit for those who love a good fantasy fiction novel! The author has done a good job with the descriptions and world setting. It is complex and well developed. I am grateful to the author and Booktasters for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book!

Book Review: The Sigil: A Novel – Part I by Shakeil Kanish

About the Book:

The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

A tragic death.
A dangerous obsession.
A desperate mission.

Lake’s brother Devlin was murdered right in front of him. Simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, does Lake think Devlin knew he was going to die before they ever set foot in the gas station that night? As he obsesses over his brother’s death, Lake begins to uncover a hidden world full of forbidden magic and growing danger. Now he’s stuck, caught between the world that his brother was meant for and his own. Lake is beginning to realize that no one and nowhere is safe.

Nova Rathers may not be especially powerful in the Mage world but she makes up for it with a magical bag of snacks and a body constructed by the Gods to slay. Desperate to be more than her lineage, she finds herself teamed up with a group of misfits and, in her mind, the weakest creature of all – a gida…a powerless human. Together, they start to unravel the lies that built their world and continue to hold it hostage. Nova’s last year at Breyburn Academe was never going to be easy but she had no idea that it could ever get this bad.

Lake, Nova, and their newfound friends are about to find the truth behind what has been hunting them. But knowing is only half the battle. Even if they survive, will the rest of the world remain standing?

 

My Thoughts:

The Sigil is an interesting fast-paced novel that throws the reader right into the story. We are introduced to Dev and Lake, brothers, who share a unique bond. The story focuses on Lake and initially his insecurities especially when compared to his brother. Little did he know how much his brother sacrificed and how much he loved him. The story picks up once Dev is murdered with Lake trying to find the reason behind all this. This leads him to discover a hidden academy where everyone had some form of magic.

The author introduces us to some very interesting characters and I enjoyed how each one of them interacted with the other. They are strong together and this is shown as the plot progresses. With a single minded focus on the plot, the author ploughs ahead, taking Lake and us readers along for the ride. With a threat to the human world looming, Lake being threatened to be removed from the academy as he does not have any magic, there is a lot going on. In the midst of it, he forms a bond with Stone. I love how the author delicately handles Lake’s love life and how accepting his parents are of his choices.

The beauty is in the writing and the character emotions and the unexpected twists and turns. I truly enjoyed this book and found it to be quite unique even in the world of magic. I do recommend this book and look forward to reading more in this series!

WWW WEDNESDAY – 24/03/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

My current reads are more focused on feel good romances. I am taking a small break from reading serious and emotionally heavy books!

 

What did you recently finish reading?

My Mother's Secret

Max and the Spice Thieves

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. This is my usual statement, but I am planning to see where my mood takes me! I will pick my next reads based on that! 😀

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!