Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The author reached out to me via the "contact us" form of my blog asking if I wanted to review two of his books. He gave me the blurb for each book and I agreed to review them. He suggested that I first read this book as it has generated a lot of positive reactions and then read the other one later. So, after about 6 months, the review is finally out. I read this about a month or two ago. 

I know I mentioned in my review policy that the latest for me to post a review would be 3 months after I got the book. Unfortunately, I have not adhered to that more often than being able to keep that promise. So, as a solution, I created another tracker to make sure I stay true to that promise. I lost my old tracker when the other laptop crashed and my list just haven't been recreated after about a month ago. So, moving forward, I really hope that I could post my reviews within three months after getting the book copies.

Book of Shadows: Casting is the first of the series. Book two is in the editing works when the author sent me this request. This a YA story. As the title would imply, Book of Shadows, (remember the TV series Charmed?) it's about witchcraft. While writing this review, I realized that this book had a few similarities with Charmed. Aside from the theme, of course. Like the Halliwell sisters, this story also involved the power of three young girls. And, the book of witchcraft also came from the grandmother of one of the three girls--Emma.

The three girls are Emma, Lia and Shar. Lia and Shar are Emma's best friends who are also gay and are a couple. When Emma found her grandmother's book of spells, she recruited Lia and Shar to join her and make a coven. They tried some of the spells in the book and even did a love spell on Emma's crush. Casting spells is fun until they have to face the effects of their spell-casting and even undo some of them. These three have to stand up to bullies and make things right before a disaster resulted as a byproduct of their spells.

One thing that fascinated me with this story was the setting. The girls live in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell also happens to be name of my brother-n-law. The place may not prompt anything special to you but it does ring a bell to me. While I was in the US for a training for work way back in 2013, one of the main offices of the company I worked for was in Andover, MA. Lowell is one of the places we pass by when we went sight-seeing in Boston or to some restaurant to eat dinner or lunch. I think, we might have passed by one of the schools in Lowell. In a way, I feel a connection to the story because of the place. I was actually driving around in the area and was on one of the streets. This story somehow reminded me of that trip and my experiences. One of the other places mentioned in the book was Newburyport and we had dinner one time there also. It's a scenic coastal and historical city. It was raining and chilly when were there. We didn't have a lot of time to visit historical sites because the places would have been closed already after we had dinner. I do remember there was a chocolate shop and the buildings were old just like in Boston. I also remember, some of my colleagues went to Salem to visit the witch museum while we were off to New York. Maybe next time, I will visit Salem when I have the chance to go back to the US. Hopefully, it would be soon.

This was actually a very fun story. The girls curious and in a way, heedless, wanted to find out if the book was really authentic and if it was really it--a book of spells that really works. Until, they realized that their spells have effects on other people and soon they have to undo or do another spell to counteract the first one. Then, more serious events happened not entirely direct effects from the spells but in a way, still can be traced back to witchcraft. So, from there, the story seemed to take on a dark turn. And the ending was just so curious that I can't help but want to read book two already.

I give the book 4/5 lavender candles. I enjoyed the book. The blunders and mishaps the girls had to go through and put out are reminders that witchcraft is a serious business and it can cause harm if not done properly. The girls learned some hard lessons from their experiences and even matured in a way witchcraft could only do. I loved watching Charmed and these three girls reminded me of how the Halliwell sisters were when they first discovered they were powerful witches. I am looking forward to the next book and I can't wait to discover what other blunders and fires the girls will have to contend with. And will they be able to keep their secret for long, now that a few had been let on it?




Honestly, I am not sure if I believe in witchcraft. As they all say, the Salem witch hunt was a farce. It sentenced innocent people to death needlessly. At the same time, it also reminds me about the books of Paulo Coelho that talks about Wicca. So, until I am actually shown evidence that it's real, I'll reserve judgement. I do believe that if there are witches like the three girls here or the Halliwell sister's power of three, then I think they are really cool. And if witches are true, then it's comforting to know that we have people who have the ability to fight evil like the Charmed Ones. The protector of the innocent. I feel safer having that in mind. 


I feel like a wife who's lost her husband. Like I should be one of those widows who only wear black after their husbands have died.
- Michael Beaulieu, Book of Shadows: Casting - 


Thank you, Michael Beaulieu for the copy.