Illicit Magic (Book 1, Stella Mayweather Series)

Rated 4.08/5 based on 24 reviews
More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it's happening again.

When an attack by ruthless witch hunters forces twenty-four-year-old Stella from her home in London into the protection of the powerful Witch Council in New York, she has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive, yet she might not be any safer in their midst... More
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Words: 94,600
Language: English
ISBN: 9780956908605
About Camilla Chafer

USA Today bestselling author Camilla Chafer is the author of the Lexi Graves Mysteries, the Deadlines Mysteries (a spin off from Lexi Graves) and the Stella Mayweather urban fantasy series. She is also the author/editor of several non-fiction books and has written for newspapers, magazines and websites internationally.

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Review by: Chrystal M on Aug. 06, 2012 :
Honestly it took me a bit to get into this book. I almost gave up and said not my thing, but with the insistance of my best friend (who had read it previously) I kept reading and I am so glad that I pushed myself that little bit further into the book. Once I got past the third chapter, I devoured this book.

I think the reason I loved Illicit Magic so much was that Stella made it easy for me to like her. She wasn't born into a life of privilege, she was down to earth and made due with what she had. From the start I felt for poor Stella, an orphan at the age of five and never having even made very close friends with anyone. She's the kind of girl I would befriend if I met her and I would show her all the wondrous things there were to offer - friendship, love and laughter.

Ms. Chafer did an excellent job of writing the story of Stella, from being the poor lonely orphan to a young woman of disbelief that she is actually a witch and following through with a woman who is more self assured. Watching as Stella makes true friends for the first time, discovers love and finally come into her magic was such a wonderful journey.

The supporting characters in Illicit Magic were interesting and I would love to know more about some of them. Sisters, Etoile and Seren, are a bit of a mystery to me - though their powers are explained and their missing sister brings some surprises that I hope will be followed up on in the second book, Unruly Magic. Marc and Kitty are another set that I would love to see their stories fleshed out a little bit more. But mostly I want to know about sweet and sexy, Evan!

Illicit Magic has some pretty amazing magical happenings including some pretty hilarious scenes where Stella is still learning to control her magic and some pretty freaky scenes filled with death and carnage. It's interesting to see two sides to magic, but it helps to realize that there are always the sides of good and evil.

Sincerely looking forward to reading book two, Unruly Magic and book three, Devious Magic. Camilla Chafer has created a world that I would like to return to soon.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)

Review by: Lissette E. Manning on April 17, 2012 :
With her parents taken from her at a very early age, Stella Mayweather has spent most of her young life bounced around from foster home to foster home. The existence of unexplained powers has caused her to live a solitary existence, something she much prefers, since it allows her to live in anonymity. Keeping away from others is the only way she can ensure no one else gets hurt when bursts of her powers surface unexpectedly. Yet, at times, she yearns to have someone she can depend on. To have that one friend who would be understanding about who and what she is.

An unexpected attack on her one night draws her attention to the unexplained burnings occurring all over Europe. Woman are are being burned alive on supposed accounts of their being witches. The reasons behind such things elude Stella, yet she can't deny the fact that she has always been different. When help arrives unexpectedly, she knows she has no choice but to do what has been asked of her. Surviving to live another day is a must and she'll do anything to make sure that happens.

Accepting Etoile's helping hand, she's catapulted into a world she never really knew existed. She'd always know that there were others like her out there, yet she never expected to meet them so soon in so short a time. As secrets surrounding her true origins come to light, Stella begins to question everything she's ever known in hopes of coming to terms with her parents untimely deaths so long ago.

With no other option but to accept the new life she's been given, Stella immerses herself in learning all she needs to know. She's intent on making the most of the gifts she's been bestowed. Getting used to them, however, isn't as easy as it seems. Her new teacher, Evan, is determined to show Stella that she definitely has what it takes in handling her raw power. She's willing to do as he asks of her, yet never once did she imagine finding herself attracted to him.

When it becomes apparent that someone is out for blood, Stella's especially, the Council decides to protect her, at all costs. The repeated attempts on her life are jarring, yet she's willing to show everyone that she's more than what they think of her. As more and more secrets, both hers and those surrounding her new family, make it into the light, she comes to the realization that there's quite a bit she doesn't know. Things have been kept from her a reason. While curiosity has killed the cat in the past, Stella knows she'll need to get to the bottom of things if she's to live a peaceful life. But first, she'll need to stay alive long enough in order to achieve it.

