Here are a few sites where they announce the release of Bewitched: http://wormyhole.blogspot.com/2013/03/blog-tour-bewitched-by-mark-j-harris.html
Here is a review of Bewitched: http://overflowingbookshelves.com/blog-tour-review-bewitched-by-mark-harris/
I didn’t know what to think of this story when I first read the synopsis. There are a lot of stories about witches but very few with a male protagonist that is fighting against the witches. I thought it’d be an interesting take on an old tale (witches and warlocks, good vs. evil) and I’m glad to say that it was.
I got drawn into the story right along Darren, I wanted to know if Samantha was a witch (and I had some questions about Andrea as well). I liked the interplay between the characters, it seemed like they were really in high school with petty jealousies flaring up, girlfriends worried about their relationships, and the guys worried about make State Finals in basketball. When you add the paranormal elements to the story, the story and the characters got more fleshed out. One of the most overlooked characters (especially at the beginning), but became one of my favorites was Crissy. There was just something about her even though we really don’t get to see her that much in the first third of the book. For those few pages she was in and the few sentences she uttered, she intrigued me. I was glad that my liking her was vindicated in the latter half of the book. It just reminded me that the most unexpected things can come in small packages.
The only had an issue with two things in the book: keeping the characters separate in my mind at the beginning of the book and the introduction of Darren’s powers. I know the story is set in high school but there were times when it was really hard to keep track of who was important in Darren’s circle of friends. When we’re first introduced to them we meet around
six new characters all at once, all of who are cheerleaders or basketball players. Even though the names were different it was I found myself having to stop and figure out who exactly these characters were to Darren. It got better, though, as the story continued and Harris fleshed his characters out more.
The other issue, the introduction to Darren’s powers, was a little rushed in my mind. I know Darren’s been hearing these stories for years from his grandfather (so the idea of magic isn’t that hard for him) but I, as the reader, have not been privy to these stories. As such, when Darren is being introduced to this whole new world I had trouble keeping up at times. There was a lot of information revealed in a short period of time that I was left wondering how it all interconnected. But like before, Harris does a good job of showing what is important to the story line.
Overall I liked the book and am interested in seeing where Harris goes next with the story.
Another review: http://lustforstories.blogspot.com/2013/03/review-bewitched-by-mark-jay-harris.html
Bewitched is urban fantasy story told from a male perspective. Darren's just a typical teenage boy, but with a less than
happy life at home. His brother's dead, and his parents have withdrawn into a half-life. How could it get worse? What's even worse is that he's actually part of this "magical" group that makes him think his family's bonkers.
To be completely honest, I liked darren's perspective, but just liked. Though Mark Jay Harris created a comfortable character to read, I didn't feel like he had that grit of a teenage boy. Darren's monologue and dialogue didn't feel entirely real, and while I find that alright, he could've used an extra edge to make Darren a real character that I could sympathize with and connect to.
While I do find Darren's character a bit lacking in the "real" sense, I admire Harris' ability to mesh different characters together in a way that creates texture. Do you know what I'm talking about? No? In simpler words, Harris creates characters
to provide different feelings, different atmospheres for his readers. That's something to be admired.
As a conclusion, yes, Bewittched may have some points that can do with a bit of improvement, but for a first novel, this is a truly exciting read. The world-building, different characters can all easily suck one in, and I'm glad that Inkspell Publishing, who are amazing, gave me this opportunity to be a tour host for Bewitched!
And another good review: http://jackiesbookworld.blogspot.com/2013/03/book-tour-review-bewitched-thaumaturgy.html
The story starts of with Ethan's funeral, Darren's brother, who at the time was a normal high school student until he started seeing weird things happening around him that he could only see. Unaware of what was happening to him, he decides to
ignore them, but it was hard to do so when his grandfather start telling him what he is and what he is destined to do. The story takes off from there, and it becomes one with twists and turns that left me wanting for more. It was well written, full of action, secrets and surprises. When a new girl, Samantha, enrolls as a student in the same high school, Darren is left to wonder whether or not there is a reason why she was there. The interactions that he has with those closest to him are vital in order to fulfill his destiny, they all play an important role in his life. The complexity of the characters make the story just
that much more interesting and exciting to read. Mark's use of detail and history (with a twist) made the story believable. The ending left me wanting for more. Overall, Mark Harris has created a world that is exciting, where witches, demons, and those that are after the witches coexist. From the first page to the last, I was able to go into this world that he has created with so much detail. I was intrigued and bewitched by this story, and I can't wait to read the next book of the series, “The Return of the Familiar.”
