Book Review: Hell’s Bell by Keri Arthur

Posted July 12, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Hell’s Bell by Keri Arthur

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hell's Bell by Keri Arthur
Series: Lizzie Grace #2
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery
Published by KA Publishing Pty Ltd on January 23, 2018
Pages: 356
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also in this series: Magic Misled, Broken Bonds

Also by this author: Fireborn, Wicked Embers, Flameout, Blood Kissed, Demon's Dance, Hunter Hunted, Wicked Wings, Deadly Vows, City of Light, Ashes Reborn, Magic Misled, Broken Bonds

Second in the Lizzie Grace paranormal mystery fantasy series and revolving around two witches who are best friends…on the run…and determined to settle in Castle Rock, Australia.

My Take

Arthur has put together an action-packed, character-driven tale of wild magic attracting evil with no one to take control. It’s left to an underpowered and untrained witch who is the only hope for Castle Rock and a reservation whose werewolves don’t trust any witches, making this quite the balancing act.

It’s also first person protagonist point-of-view from Lizzie’s perspective, and she tells us all about her thoughts and emotions when it comes to her attraction to Aiden, the werewolves’ anger with witches, the vampire interaction, her interactions with Belle, and all the fears she has about her family and what Ashworth’s curiosity could do to destroy the two of them. It is such a tease on Arthur’s part, as she touches here and there on Lizzie’s parents but never comes across!

It doesn’t matter which side of the social divide you fall on, parents can still be crap. Take Lizzie’s. Please. They’re all out of whack about blaming Lizzie for her sister’s death. Well, her parents are not much good for anything, really.

“As my parents had told me multiple times, either [her brother or sister] were worth a trillion of me.”

Hmmm, seems Aiden is losing some of that witch hatred he’s been carrying around. Considering how the series started in Blood Kissed, 1, it’s encouraging about that betting pool, lol.

It’s a fairly zippy pace, primarily because there is so much action with a range of characters…and Lizzie is still lying about her past.

And remember, be very careful if you hear a church bell ringing three times at midnight…

The Story

It’s only the aid Lizzie and Belle provided earlier that has allowed them to stay in Castle Rock, but it’s still up in the air as to whether the elders will evict the two of them for being witches. And this right before Christmas.

Some believe Lizzie and Belle are behind the out-of-control magic, and in some ways they’d be right, for the wild magic is enhancing Lizzie’s weaker magic.

The Characters

Lizzie Grace is a witch with a gift for psychometry who has been on the run for the past twelve years with her best friend, fellow witch, and familiar, Isabelle “Belle” Kent who is also a spirit talker and strong telepath. They live above the café.

Lizzie had an older sister and her brother, Julius. Belle has a mother and five siblings she hasn’t seen.

Castle Rock is…

…the capital of the Faelan Werewolf Reservation and is filled with wild magic…without a witch to keep an eye on it. The reservation used to be O’Connors (gray wolves) only, but the government and witches forced the Marin and Sinclair packs onto it as well.

The Psychic Café is…
…the coffee shop Lizzie and Belle own and run. Penny is their waitress. Frank is their dish hand. Mike Sinclair is the chef and his sister, Meika, is Larissa’s mom.

The Rangers are…
…the police force on the reservation. Aiden O’Connor is the head ranger and heir to his father’s position as alpha. Ciara is his sister and the coroner. Tala Sinclair is Aiden’s second-in-command. Maggie is the receptionist and a ranger-in-training. Other rangers include Byron, who dives; Jaz Rankin who’s married to Levi Marin, a barista who makes a wicked hot chocolate; and, Mac.

Aron Marin lost his soul. Rocco, his father, is one of the pack alphas. Luc is Aron’s brother and had had a relationship with Marlinda. Harry Marin is a healer. Marcus and Jonny are in on one capture. Zak Marin, a werewolf whom Belle is dating, is one of Maelle’s bartenders. (Zak has a twin, Jak. There are more twin siblings in his family: Nick and Mick and Jen and Wren.)

Larissa Marin has a record and is getting worse. Larrisa’s friends include Lance Marin and Frankie Kastle, who is a weird sort of hippie. Karla Marin won’t allow her youngest son, Garrett, to get married. Gerry Schmidt moved to the reservation a year ago and has been working at Émigré. Teresa White, a human, had worked part-time at the bakery. Karen is the daughter in Blood Kissed, 1, who went vamp. Bryan Redfield is a contract killer.

Maelle Defour is the only vampire in town and owns the Émigré, a nightclub. Roger Smith, a former tailor, is her thrall, a.k.a., a drudge or human ghoul. Marlinda Brown is one of the people who feed Maelle and is one of Maelle’s favorites. Janice is one of Marlinda’s friends. Aled Freeman, James Morrison, Dani Holgate, Leanne Jones, and Mandy Wilson are other feeders while Molly Brown was fired. Jack Lea is Molly’s half-brother.

Cary and Michael Fitzgerald own the Psychic, Taro, and Spiritual Cleaning Center and want revenge.

The Regional Witch Association (RWA) is…
…an overriding governmental body that deals with all situations involving witches within regional communities. A reservation witch provides magical assistance, acts as a government mouthpiece, and enforces the rules. Gabe Watson had been that reservation witch. Now they need one quickly to manage the wild magic that entices evil to the reservation. Anna Kang had been sent to help in Blood Kissed, 1. Oh well… Anna’s successor is Ira Ashworth who is quite intrigued, ahem, by Lizzie and Belle’s net of spells over the café.

The Interspecies Investigations Team (IIT) is…
…must be called in whenever there is a murder on a reservation that involves a human.

There are six witch houses: the three royal lines include the Marlowes and the Kangs who are usually members of the Council of Advisors, a.k.a., the High Council???, while the three “common” lines include the Sarrs (Belle’s family) and Fitzgeralds. Halden University is the only witch university in Australia. (Belle has inherited most of her grandmother’s, Nellie, vast collection of books on magic and the supernatural.)

Ghosts are people taken before their time. Spirit guides are powerful witches who choose to dedicate their afterlife to the council or those for whom this path was destined. Imps are lesser demons, sprites.

The Cover and Title

The cover is ominous in its blacks and grays. The black-edged sky with that white glow around the red-haired Lizzie Grace also makes it easy to see the bats circling around Lizzie’s head. On the right is a church with a bell tower while the left is a slice of a house with its bay window. Lizzie is wearing a low-cut black tank top with black jeans, her right hand wreathed in spirit and magic. The author’s name is in white and centered at the very top. The title is also in white and spaced across Lizzie’s hips and thighs with a pale gray for the series information below that.

The title is the warning Lizzie hears, for when Hell’s Bell rings, it’s death a’coming.

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