Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1)
When a rogue 19-year-old witch is recruited to help guard an ancient magical Bestiary, a breath-stealing journey begins... Being an empath has its advantages. Harley Merlin can sense people’s emotions, among other things. It’s how she snagged her first job pinpointing cheaters at a casino.But she has no clue where she got these freakish powers because she spent her childhood jumping from home to home in the foster system, and her father left her with nothing more than a cryptic note.Then she crosses paths with a terrifyingly real monster. Which is when a mysterious and annoyingly arrogant young warlock named Wade Crowley steps in, introducing her to a hidden world of beasts, magicals, and covens riddled with secrets—as well as clues about her murky past.Whether she likes it or not, this new world is where she belongs. But after a disturbing twist of events, Harley quickly realizes that her past is darker than she could ever have imagined.And that someone in the coven is out for her blood.With the help of Wade and her new friends, she must figure out who the traitor is and why they’re targeting her... Before the human and magical worlds dangerously collide.

Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1) Details

TitleHarley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1)
Author
ReleaseAug 27th, 2018
PublisherNightlight Press
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Magic, Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin #1) Review

  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    Started out well, and I thought it was going to be both well-edited and fairly original. Sadly, in the end it was neither. Enjoyable enough, but not quite worthy of four stars (I did originally err on the side of generosity, but decided on reflection to give it three). Firstly, it's based much too closely on Harry Potter, up to and including points for an end-of-year prize and childish bickering (if anything, the HP kids are more mature than these characters - "mature YA" in the blurb apparently Started out well, and I thought it was going to be both well-edited and fairly original. Sadly, in the end it was neither. Enjoyable enough, but not quite worthy of four stars (I did originally err on the side of generosity, but decided on reflection to give it three). Firstly, it's based much too closely on Harry Potter, up to and including points for an end-of-year prize and childish bickering (if anything, the HP kids are more mature than these characters - "mature YA" in the blurb apparently just means the protagonist is 19). Second, there are quite a few excess coordinate commas, and a good few vocabulary issues - homonym errors (like diffuse/defuse); wrong word choices for what the author means (like "conscience" when she means "consciousness"); and one of my pet hates, the jargon "going forward" repeatedly used to mean "in future" or "from now on". Third, there are two - TWO - Convenient Eavesdrops, and even though neither one is completely essential to the plot, I still despise this plot device with a mighty hatred. It's weak writing, a convenient way to get around point-of-view limitations. And, while it starts out with a good pace, it suddenly crashes down into low gear for an extended visit to the Department of Backstory, and takes a long time to recover its momentum. It's OK in a bubblegum sort of way, enjoyable for what it is, but it doesn't inspire me to look for more from this author.
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  • Kaitlin Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting new world of witchcraft and wizardry! This book has a bit of a nostalgic feel for the fans of Harry Potter, in that there are secret institutions of magical people hidden in enchanted pockets of the world. It is much more mature and dark than any children's books, though.One thing Bella Forrest is the Queen, Grand Master, and Ultimate Ruler of is creating a full cast of characters who band together and exhibit the true definition of friendship, love and loyalty. Already, we can se An interesting new world of witchcraft and wizardry! This book has a bit of a nostalgic feel for the fans of Harry Potter, in that there are secret institutions of magical people hidden in enchanted pockets of the world. It is much more mature and dark than any children's books, though.One thing Bella Forrest is the Queen, Grand Master, and Ultimate Ruler of is creating a full cast of characters who band together and exhibit the true definition of friendship, love and loyalty. Already, we can see this happening with Harley and her Rag Team. Hidden gems of talent and fiercely loyal friends, they have one another's backs through thick and thin. Add in a pinch of secret intentions to sacrifice themselves for the good of their friends and you've got the makings of a legendary cadre! I love this about Bella Forrest. Her stories are reminders that everyone is better when they rely on one another.
