I’ve been hanging with D.A. Roach’s Super Rad Demon Hunters of late as they’re gearing up for the release of her latest book in her Demon Hunters series (more on that next post). It has been a blast. D.A. and her team know how to show a paranormal fanatic a good time. We’ve had reading marathons, giveaways, quizzes, puzzles, guest authors, and swag. Most importantly though, we’ve shared some hella good reads. The first book in the series is Between the Bleeding Willows is a fresh take on the YA paranormal genre. Cassidy Kavanaugh is an eighteen-year-old who’s been through a lot. Her mother died in childbirth, and she was raised by her grandmother. Her first real boyfriend, Jace, is killed in a car accident in her senior year of high school. Not long afterward, Cassie loses her beloved grandmother to a heart attack.
Emotionally, Cassie is at a loss, and she is utterly alone in the world. Jace had been wearing a ring that belonged to Cassie’s mother during the crash, and Cassie goes to the accident scene to find it. In doing so, she discovers there is a portal to another realm off the road at a nearby cemetery. She uncovers an unseen battle between good and evil has been playing out beneath our awareness, and her boyfriend has been possessed by the dark side.
She finds a group of demon hunters who live on the other side of the cemetery portal. Killian, the commander of the hunters, is training his clan for the brewing conflict, and things have not been going well. The clan has suffered heavy losses in battle against the demon queen, Rya.
Although the demon hunters fight on behalf of humankind, Killian isn’t pleased that Cassidy has fallen into his realm, and he is mystified as to how she survived the crossover. Cassidy feels an instant affinity for the clan and its work and wants to help their mission, especially since Jace’s soul is now lost to the demons. Unfortunately, Killian believes she cannot be a part of the clan because it is far too dangerous for a human.
Undaunted, when Cassidy returns to the human realm, she is determined to step up her game. She enrolls in a fierce martial arts training program and is committed to winning Killian’s support for her joining the clan. Suddenly, she is gripped by a mysterious illness that seems to come and go, but she keeps at it. She meets Tyler Romaitis in the class. He’s attractive and driven but also a genuinely good guy who saves her life when her illness nearly kills her. In that process, Tyler discovers Cassidy’s ring and realizes it’s more than just a family heirloom. When Cassidy recovers, she learns Tyler is more than just another handsome face, and he has connections to the strange new realms that she could never have expected.
Between the Bleeding Willows was a refreshing read for me. I love a good YA paranormal story, and this one had all the thrills I like. Mystery, paranormal elements, a slight romance that’s not the center of the story, and a strong heroine in Cassidy, who overcomes so much and is a formidable force throughout.