Monday, 31 October 2011
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn’t know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.
Cover: just average.
Before Reading: The Last Little Blue Envelope recently came out, and I decided to get the first book so I could see what this series was about. I honestly didn’t know that this book was about travel- I just ordered it from the library blind, because I just like that feeling of not knowing what a book is about until you open it.
I felt like Ginny’s voice came out a little… restrained? Sure, there were funny moments, some that made me laugh out loud, but the rest of the time, Ginny felt too, uh, sober. I guess it’s because I’m used to quirky first-person accounts full of smartass remarks and stuff, so it wasn’t exactly a PROBLEM- just something that took some getting used to.
I LOVED the concept of travelling across Europe. I’m a huge travel lover, even if I hate planes and haven’t actually been many places outside of Canada (aside from my native country and a place nearby I lived for a LONG time).
I would love to backpack (or maybe several-suitcase) across Europe, or heck, the world, but I don’t have a mad aunt like Ginny, and nor am I brave enough to go across the world alone. But reading about those experiences made me feel like I’ve been to these places along with Ginny, which is almost as good.
I liked Ginny, mostly because she reminded me of myself. It’s always awesome when you read about a character similar to you. And Keith… not really my type of guy- he was too vague about things- but I loved his personality and the humour he brought to the story.
I loved Richard, though, that big-hearted guy. I can’t imagine doing all that for someone, honestly. But I have mixed feelings about Ginny’s aunt Peg, because although she was the one who made Ginny realize she was special all on her own, I was mad at her for being so vague and running away time and time again, especially that thing with Richard at the end. Is creativity an excuse to do what you like without thinking about your close ones? But at the end, I forgave her. I mean, having that tumour must have been bad.
Parting Thoughts: all in all, 13 Little Blue Envelopes is different from anything I’ve read before, and I loved it. This is for all you travel freaks (me included!) who’d like to go places but are a) too young to go alone/with friends, and b) don’t actually have funds from a mad aunt.
Rating: 4/5. A good, solid read that left me itching to find out what really was in that last little blue envelope.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Every other book that comes out these days is a dystopian. But truth be told, we’re probably not going to live long enough to see whether or not the world really turns out the way an author imagines it.
I mean, I wouldn’t really want to wake up and find a vampire in my room. (Although I’m willing to accommodate a werewolf in my life, he-he.) And until I was like, thirteen, I never really stopped believing that I’d get a Hogwarts letter. But the point is, things in books never really come true. And considering the fact that some books present some scary stuff, that’s actually a good thing.
So imagine my surprise when a YA contemporary novel with a Syrian protagonist came true.
This book, In the Name of God by Paula Jolin, is, to put it plainly, disturbing. It’s sad and scary and makes you feel so darn lucky to be in North America or wherever you are that ISN’T Syria. Here’s a summary:
They talked about doing things, of course, these macho cousins and uncles of mine. But nothing happens. God did not reward the Muslims for waiting in patience while the Unbelievers picked them off one by one, did He? God helps she who helps herself, she who helps the Muslims. Someone has to take control, right? I’ve already decided that someone will be me.
Nadia is an excellent student, daughter, and sister, living in Damascus, Syria. Above all, she strives to walk the straight path and follow the laws of Islam. But she’s confused by the world around her and how she fits into it. She’s conflicted about her Westernized cousins, the internal struggles of her country, and the war raging in Iraq. When her cousin is arrested by Syrian authorities for speaking out—betrayed by someone in the family—Nadia finds herself drawn into the dark world of Islamic fundamentalism. And she’s about to face the biggest decision of her life.
Eep. Even that cover gives me the chills. Yeah, it’s about how a girl frustrated with the government falls in with radicals who’d do anything- like, say, blow themselves up- to show the world what’s going on in Syria.
I read this book about a year ago, and it still haunts me today. Paula Jolin showed us through a Syrian youth’s eyes that a revolution is on the way. She saw the Arab Spring coming way back in 2008. And, well, even though this book is hard to read because of the topics it covers, I can now understand the Arab Spring almost as well as any well-informed person. And come on, when you can understand politics, the world becomes so much clearer.
Paula Jolin predicted that Syria was about to undergo a huge upheaval- she even had a character that’s a political prisoner. And although it’s so much harder in Syria for the Arab Spring to really succeed, I hope for the best for them.
(I might add that although everyone in the Middle East/those well-versed in Middle East politics would go DUH I TOTALLY KNEW THAT WAS COMING, it’s much harder for people in the West to really see why the revolutions are happening today.) This book not only predicted the Syrian revolution, but it also gave us a rare window into a Syrian girl’s life.
