Witches of Ash and Ruin
Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that's impossible to put down.

Witches of Ash and Ruin Details

TitleWitches of Ash and Ruin
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherFreeform
Rating
GenreFantasy, LGBT, Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches

Witches of Ash and Ruin Review

  • Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an early copy of this book to review*4.5/5 starsMy god, this book. I knew I was going to like it - it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year - but MY GOD.So, straight off the bat we have Irish witchy vibes, following multiple characters of the LGBTQ+ community (bisexual, lesbian), the main character living with OCD, and the angsty hate-to-love trope. Are you in yet? Because that's all I needed to know beforehand. And while that may sound like there's a lot going on, trust I received an early copy of this book to review*4.5/5 starsMy god, this book. I knew I was going to like it - it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year - but MY GOD.So, straight off the bat we have Irish witchy vibes, following multiple characters of the LGBTQ+ community (bisexual, lesbian), the main character living with OCD, and the angsty hate-to-love trope. Are you in yet? Because that's all I needed to know beforehand. And while that may sound like there's a lot going on, trust me when I say it works . Everything about this book just felt right. The witchy atmosphere was instantly believable, and one I fell into without a problem. If anything, I wanted more of it - just slightly more about the general small town community she lived in and its affect on her life. The severity of her secrets being revealed in this conservative town didn't quite reach the mark for me, though with most of the book spent in a separate area almost away from the town, it's easy to see why this might've happened. Still, I was drawn into this book entirely. It especially helped that the relations between characters were just so interesting, ranging from friendly banter and sarcasm, to angsty glares and protective covens. Without question, I wholeheartedly believed these characters were exactly as described, and couldn't help falling into their story.And what a story it was. Magic and murder mystery? I'm sold. I adored the Celtic mythology ties to this whole gritty murder plot. I'll say right now, it's dark. It's bloody, there's mutilation involved, rituals and sacrifices and everything. But my god is it written well for that dark tone. There were moments where I felt genuine chills run down my spine, reading scenes that sounded like something from a horror movie. It's been a long time since a book pulled that reaction from me, let me tell you. But equally so, there's enough lightness and soft, family/friend scenes to pull the book out of being downright horrific, and it's that balance that toyed with my emotions and made me love the book. I feel like not enough people are talking about this, despite it being what so many people are looking for. So if you're reading this and like the sound of Celtic mythology, Irish witches, angsty relationships with the added sprinkling of bisexual and OCD rep, all I can say is READ THIS BOOK!TW: self harm, OCD, panic attacks
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  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    "Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology" I'm listening? "Bisexual MC with OCD" YES??? "Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology" — I'm listening? "Bisexual MC with OCD" — YES???
  • NAT.orious reads ☽
    January 1, 1970
    Wait, what? This book features a modern witchcraft x Celtic mythology crossover AND OCD AND bisexuality? Em, excuse the fuck out of you for not being published earlier???