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  • Piya
    January 1, 1970
    What I liked:Wade - one of the main characters, I could connect with him as a person easily enough and liked him. Storyline and Plot - I liked the overall arc, despite the slight "chosen one" feeling it gave. Pace - Perfect.What I didn't like:The Writing Style - After about 50% into the book it stopped bothering me because the plot was engaging but it seriously bothered me until then. It's clumsy and lazy. Sometimes the writer would preempt something that the book might be critiqued upon, case i What I liked:Wade - one of the main characters, I could connect with him as a person easily enough and liked him. Storyline and Plot - I liked the overall arc, despite the slight "chosen one" feeling it gave. Pace - Perfect.What I didn't like:The Writing Style - After about 50% into the book it stopped bothering me because the plot was engaging but it seriously bothered me until then. It's clumsy and lazy. Sometimes the writer would preempt something that the book might be critiqued upon, case in point - "There was history between these seemingly opposite sides, but neither came across as part of a classic “good versus bad” formula, but rather “unsociable misfits versus smug, preppy jerks.”The writer here essentially told us this not a "good school clique" vs. "bad school clique" thing but something more "complicated", a dynamic that she promptly forgets to demonstrate anywhere and went on to ignore completely for the rest of the book. Also, the writer literally used dialogue in the worst, most awkward ways as info dumps - and not for world-building at that - but character-building. Which brings me to my next issue.The Character-building - Other than Wade (the love interest, which was laughably obvious from his intro) I couldn't connect to ANYONE in the book, including our MC. The writer has obviously tried to create a varied and eclectic group but remained caricatures of the amazing and lovable people they could've been. So much potential lost. She gave them eccentricities and quirks, but none of these really stuck and felt fake. Our MC, for example, is an orphan, so there are all these little quirks about her that one might imagine her having from the abuse she suffered in her foster care days. These qualities are MENTIONED but sometimes don't reflect on her actions. She's supposed to have trust issues but she practically falls in love with this big happy supposedly "rejects" family she finds, within days and trusts them. Now, it's mentioned that she herself is surprised that she put herself in mortal danger for people she barely knew, but again, it feels like the writer is preempting it rather than dealing with these quirks in her behavior patterns (which would be harder work), instead mentioning them and trying to reinforce the idea, using clumsy inner dialogue later on. As I said, lazy writing.And because of these inconsistencies I just couldn't connect with her.World-building - There wasn't much to begin with. It's not exactly a radical idea. Secret society, keeping magic from the world for their and its own good. The Harry Potter influence is actually quite heavy, there are scenes which literally feel like a retelling. It's not completely off-putting though. Some of it I even enjoyed. No, what irked me was how much some important details were just ignored, like what is the IQ level of a gargoyle? Is it vicious monster or does it have a malevolent intelligence, because apparently they understand orders giving in human language.Also this "elitist" behavior that the MC keeps harping on about, there was no payoff to this supposed characteristic of the magicals' society, something to be seen in Chapter 33, the second-last.The whole administrative system and hierarchy inside the coven seems haywire and it's obvious that the writer did not put a lot of thought into it. As I said, lazy writing.But luckily the pacing and the plot saved it for me. I'm definitely going to read further installments.
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  • Jeanny
    January 1, 1970
    A disappointment. 🤨 the 📖 begins well enough but as it progressed it suffered from slow pacing & uninteresting characters. 1 Subpar Star DNF 25%
  • Melissa Dinwiddie
    January 1, 1970
    An older, female Harry PotterSeveral other reviewers, as well as the book’s description, have compared Harley Merlin to Harry Potter, and the comparisons are apt—a magical society/school that humans are unaware of; bureaucratic elements; forces of evil; an orphaned main character with an opaque family history. But Bella Forrest has created her own magical world, filled with delightful characters and rules that I found great fun to explore. I look forward to reading more books in this series!
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  • Emilia
    January 1, 1970
    That's a couple of hours I'm never getting back. Started out nicely but went downhill faster than a rollercoaster ride. DNF and won't bother. "The next Harry Potter" my arse. Thank u, next.
