A Marked Past

1 star1 star1 star0.75 star
Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes the newest part of that legacy. More

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Published: Nov. 24, 2011
Words: 148,130
Language: English
ISBN: 9781463551124
About Leslie Deaton

Leslie Deaton, is the author of the Mercer Legacy Series A MARKED PAST, A HISTORY RENEWED, and A DESTINY UNFOLDS. A young adult fantasy novel series about Lyla Mercer, a sixteen year old girl whose life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla discovers her family has a dark history in the town. Whispers and rumors follow her everywhere she goes and her life takes a terrifying turn when she discovers the rumors are true. Her family is marked. Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be normal, but when she falls in love with Caleb, the absolute wrong boy, she has to accept her fate and face the threats that surround her. Until now, her father's murderer has managed to keep his true identity a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth, nobody is safe, especially her. Amazon.com.

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Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next.

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Reviews

Review by: CTKs Mimi on June 26, 2013 : star star star star star
Loved this book!!! Can't wait to read next one. Great story an characters👏👏👏👏👏👏
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: essence on April 10, 2012 : star star
This book definitely had tremendous potential to be amazing. Just by reading the synopsis I liked it immediately. Witch trials and Salem witches are always an interesting material and make great storylines. I loved the main characters name, Lyla, and not to mention that she has Irish roots, she's a witch and there's some big family history secret going on. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to my expectations and all that excitement was for nothing.

There were some good things too, for example I really liked the writing for most of the part - I think it was fluent and easy to read. I got confused by the end of the book though, there was so many things going on and Lyla was jumping in and out of the battle and back in, and it wasn't really believable. However, the dialogue was very repetitive for me. Sometimes the characters were just repeating themselves over and over again and each time someone was explaining the whole historic background to someone else, we had to read the whole story over one more time and found out nothing new.

I had a problem connecting to the main character, since I can't help but find her annoying, spoiled and very self-absorbed. It might be just the attitude she has towards world, towards people, life, love, everything. It seems that she can never really relate with others and she always makes quite superficial remarks - like saying that Caleb, her love interest, is hot and then repeating that over and over again, it makes us think that she's into him just because of his looks (all though occasionally she does mention that he's also very nice, smart and so on). And how she judges Hana at first just because she's wearing all black and keeps to herself. Lyla is also always butting in everyone else's business and she always does more damage than good.

When it comes to love connection between Lyla and Caleb, I just didn't feel it. It was all very... I don't even know. She tried to hard and was very obvious about her crush, while there's still a lot of questions about Caleb. He didn't appeared as a strong character, he was just supposed to be perfect and the reader was supposed to accept that. I still think he should be paired up with Hana instead, since there was more chemistry in my opinion.

For all it's worth I loved the character of Sage, I wish there would be more of her. She seemed so down to Earth, strong in her own way and the way she fought against everybody else and doing her own thing, but in the end did what she had to do to protect Hana, her sister. I'm still wondering, though, how old she really is? There are so many unanswered questions all through the storyline. I am curious though to see what will happen in the sequel but this time I won't let my expectations get up again.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Michelle Chew on April 10, 2012 : star star star
**I got this book though Read it & reap it at Goodreads.**

Everything started when Lyla Mercer's dad was involved in an accident and died. Together with her mother, the two of them moved to an old family home in Salem left by her father. She had to leave her friends and boyfriend behind in Chicago and she wasn't very happy with it.

She met her uncle, Nathan, in Salem. Found out that she had a cousin, Hana, on her first day in school and another cousin, Sage, after school. She didn't know she had any other family until then. What a shock!

What's more intriguing was that Nathan found a mark behind Lyla's neck, a mark of their family, a mark of magic and a proof that she was a witch. Nathan also explained to her their tragic family history which ended up with many deaths and that a certain pastor was still after their lives and hinted that her father been murdered and it was no accident.

Together with Hana, Lyla sought to uncover the mysteries and dangers behind their family and to use their new found powers to protect who they loved. And of course, Lyla just had to take a liking to the accursed pastor's son, Caleb... which made things more complicated...


A Marked Past is an enjoyable book, packed with action (towards the end) and of course, romance. Furthermore, it's about witches! Who could resist it? Certainly not me. Totally unpredictable, the suspense in this book makes you want to know more and left you hanging at the end of the book.

