Review: Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

From Hicklebees: Braden’s witch eyes give him an enormous power. A mere look causes a kaleidoscopic explosion of emotions, memories, darkness, and magic. But this rare gift is also his biggest curse.

Compelled to learn about his shadowed past and the family he never knew, Braden is drawn to the city of Belle Dam, where he is soon caught between two feuding witch dynasties. Sworn rivals Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe will use anything–lies, manipulation, illusion, and even murder–to seize control of Braden’s powers. To stop an ancient evil from destroying the town, Braden must master his gift, even through the shocking discovery that Jason is his father. While his feelings for an enigmatic boy named Trey grow deeper, Braden realizes a terrible truth: Trey is Catherine Lansing’s son . . . and Braden may be destined to kill him.

Praise: “A bewitching blend of paranormal romance and intrigue.”–KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Welcome to the town of Belle Dam, a mysterious place filled with intriguing characters, magic, and dangerous secrets. Witch Eyes pulled me in and kept me up half the night finishing it, only to leave me with a thirst for more I seriously can’t wait to see what Scott Tracey does next. His debut urban fantasy has it all: great voice, unique worldbuilding, and a sizzling romance that I adored.”–KAREN MAHONEY, AUTHOR OF THE IRON WITCH.

Plain and simple, Scott Tracey delivers in his debut paranormal coming September 8th from Flux. The author paints a moody picture of Belle Dam with a fabulous young protagonist to galavant around and as he is new as well we get to discover Belle Dam and her secrets together. It’s just like being besties.

One thing I loved about this book is the protagonist Braiden is gay. His uncle doesn’t really like that but he doesn’t give Bray (I can call him that because we were 3am reading homies) a hard time, instead he sees it as something Braiden will grow out of. There is a lot here for any teen, straight, gay, Miley Cyrus fan… This is one of the few books that paints a gay character that is very real, not just the BAMF FABULOUS secondary BFF.

Braiden has Witch Eyes and it seems like Belle Dam is THE place to find out what that means exactly and what else he can do with his powers besides see how any spell has been worked. One of the founding daughters of the town had Witch Eyes too, but the town buried her and her secrets with her when she died.

The more Braiden pokes around the more he antagonizes an age old war between his father, and the boy he may be in love with’s mother. The real question is will Braiden find the answers he is looking for before he spurs a battle that neither side can win?

I absolutely adored Witch Eyes and I generally look to Flux for hot new young voices and that is what Tracey is. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

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Review: The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher

From Goodreads: Knightley Academy is back in session, and Henry Grim is confident that nothing else can prevent him from earning his knighthood. But Henry and his friends quickly discover that their professors have made some troubling changes to the curriculum — an old classroom filled with forgotten weapons. It is the discovery of this classroom that prompts Henry and Valmont to become the unlikely leaders of a secret battle society. But disaster strikes as Henry, Adam and Frankie find themselves stuck as Partisan School servants. Yet something is rotten in Partisan Keep. And when Henry is discovered by a secret society of outlaws with a sinister purpose, he must come to terms with a great sacrifice that will take him away from everything he has ever known and wanted. The stakes get higher and tension mounts in the second installment of Violet Haberdasher’s fresh, fast-paced, and always surprising Knightley Academy books.

While I was a bit confused when I reviewed Knightley Academy I have since asked questions of the author about what what Harry Potter Inspired Fiction really is. Now that I understand this concept so much better I went into The Secret Prince armed with knowledge and was able to simply just fall in love with the story and the characters. Oh, and fall in love I did. The book starts off with amazingly intriguing prose:

In the pale gloom of the unusually cold January afternoon when our story starts, the roads are desolate but their emptiness is not due entirely to the dreadful weather.
As you have probably heard, or read, or suspected without quite knowing why, sinister things indeed were happening up north, and in those dark days, fearful rumors were more common than holiday cheer.

But where there is suspicion there is also doubt, and some people still pretended that nothing was the matter. After all, appearances have to be maintained, especially by those looked to as an example. “Let the superstitious servants worry!” the aristocracy scoffed from the comfort of their elegant town houses.

After all, it wasn’t as though there were proof to any rumor. pg2 of the ARC

The Secret Prince was quite honestly an adventure mystery. I loved every minute of reading this and I adore Henry and his ragtag group of friends. I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the love story side plot and that we as the reader get to know more about the Nordlands and what makes them so different from where Henry lives.

