The Denounced by SJ Sherwood

Ned Hunter is to be hanged, he is Denounced and therefore cannot be allowed to live. But things go awry and he finds himself bundled up and moved to a different location where he undergoes training as a leader of 5 others. It is a harsh environment and survival is not guaranteed, as they learn on the first night when one of the other pods is punished for trying to escape.

Determined not to suffer the same fate as the other pod, Ned needs to form his own bonded pod that can win their place at the top of the leader board in order to survive. And then what? No-one knows, but those who are training them. And what is their goal?

Ned needs his wits about him and cannot afford to relax for a moment. Everyone has it in for him.

A fast paced story, full of twists and tricks. Compulsive reading due to its different approach. I enjoyed it as a book aimed at Young Adults.

“I’m wondering if being dead may have been my better option. I’ve no idea where I am and what is going to be expected of me, but if I understand this correctly, I’m now responsible for five other people.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Denounced: Book 1 A Grey Sun

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Official description:
A convicted Denounced. Sentenced to Death. In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced. When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever. Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

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Bone Realm by D N Erikson

Ruby has inherited her father’s business and her first customer turns out to be the one person that her father said that she must not do business with. She offers her services anyway and as a consequence her life is set on a path of death, magic and immortality. What will she end up with?
This is a short novella to introduce Ruby before she appears in Lightning Blade and it isn’t required reading, but it is really good to read this if you want to know all the details of who, how and why about Ruby. I certainly recommend it, if you can lay your hands on it.
The author actually suggests the following order for reading the Ruby Callaway books, in the frontispiece:
• Bone Realm
• Lightning Blade (Book 1)
• “Silver Tempest” Shadow Flare (Book 2)
• “Kentucky Clear” Blood River (Book 3)
• Going Home

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
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When a gravely wounded half-demon stumbles into Ruby Callaway’s print shop seeking medical assistance for a werewolf bite, Ruby quickly finds herself assuming an unfamiliar mantle: werewolf huntress. But killing a 1,300 year-old alpha werewolf as the full moon approaches might be the least of her problems… Bone Realm is a standalone prequel novella to the upcoming Ruby Callaway urban fantasy series.

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Endohuman Love vs Duty by Nick Dream

I was asked to read and review this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I read the book fairly quickly and found it to be an interesting plot. I am not interested in werewolves and the like, so in places where it was moving towards that style of book I lost a bit of interest. Mind you, if I had seen the cover before I had read the book, I wouldn’t have even started reading it.
Adam is being brought up by his grandfather in a very strict and restrictive manner. His explanation is that Adam needs to be trained for something very important and that Adam must not break any of the ancient rules or he will lose his powers.
One of the rules is that he must not fall in love, so his grandfather tries to instil in Adam the need to avoid girls.
Of course Adam rebels and rails against this rule, while at the same time trying to honour his grandfather’s wishes.
Overall as a story I liked this book. In parts I really got fed up with it due to the afore-mentioned werewolves and vampires affliction. I think the story could go further in future books, and if the affliction is omitted I may well be a reader.

“I put my hands in my pockets to conceal my fingernails. They have involuntarily begun expanding into mini claws.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully) I was going to give 2.5, but I’ve rounded up rather than down, so it’s ended up with a 3.

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ENDOHUMAN: Love Vs Duty: Book 1 (A Paranormal Superhero Romance Series)

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Official description:
A page-turning debut, ENDOHUMAN is perhaps what Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight would look like in “Stranger Thing’s” upside down world with its X-Files mystery, Da-Vinci-Code-like style quest, Hitchcock suspense and countless plot twists and cliff-hangers that will keep you guessing. And you’ll still be wrong!
*Currently being adapted into Movie Screenplay

One of Wattpad’s top read books in 2016, making it to Top 10 Charts in “Paranormal” and “Romance” Categories with over 300k reads!

