ARC Review: Sacrificial Magic

I’m a TERRIBLE Girl!!!

Title: Sacrificial Magic
Author: Stacia Kane
Series: Downside Ghosts #4
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March 27, 2012


Reading, Writing, and Raising The Dead…..
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.

Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.

As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.


Didn’t have anything but hope—–especially her own chances—-were about as good as her chances of discovering she was the long-lost daughter of some millionaire who couldn’t wait to have her back. Hope wasn’t something she’s ever had much of.

For those of you that know me, I’m  sure you’re all fully aware that I’m a complete Fangirl when it comes to Downside Ghosts series; and not only am I a Terrible Girl, I’m also a Chess fan as well because she’s fantastic. So this may come as no surprise since I say this after I read each new installment of The Downside Ghost series, so I’ll say it again; Sacrificial Magic was my favorite of the series to date!

“Chessie…..shit, Chessie, I love you so bad.” His teeth on her throat, biting hard, his lips smoothing the spot. “So fucking much, so… bad.”

Sacrificial Magic begins shortly after the heartwarming events that occurred in City of Ghosts. Chess is finally happy in love with her first genuine selfless relationship with her devoted boyfriend Terrible. You would think her life would be peaches and cream at this moment and she would be living in such a blissful state with Terrible she would have no time for anxiety. Well this is Downside and Chess Putnam is a powerful Church Witch so think again!


“Always want you, Chessiebomb. Always.”


From the begining we quickly disciver that both Slobag and Bump’s men are turning up dead  and it obvious that witchcraft is being used on these men as some sort of ritual sacrifice. Bump has ordered his most favorite and loyal ChurchWitch Chess Putnam to look into these murders and discover why these men are being tortured and killed in Bumps territory. Also if it wasn’t enough motivation that Bump is her main drug supplier he’s also Terrible’s boss and she knows no boundaries when it comes to protecting Terrible.

To know the truth, we must find it within ourselves. More than that, we must admit it to ourselves. ——The Church and You, a pamphlet by Elder Barrett

Therefore she has no other choice but to investigate for Bump while simultaneously investigating for the church, while hiding her extracurricular lifestyle from the church.


Two choices, both of them shitty. Story of her life.


The Church of Truth has also assigned Chess Putnam the task of investigating grissly ritual murders, and of course Chess gets assigned after a fellow Church Debunker goes missing while conducting the investigating. She must now begin her investigation in Slobag’s territory; a rival drug lord to Bump, so understandably Terrible is not permitted. Unfortunately this forces her to work much more closely with Lex much to Terible’s disdain. This aides and abets Chess’ irrational paranoia and self abhorrent inner turmoil.

get annoyed, and she’d look clingy and pitiful. It would be like admitting she needed—no, not admitting, there was nothing to admit. It would be like saying that she needed to have him around, and if she did that he’d be turned off.

She’s unsure how to behave since this will be the first time she has been in such close proximity with Lex her  Ex Lover? Ex boyfriend? Friend with Benefits? Casual Hookup? Well you get the picture! Prior to Terrible with Chess all these categories collided together into a tiny package of dispair as this is her first genuine, selfless, loving relationship with her fully committed boyfriend Terrible. She’s uneasy about fully accepting his no strings attached love.


He looked so angry for a second she thought he was going to slam on the brakes, and braced herself. Well, braced herself as best she could; she didn’t think she could have picked up anything heavier than a cigarette at that particular moment.

“They made you–Fuck. Shoulda fuckin known.”

“No it wasn’t that bad. I had my gloves.”
He shook his head, his anger still filling the car. “Sure it weren’t. ‘Swhy you tanked up soon’s you left, aye?” She blinked. That stung. A lot. And what was she supposed to say in reply? Especially when it was true.”

“Are…..are you mad at me?”

“What? Why? Naw, baby. Just ain’t can believe they made you do that, is all.”

His being mad made her feel like Terrible cared about her.

Thoughts like that from Chess just remind me how truly damaged Poor Pitiful Chess truly is. I make no secret of the fact that although I cannot possibly begin to relate to Chess as a drug addict,  I’m instantly drawn to her character and wish I could shake her and tell her, Terrible loves her unconditionally!

“But….no, you didn’t want, um, you didn’t want me anymore.”