  • Ashley Daviau
    January 1, 1970
    This book is absolutely amazing! I mean queer witches, serial killers and Ireland, thats one hell of a great combo in my books and screams READ ME to me. I was instantly hooked from the beginning, I mean how could I not be considering the subject matter, its like it was written with me in mind! I love that it features queer witches, its so refreshing to see featured more and more and especially in a YA novel, I think thats really important. I really loved how snarky and sassy and dark the This book is absolutely amazing! I mean queer witches, serial killers and Ireland, that’s one hell of a great combo in my books and screams READ ME to me. I was instantly hooked from the beginning, I mean how could I not be considering the subject matter, it’s like it was written with me in mind! I love that it features queer witches, it’s so refreshing to see featured more and more and especially in a YA novel, I think that’s really important. I really loved how snarky and sassy and dark the characters were, it made it so easy to relate with them and care about them. It also got a big plus from me for taking a bit of a dark turn with the serial killer plot line , I love when things turn dark and sinister and dangerous. Long story short, I adored this book and highly recommend it! Plus, look at that STUNNING cover!!! ***I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and this in no way changes or affects my review.***
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  • E. Latimer
    January 1, 1970
    My mom gives this book 5 stars!JK, JK. This book will inevitably horrify my mother and she will pray for my soul (love you, mom!)In all seriousness, I'm SO excited for my witchlings to be out in the world, and since ARC copies are just now popping up in the wild, I wanted to do a short content warning for anyone who might need or want it:Trigger/Content Warning List:-Homophobia and forced outing (forced outing isn't on page/occurs prior to story).-Mention of/alluding to conversion therapy. My mom gives this book 5 stars!JK, JK. This book will inevitably horrify my mother and she will pray for my soul (love you, mom!)In all seriousness, I'm SO excited for my witchlings to be out in the world, and since ARC copies are just now popping up in the wild, I wanted to do a short content warning for anyone who might need or want it:Trigger/Content Warning List:-Homophobia and forced outing (forced outing isn't on page/occurs prior to story).-Mention of/alluding to conversion therapy.-Self-harm/blood magic.- Mention of rape.-Alluding to/mention of physical/emotional abuseAlso, this may go without saying but I'm gonna say it anyways, because I never thought about this going into other books and ended up regretting it: If you have actual somatic OCD this book has the potential to trigger TF out of you. Unless you have a solid handle on your mental health going into this, PLEASE go in cautiously. WAR deals with health related obsessions, specifically breathing. If you have OCD and are unsure if this book will trigger you, please feel free to message me and ask. Stay witchy, my friends.x0x0x.
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  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    For some reason I'm not connecting with this like I thought I would. I think sadly, this just isn't the read for me. I do love the witches and Celtic lore though, which is why I first picked it up. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • alana ♡
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5Here for the bisexual witches, the fast paced plot, and anxiety rep but I need more world-building and answers. The only reason I knew this book took place in Ireland was from the synopsis and just the thought of the missed opportunity on how atmospheric this could have been is truly TRAGIC.
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  • mahana
    January 1, 1970
    review on my blog ✧ "Dayna was the only thing that made any of this bullshit worth it." So many people added this because I gave this 5 stars when I finished it (and was inarguably on a high after finishing such an intense book), but I decided to lower my rating after a few days of ruminating. First of all, I literally DESPISE the people saying "you never give anything 5 stars, so I added this because of you!" You literally do nothing but make me feel like shit. Also, most of the time I love — review on my blog ✧ "Dayna was the only thing that made any of this bullshit worth it." So many people added this because I gave this 5 stars when I finished it (and was inarguably on a high after finishing such an intense book), but I decided to lower my rating after a few days of ruminating. First of all, I literally DESPISE the people saying "you never give anything 5 stars, so I added this because of you!" You literally do nothing but make me feel like shit. Also, most of the time I love things everyone else hates. Therefore, please just make up your own minds about whether you want to read something because I'm really, really sick of people relying on me to determine if something is good. 98% of the time you dislike it then make a huge deal out of it to me and I hate hearing about it. I know this seems really, really petty but I don't like it at all and this is my PSA asking all of you to please stop.A coven of witches and a true crime fanatic notice a killing spree reminiscent of a historical serial killer repeating in their small Irish town, Carman. Dayna, the daughter of the reverend, recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed, while her absent mother who was forcibly removed to a behavioural camp returns. Along with