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review 2017-10-20 09:39
Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy
The Hawkweed Prophecy - Irena Brignull

I received a copy from Netgalley. An interesting quick read with a switched at birth plot with a magical twist. A UK based YA paranormal romance.

 

Teenager Poppy has always been awkward and never seemed to fit in anywhere. Whenever she gets stressed, angry or upset, strange things just seem to happen. And as a result Poppy keeps getting expelled from school. Even though she has no idea what happened most of the time. Doesn’t help that her dad is a workaholic and almost never home. Her mum had some sort of breakdown and is an institution convinced that Poppy is not her daughter.

 

Another teen, Ember lives with a coven of witches in caravans who live off the grid and by their own female only society rules. Ember is really pretty, sweet and innocent and made fun of by the other girls. She’s by far the worst witch in the group and seems to have little to no magical talent whatsoever. Her cousin Sorrel is the meanest of the mean girls. Sorrel’s supposedly destined to be the next Queen of the Witches. Sorrel’s mom Raven is the sister of Ember’s mum Charlock. T

 

here’s some sort of prophecy and Raven has interpreted it to her favour. The witches only take normal men as lovers in order to become pregnant, only the girls are allowed to live. They seem to know when its going to be a boy and the mother is given a potion which kills the baby in the womb before it can be born. Raven’s been manipulating Charlock with potions and spells to make sure if she gets pregnant it’s only ever boys that she knows will never be born. Until something changes and Charlock finds herself pregnant with a girl. Raven is furious at this, she wants her daughter to be the next Witch Queen so the two of them to conspire to make Ember as miserable as possible.

 

Which sucks because not only is it unecessarily cruel, Ember is really nice. Very naive, but good and pure and wants to believe the best in everyone. Ember has a secret little hang out just on the edge of the witch’s property. By chance Poppy finds her way there one afternoon and meets Ember. They become fast friends, a connection sparking between them immediately. I really enjoyed the friendship between Ember and Poppy. How they connected with each other, Poppy tells Ember about her normal ever day world and even though she’s not supposed to tell, Ember tells Poppy about hers. Poppy’s world suddenly starts to make sense. She becomes obsessed with magic and witches and convinced that that is why the things around her happen as they do.

 

While all this is happening Poppy meets homeless teen Leo when a couple of nasty men try to mess with her. Leo intervenes and saves her. I can’t say I really liked Leo all that much. Compared to Poppy and Ember he didn’t seem to have much of a personality, he seemed like a generic love interest with a tragic background, and didn’t do much, while Poppy and Ember and the other background characters all seemed to leap off the page and to life. Leo has an instant connection with Poppy and feels like they were destined to meet. It’s eye rolling YA insta-love at it’s best. Sometimes insta-love works, sometimes not and for me, this one was just annoying.

 

Poppy starts spending more and more time with Leo, and eventually brings him to meet Ember, who of course having never actually met a boy before is fascinated with him. Meanwhile, Sorrel has noticed Ember’s been sneaking off to hang out with Poppy and blabs to her nasty mother. So Raven has Sorrel spy on Ember to find out where she’s going. And Sorrel spots her with Leo. Next thing you know, Sorrel is suddenly consumed with jealousy. She’s falling for Leo as well.

 

The plot takes a few darker twists as Poppy learns more about magic and some home truths are revealed. Silly love triangles aside, this was actually quite a good read with some interesting takes on magic. I really liked Poppy and Ember as main characters, both were quite unique and full of life. She makes some interesting choices towards the end of the book. Some of the plot twists were kind of obvious right from the start, but either way, it was a well written book and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story is going.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hatchette Children’s Books for the review copy.

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text 2017-10-17 19:00
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The End of Oz - Danielle Paige

I finished a series!!!!!

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review 2017-10-11 18:50
Review: "Nightfall" (The Chronicles of Arden, #2) by Shiriluna Nott & SaJa H
Nightfall - SaJa H.,Shiriluna Nott

 

~ 4.5 stars ~

 

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review 2017-10-07 17:09
Review: "A Call to Arms" (The Chronicles of Arden, #1) by Shiriluna Nott & SaJa H
A Call to Arms - SaJa H.,Shiriluna Nott

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2017-10-03 21:14
Review: Zenn Diagram
Zenn Diagram - Wendy Brant

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I snagged a copy of this one when it was a Read it Now on Netgalley. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I wound up enjoying this book. Early on I very nearly DNFed, the concept just wasn’t getting through to me, and I found Eva’s young siblings incredibly annoying. As the novel progresses, the depth of the two main characters and emotional connection between them was pretty amazing.

 

Eva is math genius. She has a bizarre condition (possibly as a result of a car accident when she was a baby) where when she touches people, she can see patterns in the form of mathematical fractals that tell her things about people. She can see feelings in the form of colourful mathematical patterns that show her emotions about a person. She can learn things about someone by a touch. Which makes her very uncomfortable about touching people. With a gift like that you never know what you’re going learn. It’s understandably quite scary. And beyond uncomfortable to have this happen every time you accidentally touch another person.

 

She has a best friend, Charlotte, but doesn’t really interact with other people much. She lives with her mum and dad, her dad is a Pastor for a local church, and she has four quadruplet siblings all of whom are very young, very lively (and very very annoying at least to this reader).  Eva makes some money by offering to tutor kids failing in math.

 

One of the guys she tutors is popular sports star Josh whom her BFF Charlotte has an epic crush on. There’s a sweet little side plot about Eva fixing the two of them up. Which turns out to have a not so great impact on their friendship when the fix up is a success.

 

The second guy she tutors is moody but very hot artist Zenn. Zenn and Eva connect pretty well. They find themselves getting to know each other a bit more, helped along by an incident where Eva decides the church van her family drives needs repainting - Zenn is an artist. Zenn agrees to repaint the van. Zenn’s a really good artist.

 

As they get to know each other and Eva’s feelings deepen, at the same time she’s dealing with her friendship with Charlotte deteriorating. Now she’s dating Josh, Charlotte is instantly more popular than she’s ever been and doesn’t really seem to have much time for Eva anymore. There’s still conversation, but it’s sparse and not as frequent and they’re not hanging out or having lunch together as much as usual. Eva’s naturally disappointed but at the same time this allows her the opportunity to spend more time with Zenn.

 

Eva and Charlotte’s friendship is actually very well written and quite realistic, it’s not all over the top drama, there’s a certain amount of emotional turmoil, but also some really sweet bits as well.

 

Likewise with Eva’s growing relationship with Zenn. They take time exploring their feelings, Eva gets to know Zenn’s home situation which isn’t all that great. Parents divorced, Dad just come out of long term prison sentence, Mom is an alcoholic who goes from bad boyfriend to bad boyfriend. The mom was actually quite nice but not very bright.

 

Both are struggling with decisions of what to do after high school. Zenn doesn’t really see much option other than to work to support his mom who can’t really take care of herself, while Eva wants to go to college. But with four small children and herself, Eva knows money is tight, and unless she can get a scholarship or something, her MIT dreams are just that – a dream. As fun as the flirting and growing romance is with Zenn they have some serious discussions as well.

 

There’s a really surprising twist as well which impacts both Eva and Zenn’s parents greatly. Which also has a big consequence for Eva and Zenn as well, but they both have to decide whether they love each other enough to get past it. Eva’s touch ability works differently with Zenn as well, opening her to sensations and experiences she never thought she would have. It’s not all swoony romance, there’s some pretty serious drama.

 

A really excellent contemporary YA. I would definitely read another book by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kids Can Press.

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