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Rebel Child (The Murdoch Vampires, #2)
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Wicked as She Wants - Delilah S. Dawson **An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**4.5 STARS!I love this series. I do. I find the world to be wholly original; Dawson’s voice to be poetic, romantic, and smart; and the characters to be dynamic and absorbing. This follow-up to Dawson’s debut, WICKED AS THEY COME, is no exception. Taking her characters outside the world of Criminy Stain’s carnival and into the clouds of Sang and the world of Freesia added another layer to the series overall. Couple that with the deliciously vicious, spoiled but ultimately redeemed Ahnastasia and the tormented Stranger, Casper, and you have a book that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night wondering how it is that Dawson is able to make a world so fantastical, so very tangible for the reader. The plot of WICKED AS SHE WANTS is a riff on the Princess Anastasia story. The royal family of Freesia, a country where the Bludmen (read: vampire…of sorts) are in power and humans treated as cattle, has been murdered, the princesses disappeared, never to be seen again. Bludmen around the world pray for the return of the missing princesses so that the tyrannical ruler, Ravenna, can be disposed of and the balance of power shifted back again into the hands of the Blud baron ruling class. Casper, the tortured figure of both WICKED AS THEY COME and the novella, THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE, is knee deep in his debauchery and imminent demise when he stumbles across a suitcase. And who should be in that suitcase but the starved and drained lost princess Ahnastasia. They strike a deal and so begins Ahnastasia’s struggle to return to Freesia (alive) and to regain her throne. The plot was well-paced and had enough excitement and uncertainty in it to keep me on my toes. The overarching question of whether or not Ahnastasia would succeed in her quest was a compelling one. Who can she trust? Can she make it alive? Will she have support? These were all questions that helped propel the plot forward and build enough tension so that I compulsively read this story any moment I had free. The world-building is always stellar in the Blud series and WICKED AS SHE WANTS did not disappoint in that regard. Dawson takes us out of Criminy Stain’s carnival and into the dark streets of London and the decadence and splendor of Freesia. I’ve said this once and I will say it again, Dawson’s world is like a dream. Things feel so unreal – it’s fantastical but there is something that keeps you tethered to reality at the same time. The world she creates is like our own but slightly different. Freesia is like Russia, the capitol is Muscovy, like Moscow, Ravenna is like Rasputin, etc. There is a whimsy and utter darkness there (a taxidermist daemon that stuffs dead people and hangs them on the wall?) that keeps you fascinated and slightly disturbed at the same time. I appreciated the fact that Dawson opens this world up a bit more in this second book. We are able to see how different Sangland, the setting of the first book, is from Freesia where Bludmen hold the power. We’re given a deeper understanding of not only the politics but also the nature of Bludmen and the beasts within them. Couple this with the very cool steampunk elements of floating airships, mechanical animals, and other cool contraptions and you have a world that you look forward to stepping into any chance you get. I don’t know which called to me more, his music or his blood. Trapped in darkness, weak to the point of death, I woke only to suck his soul dry until the notes and droplets merged in my veins. Whoever he was, he was my inferior, my prey, and his life was my due. What’s the point of being a princess if you can’t kill your subjects? Central to this story, and the most compelling aspect of it for me, is the relationship between Casper and Ahnastasia. Now, I’m not going to lie – Ahnastasia is not a likeable character. She is spoiled, controlling, entitled, vicious, and manipulative. But I couldn’t help but be drawn into her struggle. And what I loved about this story is that she grows. She really does. By the end of the book you see someone whose worldview has shifted in a realistic way but also at a pace that has you wondering if you’re going to love or hate her. And though she has revelations, the core haughtiness and the royal “we” of her doesn’t change and I appreciated that dichotomy. Casper was also surprising to me because he has never been a character I thought was terribly interesting. But here, in WICKED AS SHE WANTS, he is charming, mad, talented, thoughtful, protective, and he’s hiding a secret. This, combined with what you know of him from the first book, and I was definitely compelled by his story and what his future holds. Together, they were combustible. Power, trust, fear, and, ultimately, respect were all elements that ebbed and flowed in their relationship. I was honestly unsure of what the end would be for them and I appreciated that push and pull. It made for a sexy chemistry that Dawson also excels at creating. “You may consider us equal. Your blood in exchange for having restrained me. Shall we be friends?”I didn’t mean it. Not the equal part, not the friends part. I’d seen a human singing to some pigeons once, luring one close enough to twist its neck. I could sing like that, too. I couldn’t write this without a plea for more Keen, Casper’s charge and sidekick. I loved this character. I love what her end is in this story and I would love to start some sort of campaign begging Dawson to create a full-length or at least a novella centered on Keen when she comes of age. She’s an endearing, smart, land-on-her-feet, pain-in-the-ass who stole the show whenever she was in a scene. For me, if there was any stumble in WICKED AS SHE WANTS it was in the climax. I wanted something a bit more when it came to the ultimate showdown. It felt too quick and the tension that had been so nicely built was wasted for me. After all the struggle, after an arduous journey, after the pain and loss of family and tightly held beliefs, I wanted something a little…well, more…maybe bloodier, more uncertain, more edge of your seat. Regardless, I really liked WICKED AS SHE WANTS. It was a wonderful follow-up to a book I adored. I really cannot wait to see where else Dawson will take us in her incredibly well-drawn world of Sang. This review has been posted courtesy of She-Wolf Reads.
