The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Spellshadow Manor, #1)
A spine-tingling new fantasy, perfect for adults or teens who enjoyed Harry Potter...What would you do if you spotted a man following a young woman, but no-one else could see him?Like most sane people, student Alex Webber thought he was hallucinating - perhaps he'd consumed something bad at the party he'd been attending that night, or he was severely overtired. But when he sees the mysterious man following Natalie again the very next day, he can no longer disbelieve his eyes.Although Natalie denies the man's existence, Alex sees her walking with him down a road in his neighborhood he's never seen before - and can't help but follow. After a bizarre, but strangely short journey, he finds himself standing before a towering iron gate wreathed in gray ivy, behind which looms a decrepit old mansion named Spellshadow Manor.Spellshadow, with its beautiful yet sinisterly decorated hallways, ever-changing outdoor scenery and very unusual residents... Alex will quickly learn it is a place that is as wondrous as it is deadly.Especially for a normal person like him.What if you found yourself recruited to an institute of magic, only to discover you really couldn't do magic?What if your enrollment there was all one big, terrible mistake?If you were at Spellshadow, you'd keep it a secret. A deep, dark, deadly secret...Because Spellshadow's elusive Head is hiding a secret of his own, one that Alex soon realizes he and Natalie must uncover at all costs if either of them wishes to leave the Manor alive... and before it's too late.Mystery, suspense, and oodles of twists and turns; an unforgettable experience awaits you in Spellshadow Manor... Welcome in.

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Spellshadow Manor, #1) Details

TitleThe Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Spellshadow Manor, #1)
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 10th, 2017
PublisherNightlight
Number of pages410 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Spellshadow Manor, #1) Review

  • Linda
    May 17, 2017
    Facebook kept posting on my feed that this was the next amazing fantasy series for those who loved Harry Potter, so I finally caved and downloaded it to my Kindle. Disappointingly, it did not even come close to the quality of writing in J.K. Rowling's wonderful books. That said, I liked it a little...enough to take the cliffhanger bait and download the second book in the trilogy as well. Also just okay, but now that I'm two books in, of course I'm going to read the final installment when it beco Facebook kept posting on my feed that this was the next amazing fantasy series for those who loved Harry Potter, so I finally caved and downloaded it to my Kindle. Disappointingly, it did not even come close to the quality of writing in J.K. Rowling's wonderful books. That said, I liked it a little...enough to take the cliffhanger bait and download the second book in the trilogy as well. Also just okay, but now that I'm two books in, of course I'm going to read the final installment when it becomes available in a couple of weeks! So who is the clever one here, the advertisers, or me? (Shut up!) Again, they weren't awful, but for me, there was not enough depth to either the characters or the narrative. Perhaps a younger reader would enjoy them more. Honestly though, if you are an adult who wants to read a rich, beautifully written fantasy novel, try Lev Grossman's The Magicians, or The Night Circus, by Erin Morganstern, or Drood, by Dan Simmons, or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, because they are all five star page turners!
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  • Lori Brown clapper
    March 4, 2017
    As a HUGE fan of her Shade of Vampire and Gender Game series, this Bella Forrest book provided an unexpected change in reading style. For readers expecting to enter a story via the first person point of view, you're in for a surprise! This story provides a third person account of a new world of magical encounters, suspense, and, true to Bella's writing style, characters you can fall in love with or despise with a vengeance. Bella creates a world like none other, with such vivid descriptions that As a HUGE fan of her Shade of Vampire and Gender Game series, this Bella Forrest book provided an unexpected change in reading style. For readers expecting to enter a story via the first person point of view, you're in for a surprise! This story provides a third person account of a new world of magical encounters, suspense, and, true to Bella's writing style, characters you can fall in love with or despise with a vengeance. Bella creates a world like none other, with such vivid descriptions that you can picture them in your mind's eye. This is a YA Fantasy book, with one part creepy, one part magical, and one part "whose side is he on"!? Twists and turns await you in Spellshadow Manor . . . eagerly awaiting Book 2.
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  • Kelly
    April 23, 2017
    Harry Potter? No. Not terrible for a YA novel, however. I was disappointed that virtually no questions were answered by the end of the novel, as I didn't enjoy it enough to read its sequel.
