Mini Reviews: Fantasy – Pyresnakes, Scarecrow, Charm City


In Pyresnakes, a man disappears into another realm, and his boyfriend and grandmother have to venture in after him to bring him back. In Scarecrow, Meg’s latest crime catches up with her, and she makes a deal in order to obtain her freedom, but it only leads to more trouble. In Charm City, demonologist/exorcist Simon meets an intriguing woman who also exorcises demons but using an entirely different kind of magic. Enjoy my mini reviews for these three fantasy novels!

Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis

Book Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, lgbt
Title: Pyresnakes
Author: Tray Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 143
Rating: 3 stars

*I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

Honestly, I mostly read this because I wanted to read about a kickass grandma going on a dangerous journey to another realm, but that was not this book. There was no real tension or sense of consequence or urgency. Ruth stated right in the beginning that Aran wasn't in danger, it was just that they had to find him because he might not remember Brandon and his life on this realm. And, then once they got there, everything for both characters was super easy and nonchalant. Even the other things that happened, like finding the pyresnakes, didn't turn into anything. Also, the writing/characters' voices/dialogue all sounded too formal to feel natural, and all the characters seemed underdeveloped. So this didn't work for me, but it might be good for anyone looking for something super light, quick, and stress-free with a bit of fantasy.


Scarecrow by M.R. Pritchard

Book Review: Scarecrow (Sparrow Man Book 3) by M. R. Pritchard | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy
Title: Scarecrow
Author: M.R. Pritchard
Series: Sparrow Man
Book Number: Book 3
Pages: 162
Rating: 2.5 stars
Tags: *SPOILER* Angels/Nephilim *END SPOILER*
After how utterly unique and twisty the first book was and how amazingly character-driven and intriguing the second book was, this was a disappointment. Pretty much all the things I loved from the previous books (aside from the setting and somewhat Meg's voice) weren't there, and I was confused about everything. This whole book just seemed to be characters popping in and out and saying/doing cryptic things, Meg jumping from one random thing to another, the plot jumping around, things happening with no real explanation, and characters making unbelievable, forced decisions. Everything felt very disjointed and deus ex machina. I liked the outcome of what happened to Meg at the very end because it will likely make the next book interesting, I just didn't like the messy plot that got her to that point. I'm still going to give the series another chance though because of how good the first two books were and because I'm invested in these characters. As long as the next book gets back up to standard, this will still be a series that's worth it.

Charm City by Ash Krafton

Book Review: Charm City (The Demon Whisperer Book 1) by Ash Krafton | reading, books, book review, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, angels, demons
Title: Charm City
Author: Ash Krafton
Publisher: Red Fist Fiction
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 211
Rating: 3.5 stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via Story Cartel. This has not influenced my review.*

This was pretty much your typical urban fantasy with supernatural baddies and a rough-around-the-edges protagonist, but it was good. The main character, Simon, had a strong voice, felt developed, and was damaged but likable and sympathetic. The pace was steady. The magic was interesting---Chiara had innate powers, and Simon had all these charms and medallions and herbs and spells. The plot was where I had a few issues though. Some things in the plot and backstory could've been explained better, either I didn't understand the goal of the book or it kinda changed, Chiara's desire to help Simon fix his past mistake seemed really sudden, and it seemed like Chiara was the one who did everything in the end. But the plot wasn't terrible, just a little rough. Overall this book didn't blow me away, but it was an enjoyable read.


Talk to me!

Have you read any of these fantasy books?
Do you any fantasy books about kickass grandmas you can recommend to me?
Do you continues series even if one of the books disappoints you?
Which do you like reading about: innate magic, charms/spells, or both?


Your Thoughts


22 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Fantasy – Pyresnakes, Scarecrow, Charm City

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  1. Greg

    A “kickass grandma” is definitely an intriguing premise, too bad it didn’t pan out. And I will stick with a series if a book is disappointing, usually- it all depends on the series. The Night School books were like that- I liked the idea, kept on w/ the 5 book series even though that story could have been told in two, three at the most, seems to me. So yeah… but other times I’ll be like nope, done. So it varies…

    I think I might like innate magic a bit more, but cool magical stuff or equipment is fun too. Or learning as opposed to it being innate. Never really thought about that much, I guess.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? I really want some kickass grandma books. But yeah, I guess it does depend on the series and what it is that I liked/disliked, etc.

      I feel like I would say innate magic too? But then his charms and things in this book were actually really cool!

  2. chucklesthescot

    If the first book in a series disappoints me, I won’t read on. If the first two books are great and the middle of the series gets into a bit of a slump I might carry on to complete the series, dependong on what the issues are. If the books starts with a great first book then declines over the next two, I’m likely not to continue beyond that.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s true, it depends a lot on what book in the series it is. I’m more likely to continue if I’ve already enjoyed numerous books. But if it keeps going downhill, then eventually I might give up. And yeah, also depends on what the issues are.

  3. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Charm City sounds like something I might like. Pyresnakes…well, snakes. If they are prevalent, I can’t do it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover for Scarecrow but wished you had liked it more. Seems like you’ve been getting a lot of reading done though. Hope you move is still on as planned.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, you might like Charm City since it’s UF. I didn’t know (or maybe forgot) you don’t like snakes? The snakes weren’t that big a part, but they were still pretty creepy, so I wouldn’t rec that one then! Thanks, the move is set for Monday, as long as the weather and my health cooperate. And I’m so backed up on review posts that I could stop reading for the rest of the year and still have enough, haha.

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Great reviews. Sorry that Scarecrow didn’t work for you. I hate when a book in a series seems to go back on itself. The Pyresnakes seems to have not lived up to expectations. Sometimes I would be happy from reading a quick summary of a book and then I can make my own story from that. But yay at least you UF worked out for you, it may not have been brilliant but at least you enjoyed it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂 Scarecrow was disappointing, but I’m hoping the next will be better. Yeah, honestly, I think reading a summary would’ve been about as good as reading the book for Pyresnakes. I like my kickass grandma idea better, haha.

  5. kimbacaffeinate

    Now the kickass grandma would have me intrigued too. All of these sound ok so I appreciate your thoughts. Have you read the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews, now there is a kickass grandma in there

  6. Sarah J.

    I love how you read a lot of under the radar books! Sadly, all the fantasy books I can think of only have cool old men. I need more awesome old ladies! I don’t continue series, usually. The only exception is if I already own the books or if I was sent the sequels for review by the publisher. I think I prefer more innate magic to spells and charms, but I also like both depending on the world building and characters.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yeah, I legit do not know of any fantasy or sci-fi books with old lady MCs. I totally want a kickass grandma book though. That’s crazy to me! I LOVE series! So like, do you just avoid series and stick to standalones then? Agreed, both types of magic can be fun if written well.

      1. Sarah J.

        I do prefer standalones, but I do read series if I’m really invested. I’ve always had a fear of finishing series because I had unsatisfying endings, but in the last couple of years, I’ve read a lot more series.

  7. Danya @ Fine Print

    Kickass grandma you say? I’m intrigued! Too bad that it wasn’t a more action-packed read, but it’s nice to see older characters in fantasy at least. What a bummer about Scarecrow! Disappointing sequels are honestly the worst, especially when your expectations are high.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I thought it would be a kickass grandma. I mean, she was feisty, but it wasn’t what I had been expecting. And yeah, disappointing sequels are no fun :-/