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    Review: Witch Eyes

    Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey will be released in the U.S. on September 8, 2011. It is currently available to pre-order online in paperback format only at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Flux, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Witch Eyes is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com and is one of my original twelve picks.

    Goodreads description:

    Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

    After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden’s powers to unlock Belle Dam’s secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father–and Trey, the enigmatic guy he’s falling for, is Catherine’s son.

    To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

    ***

    Belle Dam is a town that has been shrouded in darkness ever since its inception. It is a town divided by a feud between the two powerful families who keep its secrets – the Lansing’s and the Thorpe’s. It is a town whose residents must choose sides in this battle that has continued to rage through generations.

    And it is the town to which Braden Michaels runs in order to protect his uncle from the vision of a future which cost him his life.

    But when Braden learns that Belle Dam was once home to someone who shared his gift and his curse – the witch eyes that allow him to see the truth of the world around him – he is determined to learn everything he can so that he will finally be able to master his abilities and find an escape from the pain that accompanies his visions.

    Digging up secrets from the past would be a huge risk and one that could turn the spotlight on him and his powers. But Braden is desperate to find answers.

    Even if it meant getting drawn into a fight that wasn’t his. And even if it meant that the secrets he’d been keeping would come to light. Because having a chance at a life without pain was worth almost any price, including the risk of losing someone he loved.

    But Braden planned on keeping his secrets for as long as he could.

    ***

    Witch Eyes is exciting, intense, beautiful, heartbreaking and incredibly original. Beginning in a binding circle and ending on a small cliff, this story introduces readers to Braden Michaels, a witch with a very unique gift, and Belle Dam, the town that is home to two powerful feuding families that would like nothing more than to have Braden on their side.

    Braden has the ability to see the world as it really is and in doing so can unravel any magical spells that are cast. His power would prove very useful to either family, should he choose to align himself with one of them. Which meant that as long as he could hide what powers he had, he wouldn’t be forced to choose.

    When Braden ran away from home in order to prevent his uncle’s death, he thought that Belle Dam would be a safe haven and a place where he could get answers. A place where he’d have a chance to just be normal.

    But from the moment he arrived, he knew that there was something different about this town and its residents and that hiding out would not be an option. And when he discovers something about himself and his past, keeping his secrets and remaining hidden would become more important than ever.

    Witch Eyes pulls readers into a dark and dangerous world of magic, spells and witchcraft and into a town that is wrapped in secrecy, where anyone can be an enemy.

    Author Scott Tracey has created a story that will keep readers in suspense from the very beginning about who is the threat, who can be trusted and how can Braden possibly hope to keep his abilities secret in a town ruled by two very powerful witches.

    The writing is elegant and flows beautifully, with incredibly descriptive passages detailing Braden’s experiences as he sees the world with his unshielded eyes. And the author injects humor into the story through Braden’s thoughts, clever comebacks and one-liners.

    The characters have a unique set of abilities that serve to distinguish this story from others in the genre. Most notably are Braden’s witch eyes, which give him great power, but come at an equally significant cost.

    This action-filled, magical tale, which includes a mystery and a love story, builds to an exciting conclusion that will leave readers wondering what will happen next.

    Witch Eyes is a must for readers looking to be captivated by not only the writing, but the characters and the story, and readers who are interested in meeting a witch with some rather incredible powers that might actually be more harmful to him than the magic he can wield.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

    On a personal note:

    Yes, I’m in love. Again. And yes, it may have started out as insta-love. But it turned into one of those slow burning loves that continued to grow until it became all-encompassing. Will I gush? Maybe….Just a little bit.

    This is one of those books where I just want to dive back into the world. Get caught back up in the vortex that held me captive the first and second times I read it. I’m not ready to leave Belle Dam or walk away from Braden. I don’t want to have to say goodbye.

    There’s so much more I want to know. Now. Not a year from now. The wait just might kill me.

    Belle Dam holds so many secrets, only a few of which were revealed by Braden’s witch eyes. I want to learn more about its past, the power that shaped the town, the feud that holds it hostage and the residents, like Riley, who were forced to choose sides.