  • Judy Lewis
    March 7, 2017
    ABSOLUTELY SPELLBINDING !!!Title: The Secret of Spellshadow ManorSeries: The Secret of Spellshadow ManorAuthor: Bella ForrestDesignation: Book One of Series, Full-Length Novel (400 pages), NOT A Standalone, Cliffhanger AheadGenre: #fantasy #sciencefiction #actionadventure #mystery #comingofage #romanceReading Platform: Kindle Edition (Verified Purchase Amazon US)My Rating: Five Spellbinding Stars*****Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! Bella Forrest just rocked my world AGAIN with another brand new series! For ABSOLUTELY SPELLBINDING !!!Title: The Secret of Spellshadow ManorSeries: The Secret of Spellshadow ManorAuthor: Bella ForrestDesignation: Book One of Series, Full-Length Novel (400 pages), NOT A Standalone, Cliffhanger AheadGenre: #fantasy #sciencefiction #actionadventure #mystery #comingofage #romanceReading Platform: Kindle Edition (Verified Purchase Amazon US)My Rating: Five Spellbinding Stars*****Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! Bella Forrest just rocked my world AGAIN with another brand new series! Forrest has been a busy little beaver! After publishing a new season of the international bestselling A Shade of Vampire series in the past twelve months as well as introducing two new blockbuster series, The Gender Game and the Detective Erin Bond mystery thriller series, you'd think Forrest would be ready to sit back and take a breather. Nope, just the opposite! I honestly don't think Forrest ever sleeps. Not that I'm complaining... not one little bit! Like thousands of my fellow Bella Forrest fans around the world, I've been hooked since the first book of Forrest's megahit A Shade of Vampire series and now eagerly await each new release. I don't even care what genre it is. If Forrest writes it, I'll read it! And it's no surprise Forrest has delivered another new gripping fantasy adventure that curls our toes, makes our hearts pound and keeps us begging for more! This is a beautifully written young adult saga unlike any I've ever read. If you loved Harry Potter or Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Secret of SPellshadow Manor is definitely for you. Quite simply, it's an irresistibly delicious all-you-can-eat buffet of magic, fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, danger, suspense, angst, and blossoming coming of age romance. But never fear, my friends, it's also a deliciously tasty treat for us older adults who remain young at heart! The story is well crafted, imaginative, thrilling, fast paced, action packed, suspenseful, sweet, romantic and at times, also dark and mysterious. Whew, what a mouthful, but these are only a few of the words that come to mind after reading The Secret of Spellshadow Manor. The narrative is exceptionally well written in the third person with a primary perspective from seventeen-year-old high school senior Alex Webber of Middledale, Iowa but in the epilogue, we also get a sneak peek into the mind of another intriguing character who is yet to be determined as friend or foe. The dialogue is smart, well executed and flows effortlessly. Although the premise and plot for this series are intriguing as well as compelling, it's truly the characters that make the biggest impact. They are well developed, fascinating, captivating, engaging, and endearing. They explode from the pages, grab your imagination, capture your heart and hold you completely enthralled from beginning to end. Forrest skillfully combines every single one of these elements to craft a beautifully written coming of age fantasy filled to the brim with magic, danger, action, adventure, fantasy, mystery, suspense, magic, loyalty, and heartbreak, lies, deceit, secrets, angst, young love, and plot twists that will blow your mind. After reading every single one Forrest's books, there are two things I've learned beyond a shadow of a doubt. First, when reading anything written by Bella Forrest, always expect the unexpected and two, absolutely nothing is ever impossible as any of her readers have witnessed time and time again. In each book Forrest pens, she takes her readers on an emotionally thrilling roller coaster ride, unlike any other, one that keeps us on the edge of our seat and riveted to each page while screaming, "OMG - that didn't just happen!" And the icing on the cake, Forrest's books are always exceptionally well-crafted, edited, formatted and have gorgeous covers! Did I like this book? No, I LOVED it! Would I recommend it? You bet, and I am, for ages 12 to 112. Will I read this author again? Of course, just as soon as Forrest publishes her next book. Forrest has the most extraordinary imagination of any author I've ever read, one which knows no bounds! And finally, was I entertained? OMG, YES! Completely! I was glued to my seat, completely enthralled, white-knuckling my ereader with my heart beating wildly in my chest as the pages flew as quickly as the time, and all the while screaming, "Don't do it!" OMG! I was a nervous wreck! lol... I can hardly wait to see what's in store for Alex, Natalie and their friends in Book Two, The Breaker! Fabulous entertainment and an awesome read!Unlike his friends, seventeen-year-old Middledale, Iowa high school senior Alex Webber spends all his free time learning to write computer code and building websites. He's becoming quite the young entrepreneur. Unfortunately, his efforts are born from necessity rather than pleasure. Since Alex's mother was diagnosed with a debilitating long-term illness leaving her unable to work, he desperately needs to earn enough money to supplement their meager monthly income. Hosting a foreign exchange student was supposed to be just another way to add much-needed funds to their dwindling monthly budget... until Alex meets the student...a lovely young seventeen-year-old female student from France named Natalie Chevalier. Oh my! What normal red-blooded seventeen-year-old young man wouldn't appreciate the beauty of a charming french girl, right? When the two teenagers meet, they instantly become fast friends with each looking forward to the upcoming new school year. They're just a couple of normal teenagers who want to enjoy their senior year, right? Hmm... But Alex and Natalie may not be quite so normal after all. What happens when these two seemingly unremarkable young people, brought together by fate, realize they may not be as ordinary as they thought? In fact, they may be quite extraordinary. After seeing a strange, frightening, and unexplainable dark figure following Natalie, apparently one no one else could see, Alex is faced with a life-altering decision that may interrupt his well-laid plans and change his life forever. But there is only one choice for the pragmatic yet sensitive young Alex - no matter the risk, he must protect his new friend Natalie. But at what cost? Join our two brave, young heroes as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime where they must learn to navigate the ever-changing hallways of the mysterious, magical, and very dangerous new world of Spellshadow Manor, and where one mistake could cost them their lives. Oh my!
