Size Doesn’t Matter (72): The Hawkweed Prophecy; The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (72): The Hawkweed Prophecy; The Secret Ingredient of WishesThe Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull
Published by Weinstein Books on September 6, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.

Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.

Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?

I picked up The Hawkweed Prophecy on a total whim at ALA. I’d seen the cover and put it in Cover Snark, but otherwise I’d heard absolutely nothing about this book, which probably relates to the fact that I’ve never heard of this publisher. Still, a fantasy with three strong heroines? Sounded good to me.

On a lot of levels, The Hawkweed Prophecy very much delivers, and I’m glad that I took a chance on it. Irena Brignull’s writing is lovely. It’s not every book where I start reading and really give thought to how beautiful the actual prose is. The plot, though simple and predictable, is largely pleasing. I like how strongly female the cast is, and that Ember never gets shamed by the book itself for not being magical.

However, the romance in this book really sucks. That may sound harsh but honestly. There’s one teen boy of note in the book, a homeless hottie named Leo. Poppy meets him first and immediately falls in love. Then Poppy introduces him to Ember, who immediately falls in love. Sorrel follows Ember and spots Leo, and she too immediately falls in love (or at least obsession) with him. Seriously? And then the girls spend the whole book subtly fighting for him. To make matters worse, View Spoiler »

I’d love to know what this book could have been without Leo as a character. Or, perhaps, if there had been a romance between Poppy and Ember, with Sorrel getting the guy. As it is, it’s a pretty fantasy and worth a try if you’re into witchy books.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif the craft weirdos

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (72): The Hawkweed Prophecy; The Secret Ingredient of WishesThe Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell
Published by Thomas Dunne on September 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Magical Realism
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

No part of me can resist magical realism or a cover with delicious-looking food on it, so, when I got a review request for The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, I leaped for it basically like I would leap for dessert. I hoped I would get something sweet and romantic like a Sarah Addison Allen book, and that’s what I got.

Fair warning, though, that the heroine’s more screwed up than you would see in an Allen book, at least based on the ones I’ve read. Rachel has the ability to make people’s wishes come true, including her own, and, while she loved it at first, at age ten, she learned about that whole maxim of being careful what you wish for when she wished her brother away. He disappeared, leaving no one behind who remembered him but her. Her insistence that she had a younger brother broke her parents’ marriage apart, got her sent to intensive therapy, and ended in her mom committing suicide. This is all revealed really early on, and I think it’s best to be prepared.

All of that incredibly dark and sad stuff aside, the tone of this book is just what I’d hoped. It’s all over a decade in Rachel’s past, so, while she’s still buried in guilt, it’s not an immediate sense of heaviness. Without it, Rachel’s reluctance to trust people and her fear of her gift wouldn’t make so much sense. She runs out of her home in Memphis when she accidentally grants a single wish, and she doesn’t tell her best friend she’s going.

Rachel ends up in Nowhere, one of those magical little southern towns, where she meets an old woman who can do something similar: she bakes magic pies. Catch is fantastic, and I loved the way these two bonded. In Nowhere, she finally finds answers, acceptance, and love. The ship is super cute, and I really delighted in the cast of characters. Though these people eat nothing but pie, I swear. I would basically murder for pie at this point.

Make sure to buy or bake some pie before you sit down and read this one or it’s torturous, but it was just what I hoped it would be.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif pie

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One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (72): The Hawkweed Prophecy; The Secret Ingredient of Wishes”

  1. Well, The Hawkweed Prophecy was on my maybe list, and this review pushes it pretty close to a definite yes. Though the bit about the romance is concerning.

    Speaking of witchy books, I saw a while back that you DNF’d How to Hang a Witch. I ended up reading and enjoying it, so I’m curious why it didn’t work for you?

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