ARC Review: Spellbound by Rebecca L. Garcia

About the Book:

Title: Spellbound

Author: Rebecca L. Garcia

Publication Date: Sept. 3, 2021

Synopsis: A dark and twisted fantasy standalone romance, where hate and love collide in a world filled with snarky witches and vengeful gods. Perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and Kingdom of the Wicked

Grieving being torn from her beloved sister, who remained behind in the human kingdom, Elle makes it her life purpose to become a keeper in her cursekeeper coven.

But this calling won’t be an easy one.

The magic possessed by her small coven of four casts them as outsiders throughout the kingdom. Yet when witches are found murdered in the woods, the cursekeepers quickly become the town’s only hope.
Many believe the murders are the work of a god. An old one returned in search of vengeance. Elle, on the other hand, suspects Viktor, the new warlock to town, is somehow linked to the violent deaths. However, his agenda doesn’t stop there.

Infiltrating her coven.
Charming everyone around him.
Threatening her plans to become a keeper.
This rivalry quickly becomes personal.

When the truth behind the murders surfaces, Elle finds herself thrust into a dangerous new world, trapped between twisted hearts and terrifying beings. With the victims piling up, she must decide who to trust and who to protect before it’s too late.

Embraced by Darkness is a collection of standalone books set in the same world without an overarching plot, which means you can start with any books in the series and pick and choose which ones you want to read. This collection of novels follows different couples as they go from enemies to friends to lovers, while facing dangerous obstacles in a world split between humans, witches and gods, set in two kingdoms that separate them.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon    |    

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My Review:

I was so excited to receive an ARC of Spellbound, the first in her new series Embraced by Darkness. This is a captivating paranormal love story filled with action, danger, a swoon-tastic enemies-to-lovers romance, and more. The standalone book is the first in the series, and each subsequent book will be a standalone set in the same world.

Elle is a compelling protagonist. Smart, brave, and loyal, she often doesn’t give herself enough credit. And I love the found family aspect of the story. Elle was ripped from her sister when she was young and placed in this coven where she was embraced by its members. They’ve formed a wonderful unit, and I like how much they tease, encourage, and challenge each other. Above all, they are there for each other. It is so natural and loving and so different from the childhood Elle experienced.

Elle also has a deep connection to her sister, who she was torn from when Elle’s magic was discovered. It’s been years since Elle has seen her sister, and she is determined to reunite with her. That’s why she so desperately wants to become a keeper of her coven. This will give her the opportunity to find her sister and possibly return to the coven with her. I love this part of the story and how strong their sisterly bond is. There is nothing Elle wouldn’t do for the people she loves, her sister included.

Of course, my favorite part of the story is the romance. The chemistry between Elle and Viktor is fantastic from the beginning! They have this love-hate, will-they-or-won’t-they kind of relationship that I totally adored. Some of their conflict stems from the fact that they are both vying for the same position within their coven. Elle is also a bit suspicious of Vicktor when she first meets him, and she questions his ulterior motives. Viktor is so enigmatic, and his flirtatious banter really pulls Elle in. He changes Elle’s life exponentially, and their relationship is riddled with obstacles, many of which are deadly. Through it all, Elle and Viktor have a ton sexual tension, and I loved how their relationship progressed. Plus, their spicy scenes are pretty sexy.

The fantasy elements and world-building are also intriguing. Gods and goddesses, witches and warlocks, magic, supernatural beasts, the underworld, and more create this vivid and immersive world. Elle has lived in two very different places – one of magic and one that hates magic. Though most of the novel takes place in the magic-wielding kingdom, both are unique and vividly depicted. The author also uses these immersive worlds to enhance and highlight the tone of the story, which is really well done.

The story follows Elle as she works her way up in her coven, faces new competition, struggles with relationships, and faces a much more dangerous future than she ever expected. There are also many unusual, violent, and inexplicable murders that Elle and the others must try to solve while they act as Cursekeeprs for their kingdom. And just when I thought I knew which direction the story was headed, it went in a surprising direction. I love the twists and turns throughout the novel and the unpredictability of the plot.

A dark and romantic story with excellent world-building and compelling characters, Spellbound is an immersive and suspenseful story. This author never disappoints with her storytelling, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! I’m so thankful to Rebecca L. Garcia for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The found family!
  • The magical/supernatural elements.

Favorite Lines:

History is the only way to prepare for the future.

Dismissing the past doesn’t make problems go away.

Nothing shook the fragility of mortality like being surrounded by the dead.

The world could be on fire, and I’d still have you.


I think this book will appeal to readers who enjoy YA or adult fantasy-romance with unique charactrers, strong-willed female protagonists, and swoon-worthy love stories.

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