Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft – Mindy Klasky

girls guide to witchcraft cover

“They don’t teach witchcraft in library school.”

Every once in a while I feel the need for some light reading – often while I’m slogging through something heavier – and recently I’ve been more inclined to dabble with genres I would previously had recoiled from in horror: namely, chicklit and paranormal romance. Yeah o_O

GGtW was an Amazon freebie I must have downloaded ages ago, attracted by the mix of magic and libraries. If I have to put up with some soppy girlie stuff along the way, so be it, right?

Jane is a librarian, and a bit of a mouse. I’m sad to say she actually does the whole removes-glasses-gets-haircut-becomes-hot (and fyi you do NOT start wearing contact lenses without weeks of pain!) over the course of the book (hardly a spoiler), but at least it’s through her own volition, more or less.

Viewed in the right frame of mind, it is actually quite nice to see her starting to like herself more and develop some confidence, as she is a bit sad at the start of the book, pining after her ‘Imaginary Boyfriend’ (her words) a year after being dumped by her fiance. She has the cheek to be a bit catty about her best friend’s military-like plan for churning through first dates, especially as bf is in the story mainly to be there every single time for our ‘heroine’.

Talking of, it’s not long before Jane discovers the collection of magic books in her new basement, summons a familiar by mistake, and goes on to have a few magical disasters over the course of the book. First mistake? Casting a love spell…! o_O

It’s hard to be wholly positive about this book, as it is utter fluff, but I confess I did rather enjoy it. It’s very daft, very VERY light reading, and exactly what I was looking for to balance the slog of the other tome I’m currently struggling with. Are there flaws? Of course – and a whole heap of cliches too!

Recommended? Urm, probably not to the tastes of anyone I know – although, I suspect y’all would be keeping this as a guilty secret anyway 😉

Kindle: 432 pages / 30 chapters
First published: 2006
Series: Jane Maddison book 1
Read from 25th June – 3rd July 2017

My rating: 6/10

The Undiscovered Goddess – Michelle Colston

“Stylish but Shallow: The upside is you have great taste. The downside is you’re completely shallow.”

When Holly gets the above result from a Cosmo personality test, it somehow hits her harder than the hundreds she’s taken before. And although she’s already started and discarded dozens of self-improvement schemes, this time she’s determined to stick to one, even if it involves death by yoga, herbal supplement-induced diarrhea, or – heavens forbid! – getting outside.

I confess, I picked this up and put it back down quite quickly some time ago – the opening is really not very enthralling. I couldn’t quite figure out if it was fiction (in which case I thought the opening read terribly!) or a non-fiction, in which case the style is a bit more forgivable: first person, confessional-type thing.

Sticking with it – one of my New Year’s resolutions being to finish stuff! – it quickly gets much better, and yes, it’s fiction. It turned out to be an amusing pastiche of self-help books, told through one woman’s journal as she works her way through a life-changing program. Holly, a housewife and mother of three, is living a self-confessed ‘perfect’ life, and yet so miserable she’s a borderline alcoholic with binge-eating issues and a possible child-neglect charge in her future. Likeable? Heck no. But, she is self-deprecating and funny enough in her journals that I didn’t utterly hate her.

Of course, there’s a massive element of wish-fulfillment going on here, and that runs the risk of being irritating. Holly suffers her fair share of disasters, of course, but you know exactly how this is going to work out.

And yet… I still really enjoyed the read! This is so not my choice of genre, but I was obviously in the mood for some light-hearted fluff. More, despite the utter hippy-tastic nature of the book-within-book, I couldn’t help but wish that I, too, could find a self-help tome to make my life that much shinier…! 😉

Rather disappointing that the author hasn’t written anything else, as she has an easy to read style – once you’re past those opening paragraphs, so stick with it!

NetGalley eARC: 327 pages in diary format
First published: 2012
Series: none
Read from 3rd-9th January 2017

My rating: 7/10