Category Archives: Magic

Hex Hall – Rachel Hawkins

Hawkins, R. (2010). Hex hall. New York: Disney/Hyperion Books. ISBN:9781423121305. Paperback. $4.99.

Annotation: Sophie has always known she was different because of her Warlock father, but it isn’t until she uses her powers in front of normal humans that she realizes how much. At Hex Hall Sophie is still pretty different and realizes that she may be the only one looking for the true person or being who is harming other students.

What if you had powers? Sounds fun right? Wrong. So wrong. After a bad prom night where Sophie reveals her magical abilities to normal humans, she’s being exiled. Where? Hex Hall, a place for freaks like her. On her first day she gains a vampire roommate, a crush, and three model pretty enemies. Sophie finds out, though, that her roommate, the only person she gets along with, is suspected of attacking students at school. But Sophie isn’t buying it. In fact, she’s pretty sure she knows who is harming the students and hopes to clear her roommate’s name.

Hex Hall is the first in a trilogy, so Sophie and her friends and frenemies have room to grow. I liked this series because it combines a lot of different mythical creatures with other lore, to allow for easier world building of Hex Hall. If you like City of Bones by Cassandra Clare or even Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, you might like this book. Since it is a series, as always, check it out at your local library before you buy it in case it isn’t to your taste.

Award: Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (2012).

You can find more from Rachel Hawkins on her Tumblr & Twitter, which she updates frequently. You can also access this Goodreads profile for the Hex Hall series.




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Filed under Magic, Mythical "Monsters"

Paranormalcy – Kiersten White

White, K. (2012). Paranormalcy (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN-13: 978-0061985843. Paperback. $5.30.

7719245Annotation: Evie always wanted a normal life, but seeing through glamours means her life is far from normal. When the paranormals are under attack by an unknown force Evie discovers that she may be the only one to save them all.

Evie wants to be normal. She wants to go to high school, have a locker, and what TV with friends. But Evie isn’t normal at all because she can see through glamour. When faeries, vampires, and other creatures that try to hide from the International Paranormal Containment Agency or IPCA, Evie is the one who identifies them for what they are. When someone breaks into the IPCA and forms a friendship with Evie, she starts to think she may actually become normal. But something has been set loose on the paranormal world causing people to die, and Evie is the only one who can see it coming.

11020220Evie is a spunky, funny, and heroic main character and she is easy to identify with even though she lives in a magical world. I personally find Evie’s story original because it doesn’t always lead to expected places. Like a lot of us growing up, Evie just wants to have a fairly normal life where she has friends and a family that loves her. We start to find out in this first book in a trilogy if Evie gets the normal she’s craving. Readers who enjoy, Sarah J. Maas, Julie Kagawa, or Aprilynn Pike would like this series because it has a combination of multiple mythical creatures with a modern heroine who can take care of herself if she needs to. This book is only $5.39 in paperback format or $3.99 for the ebook. As always, I would recommend customers request it from the library first because it is a series.

Awards: Whitney Award for Best Novel by a New Author (2010), Lincoln Award Nominee (2013)

Here are the links to Kiersten’s InstagramTwitter, and author page, which she regularly updates about her life and books!

Here is the official book trailer for Paranormalcy:

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Alanna the First Adventure – Tamora Pierce

Pierce, T. (2003). Alanna: The first adventure. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN-13: 978-1442426412. Paperback. $4.48.

13831Annotation: Alanna has never wanted to be a lady and decides to take matters into her own hands by learning to be a Lady Knight of the realm. Disguising herself as a boy though is challenging and even in her disguise, Alanna will make enemies in her rise to knighthood.

Who is Alanna? If you ask Alanna herself, she’ll tell you she doesn’t exist. Her name is Alan now. Alan of Trebond. Instead of going to the convent to learn how to do healing magic and to be a well-behaved lady, Alanna switches places with her twin brother Thom and goes to the palace to become a knight while he studies magic with the monks. The only problem is girls aren’t allowed to fight for the crown or become knights, so Alanna has to keep her identity a secret. With the help of her brother, her governess, and family’s steward, Alanna is able to become what she has always wanted: a knight. But it isn’t without its challenges. Alanna makes friends and enemies, but what if they find out who she really is? Will they accept her? Will they kill her or hide her away? Alanna has a lot to learn in the first four years as a page in the King’s Palace. Some would be terrified, but Alanna sees it as her first adventure.

If you like fantasy stories, with knights and magic, but with a twist, Tamora Pierce is for you. A coming of age novel, Alanna is the person who changes history in her own timeline and allows readers to feel like they can do the same. Although the story is wonderfully crafted, I always wish the timeline was slower and the books longer. However, because the books are shorter and go through Alanna’s life each year, it is a great series to give to a wider variety of ages. At the same time, the later novels may get too adult for some parents/readers as we see Alanna live her adult lift. This book and series is now extremely affordable, so like with Glass houses, I suggest the reader get the book from the library first to see if they like it since it is in a series and then purchase it if they do. Much like Harry Potter, I want to keep Alanna relevant to our readers!

Nomination: Preis der Leseratten des ZDF, NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature Nominee (2013)

Here is a link of Tamora Pierce saying her name, which is not pronounced like you would think. You can also explore other authors, like Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Also a link to Tamora Pierce’s fan page on Facebook.

Finally, some beautiful and extremely accurate Alanna Cosplay. Tamora actually posted it on her Facebook page via Reddit. Here’s a sneak peak:

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Filed under Fantasy, Magic