Book Synopsis:
Endohumans are not destined for love. It is against the Ancient Rules. Eighteen- year – old Adam Vanolf is about to be one of the last known Endohumans left on Earth as his dying grandfather rushes to complete his training. These superhuman hybrids descended from the ancient Greeks and Romans live concealed among us, sworn to protect mankind and safeguard an almost forgotten secret that is rooted back to the creation of man and the universe. Alas, the life and path an Endohuman must follow is lonely and dangerous , especially for a teenager trying to unravel the mystery that his ancestry hides. Gods? Vampires? Werewolves? Fallen Angels? Or just the creation of an unstable mind? An ancient evil is awakening and even though he doesn’t know it, the world needs Adam now more than ever. Yet Adam also needs love, so when he meets Evie, the girl of his dreams, a difficult choice must be made…

About the Author
Nick was born in London but now lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. He graduated from Lancaster University in the UK with a BA in Accounting and Finance with a focus on banking and financial services.

Despite being an accountant, in his free time he loves reading, watching science fiction movies and spending quality time with his family as well as writing poetry, short science fiction stories and children’s books.

In March 2014 he was admitted as a Member of Torr, one of the world’s most selective high IQ societies. Torr is a modern micro social network intended to stimulate original ideas, awaken and develop talent throughout the world, provide fellowship, and ensure a better appreciation of the arts and sciences.

Endohuman began life on Wattpad, where it climbed to the Global Top 10 Paranormal Romance Stories for its original, multifaceted and highly entertaining plot. Critics comment that even though the style of the book is Young Adult Fiction, the love story spans a multitude of genres including paranormal, suspense, romance, mystery, werewolf, vampire, sci fi, action and adventure. Nick likes to play with multiple twists in the story clearly influenced by his favourite author, Ray Bradbury, and creates a memorable protagonist in Adam, with a storyline that could go, frankly, anywhere!

Nick is currently working on the second and third instalments of the Endohuman trilogy.

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Enigma Key by Barnes and Wearmouth

This is a really great book if you grew up with the birth of computing and computer gaming (as I did), it really brings back the memories.

Eddie York is the main character of the book, his grandfather Brigham York also plays a lead role, but he is dead. Brigham has left Eddie a trail of clues which he must solve and follow in order to find the Enigma Key and save the world.

The clues need knowledge of the world of Flux, which was a computer game and also a comic that Brigham wrote for Eddie when he was a child.

Eddie’s adventure starts at the point of receiving a letter advising him to visit his grandfather’s grave prior to visiting the solicitors for the reading of his grandfather’s final will. Even getting to the solicitors requires Eddie to have his wits about him. The true race for the prize starts from then on.

Eddie meets up with various individuals during the quest set by his grandfather, some are friendly allies, some are yet to show their true colours and some are outright evil ‘so and so’s’. Some of the allies join up with Eddie to help him move forward with his time critical quest to save the world. Of those, Sol and Gert are two who are with him from the start, while others join him as he goes along (don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say who).

The only thing that mildly irritated me was the ‘love interest’ at the very end. It wasn’t really needed, it was so formulaic really, as if pandering to the masses. It is one of the things that really irritates me in stories – people don’t have to ‘fall in love’!

“A wave hit them. Eddie’s head sank below the freezing water. He kicked his legs, bursting back to the surface as fast as he could.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Enigma Key : A Gripping Adventure Thriller

 

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Official description:
THE FATE OF THE WORLD HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

ONE MAN IS THRUST INTO AN INTERNATIONAL RACE AGAINST TIME TO SECURE THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS WEAPON: THE ENIGMA KEY

Eddie York—manhunter, codebreaker—is set on a dangerous mission by the last wishes of his deceased grandfather, a prominent member of the Guardian Group, a secret agency designed to protect the world from dangerous new technologies falling into the wrong hands.

Eddie is tasked to recover the Enigma Key, an object that holds the balance of worldly power. Using information from an old computer game that his grandfather had created to hide the key’s location, and working with unlikely allies, he must fight his way through a sequence of challenges for an answer that reaches into history.

If Eddie and his team don’t recover the Enigma Key before their enemies, then nobody or nothing will be safe again.

Enigma Key is the first book in an exciting new series from Colin F. Barnes and Darren Wearmouth. Written for fans of thriller and action fiction who love fast-paced twists and turns. Mixing history and cutting-edge technology, Barnes and Wearmouth invite you into a new world of fast-paced, exciting adventures.

