Review: Hex Hall

Hex Hall
Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion Books CH
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Pages: 323
Source: Bought
Ratings: 5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
When I first read Hex Hall last year I was immediately blown away. Hex Hall was one of the best books I read in 2010 and probably one of my all time favorites.
The magic, the humor, the story, the characters, everything is just spot on perfect in this book. After I read Hex Hall in one sitting, the next day, I sat down and reread it again because I just loved it so much. Hex Hall is the only book I have ever reread right after reading it for the first time. I wanted to go back in to Sophie’s world immediately after finishing.
Rachel Hawkins knows how to write one funny, kick ass, awesome book that leaves you on the edge of your seat. The writing was spot on perfect. It was the right blend of humor, snark and seriousness when need be. And boy, does Hawkins now how to write one hell of a story with an awesome twist. Seriously, she is like an evil genius with the plot. One funny evil genius.
One of the best things that immediately sucks you into the book is Sophie. Sophie is such a great character and gives the book so much life. From the start, Sophie is just pure awesome. She is so sarcastic and humorous that I was literally laughing aloud. I loved that Sophie was a strong character. Sophie stood up for her friends and stood up for what she believed in; she was always doing what is best and trying to help people, which is how she ended up in Hex Hall in the first place. And then there is my other favorite character, Archer. Now what any book be without some swoony worthy guy? Archer is definitely swoon worthy. Not only is he snarky and funny he is also just sexy. Yeah. And there is definitely more to him than meets to the eye.
Now what would Hex Hall be without magic? In some books, when you add supernatural creatures and magic powers to the mix it just falls flat and feels so forced and just fails. But in Hex Hall the supernatural element just fits in so perfectly. The magic element just feels right and is so important to the story. Magic is just part of Sophie and Sophie’s world, but it doesn’t dominate the story which I really liked. Hex Hall wasn’t just about magic and the supernatural but about the characters and their story and the characters just happened to be different from normal humans.
I could wax on and on for ages about this book but that would bore you. But everyone needs to read this book. Seriously, I will force it into people’s hands at the book store. And the ending will leave you wanting more. There is a great twist at the end that makes Rachel Hawkins an evil genius (and SHE IS AN EVIL GENIUS AS THE SEQUEL WILL SHOW). I did pick up the sequel to this book because how could I resist? I wanted to desperately to see what happens next. This is one of those series that everyone needs to read because of its awesomeness.

Vlog Review: Haven


Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Pages: 416
Source: Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab
Ratings: 2 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start–a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.
But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there–every student, every teacher–has psychic abilities, ‘gifts and talents,’ they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend–Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.
Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye–much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy–if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Review in the vlog below. WARNING!!! CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!!

Somethings in the vlog I didn’t mention. I didn’t hate this book, I just had a lot of issues with it that made me not enjoy it. I felt Haven was well written with the exception of the “you knows”. I liked that Violet was all moody and gloomy like Bella Swan, and instead was her own character.  I failed to mention that I hated the hot and cold of Violet and Aidan’s relationship. One moment Violet was all lovey dovey and then would completely ignore Aidan and then wonder why he isn’t talking to her. That was extremely annoying. 

Here are some highlights from my Goodreads feed for Haven that basically sum up my feelings on this book:

Page 42 – I find myself talking to this book.   

Page 230 – Beautiful use of the phrase “you know”: “Well, I figured she was jealous of you anyway. You know, about Aidan. Not that they’ve ever…you know.”

Page 243 – WTF!! “I was supposed to be frightened. But there was no denying that I was totally turned on.” This is seriously wrong. 

Page 272- “I guess my breaching his mind had cured the vampire version of a hard-on he’d been suffering from.” WTF 

Page 347- (AFTER THE LICKING) “By the time he finished, I was reduced to a quivering mass on the bed, panting and squirming.” This girl has serious issues.

Page 387 – That was fast. And anti-climatic

Here’s what people who thought differently from me said: 
Miss Page Turner’s City of Books – “In my opinion, a very good novel is always marked by a very good writing style. Cook applied a writing style that supported the story very well. Although I noticed serval word repetitions, I find Cook’s writing just right.”
My Reading Room – “Fun characters, a plot that sucks you in and great storytelling make Haven one of my favorite YA books this year.”
The Book Sp(l)ot – “The beginning of the book was  a fast, engrossing read that really drew me in. Then, a little bit of the middle did go a little slower, but definitely stick with it because the ending (and middle/end) really gets going again and draws you right back in!”
The Crazy Bookworm – “Haven is very magical. It wisps you away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life and transports you into this whimsical place. Not all of it is lollipops and rainbows though, there is a great deal of suspense.
Between the Covers –  “Haven was a quick, enjoyable read. Cook’s writing easily engages the reader, finding just the right balance of description and action and refined style and teen voice that brings the story to life. 

Waiting on Wednesday (36) – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
To be released: September 27, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong.
First off this cover is GORGEOUS!! I mean, look at it!! WOW! Stunning!! And the summary sounds awesome. I first heard about this book on Twitter a while ago and I am super excited to read this!!! I cannot wait!!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Teaser Tuesday: Warped

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the books for others!)
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from:
Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Tessa felt a stab of sadness and knew: she wanted to keep the tapestry. She was meant to have it.

Waiting on Wednesday (35) – Abandon

Meg Cabot
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
To be released: April 26, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
When Pierce first sees him, she thinks he is a murderer. She’s right about one thing — he does take lives. But not in the way she ever imagined. Pierce is drawn to the dark stranger even as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the tragic death of someone close to her. As she gets closer to the truth — and the stranger — unexpected secrets are revealed, even in her own heart.
Let me start off by saying I love anything Meg Cabot writes. This book seems awesome! First off the cover is beautiful and the synopsis sounds really good. Cannot wait to read.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Teaser Tuesday: Haven

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Mizb at Should be Reading
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the books for others!)
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from:

Haven by Kristi Cook

“It’s only…well, he doesn’t really pay much attention to anyone. Kind of a loner, you know? Some people think he’s gay, but I’m not sure….” She trailed off, shaking her head. 