The downsides of this book was that the pace of the story at the beginning of the book was very fast. There was little introduction before her dad ends out dead and then they had to move to Salem. Well, I'm fine with that since it was explained later why they had to move. The next thing was about some of the characters... What happened between Lyla and her boyfriend in Chicago? There wasn't much after she moved and then she was suddenly interested in Caleb. Hmm... OK... I'm fine with that also since Caleb was not bad. And one thing, I felt that I don't really knew Andrew, who was together with Hana in the book. Just these three things which had a potential for improvement.

Overall, A Marked Past is still an interesting and enjoyable book. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book for some closures. Read all about Lyla, why she moved to Salem, how she befriended her own cousin and how they experimented with their powers and to fight off the evil in A Marked Past.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Leanne Goon on April 09, 2012 : star star star
*Received e-book from author for an honest review
**Also posted on Amazon.com under Leanne

A Marked Past is told by the point-of-view of Lyla Mercer, an ordinary teenager, whose life is turned upside down with the tragic death of her father. Her mother moves her back to her father’s ancestral home in Salem, where she learns that her family has a legacy of being chosen (or “marked” in the form of tattoos on their bodies) to hold special powers. Her Uncle Nathan explains that the man who started the Salem Witch Trials, Samuel Parris, is still alive and has devoted himself to eradicating the Mercer family and others with the same witchlike powers, including her father. Lyla must learn to control her new powers and defend her loved ones and herself against Parris before he comes for them.

First, the things I liked about the book. I felt Deaton did a commendable job creating and describing the Mercer family legacy and the centuries-old battle with Parris. I thought that was a unique take in witch-related plots and gave the story palpable tension and suspense. I also loved the character of Hana, Lyla’s cousin, who was more of an outsider at school with her Goth looks and more open with Wiccan beliefs. I admired her courage in the face of a bully and, although vulnerable, still fought for herself and her family.

On the other hand, I didn’t think Lyla was that likeable. She irritated me at times with her moody personality and inconsistencies with her actions. Since she was devoted to protecting her family from Parris and his “minions”, I couldn’t believe her blatantly ignoring several signs of danger, mainly for her own selfish reasons. In addition, I wasn’t engaged in her romance with Caleb, even though I thought Caleb was an interesting character that could have been more developed by Deaton. Lastly, I thought the final scenes involving a confrontation with Parris were a little drawn out and anti-climatic.

Overall, A Marked Past was a well-paced, interesting read with a few flaws. I don’t know if I would continue the series, but I would recommend this book to teen fans of YA paranormal fiction, such as the 13 to Life series by Shannon Delany.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: CS Lune on April 04, 2012 : star star
When I saw the font for the title, I immediately knew this book wasn't going to be that much of an enjoyment to me. But I had to read it because I was committed to it. So here goes my review:

First off, I'd like to say this book was not completely bad, hence i did not rated it a one. It is more like a 1.5, but since goodreads doesn't support that, I rounded up.

I kinda have a problem with books dealing with witchcraft and magic, especially wiccans, circles, potions and whatnot. I am kinda into the Harry Potter magic stuff, with flying brooms and magic wands. I did not feel attracted by the premise of this book. These witches did not seem witches to me, just teenagers who are tampering with potions and part of a coven. There were some inconsistencies with the story and at some points it did not seem real or believable.

I was annoyed by the entire portion of the Salem Witch trials Deaton incorporated in her story. For me, the true nature of the witch trials lies with "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller. Hands down to the playwright. Anyway. I thought it was a bit odd that Deaton did not exposed a lot about Samuel Parris, even though he is the bad guy and wants all the witches dead. I did not understand why it took him so long to kill off the witches? And if Lyla and the Coven already suspected of him, why not finish him before rather than let the book drag on and on with endless descriptions that work as filler?

A quarter through the book and I was already losing my interest. The dullness of the characters are not helping a lot to keep my attention focused either. The only character that I found I liked was Hana, and that might be because she did tried to be the center of attention to the readers, like Lyla tried to be.

Oh, Lyla was another big problem I had. In the beginning, her coldness betrayed her loving personality at the end of the book. Her father died and she says she has to be strong, she doesn't even cry! What the hell! She claims to love her father and yet, I doubt she shed a tear. I was hoping for a more deranged reaction, not a perfectly calmed one. She didn't rebelled that much when her mother decided to move to Salem either.

