DNF Book Review: Birthspell (Lebrus Stone #1)

Title: Birthspell

Author: Miriam Khan

Pub. Date: March 23, 2020

Pages: 311

Pub: Amazon Digital Services

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️.5

He’s bad news.
Full of himself, brutally honest and arrogant.
Under that gorgeous mask is something dark and twisted, and he’s claimed me as his victim.

When orphan Crystal visits a great aunt she’s just met in Blacksville, West Virginia, she sets some rules for herself:

#1 – Don’t get too close to anyone.
#2 – Don’t expect too much.
#3 – Don’t fall for the town’s bad boy like everyone else.

While she finds the last one frustrating, Crystal has no intention of giving into any weaknesses. That is until she’s told there’s a curse that’s been running through her family for generations, and it seems the one she needs to avoid is the key to bringing it to an end.

Now all bets are off. Only a single line separates her from the side of magical beings, and she’s crossing it.

But she learns rules are in place for a reason. The hidden world in the seemingly small and innocent town goes far beyond the one she knows and understands.

It’s a world where humans once visited and have been warned not to return.


This will be a short review – there may be some light spoilers but nothing story ruining. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I requested this months ago, when I was on a witch kick, and I figured I would enjoy it.

I’ve been reading and reviewing for so long now, that it really doesn’t take much time for me to figure out if I’m going to like a book or not. Unfortunately, in the case of this book, I knew about 10% in. I usually try to give books until at least 30% before I DNF, but I’m making an exception.

Just within the first 3-4 chapters of this book, I have so many complaints.

  1. The MC goes through a complete personality change in a matter of pages.
  2. The arrival of the long-lost Great Aunt.
  3. The beyond obvious love triangle. If it’s not done right, I don’t want it.
  4. The MC’s insistence on her name, only to then introduce herself by something else entirely. (This was a whole thing at the beginning of the book).
  5. So much telling. No showing.
  6. Obvious continuity errors – she puts converse on, and two pages later she’s wearing sandals. (Even if this is an ARC, there’s no excuse).
  7. It’s incredibly cheesy, but not in the feel-good way. But in the “I’m cringing way”.
  8. The MC’s eye for high fashion and her ability to buy the latest designer stuff at thrift stores. Uh-huh, sure.
  9. The MC working to establish her own life, only to leave it all behind to go to South Carolina. (Again, she had a life plan, and now it doesn’t matter).

Anything dealing with the MC – Crystalla “Crystal” “Crys” Valdez is weird. She’s an orphan whose parents died. Then she was taken in by an aunt, who died and now she’s got this surprise Great Aunt who’s cagey af. Crystal goes from moody, brooding, apprehensive orphan to this bright shiny “I suddenly flirt with guys even though it’s not my usual personality” person in a span of like, no time at all. It’s jarring.

Possibly because I’m choosing to not finish this book, but all the character motivations – well, lack of motivations – make me not care. I got almost 15% in and I have no reason why I should care about anything happening, or anyone. Crystal isn’t likeable enough to just blindly back her. The love interests are your typical incredibly attractive bad boys, and one is significantly more charming and the other is more protective and keeps her at arm’s length.

I mean, it’s all just so blatantly obvious and relies too much on tropes to feel original. I only read 13% and I can tell you exactly what book it reminds me of.

It’s like, if you were to gender bend Beautiful Creatures – or tell it from the girls POV instead of the guys. But it also doesn’t have the level of craft that book had.

I wanted to like this book. I’d hoped to like it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me and left a lot to be desired.

One thought on “DNF Book Review: Birthspell (Lebrus Stone #1)

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