Elysian Fields - Suzanne  Johnson **I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**4.5 Stars!This was a book I really wanted to read. I enjoyed ROYAL STREET, the first book in the Sentinels series, and I raved about RIVER ROAD, its follow-up. Over the course of two books I came to love the awkward DJ, with her act first and think later attitude, her jumbled love life, her potion mixing magic, and powerful elven staff that she’s just beginning to understand. What I liked most was that of all the UF heroines I’ve read, DJ was someone who seemed normal. She’s geeky, not physically powerful, eats junk, sits on her butt and watches TV, knows when it’s time to run rather than fight, and is stronger with potions and spell books than swords and guns. DJ is a different kind of UF heroine and I was eager to see how author Suzanne Johnson would continue to develop and grow DJ as a character. I can say without hesitation that ELYSIAN FIELDS, the third book in Johnson’s Sentinels of New Orleans series, was a fantastic read. “I pulled a chunk of flesh out of my hair and turned my back so I could dry heave in semi-privacy. I might have to go vegan.” The plot of ELYSIAN FIELDS was exciting and, at times, a little scary. DJ discovers that a series of murders the media suspects are being committed by a copycat are actually being committed by a serial killer from the 1900’s known as the Axeman. The Axeman is one of the historical undead, one of the many famous dead people who are kept immortal through the strength and magic of collective human memory. DJ must stop the Axeman and banish him to the Beyond before he claims another victim. But she soon becomes one of his targets and it’s a fight for her life to stop him while also trying to identify the mastermind behind the Axeman’s murderous rampages. The mystery/murder plot line was well done. The Axeman could appear at random, ratcheting up the tension for both the reader and DJ. The action scenes were fantastically written, keeping me both anxious and tense. The mystery of who was controlling the Axeman was also tight. I thought I had it figured out pretty quickly but realized at the end I only got half the story right. The world Johnson created in the Sentinel series slowly expands from here. We get a taste of vampires and more wizard bureaucracy. The mystery of Rand is finally revealed and, through his identity, we are privy to politics and power struggles that show just how precarious the balance of power is in the preternatural world. I’m digging the pace at which Johnson is opening this world up. Each book has introduced us to a new preternatural community, first the historical undead and wizards, then mermen, and, now, the elves. And these are not the fairy kind. They are scary and powerful and fragmented. By the end of ELYSIAN FIELDS, DJ has her feet firmly planted in elven drama and I think it’s going to be an exciting road to travel with her. The gem of this book is DJ. I like her as a character. There’s something normal about her and I completely identify with her awkward nature. And I love the fact that I can say I identify with a wizard. Johnson puts DJ through an emotional rollercoaster and what stands out for me is just how deep those emotions run. I feel like we got to know DJ on another level – her anguish over her childhood, the death of her father and friend, her fragile friendship with her best friend, the uncertainty and instability of her romantic relationships, a life altering change that has the clock ticking for her and the tensions running high…my heart went out to DJ. Johnson did a wonderful job of letting us peer into her heroine’s psyche and she does so in a very heart-rending way. By the end of it, relationships have changed and moved to new levels and DJ herself has revelations about her relationships that show a growing maturity and ability to accept responsibility. “Shifters and weres, most of us like things straight and simple. And nothing personal, babe, but you ain’t either one.” The area where things got disappointing for me was in the romance department. Without giving too much away, DJ has a choice to make and she makes it. As a fan of this series, I gave her a mental hi-five and was happy to settle into being a third-wheel to a relationship in the making. But then we start to get some pulling back, some fear, some criticisms of things that were always there and probably never going to change and I started to get annoyed. DJ’s life is crazy so either fish or cut bait! I’m holding my breath that the romance in this series doesn’t turn into a long, tortured coming together. If you’re a fan of the series, ELYSIAN FIELDS is a must read. If you haven’t started the Sentinels of New Orleans, please do. The New Orleans atmosphere, strong heroine and original worldbuilding are so worth it.This review comes courtesy of the blog She-Wolf Reads.