Ugh. Nathan was another major problem I had. He seemed to unreal, so painfully paternal that his attitude and personality seemed fake. And what's up with Lyla and Caleb's relationship? They've known each other for what, a week? and they are pouring love unto each other and kissing and everything and it's just so dysfunctional.

Caleb was a weak character, I know nothing about him other than he is perfect, has good grades, and wants to be an architect. I was hoping he ended up with Hana because there was more chemistry between them. Lyla was spoiled, self-absorbed, and extremely superficial. One of the many reasons i did not find her very likable. I could not connect with her. Sage and Hana are definitely great characters in this book. Too bad I did not read a lot about them, and what I read was overshadowed by Lyla's character. Why is she so powerful, yet so useless?

Anyway! Wiccans, not something I enjoy. I was hoping the witches, wizards or whatever were stronger and a more enjoyable fight would be produced. But none of that happened sadly.

The problem with the book is that it's unnecessarily long. It just went endlessly on with descriptions and dialogues that seemed out of place and worthless. I was turning the page and a chapter felt like forever to finish.

The premise of this book was not bad. However, it could have been worked better.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather Boustead on March 31, 2012 : star star star star star
After Lyla’s father dies in a freak accident her mother moves them to her father’s family home in Salem. Shortly after arriving Lyla’s uncle notices a mark on her neck in the shape of a crescent moon, he tells her that this mark means she will be a goddess among their people, witches. After, he tells Lyla about his family’s history beginning with the Salem witch trials and how they had all been murdered by the same man who is now out to kill Lyla and the rest of her family, dragging her into a four hundred year old battle. All while trying to make it through a new high school and falling in love.
Once I started reading this book I didn’t want to put it down it has fantasy, drama, action, and romance. From watching the relationship between Lyla and her newly discovered cousin Hana form into something akin to sisters or watching her fall madly in love with Caleb the Preacher’s adopted son, the interweaving relationships will keep you involved. If that is not enough for you, you still have a centuries old raving lunatic to deal with. I can’t wait until I am able to read the next book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth Gorski on March 30, 2012 : star star star star star
For Lyla Mercer, life couldn’t possibly get any better. She has a best friend and a boyfriend who love her and a newly secured spot on the Varsity Cheerleading Squad. Yup, life is darn near perfect. Until a freak, car accident murders her father on her “perfect day”. That one tragedy sets into motion a chain of events that Lyla never could have imagined. The question is, is she ready to accept all that she’s about to learn?

When I started to read A Marked Past, written by Leslie Deaton, I was immediately taken with how skillfully she was able to capture not only my attention but my emotions, as well. From the first sentence of chapter one, I was hooked. However, I wasn’t expecting such an emotional roller coaster ride right from the start. I found myself so wrapped up in the plot and the emotions of Lyla’s story that I actually had to put the novel aside for a few days and take a break because reading it was leaving me ‘emotionally raw’. (Yes, I can really be that big a sap.) Sappiness aside, I have never had a novel affect me that quickly.

The only issue I really had with A Marked Past were the frequent typo’s which occasionally made reading the novel a bit more difficult. However, they were honestly more of an annoyance and slightly unprofessional in appearance than anything else. And truly, in the grand scheme of all things novel related if that’s the only complaint I have (and it is!) then there isn’t much to worry about.

Typo’s aside, I was hooked and invested from line one; I couldn’t wait to sit down each night and read on to uncover more of Lyla’s story. While parts of the plot were fairly easy for me to figure out before they were revealed; there were still plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing and on my toes.

I found it to be a quick read. The slower a novel is, the more likely it is to lose my interest and A Marked Past was the perfect speed for me. The plot kept moving pretty quickly only slowing down in a few spots and even in the ‘slow spots’ the story held relevant information concerning plot line or characterization.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A Marked Past. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, probably numerous times, which I often do with novels I particularly enjoy. I’m already anxious for the next book, A History Renewed: Book Two of The Mercer Legacy, so I can see how the next ‘chapter’ of Lyla’s life unfolds.

If you are a fan of the House of Night series, written by P.C. & Kristin Cast, A Marked Past (The Mercer Legacy) is a good match. Especially if you found the House of Night series to be a bit more ‘R’ than ‘YA’, A Marked Past is definitely a good place to start.