  • Misha
    January 1, 1970
    Just no...This book seemed like it was going to be awesome and the high ratings made me believe I had picked a winner. I was wrong. I didn’t like it, but I’m not sure if it’s because of my idiosyncrasies,rather than the author’s writing style, the plot or the characters that tanked this for me. Let me explain. The book moves really slow (at least to me). More so in the first part of the book. I expected more action, less talk. I’m not sure I really like or want to root for Harley or Wade for tha Just no...This book seemed like it was going to be awesome and the high ratings made me believe I had picked a winner. I was wrong. I didn’t like it, but I’m not sure if it’s because of my idiosyncrasies,rather than the author’s writing style, the plot or the characters that tanked this for me. Let me explain. The book moves really slow (at least to me). More so in the first part of the book. I expected more action, less talk. I’m not sure I really like or want to root for Harley or Wade for that matter. They were irritating to me. Also, It bothered me that Wade basically magically harassed and bullied Harley to come in, she really doesn’t have a legit choice to join and upon first meeting they basically physically coerced her into giving blood when she’s said no. What really got me was she’s just like I’ll get you back Wade, but please tell me more Director. Umm scratches head. Eyebrows to my hairline. This is the first meeting and you’ve violated my right to self determination and I’m still considering joining. Really? What kind of message is that to young readers? The author knew this would be an issue for some because excuses for why we should be okay with that quickly follow. Still I marched along, but gave up before completing the book. Life’s too short and this book just bored and disappointed me. It just seemed like a mashup of stuff we’ve seen before and I expected more. Don’t hesitate to read it though if you’re interested because you like many others may love it, but as for me book one might as well have been the final book because I’m done.
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  • Melody
    January 1, 1970
    Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven. Where do I start? I picked it up in the first place because I heard it compares favorably to Harry Potter. It is an entertaining story and it does indeed remind me of Harry Potter. And Harley is 19 when we meet her, which is nice in that it makes me feel less like I’m reading a children’s book.I’m not sold on it, though. The biggest issue for me is that the book reads not like an inspired fan’s attempt to create a new magical world, but like a calculated attem Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven. Where do I start? I picked it up in the first place because I heard it compares favorably to Harry Potter. It is an entertaining story and it does indeed remind me of Harry Potter. And Harley is 19 when we meet her, which is nice in that it makes me feel less like I’m reading a children’s book.I’m not sold on it, though. The biggest issue for me is that the book reads not like an inspired fan’s attempt to create a new magical world, but like a calculated attempt to recreate Harry Potter and make millions of dollars. And the similarities are glaringly obvious, starting with the main character’s name. Harley? Really? The author took Harry’s name and swapped out two of the letters at the end. Regardless of her name, Harley is a plucky orphan who grew up in rough foster homes, knows nothing about her parents, and discovers she’s a witch with rare and startling powers. I could go on, but I don’t want to get too spoilery. Just know there’s even a coven/house point system.Ultimately, it was entertaining enough and Harley is likeable enough that I may read more of the series. But I’ll remain smug and offended on Harry Potter’s behalf.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book as it had been compared to Harry Potter in reviews. I grew up with Harry Potter and those books have shaped my childhood. While the Harley Merlin series was an enjoyable, quick read, it has nothing on Harry Potter. I found that the author focused on the outer appearance and as with almost all teen novels nowadays they could all be found on runways in real life and the main character has two gorgeous guys vying for her attention. Instead of carving out characters that are not car I read this book as it had been compared to Harry Potter in reviews. I grew up with Harry Potter and those books have shaped my childhood. While the Harley Merlin series was an enjoyable, quick read, it has nothing on Harry Potter. I found that the author focused on the outer appearance and as with almost all teen novels nowadays they could all be found on runways in real life and the main character has two gorgeous guys vying for her attention. Instead of carving out characters that are not caricatures of real life stereotypes, she stays superficial and does not add the intricacies that J.K. Rowling had for all of her characters. I appreciate strong female characters, but here the protagonist gives up her independence after having been harassed by a guy. In comparison to this, J.K. Rowling once stated I believe, that Hermione Granger never compromised her intelligence for anyone, never gave up her studiousness for beauty and even though she was portrayed by the beautiful Emma Watson, she was never supposed to be known for her beauty, but her intelligence. If this author had created characters of more depth, this could potentially have come close to Harry Potter, but alas it does not...