    And then there’s Braden. I’m definitely not ready to leave him. Not with the way things ended. I feel like I only just started to get to know him. He is still such a mystery. He is funny, shy, sarcastic, stubborn, clever and brave, but he is incredibly reluctant to open up and share what he’s feeling. With anyone. Including Trey… Especially Trey.

    I can’t get over how amazingly beautiful the author’s writing is. I knew before I actually got my hands on a copy of the book that there was this fluidity to his writing that just took me right into the story. Witch Eyes is the only book I’ve been able to hear read aloud where I was instantly transported into the story instead of having to fight to focus.

    And I absolutely loved the passages that described Braden’s visions. They were these dazzling flashes of poetry that perfectly described the onslaught of sensation that Braden felt every time he lifted his sunglasses and looked at the world.

    But the writing wasn’t all poetry and lovely passages. There was plenty of action, super cool magical powers and a mystery which kept me riveted. And there were so many moments of humor that made me laugh. Loudly. There may have even been a few eye rolls, head shakes and Oh, Braden‘s.

    Oh, and another thing I loved was that the author didn’t have Braden assess his own looks in any real way. He never made Braden step out of character in order to give readers a better idea of what Braden ranked on the hottie scale.

    Whenever I get super excited about a book before I actually read it, I’m terrified that it won’t live up to my expectations. There’s always this risk that I won’t connect with the story or characters, or it will just be one of those books that’s not for me. And because this book was from a male character’s point-of-view there was an even greater chance that I just wouldn’t make that connection.

    Yeah, well, I did. This book is so totally me. Right from the start I was completely absorbed by this book, even with my fear of witches, and I fell madly in love with Braden as a main character. He has just the right amount of sarcasm to make him someone I can relate to. Plus, he is not cocky or arrogant even though he must be pretty good looking if he captured Trey’s attention from the second he stepped off the bus.

    And I am partial to stories that give me that pit in my stomach that lets me know that things just won’t end well. As soon as Braden arrived in Belle Dam, there was this feeling of melancholy that kept building. Like I knew that things would end in heartbreak. And no matter how much sarcasm and humor were dished out on the surface, the darkness that crept through Belle Dam seeped right through the pages and into my heart. Leaving me utterly wrecked at the very end.

    Witch Eyes completely stole my heart and then broke it. The first line grabbed me and the last line destroyed me and all that stuff in between left its permanent mark on me. I did not forget one single moment between my first read and my second, and that almost never happens. Ohhh, Braden…

    I am dying to find out what’s going on with Braden, Trey, Jade (I love her!), Riley, Drew and even Catherine and Jason. And I really am curious as to what’s happening in Montana with Uncle Jonathan.

    Favorite passage: (I actually have eight favorites so it was tough to choose just one)

    I’d like to say I had crazy dreams that made sense in few ways, but still managed to leave portents of the future all wrapped up in a nice and neat little bow. Instead, I dreamt of hamburgers.

    Is this not such a perfect example of beautiful, flowing writing topped off with just the right amount of humor?

    ***

    UPDATED: Book trailer for Witch Eyes:

    This review is based on an ARC I received through a trade with another blogger.

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    Book Watch: Born at Midnight

    Born at Midnight is author C.C. Hunter’s debut Young Adult novel. It will be released in the U.S. on March 29, 2011 and is available online for pre-order at Amazon in paperback and eBook formats and as a paperback at Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Born at Midnight is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    ***

    I know I’ve already read and reviewed this book, but this is definitely a book to look for on March 29th and so I’ve chosen it for this week’s “Book Watch” post. Although I had a review copy of this book, I have this on pre-order so I can have the final version for my eBook collection.

    This is the first book in a new series, so there will be a lot of adventures to come and mysteries to solve. Each chapter ends with a mini cliffhanger so you have to keep flipping those pages or you will be left hanging.

