Cover Image: Spells Trouble

Spells Trouble

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Filled with witches, mystery, gates to other worlds, and adventure, Spells Trouble ultimately is a good if not mediocre book. The ideas that this book is based on are great and the main story is also well put together. I gave this book three stars because of how good the main plot was, however, it did lose of few points here and there.

To add a little bit to the synopsis, Hunter and Mercy are thrown into this mission to keep different underworlds from invading their town after their mother dies and these demons start escaping from different mythology versions of the realms of the dead. The girls with the help of their cat and their friends have to figure out how to use their witchy powers to save everyone, all while dealing with the death of their mother.

I haven’t read many books that tied the Salem Witch Trials to a present-day teenage mystery, but I liked how the Casts did it here. The prologue drew me in and planted a good foundation for the book. The little hits from the prologue later get used to weave together elements and create a very unique magic system. In fact, the worldbuilding might have been my favorite part, I like the small-town setting and the history that frames Hunter and Mercy’s adventure.

The characters were very hit or miss for me. A couple of them I really liked and others bothered me. Hunter and Mercy each have their good and bad moments, but I like how different they were. I also think the twin dynamics between them are very realistic. The character growth was another strong point. Hunter and Mercy and teenage girls and the adventure they go on is life-changing, so I was happy to see that was well-reflected.

My main issue came right at the beginning of the book. Spells Trouble begins at the twin’s birthday party on a lake with their friends. I think this scene was supposed to introduce the reader to the characters and how their lives typically are, but it a pretty poor choice for the start of the book. The portrayal of high schoolers just felt super cliche and a lot of the interactions were oddly sexual. As someone who was in highschool fairly recently, it made had it hard for me to focus on getting to know the characters. I was focused on how bothered I was by all the made-up teen slang like “pressie” (present), the super sexual interactions, and the setting. Almost immediately after this scene, the book dives into the main plot, which I did like, but it took a while for me to adjust to how much the tone of the book shifted. It felt like the first scene was from an entirely different book.

The writing style was easy to read and enjoyable but also didn’t help with the party scene. The writing style is very simplistic and reflective of how middle-grade is written. I typically like this writing style and it made the bulk of the book easy to read, but when the characters were talking about things like sex and alcohol the writing style just made it worse.

Stepping away from the book, I would say it was good, but the few critiques I had to make it hard to recommend to a specific group. Due to some of the content mixed with the writing style, I would say older young adult readers are the ideal reader and I would recommend the book to them.
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I’m pleasantly surprised I liked this so much. The Cast women gave me HON series and it’s been a tough act to follow. But I’m glad to finally be able to read something new from them in terms of finally letting go my first loves lol. Witches are awesome. Hunter and Mercy have a great story to tell and it was interesting from beginning to end.
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The concept here is great and so on trend, but I was shocked at the poor quality of the writing. So uneven and frustrating, it felt extremely trying-hard-to-be-relevant and was not successful.
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I'm sorry to say I didn't enjoy his book very much. It wasn't written badly or anything, but it's very much a female YA offering. If that's your kind of thing, I'm sure you'll really enjoy this book.

Thank you to NetGalley for letting me tag and review this ARC. All opinions are my own.
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While I enjoyed this book a lot, there was something about it that, for me, that didn't make it great. The characters, while for the most part,  are really good and relatable, they also can a bit annoying and immature. Yes, they're supposed to be in high school, but with the way their mom raised them, I felt they should be a bit wiser. Between the sisters, I definitely relate more to Hunter than to Mercy, and I loved her best friend Jax. The story moved really well, and I loved the magic in it. I was very into Wiccan magic when I was a young teen, so I loved they way it as used in this story and they way it felt respected. This villain, while yes a villain, didn't really feel like a 'big bad' and the climax was a bit 'blink and you miss it.' I am definitely interested to see where this series goes next and even considering picking up the authors' backlist titles to check out their previous work.
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Very good read with great character development. The pacing was just right and the writing was nice. The plot could have gone many ways, but it went the perfect route. I enjoyed this read.
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As a fan of the House of Night series, I was very happy with this book. It wasn’t as great as their HON series, but it was definitely worth the read. Some parts dragged but others were very good.
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I was excited to get the chance to read Spells Trouble early from P.C, and Kristin Cast. House of Night is one of my favorite series ever. It restored my love of reading. With that said, Spells Trouble was not as magical to me. Yes, I liked it and yes, I want to find out what happens next. It was interesting, but it was hard for me to continuously stay into it unlike HON.

Spells Trouble starts with a prologue that I enjoyed, which focuses on Sarah Goode. She was accused of being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials era. She escapes to what becomes known as Goodeville and where the story takes place.

Mercy and Hunter Goode are twin witches and direct descendants of Sarah Goode. On their 16th birthday, they must learn how to become Gatekeepers like the Goode women before them. What starts out as a night meant to reinforce the gates that keep different hell dimensions out, turns into a horrible night that ultimately changes their lives forever. 