her best friend Reagan, she wants to ascend as a witch. Meanwhile, Meiner and Cora arrive in town to help the other coven. Between the two, there's a power struggle over who will lead the coven after Grandma King dies. Samuel, Dayna's ex-boyfriend, is a true crime fanatic, scrolling through forums and seeking information on the Butcher. His thorough information proves to be useful to the coven in uncovering information on the serial killer and his targets - who happen to be other witches. The reason I enjoyed this so much was how action-packed and interesting it was. Anyone who knows me is aware I get very bored with fantasy quickly, but there wasn't a single moment I wasn't engaged in this one. The last 40%, for example, is non-stop and keeps you glued to the pages in anticipation of the outcome. With the fantasy books I've read recently, I've found the complications towards the end are too quick and lack proper explanation, but Witches of Ash and Ruin is fight after fight after fight after battle after plot twist. It's probably one of the most engaging and intense complication scenes I've ever read. There was also wonderful diversity for a book set in a small-town of Ireland. Dayna, the main character out of six leads, has somatic OCD and Meiner insinuates she has something similar that she takes medication for. I'm not sure if the mental illness representation was #ownvoices or accurate/respectful, but there were discussions about the stigma surrounding medication as treatment and realistic depictions of panic attacks. Of course, Dayna is bisexual and Meiner describes herself as qu**r. They're in an f/f romance with each other, while Meiner and Cora briefly dated in the past. It's not exactly an f/f/f love triangle since there's no reciprocation from those in the f/f romance, but there's jealousy on Cora's part. In addition, Reagan, Dayna's best friend and also a witch, is Nigerian and has two mothers (one of which is Nigerian too). Dayna and Meiner's romance is, unfortunately, another one that suffers from "f/f fantasy that takes well-over half the book for them to begin developing a romance" syndrome. They sort of have a hate to love relationship since they argued when they first met, but it's never an intense dislike. We need a subgenre of that trope called "annoyance to lovers". There wasn't much tension where you - as the reader - were desperate for them to finally be together, but they were undeniably sweet when they finally overcame their barriers. The worldbuilding in Witches of Ash and Ruin is intense and enthralling throughout the entire novel. I was glued to the page and found I couldn't stop reading. The last 30% of the book is so intense that, despite being dog-tired, I stayed up late to fly through it. As I stated, it's one of the most action-packed final sections of a book I've ever read. The action is non-stop and engaging. In addition, I've discovered a lot of fantasy books don't necessarily describe the fight scenes in detail and I'm left confused, but I could grasp everything that was happening in this one. There's even a major cliffhanger, which I think suggests there'll be a sequel (at least I hope so because that would be torturous to leave it like that).I liked all of the characters and their entwining relationships since this was set in a town where everyone knows everyone. Despite there being about five perspectives, each could be distinguished as separate voices. Some might think Dayna's relationship with Sam - where she essentially uses his lingering feelings for her to her own advantage - was pointless, but he was included as a character to further the Butcher plot and established complications in Dayna's past. Moreover, I liked Dayna's emerging relationship with her mother, but it's incredibly difficult to describe without spoiling. Let's just say: I'm a fan of weird things. I love strange characters. I love when characters don't act like normal human beings. If that's something you're not particularly a fan of, maybe this won't be for you. Witches of Ash and Ruin is a fresh take on the witches genre in YA paranormal fiction and was such an enjoyable read! If you're expecting something like These Witches Don't Burn this definitely isn't the book for you. It focuses more on Celtic mythology, gods, triggering content, and is a lot gorier. I'd recommend with caution, but it was still an enjoyable read for me!rep: bisexual mc with OCD, sapphic mc with anxiety(?), sapphic mc, Nigerian side characterstws: homophobia, self-harm, mentions of rape, forced outing
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    Dnf'ed at pg 59Maybe it was me but it kinda felt like I had been thrown into the middle of the book instead of at the beginning.I ended up DNF'ing "Witches of Ruin and Ash" because I felt like I was missing a part of the book. I mean, the beginning of the book felt very abrupt/rushed to me, it would have been cool to have been eased a bit more onto the story, and have had more info about the world, the characters, etc. I ended up feeling like I was missing a lot of background and then the Dnf'ed at pg 59Maybe it was me but it kinda felt like I had been thrown into the middle of the book instead of at the beginning.I ended up DNF'ing "Witches of Ruin and Ash" because I felt like I was missing a part of the book. I mean, the beginning of the book felt very abrupt/rushed to me, it would have been cool to have been eased a bit more onto the story, and have had more info about the world, the characters, etc. I ended up feeling like I was missing a lot of background and then the relationship felt like forced/instaloved to me, so... DNF it was. A pity, because I had big expectations for this one...
