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Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series. Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she's taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she'll need to Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series. Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she's taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she'll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case. Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene--dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone's eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.


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Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series. Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she's taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she'll need to Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series. Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she's taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she'll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case. Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene--dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone's eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.

30 review for Spells for the Dead

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Oh, Faith, you know I adore your Jane series, but it seems like every review I give for a Nell book, I say I like Nell just a tad bit more. And it's true. I love your Jane Yellowrock series and don't want it to end, but there's just something about Nell's amazing cast of characters. I'm always just as interested in the personal life parts of Nell as I am the case... especially in this one. There were some huge Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Oh, Faith, you know I adore your Jane series, but it seems like every review I give for a Nell book, I say I like Nell just a tad bit more. And it's true. I love your Jane Yellowrock series and don't want it to end, but there's just something about Nell's amazing cast of characters. I'm always just as interested in the personal life parts of Nell as I am the case... especially in this one. There were some huge wins in this book for me: Occam. Anything and everything Occam. #TeamPlantKitty Mud. Anything and everything Mud. #TeamAwesome Ayatas Firewind. So much depth and character development in this one. First time I've truly begun to like the man! Plant people. Yes a bit more history on plant people. :) The one big loss for me in this book was that I wanted more time with Rick and Margot, and they didn't get much "screen time." Also, Faith, dear, I'm not quite sure what you've done here, releasing this scary gross deathy-magic/working/energy stuff out into the Jane/Nell world. Terrifying!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    Sale Alert: Currently on sale on Kindle $1.99 on 27Sept20 I’ve enjoyed the Jane Yellowrock series quite a bit but there is just something about Nell and Soulwood that is just a little more special to me and I enjoy these books even more. Nell is coming into her own. Every book she gains a little more confidence in herself and her powers. Every book she finds a new way to open up to those around her. I really did enjoy the direction this book took with Nell’s trust in her team, finally letting loos Sale Alert: Currently on sale on Kindle $1.99 on 27Sept20 I’ve enjoyed the Jane Yellowrock series quite a bit but there is just something about Nell and Soulwood that is just a little more special to me and I enjoy these books even more. Nell is coming into her own. Every book she gains a little more confidence in herself and her powers. Every book she finds a new way to open up to those around her. I really did enjoy the direction this book took with Nell’s trust in her team, finally letting loose a few secrets she has been holding tight. Nell and Occam, well aren’t they just the cutest. Occam is such a good guy and he seems to get Nell in ways no one else does. I love his patience with her and how he works so hard to both make sure she is safe while not overshadowing her. He allows her to be her own person and that is huge. Ayatas Firewind hasn’t been someone I’ve liked in either series. But, in Spells for the Dead we get to dig into his character more and I’m starting to understand him more and might even like him a little. There is still a long way to make him a favorite character but he has some scenes that shine and he and Nell are not so different. There is some death and decay magic floating about and when a famous singer and some of her entourage die our team is sent to try and figure out what happened. It is a curious thing as bodies seem to wither and die. It is magical in origin but the team is having trouble narrowing down what kind of magic it is and why the singer might have been targeted. The plot of this was a bit twisty but when we reached the who done it part everything fell into place. There are just some scary things out there in Jane and Nell’s world. I always like learning more of what Nell is and how the Plant people came into this world, it was interesting to see the different ways their magic can be. The vampire tree is of special interest as I like seeing in each book how the protector of Soulwood evolves seems more sentient. Mudd is still totally funny and adorable. Ester bringing new life into Soulwood was beautiful and I’m very interested in anything plant baby related, especially what a plantkitty might be. But I’ll wait since I want many more adventures with Nell and the Psy team.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Most UF series' get bigger as they progress. Bigger guns, bigger explosions, bigger bad guys. It usually annoys me sooner or later and more often than not, sooner. In the Soulwood series the best thing is Nell on her land; her feuds with the religious cult that butts up against her land; her relationships with her family who still live in the cult; and her battle with what she is becoming. And Spells for the Dead well and truly delivers. In some ways it's a smaller story than earlier books in the Most UF series' get bigger as they progress. Bigger guns, bigger explosions, bigger bad guys. It usually annoys me sooner or later and more often than not, sooner. In the Soulwood series the best thing is Nell on her land; her feuds with the religious cult that butts up against her land; her relationships with her family who still live in the cult; and her battle with what she is becoming. And Spells for the Dead well and truly delivers. In some ways it's a smaller story than earlier books in the series but that smaller story leaves room for what I want, more Nell, more Mud and their growth as characters.

  4. 4 out of 5

    RachelW (BamaGal)

