Review: Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3)

Title: Spell Bound

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Hyperion

Date Read: February 13, 2013

Pages: 327

The girl scowled. “You are something,” she hissed, leaning in closer. “I can feel it. Whatever you are, it’s not human. So you can either tell me what kind of freak you are, or I can cut you open and find out myself.”

I stared at her. “You are one hard-core little kid.”

Her scowl deepened.

“I’m looking for the Brannicks,” I said in a rush. And I’m guessing you are one because…you know, red hair and the violence and everything, and–”

“What’s your name?” she demanded as the stinging in my neck became actual pain.

“Sophie Mercer,” I said through clenched teeth.

Her eyes widened, “No way,” she said, sounding for the first time like the middle schooler she probably was.

“Way,” I croaked.

Characters: 

The Brannicks- I know that me lumping all of the Brannicks together in my discussion of new characters probably looks lazy, but that is just the way it will have to be. I haven’t read this book in over a month, and my memory is not the sharpest, so I admit that this may not be my best review. But keep in mind, I have read probably ten books between this one and the one I am working on now. Anyway, here we go!

The Brannicks are not who we expected them to be when Mrs. Casnoff mentioned them in the first book during Sophie’s orientation at HH. These Brannicks are just as intense as we might have expected, there are just far fewer of them . All in all, there are…3? 4? Yeah, it seems pretty pathetic. Buuuuuuuuut, they deserve a thumbs up because people don’t know they are so few, and they still think they are bad-ass! Anyway, I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but there are some pretty crazy connections between… certain characters…yeah.

Oh, and the Brannicks also have this ultra-helpful and simultaneously annoying warlock friend trapped in a mirror that comes in handy. That’s pretty cool! I wonder who he thinks is the prettiest of them all?

Conflict: It seems that trilogies seem to follow the same format: first book is all about a containable problem, the second book moves on to a problem a little larger that involves a larger population, and the third one threatens to destroy life as we know it while simultaneously tying us back to the original problem in the first book. Now that you have read those words, you are probably thinking about all of the trilogies that no doubt have followed this same pattern.

Anyway, this book doesn’t break the mold. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good! I like the conflict in this one, because it is so large scale. I think large scale problems make people think more critical about the consequences of their actions, and that ultimately gives us a glance into the direction of their moral compass. In this book, old enemies must team up to rid the world of the demon raisers once and for all, and it all goes back to Hex Hall…. muahahahaha! Seriously though, you get a little slice of every pie in this one: Prodigium, L’Occhio di Dio, the Brannicks, Hex Hall…. oh, and the crazy love triangle that often occupies trilogies. But, you will like it…. I think.

Things I Liked: A little off topic of context, I liked that there are occasional quotes in the books. What I mean is that before some of the chapters, there are quotes. My memory might be a little off, but I think all/most of them are from Alice in Wonderland, which I also liked. I also liked that characters in this book had the opportunity to be valiant, and took it. By characters, I mean Cal. Always Cal.

Things I Didn’t Like: My friend Ashley and I were talking about this, and we think that the little trip into hell they took was completely bogus. Are you seriously telling me that one can simply walk right into Hell, and turn around and walk right back out? ONE CANNOT SIMPLY, RACHEL. Also, it didn’t seem extremely hellish there, you might not feel that way, but we certainly did. I mean, what they went through sucks, but it certainly wasn’t anything you couldn’t push through. To me, the hell in this book makes me feel like Rachel Hawkins thinks her characters are emotional and weak, or maybe just emotionally weak. I also think that this book could have continued into a fourth and certain parts could have been expanded on.

Overall: All in all, I still really liked it. I was all caught up in the HH fantasy, and I didn’t bat an eye when hell was not that hellacious, or when things started getting a little cookie cutter. Looking back, I can find more things wrong with it, and they are the things sticking out in my mind, but I also remember really liking this book when I read it, and not being able to put it down. (I read it in one day.) I guess you really need to be the judge.

Cover Art: Not the best, not the worst. Her previous covers were a little more indicative of what you could expect when you cracked the cover, but this one fell a little short.

Rating: 3.75 stars. This is a little bit of a cop-out on my part, but it is sort of an average between what I think now and what I thought immediately after finishing it.

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Cardial Vasectomy

Just kidding, there is no such thing as a cardial vasectomy. However, I recently watched one of my favorite movies- Stick It– and Joanne is just hilarious.

In other news, I have been neglecting you guys. (The select few that keeps tabs on my blog- I am suddenly reminded of that scene in Yes Man when Munchausen’s By Proxy takes the stage and thanks their followers, by name, for attending.) I know that I have had a pretty shoddy week when it comes to blog posting, but I have been working like a maniac these days. It’s amazing how many hours poor people will pick up, am I right? But, although I have not been blogging, I have been reading. A lot.

