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BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins

BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel HawkinsRebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


I had a noble cause, all right. But it wasn’t Grove Academy. It was David Stark.

Well….this was quite exceptional! I was merely perusing my feed last week and then all of a sudden came multiple positive reviews for this book. I have been seeing nothing but good things about this story so I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about-and I was more than pleasantly surprised. So many books these days take themselves too seriously and come across as pompous or as if they are trying too hard. It was refreshing to read a book that had both humor and spunk but didn’t portray an heir of cheesiness….I do so loathe cheesiness.

I’d been found guilty of Unladylike Behavior, Nephew Endangerment, and, if the look she shot my boots was any indication, Improper Footwear.

I think my favorite thing about this story was most assuredly Harper’s narrative. She was witty, sarcastic, and fun. I loved how light the story felt even as everything came crashing down on her-she is the picture of perfection with her 4.0 GPA, popular and perfect boyfriend, acting as student body president, and….well…that’s just to name a few things she is involved in. One of the issues many people have when they are reading a book is how vain the main character is-but not once did I feel that Harper was annoying or overly into herself. She was aware of her social status and what she had to lose, but her inner monologue showed that she never took it for granted.

David’s grin slowly faded and his fingers fiddled with the edge of his T-shirt, pulling it up over his bicep a little. Since when did David Stark have biceps? How did you get any muscle tone when all you did was type and be annoying?

I really liked this about her and could identify with her when her life started to change into something she couldn’t recognize-After that one fateful night at the homecoming dance she’s been waiting so long to attend, nothing is ever the same when her school janitor passes his powers onto her. She and her boyfriend are spending even less time together, her grades are starting to slip and for once, things aren’t so cut and dry-All of a sudden she has to spend time with her sworn enemy-the ever annoying David Stark. Even worse?? Her new destiny is devoting her life to protect him…when all she has ever wanted to do was stab him because of the ridiculous articles he continuously writes about her.

“Don’t get me wrong, Mary Beth is…well, she’s not objectionable or anything, but she’s not…”
My hands were tight around the teacup, the heat radiating on my palms. “She’s not what?”
David tugged at his lapels again before leaning back in his chair. “You.”

This is where the ‘love triangle’ came in. Harper has the guy she’s always wanted. They are perfect together and he is both sweet and kind to her. But what happens when she starts to get even busier and has even less time to spend with him? And how will she explain her new-found appreciation and excessive amount of time spent with David Stark? And what’s worse-what will she do when she realizes that spending time with David isn’t so bad, but in fact fun and like they should have always been friends? She starts to feel butterflies when they are in close proximity whereas her boyfriend doesn’t stir up the emotions he once used to. Maybe they really didn’t ever have that much in common…whereas David and she have been circling each other since Kindergarten through vicious articles, snarky attitudes, and a nasty rivalry that everyone else sees as an underlying attraction. I never really cared for her current boyfriend-it was obvious the author was leading up to something between David and Harper, and I found myself continuously rooting against her guy. He wasn’t mean per se, and he wasn’t whiny, but he definitely was annoying and I could never connect with him. In the end, I did feel bad for him because he does truly love Harper. I wish these authors didn’t feel the need for love triangles so often, but I know life isn’t always perfect and we don’t always get to choose our paths-life throws you unexpected curve balls at every turn and Harper was handling it the best she could.

The letter opener was near the door, so I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay hands on: a stapler.
I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot.
David placed his hand on my arm and pushed it back down.
“What?”
“Just…that’s embarrassing for all of us,” he replied.

I don’t think there was anything wrong with this story except that maybe I would be sitting there reading, and I’d get excited about what could possibly happen in the current scene and then it just wouldn’t happen….sure, that’s part of the surprise, but I still had a level of excitement I was wanting to reach and when the scene didn’t quite reach that far, I did feel a tiny pang of disappointment.

“I was bringing this by to say sorry for yesterday. To both of you,” I added as Saylor moved forward. “You know, for the…the car driving and the recklessness, and the-the grabbing…”
With my free hand I started making this clutching gesture. I was talking about grabbing David’s shirt, but it looked like I was milking a cow.
Or worse.

Overall a really fun, quirky, and action-packed debutante read. I loved the southern drawl and the feeling of a tight-knit community with zaney aunts and an underhanded sense of danger. I enjoyed almost every bit of this story and can’t wait for book two!