This book is the beginning of a great series. Action packed and quite addicting to read, the reader finds him/herself immersed in a world full of magic and intrigue. A world where appearances are definitely deceiving. I'm definitely look forward to what comes next!
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)

Review by: Emmalee Aple on April 16, 2012 :
I dont know what it was about this book but I just couldnt get into it. The characters seemed younger than they were described as, and a lot of things made this a hard book to get through. The story had a good plot but it was just hard to follow at times. I really wanted to get into this book but i just couldnt
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)

Review by: Erica Abrams on April 14, 2012 :
I will give this 3.5 stars!
I liked Stella she is logical not too trusting and somehow believable
Evan sounds sexy And I love a sexy love interest !
The world building was decent enough
I liked the general storyline of the novel one reason I picked this up.
The overall outcome of the novel/ mystery was too predictable for me. I suppose it must come into play in some conceivable way but I just wasn't keen on how it turned out.
The last 10% of the book was unnecessary to me I kept waiting for something interesting to happen and it didn't in fact had it not been for the last 10% I would have rated this 4 stars. I felt it was a perfect opportunity to pose a sort if cliffhanger, something that makes me seriously want to pick up the next book and I was let down.
The love scenes could have been written better this book was really more romance than mystery and I felt like it should have been explored more as such

Overall I'm not about to rush out and buy the second book but I would read the next installment
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)

Review by: Maghon Thomas on April 12, 2012 :
I would like to thank R2R and the author as always for giving me a copy to read for a review! These programs allow me to find fantastic new reads just like this one :)

I would like to start with saying that the bad guy totally threw me at the end. I was not expecting that one... I was guessing in those lines but wow! I know that's vague, but no spoilers! I like that it's written in first person for this book because I like that I get to see Stella's thoughts as she goes through the obstacles and I like the things she says to herself.

I also LOVE the characters, especially the supporting characters like Kitty and Etiole' (I think I'm spelling that right). And her original thoughts on people, like Robert, can be so off... Also, Evan is just HAWT!!!! I mean come on!!! Also, her growth with magic (stella's) is a fun ride.

The writing was a little funny, since it's a UK version, things like pyjamas cracked me up, and also some sentences like "snogging my best friend" made me laugh. Funny how everyone has their own wording yet we all know what it means! It is still well written and I am well on my way to getting book 2 & 3, as I REALLY wanna know what happens, especially after that last chapter :) Overall 4 stars for me :) Good book!
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)

Review by: natalie berry on April 05, 2012 :
Lovely story with a dark start which propels Stella into a new world of magic which she has always denied she has. Meets wonderful friends and a gorgeous boyfriend. Has lots of ups and downs, thoroughly enjoyed it!
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)

Review by: Shana Higgins on April 03, 2012 :
"Illicit Magic" was actually a pretty decent book. You get to learn all about Stella Mayweather, who lives in London, and isn't doing too well for herself. She does temp jobs, lives in a meager flat/apartment, and just tries to get on with her dull, boring life the best way she can. She's a witch who doesn't know she's a witch, until some evil men begin chasing her from her workplace one day, almost to her home. When she arrives home, she begins to notice many of the news channels on TV, talking about "The Brotherhood" burning women at makeshift stakes, just like Salem, MA back in the 1600's.

Stella begins to wonder how she can do weird things and "zap" from one place to another without really trying, especially during extreme moments of crisis or when her emotions are up. Case in point; a lady comes to her home (after Stella has arrived safely), and tells Stella she needs to come with her. Stella doesn't know this chick from Adam OR Eve, but after her window is shattered from a Molotov Cocktail, she gets a clue and the lady "zaps" them both outta there!

The lady, Etoille (eh-twall), which is such a pretty name, explains a few things to Stella about who she is, and why she is how she is. (Make sense? LOL) Once Etoille gets Stella and her few belongings on a plane headed for America, that's when the story/fun begins.

I really enjoyed this book. The characters, relationships, and storyline were fleshed out nicely, and made for good reading. Even Stella's backstory is filled in, especially at the end. Btw, the ending really makes you want to pick up the next book, which I plan to do. I only wish there were more details about The Brotherhood, and why they have such a vendetta against the witches. Plus, I want to know where Stella fits in all of that. I guess I'll need to pick up the next book in the series to find out, eh? :-)

Give "Illicit Magic" a shot. I would've given it 4.5 stars, if Smashwords allowed 1/2 stars. LOL
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Pepper Owens on April 03, 2012 :
I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review. My rating is 4.25stars. I was surprised to enjoy this book as well as I did. It was written quite English and a couple of the words didn’t actually translate to American well so I still don’t get a couple of the words. Another surprise was that this was termed as YA though it reads more mature. However it was an extremely pleasant surprise.

