Archive for the ‘Contemporary/Urban Fantasy’ Category

Old-School Review: Half Magic

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

By Edward Eager [LibraryThingGoodreads]

It’s shaping up to be a perfectly boring summer for Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha, until they find a strange coin on the sidewalk that grants wishes…sort of. The coin grants half wishes, so you must wish for twice as much as you want, lest you end up with half a talking cat or half a safe journey home. Figuring out how to double most wishes is simple, but when it comes to finding a happy ending for themselves and their mother, the siblings need something more than just a little arithmetic.

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Bleeding Violet

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Bleeding Violet by Dia ReevesBy Dia Reeves [LibraryThingGoodreads]

All Hanna wants is for her mom to love her. Never mind that she’s never met her mom, never mind that she’s got a slew of mental health problems and even more pills, never mind that she still hears her dead father’s voice. She forces herself into her mom’s small-town life — only to find that Portero, the town, is even crazier than she is. But somehow, a town full of missing persons signs, hidden doors, and killer monsters is exactly what Hanna needs to fit in, because Portero might be crazy, but Hanna is crazier.

(FYI: “crazy” is the book’s word, not mine. A lot of this review is about ableism and mental health, so I wanted to make that clear up front.)

Mild spoilers uncovered beneath the cut. (more…)

Unfinished: Tombstone Tea

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

By Joanne Dahme [LibraryThingGoodreads]

[Sometimes we come across books that even we can’t finish. But how can we give them a rating if we haven’t finished them? Thus we have the Unfinished/Unrated category, for those times when we want to talk about a book we didn’t finish – and why.]

From the back cover copy: “In order to fit in at her new school, Jessie accepts a dare to spend one night in a local cemetery. Once inside the heavy iron entrance gate, she encounters a handsome young boy named Paul. He tells her that she is just in time to watch the rehearsal of Tombstone Tea, a memorial for those buried in the cemetery in which actors impersonate the deceased. But Jessie notices that there is something strange about these actors – something deadly.”

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Immortal Beloved

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

By Cate Tiernan [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Immortal Nastasya has been a party girl for over four centuries, numbing her feelings in an effort to forget the tragedies she’s seen – and caused – in an endless lifetime. But when she realizes the shallow callousness of her friends, she turns her back on them and seeks refuge at River’s Edge, a haven for immortals seeking to turn over a new leaf. There she struggles with her own fears and dark memories – not to mention her attraction to the handsomest, jerkiest immortal she’s ever met – and comes to terms with her birthright, her power, and herself.

I couldn’t discuss the biggest problem with the book without spoiling part of the end, so be warned: uncovered spoilers lie behind the cut.

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The Magic Half

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

By Annie Barrows [LibraryThingGoodreads]

Miri is stuck in the middle between twin brothers and twin sisters, and feels totally alone, especially when they move to a big old house in the middle of the country. But when she finds a mysterious piece of glass in her room, she looks through it and finds herself transported to 1935, where she meets a girl just her age named Molly, who begs Miri to save her. Now Miri’s got to figure out how to get both of them back to the present – and it might just be a matter of life and death.

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The Demon’s Covenant

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees BrennanBy Sarah Rees Brennan [LibraryThingGoodReads]

Mae’s life has changed forever now that she knows about magic — about demons and magicians — but now that her magic-wielding brother Jamie is safe, she thought they were done with that world forever. Then she sees Jamie cavorting with Gerald, the magician who took over the Circle trying to kill them, and she has to call the brothers Alan and Nick again. Except they’ve changed: Nick’s new powers are limitless, and there’s some kind of wedge between him and Alan now. Now, Mae has to figure out what the magicians are up to, how to get Jamie away from them, and how to save Nick from the magicians too — and save Nick from himself.

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The Heir Chronicles (The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir)

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

By Cinda Williams Chima [Chima at LibraryThing]

Underlying the world we know is a world of magic users – a handful of lesser guilds, ruled over by the powerful and ruthless wizards. For centuries, the wizards have been forcing magical warriors into deadly tournaments to avoid confronting each other directly and starting an all-out wizard war. That all changes in The Warrior Heir, when Jack Swift, an ordinary high school student, discovers that he may be the last warrior alive – and every wizard in the world wants to use him or kill him. Jack is thrust into the wizard tournament, and wizard society is subsequently turned in its head. In The Wizard Heir, the immensely powerful young wizard Seph McCauley finds himself a pawn in the growing wizard war, thanks to a magical lineage he doesn’t even know about. And in The Dragon Heir, the fate of everything may just rest in the hands of the seemingly-unmagical Madison Moss, who is trying to fight both her growing attraction to Seph and the destructive power she holds over him. If the magical world is to be saved, Madison must figure out her place in the ancient legends before the other side gets their hands on her.

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Guardian of the Dead

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

By Karen Healey [LibraryThingGoodreads]

High school student Ellie’s life is fairly normal, until she agrees to help out with a play at the local university, thanks to the urging of her best friend, Kevin. But someone else in the play has her sights set on Kevin – someone not quite human – and suddenly Ellie finds herself navigating the world of the New Zealand supernatural armed only with a magic mask and the help of the mysterious Mark (on whom Ellie just happens to have an enormous crush). As Ellie discovers that the mythology of her homeland is all too real, she finds that that selfsame mythology is threatening to destroy New Zealand – and that she may be the only person left who can stop it.

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Blue Beetle: Shellshocked, Road Trip, Reach for the Stars, End Game

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

By Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Cully Hamner, Rafael Albuquerque, et al [Blue Beetle on LibraryThing]

Jaime Reyes was an ordinary kid, until a piece of advanced alien tech shaped like a scarab attached itself to his spine, giving him superpowers, and the Justice League dragged him into space to fight an evil satellite. Now he’s back in El Paso, trying to put his life back together after being missing for a year – and trying to learn how to control the scarab in his back, which wants to turn him into a killing machine. Oh, and the scarab’s creators, the Reach, have arrived on Earth, and Jaime’s the only one who knows they’re here to take over. Can the new Blue Beetle stop an alien invasion, protect his family and his city, and survive a legacy that’s already killed both his predecessors?

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The Demon’s Lexicon

Monday, January 18th, 2010

By Sarah Rees Brennan [LibraryThing]

Nick has spent his life on the run from magicians and the demons they call up, with only his brother Alan and his crazy mother. But when a couple of kids come to him and Alan for help and Alan gets marked by a demon, Nick discovers that Alan has been lying to him for his whole life and nothing — not Alan or even Nick himself — is what it seems.

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