I built up a little bit of a stockpile of reviews to post, but Demonglass was the last in my arsenal. But, thanks to my favorite hobby, I have 7 more books to review for you guys. In the future, you guys will see reviews of:

1. Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall, #3)

2. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)

3. Indigo Spell by Rachelle Mead (Bloodlines, #3)

4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles, #1)

5. Wither by Lauren Destefano (Chemical Garden, #1)

6. Matched by Ally Condie (Matched, #1)

7. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

The reviews for Scarlet and Indigo Spell will probably be informal reactions, though, because I haven’t reviewed the previous books in the series on my blog. But, I still want to talk about them!

This leads me to my next point: I think I need to reevaluate my Goodreads reading goal for this year. Last year, I aimed for 50 books and fell short by 2. This year, I have also set my goal for 50 books, but I am already 11 books ahead of schedule… and it’s only February. Last year’s swing and a miss can be attributed to George R. R. Martin and his epic saga, but this year I am just flying through books. I LOVE IT.

How seriously do you guys take your Goodreads reading goals? Do they push you to read more? Is that pressure helpful, or does it just make you speed read?

So many questions.

Also, I wanted to tell you guys that I was nominated for the Liebster Award! Kristianne over at msnoseinabook nominated me! I am going to have to go through and answer a bunch of questions and nominate others, though. Although I’m tickled that she thought to nominate me, I just don’t know if I have the time for that. 😦 Ain’t nobody got time fo that. We will see how my so-called life progresses this coming week.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and if you want to comment with your heartfelt answers to my Goodreads questions, have at it!

I will leave you with this gem I found on Pinterest the other day:

Review: Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2)

Title: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Hyperion
Date Read: January 29, 2013

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (a.k.a witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered she’s actually a demon, and her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping her kind off the face of the earth. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will either destroy her powers for good– or kill her.

But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery: someone is raising new demons in secret and planning to use their powers to destroy the world. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Characters: I am only discussing new major characters here.

Cal- Ahhhh, Cal. I was positively giddy in the first couple chapters reading about Cal. He is introduced as a love interest in the first chapter or so. He is a white witch with a knack for healing. I love it because since Sophie is a demon, and Cal is a super-powered white witch, it has this awesome dark vs. light, good vs. evil thing going for it! Love love love. He is strong and silent and good. The way Rachel Hawkins writes it, he just seems to exude the stuff and even though he only exists in paper and ink, the reader is drawn to him. At least I was….

Lara- Lara is Mrs. Casnoff’s sister, and also Sophie’s Dad’s assistant. She seems to be pretty awesome at her job, but she seems super duper fake as only corporate type people can. You learn about her eventually, but for most of the novel she is just this freakily efficient secretary type lady.

Daisy-
This whole Daisy and Nick thing is one giant can of worms. I will get to Nick in a second, but Daisy is anything but a dainty as her name implies. She is a demon (say, what?!) and she represents a lot of pain and a big threat. She seems demure when there are important people in the room, but get her alone and she is a robust person with a soft spot for bad boys… and that’s where Nick comes in.

Nick- Holy smokes, this guy is scary. He is all intense eyes and unpredictable behavior and he scares the crap out of Sophie, and therefore the reader. He is a volatile bad boy, and it takes awhile to warm up to him, and likewise it takes him awhile to warm up to Sophie. However, he seems almost tender with Daisy…and that’s good, right?

Conflict: The Eye. It’s all about The Eye, and therefore Archer. Well, I lied, it isn’t completely about the eye. It’s also about the crazysauce person out there raising demons. That’s right, someone is out there doing it on purpose, and with the power that demons have, that is bad thing. Unfortunately for Sophie, there are also some problems of the heart. This book will have you groaning when Sophie makes a choice you may not have made, and then you’ll be wondering if she really did make the right choice… and then questioning that. UGH is right.

Things I Liked: Um, the whole book? Seriously, this is one of my favorite new series, and I practically flew through it. It kept me on my toes, sated my mushy romantic side, and gave me a good dose of action. Well done, Rachel Hawkins, well done.

Things I Didn’t Like: I didn’t like the sadness I felt when the book ended. There are a lot of things that happen at the end that make you say “Oh…oh, that’s sad. That’s not good.” But that part sucked in a good way I suppose.

Overall: I loved it. I loved it a lot. I am recommending it to anyone that will listen. I can’t wait to read Spellbound!

Rating: 5 stars

Cover Art: I really like the cover art for this series, but it makes me open my book upside down a lot. I love the little hints it gives! However, don’t get too excited about the wedding dress on the cover, it isn’t what you think!

My First Bad Review

So, if you guys have gotten a chance to look at my last post, you will see that it is a bad review for a book. I have to admit, I felt a little bit like a jerk writing it… like bloggers’ guilt or something. I feel like I was justified in giving it the review that I gave it (you can read it and be the judge), but I don’t know if you guys will see it that way. I suppose I feel especially bad about it because of the awesome reviews I have been giving some of the other books I have read recently. But, I think that is part of what made me give it such a bad review- the other books that I have been reading are so much better than that one. I wonder if I would have given it a better review if I had read it before the Hex Hall books or the Heroes of Olympus books. I may have put Need under a little less scrutiny. Who knows!?

