Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series #1)

( 67 )

Overview

Blessed with a gift...cursed with a secret.

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose ...

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Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series #1)

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Overview

Blessed with a gift...cursed with a secret.

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship - or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood - not even from each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spotswood’s debut, first in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, is set in an alternate New England circa 1896. The Brotherhood has established a Christian dictatorship by overthrowing a governing caste of witches, and any hint of the arcane is now reason enough to sentence a woman to an asylum or hard labor. Girls must marry or go into the convent by their 17th birthday, and Cate Cahill’s moment of truth is fast approaching. Cate, like her two sisters, is a secret witch, the legacy of a mother who died young trying to produce a male heir. Cate is responsible for protecting her family, a responsibility that does not square with marrying the tempting and handsome Paul McLeod. Her dilemma worsens when an eagle-eyed governess takes up residence, and a mysterious note arrives, urging Cate to seek her mother’s diary. Spotswood falls prey to occasional pedantic exposition, and casting Christians as fascistic chauvinists is nothing new. The pace doesn’t lag, however, and the fate of the Cahill sisters inspires genuine dread by the time the cliffhanger ending arrives. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
For most young girls day dreaming about their future is a pleasurable pastime but for Cate Cahill it is a source of major anxiety and dread. Cate is the oldest of three sisters and when her mother died she promised to care for her two younger siblings but she had no idea how difficult that would be, especially now that not one but both sisters has, like herself, developed the ability to do magic. A talent apparently passed on from their mother but forbidden by the evil Brotherhood that rules their land. Now Cate must find a way to protect her sisters before she is forced to decide to marry or join the Sisterhood, neither of which seem very appealing to her currently, until she begins to fall in love with the charming, yet utterly unsuitable Finn Belastra. But marriage to Finn does not seem possible as she nears the deadline for making her decision if she is to keep her sisters safe, because many believe that the three sisters are the daughters of an ancient prophecy that will bring down the brotherhood and bring the witches back into power. Whatever her decision this romantic, historical fantasy will have the reader eagerly awaiting the next installment of "The Cahill Witch Chronicles." Reviewer: Miranda McClain
VOYA - Lindsey Weaver
In New England during the late 1890s, at a place and time where witches are condemned, Cate Cahill and her two younger sisters must hide their true identity. Being discovered by the Brotherhood could bring about an early end to their young lives. Before the death of their mother, Cate made a promise to protect her sisters. With only six months before having to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, keeping her word proves harder than she has imagined. To make matters worse, she discovers her mother's diary, which reveals a devastating secret that could potentially destroy her family. Desperate to find another way, Cate seeks help from old acquaintances and new friends. At the same time, she manages to balance social gatherings, marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance. Spotwood's debut novel is enchanting and addicting. Born Wicked is a beautiful beginning to The Cahill Witch Chronicles. The author's elegant writing supports a well-constructed plot and realistic characters. The story provides an alternative history that draws from the Salem witch trials and Puritanism. The Brotherhood upholds the laws by keeping a watchful eye on the members of society. The dynamic characters bring the suspenseful story to life. The Cahill sisters are a feisty, rebellious trio that readers will not forget. This paranormal romance will capture any reader's imagination, even if he or she is not interested in witchcraft and magic. It is a must-have for any library. Reviewer: Lindsey Weaver
Kirkus Reviews
Ever since their mother died, Cate has been responsible not just for raising her sisters, but for making sure that they stay safe and undiscovered by the Brotherhood priests as witches. Protecting her sisters, who chafe under her too-watchful eye, was the last request that Cate's mother, a fellow witch, asked of her before dying. Unfortunately, her mother neglected to leave much guidance. A discovered witch is subject to terrifying penalties, and the Brotherhood has been intensifying its witch-finding efforts. Cate is pulled between family obligations and societal pressures—she has only a few short months to find a husband lest the Brotherhood assign one, but marriage will take her away from her sisters. The lukewarm love triangle between her and two generic suitors is just formulaic, especially when compared to the more compelling relationship with society. By keeping the sisters away from their town's social scene, Cate meant to keep their secrets safe, but their absence has attracted attention. The two plots tie together through the arrival of governess Sister Elena, tasked with smoothing the girls' rough edges and matchmaking. Searching for answers while hiding under everyone's noses, Cate discovers pieces of a prophecy revealing an immediate danger and that she isn't the only one keeping secrets. An imperfect heroine, strong female supporting cast and measured tension counter underdeveloped male characters. (Fantasy. 12-17)
Booklist
"An intriguing story of witchcraft, family responsibility, and unrequited love.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—New England in the 1890s is a perilous place to be female in this tale of witchcraft and romance. The three Cahill sisters-Cate, Maura, and Tess—have inherited their powers from their deceased mother, but if their abilities are discovered, the girls will be in deadly danger from the ruling Brotherhood. A trio of sisters is key to a prophecy predicting the downfall of the Brotherhood, and the crushing misogyny of the Brothers is terrifying. Cate, the eldest, is desperate to protect her siblings, but the Sisterhood (a female community subsumed under the Brotherhood) has its own agenda, and the Cahill girls are trapped within it. Spotswood is spot-on not only in her vision of this nightmarish alternate society, but also in her smooth melding of historical and (slightly) gothic romance with the strong spice of suspense. Natural dialogue, perceptive primary and secondary characterizations, and a palpable sense of place contribute to an involving plot and move the action rapidly forward. Whiffs of humor and a sly wit reminiscent of the best Regency romances accompany a potent love triangle that will charm readers. When handsome Finn Belastra reveals his heroic side, Cate thinks: "If he was handsome before, now he's doubly so. Still, I can't go falling in love with the gardener." While three witch sisters and a prophecy may echo television's Charmed Ones, there the similarity ends in this original, smoothly written adventure. This first title in the series is more than promising; readers will be swooning for the next one.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257452
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Series: Cahill Witch Chronicles Series , #1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 234,022
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessica Spotswood

