Author: Tracy E. Banghart
Series: By Blood #1
Publication date: February 18th, 2013
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please.
Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby half-brother, and it's a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can't fix. Even worse, there's (hot) live-in research assistant Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he'll be witness to her family's dysfunction all. summer. long.
But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom... and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It's all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.
Trouble is, intriguing doesn't often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.
By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others--or tear us apart.
I received an e-copy of this book for a book tour in exchange for an honest review.
This was one of the first book tours I joined when I first started blogging. The premise was intriguing and unique. I had never read anything that referenced Druid practices nor had I read anything that had an air of psychological studies that completely enthralled me as a Psychology major.
Emma is being shipped off for the summer away from her friends and the father she is extremely close to in favor of spending time with her mother who left her father for another man and had saw fit to create a whole new family without her. The animosity Emma carries from the airplane to the quaint home she will now share with her absent mother, her mother's new family, and an attractive research assistant to her new stepfather, is incredibly thick and suffocating.
Needing an escape, Emma starts exploring her new surroundings in fantastic England. Along the way she meets an odd but sweet girl, named Ash, who introduces Emma to a new world of Druid rituals and a togetherness she never imagined possible. Among Ash's friends is the dark and mysterious, Simon, who Emma feels inexplicably drawn to from the very start.
As Emma dives further into the depths of her Druid family, she starts to wonder if Simon truly is as wonderful as he seems, or if the love of her life may just be spending the summer under the same roof as her. Josh or Simon? Welcome to the wonderful world of love triangles!
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading By Blood. I thought there would be more mystical magic as is usual in paranormal reads, but what I got was more of a mystery. What is real? What is only in Emma and her friends' minds? It was surprising how much psychology was found in the book instead of the paranormal being the main focal point. I was pleasantly surprised.
What I had issue with was Emma's boy hopping. She ultimately danced between Josh and Simon as is usual in a love triangle. But there were also other points in which she flirted and delighted in the company of others. I understand that she was struggling with her family dysfunction and was looking for some sort of comfort in any arms she could find, but that left me feeling like any sort of connection she feels with the two main male characters was false. When something went wrong with Josh, Simon was the one she was fawning over and vice versa. I have never liked girls that used men in that manner. My feelings for Emma were lacking, but my love for preppy and studious Josh made up for it a bit.
By Blood is the perfect mesh of ancient history and modern psychology. It causes it's reader to question the reality of the paranormal as well as embracing the importance of family and having a strong support system. Sometimes the people one thinks care the least are actually the people who care the most.
About the Author:
Tracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie-loving, fantasy football-playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Amy wife who began "practicing" her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family's cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.
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