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  • Phyllis Pickens
    March 4, 2017
    A brand new book by Bella Forrest. For those who follow Bella's writing, the new book does not disappoint. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (TSOSM) is a mesmerizing read full of intrigue, mystery, laughter, and surprises. For those readers not familiar with Bella, try TSOSM !!!
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  • Andrea
    May 26, 2017
    It was okay. I fell for the Facebook hype too. It isn't that I didn't enjoy it, but it wasn't a book I need to know the ending of either. Harry Potter? Well, there is a "school" and there is magic...sort of... that is about as far as it goes for being like Harry Potter. It would be better if it stopped trying to compare itself to anything else. Just be what you are. (I know, I know, that isn't how advertising works....) I guess the big thing is Hogwarts is a place you want to go to, Spellshadow It was okay. I fell for the Facebook hype too. It isn't that I didn't enjoy it, but it wasn't a book I need to know the ending of either. Harry Potter? Well, there is a "school" and there is magic...sort of... that is about as far as it goes for being like Harry Potter. It would be better if it stopped trying to compare itself to anything else. Just be what you are. (I know, I know, that isn't how advertising works....) I guess the big thing is Hogwarts is a place you want to go to, Spellshadow is not a place anyone wants to go to. I prefer the former.That said. The story was okay. I didn't hate it. I like Alex well enough and Natalie was fine. I didn't really get to know the other characters. Finder was cool. A bit shallow in character development. We barely get to know any of them before the action starts. Well, it was okay. glad I read it, don't need to read the rest of the series.
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  • julianne
    May 20, 2017
    I admit it, I was seduced by the hype! Boy was I wrong! This isn't the natural successor to Harry Potter or Twilight. It's poorly written with cliché after cliché.
  • Louise Sansom
    May 3, 2017
    Not badWell I wasn't expecting much to be honest but this book actually had a pretty interesting plot once it got going and it doesn't go down your typical magic school angle either since all the students are kidnapped and forced to learn magic for an unknown and most likely sinister purpose. Honestly this darker aspect is what kept me reading and the mystery is very tantalizing.Character development is somewhat lacking, I didn't really feel involved with the characters all that much and I found Not badWell I wasn't expecting much to be honest but this book actually had a pretty interesting plot once it got going and it doesn't go down your typical magic school angle either since all the students are kidnapped and forced to learn magic for an unknown and most likely sinister purpose. Honestly this darker aspect is what kept me reading and the mystery is very tantalizing.Character development is somewhat lacking, I didn't really feel involved with the characters all that much and I found conversations between characters to be a little stilted and overly formal considering the story revolves around a bunch of kidnapped teens I would've expected tensions to be high but everyone seems fairly relaxed about it.I do look forward to the next book however because there are still a few mysteries to solve.
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  • Lisa McPherson
    March 11, 2017
    Another fantastic world created by our Bella! In this book she explores magic- the source of it in the characters and anti-magic. SOSM is very well written, and will appeal to her "seasoned" readers, as well as younger readers- I would have no issue with my 14 year old reading this. The story begins with Alex following his fellow student, Natalie, when he sees a dark billowy figure whispering to her in class. "Finder" leads Natalie to Spellshadow Manor, where we are introduced to magic wielders. Another fantastic world created by our Bella! In this book she explores magic- the source of it in the characters and anti-magic. SOSM is very well written, and will appeal to her "seasoned" readers, as well as younger readers- I would have no issue with my 14 year old reading this. The story begins with Alex following his fellow student, Natalie, when he sees a dark billowy figure whispering to her in class. "Finder" leads Natalie to Spellshadow Manor, where we are introduced to magic wielders. The Manor has many secrets - shifting outside scenery, magicked lines in the hallway you are unable to cross, and a curse that needs to be lifted. Will Alex and his friends find a way out? You'll have to read to see who is helping and who will stand in their way.