BOOK REVIEW – Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

BOOK REVIEW – Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel HawkinsHex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


“You’re just not used to meeting women who don’t fall all over your ass like you’re in a boy band or something,” I said when our laughter had subsided a little.
I’d turned back to my essay, so I had to look up when I realized he hadn’t answered me.
He was looking at me with a small smile, a strange glint in his eye. “So why didn’t you?”
“Excuse me?”
“Well, according to you, women are always falling all over me. So why didn’t you?…”

This is one of those stories where it was very good and very entertaining, but I’m not quite sure what to say. There were so many characters and so many situations that I don’t think I could adequately identify everything that made this book so special. I think my favorite thing about this author, though, is her ability to make a gravid situation appear lighter than it actually is and to add humor to every scene.

It’s nice to be involved in a world where everything isn’t as serious or angsty as other books in the genre are. It’s almost like taking a vacation.

I tugged at the hem of my brand-new Hectate Hall-issue blue plaid skirt (kilt? Some sort of bizarre skirt/kilt hybrid? A skilt?) and wondered why a school in the middle of the Deep South would have wool uniforms.

Sophie is a witch who is trying to live among the humans-forever trying to fit in and always doing the wrong thing-thus landing her in Hectate Hall, a school for the wayward witches, warlocks, shifters, and what-have-you that have done something wrong in society that has drawn attention to them personally. Hectate Hall is also, in a way, a safe haven. Because the main goal of all the witches and such is to stay under the radar-there are elite groups designed to hunt and take down these otherworldly folk, and using their magic publicly draws a big neon sign showing ‘they do exist!’ and that leads to massacre. Humans wouldn’t be able to handle the knowledge that they live among magical beings and that is also a stimulant for why they must never know about Sophie and those like her.

She shook her head, her pink stripe falling in front of one eye. “Just thinking. Man, Sophie, it’s only your first day and you’ve already befriended the school outcast, pissed off the most popular girls at Hectate, and developed a full-blown thing for the hottest guy. If you can manage to get detention tomorrow, you’ll be like, legendary.”

I liked all the characters and how they were represented in this book. Each character had a little cliche to them, but not in a tired way. We had the mean girls, the outcast, the teacher out to get everyone, the hot, mysterious bad boy, and the new girl. I think it goes without saying that I loved our bad boy and new girl the best (along with her vampire best friend who was AWESOME), but in a cast of supporting characters, these guys were all pretty fun to follow.

…But then Archer’s hand tightened on my waist, and Jenna slid completely from my mind.
I looked up to see him studying me intensely with an expression I’d never seen before. Well, one he’d never directed at me before.
“She was right,” he murmured.
“About what?” I said, and my voice didn’t even sound like mine. It was low and breathy.
“I did want to spend the ball with you.”

Archer is your typical bad boy, but there is something extremely sweet and intriguing about him. Sophie is labeled an outcast because of who her father is, and more than that, she is the new girl, but at no time does Archer treat her rudely or unlike anyone else at the school-some might say he showed affectionate feelings towards her when no one else would give her the time of day. But along with his snarky and personable jibes and conversations with Sophie, he also has a mysterious side to him. We don’t quite know everything there is to know about him and it shines through in certain instances leaving us wondering if there is more than we are seeing.

In fact, the more time we spent cataloguing in the cellar or blocking each other’s elbows in Defense, the more I began to suspect that my crush might be deepening into something else, something that I really didn’t want to put a name to. It wasn’t just that he was hot-although, believe me, that was definitely part of it-it was the way he ran his fingers through his hair. The way he looked at me like I was actually interesting to talk to. The way his eyes lit up when he laughed at my jokes. Hell, that he laughed at my jokes.

All in all a very fun and refreshing take on the paranormal side of things. This author is on my radar and I have now read two books by her that have been home runs in my eyes. I think I will always consider reading a book by Hawkins if ever I need a good laugh and fun story-there aren’t many authors I can go to for light, funny reads that don’t have a large cheese-factor lodged into the story (as I mentioned in my Rebel Belle review by same author). So now I will continue through the second book (already 50% in) and see where this series takes me-I can only hope that I get more and more of that not-so-bad boy I love so much-I just can’t get enough!