I received a free copy of A Marked Past, written by Leslie Deaton, to read and review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Laurie: Urban Fantasy Review on March 28, 2012 : star star star star
I got a copy of A Marked Past from the author for a fair and honest review…so here goes. Lyla is a typical 16 year old from a good home with loving parents, cheerleader, boyfriend the whole shebang until her father is killed and her world falls apart. Her mother moves them from the Chicago suburbs to her father’s family home in Salem. It’s here she learns her family secrets, that her father didn’t die in an accident but was killed by a man hunting her family since the witch trials. Lyla also learns about her own power and she must learn to use it to keep them safe or they are next. All Lyla wants is to live as a normal teen but her family legacy make that impossible.

I have to say I was surprised by how much I liked this book, I started reading and as soon as I saw the word cheerleader I cringed and thought “oh gawd another YA book I am gonna hate…” and if I am honest it did start out that way. The first couple of chapters dragged and I almost gave up reading, until they moved to Salem and you meet Nathan and the rest of Lyla’s family and learn some of the history of their magic and the price the family has had to pay for it.

I actually really liked the character of Lyla, Ms Deaton actually wrote her as a typical teenager. Sometimes whiny, sometimes selfish and sometimes I wanted to smack her but that’s what made it more realistic for me, her relationships with her friends, her family and her boyfriend were what I expected in a 16 year old. After the first couple of chapters the plot moved at a good pace that kept me turning pages to find out what happened next. I liked the world Ms Deaton created where everything wasn’t black and white and the good guys don’t always win. I will grab the next book in this trilogy as soon as it comes out I want to know what what comes next for Lyla and the crew.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 4/5 I really enjoyed it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: MaryAnn Schroeder on March 27, 2012 : star star star star
I was given this book by the author via goodreads group for an honest review.
A Marked Past is a wonderful read! I love the storyline – The book starts with Lyla a teenager in high school, so excited to be part of the cheerleading squad and to tell her dad the good news of making the team, however she never gets to as he died that same day. Her mom is grief stricken and decides to move them to their family home in Salem, MA to start over. Lyla is in a new town, new school and has to make new friends, all while there are rumors about her family. She meets her uncle Nathan and her cousins Hana and Sage, and learns all about her family history including details about her ‘mark’. She no longer has a ‘normal’ teenage life like she had in Chicago. Soon, she learns someone is after her and wants her family dead. Who can she trust, is she strong enough to fight?
This book has witches, magic, history, and even some romance. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Pringle on March 27, 2012 : star star star
I want to say THANKS to the author for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I read this as an ebbok. This is roughly the first ebook I read and so that made it a bit different to read.
Second I find that while I like magic, fairies, supernatural, and sometimes witches(harry potter) I do not like spells, circles, candle -the "satanic" side of witches. This book just touched on some of it but something I would normally not read.

I found this book sad. It starts and ends with death and funerals. there is a move to another town so soon, and a teenage girl uprooted and placed into a new town and with a new family she didn't know existed.
This was definitely a young adult book complete with teenage love, high school friends and the coming of "magic powers".

I liked the book. I liked the magic powers. I liked the details to description that the author uses. I, however, did not like the ending. It just kinda ended. There is a huge battle and then ...nothing. Just like that it is over, a loved one is dead, and the bad guy excaped. Yet in a way that is a good ending for it definitely leaves you wanting to read the next book.

