Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Lost Souls (Ivy MacTavish Series, #1) by Michelle Muto

The Book of Lost Souls (Ivy MacTavish Series #1)

Author: Michelle Muto

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before - that her father, who left when she was seven - was involved with the darkest of magic.

Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history's most nefarious killers. Ivy's got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she'll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school's resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick's offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book - he's offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it's going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week's end.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: From the moment I started reading The Book of Lost Souls I was instantly hooked! The story begins with such wonderful hilarity and proceeds into a dark and sinister plot.

Ivy MacTavish is a young, feisty and a super talented and powerful witch. On the evening of the big Halloween dance, Ivy is all dolled up and ready for her big moment to swoon her crush off of his feet, Dean . . .except Dean is going to the dance with his on and off again girlfriend, Tara, so Ivy decides the only way to impress Dean is to go to the dance with a super-hot looking model who is older in the hopes to spark jealousy in Dean. Ivy can’t just make a whole human being from thin air, magic has its limitations after all, so she transforms Spike, Raven’s brother’s pet lizard, to look like a model from a magazine Ivy has. She manages to turn Spike but he doesn’t exactly come out as a fully functioning human. Things only manage to get more hilarious once Ivy goes to the dance with her makeshift date. But soon the humor and embarrassment of the evening fades away after a gruesome murder happens in the small town of Northwick. Ivy’s world is turned upside as she discovers a magical book, The Rise of the Dark Curse, a book containing spells of black magic. She quickly learns about its twin which can resurrect souls entitled, The Book of Lost Souls and someone in the town of Northwick plans on using both the books to bring back the dead and control them. Ivy sets out with her friends to find out who has The Book of Lost Souls and stop them before anymore murders occur.

The Book of Lost Souls was narrated from Ivy’s perspective through third person and it was a lot of fun reading the story through her eyes. She is feisty, strong and smart. She’s also impulsive and naïve which led her into making some rather stupid decisions. I appreciated Ivy being flawed though and understood her issues with trusting the opposite sex since her father disappeared from her life when she was young without explanation. I also liked her close bond with her best friends.

Raven, Shayde, Gareth, and Bane are Ivy’s best friends and they are all equally entertaining. Raven is a vampire and her brother is Gareth. Raven is sassy, mischievous, beautiful and bold. She doesn’t shy away easily and doesn’t mind putting someone in their place. Gareth is the nerd of the bunch. Even as a vampire he’s cute, nerdy, and loves reptiles. Shayde and Bane are twins and they also happen to be powerful werewolves. Shayde is the straight line one, she doesn’t like breaking the rules and is the one everyone can always depend on to be there for them. She is responsible, caring and honest. Bane is the all- star jock but doesn’t have a gross cocky attitude about it. He’s laid back and has a sweet charm about him.

Then there’s Nick Marcelli. The name alone says it all. He is hawt, sarcastic, arrogant and suave. Nick totally has the bad boy vibe down and the fact that he’s a demon doesn’t help his reputation. But Nick isn’t what everyone thinks he is. He’s straight forward with how he feels and what he thinks. He truly cares for the people that matter to him in his life and is loyal. He also has a wicked sense of humor! He cracked me up throughout the book.

The romance between Ivy and Nick I actually enjoyed, for the most part. Ivy has her mind set on Dean since he represents the all American popular jock but Nick is determined to show her she’s wrong and he has more to offer her. What I liked about the way Muto approached the romance was the fact that she gave the illusion of a love triangle but one didn’t actually exist. Dean only pays attention to Ivy since she starts getting attention because of her powers and her battles with Tara. Nick keeps trying to find ways to get Ivy to see the real him and open her up to trusting him. Nick is far more patient and understanding with Ivy than I would have been if I were him. He really puts his heart on the line and Ivy keeps stepping on it because she’s afraid of trusting him. I like how Nick’s bad boy reputation wasn’t the real him (at least not completely) and that the book started off showing that Ivy and Nick had a history with each other already.