    3.5 Stars. Mixed emotions here. The storyline was good, different, but it dragged somewhat until about 70%, then took off. I read the term death and decay about a 150 times too many, and admittedly did a bit of skimming. What held it all together for me when the plot meandered a bit was Nell. She’s so different and refreshing as a character. She fascinates me. I don’t think I’ve read any character quite like her, or with her earth powers. She’s not a badass like Jane Yellowrock, but has a quiet 3.5 Stars. Mixed emotions here. The storyline was good, different, but it dragged somewhat until about 70%, then took off. I read the term death and decay about a 150 times too many, and admittedly did a bit of skimming. What held it all together for me when the plot meandered a bit was Nell. She’s so different and refreshing as a character. She fascinates me. I don’t think I’ve read any character quite like her, or with her earth powers. She’s not a badass like Jane Yellowrock, but has a quiet strength about her that grows along with her confidence in herself as a woman and a paranormal agent. I even find her romance with Occam a refreshing change from the norm, especially in this genre. I’m still enjoying the series, even if this one didn’t totally satisfy me. I like Jane, and I like Nell. They are good characters in different ways, but I think I actually prefer this series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Nell, now a full-fledged PsyLed Agent, is back with her team facing another mysterious paranormal crime scene that might push Nell beyond anything she has faced before. Rapidly deteriorating bodies are discovered at a country music star’s home and everyone that comes in contact with the scene becomes infected as well. A murderer is loose that kills fast and virtually undetectable will stealing the life force of everyone exposed. If that was not enough, PsyLed comes up against a Psy hating FBI ag Nell, now a full-fledged PsyLed Agent, is back with her team facing another mysterious paranormal crime scene that might push Nell beyond anything she has faced before. Rapidly deteriorating bodies are discovered at a country music star’s home and everyone that comes in contact with the scene becomes infected as well. A murderer is loose that kills fast and virtually undetectable will stealing the life force of everyone exposed. If that was not enough, PsyLed comes up against a Psy hating FBI agent that will do anything he has to do to attack the PsyLed and its agents. Faith Hunter wrote another amazing addition to the Soulwood series. I am loving the character growth and development as Hunter masterfully unravels the secrets of Nell’s and her sister’s mysterious classification, the mystery of the spreading life-sucking death and the budding relationship Nell has with Occum. As I mentioned, Nell is no longer a pro-B agent, but their team has added a new pro-B, Margot Racer. Hunter never disappoints with fast-moving, action-packed, meaty stories that you just can’t wait to sink your reader’s teeth into. The characters become friends and family you want to catch up with and once you do, you are bereft to leave. I received this ARC copy of Spells for the Dead from Berkley Publishing Group - ACE. This is my honest and voluntary review. My Rating: 5 stars FAVORITE SERIES Series: A Soulwood Novel (Book 5) Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages Publisher: Ace (July 28, 2020) ISBN-10: 0399587969 ISBN-13: 978-0399587962 Genre: Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Mystery

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisazj1

    4.5 stars! I love this world and all the paras in it so much. ❤️ And I'm definitely loving where the relationships are going. And I mean all of them, not just Nell and Occam. PsyLED-18 isn't just a para-investigative unit. They're family. And once again, greedy, greedy me has no more Soulwood to read until the next one. 😕 *sigh*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mitticus

    "We’re plant-people. Our true home is the land and the trees that grow on it.” First thoughts: - I LOVE Occam. He is the BEST. -Ok, i think i'm reconciled with the idea of Nell as non-human. -Faith: we are happy getting grudges for Jane, so I'm still mad with Ayatas. RTC

  8. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    3.5/5.0 I absolutely love the characters in this series! Maybe even more than the Jane Yellowrock series (and that is saying a TON!) Nell and her unlikely group of compatriots just feel like family. Ms. Hunter does such a fabulous job of wrapping them around our hearts, then tugging the strings - so much so that every interaction, every moment is a joy to experience. So, why 3 stars instead of 4? Well, the ins and outs were kind of convoluted and the ultimate “bad guy” was just as odd as it was ob 3.5/5.0 I absolutely love the characters in this series! Maybe even more than the Jane Yellowrock series (and that is saying a TON!) Nell and her unlikely group of compatriots just feel like family. Ms. Hunter does such a fabulous job of wrapping them around our hearts, then tugging the strings - so much so that every interaction, every moment is a joy to experience. So, why 3 stars instead of 4? Well, the ins and outs were kind of convoluted and the ultimate “bad guy” was just as odd as it was obscure. Ultimately, though - aside from my love of the characters - the story itself was really slow moving for me. The book just never drew me back in when I wasn’t reading. I could easily set it down at any point (up until the very end, which was FABULOUS) and wasn’t aching to get back to it like I have been in every other Hunter book. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m not chomping at the bit for the next book and thoroughly annoyed that it takes so long! This author’s characters are just too fabulous to dismiss.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This book took too long for me to finish considering I love this series and Nell is one of my favorite FMC's. Sadly, the "mystery" was boring and it dragged on with a lot of inconsequential characters coming in and out of the story with nothing but death scenes. I could easily set the book aside and not feel any passion or urge to return to read it. The books repetitive descriptions- "death and decay", blushing, tears welling in Nell's eyes and the police procedural stuff became annoying to read This book took too long for me to finish considering I love this series and Nell is one of my favorite FMC's. Sadly, the "mystery" was boring and it dragged on with a lot of inconsequential characters coming in and out of the story with nothing but death scenes. I could easily set the book aside and not feel any passion or urge to return to read it. The books repetitive descriptions- "death and decay", blushing, tears welling in Nell's eyes and the police procedural stuff became annoying to read. Another thing that really bothered me was that Ester's situations were resolved way to quickly and conveniently. After all we've read through Nell (and Mud) and her experiences it doesn't read true. I also missed Rick and Tandy who were absent till the end of the book. On the positive sides were with Nell's abilities, her trusting her co-workers, learning more about her magic and Fire Wind. The last chapters were the best part of the book ☺️

