ARC Review: Bound by Spells-Stormy Smith

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Bound by Spells (Bound, #2)-Stormy Smith

YA Paranormal

cooltext1790897456 copyAidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.

Amelia decided to stand by her duty, which meant walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Will Aidan get to Amelia before it’s too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?

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cooltext1790896132 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

PROS:

  • Amelia is not perfect. She’s real, honest, and has doubts about what she can do. She doesn’t pretend to know what she’s doing, she’s not entirely confident and she makes mistakes. She’s flawed and that’s what makes her so relatable. Amelia sacrifices her heart to protect her loved ones, faces her fears, and puts her life at risk, diving into one precarious situation after another to save the AniMages. Amelia battles the force within her; a magic that is so potent she knows it has the power to destroy her and those around her. This power is also the salvation for her people. When Amelia discovers the truth, her heart breaks with each victim’s story. Amelia grows into a deadly fighter who embraces the Keeper within to rescue the women Queen Julia has abused for years. Amelia is confused, she doesn’t know who to trust, and her destiny is even cloudier than she expected. Her feelings are like the average teenage girls with magic and fate thrown in. It’s a hot mess of emotional turmoil that would throw anyone for a spin. Amelia’s heart is a wreck, sorting out her feelings is half the journey to her self-discovery.
  • Aidan’s love for Amelia is the one thing he can be sure of in this messed up new reality. He’s riddled with memories that haunt him and a past that is full of dark truths. Aidan struggles to deal with who he is and who he must be to save Amelia and the fate of the AniMages. Aidan sometimes falls prey to introspection and a defeatist attitude but his heart always rekindles with thoughts of Amelia. For her, Aidan will do anything and fight anyone.
  • Micah is a surprise. He’s brooding and crafty. Michal has the weight of the world and the sins of his mother on his shoulders. He’s been wronged and hurt others but never lost faith that one day, he’d help temper his mother’s wrath. Micah’s relationship with Amelia is a complicated one. Though it doesn’t feel entirely platonic, there’s a connection between them that is more than romance, it’s a joint goal to make the world a better place.
  • Bethany is a delightfully refreshing BFF. She’s a beautiful Southern girl with a take-charge attitude and feisty personality. She has wonderful Southern colloquialisms that will win you over and have you falling in love with her charms. Full of sass and determination, Bethany won’t take no for an answer and will stop at nothing to save her best friend, Amelia.
  • Queen Julia is a wickedly sadistic mastermind. Her methods are sinister and despicable. She has no regard for humanity, has a single-minded goal and doesn’t care who she has to crush to achieve it. Just when you think you have her figured out, there’s another layer of her personality to sift through that will have you second-guessing her motives. Is Queen Julia truly evil or simply misguided? Stormy Smith is a master of suggestion. She insinuates just enough for your imagination to run wild without going totally graphic in terms of violence and bloodshed.
  • Secondary characters were memorable and each had a fascinating backstory. Cole, Dillon, Baleon, Joran, Will and Rhi had distinct personalities and strong interactions.

CONS:

  • Each form of magical being is distinguishable by the color of their magic and unique talents. What each color represents, their stories, and what their capabilities are were left unexplored. There were some facts strewn throughout but I would have felt more comfortable and understood the stakes had the history been more in-depth and the roles of each group explained. When Amelia gets sucked into her Keeper magic and all the colors are represented, knowing precisely what each was and how it worked would have made combinations and Amelia’s potent power all the more deadly to the reader.
  • For all of Queen Julia’s supposed sense of urgency, the impending doom of the prophecy, and the need for Amelia and Micah to mate, she gives Amelia a lot of time to plot. There are big chunks of time when Queen Julia is missing from the story. Sure, the threat is an ever-hovering gloom over Amelia and Micah’s heads but there’s enough time for cross-country trips, days of planning, and rest. I kept asking myself when Queen Julia would be back to enforce her rule and make Amelia live up to her ultimatums.
  • The diary. There’s a whole scene frantically searching for the hidden pages and then, nothing. A couple pages read and there’s no big revelation or earth-shattering knowledge to help Amelia out. The diary’s importance was forgotten during the rest of the drama.
  • The battle scenes were a little anticlimactic. There wasn’t enough of an emotional build up to mourn some of those who were lost.

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Release Day Blitz & Trailer: Keepers-Anoosha Lalani

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thekeepers-cover copyAmazon/Goodreads

cooltext1544204149 copySixteen-year-old Isra Kalb has grown up starving in the slums of Islamabad. But hunger is only the beginning. When her father is mysteriously murdered and madness corrupts her mother’s mind, she’s left alone to fend for herself and her sister. Homeless and destitute, the only thing she has to remember her loving family by is a commonplace necklace–an amulet barely worth keeping.

Or so she thinks.

Swept into a web of lies, deceit and turmoil, Isra struggles to find a place for herself and Zaffirah, wondering if the strange creatures and visions she’s seeing are indications of the madness that took her mother. But when Snatchers capture Zaffirah, Isra learns her amulet isn’t so useless after all. Transported to Zarcane–the beastly garden where Adam and Eve were born–Isra comes face to face with her destiny. She’s a Keeper, charged with protecting the borders of Zarcane and keeping the demon hordes lurking in the shadows from taking realms that are not their own. And she’s not the only one; there’s a second Keeper, a boy whose identity hasn’t been revealed.

Now, in order to save her sister and fulfill her family’s legacy as Keeper of the Amulet, she has to find the second Keeper and close the borders. Surrounded by betrayal, trapped between warring factions of angels, and desperate to save the only family she has left, Isra must decide:

Who can she trust when nothing is what it seems?

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Anoosha Lalani has always had an insatiable desire to escape reality. It was a childhood trait that never seemed to fade out. If Anoosha were to make one wish, it would be to have wings to journey off the face of this planet and into the worlds of her stories.

When she’s not writing, you may find Anoosha attending high school in Singapore. Having moved around so much, she has had the wonderful opportunity to be exposed to a vibrant range of cultures, which often seem to find their way into her stories. Anoosha was born in Pakistan, the setting of her most recent novel, The Keepers.

Happy reading,

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