BOOK REVIEW – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

BOOK REVIEW – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel HawkinsDemonglass (Hex Hall #2)
by Rachel Hawkins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


He laughed softly. “I can’t see you, but I have a feeling you’re cute when you’re jealous, Mercer.”

Well, damn!
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I must say….one minute I was getting very, very bored, and the next, I was gasping and covering my mouth with one hand due to the dramatic occurrences unraveling before me. I think this is one of those situations where, while the second book was super good, it lacked a little of my favorite character….and let me correct you before you make unfair assumptions-I am not that girl who rates based on whether the male lead is wholly present or not (see above^^^^^my rating is clear), but if the story can’t stand on it’s own, that’s when I will squeal about the lack of that male presence.

I have to say that I abhor when certain reviewers rate lowly due to lack of the male lead-you know who you are-and don’t base the rating solely on the story’s merit or action. If you are one of these people, that’s okay! It’s your right, but I will not trust your reviews as they are…there is more to a story than *gasp* a hot dude. Now, even on my profile it says I will give any book with a ‘smidgen of romance’ a try-and maybe that makes me biased-but that’s my prerogative…take it or leave it.

For the first time in a long time, I let myself remember Archer, really remember him. His brown eyes and slow smile. His laugh, and how I felt when I was with him. How his voice sounded when he called me “Mercer.” The way he had kissed me.

I don’t know why I felt I needed to say that above. Maybe it’s to defend this particular book’s honor against some of the negative reviews it received, or maybe it’s because too many of my favorite books and/or series have been bashed and rated poorly because the male is not present. Well, it’s bullshit, and too many excellent and expertly written novels get bashed all because of the ‘second book formula’. It’s that damn routine where something epic happens at the end of book one (or, hey. NEAR the end) and then we see minimal guy time in the next. It almost always happens in trilogies, as far as I’ve seen, and it is a tad aggravating that it inevitably seems to occur frequently, but I also kind of like it in a weird, messed up way.

“It just seems like overkill when you already have a dagger and I have superpowerful magic at my disposal.”
“Superpowerful?” He stood up, a gold chain dangling from his fingers. “Let me remind you of two words, Mercer: Bad. Dog.

I was one of those (before GR, B.G., if you will) that read the sappy, inevitable HEA, cliche, cookie-cutter, and overdone romances that are so common these days. Maybe that’s why I cringe when someone asks me to read a NA with no paranormal or dystopian or even a little fantasy in it-I NEEEEED that peril, I NEEEEEED that action, I NEEEED some angst and kick-ass situations. I’ve read all the cookie-cutters, bring on the pain. Anyways, wow, this is turning into a impromptu bio, that is why I have grown tolerant, if not a little fond, of male absences or sticky situations where the hero/heroine are separated for a time because, well, I’ve found that absence, both in real life and even more so in books, makes the heart grow fonder.

…I turned away, but he reached out and caught my wrist.
I could feel my pulse hammering under his fingers. “Mercer, that day in the cellar…” He searched my face, and I could sense him struggling for what he wanted to say. Then finally, “I didn’t kiss you back because I had to. I kissed you because I wanted to.” His eyes dropped to my lips, and it was like the whole world had shrunk to just me and him and the shaft of light between us. “I still want to,” he said hoarsely.

So, I think it’s quite clear what I’m trying to say here-there were definitely some moments where Archer was severely missed and I was a tad bored by the story, but in no way did it hinder my love for this series and it only made the story that much better when he was in it. That’s what happens when the author chooses to separate the leads-it makes the story stronger when they are reunited.

…”Let me guess,” I hissed, nodding at the chain. “Something else you stole from Hex Hall.”
He pushed himself to his feet. “Guilty.”
“Where the heck was I while you were playing Grand Theft Cellar?”

I believe it goes without saying that I adore Archer and everything Archer-ly inclined, so I will just say that he is, if possible, sweeter, hotter, and even more endearing in book two-quite swoon-worthy I must say. And then there’s Jenna, her vampire best friend. I didn’t love her as much, but in the end, when it mattered most, she came through and was supportive of her best friend and that’s what mattered most. It warmed my heart and brought me back to her side…not that I was ever on the opposite.