Jessica Spotswood (www.jessicaspotswood.com) lives in Washington, DC, with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She's never happier than when she's immersed in a good story, and swoony kissing scenes are her favorite.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(17)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Character Driven Great Start to a New Series

    I was so looking forward to reading Born Wicked from the moment I heard about it and it did not disappoint. The more I think about the story, the more I like it. The story opens right away with magic, no holding back here. And anyone that reads my reviews know how I love my characters and the characters drive this story. The addition of the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood adds some scare and dread factor for the girls. There are a few mysteries to the story that were easy to guess and it was logical for things to go in that direction, I just wish that it would have been more surprising in those aspects. Even with that I still loved the storyline and the idea behind it all. I was left wondering where the story would go from the ending and how it will affect each of the sisters and the other characters that were featured more prominently. Yes, I will absolutely, definitely be reading the next book in the series.

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Loved this!

    Was given this book as a gift, as it is not one I would have typically chosen myself - and I'm so glad I read it!
    Excellent storyline and expertly written. I grew to love the characters and I never wanted to put this book down.
    This is book 1 of a trilogy and I'm bummed I have to wait to start the next book.
    Never heard of this author before but she sure has my attention now.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Read!

    I decided to read Born Wicked at the insistence of a fellow blogger. I am SO glad I let her talk me into reading the book. I love novels about witches, and this one was just fantastic.

    The story centers around a young girl named Cate, and her two sisters, who are witches. Witches are absolutely forbidden by the Brotherhood. When caught, most are either put to death, sentenced to a prison ship, or put into an institution. Because of this, Cate must keep herself and her sister’s safe at all cost, and from everyone.

    Poor Cate; she had so many responsibilities and at such a young age. I definitely sympathized with the choices that she was forced to make, and with such heavy burdens heaped on her shoulders. But I found her to be a very strong character, and I really enjoyed reading about her. I found the sisters, Maura and Tess to be quite likeable as well, although Maura not quite as much as Tess. Tess was awesome!

    Cate has two love interests in the story; Paul and Finn. I adore the relationship between Finn and Cate. Finn was such a very interesting character; I thought that he and Cate made such a great pair. I loved that he was willing to do whatever he had to do to keep Cate safe. I love Finn! Paul on the other hand, seemed a bit sneaky to me. I know he had to be up to something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what.

