Posts Tagged: Witches

Waiting on Wednesday – Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1) by Sally Green

September 18, 2013 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 8 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1) by Sally GreenHalf Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Life Trilogy #1
Published by Viking Juvenile on March 25th 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy
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A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Wow, but what a spectacular cover is it not?? Sounds super intriguing and of course it doesn’t hurt comparing it to the stories of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak. Very much looking forward to this one.
 
What are you waiting on this Wednesday? 
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Book Review – Touch by Alexi Zentner

August 1, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 4 Comments

Book Review – Touch by Alexi ZentnerTouch by Alexi Zentner
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on April 30th 2012
Pages: 272
Genres: Canada, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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one-star

"A breathtaking debut . . . filled with ghosts and demons who lurk in the Canadian north woods." —Andrew Abrahams, People

On the eve of his mother’s death, Stephen comes home to Sawgamet, a logging town where the dangers of working in the cuts are overshadowed by the dark mysteries and magic lurking in the woods. Thirty years after the mythical summer his grandfather returned to town on a quixotic search for his dead wife, Stephen confronts the painful losses in his own life.

It’s funny, I usually start out my reviews with a short little blurb of my own just rehashing the particulars of the story. With ‘Touch’ though, this story was so all over the place that I can’t adequately explain it’s basis; it simply eludes me. The official summary feels deceiving and makes it sound ripe with potential… but it never lived up it, that’s for sure. I truly feel as if I’ve been hoodwinked. I blame the stunning cover! *shakes fist* But honestly, I recall going through this magical realism stage and added practically every book tagged as such. This is one of them. I’m thinking that if the author isn’t Sarah Addison Allen, then I apparently don’t care much for magical realism.

It should be said that according to the Reading Group Discussion questions (yeah, I read them in hopes that it would clarify some things. I was wrong) this is considered more along the lines of mythical realism as it incorporates Inuit mythology. While I could say that the incorporation of mythological elements may give it a smidgen of credibility in comparison to strange magical stuff happening for no apparent reason, it was a poorly managed addition to the story. The story is centered around this small town in the Canadian wilderness which came into existence only after gold was discovered. It’s a story about survival. But then out of nowhere some strange creature would pop up and it was like mental whiplash. Like the mahaha (actual creatures name, I wasn’t just laughing):

“They tickle you until all your breath is gone. Leave you dead, but with a smile.”

Holy freaky shit. That’s the stuff of nightmares. But I was intrigued and wanted to know more so I googled this scary beasty with the funny name. The page I found described the mahaha in basically the exact same way the author did in the book. Like it was copied. And that kind of killed the cool out of it. To me, magical realism IS the story, it’s incorporated and intertwined into the very fabric of the story. But all the magical elements in Touch felt like a strange and ill-fitting addition that was added as an afterthought to an otherwise contemporary tale of survival.

The writing style itself, apart from the actual story, was lacking a much needed finesse. The tale was not linear and bounced all over the place without any indication as to whether we were back in the present tense or still being told the story of the past. The point of view was a poor choice as well. The grandson is the narrator retelling his grandfather’s story. Why not just have the grandfather tell his own story? Even though the grandfather told him his story it seemed unlikely that he would know as many details as he did. There were also strange leaps to other characters and telling the story through there eyes which definitely made it implausible as his grandfather wasn’t even present in those instances.

While the writing reflected definite potential, it was too unpolished for me to enjoy. I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I finished a novel and honestly had absolutely no clue the purpose or meaning of it. So much of this story was too farcical in its inconceivability for me to garner any sort of entertainment. Many people have lauded this book for it’s eerie, haunting qualities but ultimately this left me chilled for all the wrong reasons.

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Early Review – School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins

April 26, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel HawkinsSchool Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Series: School Spirits #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 14th 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Fantasy, Ghosties, Paranormal, Vampires
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hex Hall, Demonglass, Spell Bound

three-half-stars

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!

Izzy Brannick comes from a long line of monster hunters. Her family hunts them all for the Prodigium, the council that governs them all. The council that her cousin Sophie Mercer is in charge of. Izzy hasn’t been the same since her sister went missing on a job both of them were supposed to be working on. She blames herself since she was supposed to be with her but ended up letting her go off by herself. Add to that, she just screwed up her last solo job and her mom has given her a lame assignment. It involves a ghost. And a high school. Which she has to personally attend.

