Hocus Pocus Is Better: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

Source: GoodReads

There’s a reason I’ve been sort of burned out on YA this summer and it’s because of books like How to Hang a Witch, which has an awesome premises and an awful execution.

The whole witch trials is something I’ve always been interested in reading or learning more about since I read The Crucible back sophomore year.  There’s not much of an offering about this bat shit crazy period of time in YA, so seeing a modern day book that features it I was interested.  Added the fact that the premises said handsome angry ghost in the blurb I was so there.

Because ghost in YA make me think of Jesse de Silva from The Mediator Series and that means insta purchase.

However….yeah, Sam was no Suze Simon even though she’s from New York and wears a leather jacket.  Correction, vegan leather jacket (that is pointed out like five thousand times).  If Suze was here, she wouldn’t be bullied and complain about it like Sam did.  She’d get even.  She wouldn’t be spooked by ghost boy in her house, she’d punch his lights out and make fun of his puffy shirt or whatever.

But this book does not feature Suze Simon….and Sam is well a drip who reminded me heavily of Bella Swan (sulky disposition and all) so…

Yeah, I didn’t finish this one.

I made it through to about 90 or so pages which is a shame because everything about the book really should’ve been cat nip to me.  It wouldn’t have taken much.

Hell, it could’ve been kooky like my favorite Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus) and I would’ve been happy with it.  But instead, it was just dull as could be.  All I got besides Sam being bullied, oblivious to the fact that there’s a God damn ghost in her bedroom,  was she somehow was looking into the library for the locations where the hangings in Salem took place.

Really, the library?

Like, there wasn’t a little thing called Google but she had to go to the library and look in the records.  I mean, it’s nice to see a character go in the library but you would at least think she would’ve gone through electronic options in this day and age first.

And I don’t exactly know if the local library would even have those sort of records but…

I digress.

The whole evil witch bully gang thing was utterly bizarre as well. From the blurb, I was expecting that they’d be somewhat like the girls in Jinx but they were much more overt in that.  Plus, Mather isn’t exactly that uncommon of a surname and I doubt that one teen let alone several would know or care to know the history surrounding Salem or for that matter who the New Girl was related to.

Whatever though.

I knew it would be a little far fetched based on the premises, but with the poor characterizations I couldn’t even buy it that much.

Really, the only thing that would’ve kept me reading at that point was if Sam suddenly decided to light a candle and brought back the Sanderson sisters and they started showing the Mean Girl Witches how real witches asked.

Overall Rating: DNF

In Which Suze Has Me Googling Slip Dresses: Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot

What – or who – is buried in Susannah’s backyard?

When the nineteenth-century ghost of Maria de Silva wakes her up in the middle of the night, Suze knows this is no ordinary visitation – and not just from the knife at her throat, either. In life, Maria was the fiancée of Jesse – the same Jesse who was murdered a hundred and fifty years before. The same Jesse Suze is in love with.

Maria threatens Suze: The backyard construction must cease. Suze has a pretty good idea what – or rather, who – Maria doesn’t want found. But in solving Jesse’s murder, will Suze end up losing him forever?

Source: GoodReads

 

Can you believe it’s the fourth month of this Mediator reread series?  Neither can I.  In Mediator news, there has been an excerpt and cover leaked, people.  Seems like Paul is up to his old tricks again, not that surprised (and yes, I already preordered this book).

What I Remember:

I remember really being surprised by this one and kind of shocked about how evil Paul was in this one.  Because remember, I read Haunted first.  If you just read Haunted, Paul just seems like a sightly sleazy boy who makes some dubious choices.  But in Darkest Evil you know that he would have no problem fighting Voldemort and probably winning (he’d probably exorcise all seven pieces of Voldy’s soul and laugh about it).

Reread

If Suze Simon isn’t a BAMF character before, she is now.

Honestly, in a lot of ways, Darkest Hour is my favorite book in the series.  The last one might hit some emotional strings for me, but this book does too and has Suze fight probably the most scariest baddies in the series.

We also get more backstory on Jesse which is a good thing, because really up until this point the character Jesse needed some (okay, a lot fleshing out).

I think this book is what seals the deal for the Juze ship.  My OTP.  Okay, to be honest I do like Paul/Suze in fanfiction better.  Only because I think in fannon it allows more story, but in cannon I ❤ Suze and Jesse forever.  You can really feel how much these two characters have grown to love each other in this book-though Suze is too stupid to realize Jesse has feelings for her.

I also like how the two of them interact around Maria and Diego.  I thought having Suze having to deal with Jesse’s past was a pretty smart idea on Cabot’s part.  The dude has baggage due to the way he died, and I’m glad she didn’t ignore that.

Maria and Diego make more formable foils than Heather or the RLS Angels, that’ s for sure.   It doesn’t take Suze almost 200 pages to be in peril only till like chapter 2 or 3.  And she’s actually scared.  And Jesse doesn’t really come to her rescue in this book.  She does a bit of saving herself.  Really as far as action goes, I’d say this is probably the most action filled Mediator book.

As I said in the first part of this review, this is the first book that Paul comes into play.  After reading the series as a whole, it is the same Paul but you do see a different side of him here.  I think I read somewhere that Meg always was a little shocked with Paul’s popularity because he is a sleaze.  To be honest, he is sleazy in this book but the Paul character evolves as the series comes to play.  I really wonder if I would be so team Cannon Juze had the series been allowed to extend to the seven or eight book she initially wanted to do.