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy*Rating* 3.5*Thoughts*E. Latimer's Witches of Ash and Ruin tells the tale of 17-year old Dayna Walsh and those around her as a serial killer enters her peaceful small town of Carman, Ireland and creates chaos. Dayna is a witch and so is her friend Reagan who apparently has two mothers. Dayna is the daughter of a local reverend. She recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed. On top of that, her absent mother *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy*Rating* 3.5*Thoughts*E. Latimer's Witches of Ash and Ruin tells the tale of 17-year old Dayna Walsh and those around her as a serial killer enters her peaceful small town of Carman, Ireland and creates chaos. Dayna is a witch and so is her friend Reagan who apparently has two mothers. Dayna is the daughter of a local reverend. She recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed. On top of that, her absent mother Fiona returns looking worse than when she left and she struggles to also deal with OCD. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...
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  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    That ending??? Uh spare sequel please??
  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    You know, I just clicked on this to make fun of the typical YA book title, but then you had me at ancient Irish gods. You know, I just clicked on this to make fun of the typical YA book title, but then you had me at “ancient Irish gods.”
  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for the arc.With a cover and a title like this, what can go wrong? A lot.Five POVs. Subpar twists. Way too much happening for me to focus on one thing at a time. I felt like my brain was knocking around in there and I couldn't get focused. Nothing truly shocking happens since everything is sort of upfront and in your face. I did not feel connected to the characters or the story. There was so much anger and so much confusion in the characters that in the tiny bits of Thank you to NetGalley for the arc.With a cover and a title like this, what can go wrong? A lot.Five POVs. Subpar twists. Way too much happening for me to focus on one thing at a time. I felt like my brain was knocking around in there and I couldn't get focused. Nothing truly shocking happens since everything is sort of upfront and in your face. I did not feel connected to the characters or the story. There was so much anger and so much confusion in the characters that in the tiny bits of breaks, it felt forced. Not to mention one POV was completely forgotten by the end of the book as if he didn't matter, which I guess he really didn't if I had to choose. That being said, this story did have amazing Celtic folklore and I loved the setting and the family dynamics. I felt a bit of The Craft and maybe some Sabrina, but we didn't get too in-depth to feel that connection I did with characters from both of those examples. This may seem like a scathing review, but it's not. I don't think this was the book for me and others may enjoy it immensely.
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  • Tracy Frenette
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book!! Witches and Gods and a serial killer or two or maybe three. Lots of action..this will be a favorite of mine this year I'm sure.
  • Leo
    January 1, 1970
    You had me at modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology.Also the mc is bisexual and has sensory OCD, and am I sensing a possible sapphic romance here? You had me at “modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology”.Also the mc is bisexual and has sensory OCD, and am I sensing a possible sapphic romance here?
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  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
    January 1, 1970
    wait...queer, magic and Ireland...did someone clone Moira Fowley-Doyle?! Please! Please! I need more of this kinda content. IT SOUNDS LIKE MOIRA FOWLEY-DOYLE AND KERRI MANISCALCO'S BRAIN CHILD! I DIDN'T KNOW I NEEDED THIS BUT I DO! I DO!
  • Gretal
    January 1, 1970
    My biggest gripe is why did this book have 5 povs? It didn't need 5, and it was frankly really annoying. I think I might have liked it if there were less povs, but as the book is, I just couldn't like it and really can't recommend it. I'm so glad I'm done reading it.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Im flipping my shit over every detail in the description for this book. I CANNOTWAITTOREADTHIS!Witches? OCD rep? Bisexual rep? Stuff and stuff and stuff? I dont remember it all bc I got too excited but OML i need this in my life. I’m flipping my shit over every detail in the description for this book. I CANNOTWAITTOREADTHIS!Witches? OCD rep? Bisexual rep? Stuff and stuff and stuff? I don’t remember it all bc I got too excited but OML i need this in my life.
