Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.
Debbie Cassidy has definitely mastered the act of writing long books about nothing and when you decide to be done with the book then some manufactured drama happens which leaves you curious about the next book and even though you KNOW nothing will happen in the next book except a repeat of book one you still get suckered into getting book two and on and on it goes until you've read the entire series about nothing.
I know this because almost all her books follow this trend, a boring 90% and then a drama fest filled 10%.
Like usual from this author, this series is fun and fast-paced. The characters are good written, the action is interesting and fast-paced, and the world builder is pretty good.
If you know this writer well, though, you will start seeing a pattern in her writing. Not sure if that's a bad thing necessarily. On one hand, if you know and like her writing, you know you'll like her series, no matter what. On the other hand, though, if you read her series too close to each other, you might be a bit annoyed.
Anyway, back to this book.
It's a good one, and definitely worth trying (especially if you know about this character from her other series; Cora is fun and interesting). Cliffhanger ending (and a pretty big one), so make sure you have the next book on hand.
This obviously follows on from a previous series, because I felt like I was dropped into the book halfway through a storyline. I don't think it worked on its own: it doesn't stand as first in a series; there are so many gaps and semi formed plots and experiences and characters. The premise didn't really make sense (again, I think it was covered in a different series, because it sure as heck isn't in here) but the blurb manages to explain more about the world building than the entire book does. Nothing in the story about zodiacs, tri-pack collectives; and she doesn't even meet the third wolf until the 75% mark. She doesn't fight or hunt anything, and the wolves don't work together. It's very much a case of the blurb not matching the book, which is a pet peeve of mine, especially so when it gives away the entire story.
Can I squee? Would you mind? Forgive the fan-girling going on over here, but OH MY GOD! I loved EVERYTHING about this! Cora, who we first saw and fell in love with in the Deadside Reapers Series, is taking a turn as the FMC, and she is just as snarky and not quite perfect as she was in that complex and moving saga.
Here, the plot is a bit more condensed (so far?) centering around the Grimswood Coven and an ancient pact they set to save the world. Ok, record screech - let me back up a moment. This book is the first in a new series, and while you do NOT HAVE to read the first series in this universe, The Deadside Reapers, it DOES help. Without that background, you'll miss the subtleties of Cora's relationship with Fee, Jasper, the Reapers, not to mention the importance of the Amulet! Debbie does a fair job of inserting the info as this plot progresses, but she doesn't bog down the narrative with flashbacks or info dumps - thank goodness.
Ok, that said, back to the review. Cora, Jasper, Elijah - familiar faces with intricate and woven roles, ones that set them on a collision course with yet another 'end of the world' climax... one that was hinted at and implicated in previous books. Cora, for her part, is fantastic. Breaking away from what she has always known, what she has always been, is difficult, especially for someone with her unique beginnings. This is her chance, and despite her reservations, Cora embraces the 180 degrees of separation in order to find herself, stumbling across new friends, potential lovers and a century long job offering along the way.
It's intense, fun and surprisingly slow burn, considering what we've seen from Jasper in the past. Speaking of characters, WREN! Just Wren. I love Wren. You'll love Wren. I want a Wren.
Perspective: First Person, Multiple POV
Ending Type: Cliffhanger
Romantic Dynamic: ...... it's Debbie Cassidy, there really is no way to tell. Right NOW I'd say FMMMM.... but, I see potential on the horizon for a couple more faces, including F/F.
Character Age Range: Adult
My Final Verdict on Witch Unexpected
A thoroughly enjoyable ride that will leave you eager for more, especially with that ending. Fun, woven and suitably complex, this is a great start to yet another winner for this prolific writer.
I have absolutely loved Cora from the very first, and now that she has her own services? I can't tell you how excited I am. In true Debbie Cassidy fashion, you will be pulled into this story and will not be able to stop reading it. And the twists and turns she throws at you? Damn, just sit back and enjoy the show because believe me, you won't see all of this coming for you.
SPOILERS!! So many spoilers!!!! Best to scroll if you are planning to read this book.
