If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying t...moreIf high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her? Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too. Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie's about to uncover the many dark truths about her life, and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
Hexed is mysterious and intriguing. High school isn't just about cheer practice, popularity, and boyfriends, as Indigo soon discovers. Sometimes it's about witches and sorcerers and running for her life. This debut is filled with growing tension and clever dialogue.
Indigo is a number of things when it comes to being the main character. She's sharp, clever, curious, and she's filled with snark. Her biggest weapons at times are her sharp tongue, quick wit, and attitude. She's not bossy but she's serious. She's determined. She needs to know what's going on and what she has to do to fix the massive problem that's fallen into her lap. Her verbal battles with Bishop were the best parts, sparring with words with a guy who looks slick and acts like a child with a smart mouth and no filter.
The witches and sorcerers and their ongoing war certainly add suspense, secrets, and shadows to Indie's normal high school days. She suddenly has bigger things to worry about than cheerleading and Bianca's popularity pressure. She has people coming after her with the heartless intent to hurt and quite possibly kill her. That sure puts things in perspective. And Indie does get scared. It's okay for her to be scared, for her to cry and scream for someone to save her. It's also okay for her to take charge and work her own plans if it doesn't look like anything else will work out.
This book does for me with witches what Kathleen Peacock's Hemlock did for me with werewolves. There's lots of intrigue and suspicion, a lot of teenage attitude, and good chemistry between Indigo and Bishop (even when they're arguing). It's an intriguing mix of contemporary with its high school teen angst and paranormal with some sudden secret magic and some bad guys hellbent on getting their revenge. I'm really looking forward to the next book.(less)
With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is finally getting used to his new life. He hadn't exactly planned on being a powerful nec...moreWith the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is finally getting used to his new life. He hadn't exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf maybe-kinda-sort-of girlfriend, but things are going fine. Well, no, they're not. He's tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for starters, and his new house seems to hate him. His best friend is now a were-bear, someone's threatening his sister, and while Sam knows he's got a lot of power at his fingertips, he's not quite sure how to use it. When everything starts to fall apart, he decides it's time to man-up and take control, but that only raises more questions. The biggest one: is Douglas really dead?
Necromancing the Stone is a well-written mix of teenage male sarcasm and spooky things that go bump in the night. Whether you see it as a funny horror story or a creepy teen humour novel, it doesn't matter. It's a welcome return to Sam the unexpected and reluctant necromancer drop-out who has issues galore dropped on him and is expected to figure them out before everything goes to hell. Or wherever dead people end up. If they're actually dead.
Sam is back as a ragged and rather unlikely hero. He's not so much a slacker anymore now that's faced death and the evil tool that Douglas was, but he's exhausted. He's being run into the ground by Brid's brothers as they teach him self-defence, he's dealing with a not-so-human butler/assistant he's inherited from Douglas, he's living in a house that's screwing with him, and he's still not quite sure how to use his necromancer powers. Things aren't any easier for Sam this time around.
His relationship with Brid is still complicated as well. It just sort of happened in the first book and it's clearly not your average relationship. It's not every day a college dropout new-to-his-powers necromancer hooks up with a half-werewolf half-fae hound heir to her protective father's pack that is filled with overprotective brothers and skeptical werewolves. I like them together, but considering their positions, it's not easy to be together.
There's also the darker side of the book, the side that's trying to kill Sam. Being a necromancer, Sam's power is in his blood. In any book where blood has to be spilled for any kind of magical or paranormal ritual, like Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic, it raises the question on whether or not the author is using it as a metaphor for cutting or self-harm. Here, I don't believe that's the case. Sam's still uneasy about his necromancer abilities, isn't a big fan of the pain it brings when he has to spill blood to raise the dead, and doesn't have anyone to teach him the proper way to do things. He's heading into his new life a little blind, or at the very least rather near-sighted. It has the ability to chance one's perspectives on death, being able to raise the dead. If they can come back, is anyone really dead? Is there really an afterlife?
