Review: Crave by Melissa Darnell

From Hicklebee’s: Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….

Crave added a unique twist to the legend of vampire and the witches vs. vampire feud. Savannah has always lived in her small Texas town, and ever since a faux childhood wedding to Tristan -which prompted his parents, and the parents of her two besties to cut off contact – she has been alone.

Savannah has always wondered what she did wrong, to make The Clann tell their children not to play with her anymore. As a teen Savannah has good friends and a great family structure. She is confident and all-in-all a great character.

Savannah and Tristan seem to be gravitating towards each other. This causes some bristling of The Clann and to Savannah’s surprise, her family as well. She and Tristan are constantly told to stay away from each other – its the best thing for everyone, but as the mystery unfolds the ‘why’ of the mandate comes to light and Savannah and Tristan take matters into their own hands.

Crave was sweet, and an interesting read. I finished it quickly and would read a second. Its not mind-blowy in any sense but a great romantic fated lovers tale and perfect for reading in colder weather.

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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: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

From Goodreads: 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 Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Be Warned: Spoilers ahead for book one:

Oh Sophie Mercer I love you for such an abundant amount of reasons. You go to a boarding school for the magically bad, you have two hot guys at your beck and call, and you are so freaking funny that literally the other night when I was reading, there was an incident involving my nose and some diet coke.

I was concerned for a moment that the return of demon daddy would have Sophie turning into one of those characters. You know the ones that whine about their issues all the time. *cough*BellaSwan*cough* But no, Sophie you kept it real and continued to give me laugh out loud funny while solving a mystery and dealing with heaps of drama.

I love Demonglass even more than I loved Hex Hall and that says a lot. It is not very often anymore that I become a true fan of a serious or an authors work and I tell you right now. I will follow Rachel Hawkins’ writing journey where ever it takes her because this is some seriously brilliant stuff.

The writing is tight, the characters are amazing, I never anticipate the whodunit and I don’t get annoyed that I can’t figure it out. Hawkins writes like my teenage head worked and I know that teens will enjoy Sophie and co. for all of her antics. I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes and my express wish that you go buy this book or the first now. You will not regret the purchase.

Sophie learns she is betrothed to Cal:

As I stomped across school grounds, all I could see was Cal sitting with my dad in some manly room with leather chairs and dead animals on the wall, chomping on cigars as Dad formally signed me away to Cal. They’d probably even high-fived. Pg 19 ARC

Sophie gets a computer at swanky Thorne Hall, no computers allowed at Hecate:

Computers were also forbidden at Hecate, at least for students. Mrs. Casnoff supposedly had one in her private quarters. Jenna and I had spent one very boring Magical Evolution class speculating on what her e-mail address might be. Jenna thought it was probably something dull, like just her name, but my personal vote was for HexyLady@hecatehall.edu. I guess now I could find out.

I give thee 5 stars for originality, spunk, and making coke shoot out of my nose. A job well done.

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher.

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The Familiars by Adam Epstien and Andrew Jacobson

From Goodreads: After three young wizard apprentices are kidnapped by the evil queen of a distant land, it is up to their familiars, their magical animal companions — a street smart alley cat, a precocious blue jay, and a bumbling tree frog — to save them.

Lately I have been in love with Middle Grade fiction. I have made it my mission to learn more about the genre and to incorporate that knowledge into Bookalicio.us to offer a more wide variety of kid lit for my readers. In the past two months I have had three successful MG reads and The Familiars ranks at the top of my favorites.

I used the Familiars with my brand spanking new book club at Hicklebee’s my local indie bookstore that I am partnered with. I had tons of kids in attendance and they had so many questions for me. Adam Epstien and Andrew Jacobson had visited earlier but some of the kids had missed the author signing. These kids are in luck because the authors gave me their email to give to the kids and I think several of them will use it!

Before my review here are what some of the kids had to say:

Hannah age 13 “I loved this book even more than the Chronicles of Narnia.”
Annora age 10 “I really like that this book is about animals who can do magic instead of humans.”
Jake age 8 “I really like all the magic.”

It was unanimous we all loved this book.

We follow Aldwyn who is your every day alley cat in the city of Bridgetower as he is trying to grab a fish to eat. He is caught and pursued by the towns most awesome pest hunter named Grimslade. Aldwyn jumps into a magic shop window and runs into a cage to avoid being captured and that is where his story begins.

Jack and his wizarding teacher Kalstaff come into the shop to find a familiar as young Jack has come of age. He chooses Aldwyn who immediately begins freaking out because he is just your everyday garden variety alley cat. Aldwyn travels back to the woods with Kalstaff and Jake and meets the other two students and their familiar. A bird named Skylar and a frog named Gilbert.

When the Queen shows up and kidnaps the young wizards it is up to the familiars to set out on a journey to get them back.

The Familiars is full of fantastical magic, and is completely plot driven. Never have I seen such personality given to animals. It was easy to forget these weren’t human characters. I was completely transported and kept in the dark until the very end. I had no idea what the end of the story had in it’s pages for me and all the guessing I did was futile.

I will anxiously be awaiting the next book in this series and am hanging on the edge of my seat for movie news. Adam Epstien and Andres Jacobson have my attention as up and coming Middle Grade writers.

If you love Harry Potter or The Warriors you will adore The Familiars.

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Review: Witch and Wizard by James Patterson

The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they’d never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents–and maybe the world?

I have fallen in love with the way James Patterson writes action. I focus mostly on YA here and have been dying to get my grubby little paws on this since I heard the great marketing scheme for ARC copies at BEA 2009. I bought the book and then devoured it in half a day.

The story is dystopian. Whit and Wisty (Wisteria) are really thought out characters who have a lot of spunk but no clue that they are in fact a witch and a wizard. The book has loads of cool graphics in the form of proclamations. The story line was fast paced and very fun to read.

The book has some great names for the government officials, The One who Judges, The One who is the One and so on. Also at the end of the book is a list of banned materials that are utter hilarious parodies of books and music that have been banned or challenged at some point in America.

I have seen loads of not so great reviews on this book around online. The problem is it was marketed as a YA novel when it is purely MG. I think if that is understood going into the book then you will love it as well. It seems to be set up for a second book and I can’t wait to get it in my grasp.

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