Overall Darkest Hour was probably one of the best if not the best books in the Mediator series.

Rating: A+

Sleepy and Gina for the Win: Reunion by Meg Cabot

Accidents happen. With ghostly consequences, if you’re Susannah Simon.

The RLS Angels are out for blood, and only Suze can stop them – since she’s the only one who can see them. The four ghostly teenagers died in a terrible car accident, for which they blame Suze’s classmate Michael… and they’ll stop at nothing until he’s joined them in the realm of the dead.

As Suze desperately fends off each attempt on Michael’s life, she finds she can relate to the Angels’ fury. Because their deaths turn out not to have been accidental at all. And their killer is only too willing to strike again.

Source: GoodReads

What I Remember:

When I first read this I was sort of in a rush, but there were a few things that stuck out.  One being the relationship between Suze’s NYC bestie, Gina, and her stepbrother, Sleepy.  I shipped them oddly enough and they were a background relationship.  Also, I loved the action scenes in this book.  Although, this isn’t the zenith of action for this series (that alone goes to book four), this one does have a few good ghost busting moments.  And I was entranced enough to get through it without  my eyes wondering to the last book.

Reread:

Reunion holds up pretty well, but it is a filler book.  It really isn’t until the fourth book in this series that things start moving for the overall series arc.

Although, there is more Suze and Jesse development.  So, yay on that front.

To be honest, books 1-3 follow a similar format.  Suze attracts the eye of a guy who is somehow being haunted or  knows someone who’s being haunted.

In this book it’s Michael Meducci who I always view as Michael Moscovtiz evil twin who is less sexy  but probably just as nerdy that ends up killing Josh Ritcher.

Okay, that didn’t happen in The Princess Diaries.  Though, it could’ve if Meg Cabot wanted to sort of make in like The Heathers.

Weird digression aside, it’s interesting in this book that the hot guy Suze has to watch over isn’t really that hot-unless he’s not wearing any clothes.  And is borderline creepy.

Another bonus to this book, was the introduction of Gina.  Who is one of my favorite side characters.  And I really did like the side ship with her and Sleepy.  She’s the reason I tolerate that stepbrother.  I like Doc too.  Never really grew to like Dopey though, but I think that’s the typical feeling.

Anyway, Gina has some great lines in this installment.  Some of my favorite, involved her reacting to Kelly Prescott’s proposed tank policy against China.  Why I find it hilarious, upon reread is the ridiculous election that’s going on in the US right now.  Seriously, I felt that every ludicrous thing Kelly Prescott said was akin to something The Donald would say.

As far as filler books go, I found this one a little bit more tolerable than Ninth Key not that Ninth Key is bad, it’s just definite filler.

Overall Rating: A B+.

The Great Mediator Reread: Where I Want Suze’s Wardrobe

Ghosts ruin everything. Especially your love life.

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she’s willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad… particularly the fact that he’s not Jesse, whose ghostly status – not to mention apparent disinterest in her – make him unattainable.

What Suze can’t ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont’s past.

Source: GoodReads

Original Reading Experience: 

I read this in a binge read when I finally got my hands on the rest of the series-I had read books five and then later four first BEFORE finally reading books one, two, and three.

Honestly, I just wanted to get on with this one and get to the last book because I had to know how my ship was going to work out.  Because it just had to because surely Meg wouldn’t be that cruel…

Anyway, what I remembered the most about Ninth Key was Suze’s fashion choices-Armani sweater seat, Batgirl boots, and Betsey Johnson miniskirt.  That outfit was imprinted on my brain.

And I kept thinking about it since.  Or at least that’s the outfit I always associated Suze with besides the plethora of slip dresses that she wore in the fourth book.

Funny, how this series became a lot of my fashion inspiration at the time.  No Cosmo for me, but Mediator.

Reread:

Ninth Key to me was always the forgotten book in the series.  A lot of people say that about Reunion, but I actually like Reunion more or remember liking Reunion more-I think it Sleepy and Gina that made that one better than it really is.

I so ship them.  Despite the fact that Gina deserves someone a lot more responsible than Sleepy.

Okay, all kidding aside, Ninth Key isn’t bad, it’s just not that remarkable.

Well, the climax scenes were well done and hilarious, but besides them this book was  a particular slow book.  I have to give it Meg though for slowly developing the relationship between Suze and Jesse.  I really do love a good slow burn romance, and this is what this one is.  It’s such a arare thing in YA, so excuse me while I sort of relish in it.

However, I don’t think there was really any growth between them in this installment other than Suze acknowledges that Jesse is hot, and Jesse interrupts a very awkward date with Tad.

But we all knew it was never going to last with Tad.  I’m sure he found himself a nice boyfriend when he moved to San Francisco, just saying.  Honestly, Bryce and Suze were more believable and that’s pushing it.

It’s odd how it takes Paul Slater, who is basically a sociopath, to actually be the one love interest that potentially can match Jesse and that’s mostly in fannon.  Because Paul in cannon is sort of jerk, but he’s not in this book so we can’t talk about him.

Boo.

Most of the development to the overall series was done of the ancillary relationships-family and friends-which was nice.  As I said before, it’s a filler book, but it does a good job showing how blended families relate to each other so that was good.

And I liked how we got to see a bit more of Adam and CeeCee in this installment, though I did feel like they were used a bit by Suze.

Bad Suze.

Overall though, Ninth Key is a good quick read.  It’s never going to have the same impact on me like other installments, but it doesn’t damper the series.

Overall Rating: A solid B.