    As this takes place, for the most part, at a paranormal camp, there are a wide variety of paranormal characters with differing abilities. And as there are two love interests, you will have to choose which boy is right for Kylie. I’m definitely thinking Lucas, but who knows what will happen in book two.

    I love the cover for this book. It’s dark, mysterious, beautiful and purple.

    The second book in the series, Awake at Dawn, will be out in October, so the wait won’t be too long. And a prequel novella, Turned at Dark, will be released before Born at Midnight, on March 15th. (This may be a new release date for the novella.)

    I am definitely looking forward to reading the final version when it comes out at the end of the month.

    ***

    Check out the author’s website for news and extras – HERE.

    If you’d like to read my review, click here.

    Goodreads description:

    One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever.  Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.”  Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

    Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either.  Or does she?  They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason.  As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas.  Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past.  Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

    Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

    Book trailer for Born at Midnight:

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    Review: Faustine

    Faustine is the first book in a new series, the Bonfire Chronicles, by author Imogen Rose. It was released at Amazon on February 27th and Barnes & Noble on the 28th in eBook format.

    Goodreads description:

    Who is Faustine? When Faustine Spencer was five years old, she discovered a secret that changed her life forever. At twelve, her parents sent her to Bonfire Academy in Switzerland to ensure that she received the training needed to control her increasing powers.

    Three years later, Faustine returns to Manhattan. All she wants is to be a typical teenager, at least, one that’s part of the in-crowd at her Upper East Side High School. When drop-dead gorgeous Ryker, her long-time crush from the Academy, finally notices her, she couldn’t be happier.

    However, her desire for a normal life is shattered when her father, a prominent sovereign, disappears after naming her as his successor. Her siblings begin to disappear, and Faustine finds herself in the midst of a power struggle. With her life in danger, Faustine must learn to follow one of Bonfire Academy’s most important rules: Trust no one.

    ***

    Faustine Spencer may seem like every other Upper East Side socialite. She grew up with all the privileges that wealth affords – a nanny, doormen, car service, access to all the latest fashions and the opportunity to attend an exclusive boarding school.

    But Bonfire Academy isn’t just your typical Swiss preparatory school where the well-to-do leave their children to a life of study, skiing and partying. And Faustine’s attendance isn’t optional.

    At the age of fifteen, after three years apart from her family, learning everything she could from the Academy, she is allowed to return home to New York to her mother. Faustine just wants to pick up where she left off with her normal teenage lifestyle of school, shopping and hanging out with her best friend, Neave. But her return is conditional and failure to comply will have consequences.

    Bonfire Academy has only three rules. One, you do not talk about the Academy. Two, you trust no one. And three, the most important of them all – never miss a meal.

    ***

    Faustine is an elaborate, fast-paced paranormal mystery with a multitude of suspects and a “to be continued” ending. The story has a number of twists and turns and just when you think you’ve identified whodunit, think again.

    While this book is just over three hundred pages, there is so much going on that it becomes difficult at times to keep up with what the many characters are up to, where they stand in the scheme of things, who they are and what Faustine’s opinion is of them.

    There are an overwhelming number of key characters in this book, and with almost everyone a suspect with something to hide, and no one for Faustine to truly trust, the mystery becomes a bit muddled, as there just isn’t enough time to fully develop their characters and motivations. As the story continues there are more and more elements added into this mystery, more secret relationships discovered and more paranormal abilities attributed to each character than were initially known.

    The action is virtually non-stop, so when the pace does slow to include some of the more normal events like attending school, relaxing or watching television, it doesn’t flow naturally. Even the relationship between Ryker and Faustine feels somewhat forced and in this book in the series no real explanation is given as to why the two who virtually had no contact in the three years they attended school are now an instant couple.

    The complexities and pace aside, author Imogen Rose has created an engaging story with a slew of interesting characters. The author’s writing does flow, with brief touches of humor added in, and will keep you connected with the main character and the story as it progresses.

    There are many characters still to meet, heredities to be determined, alliances to be uncovered and bad guys still to be caught.