    The Brotherhood sounds like an absolutely horrible association. Just reading about them gave me the creeps, and I held my breath hoping that they wouldn’t catch on to the girl’s secrets. The Sisterhood, which is an affiliation with the Brotherhood, didn’t sound much better either.

    The storyline for the book was highly addictive, and the pacing was absolutely perfect. My attention was held throughout the book, and I finished most of it in a few hours time. I absolutely loved the historical setting for the story. The world building was wonderful, I could clearly imagine myself having tea parties and hanging out in Cate’s special garden.

    Overall, this book is definitely worth the read. I am SO glad that my awesome blogger friend, Kathy, insisted that I read the book as soon as possible. I am officially hooked on this series, and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.

    Happy Reading!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    AMAZING! soomething unexpectecd. it was the first time that i re

    AMAZING! soomething unexpectecd. it was the first time that i read a book where the story line was in the olden days. i love the whoe concept of the book. i cant wait to read whats next!!!!!
    BUY IT(:

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome new witch series on the horizon!

    What an amazing plot with great characters and smooth writing! Never a dull moment, full of life, love, magic, sadness and disappointment. Beautiful setting and such an interesting story! You will not want to put this book down once you get to know the witch sisters. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing book!

    I picked up this book anticipating it. I was so excited to read something fresh and new. It gave me exactly what I wanted .The feel of history flowing through my fingers as I turned each page.

    What I loved most about this book is the plot line. I love historical books. Falling into the shoes of Cate and seeing everything she is, is wonderful. I loved the description of the town, the minor characters and the history that is going on at the moment. The plot pacing is perfect as the reader follows along with the sisters, discovering dark secrets hidden from them.

    I really adored the love interest. It was sweet and pure. With this love, the reader gets to see it form right before your eyes. I love watching two people fall in love. And with the obstacles facing both of them it just makes me want to root them on!

    Now, the ending! UGH!!! Such a good and shocking ending. I mean wow! I did not see that coming since she had already made up her mind, but WOW! Yeah, my mouth dropped open on that tidbit.

    Overall, Born Wicked is an entertaining, magical, surprising novel. Born Wicked tantalize it's readers with well written dialogue. A worthy novel from start to finish, Born Wicked is impressive.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have spent so much time thinking about what to say about this

    I have spent so much time thinking about what to say about this book. I bought Born Wicked as part of the Breathless Reads Tour 2011 although it is Historical Fiction and deals with witches which are not my first choice for my reads. However while reading Born Wicked I became immersed in the story, how was Cate to escape her fate in a world and time where women had no rights? Would true love win out or would society be stronger? 

    How far have we come as a society but yet how many things are still wrong just displayed differently. Watching Cate try to fit into society to protect her sisters is something I see still happen today. Those who don't fit in have a hard time in society. Though we may not have calling hours and fancy dresses we as girls are still expected to socialize and dress with the current fashion. The fact that this book was able to get me thinking is to the author's credit. 

    Now not only did I find this book good for the feminist debate it started in my mind, but Jessica also nailed the relationships of the sisters. I am the oldest sister with a younger sister (four years my junior), I see my own relationship with my sister reflected in the relationship between Cate and Maura. Then we have the beautiful romantic relationships, and as I do not want any major spoilers I will just say that Jessica creates the perfect kisses leaving this girl swooning. <3
    I gave this beautiful novel a 4/5. If you love historical fiction, strong female characters, good kissing scenes, and witches this is a book for you. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I picked up Born Wicked in anticipation for an author event that

