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I couldn’t move. Outside Billings Chapel, the wind howled. The ancient floorboards overhead creaked and groaned. My bones were like ice. I stared down at the title of the book in front of me, hardly able to absorb what I was seeing.
THE BOOK OF SPELLS.
This could not be real. I wasn’t actually standing in the basement of a centuries-old chapel faced with a dusty, leather-bound spell book. I felt like I’d just stepped into a Nancy Drew novel and taken over as the heroine. Tentatively, I reached out to touch the cover, but before I could, the book was snatched away.
“You have to be kidding me,” Noelle Lange blurted out, holding up the heavy book. Her dark, windblown hair was fanned out over her shoulders and her face was red with fury. “This is why she sent us here? A spell book?”
My heart caught as she waved the antique tome around like it was no more valuable than an out-of-print dictionary. “Noelle—”
“You know what I’m going to do with this, Grandmother?” she shouted at the book. “I am going to track you down wherever you are right now and smack you upside the head with it!”
“Noelle, just … calm down. Don’t go psycho on me now.”
She hesitated but threw the book back down onto the podium, tossing up a cloud of dust that filled my nostrils. I coughed painfully.
“Oh, I’m the psycho?” Noelle said sarcastically, yanking her cashmere scarf from her neck with shaking hands. “Right. Because I’m the one who sent us out here in the middle of the night in a snowstorm to find an old book!”
She threw the scarf over the back of a chair and unbuttoned her wool coat. Apparently her anger was making her hot.
I walked over to the podium and opened the book, and all the air went out of my lungs. There, in handwriting I’d recognize anywhere, were the words Property of the Billings Literary Society.
Elizabeth Williams had been a student at the Billings School for Girls back in 1915. I had spent so much time poring over her writings in the Billings Literary Society book, I could probably copy her script by now. I felt like I’d gotten to know her since reorganizing her secret society at Easton Academy. I knew what colors she liked to wear, how she was fiercely loyal to her friends, how she loved living away from home. But now I felt as if I didn’t know her at all. Because nowhere in the BLS book had she ever mentioned a word about spells, or witchcraft, or this huge volume we’d just discovered. Not one single word.
Noelle stormed over to my side and nudged me out of the way. She opened the book to the center—to a page titled “The Purity Spell”—then quickly flipped the pages forward and back.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
“Checking to see if it’s one of those hide-a-key book things,” she said. “You know, with a big chunk cut out to hide something that actually matters?” She heaved a sigh and slammed the book closed. “Nope. Nothing. Unbelievable.”
She started across the room, grabbing her scarf again as she went, coiling the ends around both hands and pulling it taut. “You coming?”
“Back to campus,” she said impatiently. “Personally, I don’t feel like wasting any more of my time up here.”
“You’re not gonna take this with you?” I asked, gesturing at the book.
She rolled her eyes and popped one hip. “Do I look like Sabrina the Teenage Witch?”
I clucked my tongue. “No, but your grandmother … our grandmother …,” I said hesitantly. I’d only just found out that Noelle and I were half sisters—that her dad was my biological father—and the words weren’t exactly rolling off my tongue. “She wanted us to find it. Maybe there’s more to it than you think. Maybe there’s … I don’t know … something in there she wants us to read.”
“Fine then.” She slid the book off the podium and started for the stairs. “Happy now?”
“Ecstatic,” I said sarcastically.
I followed her up the winding stairs toward the deserted chaplain’s office above, a sparsely decorated room that hadn’t been used for dozens of years. Noelle muttered something under her breath, clearly annoyed, but as we closed the bookcase door behind us, my heart pounded with curiosity and longing. I wanted to know what was in that book—to know what it had to do with Elizabeth Williams.
Noelle yanked open the office door, and we both heard a tentative creak coming from inside the chapel. We froze and I grabbed her forearm. That had sounded a lot like a footstep. It was after midnight. Why would anyone be up here? Noelle looked over her shoulder at me, eyes wide, and I attempted to swallow.
“Hello?” she called out.
There was no answer. Outside, the wind whistled through the bare branches of the forest.
“Is someone out there?” I shouted. All I could see was a darkened sliver of the chapel that contained a random pillow on the floor where someone had left it after the last BLS meeting, a folded blanket, half the preacher’s pulpit, and an empty LUNA Bar wrapper.
Another creak. I gasped. Noelle set her jaw and stepped out into the chapel, dragging me with her.
“No!” I blurted out, terrified.
“Come on,” Noelle said, letting out a sigh. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
She walked purposefully down the center aisle, me scurrying along with her. The wind forced squeals and cracks and groans from the ancient wood walls. I didn’t breathe again until we were outside the chapel, gasping in the crisp winter air, and the door had slammed behind us.