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Curse Breaker: Falls by Melinda Kucsera

I get the feeling that I just had a sampler of this book, as it was very short and didn’t take long to read at all, which makes it awfully difficult to review.

So, all I can do is say that it was intense from the start of the ‘book’ and engaged very quickly with action in the tale. It is book 4 in a series (of which I have only read book 1) and something that I would normally enjoy reading.

I have seen that it has a stronger christian influence than previous books, which didn’t occur in the sampler that I read, so I am unable to comment on that! Also giving a score for the stars system is difficult for a ‘book’ which isn’t the complete article, but I will do my best.

In this instance I am not going to summarise my view of the story, as I don’t think I have read it all. I also won’t be giving a ‘go for it’ or ‘avoid it’ guide, as I don’t think that would be fair on the author, under the circumstances.

I received an e-ARC of this ‘book’ in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Curse Breaker: Falls: Volume 4

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Official description:
Can an untrained mage and his son stop an ancient evil or will they be lost in its darkness?
Something evil is loose in Mount Eredren, and it’s determined to keep Sarn away from the enchanted forest and the menace destroying it.

This time, Ghost Bear can’t save him. Neither can the Queen of All Trees because she’s locked in a deadly duel with a foe that’s beyond her power to stop.

With his son by his side, Sarn must face down a legendary evil with only a ragtag bunch of reluctant magical constructs at his side. If he fails, Shayari will fall, and the Adversary will add an unstoppable monster to his ranks.

Find out what happens when the lights go out in Curse Breaker: Falls.

Curse Breaker: Falls is the action-packed sequel to Curse Breaker: Faceted. Christian Fantasy meets epic fantasy in this fast-paced narrative pitting Sarn and his son against monsters both mundane and magical.

Fans of Nicholas Eames, Julliet Marillier, Michael J. Sullivan, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will enjoy Sarn’s struggle against dark forces to save his son and himself. Get Curse Breaker: Falls today!

From Curse Breaker: Falls: Volume 4

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Curse Breaker: Enchanted [The More Epic Version] by Melinda Kucsera

Sarn is indentured to Lord Joranth, the Lord of the Mountain, who had found him half dead in a snow bank 6 years ago and had taken him back to the mountain. Sarn’s indenture is paying for his brother, Mirren’s education, so that he can rise up to find a better life. Mirren looks after Sarn’s son, Ran, every night, while Sarn works for the Rangers.

But Sarn is different to other citizens and must take care to hide this fact. If found out it could cost him his life. Sarn carries a green magic within himself and must keep his eyes closed to avoid the magic shining from them being detected. Thankfully his magic provides a map in his head that helps him avoid people and other objects – a bit like a heads-up display.

The Queen of All Trees wants Sarn and he feels her call so strongly, but the promises that bind him from his indenture, bind him tightly, and he cannot disobey them.

Then the Ranger’s take Sarn to investigate a disturbance and he is kidnapped and taken to where something vile had happened. From there Sarn struggles to work out what has happened and how things can be put right.

Before he can resolve things, he is found and taken back to the Mountain and then violently kidnapped again. His life is continually in danger and it seems that Sarn is the only one who fathoms that there is a situation that needs to be put right and indeed he is the only one who is likely to be able to do just that.

And of course besides all that, he has to see to the safety of his brother and his son.

This is a children’s or young adults book I think, rather than an adult one. The language is appropriate for these groups, so I don’t have any issues with suggesting it for them.

I liked that the story was not solely focused on the viewpoint of one character. There were times when Ran (Sarn’s son) or Jerlo (the Ranger’s Commander) or others were the focal point and this added depth and completeness to the telling.

At times, I found the writing style a little too simplistic, which is why I have suggested that it is mainly aimed at children or young adults.

It is a good book with a good story. Well written and enjoyable to read. Recommended to readers of the genre.

“Beads clicked together on the bracelet Nolo always wore, as they descended the mountain trail. Ten agates, three Jaspers—supplied the magic before Sarn cut it off. His magic liked rocks, even if they were part of someone else’s jewelry.”

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Curse Breaker: Enchanted: [The More Epic Version]

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Official description:
Start No Fires. Carry No Weapons. Do No Harm.

Or risk the enchanted forest’s ire.

