Release Date: April 2013 (First Published: November 2012)
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 351 (ebook)
My Rating: 4/5
Source: Received for review from author
Cover: Thumbs up, very pretty cover model.
Keeping secrets from a psychic can be murder.
Petra Maras lives a charmed life, but only in the magical sense. Her absentee father is a criminal, her mother is emotionally dead, and everyone at her new school knows she comes from a family of witches. All she wants is to be normal, but that’s impossible, given her family. And given that she’s psychic. When the police requests help with a murder investigation, Petra reluctantly agrees. Which isn’t such a good idea since the prime suspect wants to date her, and she really wants to say yes. Her gut says he’s innocent, but since she can’t get a read on him, she can’t know for sure. And when she discovers he’s been keeping secrets, she wonders if maybe she’s been following her heart instead of her head…
It’s always important not to have too many expectations (be them high or low) when going into a book by an author you’ve never read before. One could easily get let down and feel very disappointed…or one could close the cover (or electronically swipe the cover) and say “Holy crap, that was good!” It’s definitely a risky business. Luckily, I came away from Blood, She Read deeply satisfied and wanting more of Sara Hubbard’s writing. The novel is character driven but not in an epic sort of way where one has to have complete focus on what’s going on or lose a vital piece of the story. Those kinds of stories can be exhausting. Petra’s story is much more laid-back…or as laid-back as it can be since it involves a murder mystery, witches/psychics, and the fun drama-filled days of being a teenager.
This was something fresh in the YA paranormal world, for me anyway. Petra is from a long line of witches and although a lot of spells (including a spellbook!) and magic is talked about, it wasn’t forefront in the story. Her psychic ability is more prominent and becomes a huge part of the story while the search for the murderer of a local teen is taking place. Petra reluctantly assists law enforcement which gains her some unwanted attention from her new schoolmates and the boys she may or may not have fingered for the crime. Speaking of said boys, Petra becomes quickly drawn to one of them and constantly questions whether she can trust him or not. And to be honest I take back what I said about magic…Petra’s witchcraft and magical abilities are limited because she refuses to practice or embrace her powers. There is actually plenty of spells and magic in the book and it adds a lot of depth to the story when Petra’s only friend becomes involved with it.
One of my favorite aspects of the story is the unique relationship between Petra and her mother. They are definitely not the most loving mother-daughter duo I’ve seen. When they do speak to one another it usually involves a lot of strained dialogue and eye-rolling. But the rare display of affection goes such a long way in the story. Petra has never really gotten along with her mother and it’s easy to see why. Her mother picked a winner of a husband (and decided to father a child with said winner) who is a dangerous criminal that doesn’t hesitate to take a life. Way to go girlfriend! She also seems to be a user – in the sense that she uses people to get what she wants or further herself in her life someway. She, unlike Petra, isn’t afraid that the entire town knows about her family history. She isn’t afraid to use her powers when she deems necessary. And the only thing that really scares or worries Petra’s mother is her psycho ex-husband. But I never thought for a second that Petra’s mother was a truly bad person – just someone with frowned upon personality traits. The two obviously care about each other and I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop during all the twists in the plot. And honestly I like Petra’s mother despite her suck-y personality and her not-so-awesome mother skills…
There were many unexpected plot twists that had me, as a reader, on my toes. It’s nice to think you know what’s going to happen in a book and then be totally surprised. I was very much a happy little hen while reading Blood, She Read. I think the author could even take Petra’s story further into another book but sometimes one shouldn’t tamper with a good thing. No need to stretch out a story if it’s more than satisfying by itself. However, I’d still like to see some avenues explored Ms. Sara Hubbard… we really must discuss this further =) I’m happy to report Sara’s writing is fun, modern, and engaging. I certainly plan on continuing with any (most likely all) future books she may write!