A couple months ago, the family decided to set aside thirty minutes every night for reading. And the only self-imposed restriction was that no one could choose an audiobook. So, I dusted off my Kindle and plugged it into the charging station and went about the rest of the evening. When the time to read came, I opened the Kindle and browsed, coming across Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven. I couldn’t say why the book captured my attention, it may have been the cover, the title, the blurb, or a combination of the three. But I needed to choose something, and before I knew it, I borrowed the book via the Kindle Lending Library and started reading it.
While the book starts a little slow, the dedicated thirty minutes a day to read got me through the initial chapters. And for that, I’m thankful. When the action started, Bella Forrest paced it beautifully. The initial conflict of the novel pits Harley’s feeble abilities against a gargoyle who is searching for his next meal. It quickly becomes clear that she’s taken on more than she can handle. Fortunately for her, another magical intervenes, keeping her from joining the helpless human as the gargoyle’s next meal.
After the initial brawl, the magical who rescued her, Wade Crowley, eventually drags her to the San Diego Coven. When they arrive at the main entrance, I couldn’t help but chuckle. And I challenge you to keep a grin from your face when you read that part of the novel. When Crowley opens the door, it quickly became apparent that the Coven was larger on the inside. She’s led throughout the coven and is rapidly thrown into the cleanup of the escaped monsters. From that moment on, the story kept pulling me in. Unfortunately, life stepped in and bumped the reading time off our agenda. And while things kept piling up, the story kept calling to me until last week when I picked up my Kindle and continued where I left off.
As I continued my exploration of this new world, I reveled in the increasing tension and urgency of the situation. While the action and the collection of characters were comfortable, I would have liked to see more depth from the secondary characters. Thankfully, Harley Smith, and yes, despite the blurb and title calling the protagonist Harley Merlin, she’s introduced to the reader as Harley Smith. I understand that she’s a foster kid with dreams of finding her parents someday, but I would have preferred being surprised about the discovery of her last name rather than expecting it. Putting that gripe aside, watching her grow from the initial pages to the last words, was satisfying.
When the tale finished, I immediately returned the book and grabbed the next installment in the series from the Kindle Lending Library. And if you don’t have a book checked out via the platform, if you’re a fan of urban fantasy you should borrow Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven, it’s a fun read once you get passed the initial chapters.