Initial reaction: Ah I'm so dissapointed. This book started out soo strong. I was ready for a kickass fking book. But it was sorely off mark from that first impression. The h was always like I can kick ass, I'm so powerful, but not once did she kickass??? She ALWAYS had people saving her at the last minute. And it felt like the author was waiting to take the amulet off at the "right time" but it was not done well!! It felt like the h already knew she was going to survive (when she shouldn't), which made her feel really fake. Like if I had the choice between taking off an amulet which resulted in me being bound to a creature I liked OR my soul being eaten.. it's a bit self explanitory. Maybe in hindsight you might wish you did something differently, but this wasn't hindsight now was it. It didn't feel like I was immersed in a world, it felt like I could see the author trying to lay out this story. Things that didn't make sense: -Why J said Wren was dangerous and to get rid of him before he killed the h when the whole time he was cute and cuddly with h -Why the elders only had enough power through the h at the end. Shouldn't they be powers in their own right to be elders? -h not taking the amulet off in life or death situations. There was one point where she said she'd prefer to jump off her high balcony than be soul eaten.. Girl! Take your fking amulet off dumb bish. Honestly, it happened so many times I was so sick of it by the end. No one has hindsight vision in the moment!! -Why Sloane came in and was like she's so hot and she doesn't know it. That was unnecessary in my opinion. And if you're going to put something like that in, at least make it more subtle Jesus H Christ. -Why Elijah is even in there? I think he's a bit of a waste of paper tbh. This book was long enough. -Jasper. The spirits were not explained well at all. He could do all this cool shit from h's power but she couldn't save herself? I'm sure there's more but I'm tired of thinking about this book lol Was made slightly better by the surprise near the end. I wouldn't have seen that coming, and it allllmost made sense. But like a few things in this book, it just didn't quite get there. Good points: the cuteness of Wren. The beginning of the book was a phenomenal hook. The beautiful cover! Again, I'm sure there's more but I'm too tired after my ranting
Jesus, sorry, it wasn't bad! It was passable for sure! I just had such high expectations from that beginning. Thinking it's a 5 and then it proceeding to be a 3 is just a big downgrade.
Overall: 2.5/5 stars That might be a bit harsh. It's probably actually a 3 star read. But in the end I rate things on how I feel, not on how I should feel, ya know
Storyline/plot idea: 5/5 stars
Storyline/plot execution: 2/5 stars
World building: 2/5 stars
Characters: 2/5 stars
Writing: 4/5 stars I like the author's sentence structure and style.
Originality: 3/5 stars It was a new take on an old idea
Believability: 1/5 stars Believability for me has nothing to do with if it's fantasy or not. It's how well the author can make me believe something is plausible. How well they can write a character or idea into being and really make me imagine I was there and it's happening.
Emotional connection/likeablility: 2/5 stars I just feel rant-y after this book. I didn't feel anything when a couple of the characters died, so the emotionally connection was definitely not there unfortunately.
Would read again?: No
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Wow that was a heck of a story. I was so excited that Cora got her own series. Like jumping up for joy kind of excitement. This book so didn’t disappoint me at all. Wow. Love the characters Jasper is still a favorite of mine. Entire storyline was phenomenal!!! Oh but that ending..... come on!!! Darn cliffhanger!!!! Seriously if you haven’t read any of Debbie Cassidy books you need to start ASAP. Definitely read this one!!! Can’t wait to read the next one!!!
I'm so excited to finally read Cora's story. I've read the Deadside Reapers series and I couldn't get my hands fast enough on this book.
Due to some circumstances, Cora has to become the anchor of a tai-alpha pack to stop an evil being from coming back to life. But things aren't that easy and the witch coven helping facilitating the anchor mating is hiding secrets and traitors among its midst.
Cora is such a strong female main character; she left her life with Fee and the Dominus to find a place to belong to, but I think she should still accept her friends' help in this new life she's creating instead of shouldering everything herself.
I've read this book in just few hours, and I'm so ready to dive into book 2.
After having just binge read the entire Deadside Reapers series I HAD to see what happened with Cora. Plus the writing is great, engaging and entertaining. One of the culprits was obvious to me. I was shocked to learn more about their plans.
I find the celibacy part of this mating odd. I don’t understand why it’s break the seal? I feel like it’s a lie and if they strengthen their bond then wouldn’t the seal be stronger too?
I don’t like the elder witches I feel like shady things are going on there.