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  • Kimberly (novelhaus)
    January 1, 1970
    I had some difficulty with this one. The concept was what pulled me in. Plus, you see that killer cover and title? I was extremely hyped to read it and that may have been part of its undoing for me.There were so many povs. Now, normally I don't mind that so long as I have had time to get to know our main characters intimately in earlier books, but this was the first book, so it was difficult to remember who was who and keep up with what was going on by jumping around so much. I never once felt I had some difficulty with this one. The concept was what pulled me in. Plus, you see that killer cover and title? I was extremely hyped to read it and that may have been part of its undoing for me.There were so many povs. Now, normally I don't mind that so long as I have had time to get to know our main characters intimately in earlier books, but this was the first book, so it was difficult to remember who was who and keep up with what was going on by jumping around so much. I never once felt connected to one of the characters.The plot itself, well, I felt like nothing much really happened for a good chunk of the book, and when the twists did start being revealed, they really weren't all that earth-shattering. I kinda just rolled on with it like it was no big deal.I'm not trying to say that this book was bad. It wasn't. It was a fairly enjoyable read, but again, I think I had set the bar way higher than it needed to be before jumping into this book. One of the the things I did really like was getting to know more celtic mythology. I am a huge fan of mythologies of all types and culture, so this has really got me looking to find more books based in it.Thank you to NetGalley for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    ☀modern witchcraft + ancient Celtic mythology☀bisexual MC☀somatic OCD representation ☀️modern witchcraft + ancient Celtic mythology☀️bisexual MC☀️somatic OCD representation
  • Stephanie Ward
    January 1, 1970
    'Witches of Ash & Ruin' is a thrilling new young adult fantasy full of magic, witches, and Celtic mythology. I've had this book on my wishlist for months now, waiting until it finally released so I could get my hands on it. It's one of my most anticipated titles for this year and I will admit that I had really high hopes going into reading it. The description sounded amazing - modern witchcraft intertwined with ancient Celtic mythology and it's a mystery/thriller with murder? It sounded 'Witches of Ash & Ruin' is a thrilling new young adult fantasy full of magic, witches, and Celtic mythology. I've had this book on my wishlist for months now, waiting until it finally released so I could get my hands on it. It's one of my most anticipated titles for this year and I will admit that I had really high hopes going into reading it. The description sounded amazing - modern witchcraft intertwined with ancient Celtic mythology and it's a mystery/thriller with murder? It sounded almost too good to be true and I really hoped I wouldn't be disappointed when I finally had the chance to read it. I can now happily say that this surprised me in a lot of ways - great ones. It was actually better than I had hoped and anticipated, which doesn't happen very often. I can honestly say that it's going to be one of my favorite books of the year. Maybe an all-time favorite.There's so much happening in this story. A small Irish town with a hardcore church and reverend, practicing witches, Celtic mythology, murder, mystery, and diverse characters - some LGBTQ and one that even has mental health issues. That's just a super brief overview of some of the things you'll find throughout this story. I don't do spoilers in my reviews so I can't really talk much more about the plot without giving anything away on accident. I'll just say that I was immediately sucked into this world and I absolutely loved every single second of it. I completely lost myself in the pages of this book and didn't want it to end. It's one of those rare books that you love so much that you will rant on and on about it just to attempt to get someone to understand why it's so amazing and why you love it so much. I'm really trying not to do that now and I apologize if it happens a little bit.There are multiple main characters in the story - five to be exact. We have quite an assortment between the group and there's definitely at least one character that any reader will connect with. I connected with several of them, which only made me love them and the story all the more. Each of the characters is incredibly complex and realistic. They all have strengths and weaknesses, flaws and faults, and distinct personalities that