    And for those who haven’t yet read this book, you’ll soon find out just who Faustine really is.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=3]

    On a personal note:

    This is the first book I’ve read from author Imogen Rose. I own the first book in the Portal Chronicles but it is currently in my TBR pile. I’ve heard wonderful things about the series and the author so was excited to read this book.

    It’s been difficult to write this review and even harder to write my personal opinion without giving away any spoilers, especially with the book teasing, “Who is Faustine?”

    So, I’m trying to be as careful as possible, and if I’m vague it’s on purpose.

    What I can say is that there is a lot that I liked about this story and some things I didn’t.

    This was definitely an evenly balanced story of mystery and paranormal, which I liked.

    Ryker is my favorite character. He’s very likable, helpful, supportive and oh so mysterious. Do I like him? Yes. Do I trust him? Not quite yet. We’ll see in the next book. But then again, I think no one is truly trustworthy in Faustine.

    I also enjoyed that there were so many different characters with differing paranormal abilities and personalities. But with all the complex plot developments and changes, I would have liked to have seen more character development to go along with it. And I would have liked to see more development in the Faustine-Ryker relationship as they got very comfortable with one another very quickly when they had almost no interaction or dialogue in this book.

    There were a lot of “surprise” revelations, which I didn’t like too much. There were times when some new piece of information was revealed that didn’t really have any build-up. It sort of came out of left-field but not in a shockingly surprising way, but more as if it was just thrown in to create a distraction or as a last-minute add-on.

    I loved the elements of humor. I liked that Faustine was so temperamental, especially when she didn’t get her steak.

    And I really do want to find out more, in the next book, about Taylor, Neave, Finch, Tessa, the twins, Audrey and Viola, Ryker, Faustine, and especially Faustine’s elusive sister, Kismet.

    ***

    To learn more about the Bonfire Chronicles from the author’s website, click here.

    Book trailer for Faustine:

    Thank you to author Imogen Rose for the eARC for review.

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    Review: Darkness Becomes Her

    Darkness Becomes Her is the debut young adult novel for author Kelly Keaton and the first book in the Gods & Monsters series. It will be released in the U.S. on February 22, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats.

    It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Simon Pulse, the print edition is 288 pages.

    Darkness Becomes Her is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    Goodreads description:

    Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

    Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

    She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very…different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

    Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

    ***

    When two Category Four hurricanes hit New Orleans thirteen years ago they caused so much devastation that the government decided it wasn’t worth the money it would take to rebuild the city. Thousands evacuated, but some remained.

    They call themselves the Novem. They are an alliance of nine of the oldest, and wealthiest, families who decided to pool their resources to buy the city and stay on to rebuild, beginning with the French Quarter.

    There had been much speculation about why these families would want to invest so heavily in what appeared to be a worthless cause, but few would actually venture beyond The Rim to find out. Especially when the rumors spoke of monsters, murder and paranormal activity.

    But when Aristanae Selkirk learns that the only way to find answers about who her mother was, and why she feared for the life of a daughter she abandoned years before, she will have to take the risk and return to the city of her birth.

    However, the answers she hopes to find may not be so easy to come by, and once she crosses over into the city Ari quickly discovers that her teal eyes and silver hair that have always branded her a freak are some of the least bizarre things in New 2.

    And when her mother’s fears are backed by an attempt on her life, Ari will need all the help she can get, even of the paranormal variety.

    ***

    Darkness Becomes Her is a sensational debut novel by author Kelly Keaton. This book will grab hold just about the time the heroine, Ari Selkirk, crosses over The Rim and takes that harrowing twenty-four mile journey on the bridge into New 2.

    In her quest for answers to find out who and what she is, Ari will discover that she is not alone in her freakishness. A majority of the residents of New 2 are anything but normal. The only difference between her and them is that she wants to be.

    Author Kelly Keaton does a phenomenal job of detailing the reimagined city of New Orleans. Readers will be able to get a real feel for its dilapidated elegance and the energy of the people who chose to remain behind.

