Sunday, July 30, 2023

✱✱Book Review✱✱ The Poison Garden Series by Jennifer Allis Provost


When bleeding hearts appear, what does it mean for seers?

Eli's doing her best to run Nine Lives Investigations, keep the local witch clans happy as the new Mistress of Seers, and navigate her newfound closeness with Dan. Although, she's not really leading anything, and truth be told she's fine with the supernatural community looking after itself. What's not fine is that she and Tessa have been tracking Nathaniel Beauclaire for months, only to hit one dead end after another.

When bleeding hearts start popping up all over town-out of season, mind you-Eli wonders what the universe is trying to tell her. Before she can figure out what the plants mean, someone threatens the clan elders, a group of (lame) ghost hunters begin dogging her every move, and she and Dan are attacked by a demon. Worst of all, each and every clue points toward Eli's ex, Amir, a power-mad seer she hasn't seen in years and never wants to see again, as the mastermind behind every piece of bad news.

Amir's ultimate goal becomes known, Eli hatches a mad plan to stop him for good-then a family secret comes out which could derail everything, including her newfound leadership of the seers. Will she fight for the title she never wanted, or will Amir take everything from her yet again?

Eli never wanted to lead the seers, but she's sure as hell not going down without a fight.

Momma Says: 3 stars⭐⭐⭐

After reading Oleander (book 1 in The Poison Garden series), I had some pretty big expectations for Bleeding Hearts. Now, don't get me wrong - the book is good. The writing is smooth, the story flows well, and the world-building is done organically throughout the story. We also get a more developed mystery this time around, which is great. Nevertheless, some things just fell a little short of the mark for me. I loved the banter between Dan and Eli in Oleander, and while it's nice to see their relationship grow, I really missed the wit and humor in their dialogue. The secondary characters didn't feel as vibrant either, which was disappointing. I realize that things need to progress, and characters need to continue to grow and develop, but I'd have liked to see some elements continue here while still allowing for character growth.
Those are things that I missed in this book, and it's likely that it's all me and not the book, so don't let my 2 cents worth deter you. It's still a solid story, and I'd say urban fantasy readers will really like this series. 

Eli was born to be the Mistress of Seers. Too bad everyone doesn't feel that way.

Eli's bid to be named the Mistress of Seers was a disaster. Those who are witchborn cannot lead the seers, and Eli's just learned that her mother was a witch. But that's not why the clan elders won't follow her—it's because of her newly discovered curse. Instead, they pick her rival and ex-lover, Amir, as their leader.

Since Amir blew up her apartment right before he claimed her rightful position, Eli's been staying at Dan's place. Things are moving fast between them—maybe too fast—then Eli's life goes from bad to worse and she doesn't have time to give in to her insecurities. Dan's job is on the line, Tessa searches for a way to save the witch elders from Amir's cruel plans, and Eli struggles to understand where her curse came from. All of the clues they uncover point toward Eli's mother.

Eli tries not to think about her mother too often. After all, the woman had abandoned Eli as a child, and in a psychiatric ward at that. But Eli needs answers, so she probes her family's history. Along the way she learns that she's more closely entwined with the local witch cans than she ever realized. Then Amir begins killing witches—some with a slow descent into madness, others publicly and messily—and Eli realizes she's out of options. She reaches out to her first enemy, someone who tried to control Eli's destiny before she was ever born: Sarah Allwood, the witch who started it all.

But, what could Sarah have to do with Eli's mother? Eli hasn't seen her in twenty years… then Eli learns that the last time her mother visited her, she had a thornapple blossom in her hair.

Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jennifer Allis Provost really brings her A game with Thornapple. The story has great pacing and plenty of excitement. Dan and Eli are figuring things out as a couple, and we get a pretty thorough gander at Eli's past. The characters have a vibrancy about them, and it's easy to root for the good guys. On the flip side of that, the baddie is pretty darned unlikable, which is what I expect. World-building amps up a bit, and we get some exciting additions to this entertaining world. To be honest, I finished book 2 of The Poison Garden series with mixed feelings, but this one brings me back to what I was hoping for with this series. This is the kind of story you can lose yourself in, making for a nice little getaway without leaving your favorite reading spot. 

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