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bambi Unbridled

    I so enjoy spending time with Nell Inghram, our widder-woman who liberated herself from a cult in East Tennessee. Oh, and a yinehi with unique powers and abilities. I have loved watching her come into herself as the series has progressed. As Nell's experiences have grown beyond pizza and Krispy Kreme, she has amassed a family through blood and the land. So Nell is no longer our loner against the church, but now has a team to help fight battles both personal and professional. Her common sense app I so enjoy spending time with Nell Inghram, our widder-woman who liberated herself from a cult in East Tennessee. Oh, and a yinehi with unique powers and abilities. I have loved watching her come into herself as the series has progressed. As Nell's experiences have grown beyond pizza and Krispy Kreme, she has amassed a family through blood and the land. So Nell is no longer our loner against the church, but now has a team to help fight battles both personal and professional. Her common sense approach to life and solving crimes is endearing and inspiring. And her relationship with Occam, the werecat, is so dang cute that I can't help but smile at their interactions. In this latest installment, PsyLED is investigating a particularly nasty spree of death and decay like they have never seen before. We see them becoming more integrated, along with their new boss, Ayatas Firewind (who you will recognize as Jane Yellowrock's skin walking brother). There are fewer secrets among the team members, with hard conversations being had all around. I think the openness and support from unexpected places helps the team work as a more cohesive unit. While Nell always plays a big part in defeating the bug bad, this time I felt like she had to give less of herself to do so because she was able to rely on the rest of the team. I am also really enjoying the progression of the vampire tree and it's sentience. This aspect of the story has evolved quite a bit and I think the new spin is going to be very interesting for Nell and her family. I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 4.5 hearts I was excited to be back in the world of the Soulwood series. As with most urban fantasy, I would definitely read these in order. I have read the Jane Yellowrock series which I think also helps one to understand more of the world and characters. Plus it is just great reading. The Soulwood ser This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. 4.5 hearts I was excited to be back in the world of the Soulwood series. As with most urban fantasy, I would definitely read these in order. I have read the Jane Yellowrock series which I think also helps one to understand more of the world and characters. Plus it is just great reading. The Soulwood series is a spin-off from Jane Yellowrock and I love it just as much or more. The world continues to develop and expand as we learn more about different species and magics. Things are changing for Unit Eighteen of PsyLED also.  Rick is gone for most of this case, and Firewind is here and in charge.  We learn much more about Firewind, his character, history and magic. Nell is the heart of the story and she has so much growth and development here too.  She is trying to become the guardian for Mud.  Her pregnant sister, Esther, is also staying with her. I like how her relationship is now developing with her father and brothers now.  She is still working to the best of her ability in her new job.  Nell learns a bit more about her own abilities and origins, but I still want to know so much more. Nell and Occam have also taken their relationship to another level.  Along with that, it is public and they have a bit of PDA. This feels natural, I guess, but also a bit out of character in their professional world.  Nell does a good job of being independent even within a relationship, though.  I like how they handle this. The case is confusing, of course.  The team has a lot of work to save people and figure out why they are dying.  Even PsyLED doesn't know everything about different species and magic, so it is always fascinating and exciting.  It can also be dangerous.  Unfortunately, regular law enforcement is mostly uneducated, unhelpful and prejudiced. I really enjoyed this case in the richly developed world and characters. I am curious to see how Nell manages all the changes both personally and professionally. And I definitely want to know more about the magical world, as well as Nell's personal abilities.   Excerpt: “Was someone impersonating them on the phone?” “The band members insist not. They say it was Stella and she sounded fine, which, if correct, means extremely accelerated decomp.” Which provided one small reason why a PsyLED special agent might have been called in, but there were now three on the premises. Occam continued. “Within seconds after her crew called the police, Stella’s personal assistant, Monica Belcher, arrived and opened a shipping box of new tour T-shirts. She fell, dead when she hit the floor. She was still holding a wad of the new shirts. The bass player and the drummer ran to her but started feeling sick and the band and roadies evacuated the basement and called nine-one-one again to request paramedics. Local PD, Sheriff Jackett, and Tennessee FBI were all here in less than twenty minutes, and medic units from Nashville in thirty.” That was fast, even for murder. “Fame has its benefits,” I said, hearing unfamiliar sarcasm in my tone. I wondered if my derision was a remnant of kitchen-envy. Or maybe farm-envy. Or maybe just pure old envy-envy. “By the time the first LEOs and medics got here, Belcher’s arm—holding the shirts—was showing signs of rapidly advancing necrosis. It looks as if her flesh is rotting in time-lapse photography. Faster even than Stella Mae and Verna Upton.” “Why was someone opening a box of T-shirts when her boss was dead at a crime scene?” “They say Monica Belcher was one of those people who can’t sit still, always had to be doing something. She freaked out when they found the bodies and she started opening and storing gear in a frenzy. There may be more to it. We’re still in the early stages of questioning. They’re all pretty shook up.” “And the bodies are all three necrosing at an accelerated rate,” I said, just to be clear. “Yup. And listen to you talking cop-speak, Special Agent No-Longer-a-Probie Ingram.” I chuckled quietly, as he surely intended. I wasn’t a probationary agent anymore, but since some of my time in the unit was spent as a tree, I was still a rookie. The more experienced unit members still babied and teased me. I teased back, “What more you got to tell me, Special Agent Cat-Man?” “Only that I’d like nothing better than a beer in that hammock out back, but that’s just me.” Occam’s lips lifted on one side, his still-scarred face pulling down on the other, and his one good blonde eyebrow waggled up and down. “It’s a two-person hammock,” he added. “Uh-huh. The case, please?” I said, sounding all starchy. Occam went on. “Yeah. All three bodies are decomping abnormally fast. So far they only got the housekeeper out of here and she had to go in a cooler. They scooped her up with shovels and spoons.”  