made them come alive. As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple LGBTQ characters and the story doesn't shy away from that topic. Also, one of the characters has mental health problems - mainly OCD and anxiety - and that topic is talked about too. I love that the author didn't shy away from these aspects of the story and that they're written about in a very realistic way. I personally suffer from several anxiety disorders, which made it super easy for me to connect with Dayna (the character with mental health issues). The way the author describes her panic attacks, her thinking before and during an attack, and just the way that she deals and lives with it really struck me. It was spot on, which is hard to find in books that deal with these issues. I don't know about the LGBTQ aspect personally, but I thought it was written about in the same realistic and personal way. Anyways - the characters were all very realistic and I absolutely loved getting to know each of them throughout the book. The secondary characters were well rounded too and realistic, which I don't find very often - especially with books containing multiple narrators.Lastly, I have to talk about the writing style. I personally love the first person point of view and believe that almost every book should be written this way. The author wrote this story in the third person POV from five different perspectives. I completely understand why this was done - confusion because of all the main characters, etc. But the thing that really got me was that I didn't mind it at all. Normally a book written in the third person gets a lower rating because of how much I don't like the style. With this book, I was so wrapped up in the story, the various awesome aspects, and the characters - that I didn't even care what style it was done in. I got invested in the characters and the entire story that I lost track of everything. It has to take some really amazing writing to make me forget about things that are usually important to my reading experience. I'm trying not to ramble but I can feel it happening anyway. In conclusion: this book is amazing. Every single thing about it is epic and fantastically done. If any of these genres or topics interest you then you need to read a copy of this book. Now.Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)
    January 1, 1970
    When the publisher sent me a copy of this, I had never even heard of it. I wasn't super interested, because I'm not usually a fan of witch books. However, when I saw that it had Celtic mythology, I was super intrigued! I knew next to nothing going into this, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised!I was really drawn in by the prose from the very beginning! I really enjoyed the writing style - it was engaging and kept me interested even when there wasn't much happening. In the beginning it When the publisher sent me a copy of this, I had never even heard of it. I wasn't super interested, because I'm not usually a fan of witch books. However, when I saw that it had Celtic mythology, I was super intrigued! I knew next to nothing going into this, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised!I was really drawn in by the prose from the very beginning! I really enjoyed the writing style - it was engaging and kept me interested even when there wasn't much happening. In the beginning it actually had a very strong Raven Boys feel to it! The Callaghan house reminded me so much of 300 Fox Way. (It really doesn't have much in common with RB, it just has that feel, if that makes any sense!)The Celtic lore and mythology was FANTASTIC! That was hands down my favorite part of the book! Despite not having many descriptions about the world, I never forgot we were in Ireland. It felt like Ireland, and that Celtic background really shone through. I can't describe how much I loved that! Also, the main villain's name is Dubh, which just makes me think of the Sinsar Dubh, aka the blackest book, in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning - which was what got me into Ireland and Celtic lore and Gaelic in the first place! Although I really hope there's a pronunciation guide in the finished copy - while I'm familiar with Gaelic and its insane pronunciations (i.e. Dubh is "doo," Caorthannach is "queer-hah-nock," Aoibheal is "ah-veel," sidhe is "she," etc.), someone who has never seen any of the words before would probably have a hard time.The world was my favorite part! I want to crawl in the pages and live there! It's probably one of my favorite witch books I've read (mainly because I don't usually like them). I love how dark and magical and creepy it was!Also, the diversity was fantastic! Our main character, Dayna, is bi and has OCD. Her