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Fatal Magic (Unstable Magic, #2) by Emily Bybee

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Someone wants Sydney dead. Only problem is, she has no idea who. Pushing her off a cliff, thinking the deadly ocean waves will finish their dirty-work, was their first mistake. The near-death experience opens channels of uncontrollable magic, which Sydney is told should have remained dormant. As if finding out magic is real and hit-lists aren’t enough, Sydney discovers her family lied to her. They were witches too. But they’re all dead. And she’s left to fend off the psychos after her blood with only Luke, her childhood crush turned steamy college student, on her side. Turns out being a witch isn’t as awesome as you’d think, especially when your magic has fatal consequences.

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EXCERPT

A noxious scent assaulted my nose the moment I stepped into my room. With a hand over my face, I dropped my swim bag by the bed and glared at my roommate, Rowan.

“What did you put in it this time?” I waved at the oil diffuser that continued to pump toxic vapor into the air.

She didn’t lift her attention from the chemistry textbook in her lap. “It’ll help us remember everything for the test tomorrow. It’s eucalyptus, tea tree, patchouli, cypress, a couple of others, and peppermint of course.”

“Of course.” Rowan claimed peppermint would cure everything from headaches to zits. I flopped on my bed and looked at the poster tacked to the ceiling above me. Golden eyes stared back from the cheetahs, my favorite animal.

“You’ll get used to the smell in a few minutes.”

“I’m not studying.” I wrinkled my nose. “I don’t need to remember more chemistry. I have a C.”

“How can you be happy with a C?” she gasped. “Chemistry is like the key to life.”

“I will never need to remember anything in that book.” I waved to the text and met her glare with raised eyebrows. “Come on, let’s do something fun.”

She rolled her eyes. “Some of us have to keep our GPA up.”

Rowan was on a scholarship. She had to keep her Grade Point Average above a three- point-seven five to stay in school. I groaned into my pillow at the thought of trying to cram more useless molecular knowledge into my unwilling brain. “Hand me your book. I’ll quiz you.”

Her face brightened like a puppy who’d been asked if she wanted to go for a walk. “Really? You’re the best-est friend ever.”

The music erupting from my cell phone stopped my response.

Rowan glanced at the display and stuck her tongue out. “Uncle Pete.”

I groaned, but a small seed of hope sprouted—like it always did when he called. I quashed the hope and denied the call before the inevitable disappointment set in. “The token phone call.”

“You aren’t going to answer?”

I got to my feet on legs that were already feeling two hours spent in the pool at swim and dive practice. “No, let’s go for a run.”

“It’s okay, you go ahead.” Rowan hunched her back and smashed her face into the chemistry book. Her long dark hair fell forward and muffled her voice. “I have to figure out these acid-base reactions.”

Slipping on my running shoes, I grabbed her notecards. “We can quiz each other while we run. It’ll be fun.” I waved the cards just out of her grasp. “I seem to remember some smart person telling me about a study saying you learn things better if you’re moving.”

“Fine. I guess getting the blood flow going might help.” She stretched and groaned. “I can’t feel my feet.”

An hour later, I sat at my desk, water bottle in hand. Running outside in the brisk air and brilliant fall leaves calmed my nerves like nothing else. Our boarding school sat on eight-hundred acres of Hudson River Valley heaven near New York City.

My cell phone, which I’d left in our dorm, during our run, spouted its ringtone again.

“It’s probably your uncle. You should answer,” Rowan said.

I waved it off. “I’ll call him tomorrow. You getting an A is more important.”

Shaking her head, she grabbed the phone. Her brow wrinkled. “It’s a weird number.” She smirked and answered. “Sydney’s House of Limp Noodles, how may I direct your call?”

I stifled my laughter.

The smile faded from Rowan’s face.

With a tilt of my head, I mouthed, “What?”

“May I ask who’s calling?” she asked, in a tone I’d only ever heard her use with teachers.

Nausea tightened my stomach, and my left hand went to the ring on my right ring finger, my own personal nervous habit. Some people twirl their hair or bite their nails—I mess with my ring. It’s better than sucking on pens, if you ask me.

With her hand over the mouthpiece, she held the phone away from her face and screeched, “You’re going to want to take this. It’s him.”

I pushed away from my desk. “What? Who?”

She held out her arms and shook her head. “Who have you been talking about for, like, years?”

I threw my hands out in the air. “Edward?”  

 “Seriously?” She scrunched up her nose and blinked a few times. “You think a vampire is on the phone? It’s Luke.”

Every muscle froze. I stared at my cell as if I could see the caller through the minuscule holes in the receiver. I’d decided Luke was the boy I wanted to marry at the age of six. I might have still been harboring a fantasy or three along those lines.

Rowan gave me an encouraging nod and busied herself with dumping something new in the oil diffuser. The toxic fumes mixed with a soothing lavender scent.

“Hello?” I squeaked. Rowan’s brow furrowed, and she motioned for me to breathe. I inhaled the fragrant mist. A calmness spread over me.

“Sydney? It’s Luke. How are you doing?” His voice had changed since we last talked. Deeper now, and more masculine in tone.

“I’m great, awesome. I’m…” I stammered. My gaze searched the room for something more exciting than studying. They settled on the warmer on Rowan’s dresser. “Waxing my armpits.”

I bit my lips and pinched the bridge of my nose.

“Ouch,” he said.

Ripping out sweaty hair. Sexy. My heart thudded against my ribcage. Rowan smacked her own forehead and collapsed onto her bed like a silent movie star. I sent her a glare.

“Syd, there’s something I need to tell you. My mom called you earlier on Pete’s phone. I’m not sure how to say this.” His tone conveyed the message clearly. He definitely hadn’t called to profess his undying love.

My voice sounded hollow, even to my own ears. “Then just say it.”

“Your uncle had a heart attack this morning. I’m sorry Syd. He’s gone.”

I didn’t hear anything else he said. The phone dropped to the floor from my frozen fingers.

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MY REVIEW

Hot fury churned shards of glass in my belly. Someone tried to make it look like I killed myself. And everyone so easily believed it to be true.

Someone is trying to kill Sydney Flannagan because of a secret that has been dormant until her near death experience. Her powers as a Defect, a witch with a special gene, have come to light and there are people out there who want her dead along with her parents and uncle.  With the help of a long-time friend and crush, Luke, who is also a witch, and Rowan, an Earth witch and her best friend from school, she is thrown into a race for life and time that could get them all killed.

This is the second book in the Unstable Magic Series that I have read and actually I like it better than the first.  Sydney is a fearless bad ass with a third-degree black belt who not only kicks butt with her newly found powers, but in hand-to-hand combat with witches.  She has to learn her new witch skills pretty quickly to save herself and her friends before it is too late.

Bybee writes strong characters with flaws and does a great job developing their personalities and traits that make them unique.  The conflicts the characters face make them more interesting and relatable which move the story along smoothly.

I loved Sydney’s face-paced and harrowing story and it can be read on its own,  though I’m glad I read Fractured Magic first just so that I could see how Maddie and Jax fared in this book.  I can’t wait to read Rowan’s story.

Thank you to Ms. Bybee for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

EmilyBybeeEmily grew up loving to read and escape into stories. She began writing her own at the age of twelve. In college she focused on science and graduated with a degree in Environmental Biology. After college she began writing again but quickly realized she had failed to take a single writing or grammar class. Luckily, she’s a quick learner. Emily now lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband, three amazing children, and way too many animals. She still enjoys making up stories and can’t seem to leave out the paranormal elements because they are just too much fun.

Follow Emily on her websiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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