Friendless odd woman out Stella Mayweather is looking forward to her typical night alone eating a frozen dinner watching her old television in her grubby London flat when her life takes an unexpected turn. Stella is stalked on her way home by a group of men intent on harming her when she inexplicably finds herself temporarily out of their grasp. After making her way home and trying to calm down with a nice cup of tea, she finds this is only the beginning as she has a visitor that won’t take no for an answer. So begins Stella’s journey to discovering her destiny as a witch when her visitor Etoile convinces her that the men intent on harming her were actually witch-hunters. A group calling themselves The Brotherhood and that Etoile is there to spirit her to safety. Stella soon finds herself in a different country, in a romantic triangle, with friends for the first time, learning how to control her powers and deep in the mystery of solving her parents’ deaths.

Basically this was a character driven piece and everything rode on being able to connect with them and their ability to connect with each other. This story succeeded and you were invested in Stella and the other characters. There was romance in the story but this is not a romance it is clearly the foundation for an UF series. That being said, this fast paced story moved quickly and all of the characters were fully fleshed and for the most part, well used. The climatic action scene was done exactly right but somehow felt as if it was unexpected because so many other things were happening. I am certainly on board for book II because I want to know if……
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: amy colegrove on April 01, 2012 :
I read this book in one sitting! I couldn't believe how great it was! From first sentence to last you will not be disappointed!
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)

Review by: Marilyn Hughes on March 29, 2012 :
This is a great read, starting with the very first sentence.

Stella doesn't know she will soon be on the run for her life. All she knows is that "things" seem to happen when she's around. No family, no friends, working as a "temp" since she can't stay too long in one place (she makes people uneasy), and living in a grubby flat in London, Stella believes this is what her life is to be and she's become accustomed to being alone.

That all changes when a group called The Brotherhood gets her in their sights. Even though Stella doesn't know it yet, she's a witch and The Brotherhood has made it their mission to target and eradicate witches from the face of the earth. They are responsible for a string of murders where the victims are burned alive at the stake. And now they are after her.

Enter Etoile, who rescues her from them at the last minute, whisks her overseas to America, and introduces her to the Council, the witches' ruling body. While waiting for the Council to decide what should be done to protect her, she's attacked again and it's decided that she needs to be sent to a "safe house" where she can be trained in the use of her magic while being protected.

While there, she's introduced to a cast of characters that quickly become the friends and family she's never hard. However, throughout this almost idyllic time, trouble has been brewing and it's after her.

This is one of those rare books that reaches out, grabs you, and doesn't let you go from the very first sentence to the very last word and then leaves you wanting more. Thankfully, the second book in this series, Unruly Magic, has already been released. I'm headed to buy it now. Illicit Magic was that good of a book.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)

Review by: Sarah Smith on March 28, 2012 :
I received this as part of a Goodreads group Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Fanatics: Read to Review giveaway. Overall I liked this book and am looking forward to checking out the next in the series. However, it seemed slow and slightly boring at first, even though you are pretty much thrown into the action of Stella against the Brotherhood almost immediately. This was most likely due to the requisite set-up/background information that inevitably has to be thrown in for a new series. So realizing this I kept reading. I am glad that I did, because it certainly ended with a bang! The characters were charming, the plot was very interesting and the romantic aspect was great. I kind of question Stellas' attachment to Etoile and Marc, even though they were pretty much the first of her kind to welcome her to her new world. It just seemed kind of unlikely to me that she would make friends with anyone so quickly since she was tossed around foster homes her whole life and never really had any friends (because of her 'accidents'). That aside, I thought this was great and I will continue to read this series since now I am hooked and looking forward to see Stella come more into her powers as she continues to battle the Brotherhood.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)

Review by: sarah uk on March 25, 2012 : (no rating)
(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis.)
Stella is 24 and has had a difficult life. She ended up in foster care at the age of 5, can remember very little of her life before then, and has also had to live with unexplainable occurrences which have in the past had people labelling her a witch.

On leaving work one night she realises that she is being followed, and tries to escape her pursuers. Narrowly avoiding them she makes it home, only to be harassed by a woman called Etoile, who randomly turns up at her door and demands to be let in. After ‘shimmering’ (like teleporting) her way into Stella’s apartment, Etoile explains how a group who call themselves ‘the brotherhood’ are chasing down women all over Europe who they believe to be witches and burning them at the stake.