Catalyst (A Tethered Novel, Book 1)

Catalyst - Jennifer Snyder Review to come!
Mist - Susan Krinard Debating this one. Review to come.
Ashes on the Waves - Mary Lindsey Review to come!
Death's Rival  - Faith Hunter Review to come.

Dark Currents: Agent of Hel

Dark Currents: Agent of Hel - Jacqueline Carey Great start to a new series. Love the ghouls! Review to come.
Frostbite - Richelle Mead I definitely liked this one better than the first book. Review to come.
Generation V - M.L. Brennan **A copy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**I always get excited when I read the first book in a new series. There’s always the promise of something new, original and immersive. M.L. Brennan’s GENERATION V fulfilled that promise and then some. If I could distill what I loved about this book into two words, those words would be Fortitude Scott.According to Webster’s Dictionary, fortitude is the “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” This defines Fortitude Scott, the hero of GENERATION V, perfectly. Fortitude is the anti-alpha, a welcome hero in a genre that is glutted with alphas. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good alpha male character in my urban fantasy but I just fell in love with how real Fort felt. He is twenty something, has a useful degree in Film Theory, a dead end job at a coffee shop, and a manipulative roommate and girlfriend who sleep with each other. How can things get worse, right? They do. But I’ll get to that. Fort is smart, with a sharp, self-deprecating voice that had me laughing out loud and wanting to find him a nice girlfriend. Because he deserves it. He’s such a nice guy! Fort is so lovingly ordinary that he feels like an everyman, but underneath the humor lies a strength of character that makes him remarkable. It is precisely this well-defined, original, new voice that hooked me into the story from page one.But Fort is also a vampire facing full transition, desperately trying to hold onto his humanity. This is where the humor of Fort’s voice really counterbalances the darkness of his world. He has a vampire family – the deceptively strong Madeline, his mother, and his siblings, the downright scary Prudence, and the aptly named Chivalry. How he was born and the complex relationship he has with his mother and siblings is the dark heart of the story. The relationships he has with them are built on fear, though there could be a true fondness between him and Chivalry, and I found the layers in these relationships fascinating. Given his history with them, I can’t understand why he doesn’t detest them all but then again, he doesn’t have much choice but to be part of this family if he’s to understand and survive his transition. Brennan’s vampire world is dark and she gives us an unredeemable, disgusting villain to pit Fort against. Given Fort’s, shall we say, lack of physical strength and obvious youth, the stakes are high. You worry he won’t make it. But there’s no courage without fear and Brennan firmly places this seemingly ordinary young man in the middle of extraordinary circumstances and the resulting conflict kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.Finally, Suzume. She is Kitsune, the mythical Japanese fox shifter. And she is a badass. Suzume is everything Fort is not – confident, aggressive, physical, and very plugged into the supernatural world around them. There’s definitely chemistry and, as his bodyguard, she and Fort spend a lot of time together. I loved their banter, I loved Suzume’s badassery, and the kitsune myth is an not oft used world in urban fantasy. I hope we see more of her.If I had to get picky I would say some of the world-building got a little foggy for me. Specifically, in Brennan’s creation, a vampire’s birth is an original concept but I had to re-read some sections in order to understand the process. Fort’s birth is a bit of a mystery so I fully expect those concepts to be further explained over the course of the series. Regardless, GENERATION V is a wonderful start to an interesting new series. Funny and dark with a hero you can’t help but love, Brennan’s American Vampire series is now on my auto-buy list.**A copy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**This review is courtesy of the blog She-Wolf Reads.
Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead RATING: 2.5 StarsReview to come.I'm right down the middle on this one but I've been assured the series gets incredible. I went out and got a copy of the next book, Frostbite. Don't let me down!
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer Loved this book. Loved it. Review to come.
The She-Hulk Diaries - Marta Acosta Review to come!
A Cursed Embrace - Cecy Robson 3.5 Stars!**A review copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**A CURSED EMBRACE is the second book in Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series. This is one of those series that kind of charms you into a tizzy with its action, fun, and wit. At least that’s what it does for me. This second installment was equally as fun as the first, though darker, with some heartache, some adventure, and some serious Wird sister sass. While I admit that I got a little nitpicky on a couple of issues, A CURSED EMBRACE was a good read and a solid follow-up to a series, and an author, with a secure position on my auto-buy list.Robson definitely took us into some darker territory here. Bodies are showing up all over the Tahoe area. Bodies of women with their abdomens torn apart. These gruesome murders are the result of breeding demons and the visuals are so dark, the crimes so gruesome that Robson successfully establishes the pure evil of the enemy and then proceeds to raise the stakes even higher for both the wolves and the Wird sisters. What’s at stake is not only the human world, but also the order of the supernatural world. This battle of light versus dark equals some kick ass action, which Robson always does so well, in addition to truly emotional moments that make you wonder if everyone is going to make it out alive by book’s end. I feel like Robson does this nice sleight of hand where she gives you action, darkness, and violence and then very deftly switches it up with pockets of brightness as seen through the sisters and their relationships with each other. The sisters are hands down my favorite part of this series. They each have unique personalities and powers; they are a tight unit and the best thing about both books is the interaction between the girls which never fails to make me laugh.Central to A CURSED EMBRACE is the relationship between Aric and Celia. For those of us who desperately wanted more of them, Robson gives it to us. And then some. I feel like I can’t say more without spoilers but, boy, does Robson put us through the wringer with these two.I think one of my bigger issues with this second installment really has to do with my expectations. I expected an overall story arc to emerge about the girls and the origins of their powers. The source of their powers is a mystery and I so want that mystery to be solved. I didn’t feel like we got any closer and wondered if we ever would. Also, while I love Celia, I wanted some POV from the other sisters. Shayna and Kodo reach milestones in their relationship, as do Taran and Gemini. In fact, the sexual tension between Taran and Gemini is so built up that, I’ll be honest, I kind of wanted to be there for that moment of resolution. It’s moments like these when Celia’s viewpoint alone just didn’t cut it for me. In fact, by book’s end, I felt like if I don’t get a book from one sister in particular, who I shall not name (read the book and you’ll know what I mean), I might have to get crazy up in here. All in all, A CURSED EMBRACE is a satisfying read. It has the action, romance, and sisterhood shenanigans that I loved from the first book while it added more depth to the relationships we’ve come to love, particularly in terms of Aric and Celia. And while the end kind of left my mouth hanging open, Robson hit us in the heart and I love her for it. Hopefully, we’ll get more from each sister and we’ll get more about what the heck the Wird sisters are. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the ride. **A review copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**This review is courtesy of the site She-Wolf Reads.