“I swear I’m going to kill that old crone,” Noelle said, jamming her wool hat down over her brow.
“Let’s just get back to campus,” I said, eyeing the book. “And don’t drop that, okay? There’s snow and mud everywhere.”
Noelle rolled her eyes and hugged the book to her chest. “I’ll guard it with my life,” she said mockingly.
Another loud creak sounded from inside the chapel, and I jumped.
“Race ya?” I said.
“Okay,” she replied.
And we both took off, half speed walking, half jogging through the forest, trying to make ourselves believe there was nothing to fear.
© 2011 Alloy Entertainment and Kieran Viola
Posted October 4, 2010
As much as I have absolutely loved this series, I'm afraid that its changing. In the first books, reading them were about academics, fashion, and the wonder and mystery behind the fabulous Billings Girls. But now, a BOOK OF SPELLS? This isn't freaking Harry Potter. It better not turn into something all about magic and stupid stuff like that. I'm tired of it ALWAYS being someones missing! Someones going to die! What happened to glamour? I miss that. Kate Brian, I hope you don't disappoint with the last book of one of my favorite series.
8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 30, 2011
I've been reading the Private Series for a long time now almost 3 years and I absolutely love them. My opinion? They are the best series and their very addicting. In Ominous... It was a lot different than the other ones WAY different. The others were about Love, Hate, Wealth, Poor, Where To Travel, Who To Date, and so much more. It was very drama filled with actual things that could happen in real life. Ominous? Not so much. This one is about Witch Craft, which is pretty cool I guess. I just thought it would have been more drama filled and not as weird. The characters are the same from the other books and still are AH-MAZ-ZING!!! All In All. I LOVE this book but it was different from what I expected it to be! The series, outstanding. Characters, real life. Just a great series to read and really good books to start reading.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2014
This is one of my favorite books in the PRIVATE series. Seriously, I hope that Kate Brian writes more about Reed Brennan again because there's a gap that needs to be filled. We know about how Ariana met her end. Now we need to know how Reed's life was between the end of vengeance and up to Ariana's death after Reed shot her in self defense. (Spoiler, sort of).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2014
Hod this books are so scary. I dont know what i'll do of i was Reed. Probably fake my death and bail to china or something. Great book. The girls in the cover are really pretty. There are two that look liie twinsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2011
Posted June 6, 2011
Posted April 16, 2011
Even though I agree with some of the other girls who have posted reviews about this book, its still a book that will grab you and not let go till the last page. There are so many twists and turns that keep you truly guessing as to what is really going on. I do miss alot of the elements of the first books, the academics, the glamour, the talk of dates with the cute Easton boys, but I guess things change for a reason. Still it will be sad to have the last book come out later this year. But you know Kate will be planning a really big bang to close the series out with, its just waiting....right around the corner.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2011
This book is so good! i have followed the series religiously and this one is as good as all the others. so many twists and turns, and the ending was so unexpected. cant wait for the next book, which will sadly be the last. but excited to read it nonetheless!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2011
Ahhhhmazing! you have to read this book if your into this story if your not then you need to start reading this series, NOW!!! or at least any of Kate Brian's booksWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2011
this is one of the most important of the series. everything makes so much more sense now, although you should read the prequel first. i don't know if she had the whole plan from the start or has been building on it with each book, but it was genius.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 25, 2011
Posted March 12, 2011
Posted February 28, 2011
Posted February 27, 2011
Posted February 25, 2011
This book lived up to my expectations of it and more with it's surprising twists in it. I finished the book in a day and a half on my nook, I couldn't put it down! Whenever Kate Brian's books come out I have to find out what happens so I'll read as much as I can to find out what happens next. I definitely recommend people buying this book as well as others she has done if they haven't tried it yet.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I loved all of the Private books up to this point! I haven't gotten to read Ominous yet, but the rest of the books were really great! I hope it doesn't end the series in a cliffhanger, but I'm sure Kate Brian has other books in store for other series'!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2011
Posted February 18, 2011
I love Kate Brain and her "private" and "privelege" series. I have yet to be dissapointed in one of her books. She is an amazing writer and I know that some people think these books are getting redundent, but honestly if Kate Brian ends this series anytime soon, I would be so sad! This book fails to dissapoint yet again! Kate Brian has these wonderful ideas that will never falter. I am deeply in love with the Billing Girls, they have become part of my life, and I would hate to see them go, anytime soon. Thank you so much Kate Brian for sharing your wonderful talent with all of us fantatic reader!!!! <3Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2011
Posted January 12, 2011