It gets mentioned her and includes a long excerpt:
Here's a really great review: http://www.leisurereads.com/bewitched-mark-jay-harris/
With a book cover showcasing a boy playing with fire, I sort of assumed the protagonist would be somebody who had already mastered the art of fire magic …
I was wrong.
Darren leads a relatively normal life. He is a basketball team player. He has a few good friends. He likes to have fun and he has a pretty girlfriend. Life on the outside seems good but he knows his parents are still mourning the death of his big brother. When he discovers the secret compartment in his big brother’s room and retrieves its content, he knows his dying grandfather has been telling him tales that are not fabricated but real. Being a part of an ancient order, the “Pessum Ire”, whose duty is to destroy witches, Darren feels helpless – his grandfather is not in the right state of health to be his mentor and he has no idea how to prepare himself to face the evil witches. Will he suffer the same tragic death just like his big brother?
I must say I was a little disappointed at first when I learned that Darren did not know what he could possibly do to tap into his supernatural power. It’s like he’s so clueless about himself. How can he be so powerless?? I was baffled, but as I read and got to know him a bit better, I started to see him more as a determined survivor and less as a frustrated teenager. No
doubt, it’s unfortunate that he had no one to “show him the way” but it didn’t necessarily mean he had a lesser chance to stay alive.
In the story, Darren suffers not just from his ill-fated duty, but also from betrayals of those who are around him. I’m pretty marveled by the number of evil witches that are in disguise and because Darren is not trained to discern witches from normal people, he is defenseless. But I like that Darren never uses his lack of training as an excuse to enslave himself as a
helpless victim. His determination to get out of his mess opens him to uncover a world of allies, magic and power and I like that the outcome and reward are both pleasing and satisfactory.
I guess what intrigues me the most is that I could never be certain about whether a person is a true friend or foe until the very last page of the book. The hint of what’s truly evil lies not just in those who are power hungry but also in the deceptive, self-fulfilled nature of foresight and prophecy. There are so many intricate layers to the plot that I can’t help but be amazed.
And while my assumption about Darren being this skilled teenager with fire magic was not entirely accurate, the image on the book cover does capture the essence of the climactic moment of the story. Although I feel somewhat relieved that
most of the evil people are now identified, I know something devilishly sinister is looming and I look forward to reading the next installment when it’s available.
Here's a very nice review from Heather B at:
I loved it! It was action packed and filled with twists and turns that I was just dying to turn the next page! The words flowed off the page, and I found myself caught up in the world that Mark Jay Harris transcribed. I literally just could not put this book down! I love when books have twist, preferably when they are written in the guys point of view. We never really know what the guy is thinking in most young adult books, so I found it refreshing that the point of view was in Darren's perspective.
It doesn't take long for the story to grab you either. I was pulled into the storyline from the first paragraph. The story starts off with Darren's brothers funeral, and strange happenings amongst the funeral that only he can see. There are some strange men that seem to show up when a bright flash of light appears. The story only progresses from there.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I can only hope that the sequel will live up to these expectations I have set from this debut!
Overall: 5 OWLS!!
Here's another terrific review from: http://thekookybookworm.blogspot.com/
I have to say, I thought this book was pretty amazing. The cover was pretty cool, and I thought that it may be the best thing, but the story upped it by several notches. Just a warning for everyone who loves a good book.
Bewitched is about a boy called Darren who is your average high school guy. He plays basketball, has a girlfriend, very average. His brother died. Darren finds out that his brother died fighting witches and he's supposed to fight them too.
Only his grandfather has health issues and can't help him so he has to figure it out all on his own. And the new girl? Yeah, he thinks she's a witch. I mean, she was floating above the school gymnasium and all. And another fun thing? He has the hots for her. Very messy and complicated.
Suddenly he's not so average after all, is? And he is having trouble trying to tap into his magical abilities. Honestly, he's pretty clueless. Poor guy. You can't help but feel at least a little twinge of sympathy for him.
A lot happens in this book, and Darren has a lot to go through by himself. I'm not going to reveal and details--sorry, but your going to have to read the book yourself--but I will say that I thought this story was compelling and... magical. Pun intended.
When you read Bewitched, you'll love it. There's a lot you have to understand, and that takes time (don't all books?) but in the ended your left with a feeling of completeness as the story comes full circle. I hated not knowing who the evil person was in the story, and that drove me to finish the book as fast as possible. It was like an itch I couldn't scratch. Kudos to you, Mark Jay Harris. You really left me wanting more.