I received a copy of this book from the author to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own, are honest, and are based on my observations while reading this novel.
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Kater Cheek’s book, Witch’s Jewel is the first of the 6 book series. Kit Melbourne works at her brother’s coffee shop while also pursuing her artistic career. She inherits a powerful bindi from her uncle and promises not to sell it (even though it is worth a lot of money and she never really even knew her uncle). Little does she know, many will seek to get their hands on the gem and they are willing to kill for it. Luckily she has karate, friends, and vampire allies to aide her, but her promise to not sell the Bindi will prove difficult to abide by as she tries to find a way to stay alive.
I found Witch’s Jewel to be an excellent first start to a YA genre & fantasy genre book series. My feelings mixed with some good things to say and some not so good things. Despite my feelings, I found it to be an amazing read worthy of anyone who enjoys reading YA genre novels. Today, in my book review, I am going to go over the details of the book, what I liked, what I didn’t like, and my overall star rating for the start of this Kit Melbourne Series.
Book Review | Witch’s Jewel
- Witch’s Jewel
- Kit Melbourne Series Book One
- Author: Kater Cheek
- Fantasy Genre & YA Genre
- Release Date: April 15, 2020
- Format: Ebook and Paperback
- 273 pages
- The following summary was pulled from the Goodreads description of Witch’s Jewel:
Kit Melbourne longs to quit her brother’s coffee shop to pursue her artistic dreams. And despite the temptation to sell the sought-after enchanted gem she inherited from her uncle, she promises her family to protect it at all costs. But when her brother’s tea-leaf reading predicts her imminent death, she’s terrified to discover those who want it will kill to make it theirs.Forced to dig into her late relative’s murky past, Kit is doubly shocked when she learns the artifact’s mighty power cannot be transferred unless its caretaker is dead. But despite her command of karate and fierce vampiric allies, her attackers show no sign of giving up their relentless lethal pursuit. Has Kit’s vow not to sell sealed her doom? Witch’s Jewel is the first book in the engrossing Kit Melbourne urban fantasy series. If you like strong female leads, high-stakes action, and nail-biting plots, you’ll love Kater Cheek’s enthralling tale. Buy Witch’s Jewel to dive into an epic world of Pagan magic today!
About The Author
Bio pulled from Kater Cheek’s website
Kater Cheek has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Washington, and is a graduate of Clarion San Diego, class of 2007.
For her day job, Kater works as a writer in the internal marketing department for a giant global corporation. She also does freelance writing and editing on occasion.
Kater has sold short fiction to over a dozen venues, including Weird Tales, Fantasy Magazine, and some foreign textbooks you haven’t heard of. She has contributions in The Steampunk User’s Manual, The Living Dead, and Last Drink Bird Head. Please see the Other Works for links to her novels.
Kater is also an artist with more than twenty years of experience, primarily in sculptural and utilitarian art. When not writing, she throws pots, binds books, and plays with molten glass. She has folk danced professionally, taught English in Japan for two years, and spent five months backpacking alone through Europe.
She has learned six languages and forgotten four of them. She has brown belts in two different martial arts. She practices circus arts, does spooky-accurate tarot readings, and is an award-winning public speaker.
What I Liked
Good news or the bad news first? Well, I always start with the good news so I will do the same in this book review. Witch’s Jewel had some newness to it that I liked. It is difficult to bring something new to the table in a fantasy genre novel but Kater Cheek added some flair and creativity to her book that I think is worth paying attention to.
There were a lot of emotions on both the positive and negative end of the scale but I particularly enjoyed the tidbits of comedy that were thrown in. I also really enjoyed that there was a nonstereotypical female lead. Lastly, my favorite part about Witch’s Jewel was Kater Cheeks’ version of the classic mystical creatures we all know about.
Witch’s Jewel is filled with Pagan Magic, the looming air of murder, and even internal and financial struggles that are all too easy to relate to. However, amidst the darkness, there was some light. Comedic light that is. I found myself laughing at some of the things that Kit Melbourne thought or what Fenwick said.
I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but that happened more than once in this novel. Don’t you love it when something in a book makes you react out loud? One of my favorite laughing moments was when Kit thought the following:
When we left the windows open we had to endure our upstairs neighbors’ passionate arguments and equally passionate reconciliationsKater Cheek; Witch’s Jewel
I promise this isn’t a spoiler. This quote was so funny to me that I turned to my boyfriend and read it to him. He’s not as easily made to laugh as me but when I read it he did smirk. So, I would consider that a win. Books like this are intense most of the time, so it was nice to read through some lighter moments so to speak.
In recent years there have been several female leads coming from movies and books. Still, I think it does not compare to the amount of male-led books and movies. Male led books and movies are original, with many of the characters differing from one to the next. I often find that female-led books and movies tend to be quite similar.
So, I liked seeing that Kit was the lead and center of attention of the entire book. She was also completely different from the typical female role which was new. She doesn’t wear makeup, goes to a dojo, and isn’t one for very feminine clothes or accessories. Basically, she’s like the tomboy many of us were in grade/middle school.