The Collector (Dante Walker, #1) - Victoria Scott **An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**VERDICT: down the middle - 2.5 StarsI was really looking forward to the release of Victoria Scott’s THE COLLECTOR for two reasons. First, I rarely read male POVs so I was interested in reading a paranormal where the male voice would take center stage; second, by all the buzz around the book, I knew that said male voice was, well, not going to be a nice guy and this intrigued me – a narrator you might not like? Ballsy. I wanted to see where Scott would take us with the infamous Dante Walker, soul collector for the Boss Man (the Devil to you and me). For the most part, I found THE COLLECTOR entertaining and, in some parts, genuinely moving but overall, it was less than I expected. Let me explain.Dante Walker is an a-hole. He’s one of those guys that’s such a douche you have to laugh. At him. In incredulity that someone can actually be such an ass. Arrogant, selfish, and superficial, Dante is the perfect soul collector for the guy below the ground. You know, Hell. He has one big assignment: bring in the soul of Charlie Cooper, a 17-year old girl who, while not physically the most beautiful girl in the world, is smart, sweet, and has a beautiful soul. Dante is really going to need to turn up the charm to get Charlie to sin enough so he can claim her soul for his boss. Scott did a great job of turning this ass into a hero by the end of the book. His character goes from A to Z in a very nicely paced arc. The stakes are high for Dante and to fail at this assignment means losing his ticket out of Hell, so he is constantly pitting his selfish urges against his growing concern for Charlie. I like the fact that this change is a constant struggle and that it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the book is almost done before you see real change in Dante and taking the time to develop that transformation made it more impactful.You would think that with a main character like Dante my biggest issue would be with him. But it’s not. It’s with the treatment of Charlie. While I don’t think she is as developed a character as Dante, and that may be because the book is told entirely from Dante’s POV, what I really didn’t like were her choices.**START SPOILER**Now, the character of Charlie would have been a great opportunity to create a female character that challenged Dante even more than she does here. She is awkward. Acne, frizzy hair, crooked teeth, the whole nine yards. She’s the type of girl Dante would never have noticed in his past life. She’s given the option to change and…she does. I wanted her to say, “F*ck you, Dante! I don’t need to change how I look to feel good about myself.” Instead, Dante conveniently gets a beautiful girl on the inside and the outside; therefore, he can love Charlie without having to look past the pesky issue of her glasses, bad skin, frizzy hair, crooked teeth, and beanpole body. Dante says he prefers the old Charlie but it doesn’t matter does it? Because now he has the upgraded Charlie. Huh?**END SPOILER**What I’m really hoping is that Scott flips the switch a bit on Charlie by the end of this trilogy. What you find is that Charlie is a game-changer, for everyone involved, so the stakes are high and I do wonder how Scott is going to move forward with her character. In terms of world-building, I found myself less interested in the dynamics of the reapers and the rules as they weren’t very compelling to me. What kept me reading was Dante Walker, who he was becoming, what the ramifications would be for him, and how he was going to survive it.I’m so on the fence about this book. While Dante was entertaining in all his douchey splendor, I had such problems with Charlie and very little interest in the world itself. Though well-written and entertaining, I don't think I would read book two. This one is right down the middle for me: 2.5 Stars.**An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**This review is courtesy of the blog She-Wolf Reads.
Dark Companion - Marta Acosta **A review copy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** I don’t know where to begin with this review. Let me say now that I loved DARK COMPANION. I truly loved this gothic tale of an orphaned girl making her way in the world. And while I had some issues with how DARK COMPANION ended, that really didn’t undermine my complete fascination with this story and with its heroine, Jane Williams. I think my difficulty comes with trying to organize and articulate my thoughts, so bear with me.Let’s start with Jane. She comes from the wrong side of the tracks, has been raised in the foster care system, and pulls herself out of a horrific group home by winning a scholarship to Birch Grove Academy, an elite private school for girls that dangles the promise of future success in front of her, and seems to be a way out of the rough life she’s experienced so far. Jane is an incredibly compelling YA heroine – orphaned, tough, completely independent, smart, driven, and ambitious. But she’s also lonely and, while she might not admit it, she wants to be accepted. She wants to be loved. Jane has a completely rational, scientific perspective on the world, yet this driving need for acceptance and love and finding a place in the world where she fits in, makes her accept some irrational things; leads her to make some questionable choices. This is particularly true of her relationship with Lucien, the headmistress’s son, who Jane is tutoring. She is infatuated with him and it’s this infatuation that makes the rational, smart, independent Jane start to lose herself and ignore the signs that something isn’t completely normal about their relationship and about the things he is asking her to do. I wanted to shake Jane. My heart went out to her and it’s a testament to Acosta’s writing that she was able to craft such a compelling young woman who feels old and young, strong and totally vulnerable in a very real way, all at the same time.Other aspects of the story that worked for me were the dialogue and the relationships with the supporting cast of characters. Her interactions with Jack, the headmistress’s oldest son, are cryptic, witty, and crackle with electricity. She wants to punch him but you know she probably wants to kiss him, too. I also adored Mary Violet, Jane’s best friend at Birch Grove. Mary Violet is hilarious, has a romantic outlook on life, and genuinely cares about Jane. She wants to “funnify” Jane, which is fitting since she provides some of the funniest lines in the book, particularly her French translations. You’re the crème de la crème. That’s French for “all that and a bag of chips.”And, Grand-mere calls me Marie-Violette and she’s always asking me about my beaux, which is French for “players with trust funds.”Finally, the gothic atmosphere of the school and the Brontesque touches that call to mind Jane Eyre were all elements that worked very well in DARK COMPANION. If you are a Jane Eyre fan, like myself, you will have fun picking out all the nods to that story – orphan girl, tutoring, how she first meets Jack, etc. It all works together to create a dark atmosphere where nothing is what it seems. In fact, the overall mystery is compelling as well – the headmistress and her family are hiding something and what Jane soon realizes is that everything comes with a price.The biggest negative for me came at about 85% into the book (I read it on my Kindle) where the main storyline is tied up but new questions are brought forward that feel less integrated into the plot. There was a sense that DARK COMPANION, in the end, wasn’t sure what it wanted to be – a paranormal mystery or a mystery? I’m really hoping there is a follow-up to this book so I can get an answer to that question. The only reason I’m not giving a five star rating is because of the ending – it needed to be stronger. But the writing is so smart on so many levels that regardless of the ending, I highly recommend DARK COMPANION for anyone interested in gothic tales with romance, mystery, and tough, complex heroines that steal your heart.This review is courtesy of the blog She-Wolf Reads.