    I picked up Born Wicked in anticipation for an author event that Jessica Spotswood was attending. I have to say that I am glad I was finally able to read it. I am a huge fan of paranormal magic novels (Sweep & Immortal Beloved series) and I am glad I finally found another one worthy of my time. In Born Wicked, the first sign of a girl being a witch would win her a ticket at an asylum or killed. Think of the Salem Trials in your history class. For Cate Cahill, she not only has to suffer losing a mom, but she also has to hide the fact that she is not only a witch, but her two younger sisters are also witches. Kinda hard when one is too young to understand the concept of consequences, while the other is in her rebellious stage. Not only that, but in six months she has to decide whether she will get married to her childhood friend or pledge her life to the sisterhood. Cate was such an endearing protagonist; she was level headed, thought of her sisters first and then herself, but also wasn't bullied around by anyone. I hated her sister, Maura who seemed to have so much animosity towards Cate, as opposed to Tess who was such a sweet kid. Finn, the love interest didn't disappoint either. I love how you get to find out little bits of the mystery here and there and the addition of new characters that become Cate's allies. The ending wasn't a big surprise but it opens up a whole new world for Cate and the readers and I can't wait to start my copy of Star Cursed, the sequel of Born wicked (already read it and loved it! 4.5/5 stars). 

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  • Posted July 16, 2013

    I LOVED this book. I had a very hard time putting it down. My bi

    I LOVED this book. I had a very hard time putting it down. My biggest disappointment? That the next book in this series won't be out until next year! I absolutely loved the style of writing and the characters are likable and REAL (even if it is a different time period). I found a few of the twists and turns predictable, but I truly didn't care because I enjoyed reading it so much. I'm very much looking forward to the next book (and the next!). It's set in an alternative time period in New England and my brain had a tough time wrapping around where I was or when I was...but then I would get sucked into the story again and I would not care.

    I read this book a few months ago and I'm *still* thinking about it. I was definitely drawn in just like I was for The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter. I'm looking forward to many more books from this author.

    If you enjoy young adult fiction, you would enjoy this book.

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Not enough magic, didn't care for the protagonist

    For a book I thought I'd love, I have lots of issues with Born Wicked. The biggest being with Cate, the main protagonist. Cate is judgmental and overbearing. She thinks very little of the other girls in town, even though she doesn't really know them and never allows her sisters (Maura & Tess) to make decisions for themselves. I mean its very clear how much Cate loves her sisters, but at what cost? I felt a lot of the conflict in the novel could have been completely avoided if Cate had just trusted her sisters enough with what she learns about their mother.

    Though I didn't like Cate, I did love every minute she spent with Finn. He's smart, kind, values his family and isn't afraid to protect the people he loves. Their connection is undeniable and I enjoyed how their courtship was right for the time period too, its completely enthralling. It was their chemistry and relationship that keep me turning pages even when I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish the book.

    The novel's pacing is incredibly slow and I'm not usually the type of reader that has problems with things like that. Part of the pacing problem was that I never felt like the sisters were in any real danger. You hear the past stories about the witches that were arrested, imprisoned or murdered, but you rarely see it. When you do, it seems more like something that's just happening than any real threat to Cate or her sisters. I found that very disappointing.

    Also for a novel about witches I didn't think there was enough magic in it. When magic is used its always explained instead of shown.

    The ending of the novel left me confused since a lot of things happen very quickly and I wanted more of a explanation as to why Cate makes the decision she does. Lets just say I wasn't happy with her choice. I was also unhappy with the lack of resolve involving Maura and Tess as some big things happen to them. While I realize its the first book in a planned series and we aren't going to get all the answers, I guess I felt there was just too much set up and not enough revealed.

    I guess there's no hiding how much I wanted to love this novel but was left extremely disappointed instead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Awsome!

    Like i luv how they made the storyline like old fashioned,but it had this modern interest 2 it, like u can tell the three sisters luv eachother, but hav sisterly rivarly with like supernal , powers so id' ll like 2 see how thats going 2 affect the next book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Amazing

    It has suspense, romance, a bit of action, and witches!!!!!" AMAZINGNESS!!!!! A MUST READ!!!!!

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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I absolutely loved this book! I loved the characters and I loved

    I absolutely loved this book! I loved the characters and I loved how well developed they were. The setting was really interesting to read about, and it was terrible how women were treated. The way the magic was told about was wonderful, and all the things they could do was amazing. I loved the style of writing and how a lot was explained, even though it was told entirely in Cate's point-of-view. I read a measly 3½ books over my 8-day vacation, and this one only took me 1 day to read, which is impressive considering it took me just over two days to read The Hunger Games.