    Ms. Keaton manages to create this backdrop for a story that is multi-faceted, with the different elements working surprisingly well together. It’s not every author that can combine paranormal/urban fantasy with Greek mythology and really make it work.

    Ari is an independent, smart, strong and very determined heroine that readers will easily connect with. For someone with as difficult an early life as she’s had, she has managed to retain her strength and her compassion for others.

    Darkness Becomes Her is a tremendous start to this new series. With a pace that starts off slowly but then kicks into high gear, a search for answers with shocking results, the beginnings of a love story, and page after page of nail-biting action, this book has it all.

    And with a wide array of characters to love – from the powerful and somewhat mysterious gray-eyed Sebastian Lamarliere, to the sweet, adorable, masked and fanged Violet – the only thing missing is more story.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    This is one of those books that once you read a few pages you will not be able to stop reading. There are so many little surprises and some pretty big ones.

    I loved the idea, but didn’t think it would be possible to combine the paranormal with gods and monsters without the story feeling way too over the top. I was definitely skeptical for about five seconds when I was reading, but the author totally made it feel believable.

    I just love that all of these different types of beings are hanging out in post-devastation New Orleans with the rest of the world none the wiser. I hope we see a lot more of these secondary characters in future books and meet a few new ones.

    I also really liked the way the author switched up the style of her writing. It would alternate between passages that just flowed to somewhat terse sentences, giving the story a really nice rhythm.

    And I got such a kick out of Ari. I loved the fact that one minute she could be kicking-butt and saving everyone and the next give herself a mental kick in the head when she does or says something stupid.

    I cannot wait for the second book in this series as there are still so many questions I’m dying to get answers to.

    One of my favorite passages – and yes, they always seem to be about the love story:

    He pulled me closer, tighter, deepening the kiss as though starving, yet taking the time to savor every second. I knew how to kiss, knew the mechanics involved, but this was the first time I’d ever lost myself, ever wanted it more than breathing and wanted to keep doing it until time stood still and the earth faded away.

    (Please note this passage is from an unfinished ARC. I will make any changes to the excerpted material once the published version comes out.)

    ***

    Note to readers (and this may change in the final version): There is a significant amount of profanity that may not be appropriate for younger readers.

    This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.

    Post updated 2/25 with book trailer for Darkness Becomes Her:

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    Review: Hex Hall

    Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins is the first book of this series with the same name. It is currently available in the U.S. in hardcover, eBook and paperback formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published on March 2, 2010 by Hyperion books, the hardcover is 336 pages. The paperback edition was

    published last week on February 1, 2011 and is 352 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    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.

    Getting sent to Hecate Hall was punishment enough for Sophie Mercer. She already knew in her heart of hearts that she was the worst witch ever, being sent away was just adding insult to injury.

    Having a love spell blow up in such epic proportions as it did was a disaster that couldn’t escape the Council’s notice and so she was sent to a school for rejects until she was eighteen and could better handle her magical abilities.

    She had hoped that finally being with others of her kind would make her fit in, but after just a few days she knew that it was hopeless. To start, being made to room with the school’s only vampire student was sure to make her even more of an outcast. And the fact that her roommate may have killed someone last year was not helping matters. The last thing Sophie wanted was to be someone’s midnight snack.

    Raised by a human mother in the human world put her at a huge disadvantage – her skills as a witch were laughable, her knowledge of the Prodigium was non-existent – and the secrets she discovers about her family not only make her even more unpopular, but also potentially very dangerous.

    Even worse, one by one the witches at Hex Hall are being attacked. Will they be able to find out who is doing this before Sophie becomes the next victim? And if it’s not her vampire roommate Jenna that is to blame, then who is responsible? One thing is certain, her first semester at Hex Hall is anything but boring.

    ***

    Hex Hall is a hugely entertaining story in the paranormal genre. Filled with bitchy witches, snooty fairies, drooling, hair sniffing werewolves and an arrogant vampire poet-turned-teacher, this story has a cast of characters that alone make this book worth a read.