Sam deals with a lot of stuff, stuff he never thought he'd have to deal with. He's not always happy about it and doesn't always know how to fix it, but he still gets back to his feet to give it the old college try, or the old Sam LaCroix try since he dropped out. I hope that there will be more books about Sam and the dark and dangerous world he lives in.(less)
Not my usual cup of tea but still an enjoyable read. Refreshing to find a YA fantasy novel with a male protagonist. Should appeal to fans of fantasy n...moreNot my usual cup of tea but still an enjoyable read. Refreshing to find a YA fantasy novel with a male protagonist. Should appeal to fans of fantasy novels with magic and witches and two sides to every story but always connected.
The book summary is a bit misleading, less of the strange girl and more magic and Ryder needing to figure things out, but still an interesting book.
Characters were interesting, action scenes moved smoothly enough, and the twists and surprises kept me reading.
No rating this time because while I enjoyed it, I don't often read high fantasy like this book is and so I don't think the rating I would honestly give it would be fair. I will say that I enjoyed it, that I liked the world-building and the legends that the author has created, that I liked the characters and the struggles they had, how it was never easy for Ryder. Struggle builds character.
Sorry for the quick drive-by review, I have a lot of e-galleys to read that I've let pile up. In the future, I might come back and write a longer review.(less)
Everyone knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. They're too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But they're witc...moreEveryone knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. They're too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But they're witches, and the truth coming out could mean an asylum, a prison ship, or an early grave. Cate promised her mother she'd protect her sisters, but with six months to go until choosing between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word. Especially after discovering her mother's diary and a dangerous secret that could destroy her family. The search for answers put her in danger of being discovered, and throws her into a secret romance with the unsuitable Finn Belastra. If what her mother wrote is true, Cate and her sisters aren't safe. Even from themselves.
Dangerous, dark and magical, lush and mysterious, Born Wicked wrapped me up in its magic and misty secrets. I couldn't help but keep reading to discover the secrets, to discover the ending, to learn what lengths Cate will go to to keep her sisters safe and hidden.
Cate wasn't necessarily a new and different kind of heroine, but I can't remember one that was as frustrated and stubborn as she was. She's a witch, yes, but hates it. It complicates her life when she craves being normal and not having any kind of ability. Well, she craves a normal life that won't include the Brothers and their hatred of witches and the God-fearing that drips from their lips as they speak during service.
The relationship Cate had with her sisters Maura and Tess is what stood out the most, apart from the magic. Everything was so real, the struggle Cate had to keep the both of them in check, to be a second mother to them when all they wanted was a sister. Cate needed to learn to let go, to let them learn and hide on their own. She wouldn't always be there to watch them.
The Brotherhood and its religious leaning, the Cahill sisters and their hiding their powers in plain sight, this book was rather reminiscent of the witch trials that occurred in colonial times. I imagine that was the point, to highlight this time period, to tweak it and present an alternative history.
This book had so many complications, so many secrets and hidden stories and realizations that changed hopes and dreams. I'm craving the next book desperately, I need to know what happens next. Anything could happen next, but that both scares and delights me.
Born Wicked is a book that left me frustrated, but only because it ended. I had such a visceral reaction when I wanted more and only had a blank page at the end of the book. The next book cannot come fast enough.(less)
October 14, 2011: I couldn't finish it. The story felt too clichéd, the alternating viewpoint either a bit forced or too much Savannah and not enough...moreOctober 14, 2011: I couldn't finish it. The story felt too clichéd, the alternating viewpoint either a bit forced or too much Savannah and not enough Tristan. It's possible I'll read this one day, but not right now.(less)
A modern day twist of the German fairy tale "Tristan and Isolde," Mette Ivie Harrison give us the story of Izzie, a young girl with a perfect boyfrien...moreA modern day twist of the German fairy tale "Tristan and Isolde," Mette Ivie Harrison give us the story of Izzie, a young girl with a perfect boyfriend and loyal best friend, but everything goes wrong when Izzie takes the potion meant for her friend and accidentally falls in love with a new guy at their school. While this book is filled to the brim with magic, secrets, and danger, something was lacking character-wise for me and it kept me from enjoying this book more.
