Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller

Soul Charmer, Book 1

Synopsis: Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

Review: I knew the author, Chelsea Mueller, through her Vampire Book Club blog. I also knew she was writing and Borrowed Souls is her first book. As soon as I heard of it, I was immediately intrigued by the story. I was therefore very curious to get into this title.

Callie did not have an easy life and yet her brother was always there for her when she was little and when she needed someone. Yet, since that time, things have changed and it is her turn to help him. Alas, her help is constant and she doesn’t have anything anymore as she gave her all her money. But now, once again, troubles return and it is with the mafia that she must now manage the problems of her brother. Indeed, while he is retained, she must « rent » a soul in order to commit the crime they desire her to do. But without money, it is much more complicated than expected. Only one solution is emerging and Callie finds herself obliged to work for the Charmer, the person who holds the souls in order to pay her loan. By teaming up with Derek, our heroine will have to prove her worth by helping to recover the souls that the customers have not brought back.

I had a good time with the story but it’s true that I had a bit of trouble hanging on it at first. I do not really know why but I was not as caught as I would have thought. Yet, while little by little, I got into the story, I also had more facilities to connect to the characters. We understand Callie and her desire to help her family despite that it is one-sided … It is sad to see all the energy and all the efforts she puts to help her family while nobody care. Yet her meeting with Derek will change everything. It was quite difficult to decide on this man. Being the Charmer employee, we do not know if he is really trustworthy but it’s very, very nice to finally see someone trying to help and protect Callie, because she really needs it. With him, she will finally have someone who can take her side.

It was a good reading despite this rather complicated start and I had a great time with Callie and Derek. There are still a lot of questions about the author’s universe and especially about magic or even the characters like Derek, Zara (the mother) or Josh (the brother). I’m curious to learn more!

4

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