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    Facebook really wants me to read this.Like The Gender Game (which FB also really wanted me to read, also by Bella Forrest), this is billed as the next [insert popular series name here]. For this, it's Harry Potter. For The Gender Game, it was The Hunger Games.Also like The Gender Game, this series has 7 books, all published within a year of each other (this series isn't yet complete)Also like The Gender Game, I've seen some very negative reviews.Extremely tempted to read the first book of each a Facebook really wants me to read this.Like The Gender Game (which FB also really wanted me to read, also by Bella Forrest), this is billed as the next [insert popular series name here]. For this, it's Harry Potter. For The Gender Game, it was The Hunger Games.Also like The Gender Game, this series has 7 books, all published within a year of each other (this series isn't yet complete)Also like The Gender Game, I've seen some very negative reviews.Extremely tempted to read the first book of each and see how terrible they are.
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  • Mo
    January 1, 1970
    Book 1 in this seriesIt took me a while to get through the reading of this book, but the ending more than made up for the boredom in between. Finch will be back. Wade is caring. The Rag team are amazing! On to Book 2 to see where Harley goes next, happy reading!
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  • Abi
    January 1, 1970
    This was a pretty good book. It had interesting magic and culture. The pacing was good. The plot had a twisty, surprising mystery. The characters were intriguing and the main character was easy to like. I was never bored, and liked it from the beginning. The start of the romance is promising. Overall, a good start to a series that is, to my knowledge, complete this month. I will read book 2. 4.5 stars.
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  • Nicole Ouimet
    January 1, 1970
    CaptivatingI am an enormous Harry Potter fan, and while nothing will ever come close to HP, this book was captivating. I read it in just 2 days!! Can’t wait to read the next one, and I am also very excited to see that Bella Forrest has a ton of other series out there for me to enjoy. I am a huge fun of the supernatural, and it looks like I found the right author for me.
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  • Natalia Navarro
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!!! 🤓This a fantastic start of the series!!!... Just by reading Harley's last name I knew it has to be a great book!!!... The plot is amazing, with the last of the Merlin descendant as the main character; who has to find out her place in the world, when she discovers she's not the only one with special abilities... Will she stay in the coven after all that happen in her first week there?, including the discovery of her true heritage?... I can't wait for the next book to release!!! 🤗❤ Wow!!! 🤓This a fantastic start of the series!!!... Just by reading Harley's last name I knew it has to be a great book!!!... The plot is amazing, with the last of the Merlin descendant as the main character; who has to find out her place in the world, when she discovers she's not the only one with special abilities... Will she stay in the coven after all that happen in her first week there?, including the discovery of her true heritage?... I can't wait for the next book to release!!! 🤗❤️
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  • Danielle Schiestle
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series! Giving it 5 stars due to how engaging it was and how quickly I flew through the book - the characters are quirky and have more depth to them than you realize when you first meet them. However, the writing style I'd put more at 3 stars. It's very informal and definitely a YA book. At times the writing is a little immature. I initially started this book because it's been marketed as a series for Harry Potter lovers. If you like fantasy Loved this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series! Giving it 5 stars due to how engaging it was and how quickly I flew through the book - the characters are quirky and have more depth to them than you realize when you first meet them. However, the writing style I'd put more at 3 stars. It's very informal and definitely a YA book. At times the writing is a little immature. I initially started this book because it's been marketed as a series for Harry Potter lovers. If you like fantasy series that are set in modern times, you won't be disappointed as long as you are okay with a less sophisticated style of writing! Super easy and fun pleasure read.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    A really good YA read.I will definitely recommend Harley to my kids at school. I can tell the author is a Harry Potter fan - a few similarities to Hogwarts for sure - which makes the story more endearing and let's the reader connect with a new kind of magical world. On to the 2nd book!
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  • Maria Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    Eu gostei desse livro mais do que eu estava esperando. Ele é leve, divertido e gostoso de ler. É uma fantasia YA com personagens mais velhos (19 a 22 anos). Gostaria apenas que ela se utilizasse dessa idade deles e aprofundasse mais o lado negro do livro. Nem palavrão eles falam.
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  • Bekah
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. I loved that it wasn't your typical witch story. It was full of interesting things but didn't feel like a heavy read and I really needed that. Can't wait to read the next one.
  • Bec
    January 1, 1970
    For a book with such high rating, I was not expecting it to be so slow and stilted. The author also has the MC written to be one way but then goes out of character. So you have someone that is supposed to have lots of trust issues that seems to trust everyone.... DNFing this one.
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  • Jackie Sigerson
    January 1, 1970
    Good premise but way too slow.