There is love, laughter, death and life decisions made that are forced upon our protagonists. We learn more about Henry and his history, we learn about his friends and what their home life is like, and it reads like a suitor to Harry Potter.

I cannot wait to read book three and see what Henry and crew come up with to combat all of the things they learned in this book. Fantastic reading.

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Interview: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl Authors of Beautiful Creatures

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Photo by: Alex Hoerner

A big thank you to Kami and Margie, co-authors of Beautiful Creatures for answering these interview questions for Bookalicio.us. You can read my review of Beautiful Creatures by clicking here.
  1. Bookalicio.us: I have to say you have Southern people described to the letter. Are either of you Southern or have family that lives in the South? As I was reading I was fascinated with how much your book took me home to my teen years in Saltville Virginia (The Salt Capitol of the Confederacy).

    Kami: My family is originally from a small town in North Carolina, so I grew up with three generations of women (two Southern) living under one roof. I have a deep affection for the eccentricities of the South, and still go to see my mom in North Carolina every summer. Margie’s family is originally from a tiny town, though not in the South, and I think our shared stories from casserole counties are what made us want to set our story in Gatlin, SC. Even if it isn’t the Salt Capitol of the Confederacy!

  2. Bookalicio.us: I often wondered through out the book why you chose Ethan as opposed to Lena as the main character. The more I read the more I was confused about that, but the more I read the more I loved the fact you did so. It was a breath of fresh air in the paranormal YA assortment.

    Margie: You have to remember, we originally wrote this story on a dare from seven teenagers, who read our pages nightly and weekly as we wrote them. So we weren’t really thinking about anything other than what they would want to read. They were powerful, strong, individualistic teenage girls – except for our one Caster Boy! – and we wanted to give them a story where the girl was the powerful, mysterious supernatural, and the boy had to unravel her mystery, find his way to her. Also, I think we also wanted to give them something they hadn’t read before.

  3. Bookalicio.us: The Character of Lena’s Uncle was an amazingly thought out addition to the story. I can’t go into too much detail of how you as the authors used his character for some plot twists without giving spoilers, I wanted to ask how you fleshed him out the way you did.

    Kami: Lena’s Uncle Macon is one of our favorite characters, and an important counterpoint to some of the smaller-minded folks in town. He’s brilliant and sophisticated and worldly and unique, and he’s been living in Gatlin as long as the town folks who loathe him. He’s also a wonderfully loyal father figure to Lena. We love how he loves her.

  4. Bookalicio.us:I like the different kinds of paranormal in the book and the way you handled the naming of things and persons with even a little Southern Voodoo thrown in for charm. How did you mesh so many different supernatural elements into one piece without making it over the top?

    Margie: We named our Casters from day one. It was important to us to create our own unique rule set for our own magical universe. We didn’t want to be generic, and we wanted to give our readers a kind of magic that was deeply regional, and tied to the Caster County our book lives in.

  5. Bookalicio.us: What is your favorite place to write?

    Kami: In my comfy chair, in complete silence, with a Diet Coke. Extra ice.

    Margie: In the library or in my own comfy chair, also with a Diet Coke and my earphones blasting my mix of the day!

  6. Bookalicio.us: Pen and paper? Mac or PC? Why?

    Kami: We’re both Mac girls, though we use more white boards with more complex color-coding that you could possibly imagine.

  7. Bookalicio.us: Beautiful Creatures is a book that made it on my short list of favorites for 2009, it almost didn’t make it on there because I hadn’t heard about the book. Usually I get recommendations from literary blogs, and Amazon is always throwing stuff to me I devour. It is kind of hard for me to miss a young adult novel, and I am so glad I didn’t miss this one. How hard has it been marketing a YA book in a sea of others? Teens are statistically
    reading more now and there is so much to choose from. Publishers expect you to be able to market yourself effectively from the beginning now as well.

    Margie: Little, Brown has been incredibly supportive of our book from day one. Our editors, Jen Hunt and Julie Scheina, have always made us feel like a priority, and our publicist Jessica Kaufman is amazing. And the day Amazon picked us for their Top Ten of 2009 and their number one Teen Pick, we were thrown into a bit more of the spotlight than we had ever anticipated. The Warner Brothers movie announcement hitting the day before our book came out was another spotlight, and things just sort of kept rolling from there.