I was a bit undecided when I heard about this spin-off series but when I got my hands on it my love of Hex Hall that had lay dormant sudden came alive again and I had to read this immediately. And in a single day. Hex Hall fans will love this spin-off, I have no doubt.

Izzy is such a charming yet completely clueless girl when it comes to the normal lives of teenagers. She considers black a satisfactory color for her entire wardrobe and she lacks any sort of social skills considering she’s never been social and has never attended public school. So when she finds out she’s going to have to actually attend a high school in order to get the necessary information to bring down the ghost that’s currently haunting its halls, she’s at a loss on how to acclimate. She buys all the teen magazines and the goofy teen TV shows in order to ‘understand’ more and… suffice it to say, it’s hilarious.

Despite her lack of social skills, there still manages to be a completely adorable romance. Izzy and Dex are hilarious and awkward and it was completely endearing. It totally gave the warm fuzzies, I only wish it had gone on for more pages (this was an extremely quick read!) but fortunately this is the first in a new series so I look forward to seeing more Dex and Izzy time. Dex was definitely my favorite character with his peppy one-liners, but there were tons of characters to love in these pages. Torin, the 400-year old warlock currently trapped in Izzy’s bedroom mirror, was a runner-up favorite.

Despite my gushing, I wasn’t completely content with the ending. It wasn’t so off-putting that I won’t be continuing this series, but it’ll be interesting to see where the story leads.

School Spirits is a delightful paranormal series with an unforgettable set of characters. Fun and full of witty banter, this is the perfect read for anyone looking for some quick mystical entertainment.

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Book Review – Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins

March 14, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel HawkinsSpell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #3
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 13th 2012
Pages: 337
Genres: Fantasy, Funny-ha-ha, Paranormal
Format: eBook
Amazon
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Also by this author: Hex Hall, Demonglass, School Spirits

two-half-stars

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Man… where do I start. Big sigh for this one. Big disappointment for me. I’m very sad this series is over and there won’t be a chance to make something more of this series. I read the first and second books back to back when the second book was released and fell in love with Sophie and Jenna and Hex Hall and Archer and Cal and the world that Rachel Hawkins created. I was so eager to get my hands on Spell Bound that I had the release date marked on my calendar even. To say I was anticipating this like no other is an understatement.

I’m typically wary of the final books in series because they are rarely wrapped up sufficiently in my opinion and Spell Bound definitely fell in that category. For being such a short book and having so many loose ends that still needed tying up, I was extremely surprised that it took so long for anything to actually happen (plot-wise). Midway through the book I found myself bored and begging for something interesting to happen; it was really quite upsetting. Once the plot started actually ‘progressing’ I felt it was very forced, lacked sufficient explanation, and lacked in excitement.

I remember Sophie being a lot of fun and really funny in the first two books but despite the fact that there were some really funny moments her humor really fell a little flat for me. And her fluctuating maturity really drove me batty. One second she’d be acting like a mature young-adult making smart, rational decisions and the next moment she’s acting like a teen making immature statements. There were moments that still put a smile on my face and had me laughing but…I missed old Sophie in this one. As for the other characters I really enjoyed Jenna’s part but found myself really enjoying the scenes with the two new characters Izzy and Finley. Way too serious for their young age and pretty darn funny (but not an intentional funny. 🙂 )

There were some major ‘eh’ moments that I didn’t much care for. Don’t click if you haven’t read this! I don’t make spoiler tags for nothing.

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Very sad this series is over and that this is how it ended. Nonetheless, I am very excited to see what Rachel Hawkins comes up with next!

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Book Review – The Witches by Roald Dahl

October 24, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – The Witches by Roald DahlThe Witches by Roald Dahl
Published by Scholastic Press on August 16, 2007 (first published 1983)
Pages: 208
Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: The Gremlins

three-stars

This Roald Dahl classic tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches! "In fairy tales witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs. That is why they are so hard to catch." Witches, as our hero learns, hate children. With the help of a friend and his somewhat-magical grandmother, our hero tries to expose the witches before they dispose of him.

“In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.”

I decided to read this in support of Banned Book Week. So obviously I’m a bit behind schedule as this is my first time reading this and I know many of you had read this early on in your childhood. I’m 25 years old and am just now getting around to experiencing it. I positively adored Roald Dahl’s writing and am quite surprised that I never actually read a single one of his books.