She still had many feminine attributes to her though like romantic-type thoughts and notice to detail. It was a great mix of being feminine while also being herself. I thought of this as being a great way to show young women that we don’t all have to look or think the same or aspire to look or act a specific way. If you like books with original female leads, then you should check out my book review of Mrs. Poe here.
Kater Cheek Has A New Take on Mystical Creatures
In addition to the role of women being expanded upon, new fantasy limits were reached as well. In many fantasy novels, the same mystical creatures are written about in mostly the same way. I’m talking about the overabundance of vampires and werewolves.
What I liked about Witch’s Jewel was that while there were vampires, there was also a plethora of new mystical creatures. Some of the ones mentioned I had never heard of before. The book also changed what vampires were like as well making everything seem brand new. I liked learning what the mystical creatures were like in this book as compared to all the other books out there.
Having a new perspective to read was felt like being reintroduced to the fantasy genre. It was a breath of fresh air that I didn’t realize I needed until I read Witch’s Jewel. I really appreciate the author and her creativity for this.
If you couldn’t tell, all the reasons I loved Witch’s Jewel were because of her creativity. This solely is the reason I will be continuing the series. I’m not a big YA genre fan, but the creativity and fantasy element give enough of a reason to continue the series.
What I Didn’t Like About Witch’s Jewel
Okay, so I have given you the good news. Now it is time for the not so good news. In every book, there are parts of it I would never change, and there are other parts I wish I could change. So, to keep it fair, I wrote three great things about Witch’s Jewel and I will write three not so great things about the book.
Pretty early on in the book, I found that I was going to be able to predict a lot of what was going to happen. This turned out to be mostly true. There was one curve-ball that I was surprised by but the rest of it was very predictable.
I think the reason behind this was that it was written in the first person. This is an author’s creative choice but because I as a reader was listening to Kit Melbourne, I found it easier to know what could or would happen than if it had been written in third-person.
In the past, I have read plenty of first-person books and not all of them were easy to predict. I just find them easier to predict than other written points of view. I have hope though as there are 5 other books. This could mean that the further into the series someone is, the less predictable it becomes. I can not say as I have only read Witch’s Jewel thus far.
Book Cover Resemblance
The book cover completely threw me through a loop!
I think this is my most disappointing part of the book. It isn’t a bad cover. In fact, it is really pretty. My problem comes from how Kit Melbourne looks on the cover. To me, she looks nothing like how she is described.
Earlier I spoke on her in the “Female Lead” portion and I mentioned her looks slightly. The book describes her as a more tomboyish, non-makeup-wearing, karate dojo going woman.
On the cover, she looks rather petite, wears makeup, and looks more feminine than tomboyish. She looks great on the cover, but I pictured something completely different as I was reading.
Having this conflict makes it hard to connect the two together.
If after I read Witch’s Jewel I was told to describe her, the cover is not how the picture would turn out. I could be wrong though and you might completely disagree with me. You will just have to read the book yourself and then tell me what you think.
Alright, my last point of bad news to the Witch’s Jewel. This isn’t really a horrible point depending on how you look at it. This book is perfect for teenagers or those whose favorite books to read are within the YA genre. I have a sister who is 16 that would love this book actually. The problem I find is that I don’t think it would catch the attention of many adult readers.
For adults, it is an okay read. For teenagers, it is a wonderful read. If not, fantastic! It was so imaginative which I think is perfect for a novel that integrates the fantasy genre with the YA genre. It just wasn’t up to par for me because YA genres tend to be predictable by nature from my experience.
Star Rating and Final Thoughts
I would recommend Witch’s Jewel to anyone who loves the YA genre and is looking for a new series to start. Kater Cheek heaves readers into her fantasy world full of magic, mystery, and murderous ploys.
I loved that there was a female lead in this book but having it written in the first person made it slightly predictable for me. This could be because I read a lot though. If you like books like the Charmed, Twilight, or the Percy Jackson book series, then Witch’s Jewel will fall right in line.
I liked the mystery behind Kits uncle and the newness to mystical creatures like vampires, faeries, and even some new creatures I have never heard of before. Kater Cheek did a good job of taking the stereotypes out of paganism and the fantasy world.
Too many times I have read the same version of mystical creatures, so it was nice to see a new take. It was well written and perfect for YA genre and Fantasy genre bookworms. However, it may not be able to catch the attention of adult readers. Because of this and the predictability, I give Witch’s Jewel 3.5/5 stars.
Let’s Talk About It!
Okay, to all my fantasy and YA readers, would you read Witch’s Jewel? Today I gave you details on the book, who the author is, told you what I liked and didn’t like, and gave my star rating. I really did enjoy this read even though it is in the YA genre. I think you will love it too! My final curious thought and question to you is this. If you inherited a powerful bindi, would you keep your promise or would you sell it? Let me know in the comments below!
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