Sep 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Reviews and Giveaway -- Returned (#1) & Before (Novella) by Keeley Smith

Returned  (Pendle Hill Series #1)
by Keeley Smith

About the Book
17 year old Cora Hunt has one wish, to live the life of a normal teenager. Her wish never comes true.

After her reluctant move to a sleepy village in the middle of Lancashire Cora's life is turned upside down when she discovers she is a witch. Cora is not just any old witch, she is the daughter of Alizon Device who was one of the most powerful witches of her time.

Dealing with her new found powers is quite a challenge, but when the past she didn't know about unearths new complications in the form of Jack Thomas, her life becomes increasingly dangerous with each waking minute. Jack also has a secret past, a past that clashes with Cora's.

A confrontation between the two results in a life or death situation. The brutal events of 1612 happened hundreds of years ago, but what Jack and Cora face is a definite déjà vu.

The only question is, will their fate be the same as those who perished in 1612?

Review: Returned is the first book in the Pendle Hill series about a girl named Cora who has lived many lives and has no idea. She awakens to her memories in a small strange town and learns that herself and her ancestors are witches, and powerful ones at that.

Book one follows Cora through learning about her history, how she came to be in this place and time, and about how she must learn about her powers. Cora is a bit whiny in the beginning of the book, looking to be a normal teen, but obviously she never gets that. Instead she is thrust into a new town, with new people, and now she has to learn to be a witch. To make matters worse her mother was the most powerful witch ever, so she has a lot to live up to.
Throughout the story, Cora takes most of this news very well, all things considered, and is a strong female character. Tabitha her keeper of sorts is strong too but very mysterious, even in the novella is a bit of a mystery.
I enjoyed this book well enough but it did take some time to read. I felt like there were some lulls in the story that kept the momentum low, especially around the halfway point. The climaxes in the plot that I wanted to see where a little lacking but just interesting enough to hold me not clenching my attention totally. (I felt like I was reading a book versus becoming part of the story and maybe that was just me)
I am interested to see where the book series goes with these characters and the modern world of witches in the coming books.
Before (A Pendle Hill Novella) by Keeley Smith

About the Book
Cora and Jack are childhood friends who have always lived next door to each other in a beautiful, idyllic part of Lancashire. What binds them as lifelong friends are their powers.

As young witches, life is hard. If the commoners find out their secret, they will be killed. But Cora is lucky, she has her best friend Jack by her side.

Having grown up together they know each other, they trust each other, they love each other. However their blossoming relationship is cut short by the events of one day. A date that will bring their perfect worlds crashing down around them.

20th August 1612

Cora and Jack are forced to face the reality of being a witch during these turbulent times, however they don’t know that their lives will become part of one of the most famous witch trials to have ever hit England.
The Pendle Hill witch trials of 1612.

Please note: You can read this book as a stand alone from the series but it does give you a lot of information about Cora the main character of the books, some that you may want to learn through the story versus in this novella.

Before is a Pendle Hill series novella, which chronicles the time before Cora re-awakens in modern time in the first book in the Pendle Hill series. Cora and Jack are destined to be together and their families are fro the same coven, the only problem is, they are living in a time when witch-hunts are normal and it may ruin everything.
I read this novella while in the middle of the first book of the series, and I think it was a good time to do so. I had just learned about Cora and who she is versus who she thought she was and I wanted the backstory. This novella gives you that and so much more. Cora is strong, stubborn and resilient. Tabitha, also a recurring character, is determined, thoughtful, and her plotting goes a long way for the good of Cora. Then there is Jack, I had met him in Returned, and thought he was a butt, and then I read this and it seems his personality issues go way deeper. There is a strong history between Cora and Jack and this novella not only shows the readers of the series, but is full of panic, mayhem, and scheming. I cannot wait to finish book one in the series to see how these elements play out further in the series overall.

At only about 100 pages, this novella is a quick and easy read, especially those interested in witches, and the witch-hunts. 

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About the Author
I've always loved reading, it is a common known fact that I pretty much demolish a book a day. Expensive hobby, but a great one! I've dabbled with writing since the day I could actually write. So, it was only fitting that I had my first book published when I was 15.

If I'm not writing you would generally find me reading, creating jewellery, trawling social networking sites and listening to music. I will pretty much listen to any kind of music but I have two favourites, country music which has been with me since I was a little toddler and I also love to listen to movie scores, especially when I'm writing!

I currently live in Yorkshire with my husband.

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