What initially drew me to this book was the fairy tale Harrison drew from. Fairy tale retellings have a way of being just as magical as the original, and this was. Magic options, witches, monsters, magical enemies, sorcerers and healers. There is nothing lacking in the fantasy element.
Unfortunately, what had a habit of putting me off was certain characters and their choices. Because Izzie is the narrator, I connected with her far more than others, but that's because we're only given her opinions of them. Mark is her awesome boyfriend, Branna is her best friend. But Izzie couldn't see what was right in front of her face at times. She's clueless to the feelings of those close to her, and sometimes makes rash decisions that would often turn her life into a huge smoking crater.
The language also didn't agree with me. At times it felt too simple, too obvious, too just describing actions or surroundings. On the first page, I started to edit in my head, pick which words I would take out and imagine how I would phrase the sentence. That's not a good sign. At other points, the language felt dated and stilted
I wanted to love this book as much as I love the cover, but it fell flat for me in terms of characters and language. Perhaps this book would fit with a younger teen reading audience, thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds. The idea was amazing, the magic and fairy tale elements were sound, but the characters brought it down for me.(less)
Ari can't help but feel alone, abandoned and left to grow up in foster care, labelled a freak because of her silver hair and teal-coloured eyes. When...moreAri can't help but feel alone, abandoned and left to grow up in foster care, labelled a freak because of her silver hair and teal-coloured eyes. When she finds a letter written for her by her mother, dead for years, Ari knows something is wrong, that something is coming for her. She travels to her birthplace, the town of New 2, New Orleans after the storms that ruined it, and finds that things are much different. In New 2, she's normal, no longer a freak, but everyone seems to know who she is.
And they're afraid of her. Ari still won't stop, but sometimes the truth is too terrifying to be revealed.
A glorious blend of the paranormal, the strange and the bizarre and the ancient, and the lush history and grandeur of New Orleans, Darkness Becomes Her was a breath of fresh air. This book was so easy to devour like candy, the pacing was quick, the characters different and interesting, the plot packed with secrets. Ari was the highlight of the book for me, a heroine who kicks ass and takes names like Lili St. Crow's Dru from Strange Angels or Courtney Allison Moulton's Ellie from Angelfire. Strong with a cracks in her armour, Ari knows how to take care of herself.
And there has to be a guy for her to fall for, there just has to be. It happens so fast, too, but because of the quick pace the book takes place over a few days. It's not instant love, more instant attraction that can and hopefully will be fleshed out in the next book.
The dark side of New 2, the reason for the storms and the ruin of a once great city, was something I hadn't expected but welcomed with open arms. Mixing New Orleans with Greek mythology was new and interesting, it filled that spot in my scholar's soul that loves mythology and history and bringing it into a modern setting
Darkness Becomes Her was a lush, quick-paced, no-holds-barred journey into the deep dark of a strange town filled with the paranormal and the bizarre, the dangerous and the despicable. A welcome mix of vampires, witches, shapeshifters, and Greek mythology. (less)
Sam has a pretty normal life for a college dropout working at a fast-food place, but it's better than nothing. He's doing all right, until a prank bri...moreSam has a pretty normal life for a college dropout working at a fast-food place, but it's better than nothing. He's doing all right, until a prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam learns he's a necromancer too, but with latent powers, and his worst nightmare wants to join forces. Or else. With a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily, he lives in Seattle where there as many paranormal types as there are coffee places. But with all his new friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
This book was funny, interesting, it kept me reading and flipping the page. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected characters. So much fun to read, another welcome edition to the 'horror/humour' genre.