    Add to this a very sexy warlock, mysterious attacks and the secrets in Sophie’s family history and this is one hell of a story.

    Author Rachel Hawkins has such an easygoing writing style, with enough humor and mystery added to keep those pages turning. The story is immediately engaging and Sophie is an absolutely adorable heroine – just the right mix of wickedly sarcastic and vulnerable.

    This book is a must read for fans of paranormal series with a lighter feel, a likable and humorous main character and a puzzle that needs solving.

    The next book in the series, Demonglass, is due out on March 1, 2011 and a third, as yet untitled book is due out in 2012.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    First – I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! Okay, if you read this book you’ll know what I mean.

    Second – I loved this story. It was such a delightful, fun and seriously enjoyable book. Sophie Mercer is one of my new favorite heroines. My only wish is that it was longer. Yes, it’s a series, but now I have to wait a few weeks for book two. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

    Third – I just wish I didn’t read the description for Demonglass before I finished this, as it did slightly give away some of the ending.

    Fourth – I love when I’m right about a mystery. Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the world’s most challenging puzzle, but I still like being able to guess what’s going to happen and then be right.

    Fifth – This is one author that I will read every single book she writes (unless of course it’s non-fiction as I’ve been there done that with the non-fiction for a long while).

    ***

    How I “discovered” this book:

    Hex Hall is a “Just Discovered” just got a chance to read book.

    This is yet another book I bought awhile ago. Probably very soon after release and it’s been in my Kindle ever since, getting shuffled further and further back. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t start reading this right away. I have no excuse!

    I actually discovered this again about a month ago and read only a few pages before I was rudely dragged away. Again, shame on me. But with the looming date for book two  and my Twitter timeline heating up with talk about Demonglass, I just knew I had to read this one as there was just so much that appealed to me from the synopsis and I knew I didn’t want to have to wait to read the next book.

    And of course, once I started reading, I could not put this down!

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    Book Watch: Demonglass

    Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins is the second book in the Hex Hall series. It will be released in the U.S. on March 1, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon in both formats and at Barnes & Noble in hardcover only.

    Published by Hyperion Books (a division of Disney), the print edition is 368 pages.

    ***

    I am choosing Demonglass as a book to watch, as opposed to skipping to the week of March 8th as I would normally do, because I absolutely love Hex Hall, which I’m currently reading.

    This author has such a fun and easy style to her writing that just makes her book Hex Hall (which was released in paperback last week) a wildly entertaining read. Sophie is a completely adorable character and one of my new favorites.

    I am so sad that I hadn’t read this sooner. (It was a planned read about a month ago, but got rudely shoved out of the way.) But I am glad that now I only have to wait a few short weeks before the release of Demonglass.

    If you haven’t yet read the first book, do not read the Goodreads description or excerpt below as they are somewhat spoiler-y. (I made the mistake of reading the description when adding the book to my Goodreads list of “to reads,” so was tipped off before I even started the first book.)

    But just to give you a tiny peek at what’s to come without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that yet again Sophie’s powers are causing some trouble and she has to head off to London to try and fix things. And that’s all that I’ll say, except you should definitely read this series!

    If you follow the author on Twitter you can get a Hex Hall fact of the day every day until the Demonglass release date.

    If you’d like to read my review of Hex Hall it will be posting later today.

    ***

    I’ve hidden the text in both descriptions. To view, simply highlight the text with your mouse and it will appear.

    Goodreads description:

    Goodreads description:

    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?

    Excerpt from Disney Hyperion:

    A brief excerpt from the Disney Hyperion website:

    “Last semester was intense,” I said to Dad.

    “Intense?” he echoed, picking up my file.  “Let’s see.  On your first day at Hecate, you were attacked by a werewolf.  You insulted a teacher, which resulted in semester-long cellar duty with one Archer Cross.  According to the notes, the two of you became ‘close.’ Apparently close enough for you to see the mark of L’Occhio di Dio on his chest.

    I flushed at that, and felt Mom’s arm tighten around me.  Over the past six months, I’d filled her in on a lot of the story with Archer, but not all of it.