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jen Davis

    With this latest installment, I am still a fan of the Soulwood series, though it has evolved quite a bit from its beginnings. For the most part, that is a good thing. I have really liked watching Nell grow into an independent force. She is not a badass, not like Jane Yellowrock, but she has an undeniable quiet strength, like the tread of running water over rocks. She has broken free of so much that tied her down in her youth and now she is guiding her sisters to their own freedom. Awesome. I lov With this latest installment, I am still a fan of the Soulwood series, though it has evolved quite a bit from its beginnings. For the most part, that is a good thing. I have really liked watching Nell grow into an independent force. She is not a badass, not like Jane Yellowrock, but she has an undeniable quiet strength, like the tread of running water over rocks. She has broken free of so much that tied her down in her youth and now she is guiding her sisters to their own freedom. Awesome. I love it when she goes back to the church grounds with her new confidence and personal power. She is letting herself love. She and Occam are so great together. His steadfast willingness to let her take the lead in their relationship is lovely. She is stepping up on the job. No longer a probie, she feels comfortable in her role in PsyLed and even stands up to FireWind. (Who, by the way, I liked much more than I thought I would.) Honestly, all the character stuff is great here... though I did miss Rick a little. It's just the case was... a lot. The "death and decay" was seriously gruesome in the descriptions and we got a lot of it. The mystery just kept unfolding and unfolding until the point where the team finally figured it out and it felt a bit anticlimactic. True, dense storytelling is kind of Faith Hunter's thing-- I guess, it just didn't work in this case for me as well as it usually does. Overall, I enjoyed the book, though. I'm not sure if there will be a book six, but if there is, I'll be reading it. *ARC provided by publisher

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    3.5 stars In this fifth book in the Soulwood series, Nell is now a full member of her PsyLED team. When a country superstar and some of her entourage are found dead, with their bodies and surrounding objects and land also dying and rapidly decomposing, the unit is called in to investigate. The case is puzzling, and the team struggles to figure out not only what kind of magic killed them but also who the perpetrator could be. This story, more than I recall earlier ones being, seems very much a sup 3.5 stars In this fifth book in the Soulwood series, Nell is now a full member of her PsyLED team. When a country superstar and some of her entourage are found dead, with their bodies and surrounding objects and land also dying and rapidly decomposing, the unit is called in to investigate. The case is puzzling, and the team struggles to figure out not only what kind of magic killed them but also who the perpetrator could be. This story, more than I recall earlier ones being, seems very much a supernatural police procedural. The clues lead the team to pursue multiple different threads, most of which turn out not to be helpful. Nell and the rest of the team spend a great deal of time going back and forth between sites and the office, investigating, trying to contain the “death and decay,” and trying to work through utter exhaustion. The slow progress, while realistic, often makes the narrative drag nearly as much as the wrung-out characters themselves. Things start to move much more quickly towards the end as clues fall into place. While the investigation is ongoing, Nell also is dealing with some personal and professional issues. Although she no longer is a probie, Nell still is feeling out her place on the team and her relationship with others, particularly with Ayatas Firewind, her boss’s boss who is spending more time with the team. At home, two of her sisters have moved in with her and their problems and conflicts become Nell’s as well. But, most importantly, Nell still is learning about her abilities and limitations as a “plant person,” a kind of earth sprite, and what that means for her personally and professionally. It was this growth in her understanding and acceptance as well as her burgeoning relationship with her “cat-man” Occam that held my interest through the often plodding investigation and made me bump this up to a four star read. These interesting developments, even with the sometimes slow progress, make me look forward to the next book to see what happens next to Nell and the rest of her work and home family.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Minx