  8. Bookalicio.us: How do you feel about book trailers? Have you ever watched one that made you want to buy a book?

    Kami: We love good book trailers. Vania Stoyanova, the photographer who made one of our BC trailers, is so talented that she makes you want to buy any title she makes a trailer for. That’s why we were so happy she made one for us! You can watch her trailer on the homepage of our site, under the reviews. www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com

  9. Bookalicio.us: What has been the best part of reader reaction for you?

    Margie: It’s amazing to hear people talking about the characters, the town, the story – all of these things that only existed in our heads for so long. We also love love love our librarian readers, so the Morris Debut Award nomination from the YALSA was a special kind of “reader reaction” that we will never forget!

  10. Bookalicio.us: Are you going to be a book tour? Release dates in other countries or movie deals (really it should be a movie)?

    Kami: Beautiful Creatures is being published in 25 countries, which is really wonderful. We are going to be on our Southern US book tour from January 18th until the 29th, and then on a more limited northern states book tour from February 20th until the 27th. The movie is going forward in development at Warner Brothers, and we couldn’t be happier about that. For more information on all of the above, be sure to check back at www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com – we will be updating the site the whole time we are touring, so you can see the latest BC happenings!

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Review: Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

The towns are so boring and you can only dream of getting out. Ethan marked his days down until she showed up in town. Long black hair, weird slightly gothic style. She completely knocked the wind out of our Ethan and in a good way. Over time we learn more about the girl. Her name is Lena, she lives with Macon Ravenwood the town shut in. Was Lena crazy too?
Seriously strange things start to happen to Ethan, he is dreaming about Lena in a way that seems so real he even awakes with dirt and grime in his bed. Songs start showing up on his iPod with varying lyrics and messages. When he learns the truth about Lena and her family he realizes he has to race against time and break every southern social rule in order to save Lena from her fate.
The character development in this book is amazing. From Ethan, to Lena, Macon to Amma, Link to Ridley. I was laughing out loud, visibly annoyed with some, and smirking at the sarcasm. This book was short listed here on Bookalicio.us as one of my favorite reads in 2009 and short listed way more important places like you know Amazon! Absolutely this volume deserves its best selling status!
A movie is in development, I cannot wait to hear more news on that.
If you haven’t read Beautiful Creatures you need to. If you have let me know what you thought or share your star rating below. If you are like me in mentality and think it has been hyped too much to possibly be good. Then you are wrong. Pick it up, read it, and if I am wrong I will give you a cookie. Not any generic cookie, the good ones. Milano’s from Pepperidge Farm.
I was also lucky enough to conduct an interview with our lovely authors. Check it out: Interview with Beautiful Creatures Authors.

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Review: Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

Janni Lee Simner penned a fantastic parallel world to our own in her first YA novel. I am hoping to see more YA titles from her in the future. I didn’t really expect to like this book as much as I did, the cover art had me from hello, and I liked the description of the book but in actuality I expected the same dark Faerie tale you usually get reading these types of novels. What I did get was a blow to my judgmental little fantasy of this book.

Bones of Faerie follows Liza through a quest of sorts. She lives in a town, where Magic is feared, after the Faerie War. Everything in the world as we know it has been destroyed, and the magic lingers on making plants alive and very dangerous. It’s hard to harvest food for Liza’s village and the whole town works together to survive. No outsiders are allowed in and if a baby is born with fey golden hair and magical blue eyes, it is set on a hillside to meet its fate. Liza had a sister succumb to this fate. Her father left her on a hillside to die just hours after birth, after that Liza’s mother leaves without her. Leaving her to her abusive father, around then Liza starts realizing she has magical abilities but thank goodness her hair is still black. She runs away, into the forest and is followed by a boy named Matthew.

Liza later finds out that Matthew has magic of his own and when they are attacked at night by the trees a strange woman finds them and brings them to her village where magic is feared but not illegal. Liza and Matthew learn more about their abilities, while healing.

Liza sets off again followed by Matthew on a quest to find her Mother in Faerie. Tara, badly burned by radiation poisoning is brought by through the worlds by Liza and her gift. I really can’t go into anymore without causing major spoilers for you guys reading, but this book really impressed me. Surprises in books are always the best, some books you read you already know how you are going to feel about them, but this book really knocked my proverbial socks off! I strongly recommend this book to teens and fans of YA writing. The book doesn’t focus on any love story and that made me ecstatically happy also. So dig into the book and then leave me a comment here telling me what you thought. I love discussing books!

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