I am excited to see where Cora’s story goes though.
It’s like this woman wants to get into as many impossible situations as possible. I almost dropped the book when she made a binding oath to the malevolent spirit who is trying to trap her in sexual slavery without so much as an argument. That was frustrating!
But now! Now I find out that she’s doing her best to basically make herself mated to three hot alphas that she can’t touch! I mean, come on. I’m not a masochist but she sure seems to be. I’m annoyed enough at her stupid decisions I don’t want to be annoyed by her not being able to f her mates.
That’s just taking all the fun out of the whole genre! Just no. At least not for now.
Came for the Cora/Jasper story, stayed for the *what the feck is going on on*. (And Wren. Wren is everything.) This spin off of Cassidy’s Dominus Reaper series is fast paced and sexy (because Cassidy writes attraction and sexual tension so good!), and chock full with action.
So much of it that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what exactly is happening? Is all of it connected or… Who is this order and is it the same as the Sons of Adam? (I don’t think so, but for a moment I was so confused).
Of course there has to be a villain/threat to the world as we know it in every series. The threat to lose everything is what makes it interesting, but the conflict of Cora taking on the responsibility of the seal and all that means for her personality and life is already a big thing on its own. The balance between ACTION ACTION and less flashy internal action (like relationship development) is sometimes hard to hit just right. Here it veers a little too much towards ALL THE MAGIC ACTION.
The book is fun and fast-paced and full of characters I want to be friends with (Wren! Bramble!) or see getting ruffled and sweaty with a little under-the-clothes-action (Elijah! Tor! Sloane! JASPER).
The Cora/Jasper situation gets some development, too. But I want more of that, so it’s good that the next book comes out in February and I don’t have to wait so long. I just hope my brain can keep up a little better with all the factions and orders and bad guys by then (but that’s a me-problem).
Cora was Fee's side kick in Deas Side Reapers, literally created from her essence and housing her Witch essence and power. She was an important part of Fee's world but needed to find herself to grow as a person. This book is set some time after the reapers series ended and has some amazing new characters and although Cora is the main focus i think Wren is the star of the show - i definately need a Wren in my life although i may not be able to afford the food bill. Jasper is a delicious as ever but now has some scummy competition by way of Tor, Leife & Rune Sloane is an interesting addition to the storey as is Bramble and Elijah. Elijah had a few appearance in the Reaper (Deadisde) books but i just have a feeling that there is more to him than meets the eye. Cora is growing into her strength, learning about her magic and although a little vulnerable at the moment which i love, she still has a strong will and determination plus the burning desire to make a difference in her own right. Full of action, energy and some heat with all the twist and turns you would expect for Debbie this book is a brilliant follow on from the Deadside series which wont dissapoint fans of this world - I cant wait to see where this storey goes as its just sooo good!
Good book! I’d nearly forgotten about this character from one of Debbie’s other series since it’s been so long since I read it. You can definitely jump into this series without having read that one. It helps, but isn’t necessary.
For the first 15–20% of the book, I was kinda wondering if I’d downloaded the wrong book, since it didn’t seem to match the description on Goodreads. The description makes it sound like she’s born to be this link between the wolves and the witches, but she doesn’t even find out about this link role until well into the book. So, just be aware and keep reading, it’ll get there.
The character has her own stuff going on that’s separate from the witches and wolves, so she needs some time with that stuff before this new plot is dropped on her shoulders.
I think that’s what stopped me from giving this 5 stars. That, and the fact that the book is advertised as a reverse harem, but there is no romance or relationship in it at all. There’s TONS of groundwork for relationships to come, but so far she’s actively making an effort to keep all the men in the friend zone. The RH label set a spicy expectation in my mind and left me feeling let down. If I’d gone into it knowing it was slow burn, I’d have been much more happy with it. That said, with these sinfully sexy men connected to her now, I highly doubt she’ll last long. At least I HOPE she doesn’t. LOL
When I learned that Cora was going to get a book of her own, I was so excited. This book did not disappoint me. Something about Cora's personality just tunes with my own, she is so sassy and upbeat! In this book, we get to explore the world with Cora as she teams up with her own set of allies and lovers. And Jasper... what can I say about Jasper... he is the bad boy you hate to love. :P
Cora is not what I was expecting and the action went in the direction I had not thought about. We get introduced to many characters who I hope will stay on my good side. Though I feel many more have yet to make themselves known.
