Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Hollywood Witch Hunter" (ARC Review)

My rating: ★★★★★

Author: Valerie Tejeda

Series: Book #1 ("Hollywood Witch Hunter" series)

Genre: Supernatural, Action, Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 232 (e-book)

Release Date: July 20th, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark

Places to order:
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (eBook)

About Valerie:

Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: Vanity Fair, MTV, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more.

As a journalist, Valerie has conducted interviews with best-selling authors as well as fashion designers, celebrity stylists, including Selena Gomez’s stylist Basia Richards, professional athletes, and actors and producers from hit shows on FOX, CW, and ABC.

With Latina, North African and Jewish ancestry, Valerie is passionate about not only promoting diversity, but also, writing stories with diverse characters.

Valerie Tejeda holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and is currently based in California with her husband where she reads loads of books, binge-watches Netflix, and drinks tons of coffee. Her debut young adult novel HOLLYWOOD WITCH HUNTER will be published worldwide by Bloomsbury Publishing under their Spark imprint in 2015.

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads


From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.

Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.

But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.

Together they're ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that's what witch hunters do.

My review:

Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Spark for a digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. (This is a *NON-SPOILER* review!)

Step aside Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, get ready to meet the new heroine on the block. Iris Maria Bently is a kick-ass, Latina witch hunter who's ready to show Hollywood what she's made of.

Hollywood Witch Hunter is fast-paced and witty with a unique set of characters that aren't what you typically see in an action-packed, supernatural YA novel. This book will surely capture the attention of fans of "Supernatural," The Mortal Instruments and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."

When Valerie emailed me about her debut book, I was immediately intrigued and had to look up the synopsis, because the title Hollywood Witch Hunter got me wondering what kind of book this was going to be. After I read the synopsis, I definitely wanted to get the chance to read this and thank god I looked it up on NetGalley. This novel is a new favorite, for sure, because Valerie incorporated so much into this novel AND was able to keep the story rolling at an incredible speed to point where I was sitting, wondering where the rest of the pages went and realized that I was already done (you can imagine how upset I was that there wasn't more...). Now I'm going to talk about the main characters and how I liked their roles in the story.

Iris. This girl is definitely a new favorite amongst the list of heroines that I feel each represent a different side of YA that a reader can relate to. Iris is a half Columbian witch hunter--the first ever female witch hunter--and she is tough, snarky, loyal, and passionate. She has the characteristics that I feel that everyone wants to have and admires because even though she's stubborn at times, she's passionate about her job as a with hunter and just wants to feel like she's truly part of the witch hunting world. But throughout the novel, Iris has to go through a lot as a first-ever female witch hunter and being a teenager, as if that wasn't already hard enough. As a witch hunter, she has to deal with the men witch hunters who tell her that she has not right to work in the field and that she wasn't good enough just because she's a girl (*insert eye-roll*). And on top of all that, she has to deal with being a teenage girl: dealing with boys, jumbled up emotions, and finding her way in the world.

Knox. As someone who's an only child, I would love to have Knox as an older brother. He's a flirt that likes to goof-off with Dex (Iris and Knox's cousin) like any other 18-year old, but he protects Iris and loves her fiercely, which is something I admire in an older brother. When his and Iris's father has to leave for a witch hunting job, he puts Knox in charge which makes him responsible for Iris and the decisions that he has to make for the Hollywood witch hunters. With all this responsibility, he has to step up and make the hard choices while also trying to give Iris the opportunities to advance as a witch hunter since he's fully aware of the crap she has to go through as the only female witch hunter.

Arlo. Out of all the YA I've read in my life, I don't think I've ever encountered a character quite like Arlo. For the closest comparison that I could think of, Arlo is similar to Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Arlo is nerdy (in the best kind of way), easy-going, open, and kind. He is one of the two love interests in this story that is brand new to the witch hunting world. He was found by the witch hunters in San Francisco and because he had no idea he was a witch hunter, they decided to send him Hollywood since the witch hunters in Hollywood have a better training facility and program for him. Immediately upon arrival, something sparks between Iris and Arlo. He's extremely friendly and curious about the world that Iris lives in and it's her job to help and guide him through what the witch hunters do and the rules that are set. As the story goes, him and Iris have an interesting relationship that gets complicated because certain people enter the story (aka Silos and Belinda).

Silos. OK, this guy is a YA character that I would love to meet in real life. He's from Scotland (*swoons*) and his role in this story is rather interesting since he is the other love interest and he shares the same strange dreams as Iris, which draws them together. Silos is extremely good looking but mysterious as he enters Iris's life, which complicates her feelings for Arlo. There are multiple things that occur between Iris and Silos that bring them closer together but there are also instances where, as the reader, you know that there's something not quite right about him and that he's keeping something from Iris. At the end of the novel, it made it very hard to pick between Silos and Arlo because Silos starts to really care for Iris, which makes him even more swoon worthy (besides his Scottish accent).

Belinda. In the witch hunter world (well, at least in Hollywood), Belinda is the witch that you wouldn't want to mess with. The books start off with a story about Belinda and how the witches were all cursed by her; in order for her to stay young and beautiful, Belinda takes the lives of young women who fit the profile of a stuck-up rich girl. And because of this, Belinda placed a curse on all the witches in Hollywood that forces them to take these types of lives in order to survive. In the beginning, things are black and white: witches are bad and witch hunters kill them. There are deaths that begin to occur in this story, and Iris immediately believes that Belinda is to blame since she's the leader of the witches and the first death to occur was a very high profile actress. But as the story continues, we get to see a different side of Belinda and this upsets Iris because, first, she gets jealous when Belinda meets Arlo and things happen between them, and two, Iris has been told to believe that all witches are bad, especially Belinda--so it's hard for Iris to change her opinion about her. Belinda plays a significant role in this story and especially in the ending. I enjoyed this character and can't wait to see what she's going to do in the next book.

I know that a lot of readers are sick of books with love triangles, but I assure you, this love triangle isn't crazy intense like Bella, Edward, and Jacob status; this book keeps most of the focus on the deaths that are occurring in Hollywood and how Iris, the other witch hunters, and some unlikely allies solve this mystery.

Now, in this book, there are different types of witches! Valerie did an amazing job creating and making up different classifications of witches instead of just saying that a witch does magic.

  1. Ethas witch has access to elemental spells such as fire, water, air and earth. 
  2. Matas witch has access to spells that can summon animals or insects.
  3. Protas witch has access to telepathic and telekinetic spells.

At the end, Valerie dropped a couple cliff-hanger bombs for us.

One of the cliff-hangers got me like...

and another cliffhanger got me like.....

and now, this is me dying to read the next book


Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it 5 out of 5 stars because this is Val's first novel and for a first novel, this one was packed with a little bit of everything and leaves you wanting to know what's going to happen next for Iris and the other characters! I think Val created an great, new-take on the world with witches and witch hunters, and I really liked how this novel is a diverse YA, because many readers these days have troubling relating to a protagonist and connecting with the story on a different level, but this novel is something that everyone can relate to and enjoy fully.

Here's the *super* shortened version of what goes on in this book:

  • Fast-paced 
  • Fun(ny)
  • Variety of interesting characters 
  • Not-too-complicated love triangle
  • Kick-ass, Latina heroine
  • New take on witches (Ethas, Matas, Protas)
  • Plot twists
On a side note, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Valerie when she came down for the YA Book Bash and she was an awesome host! You guys, she's honestly so so kind and super sweet and it would amazing if you guys check her out via social media (in the "About Valerie" section at the top) and buy her book online!

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