Etoile takes Stella and they
catch a plane to America where she meets with a witch’s council, and is moved to a safe house where she will be able to learn about magic and how to use it, because Stella’s parents were witches, which means that that the magic is in her blood.

I quite liked this book. I found it a little difficult in the beginning – I just didn’t find that it held my attention very well at all. This improved at just over half-way through with the introduction of a sexy love interest, and the mystery surrounding him.

The ending was okay. It was a little odd that the main threat wasn’t what was really after Stella at the end, but I suppose this left the way open for the second book. I will say though that I am getting a bit fed up of all these books which leave a partial cliff-hanger ending. I hate not knowing how a story ends!

Overall, an enjoyable read, and I would consider reading the sequel.
7 out of 10.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

Review by: Charlayne Elizabeth Denney on March 24, 2012 :
Stella Mayweather works at a temporary clerks job in London and lives in a very small, run-down flat after growing up in a series of foster homes. She’s odd, everyone either knows it or figures it out and soon she moves on because people can’t handle being around her because of that oddity.

And the news reports are filled with stories of women around Europe and then in England are getting taken and put into bonfires, burned to death as witches. In this day and time, someone called the Brotherhood has declared war on women. One night Stella gets chased home by these men who have every intention of making her their next victim. She manages to allude them and get home, only to have a young woman show up at her door telling her that she is in danger and she has to come along with her NOW. Etoile, the lady at her door, isn’t kidding around and as she convinces Stella of the immediacy of the need to move, the Brotherhood starts throwing firebombs into the apartment. Etoile gets Stella out, by magical means, and Stella’s life is completely changed from that moment on.

Illicit Magic is the first of a series about Stella and the world just on the edge of our own, one controlled by magic and headed by a Council of Elders that is fighting both the Brotherhood and something else, something deeper. Stella moves into a house kept by a lady named Meg with a lot of other students of magic, is taught by Evan and David to harness her skills, skills she has buried for many years. Things are not as they seem, there are questions about her parents, a missing sister of Etoile, odd behavior by another student without magic, and then there’s Evan. Stella is drawn to him like a moth to a flame, but will she get her wings singed?

This book is a lot slower that many of the other paranormal books I have read. Camilla spends a lot of time describing general life in the household and building up the relationships between the students and the teachers before she gets to the final few scenes that are the real meat of the book. Sometimes I found myself wanting to skip ahead and look for the good stuff when I got bored of watching Stella working on her lessons yet again. But the last 1/3 of the book made the rest of it well worth the wait as she pulled together several threads and explained a lot of the hinted upon background we saw all through the book. By the time I finished, I was in tears and wanting to pick up the next book, Unruly Magic.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

Review by: SamanthaTowner on March 15, 2012 :
Illicit Magic written by Camilla Chafer was a delightful read. While the story was faced pace with lots of action, the author wrote the characters in such a way that the reader gained empathy and other such emotional ties to them. The world built was a fascinating one that brought new experiences to the reader. It was exciting to explore the world where there are all manners of supernatural creatures with frightening conspiracies and antagonists. It was pleasant that the author didn’t immediately pinpoint all the other supernatural creatures within her world, nor did she explicitly hammer out all the motivations and plots with the antagonists. In doing so she left many points of mystery and room for the series to grow. I want to make sure that future readers understand that it was handled in such a way that instead of being frustrating it made the book so much more exciting.
As stated earlier the character builds were in depth and the reader was given the opportunity to explore the motivations and insights into them while still leaving room for development. I wont go into detail, as I don’t want to spoil anyone’s experience. I will state here that the author pulled no punches with the characters in intense situations, which I found to be pleasing.
I think that many people will find this book to be an entertaining read. If you enjoy just about any supernatural fiction then this book would be up your alley. I will make a last note here that while this book does contain sexual encounters however, they are done in a tasteful manner and are not overbearing in the book and should not turn readers away.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: David Hoyt on Jan. 19, 2012 :
I loved this whole series. I read the series in a few days. I couldn't put it down. I'm giving the series an overall 5. Book 3 is the weakest, but still good. I'll be watching the author for more fun in the future.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

Review by: Donna Newman on Aug. 16, 2011 :
Stella is pretty much a loner, not by choice but because it seems like accidents seem to happen around her and she doesn't know why. I really loved how Stella progressed in this book from a quiet, hide yourself in the corner kind of girl to finding confidence in herself at the end.