With the ban on physical relationships, I’m very much interested in how the mating between Cora and her mates will developed as well as the role played by the multiple players.
Entertaining and intriguing so that’s a good start.
I really liked Cora. She’s blunt, a fighter, and has a good heart. Wren is awesome. The guys are interesting. I kind of want Jasper in the group, and I can’t wait to see how they change/break the rules Cora has as an anchor. I will definitely be checking out the next book :)
I have been waiting for Coras story and i was NOT disappointed!!! Soo good. I love Cora and how she is trying to find out her own path. This will definitely be an interesting story. So many twists and turns. That cliff hanger hurt but I’m excited for the next one
I knew cora was totally worth her own story and boy i wasn't wrong this girl as it all, what a fantastic start to a epic new series and I kinda secretly think jasper is cool shhhh coras life is never dull and I loved read this book and learning about her can't wait to read more
For the first time ever, I think, I really can't stand a Debbie Cassidy character. I'm really starting to hate the trend where a secondary character gets more than necessary screen time in the first series and then they become an utter bitch in their own series. I didn't care to hear much about Cora in Fee's series but she was shoved down our throat as the super important sidekick, and I mostly lived with it.
But as this series starts up, mentions of Fee are barely there, as if they've completely broken contact, and even where Fee does come up, she's more of a random person that Cora maybe knows rather than her almost sister. I feel insulted, mainly because if you're going to make a second series, you should ensure to not alienate the fans of the first series, which really doesn't happen here. I've noticed a similar issue in another one of Debbie's series but I thought it was a fluke. Unfortunately, two makes a pattern.
Cora, who came across as independent and fairly able to manage herself while butting in on Fee's story, suddenly became a useless accessory, constantly saved by randomers and saying some frankly hurtful things about Jasper who looked after her ass more than she deserved. Debbie did the bound monster 1000x times better in her Abberant Monsters series.
I've failed to understand why Sloane needs any a screen space or why Elijah exists at all in this book, but I suppose Sloane will maybe get her own series at a later time or something of the sort. I don't know why Debbie feels the need to give such characters the screen space when she's more than talented enough to make us care for them when they come round to their own series.
All in all, the greatest disappointment in a very long time. A flaky, rude and unappreciative wet blanket of a main character, surrounded by people who care entirely too much even though she doesn't deserve it, and maybe a distinct lack of neurons in most characters who aren't Jasper.
Cora accepts her role as the one and only without question, without demanding to understand the reasons why things have to be the way they're described and what not. No negotiation whatsoever for having to give up a part of her life for... I'm not too sure what. The Croatoan hasn't been proven to be a real big bad outside of what the witches say, and they clearly don't do so well at questioning the status quo, so why believe it? What's the practical reason for the no sex rule? Who tested it and endangered the seal?
There is a whole bunch of questions that feel like they're there more to add drama than to be salient plot points for an intelligent main character who can look after herself.
Also, massively annoyed with the way Fee gets referenced in this book, as a sort of passing mention, when Cora took a good 10% -20% of screen space in Fee's series. They're not even described as being good friends, which is a serious betrayal to me.
A rare instance where I'm only picking up the second book in because I already bought it and because I'm willing to give Debbie another chance. Cora sucks.
Ok... this book already starts good hahaha and yeah I already have a thing for Jasper ... yes Jasper the spirit and curse ... see ? I have problems hahaha . But damn me the guy has a lovely personality... ok maybe not really lovely but he is soooo funny and sarcastic and just my kind of man . So ... she speaks so much about her friend Fee that I think I’m missing something, maybe another series that happens before this one ? Damn I hate when I start not in the beginning...
Damn girlll I think this alpha thing is sooooo HOT hahahah seriously I love this possessive shlit hahaha . Are you kidding me ? The girl can’t have living dick? Hahahaha no way in hell the anchor lives with her mates , that are obviously hot werewolves, and they don’t fluck? Looks like the other witches just don’t know a thing I must say hahahaha.