Three rules safeguarded travelers through the enchanted forest, but not a child. His death robbed Shayari’s silent sentinels of their power to lay his innocent soul to rest and to repel the evil stalking its shadows.

Lured into the forest by its mythic Queen, an untested mage must right a deadly wrong before its dark power corrupts his dearest son.

In a land where mages are hunted and despised, a single father must serve his masters and save a soul without revealing his gifted son. Or he risks losing everything he holds dear.

Get Curse Breaker: Enchanted: [The More Epic Version]. Fans of Anthony Ryan, Julliet Marillier, Michael J. Sullivan, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will enjoy Sarn’s struggle to save those he loves and find peace for a troubled ghost and himself.

Start this fantastic adventure today. Don’t keep the characters waiting.

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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H. L. Burke

An appealing and fun book about two young men who both want more or less the same thing – an inheritance of great worth, from the same man. They are not brothers, but each hopes for the prize.

This is a great read for young and old alike, a book about magic and fantasy. Set in the countryside, where a young man, Auric, returns from the city after 4 years away in the Capital being trained by the Magicians of the Republic. Jericho, a local boy, has been apprenticed to Auric’s father in his absence and is busy helping with the production of magical wards, these particular ones against frost for the surrounding farms.

They immediately take against each other, seeing the other as a threat to their own future as the inheritor of the business. Auric’s father seems to perceive Jericho as a better spell caster, and Auric as a clumsy fool. Rill, Auric’s sister, is very pleased to have him back, but she too has a fondness for Jericho, which Auric doesn’t like.

Then Hedward, father to Rill and Auric, disappears, just disappears and Auric and Jericho must work together to find him and bring him back. They really must work together or it will be an impossible task.

I really liked the way magic is constructed using quires (of wood or paper) on which to craft the spell and then the energy is drawn from that available in the environment to fulfil the spell once the final activation symbol is inserted. Of course if there isn’t enough magic in the environment, then the spell won’t work, but that doesn’t seem to matter as the Magicians at the Capital have found a way of creating rifts to pull more magic in for their spell crafting. And they use wax tablets so that they don’t run out of quires.

I read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t a massive tome, and I found it engaging for it’s subject matter and tone. I would recommend it to people who like fantasy stories and also would mention that it is suitable for children and adults alike.

“I remember you treating her like a lovely ornament, some sort of fragile treasure you feared would be stolen or broken… and I remember it stifling her, just like it is now stifling Rill.”

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Spellsmith & Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry: Volume 1

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Official description:
An estranged son. An adopted heir. A magical attack that forces them to work together.

The disappearance of Auric Spellsmith’s mother has strained his relationship with his father to the breaking point. Now, after five years away at the Magicians’ Academy, Auric returns home, determined to prove himself to his father and claim his birthright.

Apprentice Jericho Carver has held Spellsmith Manor together in Auric’s absence. Now his master’s son is back, and if he can’t get rid of Auric, Jericho will forfeit his career and lose all hope of wooing the master’s enchanting daughter.

Neither man intends to back down.

But then Master Spellsmith vanishes into the mysterious Fey Lands. With Fey magic threatening the mortal realm, Auric and Jericho must work together to save the man they both see as father.

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

“When my mother, Ella, got the letter, a violent shudder ran through her. That was before she opened it. The envelope was creamy green, printed with her name and the address of the place we were staying. We’d arrived the night before, and I wondered how it found us.”

I felt like I was running as fast as I could to read this. It never let up. It was very enthralling to read and while I thought that I knew what direction the plot would take, it didn’t and I was wrong.

I don’t know what I would liken it to. I think it’s a bit of a one off.

Alice is growing up with her mum Ella, they are always moving on. If they stay put too long, bad luck seems to reach out and spoil what they have.

When a letter arrives one day, Ella tells Alice that they are now free to settle down and build a life. That life involves Alice going to a school where she meets Ellery Finch. Finch is the one person whom she seems to be able to link up with. And it is Finch that she turns to when Ella goes missing.

Then the two of them, Alice and Finch, set off to find The Hazel Wood, so that Alice can rescue her mum.

Which all sounds very mundane, but it isn’t because there are strange beings abroad, right out of the pages of a horrific fairy story. They seem to be after Alice!