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  • Saima Nisbet
    May 18, 2017
    You know a story is poorly written if you're not engrossed in it, instead you're critiquing the writing as you read. This book kept showing up in adverts as an amazing magical series to rival HP. Let's get one thing clear, it does not. The story itself seems okay, it interests me enough to annoyingly want to read the second book despite this review. The writing is poor, basic and repetitive sentences with poor dialogue, description and character development. Another thing which annoyed me is the You know a story is poorly written if you're not engrossed in it, instead you're critiquing the writing as you read. This book kept showing up in adverts as an amazing magical series to rival HP. Let's get one thing clear, it does not. The story itself seems okay, it interests me enough to annoyingly want to read the second book despite this review. The writing is poor, basic and repetitive sentences with poor dialogue, description and character development. Another thing which annoyed me is the forced feminism in mildly mentioning a stereotype of women and refuting it when describing a female character and their role in the story, if you truly were gender neutral or wanted to fight stereotype then just write a character without mentioning stereotypes instead of mentioning female delicacy etc. I was hoping for more and despite feeling a slight tug to read the next episode, I'm not sure I should bother. I'm surprised to see in the final pages that she's written twenty odd books. Also, these are 17 year olds and they seem more like 12 year olds.
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  • Dawn
    May 3, 2017
    I picked up this book based on the recommendation of one of those "what should I read next" sites. I can see why the book was recommended; it contains elements that I enjoy reading - magic, a secret world inside our own, and a personal journey. Despite Ms. Forrest's lovely writing style, I found that this story did not grab me. For me, I thought the characters lacked depth; Alex is simply a teenage boy who is trying to earn extra money to help his sick mother; and Natalie never really developed I picked up this book based on the recommendation of one of those "what should I read next" sites. I can see why the book was recommended; it contains elements that I enjoy reading - magic, a secret world inside our own, and a personal journey. Despite Ms. Forrest's lovely writing style, I found that this story did not grab me. For me, I thought the characters lacked depth; Alex is simply a teenage boy who is trying to earn extra money to help his sick mother; and Natalie never really developed beyond pretty French exchange student. Additionally, I felt that the world building was practically non-existent; yes, Ms. Forrest described the setting with glorious, creepy detail but missed the mark when it came to the greater universe of this story. While there were some elements of the plot that could have been interesting; the rather slow and uneven pacing deterred me from becoming fully vested (if felt like nothing really happened until well after page 300 (my edition was 415 pages).
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  • Lucy
    June 14, 2017
    I really hate it when books are said to be the 'next Harry Potter' because I feel like this label is slapped on every book with a magical school and it gives people unrealistic expectations for the book. I really don't feel like this was like Harry Potter at all. That said, I did enjoy this book. I really liked the world-building of this book with the teachers and the school and the magic as well. This felt original in a great way and I loved Alex's power as well. I wanted to know more about the I really hate it when books are said to be the 'next Harry Potter' because I feel like this label is slapped on every book with a magical school and it gives people unrealistic expectations for the book. I really don't feel like this was like Harry Potter at all. That said, I did enjoy this book. I really liked the world-building of this book with the teachers and the school and the magic as well. This felt original in a great way and I loved Alex's power as well. I wanted to know more about the history of this world and about the magic and I think that's always a great sign for worldbuilding. I do wish we had seen other students more outside the main four though. The plot kept twisting and turning and I appreciated how you never really knew whether a person was on Alex's side or not. As characters, I did like the main two characters Alex and Natalie. I appreciated the reasons why Alex followed Natalie, I really liked how there wasn't any romance between the two of them in this book (though I hope everyone else banging on about it isn't meant to be foreshadowing) because there were far more important things to worry about, and I liked the friendship between the four main characters. Aamir and Jari felt like their own characters with their own goals that were separate from Alex and Natalie's and that was nice to see. What I didn't like so much was how Natalie felt flatter as a character to me than Aamir did and considering she was one of the main characters, that was a little disappointing. I did appreciate her role in the climax of the story though. I wouldn't call this is a five star read for me, but I did enjoy it and I think I'm going to read the sequel as well.
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  • Lisa Tobleman
    June 10, 2017
    Entertaining but light on substance This is an entertaining mildly spooky riff on the sorcerer boarding house story. It's main characters spend a lot of time thinking, searching for answers in half empty books, and dueling each other in the wine cellar of a largely undescribed manor house. The cast of characters is interesting: terrified instructors, a ghoulish Finder, a dark Cheshire Cat creature, a Headmaster that is more Freddy Kruger than Dumbledore, a group of kidnapped teen magicians, and Entertaining but light on substance This is an entertaining mildly spooky riff on the sorcerer boarding house story. It's main characters spend a lot of time thinking, searching for answers in half empty books, and dueling each other in the wine cellar of a largely undescribed manor house. The cast of characters is interesting: terrified instructors, a ghoulish Finder, a dark Cheshire Cat creature, a Headmaster that is more Freddy Kruger than Dumbledore, a group of kidnapped teen magicians, and Alex the non magical friend of a kidnap victim. I would rate this story higher if the world were richer and more distinct. I'm also not clear on placement of objects or even what anything looks like. I don't mind filling in blanks, but usually I need more than "wine cellar" or "classroom with tables" to build a picture. It made following action scenes tricky, and made the building seem more like a curio cabinet than a real place. I also couldn't tell how many people were in the building, so when random characters spoke or were mentioned i got the impression of people appearing out of thin air. Anyhow, it's a teen book so no parental warning, but there is some graphically disturbing scenes (the gore kind). And an ambiguous ending that leads to book two. I'm giving this series book two a shot, but if it's more of the same, I'm putting this in the "bad series involving boarding schools" category.