I loved Sam. He was trying to make the best of his dropping out of college, then tried to make the best out of a bad situation once Douglas finds him and tries to lure him 'over to the dark side,' as it were. Sam's the quintessential maybe slacker hero working a garbage job who had something happen to him that no one could control and then ended up involved in the dark side of town that only the right people know exist. He's just trying to get back to normal, trying to fix everything, trying to figure it all out.
Then comes the chapters that aren't in Sam's point of view, the third person parts that cover Douglas and his less than moral activities, Brid and her imprisonment at the hands of a rouge and his new master, Ramon and his journey to help Sam when everything goes to hell. It added another layer, the background to Sam's journey up in the foreground of the book.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is funny, maybe scary, and so awesome. It's a journey for Sam, a way for him to learn the truth, to learn about himself, to learn that it's possible to be more than just a dropout flipping burgers and working the register. Sometimes you live life and it isn't what you thought it would be but it works for the moment, and then life throws you a curve (or a potato) and you learn the truth: you're meant for so much more than you imagined.(less)
Nothing in Silla's life has felt right since her parents' deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth, even try a few spells from a myst...moreNothing in Silla's life has felt right since her parents' deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth, even try a few spells from a mysterious book that arrived at her door... and spill some blood.
There's also Nick, the new guy in town, who might've seen Silla cast a spell. She doesn't know if he saw everything. The more time they spend together, the more she realizes this might not be his first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by both chemistry and fate, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction, and they can't ignore the dark presence lurking around, waiting to reclaim the book and all the power it holds.
Tessa Gratton's debut novel is dark and mysterious, haunting and haunted, gorgeous and magical. The blood pulsed in my fingers as I turned each page, waiting for something to pop out of the shadows and rain down on Silla and Nick, ready to scream at the right moment. An outstanding mix of teen angst, young love, and the possibilities of what could be lurking right under our skin, flowing through our veins.
So spooky. So much spooky. So much blood, I was surprised to not find it dripping from the pages. So much weighs down on Silla's shoulders: the surprising death of her parents, the sudden isolation and accusations of insanity, the loneliness, the crows flying around. The magic, such surprising and dangerous and powerful magic. Such power. She seems trapped in a sea of depression and blood, with Nick trying to help her keep her head above water.
There's so much sorrow in this book. The weight of Silla's parents' deaths hangs over her. It feels like it's only a matter of time until she crumbles.
And Nick. Nick seems lost, aimless, without purpose. He needs grounding, something to care about. And here's this lost girl, thin as a rail, bursting with questions, full of powerful blood. The connection between him and Silla can't be denied, but neither can the danger that follows them.
The metaphor for cutting wasn't lost on me, intentional or not on the part of Tessa Gratton. Adults and teenagers alike cut themselves as a painful form of self-administered therapy, watching the pain build and flow away the second a blade slices into their skin. Yes, the magic comes from the blood, but you can only cut yourself so much.
Blood Magic is not for the faint of heart, but to experience it properly, read it late at night with the wind rushing past your window and a crow crying out from a nearby tree. Darkness wrapped in secret magic locked in blood, finding love in a cemetery, hidden pain buried deep inside that threatens to choke you. The forbidden, the seemingly impossible, the dark and dangerous, thrive in this book. With any luck, readers will be intrigued by the magic and sucked in with the lyrical, powerful prose. Don't be surprised if this book weaves its way under your skin.
Don't be surprised if you look at blood differently.(less)
Lexi knows certain truths about the town she lives in: the Near Witch is just a story, the wind is lonely and looking for company, and there are no st...moreLexi knows certain truths about the town she lives in: the Near Witch is just a story, the wind is lonely and looking for company, and there are no strangers in the town of Near. But a stranger appears out of the mist, and children start disappearing. Lexi knows he isn't to blame, that she can trust him, and as they search for the missing, Lexi discovers she needs to know more, more about the Near Witch might not just be a story, more about the calling wind, and more about the stranger without a name.
