Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Okay, let's face some obvious facts about this two-part series real quick... Carolyn MacCullough wrote it for me. Strong female character, kind of downtrodden then all sorts of powerful and strong. Then she throws in a paranormal twist and a little romance? Yeah, that's got Michelle written ALL over it.

Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly written for me. I'm not completely delusional. That being said, obviously, I enjoyed both "Once a Witch" and the advanced reader's copy of "Always a Witch". It has a very interesting combination of paranormal elements - witches with super hero-esque "Talents" and time traveling. How cool is that, right? The story follows Tamsin Greene, a strong-willed young woman who is the ugly duckling in her family. Oh and her family? A bunch of incredible witches, each blessed with an extraordinary special power they call a "Talent". However, this wasn't the way things were supposed to be. When she was born, her grandmother with a prophetic "Talent" predicted that she would be the most powerful in the family and a beacon of hope. So how is that Tamsin turned out so normal? Or is she? You'll just have to read the series to find out!

I absolutely adored the lead character of Tamsin Greene. Despite the hardships she has faced being the family's resident Ugly Duckling, she has ended up growing into this beautiful and strong young woman. It is her strong will and morals that end up providing her with more protection and grace by the end than any "Talent" her genetics could have provided. As you may have already come to realize reading my blog, I absolutely adore YA fiction with strong female leads. Tamsin has become one of my new favorites.

Even though I enjoyed this series thoroughly, my goodreads.com rating for this is a mere 3 stars (which means "I like it" but don't go as far as "really liking it" for those unfamiliar with the goodreads.com rating system). I found the writing a bit choppy at times and I would have liked to see the male lead, Gabriel, a bit more fleshed out. He just suddenly comes back and is in love with his childhood best friend without getting to know her first? I also would have liked to seen our villain developed a bit more. He was a bit flat and stereotypical.

Overall though, I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good young adult paranormal story. Enjoy and happy reading!

"Always a Witch" is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They provided me with an advanced reader's copy. It is scheduled to be released in August of this year.

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