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  • Lisa
    May 27, 2017
    Wonderful.I am sure it is inevitable that Spellhadow will receive many comparisons with the Harry Potter series, its such a hugely popular genre and many have tried and mostly failed to imitate or recreate from it. What I like about this is that although their are similarities in some areas, the author has not aimed for imitating Potter, instead has created a whole different world of magic which myself and my 8 year old son have enjoyed immensely.Spellshadow Manor, ain't no Hogwarts and as a mas Wonderful.I am sure it is inevitable that Spellhadow will receive many comparisons with the Harry Potter series, its such a hugely popular genre and many have tried and mostly failed to imitate or recreate from it. What I like about this is that although their are similarities in some areas, the author has not aimed for imitating Potter, instead has created a whole different world of magic which myself and my 8 year old son have enjoyed immensely.Spellshadow Manor, ain't no Hogwarts and as a massive Potter fan, that's exactly what I didn't want to his book to be. There is a definite air of the dark side of magic with sinister undertones and secrets with deadly consequences seemingly around every dark corner. The manor is not a happy place and the children locked in its walls neither happy or hopeful. What becomes of the mini magicians after 'graduation'? Has Amair really crossed over to the dark side? What's in store next for Alex and his friends? So many questions, that had me almost leaping with joy when I realised I wouldn't have to wait too long for the answers, as if magic book 2 has been released just in time for me, I mean we, my son and I (just wish he wasn't sleeping right now) to enjoy the next part in this wonderfully dark and sinister magical book x
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  • Will
    June 11, 2017
    Facebook ads have been hyping this up on my timeline as "for fans of Harry Potter", so naturally I had to check it out. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor is a delightful middle grades fantasy with plenty of fun and adventure, but not nearly the substance of such heavy weights as Harry Potter.The plot is pretty straightforward, though perhaps dragged out too long, and with little to no real payoff. Virtually no questions are answered here, and some of the in-world logic is a little sketchy. All of Facebook ads have been hyping this up on my timeline as "for fans of Harry Potter", so naturally I had to check it out. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor is a delightful middle grades fantasy with plenty of fun and adventure, but not nearly the substance of such heavy weights as Harry Potter.The plot is pretty straightforward, though perhaps dragged out too long, and with little to no real payoff. Virtually no questions are answered here, and some of the in-world logic is a little sketchy. All of these kids vanish and never return and...that's it? It just seems beyond strange. Especially given this idea that magic follows specific bloodlines. The school itself doesn't make a whole lot of sense, so it's really better not to put much thought toward it, lest you get caught up wondering how it makes any sort of educational sense for new recruits to be in the same classes and doing the same work as those who have been studying magic for years.The characters are fine, though don't really stand out as anything special. They're all fairly run-of-the-mill middle grades fantasy characters, which isn't necessarily a bad thing so much as it's not very impressive.It was a fun read, which is most of what I expected from this book. I'll probably read the sequel eventually, when I'm looking for something fun and easy.
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  • Brittany Johnson
    March 9, 2017
    Wow! This book was advertised as a book that if you like Harry Potter you will like this. I love Harry Potter and books by Bella Forest so I couldn't wait to give this a shot. I expected it to be similar but it is completely different. Harry Potter begins with this very bright, magical, and wonderous school of Hogwarts where as Spellshadow Manor is dark, run down, creepy, mysterious and filled with secrets and questions. This book was spellbinding from the beginning and I couldn't put it down. N Wow! This book was advertised as a book that if you like Harry Potter you will like this. I love Harry Potter and books by Bella Forest so I couldn't wait to give this a shot. I expected it to be similar but it is completely different. Harry Potter begins with this very bright, magical, and wonderous school of Hogwarts where as Spellshadow Manor is dark, run down, creepy, mysterious and filled with secrets and questions. This book was spellbinding from the beginning and I couldn't put it down. Not only does the main character Alex manage to sneak in to this 'school' of magic Spellshadow manor while following his newly arrived French foreign exchange student Natalie. She is under an energy draining spell by a mysterious man in rags that only Alex can see. It was refreshing to have a main character who is not magically gifted with all the answers and a natural ability to magically excel. The way the magic is manipulated and created in this story was something new to me. A very interesting and captivating read. Finally Alex discovers he does have a different kind of ability although he is struggling to learn how to use it. I can't wait to see how that develops and what he becomes capable of. In true Bella fashion the book ends leaving you with a few answers and even more new questions. I can't wait to see what the next book holds!