Review: Angelfire

Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: Februrary 15, 2011           
Pages: 464
Source: Borrowed from Danielle B.
Ratings: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.
When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers – monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell – she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.
A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie’s powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her – an assassin who has already killed her once.
While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie’s soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian’s most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives – including truths that may be too frightening to remember.
I was intrigued by Angelfire’s premise and was not let down. In this stunning debut, Courtney Allison Moulton a butt kicking novel.
Angelfire was something new and intriguing. Once I started it, I could not put it down. From the first chapter to the last page I was drawn in. What made this book was truly the characters and there interactions with each other. Ellie was a kick ass heroine. Even as she was discovering who she was and what she was Ellie still had a certain spark to her. And Will was a hot bundle of mystery. And there is Cadan who did not have a huge role, but was definitely a bigger mystery then Will and I have a feeling will be seeing a bunch more of him later.
This book had tons of butt kicking, action packed scenes. Ellie and Will get there share of kicking reapers butts. And let me say, I loved these action scenes, they were awesome. While reading them, I felt like I could picture exactly what was going on as if I was watching an action movie. I literally could not get enough of them.
I loved how Courtney Allison Moulton was able to make this story completely unique and her own. Angelfire was truly a story I’ve never read before. The plot was fresh and kept me on the edge of my seat, and the twist at the end, BRILLANT! Angelfire is a must read and I will definitely be waiting on the edge of my seat for its sequel.

Breathless Reads Tour Kick Off in NYC

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of going to NYC for the kick off of the Breathless Reads Tour.  A bunch of bloggers buddies (Gail of Ticket to Anywhere, Danielle of Frenzy of Noise, Nikki of Wicked Awesome Books, and Jen of Secret Life of a Bibliophile) travelled many hours from Boston to New York to see Ally Condie, Beth Revis, Kristen Miller, Brenna Yovanoff and Andrea Creamer signing at Books of Wonder.

It was a long trip, but extremely fun and eventful. The car ride was filled with talks of books, authors, blogging and lots of other fun stuff. Oh, and we had cookies. LOTS AND LOTS of YUMMY cookies!

Beth Revis, Brenna Yovanoff, Ally Condie, Andrea Creamer and Kristen Miller

Here are some highlights of the event (thanks to Jen who live tweeted as much of the questions and answers as possible! ):

Andrea and Kristen

Q: Which is the hardest line to write, the first or the last?
Kristen said the first line is the hardest line to write because everything starts there. Andrea says the last line is the hardest because you have to end on the perfect note and leave the right impression. Ally said the last line as well. Brenna said the first line. Beth said the line in the middle is the hardest. LOL

Q: What was your favorite subject in high school?
All the authors loved English, but that did not mean it was their favorite subject. Brenna really loved PE in high school. Andrea went for extracurriculars and said Drama was her favorite, along with history. Ally said that she really loved biology because they had “lots of dead animals” she could cut up. Beth said history and science along with typing. And Kristen loved chemistry. “We had an expensive, fancy lab and I really wanted blow things up!” (blowing things up became a constant theme during this signing)

Beth and Brenna

Q: What book do you wish had been published when you where a teenager?
Beth really wished Harry Potter had been published when she was growing up so she could grow up with Harry as he grew up in the books. Ally Condie said she wished Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson had been published when she was growing up because there really were not any books like that dealt with issue like rape when she was growing up. Andrea Cremer said she wished John Green’s books had been published when she was growing up.

Brenna and Ally

Q: Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Ally Condie told us about her first story called The Party. It was about how Ally had a plastic unicorn necklace and she dropped it in the stable and it became really. Not only did she have a real unicorn, it was also pregnant! So she had a party to celebrate. Andrea Cremer wrote a story about a boy with three arms who realizes that the third arm is scary so it needs to go.

There were many great questions and the authors provided great answers! You can check out the Breathless Reads tour dates to see these fabulous authors if they come by you!

Jen, Andrea, Gail, Beth, Nikki, Brenna, Danielle and Me
Nikki, Jen, Ally, Me, Gail and Danielle
Jen, Nikki, Gail, Kristen, Danielle and Me

And what would a signing be without some sort of giveaway? I have two signed books to give away from the tour! I have a signed copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and a signed copy of Across the Universe to giveaway. I will also be choosing one other winner to receive a signed Breathless Reads poster. Complete the form below to be enter to win. Giveaway ends 2/18.

Waiting on Wednesday (34) – The Eternal Sea

The Eternal Sea

Angie Frazier
Publisher: Scholastic Press
To be released: June 1, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
Romance and adventure are just around the corner . . .
After the thrilling journey that led Camille through the dangerous discovery of love, secrets, and a magical stone that grants immortality, Camille has everything she wants. She’s escaped the men who wanted her dead, and now she is ready to build a new life with Oscar, her one true love. But things are not to be so simple. Oscar is acting strangely, and before they can even board a ship from Australia back home, to San Francisco, Camille learns that the journey is not over. If she does not follow the magic of the curse of Umandu, her life and Ocar’s could be in grave danger.
I loved the first novel in this series Everlasting and I cannot wait to read the next one. Angie Frazier is such a fabulous author and really sweet and I cannot wait to read more about Camille and Oscar. I LOVE OSCAR!  This is one book I’ll definitely be picking up ASAP.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event highlighting exciting upcoming releases. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.