  • Þórey Jónsdóttir
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, next!Characters act like they are 12 years old, I can’t even finish this book. Yes, it’s that annoying! DNF @ 42%
  • Michelle Esterhuyzen
    January 1, 1970
    So much worth it. I would love to see a tv series or a movie of this I loved it
  • Monica Alvarado
    January 1, 1970
    Great read I really enjoyed reading Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven by Bella Forrest. I can not wait to read the whole series.
  • Hilary Broadway
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fun young adult read. The pace is quick. The writing is a bit fair - I've never seen the word "chuckled" used so frequently, but the ride is fun enough that I went on to read book two and am reading book 3 now. It's a fast read, perfect for Percy Jackson fans.
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  • Lori McCord McAlister
    January 1, 1970
    Solid 4 star read with potential to make a fun tv series.LIKES: Harley's banter was reminiscent of Buffy Summers, which I liked. Tough and gentle with side of snarky. A wide variety of characters with versatile magical styles and abilities. Fast paced novel. Action/battle scenes well written and easy to visualize. Lots of good vs evil, elite vs misfit, and a hint of romance. DISLIKES: Most of my dislikes are nitpicking. Overuse of the word 'raucous'. The orphan/foster thing felt beat over my hea Solid 4 star read with potential to make a fun tv series.LIKES: Harley's banter was reminiscent of Buffy Summers, which I liked. Tough and gentle with side of snarky. A wide variety of characters with versatile magical styles and abilities. Fast paced novel. Action/battle scenes well written and easy to visualize. Lots of good vs evil, elite vs misfit, and a hint of romance. DISLIKES: Most of my dislikes are nitpicking. Overuse of the word 'raucous'. The orphan/foster thing felt beat over my head beginning with the first chapter. There's so much potential for originality in Harley Merlin's world that The Harry Potter similarities were a disappointment (orphan, magical district akin to Diagon Alley albeit upscale with a splash of swank, point system, to name a few).Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to learning how the characters and their adventures evolve throughout the rest of the series.
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  • Rochelle
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book and can’t wait for the second one! It definitely has some Harry Potter similarities (house points, and other obvious things if you’re a Harry Potter fan). I love Harry Potter though so that means I loved this book! Harley is a strong character and can’t wait for her powers to become stronger. I didn’t see it coming that Finch would be her half brother! Such a huge twist! Also, can her and Wade just kiss already?! The suspense of their relationship is killing me! Bella’s books a I loved this book and can’t wait for the second one! It definitely has some Harry Potter similarities (house points, and other obvious things if you’re a Harry Potter fan). I love Harry Potter though so that means I loved this book! Harley is a strong character and can’t wait for her powers to become stronger. I didn’t see it coming that Finch would be her half brother! Such a huge twist! Also, can her and Wade just kiss already?! The suspense of their relationship is killing me! Bella’s books are so creative (read A Shade of Vampire if you haven’t already) and knowing her writing, the next book will be get even crazier and filled with action! I can’t for book two!
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  • Jinjre
    January 1, 1970
    I am, by all measures, an adult. I also happen to like YA fiction.This book is not Harry Potter. It is not even close to Harry Potter. The language and vocabulary sounds like a frustrated 8th grader wrote it. It has a trope on every page. Most 30 year olds do not have "Did not!-Did too!" arguments. To have this occur in the world the author has created is jarring at best and laughable at worst.Stick to the in-flight magazine, and don't bother with this book.
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  • Dorsi
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really good witchy tale. I enjoyed it immensely. I loved the characters and world building. It was read by Amanda Ronconi, who did a good job.
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    I'm all for a new magical book series to read but J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Way too similar to her work. When I got to the point where Harleys knee hurt after being cut by Finch, I mean, COME ON. Also there were some inconsistencies, like mentioning Chaos flowing through her in the beginning before even explaining what it was and having her name Harley Smith most of the book but the title has it as Harley Merlin....kind of knew where that was going.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Very enjoyable As an adult reader of YA novels, I can be a little picky but this quick read did not disappoint. It was a good story—was not expecting the twist at the end which is always fun. I have ordered the next three which made me very happy! I hate having to wait for sequels which happens when you discover a newly written first novel. Thanks, Bella! PS: How ever do you write so much, so differently and so quickly??
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