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  • Stormy
    June 28, 2017
    I was a little disappointed with this book. The first installment in the series did not capture my attention the way I thought it would. It is not a very high level read, resulting in some parts of the book just not being very well written. The same descriptive phrases appear throughout the book. For example, "grey ivy". I don't know about anyone else but I kept reading this in my head everytime as "gravy" and this was annoying reading it every couple sentences or so. The characters were a littl I was a little disappointed with this book. The first installment in the series did not capture my attention the way I thought it would. It is not a very high level read, resulting in some parts of the book just not being very well written. The same descriptive phrases appear throughout the book. For example, "grey ivy". I don't know about anyone else but I kept reading this in my head everytime as "gravy" and this was annoying reading it every couple sentences or so. The characters were a little underdeveloped but maybe this is taken care of in the later books. I feel like the key parts of the plot and the climax of the story were rushed, leaving many questions unanswered, but not in a cliffhanger, plot driving kind of way. The action was cut short, almost as if the author couldn't think of a better way to explain what was happening and decided to skip over it. The overall idea of antimagic vs magic is a bit of a confusing concept and the author could have explained these things better, but again these ideas seemed rushed, as if the author just didn't know how to address these questions and so skipped over them entirely. If the book were slightly longer and expanded upon the backstory more, this could have been a much better read.
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  • Kerri
    June 14, 2017
    This book took forever for me to read. It's much longer than it needs to be, and not overly interesting either, imo. The blurb describing it as "The next read for fans of Harry Potter" couldn't be more wrong. It's much more like Mrs. Peregrines, and I don't say that in a complimentary way. For kids in a school, they rarely attend class. Everything is creepy, and frightening, and mysterious, yet we're given precious little information as to the why of any of it, instead slogging through chapter a This book took forever for me to read. It's much longer than it needs to be, and not overly interesting either, imo. The blurb describing it as "The next read for fans of Harry Potter" couldn't be more wrong. It's much more like Mrs. Peregrines, and I don't say that in a complimentary way. For kids in a school, they rarely attend class. Everything is creepy, and frightening, and mysterious, yet we're given precious little information as to the why of any of it, instead slogging through chapter after chapter of them studying, reading, practice fighting, blah, blah, blah. It gets really tedious really fast, and yet the book still clocks in at over 400 pages! It feels like a ploy to turn it into a series when there really isn't enough material to justify it. To be fair, this could have been a good idea. But the execution was lacking in a big way. Very little character development shown from any of the mains, very little plot for an over 400 page book, and often painfully slow moving. Even the climax felt, well, anticlimactic.And my own personal pet peeve, how little consideration is given to Alex's mother, who is apparently, deathly ill and broke. Just a quick note about how it's "too hard to think about her". I will not be reading the second book.
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  • Allison
    June 28, 2017
    It always puts me off when a book is compared to a huge bestseller like Harry Potter. It immediately has an impossible standard to live up to and I struggle to keep that out of my expectations for the book. This, as suspected, cannot compare to Harry Potter - but I'm going to try because the book blurb forced me to. It's bleak, and the world is confined to a single dark manor, so the general world-building richness is absent. It also lacks Rowling's knack for hooking you into the puzzle and atta It always puts me off when a book is compared to a huge bestseller like Harry Potter. It immediately has an impossible standard to live up to and I struggle to keep that out of my expectations for the book. This, as suspected, cannot compare to Harry Potter - but I'm going to try because the book blurb forced me to. It's bleak, and the world is confined to a single dark manor, so the general world-building richness is absent. It also lacks Rowling's knack for hooking you into the puzzle and attaching you to the characters. What is slightly reminiscent of HP is that it takes place in a magical school, but this one is a sinister, dangerous place. The students do spend a lot of time training and looking for answers in the library. That's about as far as the comparisons can go.I found it interesting enough on its own merits that I do plan to pick up the sequel. The first installment hardly gave me any answers, just began to give me an idea of what the questions are. I'm intrigued enough to want to get to the bottom of those, and I have the feeling it's really just getting started.
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  • Kaleb
    May 23, 2017
    The book was fantastic! Because of the genre, comparisons will happen. Way better than The Magicians, so much better they shouldn't even exist in the same book store or library. The book was even better than the Harry Potter series. This is the next series that should be seen on the big or silver screen, not another movie of the HP spinoffs.The book jumps right into the story, casting its spell and making it impossible to put down. The author does a brilliant job and taking a trope we've seen be The book was fantastic! Because of the genre, comparisons will happen. Way better than The Magicians, so much better they shouldn't even exist in the same book store or library. The book was even better than the Harry Potter series. This is the next series that should be seen on the big or silver screen, not another movie of the HP spinoffs.The book jumps right into the story, casting its spell and making it impossible to put down. The author does a brilliant job and taking a trope we've seen before (someone who doesn't know they are magic and find a school of magic) and making it seem brand new in a way I hadn't seen before. The main characters are a joy to read about. The mystery of what's going on kept me coming back for more. All in all, a great book and a great read and I would suggest it to everyone. *A shout out to the author and her customer service. The ebook is only available on Kindle. Me, having a Kobo, couldn't read the Kindle book. She has an amazing program where I was able to email her the receipt and she sent me a compatible version of the book.
