#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series [book three] “Unbearable Magic” by Leanne Leeds

Posted Friday, 17 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was Leanne Leeds – of whom has penned a rather interesting Cosy Mystery series – wherein her lead character is a witch and the whole series is rooted out of her love of carnivals and her past experience of them. What intrigued me the most is how this is a Paranormal Fantasy Cosy series and I was thinking it would make a perfect series to curl up inside during #WyrdAndWonder!!

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Unbearable Magic” direct from the author Leanne Leeds in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: I didn’t realise until I was working on releasing the rest of my Magical Midway reviews (belatedly due to my four migraines this month and the aftermath that wrecked on me) that I somehow missed the fact the author’s name was not spelt correctly in the title of my first review nor in the url; having promoted the link on Twitter several times, I decided to let it stand in the url but I’ve corrected the title error. I didn’t realise this as like I said, I had four migraines this May and my recovery from them has been rather difficult. I simply didn’t catch it. My apologies to the author and my readers for that error as I always strive to catch my copy editing mistakes before I promote my posts. Sadly this one snuck past me.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Why I am *loving!* my discovery
of the Magical Midway serires:

I was dearly looking forward to my return visit to the Magical Midway – I liked the world Leeds was building for me to re-explore and deepen my appreciation for the discovery of how a circus and carnival full of paranormals (of the animal variety) would take me on their next adventure! I almost felt Charlotte would go through a period of growth in my absence – as she’s a gifted (herein I refer to the fact she was given an incredible power boost!) witch who inherited the Midway from her Uncle. Clearly I was overly ambitious for her as when I started to re-visit with her, I noticed Gunther (the sweet bloke whose father runs the competition to hers: the Makepeace Circus) was losing his temper with her just a bit as magic comes easy to him but to Charlotte, everything is a new experience; with a steep learning curve!

Honestly… it did not surprise me Uncle Phil was trying to takeover Charlotte’s role at the Midway, either! He had a rather larger than life personality to begin with and his sense of duty to the Midway is bar none to others sense of obligation. The fact he still wants to remain an active part of the Midway and therefore inflicting a bit of unease in Charlotte as she’s unfortunately finding her role less than stellar at this point – felt a bit fitting. The series overall is about facing your challenges head-on, finding that the greatest courage is the belief you have in your own abilities and aligning yourself with positive friends who become as close to you as your own family. The series has a lot of heart inside it and I couldn’t wait to see how Charlotte would thrive through this next challenging circumstance she was about to meet mere months after she solved her first murder!

As we re-align into her life, we are met with some of the parafriends of hers feeling as if she’s disowned her own inheritance and also, that she’s in danger of becoming an elitist. At least by witchy standards as she is in the one group of paratalented individuals who had the upper hand in their world for quite a long while now. It was the witches who overruled everyone else and that lent itself to becoming a problem to her closest friends. Each of them a different species and/or talented in a way which showcased the diversity of the Magical Midway itself. Yet, despite their openness to welcoming Charlotte into their group, these new friends proved the point about how if you grow up offworld from the Midway, you really have a huge gap in your education in regards to what paranormals go through and how they must endure the obstacles put in front of them.

You know, I really disliked those terrible three witches in the first meeting we had with them but this second meeting!? They really do take the cake! Mina, Mercy and Mabel are the kind of witches who make your skin crawl because they don’t have an ounce of warmth in their heart; cold-hearted the whole lot of them! I was as outraged as Charlotte hearing their ridiculous claims against two of the performers at the Midway; then again, when exactly were they enthralled with anything Charlotte did or said or even defended?

Gunther and Charlotte are now arriving in that awkward stage in their relationship between trusting each other and keeping a healthy dose of distrust alive instead. It would be helpful to them both if his father wasn’t quite as harsh as it is but in another way of looking at it, Gunther could do himself a favour by confiding in Charlotte. That would strike a better balance than Charlotte constantly feeling as if Gunther was purposefully keeping her a step removed from anything remotely connected to her or the Magical Midway.

It never fails to surprise me the layers of authority within the Midway – even though Charlotte has the most authoritative control over the circus itself, what she can’t overrule are the individual hierarchies within the circus per each species represented. This becomes a bit of a sticking point each time something arises which needs to be addressed as Charlotte can only intervene ‘so far’ before she is naturally overruled or reminded that it isn’t her place to make that kind of judgement. In this instance, it is the werelions and their pride which rankles you a bit because although the girls’ in the pride are more friendly towards their fellow paranormals, its their leader Leo who could use with a douse of reality in regards to ‘how not to behave badly’.