“The curtains were never drawn in that house, and through the windows I could see huge snowflakes falling slowly on to an outside world that was as black as tar.”

Does it make me a total wuss to admit that this book really freaked me out a few times? And what about those pictures?! Holy crap.

That? Is some seriously scary shit right there.

Bottom Line… it was quite a charming little book and the relationship between the little boy and his grandmother was damn adorable.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.”

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Book Review – Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la CruzWitches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Beauchamp Family #1
Published by Hyperion on June 21, 2011
Pages: 292
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
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two-stars

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid, live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

‘Witches of East End’ is the first in a new series by Melissa de la Cruz. Being a huge fan of her young adult Blue Bloods series I was immediately intrigued at the idea of her branching off into adult fiction. Unfortunately I was super disappointed.

This book follows the story of the three Beauchamp women who live in north Hampton; Joanna and her two daughters Freya and Ingrid. All three women reside in North Hampton living relatively normal lives, even though they are actually powerful immortal witches who have been forbidden from practicing magic. Slowly at first, the three women begin practicing magic again hoping that they can successfully stay off the radar and won’t be punished. Ingrid is the first to discover individuals who are complaining of anything from infertility to a block in creativity have a gray darkness in their spirits, and it’s becoming more and more common.

I had a hard time with how the author just simply stated things and failed to explain. I also had a hard time liking the characters. Joanna helps care for this four year old child, Tyler, and the relationship between the two just comes off as not right. It explains how Joanna had lost her son long ago and that taking care of Tyler is like having her son back… I just kept wondering where his mother was and what she felt about that. Ingrid is a librarian and boring beyond all reason, but I did like how she was so willing to help people in need. Shoot, if I got to work with books all day I’d be the happiest person alive. Lol

Possible spoiler… And then there’s Freya… oh where do I begin. So Freya is engaged to marry Bran after a month of knowing each other. Bran and Freya throw an engagement party. Freya is constantly professing her love for Bran and how they were meant to be together. Freya sleeps with Bran’s brother Killian (Killian? Who the hell names their kid Killian?) at their engagement party. Freya continues to profess love for Bran while continuing to think of Killian while having sex with Bran. The whole situation just lacked class in so many ways. Of course there was this big revelation towards the end that made it all okay, but I still didn’t care for it.

And of course the Epilogue offered up a *big* cliffhanger but by the time it came around I found myself not caring in the slightest. I felt like I was dragging myself through the last half of the book… the author kept throwing in random facts and random storylines of past events and I was just bored. I won’t be continuing this series.

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Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel Hawkins

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 1 Comment

Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel HawkinsHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Published by Hyperion on May 28th 2010
Pages: 337
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Demonglass, Spell Bound, School Spirits

four-half-stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Okay, so I loved this book… even though it had a total ‘Harry Potter’ feel to it. Only exception was that the main character, Sophie Mercer, always knew she was a witch. She lived in the real world up until she tried to make a friend with a classmate by casting a love spell for her. The love spell went awry and because she made her powers known, she was shipped off to ‘Hex Hall’-Boarding School for the Gifted.

Not only did this book have very likable characters, an intriguing storyline, but it was hilarious. There were so many quotes I could have added as favorites; however, I stopped at 3…maybe 4. Lol

And the incident with Archer and Sophie in the cellar… Ahhhh! That had my mouth gaping. Even though I should have seen that one coming, it still threw me for a loop.

So now I must decide whether to jump right into Demonglass or wait… Decisions decisions. 🙂

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Short & Sweet – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 0 Comments

Short & Sweet – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel HawkinsDemonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 22nd 2011
Pages: 359
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hex Hall, Spell Bound, School Spirits

four-half-stars

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie's a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father.

What's worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They're demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Acher to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Yet another great book.. I think I actually enjoyed it a teensy bit more than Hex Hall; however, I did not laugh as much.

This book continues where the first left off with Sophie deciding to go through the Removal after she finds out she’s not actually a witch, but a demon, and a very powerful one at that. She flies to England with Cal (Love Cal-Archer can go away) and Jenna to meet her dad and spend some quality time with her as he is determined to change her mind about going through the Removal. While in England she finds out she’s betrothed, she meets other demons, and she comes face to face with Archer again.

Once again, another cliff-hanger ending and I’m sitting here pulling my hair out. Can’t wait till the 3rd installment is published. 🙂

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