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  • Elizabeth
    June 28, 2017
    Harry Potter this is not. It would be like reading only the outline for Harry Potter and calling it a book; no depth, one dimensional characters, not enough information, too many holes. The students are literally kidnapped and held hostage, the school is dilapidated, the headmaster is a psychopath, there are only three teachers, the classes are odd (Jari and Aamir have been there for years, but are still first years with Alex and Natalie. Other students and years have been mentioned, but then fo Harry Potter this is not. It would be like reading only the outline for Harry Potter and calling it a book; no depth, one dimensional characters, not enough information, too many holes. The students are literally kidnapped and held hostage, the school is dilapidated, the headmaster is a psychopath, there are only three teachers, the classes are odd (Jari and Aamir have been there for years, but are still first years with Alex and Natalie. Other students and years have been mentioned, but then forgotten/ignored.) There is one other student whom they actually talk to, Ellabell, and really only because she is Natalie's roommate. The only characters I liked and had depth were Ellabell, and Elias, the manipulative shadow cat.
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  • Tony Puglielli
    May 27, 2017
    A different view on wizards and magic...I was drawn to this book by the natural association to Harry Potter or the general fantasy genre of wizards and magic. Once I cracked the cover I was drawn in by how much different it was from the popular magical fantasies. It portrays a very dark and sinister if not desperate view of being identified as a magical person. I also like the addition of the anti-magic concepts. One aspect I missed in the course of the story was a more detailed history of the m A different view on wizards and magic...I was drawn to this book by the natural association to Harry Potter or the general fantasy genre of wizards and magic. Once I cracked the cover I was drawn in by how much different it was from the popular magical fantasies. It portrays a very dark and sinister if not desperate view of being identified as a magical person. I also like the addition of the anti-magic concepts. One aspect I missed in the course of the story was a more detailed history of the magical world and how it intersects with the natural world. What drives the conflict? Why is there a divide? How does magical talent emerge in a person? Maybe I am getting ahead of the story. I look forward to the next installment.
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  • Lynnes89
    July 1, 2017
    This book had a lot of hype online, and whilst it did not live up to the hype it was still an enjoyable read. I would have rated it 3.5 stars if I could. Main complaints that I saw were that there was still a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book but I don't see that as a bad thing, it only makes me want to read on. This book is most defiantly a young, and I emphasise young, adult book compared to others in the category. Though in all honesty I was grateful for this, as I suffer fro This book had a lot of hype online, and whilst it did not live up to the hype it was still an enjoyable read. I would have rated it 3.5 stars if I could. Main complaints that I saw were that there was still a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book but I don't see that as a bad thing, it only makes me want to read on. This book is most defiantly a young, and I emphasise young, adult book compared to others in the category. Though in all honesty I was grateful for this, as I suffer from chronic illness' and my concentration is poor at times, so this was perfect for me. It was easy enough to pick up and put down. The only reason I did not rate it higher is that it did not have me hooked.. I did not tend to think much about the book after I put it down.
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  • Suey Johnson
    March 5, 2017
    If you want to lose yourself in a spooky, magical school full of secrets, some bone chilling characters and talented wizards, look no further, Spellshadow Manor has it all and more. Only one boy, Alex, holds the power to unravel these mysteries, but first he must follow a path of self discovery. After realizing what he is and what he could be capable of in time, he and his talented, quirky friends, and one creepy lost soul (whose motives I am wary of!) start to uncover some of Spellshadow’s many If you want to lose yourself in a spooky, magical school full of secrets, some bone chilling characters and talented wizards, look no further, Spellshadow Manor has it all and more. Only one boy, Alex, holds the power to unravel these mysteries, but first he must follow a path of self discovery. After realizing what he is and what he could be capable of in time, he and his talented, quirky friends, and one creepy lost soul (whose motives I am wary of!) start to uncover some of Spellshadow’s many mysteries. There is still a lot left to be solved in subsequent books and I can see this being an exciting journey!We read this book from a first person narrative and Bella’s writing throughout is creative, flowing fluently for an effortless and enjoyable reading experience.