He shook his head. “That’s not what I meant. I wish we weren’t like this. You know, demon, demon-hunter. I wish I’d met you in a normal high school, and taken you on normal dates, and like, carried your books or something.” Glancing over at me, he squinted and asked, “Is that a thing humans actually do?”

And finally-the elephant in the room that is a love triangle. I do believe this was a baby one, not even to really be considered, but I have to put it out there and shelve it thusly. We have a new contender, kind of, for Sophie’s heart, and while he is both sweet and kind and even a tad smexy, he is not Archer-no contest. I’m even going to go so far as to say that I bet you know who this not-so-mystery man is, but as it is, I won’t mention him further.

It sucks that we miss people like that. You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.

(I SWEAR that is SUCH a coincidence that this quote was one of the chosen ones lmao-I rarely use the word bam-must have been fate)

A great read, if a little dull at times, and then a BAM-tastic ending. I love when they are crazy and out of the blue-no one is safe, and no one sees it coming. Those are the absolute best endings and they offer so much more than the prophesied or predictable endings-those are good sometimes, too, but they just aren’t as…BAM. I don’t know how else to say it lol. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business…then BAM! Bus? lol (Friends shout out muahaha) So yeah. If you loved or even liked the first book, you’ll likely adore this one if you give it time to marinate and progress-I often find the best books have the most ‘killer’ endings, don’t ya think?

“Cross,” I started to say, but then his eyes slid past me and went wide with horror. At the same time, I became aware of a slithering noise behind me. That just could not be good; in my experience, nothing pleasant slithers.
Still, I was not prepared for the nightmares climbing out of the crater.

BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins

BOOK REVIEW – Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel HawkinsRebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1)
by Rachel Hawkins
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

Review:

This book was just what I needed! It seems like the last few books I’ve read are overly emotional or had me holding my breath because I was scared for what was going to come next. I was in need of an easy read that was going to make me giggle and smile and that’s exactly what Rebel Belle gave me! While I definitely didn’t feel everything the main character felt – such as being nervous during times of danger – it didn’t bother me. Usually that is a huge sign implying I’m not a fan of the book because I’m not connecting with the main character but that was not the case in this book. Rebel Belle was so entertaining, constantly had me smirking, Harper and David were great characters and I liked how the story progressed, so the fact that I didn’t connect with Harper didn’t bother me in the least!

All superheroes have origin stories, like how Bruce Wayne’s parents get killed and he goes to Tibet or whatever, and Superman is an alien, and Spider-Man had that radioactive spider. Me? I kissed a janitor in the school bathroom.

I adored Harper Jane Prince. Watching the events unfold through Harper’s eyes is a blast and amusing. She reminded me so much of Cher from Clueless and that made me like her that much more. Harper is a little obsessed with her image – making sure she looks super cute each day, getting great grades, dating the hottest guy in school and being the head of almost every organization known to man. Then when the bathroom scene from the above quote happens all of her plans for her life get thrown up in the air and she is left struggling with how to proceed from there. She gets stuck spending more and more time with David Stark and that in and of itself is hilarious!

David scowled at me over the rims of his ridiculous hipster glasses – the kind with the thick black rims. I hate those. I mean, it’s the twenty-first century. There are fashionable options for eyewear.

David Stark is the nerdy but kinda hot guy. His attire was entertaining to visualize and he is so sweet, innocent and a tad bit bratty that you don’t know if you want to pinch his cheeks or kick him upside the head. He is insanely smart and he’s constantly giving Harper a run for her money to become Valedictorian. Those aren’t the only strikes he has against him. He seems to know how to get under Harper’s skin and it doesn’t help that the two of them have been bickering since Kindergarten. They had this innate way to make me feel like a High Schooler all over again and that I was knee-deep in the middle of their drama.

I didn’t knee him in the groin, although I didn’t rule that move out. Instead I…ugh, this is so embarrassing. I head-butted him. I know, like a soccer hooligan or something.

The other characters in the book either created a meh, like or hate emotion from me. MB was one of those girls that you just love to hate. That girl drove me crazy and unfortunately we’ll probably be seeing more of her in the future books. Overall, I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. It was such a cute, sweet, easy read and I enjoyed being in Harper’s life.  While I originally thought I’d continue the series, not connecting with Harper has made me second guess that decision.  I think I’ll pass on finishing the remaining books on Rebel Belle but I hope you enjoy them if you continue on!

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