What is almost at the crucial breaking point is Charlotte’s relationship with Samson, her familiar (the cat) – between his snarky remarks whenever she is confused about something integral to the circus itself or the ways in which he believes he’s helping to influence her mind about an immediate threat; he rubs her the wrong way for how his self-inflated ego doesn’t allow him to come down from the rafters very often to relate to her on equal ground. He definitely still believes she’s the wrong choice for the job and his impatience with her is actively on display. He simply loves to put her in place and make her feel as if she doesn’t have the upper hand at her own circus!

I felt like cheering for Charlotte! She broached such a strong point about complacency and how rules which were never challenged could become your undoing. She was becoming a voice of reason, logical intervention and a person who saw the benefit in not subscribing to the past as a direct indication of how the future needed to necessarily play out. In other words, Charlotte was starting to shake things up quite a heap in the paranormals world at the Midway for her out-of-the-box thinking, her forward visions of how life could be lived and how she refused to accept that just because something was an ancient rule didn’t necessarily mean everyone had to continue to blindly adhere to it now. This felt like she was not just finding her wings as a ringmaster for the Midway but she was benefiting from being raised on Earth.

-quoted from my review of Life on the Lion

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder | Book Review of the Magical Midway Series Invalid book: 0 “Unbearable Magic” by Leanne LeedsUnbearable Magic
Subtitle: Magical Midway Cozy Paranormal Mysteries Book Three
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

A grizzly discovery.
A false accusation.
Can the most powerful witch on earth make the truth appear – before she disappears?

When the Magical Midway takes a week off to attend the Werebear Jamboree, Charlotte is grateful for a relaxing vacation away from the Witches’ Council attacks and all the problems they seem determined to bring. But when the werebear leader is murdered during the festival, all eyes turn suspiciously toward the most powerful witch in their midst.

With accusations coming from every corner and a conspiracy closing in around her, Charlotte and her friends realize that someone is determined to make her take the fall for the ghastly crime. But who? Can she unmask the real villain before she’s handed over to the Witches’ Council, punished for a crime she didn’t commit?

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Cosy Mystery

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781717839657

Published by Badchen Publishing

on 19th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 286

Published by: Badchen Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MagicalMidway + #Paranormal #Fantasy

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The Magical Midway series:

The Magical Midway series is a paranormal cozy mystery series with eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, sweet romance subplots, and twisty mysteries. If you like eccentric characters, show-stopping magic, and twisty mysteries, then you’ll love this paranormal cozy mystery.

Be sure to visit the Synopsis for these stories on the author’s site!

Charlotte & Aidan (prequel short) | Synopsis

The Witchest Circus on Earth (book one) | see also review

Life on the Lion (book two) | see also review

Unbearable Magic (book three) | Synopsis

Go for the Juggler (book four) | Synopsis

Irrelephant Omens (book five) | Synopsis

→ A Call to Charms (book six) *forthcoming 2019 | Synopsis

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

my review of unbearable magic:

One of the best aspects of disappearing inside the Magical Midway series is being introduced to these lovely wereanimals wherein each new installment brings to centre stage a different species which loves to be actively involved in a circus environment! When it came to the bears, I must admit, I was wicked enthused to find out more about werebears and how they would be individually unique as compared to the other shifters I had previously become introduced too! I think this stems from a healthy appreciation for bears (ie. all of them – from the misunderstood grizzlies to polar bears and the black bear, etc) but there is also something about bears which immediately makes me smile! And, that could be due to my childhood fascination with the singing bears at Disney World – they really do love their music and the chance to jam together!

Except this isn’t your childhood friendly bear club of bears! The werebears in this story are growly towards Charlotte and yet they are more accepting of Gunther! I truly like the pairing of this team – where Charlotte and Gunther try to take-on the world of the paranormals together rather than trying to remain separate and equal apart from one another. In the last installment, Life on the Lion we had an inside edge towards understanding the life Gunther has led and how his life was dearly affected by the Witches Council. In many ways, there are a lot of hidden layers of connection within this world – the beauty is being able to see the layers expand and retract within the installments, peering us closer to the truth of the world but with the heart of the people who reside here.

Faleena was the first wearbear to step forward into the Midway – though her news of her clan’s attitude towards Charlotte was disheartening and laced with malice, given the current circumstances with the werebears it was justified; to a certain degree. Whenever something goes radically wrong in this world, it is Charlotte (and Gunther) who have to try to right the wrongs but in doing so, they are finding there are more complications with interceding with things outside their purview than they first expected to find complicating their lives. In this regard, when each of them started to accept their responsibilities as inheritors of the circuses their families have owned for generations it is the outside ‘extra’ duties they decided to take-on which are giving them the most grief now. The irony of course is how both of them are mutually accepting of others outside their own species but there is such dissent amongst the paranormals, it is hard to watch them lose footing each time they attempt to make a diplomatic move.