    After reading Spells for the Dead, I can say that I am absolutely 100% still in love with the Soulwood series! Nell’s character growth throughout this series has been incredible and this is the first book in which she stands on her own as a full-fledged agent. No longer a probationary agent, she’s stepping out and leading her portion of the fact-finding with decisiveness and confidence. Although she is still getting used to making investigatory choices on the fly, Nell holds her own when it come After reading Spells for the Dead, I can say that I am absolutely 100% still in love with the Soulwood series! Nell’s character growth throughout this series has been incredible and this is the first book in which she stands on her own as a full-fledged agent. No longer a probationary agent, she’s stepping out and leading her portion of the fact-finding with decisiveness and confidence. Although she is still getting used to making investigatory choices on the fly, Nell holds her own when it comes to investigating the most heinous crime the team has encountered to date. Some pretty creepy stuff takes place in this book and it left all agents wondering if they would ever solve the case. Speaking of the PsyLED team, many made appearances, with some being involved more than others, but there have definitely been changes occurring within the team. All very positive changes that I am looking forward to seeing play out. Ultimately, this story was one where the focus was really on Nell. Everything was moving in a positive direction for her and although parts of her life could be a little frustrating for her at times, all aspects of her life are exactly where they need to be. I loved that and I also loved that this story was akin to a paranormal police procedural! The investigation in Spells for the Dead follows many threads and although not every lead comes to fruition, the mystery was satisfying overall and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you get your hands on a copy today! This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Urban Fantasy *Rating* 4..0 *Thoughts* Spells for the Dead is the fifth installment in author Faith Hunter's Soulwood series featuring Psychometric Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security Special Agent Nell Ingram. It would benefit readers greatly to start reading this series from the beginning, including Jane Yellowrocks series when Nell is first introduced. A whole lot has happened since the first novel. Nell is no longer the probationary member of PsyLED. That tit *Source* Publisher *Genre* Urban Fantasy *Rating* 4..0 *Thoughts* Spells for the Dead is the fifth installment in author Faith Hunter's Soulwood series featuring Psychometric Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security Special Agent Nell Ingram. It would benefit readers greatly to start reading this series from the beginning, including Jane Yellowrocks series when Nell is first introduced. A whole lot has happened since the first novel. Nell is no longer the probationary member of PsyLED. That title now belongs to Special Agent Margot Racer who came over from the FBI after an incident in Circle of the Moon. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    This book really lead them all on a huge chase. Every time it seemed like the team would learn something pertinent it wouldn't be quite right, there would be secrets behind it. Each secret lead to more and more til they finally got to the heart of things, which was a bit eye opening for Nell. With this book Nell seems to find her stride within PsyLed, she feels more confident as an agent doing what needs to be done, manages to develop a good relationship with the boss that has intimidated her, co This book really lead them all on a huge chase. Every time it seemed like the team would learn something pertinent it wouldn't be quite right, there would be secrets behind it. Each secret lead to more and more til they finally got to the heart of things, which was a bit eye opening for Nell. With this book Nell seems to find her stride within PsyLed, she feels more confident as an agent doing what needs to be done, manages to develop a good relationship with the boss that has intimidated her, come clean with what her magic has done and used her magic a ton. It was almost too much that Nell used her magic and I hated how depleted she would become. It was a good thing that Occam was there to pick her up after. And wow, I love Occam and Nell! Love that in this one they clearly know they love each other and where they stand in their relationship. I especially love how it will be changing for them. In between all the action Nell had on the crime her sisters were a bit high maintenance, especially Ester. I really liked how Nell dealt with Ester, laid out what was wrong and what her options were. After stewing on things a bit Ester made her move and what a move it was! I loved that Nell had the knowledge to help Ester negotiate from a place of strength. The ceremony the sisters did at the end was a bit odd, yet it worked for them being plant people. The only thing better was how the house reacted to Ester and how it protected her. I have a feeling it will do the same to the family members.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scratch

    I have been reviewing each book of this series, and I almost feel like the author has actually been taking my reviews into account (or else the flaws in the writing are so blatant and obvious, lots of other people have brought them to her attention). So I'll press on with this one. The positives: Nell, our resident "plant person" survivor from a polygamous cult and current paranormal special agent, got a little more feedback about what her species is. She talked to an Irish character about what t I have been reviewing each book of this series, and I almost feel like the author has actually been taking my reviews into account (or else the flaws in the writing are so blatant and obvious, lots of other people have brought them to her attention). So I'll press on with this one. The positives: Nell, our resident "plant person" survivor from a polygamous cult and current paranormal special agent, got a little more feedback about what her species is. She talked to an Irish character about what the name for her species might be, and she encountered some history on another member of her species. So, progress on the annoying question that has lurked behind the whole series. Nell finally approached sex like a grown woman, and not like a blushing teenager. It was never realistic that for the last 4 books she would just blush so much and not even want to approach the topic of sex with Occam, her boyfriend. Nell is a grown woman. Nell has had bad married sex before. Speaking as someone else who has had bad married sex before (all props to my husband, but come on, sometimes you're both just really exhausted), it is not all that glamorous. Even if the author wants to argue that Nell has never had *good* sex before, that doesn't change the fact that she should be de-mystified about the concept. Nell finally interacted with a sibling besides Mud for more than a few sentences. Their pregnant sister Esther is pretty much a main character in this installment, which is downright shocking. You could probably count all her previous lines of dialogue on one hand. And, finally, I did not notice the author having written the words "have drank," as she is so often wont to do. This usually leaves me screaming and throwing the book across the room. Especially in the installment where Nell was explaining the concept of past participles to Mud, and yet Nell got "have drunk" wrong in her own internal monologue. The negatives: Really fucking boring. I'm sorry, but the overarching mystery was the worst part of this book, and it ate up so much time. There was a complicated magical murder that involved some sort of contagious, corrosive effect. The initial victim was a famous country star, and the magical corrosive just went around killing more and more people from her household and associated with her. It was vaguely reminiscent of the Covid-19 pandemic we have all been living with for months, but I'm sure the author probably finished the first draft of this book the better part of a year ago. Every time they tried to refer to this corrosive curse, the author wrote death and decay in italics. This was a little jarring for the reader, but it was even more confusing given how a person can't really speak in italics. "Death and decay" are ordinary words in English, but in context, it was like the characters were using some formal term. It just didn't make sense. At least it didn't make any sense why it had to be italicized every time, or why the characters would act like this was a good name. Why not "The Corrosion"? Or "The Curse!" Or "The Death Curse"? I dunno. As usual for a PsyLed investigation, the mystery was convoluted, and the actual bad guy was someone you had trouble bringing yourself to care about. All the best parts of the book were about small moments of characters interacting with each other, or figuring out how magic worked, or discussing how their species got along. The actual murder mystery? Dragged like fucking molasses.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erica Chilson