Do any of my fellow book bloggers out there feel guilty after a bad review? Do you write more good reviews or bad reviews? Have you ever experienced this bloggers’ guilt?

Review: Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

Title: Hex Hall

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Hyperion

Date Read: January 24, 2013

“On her 12th birthday, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. Three bumpy years later, after a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she’s exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day, 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 on campus. Then when a mysterious predator begins attacking students, and Sophie’s only friend is the number-one suspect, a horrifying plot begins to surface. Soon, Sophie is preparing for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.”

Characters:

Sophie: I like Sophie. She is a very strong girl with a very strong will, and I really like that about her. Too often you read YA books where the main character has low self-esteem and battles throughout the novel. In Hex Hall, you get quite the opposite, and I really liked that. She is an outsider in this outsider world, and that would be enough to cripple some of the main characters in other books I have read, but Sophie keeps on going when things really are falling apart around her. Her only source of insecurity seems to be her magic. Otherwise, she doesn’t let other people get to her no matter what happens, and that is admirable- especially for a 15 year old. She has one hell of a journey ahead of her in this series!

Jenna: Jenna is Sophie’s roommate at Hex Hall, and she is even more of an outsider than Sophie. She is the only one of her kind at the school, and her classmates are not very nice to her (to say the least). However, she is a sensitive friend that really looks out for Sophie and you have to lover her for thinking of Sophie when her own life seems to such so much. Everyone deserves a friend like Jenna.

Elodie: We hate Elodie. When you read the novel, you will know why. She sucks! Well, I might be being a little too harsh here, but she does not make life very pleasant. She is your typical villain, but with the number of YA novels out there similar to this one, authors have a hard time breaking out of the mold. Every story needs a villain! She is beautiful and powerful, and those things make her high in the rankings, but a mean girl nonetheless.

Archer: Ahhhhh, Archer. He is pretty awesome, but he has some…baggage. I don’t want to give away the story here, so I really can’t go into too much detail. However, Archer is mysterious and fascinating and a little stupid all rolled into one, so you really can’t help but love him.

Conflict: An organization called L’Occhio Di Dio (The Eye of God) is out to rid the world of all Prodigium. They are famous for their heartless murdering of magical people, and it is their mission to keep doing just that.  People are dying at Hex Hall, and there is no proof that it is L’Occhio, and there are other possibilities flying around the school. One particular type of magical species is getting the brunt of the blame, and Elodie and her band of dark witches are really making it difficult for anyone to sleep soundly at night. I guess you will understand what I mean when you read the book. Anyway, it is a roller coaster ride at Hex Hall.

Things I Liked: I loved the magic part. I don’t really care that it is getting overdone, but I really like the idea of witches and whatnot. I loved Harry Potter growing up, and I still have that soft spot for magical stories. I really liked that this story didn’t focus on just witches, or just faeries, etc. I love when the author actually puts the other species in there, I think that it makes the author work harder and be a little more creative. It’s nice. I also loved the characters in this book! I love the mystery that comes with some of the characters. Another thing I liked was that this school didn’t seem any different than a normal high school (aside from the species of the students and the strangeness of the school)- the students fought like they should have and there were enemies like there should have been. No high school is clique-free.

Things I Didn’t Like: I know I said this for The Son of Neptune, but I didn’t really find a whole lot that I didn’t like about this book. I flew through this book in a day. That’s right, one day. I really liked it. The characters seemed well developed, and any holes I might have seen were holes for a reason. What I mean by that is that the holes were either explained, unnecessary, or were there to be explained in the next book. I just finished Demonglass, and of course there are holes in that one, too. The holes make a sequel possible, and we can’t forget that. They are what make us curious enough to read the next book! And believe me, you will really want to read the next book.

Overall: I loved it, I really did! As I said before, the characters are all well developed, the story is interesting and keeps the reader entertained. Hawkins really makes it easy to emotionally invest in the characters- and that is very important. Most authors are successful in making you emotionally invest in the main character, but Hawkins branches out and makes you care about more than just the main character. I highly recommend the next book! It has been a few days since I read this, and I lost the piece of paper that I wrote my notes on, so I apologize for not fleshing this out enough… I will do better next time!

Rating: 5 stars

 

So, How’d It Go?

As you guys can tell, I posted my first book review yesterday. I am eager to hear what you guys thought of it! Did you like the format? My husband helped me figure out which bases need to be covered when I do a review, and I think we did a pretty good job. Was there anything else that you guys thought I should add, or did anything seem extraneous to you? If you guys think I should change something, let me know and I will definitely take it under advisement! These reviews are as much for you as they are for me, and I want to fill you guys in on the aspects you think are important. I will also be posting a review for Behemoth (the next book in the Leviathan series) either today or tomorrow. 

In other news, I got some books in the mail today! I’m currently around halfway through Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, but I’m still deliberating which book to read next. My choices are:

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Need by Carrie Jones

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

What are you guys reading? Are there any new authors that have caught your eye?