Spellcaster - Claudia Gray SPELLCASTER, by Claudia Gray, is a hard one for me to review. It’s one of those books that looked really great on paper, got good reviews from various sources I trust, and featured a dark New England town, witches, and angsty teens. With my recent YA obsession, I thought this was going to be a real winner. Blame it on high expectations but I came away with an overwhelming sense of, “meh” when I finished this one. The strength of SPELLCASTER can really be found in its plot and its world of magic. Let’s start with plot. A young girl from Chicago, Nadia Caldani, moves to a small New England town, Captive’s Sound, with her father and her younger brother. Her mother basically abandoned them and Nadia is filled with hurt, bitterness and a fierce determination to take her mother’s place by protecting and caring for her father and brother. Nadia is also a witch and she immediately recognizes a darkness lurking underneath the small town exterior, a darkness that only seems to be growing stronger. Banding together with two unlikely friends, Mateo and Verlaine, Nadia decides to go to battle and use all her witchy strength to defeat evil and save Captive’s Sound. The plot moved at a good pace and there were several nice reveals that kept me turning the pages and reluctantly putting down the book at night. However, by far the most original aspect of this story is its magic system. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. Witches can only be women, educated and empowered through female relatives and coven sisters. This adds another bitter pill to Nadia’s abandonment by her mother – without her, Nadia has little hope of advancing in her witchcraft. Here’s the real gem – spells are cast through pure memory and emotion. The sight of something wondrous, never before seen.The breaking of a bond that should never have been broken.Cold beyond desolation.Loyalty beyond life.In order to cast this spell, Nadia must call on memories that evoke these strong emotions and then feel them purely and deeply. Is that brilliant or what? This was such an original approach to magic that it made the paranormal aspects of SPELLCASTER feel very fresh. Though well-written and plotted, the major weaknesses for me in SPELLCASTER were its main heroine and hero, Nadia and Mateo. They were so cardboard that it was hard for me to, well, frankly, care about them. Both are motherless, both dealing with adult size issues for such a young age, yet both lacked an evocative depth of emotion. Nadia shined when casting but other than that, I had a hard time connecting with her. It’s not a good sign when the side characters completely steal the show – Verlaine, the spunky, sharp, and funny friend; Liz, Mateo’s enigmatic best friend; and Asa, the demon, who is the major reason why I want to read the next book. All of these characters held my interest five times more than Nadia and Mateo. And the lukewarm romance between the two didn’t help.I do want to give major props to Gray for giving us a diverse cast of characters. There’s color in this world and a non-traditional relationship with Verlaine’s two fathers. Though this was not a major part of the story, I appreciate Gray’s creation of a town that had a level of diversity not often found in many YA paranormal books.With SPELLCASTER I vacillated between a two and three howl rating. I decided to give it three howls for two reasons – great magic and an ending that piqued my interest. A side character, Asa the demon, seems poised to play a bigger role and the mystery and conspiracy at the heart of the dark magic buried in Captive’s Sound hasn’t been fully understood, which does make me want to know what happens next. With these borderline reviews, the deciding factor is always, “would I read the next one?” The answer is, yes. But, honestly, I might borrow it from the library. This review comes courtesy of She-Wolf Reads.