Friday, December 27, 2013

Hex Hall

I couldn't resist reading another book yesterday. Yes, I have work to do, and quite a bit of it, but I wasn't yet ready to leave my Christmas laziness. So I settled down with my fuzzy blanket and some country music low in the background and read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
After a prom night spell gone horribly wrong, Sophie Mercer is sent to Hecate Hall, a premier reformatory school for witches, shapeshifters, and faeries. And on the first day she makes quite an impression. She makes enemies with the girls in the strongest coven on campus, befriends the outcast and only vampire in school, and begins a futile crush on Archer, resident heartthrob. Not bad for a day's work. Hecate Hall seems pretty normal, though. Well, as normal as it can be when Lord Byron is actually one of your teachers. But when students start getting attacked, and Sophie's only friend is the number one suspect, her life at Hecate is about to get turned upside down.

Hex Hall reminds me of a cross between Mean Girls and Harry Potter. There's a ton of magic going on, and funny stuff happens when it goes wrong. There's also a lot of telling instead of showing, which leads me to a big observation about this book: I wish it had been longer. I rarely say this because most of the time books could have been edited down. But some of the conversations that are described I wish I could have seen. I think they would have deepened the characters. Another observation: Sophie barely reacts to anything happening around her, even the attacks. She's like a set of eyes for us to see Hex Hall through. But, onto my biggest observation: overall, I didn't care about the downsides. I read Hex Hall in one sitting, and I laughed out loud several times. The writing is quick and witty and, as we all know, easy reading is damn hard writing. I thoroughly enjoyed Hex Hall, and will certainly be picking up the sequel.

*edit: weird thing I just noticed. There is a cat on the cover of this book when there are no cats in the story. Weird...

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scarlet

Happy Holidays, everyone! For those of you who celebrate Christmas,  I hope you got a lot of books to read. I know I did. That's a perk of being addicted to reading. They're basically the only thing on your Christmas list. Now, you see, my family has had a tradition for the past 3 or 4 years that after we do all our Christmas traditions it's pretty much every man to their own corner to play with their new gadgets. My dad went to play with some new software my mom got him. My mom tried to figure out her new kindle. And me? I pulled out Scarlet by AC Gaughen. My tradition on Christmas is to read a book all the way through in one day. This used to be hard to do, but lately not so much. So, without further ado, my review of Scarlet.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Posing as a boy in Robin Hood's band of thieves, Scarlet is one of the cleverest of them all. She can scale a wall, throw knives with deadly accuracy, and travel the length of Sherwood forest by running through tree branches. But everything is not merry for this little band. Tax day is coming, and the sheriff of Nottingham will string up anyone who can't pay. So Robin and his men will pay for them. But when a thief taker named Gisbourne comes to town, that task becomes all the harder. Gisbourne is ruthless, and he's after Scarlet in particular.

Okay, so I loved the idea of a retelling of Robin Hood. Apparently there are a lot of them out there (steal from the rich and give to the poor) but to my knowledge I haven't read one. So I was very excited to pick this book up, as it also seemed to promise a kickass heroine. And Scarlet is pretty kickass. How Robin Hood is with a bow, she is with knives. And the tree thing was pretty cool. There were several points where my heart was thumping faster than normal. But this story did not grab me as I hoped it would for several reasons. 1) Using "were" instead of "was." This is a big technique in the story to show Scarlet's uneducated speech. But it just bugged me. 2) Where did Scarlet learn to throw knives? This is never explained, and some important backstory shows she would have had about 2 years to go from completely useless with them, to damn near perfect. 3) Love V. I don't care if there's a love V as long as it's done well and not a way to make an otherwise intelligent heroine into an idiot. And this V started out promising. John Little was quiet, strong, and seemed to take Scarlet for what she was. Robin saw exactly who Scarlet was and didn't treat her any differently for being a girl. It had promise. And then it imploded. Robin refuses to believe that Scarlet isn't with John even though she tells him explicitly 3 or 4 times. And he calls her a whore for being forced into an engagement when she was 13. Nope, sorry, can't do it. Lost all respect for him there. By the end I didn't want her with either guy because they were clearly idiots. Wow, this went on much longer than I thought it would. Don't be mistaken, I did enjoy this book. And I'll be reading the sequel eventually. These things just bugged me.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Up Next: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Linger

As I wrote yesterday, I haven't been reading much. I've had so much work between finals and my job and life stuff that at the end of the day I just want to collapse into bed and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Incidentally, I'm watching season 6 now! But now that I'm on break and have a bit more time on my hands, I got around to reading Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. So, spoilers below.


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Retrieved from Goodreads
Sam is a full time boy now, and he's struggling to accept his cure. He's also become the leader of the human pack in place of Beck, his adopted father. There are a couple new wolves in the pack, one of them the lead singer of Narkotika, a very popular band. Self-destructive and cruel, Cole St. Clair is not the kind of guy Sam likes having around. Meanwhile, Grace isn't feeling too well. Her parents have decided they don't approve of Sam and forbid them to see each other until Grace turns eighteen. She keeps feeling sick, like she's about to shift into the wolf she should have become ten years ago, but she can't.

As usual, I loved Stiefvater's prose, which is lyrical and beautiful and paints the best pictures in your head. At the same time, I didn't feel like the prose justified the lack of concrete plot like it totally does in her Raven Boys series. Things crept along in Linger like a sequel that didn't need to exist. Sam feels the burden of responsibility and misses Grace. Grace feels sick but refuses to talk about it. Cole and Isabel shine in this book as new POVs, and they kept me pretty interested. I will definitely read Forever and any napkin Stiefvater writes on, but this book came up short for me. The ending was abrupt and a bit unbelievable. Sam turned from sweet and sad to mopey and afraid. The switch in Grace's parents' opinion of Sam was just too abrupt to believe. And threads like Shelby and Olivia from Shiver were completely lost in this book. But still, love Stiefvater.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Up Next: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cover Reveal and other things

So you probably haven't noticed, but I haven't blogged at all this month. I swear I have a good reason. Well, a couple. 1) It was finals at school, which meant a mountain of work. 2) I'm sick and have been exhausted (cherry on the cake is the doctors don't know what's wrong with me). 3) Laziness. I haven't read a book in over a month because of how busy I am, and my free time was spent with friends relaxing or sleeping. I'm almost done with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater though, so review coming your way soon!

But on to the exciting things! The signups for the cover reveal of Balancing Act are open! And, guys, I'd love it if you'd be part of it. It's a beautiful cover that just encapsulates what this book is about. I almost cried when I saw it. Please, if you have a blog or a website or anything where you could put the cover on December 23rd, please sign up here.

Hope your December is going well!