I also liked the Lord of the Rings feel with the book The Rise of the Dark Curse with it speaking to Ivy and trying to tempt her to give into the darkness: “‘Rejoice! She’s back. Little one loves us.’ The voices murmur. ‘Little one is starting to see, just like her father.’”
There are a few noticeable issues with the book though. The book has moments where the fluidity drags due to the overabundance of unnecessary description. There were just a lot of details that weren’t needed to help the story move forward in any real way and some of the details could have been connected together to keep the story from feeling too heavy at times. I also didn’t like the “absentee parent” route the author chose to take in the book. I didn’t mind the fact that Ivy’s father had left them without giving an explanation but I didn’t like the way Ivy was with her mother or the way Ivy’s mother was portrayed. Ivy didn’t seem to have much respect for her mother. Ivy’s mother came off ditzy, mopey, and lacking common sense. She seemed to never know what Ivy was up to or when Ivy was sneaking out and I just didn’t buy it, especially given the fact that Ivy’s mother has powers as well and they live in a town with both humans and paranormal creatures.

I also would have liked more details as to how the town of Northwick managed to merge the human world with the paranormal/supernatural world (also known as Kindreds in the book). All the humans or Regulars as they are known in the book, are aware that wizards, witches, vampires and werewolves exist and live within their town. The high school Ivy attends is run by many of them but there isn’t much explanation as to how a small town filled with paranormal/supernatural creatures escaped notice from the media or outsiders.

The story was also pretty predictable, especially the ending, I would have liked to have read a bit more variety but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the world or characters Muto had created. Even though I did understand why Ivy made some of the decisions she made, she was too reckless and too stupid about some of them. I didn’t understand why she chose not to tell her mother. She kept saying she wanted to protect her mother’s feelings because she thought the book was connected to her father but that was a stupid reason not to ask her mother for help, especially since people were being killed.

Putting the flaws to the story aside, The Book of Lost Souls was still a really fun read. There is such great humor throughout the book, prankster and dark magic, loveable and relatable characters, and a sweet romance.

I look forward to reading the sequel!


“Hmmm. No. What happened? Someone deflate her boobs, or her ego?” He tapped his forehead. “I forgot. They’re one and the same.”

“Are you jealous? Even a little? I mean, some of the guys think Phoebe is pretty hot. At least before you made her look like a Chia Pet. Nice. I like a girl who isn’t afraid of a little mischief.”

“Okay ladies,” Nick said to Shayde and Ivy as everyone’s attention returned to Spike. “Wipe the drool off your chins and take a last look at Prince Charming before we turn him back into a toad.”

“I know more than you, lizard lover. If you can handle it, maybe I’ll tell you.” (Nick to Ivy)

“What do you want, Nick? (Ivy)
The corner of Nick’s mouth eased into a grin that made Ivy’s insides somersault unexpectedly. “You,’ he said without breaking eye contact.”

“I had fun tonight,” Nick said, “Well, except for the whole impaling thing of course."

“‘Look, Ivy. I may not be who you end up with. 
I’m not even who you think you want.
But, Ives,’ he said softly, 
‘We both know that right now, I’m just what you need.’” 

Other Fun Quotes

“Hmmm. You’d think with her prestigious witch and wizard bloodlines, she could manage a simple Repelling spell. Still, not a bad left hook to the jaw, wouldn’t you say?” ~Raven
“The Regulars hunted down Kindreds in an attempt to exterminate anyone supernatural. We fought back. Long story short, there was a treaty. We protect them, they keep us a secret.” ~Bane

“Like out of character weird?” Gareth snickered. “Besides Ivy? Oh, Spike? Where for art thou, Spike?”
“That’s almost funny, coming from a vampire who drinks blood from cadavers,” Ivy retorted. “I think you forgot to check for formaldehyde.” ~Ivy and Gareth

“Returning to the scene, Ivy? Looking for another suitable date? Dig anything up?”
 “Just your gravesite, Tara. Nice and shallow, just like you,” Ivy retaliated. ~Tara and Ivy

About the Author: Writer of urban fantasy, the paranormal, and all things eerie and curious. Lover of scary books and funny movies, sports cars, chocolate, and changes of season. Owned by two incredible dogs and an iMac. Author, wife, sister, freelance tech writer, and IT geek.

Author of The Book of Lost Souls & Don't Fear the Reaper.

Where to Find the Author

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