Review & Giveaway: Wayward {The Witch Wars Saga # 1} by Ashley Girardi

Title: Wayward {The Witch Wars Saga # 1}

Author: Ashley Girardi

Published: March 2011

Synopsis: Born without magic, seventeen-year-old Helena “Hex” Wayward is an embarrassment to her power-hungry relatives.  As the weakest member of the world’s most deadly magical family, Hex learns early how to avoid confrontation. There’s no defending herself against an errant curse or the pit-demon that her cousins like to summon during family reunions. When the dark magic inside of her — magic that she never dreamt even existed — erupts in a violent display, it kills a member of a rival family.  Now, Hex’s family hopes to use her magic for their own sinister purposes and their enemies just want her dead. Abandoning her magic will leave Hex defenseless but she’s seen how quickly power corrupts even the best intentions.  Caught between the seductive sorcerer who wants her power for his own and the forbidden love of a human boy, Hex has to make a choice: Save her life or save her soul.

Status: Read from August 20 to 22, 2011   – I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Wayward is the first in a young adult paranormal series self published by Ashley Girardi. I’m hesitant to accept YA for review usually but my interest was piqued by the synopsis and excerpt and fortunately  I found Wayward an easy read with an engaging story.
Helena ‘Hex’ Wayward is an outcast amongst her powerful family. As the seventh child of parents who themselves were the seventh children, she was expected to wield great magic and was treated badly when it seemed she would not live up to her potential. When her ability finally reveals itself she is seduced by it’s strength but eventually recognises the danger it presents and flee’s the corrupting influence of her lover and her family. Eventually she is found and forced to return home, coerced into a deal that compromises her spirit, and threatens her life.
I liked the bones of the premise and there are some really interesting concepts at play yet the story has the appropriate simplicity for a mature young adult audience. There are some dark undertones but also some positive messages and Hex faces issues teenagers can easily relate to. Hex’s world is well imagined, the witches exist hidden within human society with a distinct hierarchy that Girardi develops well though some background detail is lacking. I hope the author exploits the potential of this network in further installments.
Hex is likeable, with an admirable determination and inner strength. Despite the intense pressure and bullying she has experienced she is determined to hold onto her own core values. She defends her friends even at great risk to herself.
Hex’s human friends, Sam and Zach, are fairly standard constructs but amiable enough. Her relationship with both evolves quite naturally and Zach provides the touch of forbidden romance that is de riguer in a YA novel. Cynthie is the mean girl whose hatred of Hex is twisted by unacknowledged jealousy and I thought she she was probably the best actualised character with the strongest motivation for her actions. I would have liked Hex’s relationship with Valentine to be a little more defined – he serves as a catalyst for the plot but remains fairly one dimensional.
Wayward has some weaknesses but overall it is a promising first effort from a young writer and I believe the series has the potential to improve as the author gains experience in the craft. If you are a fan of paranormal YA then Wayward, available at the bargain price of 99c, is a risk worth taking.


About the Author

Ashley Girardi is 26 years old and plans to stay that way for the better part of the next decade. She’s dabbled in a number of professions, from the service industry to military intelligence. While her current goals include publication, that’s really just a circuitous route to world domination. Ashley’s influences include Friedrich Nietzsche, Kurt Vonnegut and Lady Gaga. Her favorite color is fluorescent beige and her favorite quote is from Robert A. Heinlein: “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”

Website I Blog I Twitter


Available to Purchase

@ Amazon

@ Smashwords {Excerpt available}

@ B&N


Enter to Win

1  electronic edition of


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+1 Include your name, email address and country.

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+1 Add Wayward to your Goodreads, LibraryThing TBR page, or Amazon wishlist

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 Entries close September 2nd 2011

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle A
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 10:25:58

    Thank you for this giveaway!

    chelle2006 @ aol .com

    -Michelle (US)



  2. Michelle Grayce
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 21:29:57

    Great giveaway.
    michelle from uk



  3. StuckInBooks
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 22:59:21






  4. Meredith
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 00:01:32


    Meredith DeVoe, blackbirchwoods -at- gmail dot com




  5. Jackie
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 10:24:47

    The book sounds like it is right up my alley!

    jlane (at) raigroup (dot) com

    Jackie – USA



  6. winnie
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 18:57:30

    Thanks for the giveaway!





  7. Darlene
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 10:21:14

    Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for the giveaway! I’m in Canada.

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com



  8. Darlene
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 10:22:17

    +1 for tweeting:

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com



  9. Darlene
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 10:23:28

    +1 added Wayward to my To-Read Wishlist on Goodreads

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com



  10. johanna naylor
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 12:40:52

    sounds like an interesting read, thanks for the giveaway..I live in michigan, united states
    Johanna naylor



  11. johanna naylor
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 12:43:20

    +1 for facebook post

    Johni Naylor
    enter to win people

    Review & Giveaway: Wayward {The Witch Wars Saga # 1} by Ashley Girardi
    Title: Wayward {The Witch Wars Saga # 1} Author: Ashley Girardi Published: March 2011 Synopsis: Born without magic, seventeen-year-old Helena “Hex” Wayward is an embarrassment to her p…
    Unlike · · Share · 6 minutes ago
    You like this.



  12. johanna naylor
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 12:46:21

    +1 for putting on my TBR @ goodreads

    Dragonflydreamer68 marked as to-read:
    Wayward: The Witch Wars Saga (Volume 1)
    by Ashley Girardi (Goodreads Author)
    bookshelves: to-read, giveaways-entered, paranormal-ghost, series, ya
    My rating:

    edit my review
    shelf: to-read ( 565th )
    12 minutes ago · comment



  13. Nimue
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 23:19:08

    Thanks for this giveaway. The books sounds interesting!

    +1 for tweeting:!/Bookish_Nimue/status/108890949102469120

    bookobsessions (at)



  14. Julie S.
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 23:22:08

    Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.
    +1 I added Wayward to my Goodreads to read list.



  15. Giselle Cormier (@Giselleco)
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 23:51:43

    Hey. I would love to win this sounds like a great book!
    Giselle Cormier
    cormier.giselle at gmail dot com

    Added Wayword to my goodreads TBR:!/Giselleco/status/108899235537235968



  16. Gaby
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 04:50:43

    Name: Anghel Gabriela
    Country: Romania
    Added Wayward to my Goodreads to read list – (username: – Gaby)



  17. Julie Witt
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 07:32:50

    Wow, this sounds like a great beginning to an awesome series! Thanks for a great giveaway:)

    Julie Witt, jwitt33 at live dot com, USA

    I added the book to my Goodreads wishlist.

    I tweeted:!/jwitt33/status/109015553275990016



  18. ElfRenee
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 12:47:04

    Sounds interesting, I’d like to read it!

    Renee (US)



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