A very good book over all and something I would let my kids read :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tammy on March 24, 2012 : star star star star
First things first, I received a free copy of this book by the author (via goodreads.com group Shutup and Read) for a fair and honest review.
Now what to give this book in rating. This book, to me, was a better then average read.
So I am giving it four stars.
There are some great parts to this book, and some not so great parts. I will try to share what I felt were the best and the not-so-best.
I loved the way the writer unraveled the story. The detailed descriptions, and the fullness of the characters.
It was easy to imagine myself inside the town of Salem, sitting in the classrooms, listening to the teachers.
I could hear the crunch of the gravel at the church, smelling the pines, and the feel the cool spring air.
It takes a true talent to transport the reader into another world using only words. Kudos to Leslie Deaton for the use of her talent.
The characters (be they good or evil) were relatable. You could see the good and bad in just about everyone in the town.
The details added to the characters helps make the town come alive. Who didn't have at least one teacher like Madame Dorsey with ...'had a helmet of light brown hair that curled in around her face, and she wore way too many floral prints.'
I enjoy books with a good vs bad battle, and is a book has that covered with good villains, good heroines/heroes and combat battle scenes that were page-turning-exciting
Now for the maybe not so good part. The emotional ups and downs, mostly downs of this book.
The first four chapters were spent with the passing of Lylas' father. This was almost a deal breaker to me, but I had agreed to read it, so I pressed forward and
I am glad that I did. Once Lyla and her mother (finally) move to Salem, the story starts to unfold.
I am, however, disappointed in that the book ends in an emotional down note. Having struggled to get into the book (because it was so emotionally draining) I found the ending off putting. I think the title of chapter 27 captures the books emotional tone perfectly.. Coming full circle.
This is a good book, the writing is wonderful, the characters are endearing, I just wish it had something of a happier note to end on.
So do I recommend it?
Let me ask you this, Why do you read fantasy fiction?
Is it for an emotional ride with 'good vs bad' battle and tear jerking experience?
Is it for romance, lighthearted story line with a feel good ending?
If the first, then 'yes' this is a book you will want to read.
If the second, then maybe you should skip this one.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Christie Rich on March 06, 2012 : star star star star
I enjoyed reading A Marked Past, although it took me a while to get through the book. The second half went faster than the first for me. I liked Lyla as a character even though at first I thought I wouldn't. I was a bit disappointed with events at the end of the book, but that is just me. I am still curious enough to want to read the second installment. Leslie Deaton is descriptive and the world she created wonderful. I look forward to seeing more from this author.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Mallory Heart Reviews on Feb. 27, 2012 : star star star star star
“Enticing” is my first reaction, followed quickly by “smoothly written, empathetic, and a rockin’ story line.” What I love about this book is the author’s easy way of sliding into the heart, mind and soul of the protagonist, fifteen-year-old Lyla Mercer, who has unexpectedly and horribly lost her dad in a pedestrian/vehicular accident, and now has to move from the Chicago suburb in which she has lived her entire life to move to the old family homestead in-of all spooky places-Salem, Massachusetts. Only in the best YA novels can authors achieve this looking out from inside point of view in a first-person narrative, and Author Leslie Deaton accomplishes this admirably. I’m so thankful this is only the first of a series, because now I have more to anticipate. (smile)

But that’s not all to love in this book! There’s generational magick, and murder, and mysterious symbols. There’re powers, and talents, and a plethora of the paranormal. But foundationally, there is an excellent story with characters delineated in depth, so that the reader finds empathy easy and fulfilling, belief in the characters and the plot easy to master, and an accomplished prose style, all of which will make readers eager to return to these characters and their joys and tribulations in further novels in this series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Auriella Clark on Feb. 27, 2012 : star star star star
A Marked Past was a great (and fast) read for me. It kept me interested so much that I actually woke up a few hours early for work one morning and heavily considered not going back to sleep and picking up my kindle to read it. Sleep did win in the long run, but not for long. It did, however surpass me catching up on my Grey's Anatomy so that is definitely saying something.
Leslie's writing style, as well as her ability to create believable characters was very apparent in A Marked Past. I can't wait to read the next in the series and any future books that she may also write. I was so enticed by her story and she kept me interested. With romance, a little mystery, and a great plot this YA novel is a great first from Leslie Deaton. I am not one to really explain the book because I think you can read that in the write up that Leslie writes herself, but just know that this was really a great story and Leslie herself is a great story teller. Give it a chance, you wont regret it!
Keep up the great work Leslie!! I can't wait to read the next one.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Penumbra on Feb. 25, 2012 : star star star
Starting at the top, in reference to the cover, I like it. I also think that the title for the story is catchy. The moon and the font used for the title are nice. The girl is a bit hard to see, but it fits the story.

I downloaded the eBook in epub format and I don’t know what happened, but the formatting was very wonky. Some paragraphs were nicely spaced and then after a few paragraphs the spacing grew tight and the sentences stretched across the whole screen. Then after a few paragraphs it went back to wide spacing. This formatting problem made it difficult to read and visually unpleasant. It seems like the issue should have been easily fixed before offering the book to the public.