There is nothing more frustrating to Charlotte than being judged out of hand – or perspective of the facts and yet this is the pickle she is constantly being tossed inside! Even now, as the werebears grow in their distrust of her, she finds she’s at the wrong end of the argument. The political wreck of communication between the individual groups in this paranormal world is also to blame because it became a framework of distrust, something that is not easily rectified nor overturned, such as Charlotte is soon finding out to be true. You felt for her really – each time she thought she could make progress, she found herself several steps behind her goals.

One thing I was a bit surprised by though is how Fortuna and Charlotte seemed to have a healthier friendship developing between them than she had previously shared with Fiona. I felt Fiona was starting to grow distant from Charlotte now that she had her new role as ringmaster and that might the key to their disappearing friendship. It isn’t completely out of step to say I think Fiona altered her view on Charlotte once Charlotte’s life started to change whilst at the Midway. Almost as if because of Charlotte’s new life, Fiona either felt left behind or cast aside. Whichever the cast, I get the vibe Fiona isn’t as close to Charlotte as they once were but Fortuna – over the past few installments has really stepped forward. She seems to intuit the truths Charlotte tries to hide or overlook; guiding her towards her own personal reconciliations whenever they are necessary but also, unlike Fiona she’s not constantly trying to put her in place. I’ve been a bit shocked by Fiona’s attitude towards Charlotte for awhile now.

I was expecting friction to begin to lace into Charlotte and Gunther’s relationship as well – the two have a lot of strikes against them, but similar to the shift between Charlotte and Fiona, I also felt Gunther was having trouble knowing how he fits into Charlotte’s life as well. Whenever there is great changes occurring in people’s lives – sometimes its their relationships which suffer the most because of how those transitions might affect previously established connections. I am hopeful this isn’t a permanent issue to drive a long-term wedge between them but for now, I felt they were moving into a period of personal growth with relationship angst boiling between them.

The only story I haven’t had the pleasure of reading in sequence of the Magical Midway is the short story Charlotte and Aidan – however, blessedly Unbearable Magic broaches what might have been explored in the short prequel giving me a better sense of what I had missed. I had a feeling it was going to be an interesting plot and it gives a bit of insight into Charlotte, as it explains a few things about her and why she finds it hard to connect to people. In a lot of ways, Charlotte’s life didn’t really begin to evolve forward until she moved full-time to the Magical Midway – giving her a freedom to explore what she wanted to do with her life but also, to become a woman who fully accepts herself.

When it comes to conspiracies against Charlotte, Leeds knows how to make an intricate plot feel twisty the more you peel back the layers of why certain people involved are moving against Charlotte! This was a complicated story to unravel because of how a lot of it was anchoured against Charlotte’s role as a ringmaster and what her place in this world meant for the paranormals she guarded at the Midway. It proves how multi-dimensional this world really is and how there are overlays from the past stretching into the current future of her world(s). The only people I miss seeing a bit more frequently are her parents as once Charlotte left Earth and exchanged her days to be the ringmaster she was destined to be – it felt like everything in her previous life had to take a backseat. In some ways, of course, that makes sense but overall, I felt I was missing those exchanges with her parents – as she was so close to them originally but now it felt like their relationship was becoming strained or at least more distant.

It isn’t just the bears who are suspicious of Charlotte either – although in truth, we barely get to know the bears because of the plotting against Charlotte but what we do get to find out is how intricate the witches’ community is as a whole. The fact that there is such malice at the edges of her newfound world and how that malice works with the darker forces within it – wells, you start to uncover that being a paranormal in this world isn’t quite chalked up to be just your average day at the circus!

At the heart of this series is the found family aspect of how the wereanimals at the Midway, Charlotte, Gunther (from the Makepeace circus) and Uncle Phil all have found themselves caring about what becomes of their world and how their place in each others lives affects each other. As far as found families go their connection to each other is complicated – they each are finding their own path towards tolerance and acceptance but there are complications in their attempts to bridge those unfamiliar gaps together. The beauty of course is finding how hard they each are willing to work towards the common goal they share and the joy they have in being a part of the Midway.

In the background of course, is the fuller drama of sorting through the tentacles of the Witches Council and why this world is bent against paranormals of different varieties. In essence, the world is at war with itself and finding out why this is happening is part of the allure of reading the stories (at least for me!). As you dig closer to the truth, more complications arise and more issues within the sub-sets of paranormals prove that even when you think you have a lot of this figured out, there is another wench in the wheel of balance to throw you into another tailspin. Leeds has crafted together a winning team of characters who make you feel empathetic to their cause and lend an imaginative portal towards walking beside them on this expansive journey where even the future of what they hope to find is left in a questionable uncertainty but the path towards that future is what makes reading the series wicked enjoyable.