best friend and her family are Nigerian. The second main character, Meiner, and one of the other witches in her coven are lesbians (could be bi, interest in men was never mentioned though), and the other witches in Dayna's coven are Irish. I thought Dayna's OCD was handled pretty well when it was prominent - it really captured the anxiety she faces - but I also forgot about it at times because I feel like it was only there sometimes (and faded toward the last half) and I kind of wish it had been more prominent in the tough scenes.I enjoyed the romance between Dayna and Meiner! It bordered the hate-to-love trope (my fave!!) - in the beginning, they don't get along and argue a lot, even though they were undeniably attracted to one another. It developed slowly, which is a plus for me! However, I hated the awkward kinda-sorta-love-square this book had going. It was unrequited - the other two were both exes, and neither of the main characters were really interested in getting back with them. But exes thrown into the mix always annoys me because it feels like unnecessary drama and angst just for the sake of creating tension. It also didn't help that I didn't like Cora or Samuel (the exes I spoke of), and hated reading their chapters. (Speaking of that, Samuel's chapters just dropped off suddenly, what the crap happened to him?!)Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of Dayna. She was kind of bland. Other than the diversity she brought to the table, she really didn't have much going for her. Not much of a personality. I loved Meiner, though! She was fierce, and I was intrigued by her from the very first scene she was introduced. I also love that she struggled with anger issues and had trouble controlling her volatile temper. For some reason I really related to that!The main reason this book didn't get 5 stars from me is that I had trouble connecting to it emotionally. Despite loving the writing and the world, I felt a bit of a disconnect in terms of characters. Meiner was definitely my favorite, and I was super intrigued by Dubh as the villain (side note: BLESS YOU for not making him a love interest and keeping him straight up evil), but I didn't connect to any of the others. I also felt absolutely nothing when they were in mortal peril. (view spoiler)[King Witch, Bronagh and Cora all died and I didn't bat an eyelash. Yikes. (hide spoiler)]I will say, though, that the ending shocked the hell out of me! I did not see that coming! Also THERE'S NO SEQUEL LISTED?! But but that cliffhanger!This review was originally posted on Novel Heartbeat. To see a breakdown of my assessment, please visit the full review here.
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  • Michelle Aschenbrenner
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 - 4 stars Give me more books like this with a diverse cast, regardless of where a story is taking place! Witches of Ash and Ruin is a fast-paced read that gives a different perspective on YA paranormal fiction. The story follows Dayna and her witch coven as they try to solve the mystery behind their small town's continuous murders. I'm a sucker for anything related to Celtic mythology, and this book is full of it!As I mentioned before, this was a very fast-paced read with plot twist after 3.5 - 4 stars Give me more books like this with a diverse cast, regardless of where a story is taking place! Witches of Ash and Ruin is a fast-paced read that gives a different perspective on YA paranormal fiction. The story follows Dayna and her witch coven as they try to solve the mystery behind their small town's continuous murders. I'm a sucker for anything related to Celtic mythology, and this book is full of it!As I mentioned before, this was a very fast-paced read with plot twist after plot twist. It definitely keeps your interest with all that's going on. Plus, the diversity of the cast was wonderful to see, not to mention the different mental health representations. However, I can't say for certain if the mental health was from the author's own experience or researched, and since I do not have somatic OCD, I don't know if the representation was entirely accurate. But, there were discussions regarding the stigma with medication as treatment, which I appreciate since I too struggle with that stigma with my own mental health. The romance was cute, but I was much more invested with the plot to really get involved with the romance. I've seen a few people being up "annoyance to lovers" romance, and I whole heartedly agree with the statement. They're never enemies, per say. They're more there to grate on each other's nerves before they realize the other's cute. The ending was one massive cliffhanger, and I'm definitely interested in picking up the sequel!