You know guys the book is really good but Cora is getting fast in my nerves ... why she treats Jasper that way ? And I think he is way more than a malevolent spirit , and my conclusion is I DONT LIKE CORA yeah this don’t smell good because if I don’t like the female lead I lost interest really fast ... damn I like Leif hahaha like he said “he is the funny , good looking one with the excellent hair and super intelligence “ what I don’t like in Cora the guys are amazing... then we have Tor ... for goddess sake the guy is a beast hahaha seriously he is HOT more like molten lava and he has tattoos with that mafia king vibe damn my kind of guy .
Ok the great traitor wasn’t really a surprise ... I smelled rot in the girl when she first said her name ... duh that was so obviously. I’m having mixed feelings with this book , it’s being a real struggle to continue reading, some times I even skip entire paragraph of absolutely things that doesn’t matter , like how the wall of some place is , or how the trees are that way or worse just Cora thinking she fought worse things but she keeps getting her ass kicked and who always comes to save the day is Jasper and worse of alll is how bad she treats him ... for absolutely NO REASON.
Damn cliffhangers ... I hate them but I’m not moved enough to start the next book , ok this was a good book and alll but Iike I said Cora is a asshole but her guys are wonderful, the Cliffhanger was damn good really like almost made me read the second book ....
Soo I'll give 3.5 stars. It was very wordy and dragged in some parts, but even though it wasn't nonstop action it did keep me interested enough to keep reading to see what would happen next. I will say this is the first rh book where the mates can't actually mate. I mean wtf! I hope that changes because that notion really sucks. Thank goodness for jasper to solve that issue in the meantime, if she stops being stubborn. I like the mates so far even though we only get a little background on them but I hope we eventually learn why rune chooses to stay in wolf form since it wasn't talked about in this book. So my main issue is Cora is supposed to be this super powerful bada**. Even with the stupid amulet dampening her powers. But everytime she's in trouble she just runs and pretty much waits for Jasper to show up and save her. I would have liked to see her fight a bit more and showcase more of her powers. Even if it wouldn't be at full capacity I wanted to see something. At this point she might as well take off the amulet she needs Jasper to fight for her and if she can't have sex anymore than that's even more a bonus in all honesty. But like I said I'm hoping they get rid of that rule and go for it. 3 hot mates, plus Jasper. Why waste all that yumminess? Anyways I will read the next book. Hopefully the action and the heat ramps up going forward
For those who read the Reaper series, Cora is not a stranger. But her story is very different from Fee's. No less dramatic though. Jasper is a pain most of the time, exceptions are usually only in the situations of grave danger for his witch. Even then, he is able to irritate Cora to no end. Yet she cannot deny certain pull to the malevolent spirit, and his actions can speak volumes if she pays attention. Now, after she originally refused Elijah's request to be the anchor for the Grimswood coven, she must reconsider the "offer" under new circumstances - after all, she is the only option still alive. But will she accept the life, with all she has already learned about the position, and the obvious presence of a traitor in the coven? I loved Fee's story, and I can definitely say I will love Cora's no less. She is a heroine with big heart, snarky attitude, certain skillset that makes her badass, and endless sea of trouble - whether it's her bond to Jasper, the upcoming mating with three wolf shifters, new position in the coven, or the shadowy threat from the Sons of Adam. The opening book was already a crazy ride, and with the cliffhanger ending, there is the promise of much more to come.
I really liked Cora in the Deadside Reapers series and I was excited to get to know her better. But here Cora isn’t Cora anymore. I got the feeling the author had no idea who Cora was or was suppose to be. She felt flat and insipid. Actually, by the end of the book I had no idea who any of the characters were - the whole book felt like a random assortment of scenes and ideas that the author could not be bother or didn’t know how to bind together. There is a lot of tell not show - for instance, Cora interacts with the guys in one night but we are told this in 2 sentences, we see none of the interaction so when they act like they matter to each other, as a reader you just scratch your head. Also plot wise, everything is very lazy. And although portrayed as powerful and experience fighters, the gang act like naive children till the last scene where again Cora is left alone and something happens to her and this happens because the guys think nothing bad can happen…again. Also also, Cora is so effing helpless, she constantly needs saving, which is such a departure from how she was in the Deadside series.
To sum up, this feels like the author saw the success of the Deadside series and said to herself let’s continue to milk this dead cow but had no inspiration.