So rather than spoil a good story, which is Alice, I suggest you read the book for yourself.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

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Keeper of the Watch by Kristen L. Jackson

“They had been following the boy, Chase Walker, since his birthday, looking for signs of The Coupling. He had not been wearing the watch earlier this evening, so maybe there was still time.”

I liked the story and the characters, they were solid enough. I found the writing style a bit too young for me, I guess when you read below your age, that is bound to happen 🙂

The key character is Chase Walker, his Uncle Charlie died three weeks ago and he’s having trouble adjusting. He also feels like he is being stalked, which is weird as he’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Until his Uncle’s house (now his of course) is broken in to, though the police cannot find any evidence of such an event and simply advise him to lock his doors!

His best buddy is Mason Moore, he’s off to University soon. He reminds Chase that he has a football scholarship to look forward to, but Chase knows otherwise.

Later back at the house, Chase is sure that there is an intruder, again. This time there is a girl called Alyx and she tells him that she is there to help him.She wants him to put on the watch. Chase isn’t keen, it’s old and ungainly looking, despite its initial attraction when he first touched it.

The story continues with the introduction of hunters, they seek the watch and the bearer. Chase and Alyx avoid them as best they can. The adventure develops and gets more complicated (and likely to be spoilt if I write it here).

At times I found the writers style got in the way of my reading, realising that it was aimed at teens I was able to tolerate this. I expect that in the subsequent books the writing style will develop and improve, so I look forward to reading the next books (I did say that I enjoyed the story).

If you enjoy such things as ‘Sliders’ (the sci-fi & fantasy tv series), I anticipate that this will be highly suitable reading for you.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
Chase Walker is beginning to doubt his own sanity. From the moment he turned eighteen, a strange paranoia has taken over his mind. It all started the moment he discovered his uncle’s old watch…
The watch calls to him. Though it beckons, he resists. His body strains toward it, blood pulsing, heart pounding in a mysterious and primitive need to connect with his uncle’s old beat up watch.
When sexy and mysterious Alyx saves his life, she promises answers. She talks of dimension travel, and wears a magical watch of her own…

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Keeper by Kim Chance

“Right above my elbow, in the very spot the woman’s fingers had wrapped around my skin, was an angry, red handprint. The mark, raised and puffy, was the exact silhouette of five slender fingers, not much bigger than my own. I prodded the skin gently with one fingertip and hissed through my teeth; the spot was tender to the touch. It looked and felt like a bad burn, but the pain radiated much deeper.”

Lainey and her best friend Maggie are hanging out at a comic book store event, Maggie is invited out by a boy who is just her perfect partner, so Lainey heads off home alone. Before she reaches her car a ghost, all bloody and gruesome, grabs her and Lainey falls unconscious during the encounter. When she comes to she calls Maggie to get her help, as she is freaking out from the experience.

Maggie is obsessed with all things comic book and explains life and it’s happenings based on her favourite subject. Lainey is science oriented and likes to analyse life based on logic.

Ty is a young man that Lainey met for the first time while avoiding a Thor costumed boy at the comic book store event. He has been in town for about two weeks (Maggie found that out).

Lainey lives with her uncle Gareth and his girlfriend Serena, but prefers not to discuss her situation with them, as it’s a) weird and b) Serena is a hippy medium.

So the story unfolds with Lainey and Maggie having ‘adventures’ and Lainey and Ty teasing out how they should be.

There is magic and murder and mayhem and Maggie would love to be able to claim to be something more than human, like the characters in her comic books.

Lainey discovers that she is a witch, like her mother before her, with a duty to be the keeper of an ancient magical grimoire. The grimoire was taken and Lainey must find a way to retrieve it.

I could have finished this in one sitting if I had started it earlier in the day! As it was I had to wait until the next day to see how the second half unfolded. It was worth waiting for, there was a lot to read. And now I wait for the next book to see what happens to each of the characters.

I am not a ‘romance’ reader, so I was pleased that the author didn’t go all soppy with the boyfriend / girlfriend interactions. And the amount of blood and gore was definitely within my acceptance sphere. I really enjoyed reading this story and as I mentioned I’m keen to read the next book.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother. After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic. With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

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