The storyline for this book is very interesting, and if it was the intention of the author to make sixteen-year-old Lyla a whiny, self-absorbed teenage girl, she did a good job. Unfortunately, I've never emphasized with whiny teenagers, so it's difficult for me to like this character. There are too many instances in this book where I want to throw up my hands and roll my eyes at the decisions Lyla makes and the way she behaves. For instance once she’s a member of the Arc Coven, she agrees to keep their secret, help them and protect them. But as soon as she sees a flash of red in her boyfriend Caleb’s eyes, indicating that he might be under the control of the Preacher, does she tell Nathan? No. Does, she tell her cousins? No. Does she tell the Coven? No, of course not, it’s her boyfriend. The lives of all the other people who are in danger are nothing compared to her boyfriend’s. Even though Nathan and the Coven indicated they wanted to get Caleb away from the Preacher to help protect him, and they also sent Sage to check up on Caleb’s sister Alexis, for Alexis’ safety. Didn’t Lyla think that since Caleb is under the Preacher’s control, that Caleb travelling to visit his sister puts Alexis in danger? I like my main characters with a bit of common sense in their heads, and Lyla has none. She mostly goes around ‘wishing to be normal’, ‘how come this is happening to me,’ and ‘OMG! My boyfriend!’ It’s repetitive and annoying. As Hana once screamed at Lyla in the book, “It’s not all about you!” I agree wholeheartedly. Lyla is a self-centered character who is a danger to the people around her, not necessarily because of her developing powers, but because of her thoughtless and reckless behavior. It appears that she is ‘helping’ others because she cares for them, but her motives are selfish. For example, she wants to put a spell on Lucas because ‘she’ wants to get back at him for what he did to Hana, even though Hana warned her not to do such a thing. Lyla also does it again when she rushes off to protect someone she thinks is Caleb and drags others along with her. In the end she is instrumental in Nathan's death because 'she' decided what they should do with the Preacher, leaving Nathan wide open to attack. Another completely selfish move on her part under the disguise of 'doing what's best for Nathan.' I can imagine Nathan thinking he was betrayed by his own niece before he died. I don’t find Lyla appealing at all. The secondary characters are more balanced and logical. Nathan, Hana, Sage, Caleb were enjoyable to read and I liked finding out about their hopes, fears and dreams.

I think the first four chapters were a waste of time, and laid on pretty thick to the point of manipulation, how much Lyla loved her dad, all the things they did together and the memories she had. The information didn't move the story along and could have been drastically cut, if not eliminated. Some scenes were irrelevant. Do I really want or need to know what Lyla wore to her last day at school or her snog with her boyfriend since her boyfriend had no presence in the story later on except as unreturned text messages? I think it would have been much more effective to have the story start at chapter five in the middle of the action as Lyla and her mother move to Salem, where the book starts to get interesting, and then give the readers flashbacks as to why, and how, Lyla got to be where she was.

I really enjoyed the information about Freya and the powers that the Mercers were given. I wish the author had woven a much more in depth legend around this. For me the story really moved a long when we found out more about the Mercer family, about the Coven and the people connected to the Preacher. The author did a good job of revealing the secrets slowly throughout the story. It kept me reading to see what came next.

Something I noticed right away was the ‘voice’ of Lyla when she was speaking in external scenes to friends etc., and when the dialogue switched to Lyla’s internal thoughts or her descriptive thoughts about her environment. External scenes moved quickly, the pace was good, it kept me interested. But then suddenly, wham! Internal dialogue or descriptors of a building, or Hana’s clothes, etc., and the scene came to a screeching halt. The inner dialogue no longer sounded like a teenage girl’s thoughts or manner of speech, but of an adult. It was like Lyla had a split personality. The teenage Lyla the author had created and the internal Lyla that was really the voice of the author. The discrepancy was jolting enough that it pulled me out of the story. It almost made me want to skip over the overly detailed descriptions and internal thought paragraphs because there was too much and the ‘Lyla’s’ weren’t consistent. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to love description, probably more than a lot of people. But sometimes there is just too much.

I have to say the ending was pretty exciting and kept me flipping the pages. It only slowed down again when Lyla went into thought and descriptive mode. I’m disappointed with the fact that Nathan died. I was kind of hoping Nathan and Lyla’s mom could have become a couple.

In conclusion, this book has a great plot; it’s the one redeeming quality that kept me reading. The action scenes are very good. I’d suggest in any future books in this series, that the author takes the suggestion of, ‘cut, cut, cut and cut some more,’ the overabundance of unnecessary scenes. And even when you think you’re done, cut some more. Watch out for the change in tone from external events to internal dialogue and descriptions of the scenery through Lyla’s eyes. Be consistent with how a teenager thinks and views the world, not of a teenager in the action and external scenes, and then switching to the author’s voice for the internal dialogue and descriptions.