What I loved about this story-line it kept me guessing, here I thought it was going one way and it ended up in a direction I didn't expect at all. Usually the bad guy is brought in and pretty much you know when and what is going to happen but this one really through me for a loop. My eyes bugged and I literally said out loud well I didn't see that one coming.

I ought to learn nothing is cut in dry with stories because I did want her to be with one of the male characters but I quickly changed my mind as soon as the other one was introduced. I loved Marc. but at times I thought boy where was his anger coming from , we find out later but I won't say because it would give it away. And Evan, well I can't say too much there other than I love him, and that he gave Stella the confidence she needed to learn her craft.

There was a couple questions left unanswered but I think mainly in my own mind, because the story wrapped up rather neatly but left me wanting to read the next book which was just released, Unruly Magic.

So if you love witches with a bit of romance and a lot of action this book is for you.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)

Review by: Lori (Romancing the Dark Side) on Aug. 12, 2011 :
A wonderful debut filled with magic, mystery and romance!

In Illicit Magic we're introduced to Stella Mayweather, a twenty four year old who lives a solitary life in England due to her special abilities that she brushes off as her simply being accident prone. Her boring life soon becomes quite the opposite on a night when she's followed and nearly kidnapped by a group of men called the Brotherhood, who believe she is a witch. Barely escaping, Stella rushes home where she encounters a young woman by the name of Étoile, who has come to take her to American in order to protect her from the evil hunters that wish her dead. In her journey to America, Stella will uncover the truth about herself, her family and be introduced to a world far beyond her wildest dreams.

This book starts off a little slow for me and I have to admit I didn't feel a connection to the heroine in the beginning. While in England, Stella comes off as bitter, lonely and quite boring. Everything changes when the story shifts to America. We finally begin to see her true personality and the story takes off. Her growth throughout the book is notable and what won me over when I was on the fence about liking her. Étoile is a fascinating character with plenty of charisma that plays a key role in Stella's "personality makeover" and helps her adapt to her new life and surroundings. Stella's love interests Marc and Evan are total opposites but each has their own mysterious charm and sex appeal that can make it hard to choose between the two; my favorite of the two is the suave and sexy Evan!

Ms. Chafer gives plenty of depth to her characters and slowly divulges tidbits of their lives that flawlessly tie everything together. Throwing a semi-love triangle into the mix adds uncertainty and a bit of drama to the romance of the story which I love! The action and constant suspense are thrilling and keep you guessing until the very end. The magical element in the story is described thoroughly, giving the reader a bit more insight into this paranormal world of witches, vampires and daemons the author has created. Plenty of loose ends will leave you wanting to start the next installment right away. Illicit Magic is a perfect read for those who love their magic with a little danger!
(reviewed 52 days after purchase)

Review by: Aislynn Thompson on Aug. 09, 2011 : (no rating)
Stella has accidents, some could consider it clumsy but these just strike most people as odd occurrences. People are wary of Stella, keep their distance - why befriend someone who has strange and weird things always happening to them or around them? This always leaves Stella on the outside of everything and with no one to trust. When suddenly her life is in danger and the witch hunters are closing in - she has to trust Etoile and Marc to help keep her safe.

Etoile and Marc bring Stella to a remote location to help her train and learn her gift. She meets other like her - and have various gifts. While there she is caught in a love-triangle with Evan and Marc. The connection between Evan and Stella is evident right from the beginning!

This was a great start to a new series - a young woman who doesn't know what she is capable of is thrown into a life she knows nothing about. What would you do if someone was out to kill you and everyone you know!?

Stella was a great character. She's strong and funny - she's had to learn to take care of herself and not rely on anyone. This makes her a very relate-able character! I loved Stella, she had spunk and guts! She has great interaction with the other characters and the dialogue was engaging through the entire story!

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance! I'm looking forward to reading Unruly Magic - book two in the series.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)

Review by: Naj Qamber on Aug. 08, 2011 :
Illicit Magic began with a narration that continues on throughout the book. It isn't one of those annoying kind of narration but the kind thats actually very captivating and really makes you listen to what the protagonist has to say as she tells you her story.

Our protagonist here is called Stella, she's the type who keeps to herself and has a well collected character. She is English and alone. All her life everyone seems to be scared of her because something always manages to happen when she's around. As she gets old enough to be taken out of foster care. She continues her life working temp jobs here and there while she lives in a very small cheap apartment. Then suddenly, people are after her and want to burn her at the stake. As things begin to unfold, Stella is saved and sent to America for protection and to learn about her true roots.