    I received a free copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 4 Stars Spells for the Dead is the fifth installment in the Soulwood series, and it absolutely cannot be read out of series order or as a standalone. Start with Blood of the Earth. But honestly, I'd suggest you start at Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1), because this is a sister-series to Jane Yellowrock. This would avoid any confusion, as well as organically explain the world-building in an easy to digest fashion as the reade I received a free copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads 4 Stars Spells for the Dead is the fifth installment in the Soulwood series, and it absolutely cannot be read out of series order or as a standalone. Start with Blood of the Earth. But honestly, I'd suggest you start at Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1), because this is a sister-series to Jane Yellowrock. This would avoid any confusion, as well as organically explain the world-building in an easy to digest fashion as the reader learns along with the heroine. Faith Hunter creates the most original heroines I've ever read, and Nell Ingram takes top honors. Nell's background, the 'cult' culture in which she was raised, her family, her widowed status, and even her home, I have never read anything so unique. Then add in the fact that her magic is quite literally communing with earth... Nell is no longer a probie. She's a full-blown PsyLed agent. While everyone treats her with respect as a major part of their team, Nell still feels the insecurities of being the rookie. She's still finding her footing, after the conditioning of her past. Especially now that her boss's boss is looking over her shoulder. More police-procedural than the last installment, I won't go into detail over the crime PsyLed is investigating. I will admit, while I love a good who-done-it, this portion dragged the novel down. I appreciated the crime-solving, threading the pieces together, but it was slow as molasses and not holding my attention as the more personal issues did. I was more curious about Nell, more so than what PsyLed was up to. The crime-solving is a major focus of the novel, with a minor focus on Nell's personal life. With her sisters moving into her home, the reader sees more of the impact their past has on the women. Nell is still navigating her budding relationship with Occam, which I enjoyed their interactions and the slower pace involved, befitting Nell's personality and background. Nell is still developing her magic, learning what all she can do, flexing her abilities. I think this is the perfect vehicle to allow the reader to discover it with her, without being bombarded with too much information. Masterfully done, as the reader's curiosity spikes. I highly recommend this novel to Urban Fantasy fans. Faith Hunter is always at the top of my recommendation list. Nell with her intriguing background and unique magic abilities, and Jane with her inner Beast, Native American ancestry, and vampire political connections. Two unique heroines, one highly recommended author.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debrac2014

    Very good mystery! Every time I thought I knew who did it, I was wrong! My only complaint is the over use of the term "death and decay"!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura *Little Read Riding Hood*

    The case in this book was less interesting than all the personal interactions Nell had, with her family, her team, and the people she met working the case. She has done a lot of learning and growing, and it really shows in this book. She also learns a lot about herself and what she might be, or at least about what she might be able to do. I am really looking forward to the audio version, because of the narrator and how she voices Nell and the rest of the gang, I always feel like I learn a bit mo The case in this book was less interesting than all the personal interactions Nell had, with her family, her team, and the people she met working the case. She has done a lot of learning and growing, and it really shows in this book. She also learns a lot about herself and what she might be, or at least about what she might be able to do. I am really looking forward to the audio version, because of the narrator and how she voices Nell and the rest of the gang, I always feel like I learn a bit more and sink a bit more into the story. The way this book ends (not a cliffhanger at all folks) leaves me really excited to see the next chapter of Nell's life. **AUDIO SPECIFIC** I really love these audio books. They just ... they are amazing. Khristine Hvam really gets you into Nell's head and you really learn right along with her. I adore the personal growth for Nell and her friends and family in this book. They really lean into her need to take care of herself, while she leans into letting other people help out every once in a while.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    The 5th book in Faith Hunter's magically delicious Soulwood series, Spells For The Dead., picks up a little bit after book 4. Nell is no longer a probie, she now has two roommates, and her love life is on track. When she is called to the gruesome murder scene of a famous country singer, she discovers that revenge is a powerful motive I adore Faith Hunter's stories. Her female eccentric story lines, while paranormal in nature, focus on very real world issues such as racism, misogyny, and domestic The 5th book in Faith Hunter's magically delicious Soulwood series, Spells For The Dead., picks up a little bit after book 4. Nell is no longer a probie, she now has two roommates, and her love life is on track. When she is called to the gruesome murder scene of a famous country singer, she discovers that revenge is a powerful motive I adore Faith Hunter's stories. Her female eccentric story lines, while paranormal in nature, focus on very real world issues such as racism, misogyny, and domestic violence, While I enjoyed Nell's interactions and narrative with the various parts of her world, she is still learning and growing, I did find the mystery dragged a bit. Hunter tends to over explain certain issues, obliterating points as she hammers them home. Not sure why this is an issue here and not in her Yellowrock series. Regardless, the main story line was quite riveting and I enjoyed it. The ending is not a cliffhanger but does leave readers with a need for book 6.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    Excellent as always. I love the way Nell is stickin' up for herself and her sisters with the religiots. and how her sisters are learning that same thing for themselves. And her BF is just soooo freaking perfect for her and they are so sweet together that it's got me thinking he's probably not going to live long and Nell's going to end up, eventually, with Jane's brother (who is seen a lot in this entry). There's absolutely nothing to say that's how it's going to go, just my hunch I am immortalizi Excellent as always. I love the way Nell is stickin' up for herself and her sisters with the religiots. and how her sisters are learning that same thing for themselves. And her BF is just soooo freaking perfect for her and they are so sweet together that it's got me thinking he's probably not going to live long and Nell's going to end up, eventually, with Jane's brother (who is seen a lot in this entry). There's absolutely nothing to say that's how it's going to go, just my hunch I am immortalizing here so later I can either say "I told you so" or "doh! wrong again." :D The topic of the primary story was a bit disgustingly squishy, which was kinda kewl. I love these characters and this story. I may be at a point where I'm enjoying it more than Jane Yellowrock. Or maybe it's just my mood of the moment. But this is a good UF series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    drey

    Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's blog tour day today for one of my favorite authors and book #5 in the Soulwood series, Spells for the Dead. If you haven't checked out the rest of the tour stops yet, start here for excerpts and more opportunities to win prizes in the giveaway! I’m always excited for a new Faith Hunter book, and it’s no different for Spells for the Dead. On Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's blog tour day today for one of my favorite authors and book #5 in the Soulwood series, Spells for the Dead. If you haven't checked out the rest of the tour stops yet, start here for excerpts and more opportunities to win prizes in the giveaway! I’m always excited for a new Faith Hunter book, and it’s no different for Spells for the Dead. One reason is I know there will be character growth and that remains true in Spells for the Dead. Nell is leaving her past further behind with every installment in this series, mentally if not physically. She’s still in her house, on her land, “next door” to the church. But she's no longer PsyLED's rookie, she's no longer a churchwoman, and she's definitely no longer meek or afraid to ask questions. Spells for the Dead is dark. It opens on a murder, with multiple people dead, and in gross and gruesome fashion. (You know that you should never, ever piss off an author, right? Right? Well, now you do!) But even with all the gross and gruesome, I enjoyed the familiarity of the PsyLED procedures, even with a new boss - and I liked Ayatas FireWind, too. We learn a bit more about him in this fifth installment of Hunter's Soulwood series, but my curiosity still runs rampant. There's plenty here to keep you turning the pages, not least of which is WHODUNNIT?!?! Never mind the how. Or all the other things occupying Nell's mental space, especially her sisters. I love how she uses her knowledge of Church rules to help Esther stand on her own two feet - and I love how well Esther does it, too. There's just so much to read, you'll be amazed when you're done. And then you'll start all over from the beginning. drey's rating: Excellent! Have you read Spells for the Dead? What did you think? Giveaway! There's a giveaway for some lovely prizes, including Tea with Faith (via Zoom) and some lovely leather arm/wristbands (see picture below). Open to US residents only, enter now! a Rafflecopter giveaway Images are not representative of actual item size This review was originally posted on drey's library

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    Oh, how I love the world of the Soulwood series. “Spells for the Dead” is one of my favorite installments to date. Nell is more comfortable working with her PsyLED team and she and Occam have reach a new level in their personal relationship. Rick and Margot are working a case out of town when T.Laine calls Nell onto the sprawling 400 acre estate of a famous country singer. The singer, several members of her staff are dead and their bodies have melted into a foul smelling goo. In addition to the t Oh, how I love the world of the Soulwood series. “Spells for the Dead” is one of my favorite installments to date. Nell is more comfortable working with her PsyLED team and she and Occam have reach a new level in their personal relationship. Rick and Margot are working a case out of town when T.Laine calls Nell onto the sprawling 400 acre estate of a famous country singer. The singer, several members of her staff are dead and their bodies have melted into a foul smelling goo. In addition to the team local law enforcement as well as a bigoted FBI agent is trying to usurp their authority. Well, he gets his head handed to him by T. Laine and she becomes my new hero. Lol. Since Rick Lefleur is out of town, his boss, FireWind flies in to head up the unit. He is known to be a jerk but once again T. Laine puts him in his place. Despite this, he announced she is promoted. Meanwhile something is caustic and spreading death throughout the property. Even with bio suits this hoo is fast acting and dangerous. The team has to bring a coven of Irish witches to help contain the problem. Soon it is discovered that someone made this magical mess. In otherwords, this is murder. In addition to investigating this crime Nell’s phone is ringing off the hook from her sisters Mud and a very pregnant Esther. They are at each other’s throats and Nell refuses to mediate. Esther’s husband has requested a divorce but Nell has become fluent with many of the rules in the church covenant and is about to open up a can of whup ass on him. There is lots of drama, many twists and turns, dark evil afoot and many tender moments. This read is a reminder of what a truly great author Faith Hunter is. My only complaint is that I will have to wait another year for the next installment. Oh well, good things are in store for those who wait.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Teri-K

    Disappointing entry in what has been a stellar series. (There may be a few minor spoilers, so be warned.) First off, a lot of folks end up dying and dissolving into green goo - but the reader is never given the chance to care about any of them. They're all just names on a page. Plus there was never any threat to the team members until very late in the book and the story suffered from this lack of tension. The situation with her sisters could have supplied some much needed conflict, but it was res Disappointing entry in what has been a stellar series. (There may be a few minor spoilers, so be warned.) First off, a lot of folks end up dying and dissolving into green goo - but the reader is never given the chance to care about any of them. They're all just names on a page. Plus there was never any threat to the team members until very late in the book and the story suffered from this lack of tension. The situation with her sisters could have supplied some much needed conflict, but it was resolved with one short conversation. In fact, I was very disappointed in how quickly Esther came around, given her situation. It was much too easy. All of this left the book feeling oddly flat. I also really missed Tandy, Rick and Jo-Jo, who were absent for most of the story. Fire Wind was a kinder, more polite version of himself who mostly apologized for stepping on Nell's toes, and Occam didn't say anything beyond, "Sure, Nell, Sugar, whatever you want." In fact, both men have become kind of boring, and the book lacked any humor or "edge". All in all this story unfortunately felt boring and repetitious - "Oh look, another person we've never heard of before this chapter is dead!" And Nell's life really didn't feel any more interesting than mine. Seeing as COVID has me stuck at home with three kids, that's saying something. I can only hope that the next book will be much better.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anniken Haga

