Lizzie's adoptive parents were decent enough but never very loving, so she's thrilled when her biological grandmother contacts her out of the blue and wants to meet. Her dreams of warm hugs are ruined when her grandmother locks her in her own bathroom, just in time for a demon to appear and try to kill her. Once that's been dealt with, her grandmother explains that she's a witch and Lizzie is a demon slayer, and they have to get moving before more demons arrive. Lizzie is a preschool teacher who carefully plans everything, so this is very much outside her comfort zone, but she eventually grabs her dog Pirate (who can now talk) and reluctantly gets on her grandmother's motorcycle.
Lizzie's grandmother takes her to the Red Skulls coven, where she's supposed to gain the coven's protection and begin learning to use her powers. These plans are complicated by imps, more demons, a sexy shape-shifting griffin named Dimitri, werewolves, and no one being willing to tell Lizzie anything about what's going on.
If I hadn't been reading this for my Booklikesopoly game, I might have DNFed it early on and added it to my offload pile. I wouldn't have missed out on much. This was an incredibly frustrating read. Pretty much the only things I liked were Lizzie's talking dog, who was a bit much at first but eventually grew on me, and maybe Lizzie, although I did think she was way too forgiving.
Lizzie barely got a chance to speak to her grandmother for the first time before she was dragged into a world of magic and supernatural creatures. With no time to get her bearings, she was taken to her grandmother's coven, where she was told nothing important and immediately made to take part in a protection spell that wasn't fully explained to her. She was rightfully worried about drinking something that might have bits of roadkill in it, and that potion turned out to be the most important part of the spell. She then blamed herself for screwing up, even though it was due to the coven not explaining anything to her, and the coven had the gall to get mad at her when they found out.
And it kept happening - everyone either lied to Lizzie, expected her to do as she was told without even a basic explanation, or deliberately withheld information from her. Most of the characters in this book sucked, and I wouldn't have blamed Lizzie for leaving them behind to deal with their problems on their own. Dimitri, Ant Eater (a member of the coven), and Lizzie's grandmother were the biggest offenders.
There was no magical system as far as I could see. If the author wanted a spell to exist, it probably did (there were giggle, dance, and transportation spells), and Lizzie eventually learned how to use these things called switch stars that were basically magical ninja stars. The ending was a mess - Lizzie and her grandmother did things more because the story called for it than because it fit anything that had previously been established about how magic and demons worked.
The "paranormal romance" label on the book's spine wasn't very accurate. Lizzie thought Dimitri was hot, and they eventually had sex, but there wasn't much of what I'd call romance and the story was more focused on the whole demon thing than on Lizzie and Dimitri's relationship. "Urban fantasy with romantic aspects" might be a more accurate label.
Anyway, I don't intend to read any more of this series. The dog was sweet, but the magical aspects were very weak, and Lizzie deciding to stay with people who'd spent the whole book lying to her or refusing to tell her anything she needed to know honestly made me think less of her.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)