A soft and mysterious debut, Victoria Schwab gives readers part love story, part fairy tale, part historical novel, and part familiar sweet story that won't let you put it down.
Lexi is strong-willed and intelligent, her father's daughter through and through, and struggles to prove herself as a tracker. She doesn't fit in, not in the role her uncle and others try to put her in, and so she wanders and tries to figure things out. She feels she knows what to do better than others do. It's not necessarily cockiness, but the fact that she thinks outside the box and others like her don't. Sometimes, with all the evidence given, the most obvious solution is not always the correct one.
Like in any mystery, it's difficult to put down a book when you don't know the answers, and I struggled to put this book down and go about the rest of my life. I needed to know where the children had gone, who the stranger was, what Lexi discovered whenever she stole away to do her own investigating.
Victoria does such a wonderful job creating the town of Near, close to the moors. Sometimes I thought I could hear the wind, knocking on my window, calling my name because it was lonely. Sometimes I thought I could smell the dirt and the rain and the trees, feel the coolness of the mists. Such gorgeous world-building was done. It almost felt like a dream.
Sweetly mysterious and romantic all at once, The Near Witch was both an expected and unexpected delight. I was willingly swept away by the wind, for I was lonely as well.(less)
**spoiler alert** it's dark and twisted, haunting and mysterious, gorgeous, unique. it's a great book.
the cover blurb, also the summary on Goodreads,...more**spoiler alert** it's dark and twisted, haunting and mysterious, gorgeous, unique. it's a great book.
the cover blurb, also the summary on Goodreads, raised questions that drew me in.
love can be a dangerous thing.... ooooo, interesting. :) hallucinations?? pills?? frilly, violet dresses?? hmmm, that's different. a strange town filled with dark secrets?? *hypnotized face* tell me more. anything can happen and no one is safe?? yup, i'm hooked.
first, Hanna. i love Hanna *book hug*. i'm curious if it's odd to say that reading a book about a bi-racial, bi-cultural, bipolar teenager is refreshing. characters need to be unique to draw in readers, they have to be believable, they have to be flawed. Hanna is both unique and flawed. not every girl in every high school all over the world is going to be a bubbly blonde cheerleader that's mentally stable. teens are all different people, they're manic or depressed or bipolar or anorexic or bulimic or a cutter or a jock or a nerd or a drama queen. teen characters need these flaws to make the reader connect, to make the reader believe them.
with the added twist in regards to Hanna's bipolar state, it altered how i read the book through her eyes. Hanna is very brazen, blunt and rather calm, "charming and rational" as one psychiatrist puts it (pg.22), and i guess maybe not controlling but she knows what she wants. she wants her mother Rosalee to accept her and love her, she wants the town to accept her, she wants to fit in at school.
but her mother wants her gone, the town sees her as an outsider, and the kids at school think she's a nutcase that wears bright purple. clearly, they have no fashion sense. ;)
then there's Hanna's father, either a side-effect hallucination brought on by her bi-polar disorder or an actual ghost that's haunting her and her mother. i'm torn between the two.
and Portero. this town clearly has some demons, but what town doesn't?? these ones are just creepy and bizarre and supernatural/paranormal and outrageous. what i enjoyed about Portero is that no one in town lied to themselves about the creepy stuff. they all knew it was there and they accepted it. the weird stuff is normal.
i understand the purpose of the Mortmaine: they're there to help the town when the creepy stuff pops up and tries to kill someone, like paranormal cops. i did think that they were both afraid of change and puppets of the Mayor. Wyatt's resistance is welcome, as are the cards he makes. with the arrival of Hanna, the town changes a little. her weirdness gives them fresh eyes on which to look at the town, and if the town is going to survive, the Mortmaine have to change how they go about stopping and killing the dark creatures.
