Review for Once a Witch (Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough

Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

TITLE: Once A Witch
SERIES: Witch #1
AUTHOR: Carolyn MacCullough
PUBLICATION DATE: September 14, 2009
PUBLISHER: Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
PAGES: 292 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

Tamsin Greene comes from a family of witches who all possess a special Talent. All except her. When she was born, her powerful grandmother prophesized that she was be the one of the most powerful witches her family had ever seen and they had high expectation. But when her eighth birthday rolls around and nothing manifests, everyone starts distancing their selves from the only person in the family to not develop a talent. Her best friend, Gabriel, moves away just before this so there is no one to really comfort her. When a gentleman shows up at her family’s bookstore asking for her sister, Rowena, to help him find something (one of the many services her family offers), things really start to unravel. Everything she knows changes and when her sister’s life is put in danger, she’ll stop at nothing to save her.

I had seen this book at Ollie’s several times and though it caught my attention, I never picked it up because I am sometimes iffy and witch books. It’s only logical to be so since there are so many. They are like the vampire and werewolf novels, every fucking author seems to feel the need to write about them these days. I realize not all of them are bad (in fact most are quite good), but weary of the bad ones, I am hesitant to read them unless I know someone who has enjoyed them. Anyway, stuff happened and this was one of the few books I had on my flash drive last week, so while waiting for my computer class to start, I started reading. And I couldn’t stop. I ended up transferring the pdf to Luna (my kindle) so I could read it any moment I had to spare. This book is one of the great ones. I really loved it.

Things I liked:
– I loved Tamsin. She is quirky, rebellious, sarcastic as hell, and has a decent sense of humor.
-There are no love triangles. There is just Tamsin who is attracted to Gabriel and Gabriel who is attracted to Tamsin. There is no angst over which guy to choose, just those 2 on an adventure to save the day.
-It is written in first person. I love things written in first person because I always get a better feel for the characters.
-It doesn’t shy away from sexual innuendos. Some YA novels do these days and it bugs me. I hate to break it to anyone out there with a teenage daughter 16 and up, but sex does cross their mind and is a topic that will be discussed with their peers. That being said, this book has no sexual content. Tamsin and Gabriel kiss a time or two, but that is it. My point is more that it isn’t an issue that is just completely left out. I love how Gabriel is portrayed as an amazing guy who does think about it a lot, showing that guys don’t have to be either or. It’s something I think YA is lacking these days.
-Gabriel. Yeah, I am so still going through that phase where I love all the main male characters. Hot, sarcastic, and he plays guitar…need I say more?

-I liked the ending. This doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. Tamsin and Gabriel save the day and though they don’t ride off into the sunset, there isn’t a massive cliffhanger there is grade on my nerves. The ending just leaves it open for another book.

Thinks I disliked:
I really don’t think there was anything I disliked about it.

This novel really is amazing. I will be starting book 2 next and I look forward to raving about how great it is next 🙂

Review for Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

TITLE: Catching Fire
SERIES: The Hunger Games #2
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2009
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc
PAGES: 391 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

Can you summarize the plot?
Without spoilers? No, I cannot. But here is my best attempt: Katniss & Peeta have returned to District 12 and are about to embark on a tour of the districts. Katniss gets threatened by President Snow because apparently her “stunt” caused a rising rebellion which we all know was probably already in effect but he wants a scapegoat to blame it on. Katniss, of course, agrees to do anything to protect her family but also only makes things worse. There, that’s it. I can’t really say more without giving away spoilers.

What were your initial thoughts going into the book?
To put it simply, OMFG! Yay for The Hunger Games 2! Katniss! Stop being an idiot and just be with Peeta already!

What were your initial thoughts after finishing the novel?
Cliffhanger! Cliffhanger! Danger! Danger! Seriously, those were my initial thoughts, along with a giant urge to start the next book IMMEDIATELY. You want more than that? Um….obviously I was just as impressed with this novel as I was with the first, if not more so. If you have read The Hunger Games, expect this to be a lot like it but a little more complicated and move love triangle-y.
Gale? Peeta? Peeta? Gale? I know who I’d choose, but Katniss can’t make up her damn mind. Sorry, love triangles are a pet peeve of mine. I really don’t like girls who truthfully try to claim they are in love with 2 different guys. Sorry, but I just don’t see it. I think you can love many people as well as be attracted to a lot of people, but only be in love with one at a time. Either you really are in love with one of them and are just lusting after the other or you don’t truly love either. Maybe I am wrong, but still I hate it.

What did you like about this book?
I love the plot twists. There were several things I saw coming but there was a lot that I didn’t. I loved the character development. You can really see a lot of the characters grow.

What did you dislike about this book?
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but the love triangle. I think that might have been my only issue, so bravo Ms. Collins
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Who was your favorite character?
It is still Peeta, but I fell in love with Finnick by the end. Seriously, he is awesome.

Does it have a love triangle?
I really need to just remove this question, don’t know I? Yes it does, please refer to the “what were your initial thoughts” question.
Does it have a cliffhanger ending?
Yep. A pretty bad one at that, so if you don’t like cliffhangers, I advise you to have Mockingjay on hand when you finish this so you can go ahead and start it.

Closing thoughts?
All in all, this was an amazing book. There are a lot of YA trilogies where the first book is amazing and the second one is a big disappointment, but this isn’t one of them. The story flows well and I just couldn’t put it down. I ended sneaking and reading this in school when I should have been doing classwork.

Review for The Hollow (The Hollow #1) by Jessica Verday

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

TITLE: The Hollow
SERIES: The Hollow #1
AUTHOR: Jessica Verday
PUBLICATION DATE: September 6, 2011
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 509 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 4 stars

This book could have gotten 5 stars for me, but it had a bad ending and I HATE cliffhanger-y bad endings, so that drops it down to 4. All I will say, so I don’t give any spoilers is that if you like Nevermore by Kelly Creagh, you’ll probably like this. The way that books worships Edgar Allen Poe is the way this one is with Washington Irving. The ending isn’t quite as bad, but it’s close. If you are looking forward to seeing Abbey & Caspian ride off happily into the sunset, it definitely isn’t gonna happen in this book. I’m getting ready to start the next book, but it’s unlikely to happen there either. ::sad face::

Review for Marked (House of Night #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Marked by P C Cast & Kristin Cast

TITLE: Marked
SERIES: House Of Night #1
AUTHOR: P C Cast & Kristin Cast
PUBLISHER: St Martin’s Griffin
PAGES: 319 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 3 stars

This book had good bits and bad bits. The biggest bad part is I abhor Zoey Redbird. Seriously the girl irks me beyond belief which is hard to deal with in a novel written in first person. She’s whiny and selfish (and trust me, it gets worse as the series progresses). BUT, I love the world around her. I loved her friends, her enemies, and the mythology of the House Of Night. This book also had enough mystery to keep me going when I really wanted to run screaming “Damn Zoey, shut up!”. Would I really reccomend this book to anyone? Probably not. There are too many plot wholes and I have to many issues with the main character to submit a friend to dealing with her, but I am going to finish the series myself. I have a morbid curiousity to see how it ends.

Oh, and for any Christians who are contemplating reading this, if you are offended by bad portrayals of the Christian faith, steer clear of this. They have a religion called the People Of Faith which will offend you to no end.