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Posts Tagged ‘Hex Hall’

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeaniene Frost

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally”—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

I wrote a nice review of this book, but then internet-land ate it. Grrrr!

Suffice to say, This Side of the Grave renewed my love of Jeaniene’s sarcastic wit, ability to craft passionate, yet epic love scenes, and write a damn good story. I love Cat and Bones and am always impressed at their growth as a couple. Jeaniene proves that there’s much, much more story to tell even after the tension and build-up of the “lets get together” stage is over. In This Side of the Grave, Cat and Bones learn more about each other, meet some spooky supes (teehee), and the supporting characters just get better and better.

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

 Goodreads’ synopsis:

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 student 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.

Eh, I gotta say Hex Hall didn’t do that much for me. It reminded me a lot of Marked (House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast) and Fallen (by Lauren Kate) and Need (by Carrie Jones). I obviously dig YA fantasy books, but this formula (high-school-chick-gets-into-trouble-and-gets-sent-to-boarding/far-away-school-and-doesn’t-fit-in-with-popular-girls-but-falls-for-hottie-boy(s)-and-then-gets-wrapped-up-in-some-sort-of-supernatural-danger) is so stinkin’ overdone it’s just not even funny anymore. I wanted something unusual to happen so badly that I finished the book, but–seeing as nothing particularly unique occured–I won’t be reading the sequel.

As a total aside–and just to prove how neurotic I am–it also really bothers me that there’s a cat sitting next to Sophie on the cover when the author made a point to say Sophie is allergic to felines. Also, wouldn’t that mean she’s allergic to the mountain lion shifter girl, too?

Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer

Goodreads’ synopsis:

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.

But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Nightshade is an intriguing read that draws you in and becomes very difficult to put down. Especially now that the YA fantasy genre is being flooded with new books as fast as they can be written and published, Andrea Cremer’s book is refreshingly original and well-written.

Calla, the heroine, is both unique and complex, while the supporting characters are well-fleshed out and multi-dimensional. The love triangle is frustratingly well done. And by that I just mean that Calla doesn’t know whom she prefers and neither did I as the reader. Both boys have a lot going for them, so there’s no clear front runner. Since her relationship with each boy develops simultaneously, there’s also no “timeline advantage” given to either one.

I found the first few chapters slightly confusing, because Cremer drops you in the middle of Calla’s world and you have to figure out the details as you go. Thus, it takes a little while to figure out what’s going on. (It was actually a little refreshing to have to figure details out on my own. I’m tired of YA lit “writing down” to the reader. I’m a big girl, I can think for myself!) Overall, I thought Nightshade was a captivating story and am looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel, Wolfsbane.

As an aside, I’m pretty sure I have cover-lust…and whoever designed Nightshade‘s cover deserves a serious end-of-the-year bonus.

Magic in the Blood (Allie Beckstrom #2) by Devon Monk
Working as a Hound-tracing illegal spells back to their casters-has taken its toll on Allison Beckstrom. But even though magic has given her migraines and stolen her recent memory, Allie isn’t about to quit. Then the police’s magic enforcement division asks her to consult on a missing persons case. But what seems to be a straightforward job turns out to be anything but, as Allie finds herself drawn into the underworld of criminals, ghosts, and blood magic.
Perfect beach reading, Magic in the Blood was a fun, enjoyable read. The issues I had with the first book (constant use of the expletives “good loves” and “sweet hells” and problematic memory loss) are toned down a bit in the second book. We learn a little more about Mr. Jones, Allie’s father, and the world of magic/Hounds that Allie moves in.
Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

 Goodreads’ synopsis:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

If Cassia of Matched and Katniss of The Hunger Games had a love child, it would be Rhine of Wither. (Yes, I dig the YA dystopian fantasy scene.) I pretty much read Wither in one sitting, and was sad to see the last page.

DeStefano’s strongest skills are her character building and character relationships. Her weakness is in her world building. Let’s face it, she doesn’t appear to have put a whole lot of time and effort into developing her dystopian society, or the cause of said society’s downfall. That said, she is mighty good at the things she does well. It’s Rhine’s relationships that drive the story. And DeStefano’s prose is fantastic. She uses the pages of her book to create and shape her readers’ emotions, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Magic in the Shadows (Allie Beckstrom #3) by Devon Monk

 Goodreads’ synopsis:

Allison Beckstrom’s magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren’t the only things preying on Allie’s thoughts.

Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father…

Magic to the Bone and Magic in the Blood (books 1 and 2 of the Allie Beckstrom series) were just OK for me. Enjoyable reads, but nothing to write home about.

Book #3, Magic in the Shadows, is the one that hooked me. Loved it! I have some others at the top of my TBR pile, but once I’m done with them I’ll definitely be back for books 4-7 of the series.

Where She Went (sequel to If I Stay) by Gayle Foreman

 Goodreads’ synopsis:

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future–and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I’m torn over how to describe my feelings about Where She Went. It wasn’t If I Stay, and I didn’t connect with the characters in the same way as with the first book. Perhaps it was the change in narrator, or maybe it was just that Adam experiences a different kind of agony than Mia did. Regardless, I didn’t feel the same awe I felt for If I Stay after reading Where She Went. That said, it’s still an amazing and well-written story. I highly recommend both books!

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