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  • Posted January 4, 2013

    You had me at witches. I have always been drawn to anything witc

    You had me at witches. I have always been drawn to anything witchy and Born Wicked satisfies. Then when you add in a hot, nerdy boy, some catty girlfriends with a historical setting, you get awesome.




    Cate Cahill is the oldest of 3 sisters. She seems a bit uptight. There were parts of this book where I literally said out loud, "Really? Just chill out!" But if I had a deadly secret hanging over my head, I might be a little uptight too. Her sole responsibility is to look after her sisters and keep them safe. She does everything in her power to protect them but nothing works out the way it's supposed to. Cate finds herself falling in love with the one person she shouldn't fall for. Oh, Finn. I do have a soft spot for nerdy boys and Finn fits this category. I so badly want Cate & Finn to end up together!




    The first several chapters seem to drag a bit for me. I was so excited to read this and then I was like... come on! But the more I read, the more I realized I couldn't put it down. My husband left one afternoon to run some errands and I swear it seemed like 10 minutes later he was walking through the door again. I hadn't even changed positions! It's that good!




    I was SO frustrated with the ending. I even pouted a little. I complete understand the reasons for the outcome but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I'm just thankful there are more books coming. This means there are plenty of chances to turn things around! 




    Definitely read Born Wicked if you love witches. Definitely read Born Wicked if you don't love witches. Just Read It! Like, yesterday.




    And can I just point out how gorgeous that cover is?! Love.

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  • Posted January 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read for fans of Witches!!

    I've had Born Wicked sitting on my shelf for a month or so now and have been dying to read it. I'm glad I found the time because it was amazing! Jessica Spotswood created a society that is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, but has its own unique twist.

    Cate Cahill and her two sisters have been hiding their magic from their father and the community. After their mother's death, Cate has only ventured outside her home when need be. Confining her and her sisters to their home and garden, she needs to find a boy who will ask for her hand in marriage or be forced to join the sisterhood. With only a few months to go, Cate has to become a lady and keep her sister's antics in check without drawing too much attention.

    I adore Cate. Her mother asked her to keep her sisters safe, and she hasn't let her down yet. Cate is protective of her sisters and would do anything to ensure that they come to no harm, even give up her own happiness. Her younger sisters, Maura and Tess, don't control their magic well and flaunt it around their home, putting them all in danger if anyone were to stop by. Cate is put in the position of scolding them, becoming a hypocrite when it happens to her.

    There were a few things I liked and one thing I am not too happy about. I loved that Cate wasn't stupid. She knows what's at stake and does everything she can to keep those around her from finding out the truth. Unlike Maura, she isn't naive. She can tell when she is being lied to. I also liked that the sisters acted like true sisters. They got in fights and kept secrets. The only thing I didn't like was the ending. I was extremely disappointed and I'm not sure if I would have chosen the same thing Cate did.

    Overall, I loved Born Wicked. The ending devastated me and I can't wait to read book two, Star Cursed. I would highly recommend this book if you are interest in the Salem Witch Trials or witches in general!!

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    This was a wonderful start to this series! And I'm dying for the

    This was a wonderful start to this series! And I'm dying for the next book in the series also!

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Love this book!

    I read the description of the book, and since I already loved the show Charmed I figured I would like this as well. This is a great book! It is well written and has a good story line. It takes place in New England a few hundred years back. The vocabulary is with the current time. Every once and a while I find myself looking up a word or two. I really like this book and the main characters. I cant wait to read the next one. I would def recommend this, if you are a fan of Charmed or not!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    Love this book.

    I am a fan of the show Charmed, so i figured this would be a good story for me. I really like this book. Interesting characters, and read written. I would recommend it.

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  • Posted August 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Can't wait for #2!

    I loved this book; a bit predictable, but suspenseful nonetheless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Luvd it!!... :)

    I jus finished reading this book and i really enjoyed it!! It was good from start to finish!!...its been awhile since i read a book that sucked me in at page 1...i really wish book 2 was out already!!!!.... :)

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