They must overcome their obstacles and work together to fix the gates and save lives. Will they be able to do it?
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Hunter and Mercy Goode are turning 16 and stepping into their powers as witches. Their powers and training have all been guided by the Goddess or God they have chosen to associate their magic with. When they go to the apple tree to strengthen the gate and make offerings to their God and Goddess with the guidance of their mother they are met with the unexpected. A wolf, called Fenrir, exits the gate and tries to kill them. The twin's mother stops Fenrir but doing so is fatal, leaving the twins to find the problem and fix it. 

The magic and backstory of Goodeville is as mysterious as it is sweet. Goodeville was a dangerous place until it wasn't, and is now a safe place until it isn't. There are just regular bullies and the like in the town. Mercy has a boyfriend, Kirk, who is captain of the football team. Every one of their friends thinks he is a jerk, including Mercy's best friend Emily and particularly her twin Hunter. Mercy always has an excuse ready for him. The characters are real in that their problems are relatable. Young women are always given this trope of having to teach a boy to become a man, but the truth is that it isn't our job, but it is also a hard lesson that we usually have to learn the hard way. The end leaves us with a cliffhanger wondering how Goodville will fair and if it will be able to stand if the twins cannot stand united.
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~ received as an ARC from NetGalley ~

Honestly, I was really excited for this, but I feel like 3/5 is still generous. I didn’t like it and thought about DNF multiple times. The magic itself is good and is rooted in the “Salem” tropes and I love the historical aspect, but everything else was flat. There was a “sex scene” that didn’t need to be in it, and the plot as a whole was messy and undeveloped. I would have ranked it 2/5 but the cover and the magic/choosing a goddess intrigued me too much. Will not read the sequel even though the cliffhanger was interesting (?).
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Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Wednesday Books for this e-arc through Netgalley. I will be posting this review on Goodreads, my Instagram page (@mysterious_bookshack), Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles closer to the publication date. The following review is based on my thoughts and is completely honest. 

So here's the thing, I was completely drawn into this book through the beautiful cover and the synopsis. I have never read any books previously released by these authors as well so I was going in blind when it came to their writing style. There were a few things that I liked about this book but it was overshadowed by what I didn't like. 

Let's start with the positives: 
   - I really liked the idea of the plot which was about two teen girls, who are witches, that are trying to protect their city and the world by making sure the 5 gates to different mythological underworlds didn't open.  I really enjoyed how both authors incorporated Gods and Goddesses from different religions into one story and made it work. 
   - I really enjoyed the friendship between the twins and their friends, Emily and Jax. It was really nice to see that they all were there for each other no matter what. 

However, the positives weren't big enough to cover the negatives: 
   - The writing was really choppy at points and at times, it was really dry which had me putting the book down multiple times. Also, the book switches what POV you are getting, and when it did that, I was really confused because I couldn't distinguish what twin was speaking.
  - Also, I didn't like the main characters at all. It was mainly based on they weren't acting normally. At one point, both the twins would be grateful and happy for each other but then a minute later, they would hate each other. And most of the time, it was the stupidest of things even when it was clear as to why that was brought up. Also, despite being sisters and growing up with each other, the twins did not understand each other at all. That bothered me because there were some serious issues that were introduced in the novel and neither of them acted maturely about it. 

Overall, it was a book that, for the most part, I did not enjoy. It seemed like it needed to be edited a bit more in order to be published but I really enjoyed three of the supporting characters, including Zena, and the idea of the plot.
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I received a complimentary copy of Spells Trouble from NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

I love this pair of authors!  Great characters, believable actions, and descriptive setting/alternate world make for a very interesting novel.  I am glad this will be a series, as I would like to read more about the witchy twins, Mercy and Hunter Goode.
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Wow! I enjoyed this one soo much! 
So this is actually the first that I've read by these authors and they lived up to the hype that I've heard about them really well! 
Hunter and Marcy Goode are twin witches and they are crossing a big time in their lives when they learn to be the protectors of the gates and for them to make the choice of what God or Goddess they are going to choose for their path. 
However when they go to do their ritual on their birthday something goes terribly wrong and a creature comes out of the gate and attacks the girls and then their mother sacrifices herself to save the girls. Now, the girls must work together with their friends and feline to get the gates closed and to get rid of whatever crossed over. 
So, this story was really good. There was a little teenage drama but I enjoyed the story. I was hooked from once I really started reading it and finished rather quickly. If you like Legacies or even Charmed then this book would be for you! I am really happy to see that it's a series!!! Thank you Netgally and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this one!
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
I'll be honest, I did not have the opportunity to complete this one. But what I did read, the world-building was phenomenal, the characters were beautiful, and I found little fault with the text. Granted, I didn't finish it because I did get a little bored half-way through, but that's just my individual difficulty to get through quiet slumps in the literature. Sometimes I just need non-stop excitement.
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The setting and premise of the story is very intriguing. I liked that the five trees protected the underworld gates to different mythological underworlds. It was interesting seeing the different cultural influences and mythological creatures. I found the characters a little frustrating though. They were interesting and had some great qualities that made me want to like them more; but I found their dialogue felt forced and unnatural at times which took me out of the story.  I also found some of their actions frustrating, it was odd how much the book stressed how close the twins were for them to keep disrespecting and not listening to each other. I understand that they were facing some factors of growing apart and feeling frustrated with each other before the events in the book started but it really felt like they were never that close at all. That said I am still interested in the series and hope that some more character development will help me grow to like the characters more.
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Conceptually, this story is okay, not something never done before, but original in its own telling.   I would have loved more of this story had the twins not been so ‘valley’.  That was an immediate turn off for me.  The POV crosses were almost impossible to tell apart, and I caught myself flipping back to make sure I hadn’t missed something.  