    The only bad thing I can really say about this book is that it has too many characters. I had trouble keeping the team apart before, and now there were so many characters involved, it was hard keeping up on who was/did what. Other than that, though, I flew through this book and really enjoyed it! Looking forward to see what more may happen in Nell's life in future books!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maggie K

    this is my favorite UF series right now. Sometimes you just feel the need for escape and want to read something quick but satisfying, and Faith Hunter' series seem to always capture that feeling.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey)

    It’s been a long time since I finished a book in a few days. Covid-19 has me binge watching tv. But this book got me excited about reading again. I like this series way better than the other. Jane Yellowrock irks me, though I still listen to her series. I hate her love interest and what he did in the past to her was unforgivable in my eyes. But I’m a me too survivor, so maybe I see things differently. This series, I like Nell. I like Oakum (listening, have no idea for spellings). I love Rick fou It’s been a long time since I finished a book in a few days. Covid-19 has me binge watching tv. But this book got me excited about reading again. I like this series way better than the other. Jane Yellowrock irks me, though I still listen to her series. I hate her love interest and what he did in the past to her was unforgivable in my eyes. But I’m a me too survivor, so maybe I see things differently. This series, I like Nell. I like Oakum (listening, have no idea for spellings). I love Rick found redemption in this series. Though the world building troubles me. Jane and Rick couldn’t have relations because he was a were cat which put a strain on their relationship. Nell and Oakum can and I feel like I missed something. I don’t remember how and why they could overcome it. Especially when Oakum said in this installment they couldn’t pass it to other supernaturals??? Did the world building change in this series from Jane’s??? Anyway, I enjoyed this book. It was a bit predictable as I assumed Nell would overcome all, but I didn’t guess The Who done it. Win!!! Narrator great as usual.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Another exciting and beautiful written edition to the Soulwood series. Such great characters and excellent story telling. Cannot wait for more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    I received a copy of Spells for the Dead in exchange for a fair and honest review. Spells for the Dead is the fifth novel in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter. Fans of the Jane Yellowrock series will be familiar with this world, as it is connected to her main series. Only the focus is less on vampires, and more on the rest of the creatures that roam the world. Specifically one very special one by the name of Nell Ingram. Nell Ingram is no longer the baby agent on the field, but she's still th I received a copy of Spells for the Dead in exchange for a fair and honest review. Spells for the Dead is the fifth novel in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter. Fans of the Jane Yellowrock series will be familiar with this world, as it is connected to her main series. Only the focus is less on vampires, and more on the rest of the creatures that roam the world. Specifically one very special one by the name of Nell Ingram. Nell Ingram is no longer the baby agent on the field, but she's still the newest one around. You'd think that'd be enough to shield her from the world that PsyLed has to investigate, but you'd be wrong. Nell has been called in to help with a high profile case, one that is rapidly going to get out of control. Any time the bodies start adding up (not to mention rapidly decaying) you just know things are going to get worse before they get better. The real question is, can the find the cause - and more importantly, contain it - before it is too late? “My fingers itched to dig into the soil, to feel the life in it, explore it with my nature magic, and let my own roots grow.” Warnings: Spells for the Dead covers several extremely graphic elements. We're talking details about advanced rates of decomposition, including the smells to go with it. There's also no shortage of animal death, with two main scenes coming to mind. Spells for the Dead is easily the most graphic of the series so far, and yet it was so intensely and brilliantly written. I loved every gross moment of it, all while cheering for Nell and her team to sort things out (in a timely manner, ideally). Where other events in the series had more at stake (no pun intended) on a personal level, this novel was excellent at showing us what a paranormal investigation team should look like. And the cases they would get stuck dealing with. I love the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is for the way paranormal entities interact with one another. Also, for the way that human politics comes into play. I'm bringing that up now, because I feel like Spells for the Dead did a brilliant job of highlight all of this – as well as the inherent xenophobia that would come into play (combined with any other -ism you can think of). That is one of many reasons to love this novel. Fans of police procedural will love every minute I'm sure, as this comes closer than any other novel thus far. There's also plenty of character development to be had, thanks to Nell, her extended family, her friends, coworkers, and boss. Needless to say, there's a whole lot going on within these pages. One thing I was delighted to see: Ayatas Firewind made a larger appearance in this novel. Several, actually. Nell (and the rest of the team) are still adjusting to working with him, but I personally enjoyed seeing that transition occurred. Speaking of delightful elements; Nell's family. More specifically, her sisters. I won't spoil any details, but I will say that it's so refreshing to see a bit more of her family in a different light. Though I have no idea how far Faith Hunter plans to push it. All things considered, I absolutely loved Spells for the Dead, though I am already finding myself wishing I hadn't read it quite so quickly. At least there's already news of the next Jane Yellowrock novel (True Dead) on the horizon. Check out more reviews over at Quiry Cat's Fat Stacks

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