I’d like to give the book four stars, but I can’t. I would give the book only two stars because of the many distractions throughout it, but the plot is what lets me give this three stars.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Deb Novack on Feb. 24, 2012 : star star star star star
Wow! What a wonderful story, I had trouble putting it down to sleep. Lyla is a 16 year old who suddenly loses her father, and also finds out her mother is moving them from Chicago to Salem, the home of her fathers ancestors, and that is where she learns of her heritage and the man who is hunting her family to kill them all. Her Uncle Nathan and her two cousins,Mohana and Sage and her boyfriend Caleb all try to help her embrace her legacy and find a way to stop the witch hunter. There are covens, witches,witch hunters and lots of crazy witchy things going on. This is a series I must follow to the end. Can not wait for the next book.That is where she learns of her heritage and the man who is hunting her family to kill them all. Her Uncle Nathan and her two cousins,Mohana and Sage and her boyfriend Caleb all try to help her embrace her legacy and find a way to stop the witch hunter. There are covens, witches,witch hunters and lots of crazy witchy things going on. This is a series I must follow to the end. Can not wait for the next book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather Murphy on Feb. 23, 2012 : star star star star
After the sudden, tragic death of her father, Lyla Mercer and her mother move from their comfortable home of Chicago to cold and dreary Salem. Lyla is not happy about leaving her old life behind as she starts over in Salem. She and her mother move to an old family home left to her by her father. She doesn't understand why her father would want them to live in such a dreary house in such a dreary place. All she wants is her old life back.



When she arrives, she soon meets her uncle (her dad's brother), Nathan, and her cousins, Hanna and Sage, whom she never knew she had. As she gets to know them, she is shown her family history and brought to the realization that it lives on through her. Lyla wishes that she could live a normal life as she did in Chicago, but is quickly shown A Marked Past that demands that she help prevent further destruction of her family.



When she meets Caleb, she is immediately drawn to him as the rest of the community is. He is well liked by all in the community and has been adopted by the Pastor of the oldest church in town. As Lyla learns more about her family's tragic history, she worries not only for his safety but also that he might be mistakenly part of the problem. Is the Pastor really who he is protrayed to be or something more? Can she, Hanna and Nathan break the cycle of family tragedy? Can she live a normal life with the boyfriend that she has fallen so deeply for?



What I thought

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this story since I typically don't read books like this. I thought it was a perfect combination of the life of a typical teenager and her adventures of learning of her Atypical past. Lyla leads a "normal" life of friends, school, prom, and a boyfriend all while developing into the person that she was destined to be through her past. As she learns more about her past, she also learns that the story of her family history continues through her and she must take over where others have left off. The conflicts of the story are fast paced and completely unpredictable as she tries to learn about her gifts and fight to keep her family's future from being destroyed, all while dealing with school and the love life of a teenage. The end left me wanting more and I look forward to reading A History Renewed coming out later this year. I give it 4 out of 5 stars
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Schack on Feb. 05, 2012 : star star star
I did enjoy the book and how it closely followed the journey of all involved. It had everything-danger, romance, mystery, and kept me guessing on what would happen next. I do wish it had been more than one book, merely because there is so much happening that it could have easily been two books. It seemed like I was watching a car chase from another car and it was hard to keep up sometimes. There is so much action that, again, I felt it could have been split as to make the book more meaningful. And there were parts, like the dreamscapes and the discovery of Lyla's destiny, that I felt could have been alluded to sooner and I would have liked the book so much more. As it is, I am not entirely sure if I'd read the other book. It would depend on my curiousity to see what happens next is big enough. As it is, read it and see if you like it. Just hang on for the ride, though, and enjoy a debuting author!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: J Fields on Jan. 01, 2012 : star star star star star
A Marked Past is the first book in a soon to be GREAT series. I wasn't sure what to expect after seeing the creepy cover but
I was quite pleasently surprised, with the riveting tale of Lyla Mercer and the dark history of her family.

When Lyla discovers a plot to rid Salem of Mercers, she's forced to chose between defending her family, or fighting to save the boy she loves. In a battle where Lyla is forced to use skills she never knew she had, survival is her only goal.

Well written, fast paced, and a real page turner is how I would classify A Marked Past. As a teen novel, it's told from Lyla's perspective in her own narration and I liked living in her world for a while.

I would recommend this novel to anyone above the age of 11. I'll gladly read the sequel. If it sounds good to you, pick it up. You'll love it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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