The absolute devotion to a man who has 2 personalities, the “he’s different when we are alone” teaches young girls a dangerous boundary to be okay with.  The overall troupe of popular gorgeous sister vs unpopular sister but one is accepted (They are twins) 

I found no ‘blaring’ plot holes or story inaccuracies but this isn’t one I would return to, nor will I likely pick up the sequel. 

I have a ton of respect for P.C. and Kristin Cast, but I am a much larger fan of their works individually vs together.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for this Arc in exchange for a review.
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Thanks to St Martins Press and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this E-ARC. 

This book has so many great aspects. Who doesn't love witches? Throw in teens and their drama and hardships and it made for a fun book. I love the way the author included a variety of magic with tarot, a cauldron and so much more. The Gods and Goddesses were fun to read about as well. While parts of this book were exciting, I felt I often wanted to put the book down as it was slow in places.

I felt a bit conflicted about the audience of this book. Is it YA? Because with the sex scene and language used, I wouldn't think so, but the story and thought patterns of the main characters leads one to believe it should be. I can't quite figure out where this one lands. 

I also had a hard time getting used to the POV. At first, I was confused by the flip-flopping between sisters but eventually, I became used to it.

I would love to see more from Jax and the characters that live in the underworld as protectors in the next book. I really love Xena, she provided some great comedic relief when the twins became a bit too much, personality-wise.
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This is the first in a new series by Cast.  It has been quite a long time since I've read anything by this author.  Unfortunately this book didn't do it for me.  It moved fairly slowly and I wasn't invested in any of the characters.  I'm glad I read it, but I don't know if I will be picking up the next in the series.  This may be an author I have grown out of, and that's alright!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday books for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I had a really hard time getting into this one since the beginning was really... Well corny and annoying. The prologue was actually really awesome and witchy though! I'm glad I pushed through it though! I really liked the idea the sisters; Hunter and Mercy Goode using their magic to try to fix problems within their hometown of Goodeville. There's tragedy, magic, mayhem and a hilarious cat(?) The cat isn't what it appears and that's probably my favorite part of the whole book! I really loved the idea behind this book... an important magical family that are the descendants of an important Salem witch that have to protect the gates to different underworlds. Oh and they all choose a god or goddess to follow (would've loved to see more of the lore behind the gods/goddesses chosen). Overall I really enjoyed Spells Trouble. I just wish it would have involved more witch drama and less high school drama. The writing felt a bit immature at times too. If you're into witchy, earthy, magical books that contain funny familiars don't miss this one on May 25!
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Thanks to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this E-ARC. I will publish this review on my blog (A Bookish Star), Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, and Instagram (@ABookishStar) closer to the publication date. 

My favourite part of Spells Trouble was the concept. I liked the idea of twin sisters being responsible for the gates that protect their town. I liked that Mercy is an Earth witch and Hunter is a cosmos witch. The book's inclusion of nature, tarot, or even a cauldron into their spells was neat to read about in this book. 

The other aspect of Spells Trouble that I liked was the friendship between the twins, Emily and Jax. The idea that that the twins could rely on their friends during troubling times was nice to see in this book. This aspect of friendship is something I remember also enjoying in P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast's House of Night series. 

Jax and Hunter were, by far, my favourite characters in Spells Trouble. I even wish that Jax had more page time in book one. My favourite POV to read about was Hunter's narration. I related to Hunter with her past of being bullied and socially anxious around crowds of people. 

I wasn't a big fan of how the story was structured in Spells Trouble. I think the story was building up tension for the end. However, I found the ending to be a bit anticlimactic. I am hoping that book two will focus more on the gates. I felt that the grief that the characters were going through could have been better shown. I also felt the antagonist was revealed too soon in the story. The early revelation of the antagonist for me meant that the book lost a bit of its element of mystery and surprise.

This novel did leave me with a few questions: Why does Mercy call her mom by her first name? Why does Mercy use English phrases (is she half English)? Where is the twins' father? 

I also wanted more backstory on how Xena can transform into a person. 

Overall, I will continue with book two, because I'm curious to see how the main story continues to unfold in the Sisters of Salem series. I enjoyed the story's concept and the strong friendships shown in Spells Trouble. I was not a big fan of how the plot was laid out and unfolded.
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