This is by far the best witch book I've read besides Harry Potter of course and trust me I never liked how some authors portray witches in books and because of this book I began to warm up to witches. YAY ME?

Aside from our protagonist, we meet the supporting secondary characters who help Stella cope with her new found abilities. One in particular I'm very fond of and appreciate completely! I won't his name because I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. All I'm saying is hes Macho and totally HAWT!

Enough of my bickering, I give this book a full on 5/5 stars as I state that this book was unputdownable and simply awesome! I have the second book waiting for me to tackle it and I can't wait to start on it! YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! *NOT suitable for young readers*
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)

Review by: Shari on Aug. 01, 2011 :
I had a little trouble getting into Illicit Magic at first. The first 80 pages or so are a lot of new information that wasn't quickly digestible for me. However, once Stella gets to America the pace really picked up, and I was glued to the pages.

The characters in Illicit Magic are very well written, and I enjoyed learning about each of them. Stella's life since foster care has been terribly mundane. She didn't have any friends because people noticed that she was different, and they were scared of her. She was horribly alone, and she came across as drab, dejected, and well.. boring. Once she arrives in America and is surrounded by people like her she really becomes a different person. Watching her bloom truly was magical. The rest of the characters are so much fun to get to know. They each have their own mystery and instead of knowing everything there is to know about each of them right off the bat, the author slowly reveals their pasts and secrets in this very slow but satisfying way. I really enjoyed that about Camilla's writing style. I had just settled into this lovely story line and all of the sudden a new and unexpected twist was thrown at me. All kinds of hell broke loose, and it was thrilling to read. I was instantly in love with a few of characters and really hope to see them again in the next book. Yep, Illicit Magic is book 1 in the Stella Mayweather series. I was so glad to find out that the ending of this book wasn't really the ending of the story.

Side note: Just a little pet peeve I had with the book was that the editing wasn't great, and sometimes I got distracted by Camilla's English dialect. This may be why it took me a little while to really fall into the story as well.
(reviewed 68 days after purchase)

Review by: Book Savvy Babe on July 26, 2011 :
Stella’s life is suddenly turned upside-down when after being attacked; a strange girl takes Stella to an entirely new life. Stella finds out that she is a witch, and there are other people like her, people with special abilities, magical abilities. This group of witches wants to train Stella in her magic, and keep her safe from witch hunters. However, danger continues to plague Stella wherever she goes.

It took me a little while to get into Illicit Magic. When starting a new series, I know that it can take some time to understand the characters and the world, but I had a difficult time with the flow at first. However, the more I read, the more I was able to get into the feel of the story. When Stella begins her training at the house with her fellow witches, I really began to love the book, and Stella. For a girl who was clumsy and a bit socially awkward, Stella adapted really well to her circumstances, and even experiences some steamy romance. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book, especially Evan and Etoile. The magic is very cool, with spells and teleporting, and everyone having their own unique gifts and strengths. This book has a younger generation feel, kind of like a college dormitory group. It was not too young at all, definitely adult and definitely entertaining.

I grew to really like Stella. By the end of the book, Stella is a new person. She has new knowledge and new determination. She holds herself responsible for more than she should, and I am hoping that she continues to learn and grow. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book, especially Evan and Etoile. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for Stella and reading more by Camilla Chafer in the future.
(reviewed 35 days after purchase)

Review by: Nel on July 24, 2011 :
I really want to know what happens next and hope that the next book will be available soon! I enjoyed Illicit Magic and found it easy to read. Stella, the main character, feels that she doesn't fit in but isn't quite sure why. When her walk home from work takes an eventful turn she discovers why and finds somewhere she can fit in and people who soon become friends, and more. However, not all is as it seems and Stella must learn who to trust and how to survive. I would recommend this book highly!
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)

Review by: Laura Hunsaker on July 16, 2011 :
Reviewed for

Wow, so as many of you can see, this is not my usual fare.

This was recommended to me by a friend (that's you Jackie) and I was told that this book would appeal to the YA group who wanted an older cast of characters. Since the main reason I don't read YA is that I actually get irritated with the teens, I thought this might be a nice change. Stella, our protagonist, is 24. She's spent her life in London's foster care system, constantly being carted from one home to another since strange things seemed to happen around her.

We enter the story as she's walking home from yet another temp job (she never stays too long, just in case someone notices she's different). The ladies at work warned each other to walk in pairs, and to be safe, since there have been many recent burnings of women. On her normally uneventful walk to her flat, her instincts kick in and tell her DANGER! DANGER! As she never ignores her instincts, she is very alert. Adn then it happens. She is being followed. Stalked. And she runs! Hiding, she is in full-panic mode, just as someone grabs her by the throat and grits "Witch" in her ear, she poofs herself across the street! Holy moly how did that happen? Stella is grateful her power kicked in when she needed it, as hers are super unpredictable, but at the same time, she even surprised herself.