My heart goes out to Chess in Sacrificial Magic. It’s seems her self loathing and paranoia are at an all time high. I’m still unsure whether her anxiety was drug related or if it’s due to her new budding serious relationship with Terrible. Most likely it’s a combination of them both. Her anxiety takes root and develops into a dark and ugly cloud, I just can’t help but feel her pain right along with her, unfounded or not. She constantly worries if Terrible trusts her working so closely with Lex, she fears he may believe she’s The Church Witch involved with helping Slobag work against Terrible. Any rational person could see that Terrible would never believe she would be working with Slobag against Bump and Terrible, but Chess isn’t always a rational thinker.

For fuck’s sake. She didn’t spend most of her income on drugs so she could have clean fucking blood. And that green tea tasted like swamp water and death.

While Chess is investigating these murders and their involvement with a ChurchWitch and Bump and Slobag’s men she acquires a new feminine friendship in Beulah and I hope to see their friendship build. It’s almost like a friendship version of West Side Story. Regardless of how inconspicuous these forbidden lines are, they’re still there and everyone in Downside is aware of them. I’m hoping that even thought they’re from two different sides of the drug territories of Downside, Chess and Beulah are able to maintain a healthy friendship and perhaps balance out Chess’ anxiety and self unsavory thoughts of herself. This friendship makes me smile, because Chess could really benefit from her first female friendship and everybody needs a friend to lean on. This friendship has the opportunity to give Chess the self worth she’s lacking.

His door slammed shut behind her. She ran down the hall on unsteady feet, almost fell on the stairs. Wished she had fallen, and broken her stupid fucking neck on the way.

My emotions were in a blender; one moment I was laughing, giddy happy, then within a page turn I was crying, my chest felt heavy, and I felt the need to put the book down and walk away for a breather, yet I couldn’t bring myself to walk away from this hot mess. For some unknown reason I’m drawn to dysfunctional characters like buttermilk batter on fried chicken. I devour every bit of this

Just when I think all hearts are safe in Downside, Stacia Kane scares me to death.

And Terrible…….he was just a thug. A violent thug at that. And he had something to do with drugs too, and prostitution and all manner of other things. He was not a good person. What redeeming qualities could a person like that have?

“Chess? What’s troubling?”

He loved her

In one scene I wanted to step in and mediate and calm the fire down because my heart was breaking into tiny pieces while Chess’ Psychopomp was sucking it dry. Luckily for me, my most cherished books are those that, stir up emotions I had yet to realize I had available for a fictional relationship. As scared as these ghosts make me feel, I’m always left with the desire to live in this Magical Downside not so holy series of Downside Ghosts and pal around with Chess and flirt with her boyfriend Terrible.

“Stayed a while, though, aye?”

“I just—I almost died on that fucking catwalk—I was on a catwalk and it fell, that’s how I hurt my cheek—and I didn’t feel like being alone and I knew you were busy, and he was there.”

“Oh, I dig. Hey, maybe you give me the number that dame Cassie, the one wore your face? Next time aught happens to me, I give her a ring-up for company. No worries, aye?”

This book was truly a gem to read, and I recommend this to any Urban Fantasy lover that prefers their read to be dark, gritty, sexy and fantastic! Downside fans will not be disappointed with this latest installment. The only unfavorable part of this book is that it ended………however, Stacia Kane is spoiling us Downside fans because we only have to wait a few short months for the next book Chasing Magic to be released! I LOVED Sacrificial Magic!!!

“Love you, too, Chess.”
“You got that, aye? Ain’t you know it? Love you right, till it hurts. Ain’t goin nowhere, don’t need to cry, ‘sall right up—-”

ARC provided by Netgalley

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4 Responses to ARC Review: Sacrificial Magic

  1. Lauren says:

    I really want to start this series! I’ve been reading about it all day!


    Great review. Even though I read it through NG I just pre-ordered me a Nook copy.

  3. Pingback: Giveaways: Stacia & Stacey Giveaway Hop | Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy

  4. Lupdilup says:

    Yay! everybody love it!! I can’t wait, I just really hoping the audio comes out at the same time, it’s going to be a hard choice of what to read/listen to first, Lover Reborn is coming out too.
    Great review!! now I’m dying!…lol

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