i would've been upset if there wasn't a romantic aspect to this book. it would've added even more for Hanna to deal with, which it did, even with the bizarre start to their relationship that Hanna and Wyatt had. and then there was Hanna's view of sex and how it seemed to be her decision for her and Wyatt to have sex. it was a little surprising, but teens have sex. it's true. not writing about it isn't going to make it not true. now, Hanna's not promiscuous, she's only interested in Wyatt, and it just seemed to fit with her character. she's brazen and bold, and adult enough to use condoms.
i hope this next part was intentional because it makes spots of the book so vivid: the focus on colour. the purple, the splashes of red everywhere (not always blood, but sometimes), the green of the Mortmaine, the white-blue of Rosalee's kitchen. whenever a colour appeared it popped into my head and filled my vision. the purple of Hanna's dresses, the lipstick red of Rosalee's kitchen chair. gorgeous. :)
in the end, after Hanna fights her way to become a part of Portero, breaking through the barriers established by Rosalee, the evil (and dead) Runyon, and the controlling Mayor. it's one of those 'over for now' endings, which i'm happy to find. not everything is wrapped up. it's Portero, there's still weird creatures and monsters creeping around in parks and windows, and that's fine. i never expected that to be the end. i did hope that the end would include Hanna making some kind of peace with Rosalee, badass and brutal as she is. i wouldn't have Rosalee any other way, because then she wouldn't be believable. she didn't have to melt like butter under Hanna's love, just soften the tiniest bit.
in conclusion, go read this book. i saw a (negative, unfortunately) review that said this book was a hot mess. i will agree, but that's what made it so good. nothing's perfect, and nothing's ever going to be perfect in Portero. what town is perfect?? what adult?? what teenager??
Bleeding Violet is freakishly awesome. thank you, Dia Reeves. i can't wait for Slice of Cherry to come out in January.
also, i love Swan and Little Swan and Ragsie. like a splash of adorableness mixed in with the blood. :)
Out in North Hampton live three unique women, Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. They are witches, powerful, but banned from openly...moreOut in North Hampton live three unique women, Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. They are witches, powerful, but banned from openly practicing magic. Not until each of them are presented with certain situations do they break out their wands and start casting spells again, bringing to life their small town. Then the darkness comes, and the sickness, and the missing girl, and the Beauchamp women realize it's time to uncover what dark forces have come to their small town hidden in the mist.
This book has what I love about Melissa de la Cruz books: magic, secrets, powerful but flawed characters, New York class and style, and hidden romances. It's another exciting book, with hints of her Blue Bloods series. Characters like Freya and Ingrid and Joanna help this book stand on its own, but it's still half-related to its well-established and well-loved Blue Bloods cousins.
This is not a YA book, per se. The characters are not teenagers, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of readers of this book have drifted over from Melissa's YA series. It's still what I've come to expect from a Melissa novel: a blend of character and plot driven with characters in conflict and aren't sure what they really want (or who, Freya) and events happening that slowly change the world around them (the dead birds and the sickness).
I loved the inclusion of (maybe spoiler) Norse mythology (like you couldn't see it with a name like Freya or Ingrid). I like tweaks and spins on mythology in general, it explains why I loved Aimée Carter's The Goddess Test so much (Greek mythology) and why I'm excited to read Tera Lynn Childs' Sweet Venom (also Greek mythology). It's another idea that sets Witches of East End apart from Blue Bloods, that it's not all blue blood-angel-reincarnated soul-vampires.
Such a fun, interesting, mysterious summer read. I couldn't help but think of summer as I read this. They're at the beach, it's New York, Freya is bubbly and sexy and fun. And I liked Ingrid, too, and not just because she's a librarian. She wants to help people. I hope in the next book she gets kissed as much as Freya did in this book. ;)
(I received this book from HarperCollinsCanada for the intent to review it. I haven't received any sort of compensation for my time, but I do appreciate them sending it express overnight to me.) (less)