She runs to her flat, and while there, a woman knocks on her door telling her to come with her NOW. Stella figures the woman is nuts and then the nice lady poofs herself into Stella's room. Just like Stella can do, only much more controlled. What happens from there is that they are attacked by the Brotherhood-an anti-witch organization. More, the Brotherhood then sends a video to the media detailing the witches they've burnt at the stake, and telling the world that they are coming for more.

As soon as Stella is rescued, she and her new friend Etoile hop the first flight to New York, where she meets many others like herself, then is attacked once more (and this time it looks like an inside job, even thought it's blamed on the Brotherhood), and Stella is once more shuttled somewhere new. This is where the majority of the story takes place-a safe house where witches can learn the craft and come into their powers.

She meets both Marc and Evan and while she has feelings for both, only one will win her heart. In the meantime, very little happens. Once you can get used to the writing, it's a good book. The tone of the book is VERY British, and I'm super lucky to have some twitter friends in the UK who helped me out with some of the words. It's not necessary to have a British bud for your English-to- English translations, as most words were obvious within their context, but a few did confuse me. Another thing, is that even the Americans sound English. I am not listing this as a fault AT ALL, it was interesting. As an American writer, I write about Scotland, I wonder if all my Scots sound American? So, my non-American friends, do you find that many of our books sound American?

But my feelings on this book are that while the book itself is more of what happens with Stella, and Stella learning to control her powers, when the action does happen, it's crazy intense. The writing is addictive and will make you want to keep reading. The ending was so hard! Why? Why would you do that to us? I can see our author rubbing her hands in evil glee laughing an evil laugh thinking "Yes, my pretties, you will have to read to find out...muahahahaha!!!"

After the big, huge plot twist (that I did not figure out until right at that moment!), everyone leaves Stella for safety and medical care. This bothered me since they all had a lot invested in her, and while Etoile, and her sister Seren had a lot on their plates at the moment, I don't see them having left Stella to fend for herself in that house. I also don't see David not having called someone since he was there supervising clean-up. Evan, oh Evan, I hope you are okay, and that yoou go after her! And Stella, you did all that covering your tracks to go to the one place that can be traced to you. Evan is gonna find you! (I hope, I hope!) And Marc, I really want to sit down and have a talk with Marc. Sigh, I'll have to wait til the end of July so I can get the second book Unruly Magic.

Final thoughts? It's not a romance, but there is a romance in there that I like, and it's not quite an urban fantasy-maybe more in the lines of a light UF meets cozy mystery. Enjoy readers.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)

Review by: Alaiel Kreuz on June 28, 2011 :
Right now, if I could, I'd love to read the second part of this series just because I really want to know what happens next to Stella.

But first thing first, you need to know what I'm taking about, right? Illicit Magic is the first book of this series and introduce us to Stella, a simple girl with a simple boring life, and not because she wants a boring life but because everybody is scared of her so they keep their distance.
Why? Well, as you can guess from the title of the book there's something special about Stella: she can use magic. But since she doesn't know what's "wrong" with her all type of weird things and calamities happen around her. So she is always alone and kind of used to it. That is of course until a series of horrible murders happened in England and her live turns upside down as she turns out to be the next target...

Stella is a strong girl, she has learnt to take care of herself and, despite the fact that she never had a friend is a very nice and easygoing person.
In this book we can see a "love triangle" between Marc - a warlock that for some reason can't use magic-, Stella and Evan -Stella's teacher- that is a very handsome man that hides a secret and that seems to dislike her a lot. At least in the beginning, that's it.

Camilla's writing was very good, I could always picture the people, the scenes and the fights and for that I'm really happy. The variety of characters and their personalities was really... how can I describe it? Entertaining I think is the right word. I personally enjoyed this book a lot, I can't wait to read the next one!
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)

Review by: Jackie B on June 22, 2011 :
Stella Mayweather has been sent from pillar to post most of her life after losing her parents at the tender age of five... Never staying in one place for long due to strange occurrences which cause her foster families to quickly pack her up and ship her back to social service workers. After finally turning eighteen Stella moves out on her own and makes her way as best she can... Now at twenty-four Stella has settled into a routine of living in one place, going to work each day and coming home each night without much variance from day to day... Suddenly attacked one night she is thrust into a nightmare from which she barely escapes when a strange young woman appears at her flat and whisks her away before she loses her life in a fire set by her previous attackers when they find her at home...