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  • Meredith Reads
    July 4, 2017
    This appeared as a free Kindle book and promised to be the next Harry Potter. I have two other books by Bella Forrest on my "Want to Read" list so I thought I would give this one a go as a light diversion while I am reading War and Peace and pay homage to the anniversary of HP by reading a book based on magic. While the book is entertaining, I would certainly not compare it to HP. It's not as descriptive(I struggled with creating a mental picture of the Manor) and I didn't find myself engaged wi This appeared as a free Kindle book and promised to be the next Harry Potter. I have two other books by Bella Forrest on my "Want to Read" list so I thought I would give this one a go as a light diversion while I am reading War and Peace and pay homage to the anniversary of HP by reading a book based on magic. While the book is entertaining, I would certainly not compare it to HP. It's not as descriptive(I struggled with creating a mental picture of the Manor) and I didn't find myself engaged with the characters. I wanted more background, more of their insights and thoughts. It seemed like the book was rushed.It was an easy read, though, that was started and finished in a few hours.
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  • Siobhan Bruno
    March 7, 2017
    Wow!!!!! I'm not going to lie I wasn't sure at The beginning however I should have known Bella would not write anything that isn't above excellent! It started off slow but You totally fall in love with each one of The characters... There is turns & twists You don't see coming, which just makes You wanna keep reading.. There defiantly is secrets & danger around every corner at SpellShadow Manor. In fact I think Everyone has at least one, but There is a certain Someone Who defiantly doesn' Wow!!!!! I'm not going to lie I wasn't sure at The beginning however I should have known Bella would not write anything that isn't above excellent! It started off slow but You totally fall in love with each one of The characters... There is turns & twists You don't see coming, which just makes You wanna keep reading.. There defiantly is secrets & danger around every corner at SpellShadow Manor. In fact I think Everyone has at least one, but There is a certain Someone Who defiantly doesn't want Their secret exposed.. You would be crazy not to read this, I can't wait to see what happens next! This series is defiantly going on My to read list...
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  • Whitney May
    March 10, 2017
    I absolutely LOVE Bella Forrest books a Shade of a Vampire and the Gender Games series. Once again she has proved to be an amazing writer. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor has so many twists and turns that it leaves you in suspense. It has you guessing on what will happen next! You main characters Alex and Natalie find themselves in quite the dilemma when they end up at the manor. They don't know who to trust. They don't know how to escape and don't know who to trust. They make some friends along I absolutely LOVE Bella Forrest books a Shade of a Vampire and the Gender Games series. Once again she has proved to be an amazing writer. The Secret of Spellshadow Manor has so many twists and turns that it leaves you in suspense. It has you guessing on what will happen next! You main characters Alex and Natalie find themselves in quite the dilemma when they end up at the manor. They don't know who to trust. They don't know how to escape and don't know who to trust. They make some friends along the way. It just overall is an exciting book and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!
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  • Nancy Braford
    July 3, 2017
    Touted as a series that is a "spine tingling fantasy" "for anyone who enjoyed Harry Potter". Well folks, I've read Harry Potter numerous times, and this is no Harry Potter. It is an intriguing look, into a mystical school, filled with students with magical powers, that are sought out in the "real world" by the Finder. Unlike Hogwarts, Spellshadow Manor is like the Eagle's Hotel California, they are programmed to receive, but you can never leave, and family members never know where they've disapp Touted as a series that is a "spine tingling fantasy" "for anyone who enjoyed Harry Potter". Well folks, I've read Harry Potter numerous times, and this is no Harry Potter. It is an intriguing look, into a mystical school, filled with students with magical powers, that are sought out in the "real world" by the Finder. Unlike Hogwarts, Spellshadow Manor is like the Eagle's Hotel California, they are programmed to receive, but you can never leave, and family members never know where they've disappeared to. I am hoping the next book in the series, will explain that aspect.
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  • Brandy
    June 10, 2017
    This book was likened to Harry Potter, which was the original draw for me (and the cover, because it's gorgeous and intriguing). Well, to put it mildly, this book does not even hold a TINY candle to Potter!!!!! Not in ANY WAY, except that it's a school of magic. The characters are not very developed and I skimmed a bunch of stuff when it got dull and didn't miss a single thing! The ending was anti-climactic and I'm not sure I'm curious enough to read further into the series. Everything worked ou This book was likened to Harry Potter, which was the original draw for me (and the cover, because it's gorgeous and intriguing). Well, to put it mildly, this book does not even hold a TINY candle to Potter!!!!! Not in ANY WAY, except that it's a school of magic. The characters are not very developed and I skimmed a bunch of stuff when it got dull and didn't miss a single thing! The ending was anti-climactic and I'm not sure I'm curious enough to read further into the series. Everything worked out too easily and yet there was no "ending". Just, blah.
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  • Thomas
    June 3, 2017
    Entertainment worth the time!This was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy with an interesting magic system. This book includes anti-magic that adds a twist and creates a good storyline. Character development is detailed at the start helping to provide a back story for when the main events start to occur. The Secret, however, is still a secret ... or is it?
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