    Specifically, the whole me-making-out-in-the-cellar-with-a-murderous-warlock-working-with-the-Eye-part.

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    Review: Born at Midnight

    Born at Midnight is author C.C. Hunter’s debut Young Adult novel and is the first book in the Shadow Falls series.

    It will be released on March 29, 2011 and is currently available online for pre-order at Amazon in paperback and eBook formats and as a paperback at Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Born at Midnight is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    Goodreads description:

    Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams,  Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

    One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever.  Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.”  Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

    Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either.  Or does she?  They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason.  As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas.  Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past.  Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

    Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

    Being born at midnight usually means only one thing – that you’re not entirely human. Kylie Galen always thought she was. Human that is.

    But when she’s sent to spend her summer at Shadow Falls Camp, a camp supposedly for juvenile delinquents, she realizes that these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill freaks, but supernaturals – vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies and witches.

    And the most shocking thing to Kylie is that she’s the biggest freak of them all. Who knew that the ability to see ghosts was freakier even than drinking blood, changing shape or casting spells?

    As Kylie tries to unravel the mystery of who she is, she is drawn to Lucas, a dark haired, blue eyed boy from her past who reappears and challenges everything she once thought of him and Derek, the half-fae who reminds her of the boyfriend who broke her heart.

    ***

    Born at Midnight is a thrilling new young adult paranormal story with a wide array of paranormals to choose from, a love triangle that will make your heart beat a little faster and a mystery that will keep you guessing.

    Kylie Galen had no idea that her night terrors were actually visits from ghosts. She had no idea that around one percent of the population was not human. She had no idea that she wasn’t completely human. Not until she showed up at Shadow Falls Camp.

    It is here she learns that what she is seeing isn’t a figment of her imagination, but ghosts, and that she is the only one of her campmates with her specific supernatural “gift.”

    In Born at Midnight we follow Kylie as she tries to figure out if she really is more than human or if there is a more logical explanation for what she’s seeing and as she tries to sort out her feelings for her ex-boyfriend Trey and her growing feelings for both Lucas and Derek.

    Crafted like any good mystery novel, the story has questions throughout and will leave readers with even more questions at the end, which are to be continued into the next book in the series, Awake at Dawn.

    While a story about a camp full of paranormals could come across as over the top, this storyline and setting were very believable.

    Kylie is a stubborn but ultimately likable heroine who only begrudgingly begins to accept everything that is happening to her – her grandmother’s death, her parents’ divorce, her new friends’ abilities and that she may not be one of the Normals. And the two boys who captivate Kylie’s attention are swoon-worthy.

    Each chapter was its own little cliffhanger and will leave readers wanting to turn the page to find out what happens next. And the story is infused with humor which will keep readers smiling. There are plenty of unanswered questions but readers won’t be left hanging.

    This new series is not one to be missed.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I thought this story was such fun. Hilarious at times and suspenseful throughout. And the “love scenes” were the perfect mix of chaste and steamy, with a constant tension between the characters.

    I could not put this book down. Literally. At the end of almost every chapter it left you hanging having to read on to find out the answer. There was no good stopping point. So I didn’t stop. I just kept reading and finished this book in one sitting.

    I was often frustrated with Kylie for being in denial and refusing to seek answers, but these traits made her very realistic and sympathetic. And there were just the right amounts of romance and humor throughout that kept this from being just another mystery.

    I had this one on my “to read” list for awhile now for two reasons: The cover completely had me hooked from the get-go – it was haunting and dark and beautiful and purple – and then when I read the synopsis it seemed to have everything going for it.

    I am so glad I had a chance to read this early copy, but I have this book already set for pre-order for my Kindle and will read this one again before the second book releases in October.

    ***

    A prequel novella, Turned at Dark, is set to be released on March 14, 2011 and the second book in the series, Awake at Dawn, is scheduled for release in October of 2011.

    Book trailer for Born at Midnight:

    I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin for the Advance Reader Copy.

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