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided from Disney Book Group Freeform for an honest review. This was an incredibly fast-paced and action filled book that I just could not put down. The writing was clunky at times and certain scenes ended a bit abruptly, but that wasn't a huge hindrance to my enjoyment. I also found the characters to be very interesting, but hard to connect with. I wanted more info and more back story, but since this is supposed to be the first in a trilogy, I understand the author wanting to save some ARC provided from Disney Book Group Freeform for an honest review. This was an incredibly fast-paced and action filled book that I just could not put down. The writing was clunky at times and certain scenes ended a bit abruptly, but that wasn't a huge hindrance to my enjoyment. I also found the characters to be very interesting, but hard to connect with. I wanted more info and more back story, but since this is supposed to be the first in a trilogy, I understand the author wanting to save some for future books. The true crime element was also promising, but that thread seemed to drop partway through, with Samuel playing far smaller a role than I anticipated. Despite these minor quibbles, I highly enjoyed the setting and usage of Celtic lore in this book. I'm always a fan of magic systems that take work and suffering and cost something from the caster. The magic in the book is dark and gritty and filthy and I absolutely loved it. And that ending! Plus, it's gay, so very gay. And I'm here for it.
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  • Nerd Girl Vixen
    January 1, 1970
    The Witches of Ash & Ruin is a thrilling and compelling read. From beginning to end, this book will keep you engaged and have you at the edge of your seat!Lets take a minute to talk about the cover. Its so pretty! Very eye catching. The colors are two of my favorites. I love what they did with it! Now on to the story. There were some things the author incorporated into the story that made it really stand out from the rest. Names of the characters were one. Very different and unique. Its The Witches of Ash & Ruin is a thrilling and compelling read. From beginning to end, this book will keep you engaged and have you at the edge of your seat!Let’s take a minute to talk about the cover. It’s so pretty! Very eye catching. The colors are two of my favorites. I love what they did with it! Now on to the story. There were some things the author incorporated into the story that made it really stand out from the rest. Names of the characters were one. Very different and unique. It’s always nice to see things shaken up. The way magic is presented and practiced was very much appreciated it. The whole vibe of the book is a bit dark and I was there for it. We have many different points of views going on. It also has a LGBT aspect and it’s done in a way that it’s part of the story and not the main focus. One character I wasn’t sure about. They didn’t seem to have a major role in what was going on but maybe in book two, they will take a more active role. As a whole, this book is fascinating and electrifying. I enjoyed it immensely. It was a breath of fresh air and I need more! I will impatiently wait for the next book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books about magic and witches and wants something different. I give this 5 stars.**Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng**
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  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    January 1, 1970
    Quick note: DNF solely because this wasn't for me. I was hoping for it to be more traditional fantasy than paranormal, but it's def straight up paranormal. Which is not bad! Lots of people love paranormal witch stories, and this is very much on trend right now; I just personally like fantasy witches and rarely paranormal ones (though I wish I loved them but I don't idk why).P.S. I do know that paranormal/uf is a subgenre of fantasy. They just have very different vibes imo when it comes to Quick note: DNF solely because this wasn't for me. I was hoping for it to be more traditional fantasy than paranormal, but it's def straight up paranormal. Which is not bad! Lots of people love paranormal witch stories, and this is very much on trend right now; I just personally like fantasy witches and rarely paranormal ones (though I wish I loved them but I don't idk why).P.S. I do know that paranormal/uf is a subgenre of fantasy. They just have very different vibes imo when it comes to witchiness. This may not make sense to anyone else, but in case it does, I hope it helps you know this book is for you or not.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I'm setting this one aside. I read about 100 pages, and I'm struggling to connect to the characters or story. This book seems like it has all the pieces for something I want to read, but I just can't get into it for some reason. None of the characters are likeable (not in a fun way), and too many have their own chapters. Although the story is interesting, it's not enough to keep me going for almost 300 more pages.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    This was everything I'd hoped for and more!What I hoped to see:Bad ass witches.Cannibals.Monstrous gods.Great LGBTQ+ rep.Romance.Great mental health rep.Excellently written story.Latimer checked all those boxes! With the added bonuses of:Karmic bitch slaps.Ominous omens.A captivating story told in a compelling and satisfying way.A beautiful start to what I hope will be a long and glorious series.
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  • Tonya (Rustic Book Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    OH yes I think so!!!!
  • j.chestnut
    January 1, 1970
    this is now my most anticipated release of 2020. i'm SO excited!
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