Spells of Blood and Kin - TEASER REVIEW

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey

Baba had been dead for four days by the time Lissa got to speak with her.

This is how Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey begins, and boy is it a great first line! A solid debut novel by Ms. Humphrey, the book features solid character building, and an incredibly interesting take on kitchen witchcraft featuring what seems like eastern european berserkers. We have sisterly bonding with main character Lissa and step-sister Stella, two seemingly polar opposites learning to a new life with one another. There’s an undercurrent of romance between Lissa and Stella’s coworker, Rafe, whom I loved and thought, wow, I want one of those!

On the flip side, you have the gruff and tough kin,  the berserker type super humans, who have insatiable blood lust. Constantly drinking and fighting, theirs is a constant internal struggle to retain their humanity. World weary Maksim is forced to deal with the return of his raging frenzy after Baba dies. Tagging along is progeny Augusta who sees the world a bit differently than her maker.

There is a lot more I want to say, but I’ll save that for the full review in May before the book’s release June 14th. Needless to say, it does well as a standalone novel, but I do hope we get a follow-up!


Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom. Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.

Lissa Nevsky’s grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now, to give them their remedies and be their koldun’ia. But Lissa hasn’t had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her―let alone the things Baba kept hidden.

Maksim Volkov’s birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it. Without the spell, it is only a matter of time before Maksim’s violent nature slips its leash and he infects someone else―if he hasn’t done so already.

Nick Kaisaris is just a normal dude who likes to party. He doesn’t worry about family drama. He doesn’t have any secrets. All he wants is for things to stay like they are right now, tonight: Nick and his best buddy Jonathan, out on the town. Only Nick is on a collision course with Maksim Volkov, and what he takes away from this night is going to crack open Nick’s nature until all of his worst self comes to light.

Lissa’s legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim’s salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it’s a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved…

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication: June 14, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Witchy, Paranormal
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: amazon | b&n | book depo

About Lulu

Thirty-something year old educator based in New York, Lulu loves books, blogging, gaming, and the three cats with whom she shares her life. Book reviews specialize in all kinds of fantasy, some YA, some romance, and some contemporary, especially in the gothic genre.