Throughout Stella's story as we work our way through all the mysteries that surround her past and all the day to day drama that encompass her present circumstances one thing becomes clear, she is a special young woman who despite her harsh beginnings has strength and admirable amounts of courage.

The unraveling of the answers as to who, what, why, when and where take place at a good pace and by the end of the book when the final showdown occurs the reader has learned quite a bit about each of the young witches and the instructors that Stella is placed among to learn how to utilize her craft...

The eye opening reveal of the person responsible for the attacks against Stella and her new friends was one that I had figured out a bit before the final showdown but I still had a few surprises to come when other secrets were revealed as well, all in all this was a well thought out original story that had just enough romance thrown in to appeal to a wider audience than just those looking for a good paranormal read!

The burning questions in my mind is what will Stella do next? What happened to Evan? What happened to Marc and Kitty? To find out one must continue the series with book 2 Unruly Magic which I intend to do as the story was just getting to the good part when it ended!

I strongly recommend this book to those YA readers looking for characters who are young adults in their 20's that can be sympathized with by older people like myself as they have more relatable circumstances going on in their life than someone who is only in their teens. The book is geared more towards adults over the age of 17 as there are sexual scenes that while not explicit are not meant for young readers...

Reading Order for series

Book 1 Illicit Magic out now and book 2Unruly Magic in July and in December book 3 Devious Magic as per author's information in an interview with The Dark Phantom .

I have to disclose that this book was an e-arc copy submitted to me by the author via The Bookish Snob Promotions for an honest review and that there is no other compensation from her, the tour host or the publisher except my reading pleasure and enjoyment of the characters depicted in the story.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

Review by: Yllektra V. on May 22, 2011 :
This was a great start to a new series.
Stella Mayweather is a 24-year-old woman who has grown up in foster care and is searching for her place in the world.
Life has been even more difficult for her, because accidents keep happening around her, to people that threaten her or make her afraid, which of course caused her to change several foster families.
Not that she can really control it, but her reputation as a "witch" on account of that, is more literal than she would think.
Stella is reluctant to believe that she is really a witch, a person that can make bookcases drop on you if you touch her (:P), but the mere thought of that has her retreat into herself, her world.
She is a loner and no one pays her any attention.
She moves from temp job to temp job, maintaining a less than mediocre apartment and her life is a bore.
Everything changes, however, when one afternoon as she gets off work, she realizes that she is being chased by a group of men who have murder on their mind. Even more than that, Stella understands that the long string of murders all over England isn't a coincidence.
There's a reason they are burning women alive. The Brotherhood - a group of people hating Witches and everything supernatural - is set on killing every last one of them all around the world and now they are after her.

Seeking refuge in her apartment, after a shocking manifestation of her Shimmering power, Stella is whisked away to USA by Etoile, a fellow witch sent by the Witch Council to save her.
Stella is brought in front of the Council,introduced to a society of witches, men and women with magic, acquired or inherited, she never knew existed.
After an attack at their very shelter, she is once more taken away to a secluded house by the sea, which is used as a "School", where young witches are trained.
It is there that she makes her first friends, among them- apart from Etoile- Mark, Meg, Kittie, Seren, Christy, Clara, Jared, David etc and most importantly Evan.

But are they enough to guide and protect her when there's a killer after her who isn't afraid to use magic? Could it be the Brotherhood - though they loathe magic?- or is there something more sinister after her?

I adored the story. It was both original, in its execution, and compelling. The pace of the story was good, although, I have to admit that it felt a little slow in the beginning.
The situations were believable and you could really connect with Stella and the other characters. They all took a life of their own and as soon as I read on, I was hooked on finding out what was going to happen next.
The story is written as a first person narrative, with Stella being our guide and after the first couple of chapters, it really grew on me. At first, I felt a little detached because Stella felt a little stiff to me even in her fear, but later on I got a feel of her character and I appreciated her need for both independence and belonging.

The romance in the book was superb. Both Marc and Evan were yummie, although I have to admit that I liked Evan from the start. Marc seemed too aloof in a "running hot and cold" kind of way, that I didn't find appealing. His character was very nice though and he had a lot of drama in his life.

The ending - though unfair (I know she needed to feel connecter but snif) - really made me wish I had the second book in my hands right NOW! :P

In a nutshell: Read it now!!!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

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