In regards to the world being built behind the Midway:

I am constantly fascinated by the depth of the Magical Midway world! It might be just a fixed mark of a setting within the larger concept of this world Ms Leeds has built for us to soak inside but that is where the beauty lies for me! Just to think about how wicked brill it would be to live at a circus that can transport itself to different locations within the paranormal world itself – influencing humans and paranormals alike whilst attempting to bridge the grievances and gaps in communication between species is a wonderful concept to find explored.

In this installment – similar to the first two novels, we find there are limitations on the Midway but there are also beautiful discoveries of how enchanted the Midway actually is to those who live there. The Midway can surprise you – both as a place of work and residence but also as a physical place other people can visit for themselves.

Note about the font size:

This copy of the Unbearable Magic is in large print – which I felt was lovely as I sometimes find reading larger print stories helps me ease back into reading after a severely horrid migraine. The beauty of it of course is the less taxing stress on my eyes and my ability to shift easier into the story-line – this font size is slightly larger than traditional large print which would make it agreeable to anyone who might need a size higher than standard print.

the cosy and fantastical styling of leanne leeds:

One of the reasons I have enjoyed reading this series during #WyrdAndWonder is the lightness how it was written! You get to laugh out loud as your reading the passages, finding joy in stepping in sync with Charlotte – a rather naively raised witch amongst humans as she starts to navigate this otherworld she barely knew as a visitor prior to her ascension as the ringmaster. The interesting bit there is how well she fits this world but how much she stands out from it as well. There is a duality of focus from Leeds – she gives gravity to the nature of the paranormals whilst owning that just because you relocate somewhere outside your previous location doesn’t mean there won’t be a transitional period where things are not operating on an even keel for you.

Charlotte is a wonderful character overall – she makes mistakes, she’s short-tempered with her familiar Samson (although in truth his nattering in her head would make anyone bonkers!) and her Uncle Phil is still sorting out his role in both his niece’s life and the Midway itself; now that he’s new state of living has re-arranged his possibilities. It is here in this world where you see an echo effect on our own living reality – seeing how it can re-transition into a paranormal setting and despite the will of the good, there is sometimes an imbalance towards the negative which must be found out in order to be corrected.

In short, Leeds has created a world you can return back inside as readily as you pick up a new installment of her series! It is a world where you know something wickedly fantastical is going to occur and where the magic is not limited to what you can see but what you can feel as you become attached to the Magical Midway!

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Fantastical Elements:

→ Everyday Magic & enchantments

→ Paranormal and Fantastical characters

→ Telepathy (known as “spirit connection”)

→ Sparkly lights (herein reflect a magical event)

→ Ghosts

→ Shapeshifters (ie. shifters)

Each new installment gives us more information about this evolving world – even the resident ghosts at the Midway are given more time to introduce themselves to you which I appreciated as I was curious to know more about why they haunted a singular place and if they had any limitations to their hauntings and/or freedoms.

The  shifters in this series do not always shift in front of you but how they shift and why they shift generally has a lot to do with what is happening in the moment we’re round them. For instance, if they feel they need to defend themselves or present themselves in a particular ray of light where they have more confidence to tackle what is happening to them or those round them, their shifting eludes towards that end goal. Of all the shifters to date – I was especially most impressed with Serena the werelion in the second novel. Leeds really gave her a wicked shifting personality and it was how she developed the lioness to become projected through those choices that really anchoured her presence into your imagination.

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This book review is courtesy of: Leanne Leeds

Leanne Leeds author logo provided by the author and used with permission.Be sure to return next week when I reveal my thoughts about the third book in this series “Unbearable Magic”! I’m reading my way through the Magical Midway series this #WyrdAndWonder!

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reading this novel counted towards

my 2019 reading challenges:

Beat the Backlist banner created by Austine at A Novel Knight and is used with permission.

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whilst being read during my participation of:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.

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Be sure to NOTE these two bookish treats
from Leanne Reeds:

Open this tweet s/o to find out how you can secure your own FREE copy of the novel I’ve just ruminated over to begin your own journey into the Magical Midway Cosy Mysteries! Whilst visiting this book page on her site wherein you might be able to spy out a special offer for the prequel!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of  “Witchiest Circus on Earth”, “Charlotte and Aidan”, “Life on the Lion”, “Unbearable Magic”, “Go for the Juggler” and “Irrelephant Omens” as well as the author photograph for Leanne Leeds, author biography, book synopsis, series synopsis and author logo badge were all provided by the author Leanne Leeds and are used with permission of the author Leanne Leeds. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com. Beat the Backlist banner provided by Novel Knight. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 17 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Mystery, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

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