Read the book, guys! It might be hard for you to find, but dude, this book stayed in my mind a year after reading it. And that’s a good thing.
What are your thoughts? Have YOU ever read a book with ideas that came true?
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
This Wednesday I’m waiting on Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, releasing on January 31st, 2012.
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
OOOOH interesting. Dude, I seriously hadn’t read the summary until now. I just liked Jodi Meadows’ blog. And the cover, which is kind of in your face, isn’t all that bad. It’s eye-catching for sure. And now, having read the summary, I really am looking forward to the book’s release.
What are YOU guys waiting on this Wednesday?
Friday, 21 October 2011
While the environmental implications are something I’m definitely aware of, I wanted to talk about this miraculous/scary thing to y’all, because I’ve just realized something very profound.
There are like, hundreds of countries in this world, and now seven billion people on this planet, and each one of us thinks. Each one of us
feels, loves, hates, laughs, cries. But until a few years ago, everything was, well, closed. You didn’t randomly meet people from like, Australia if you were in the US, did you?
Then came along blogs, and I honestly believe that they’re changing the world. Lives go public everyday. Struggles are no longer just your own. You never feel alone, so long as you read those blogs that put a smile on your face and make your morning/afternoon/whatever.
Until I started blogging, I seriously had no idea that there were other people who loved stories enough to talk about the characters like they were real people, who crushed on the hot dudes in books *ahem* and who loved stories so much they made up their own. In short, people like me.
So, well, I joined the book blogging world. And then I found the YA writing world. And along the way, I was inspired by people from all over the world, whether it be a book blogger in Singapore, funny teens in Pakistan, or someone whose writing I read with that how-the-eff-does-she-write-like-that expression on my face- someone who lives all the way in Calcutta.
I’ve been inspired by people on the other side of the world. And this is something that I’ve always taken for granted, until I realized ours is the first generation to think that this is how things are. And that means we’re incredibly lucky.
There are seven billion people in this world today. I’m one of them, you’re one of them, and I know that’s totally obvious, but look here: we’re all connected in a way we’ve never been before.
And I look forward to meeting you all through this amazing thing called the interwebs.
What’s YOUR story? How did you get started blogging? Why?
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
This Wednesday I’m looking forward to reading Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn, releasing in June 2012.
Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt. Her father’s client, the wealthy Yamada family, is the victim of a high-profile art robbery. Someone has stolen van Gogh sketches from the Yamadas’ Seattle mansion, and is holding them hostage until the Yamadas can produce the corresponding van Gogh painting. The problem is that nobody knows where this painting is hidden, and until they find it, all of their lives are in danger. Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals—before it’s too late.
I mean, ‘heist’ and ‘Tokyo’ in one title? How awesome is THAT going to be? Actually, I don’t know much about Japanese culture, but I do like to learn and see people from like, non-American peeps’ perspectives, so I’m looking forward to reading what looks like a Heist Society-type, fast-paced book.
The cover is… all right. I like the way the title is positioned, though.
What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?
Monday, 17 October 2011
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she’s a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.
Cover: I love this one. For some reason I like to think of myself as a desert girl (don’t ask) and so this one totally appeals to me. There are other covers, too, but I do so love this one. Simple and mysterious works wonders.
Before Reading: did I mention that I waited literally MONTHS to get this book? I was like the twentieth person who had this on hold at the library, and dang, people just don’t hurry, do they? Admittedly, this book is kind of big, but I finished it in two days, didn’t I? But the library came through like it always does for cash-strapped teenage bookworms, and here we are.
The writing was something like this: I cain’t do this to y’all, and I ain’t going to, neither. Like, you know, Patrick Ness’s writing. but surprisingly, I wasn’t all COPYCAT! Because this book is very, very different from Patrick Ness’s books.
There are no quotation marks. This was totally unsettling, because instead of the characters speaking, I felt like I was hearing an echo of them instead. But it worked for the story, and that’s what’s most important.
Then there was the pace. Dude, if anybody wants to learn about pacing, or heck, to read some good-paced work, Blood Red Road is it. Every. Single. Moment. Was used. I’m not even joking. This book was compact, and things kept happening, YAY, and wow, it was like watching an effing movie, I swear. Amazing.
The characters themselves were a complete delight. Saba was fierce and crazy and brave and the polar opposite of the OMG-I-need-my-hot-boyfriend-to-save-me type girls that occasionally crop up in YA books. She was totally blockheaded at times, though, and it pissed me off, but hey, people are like that in real life.
And Jack- I get that he’s awesome and all, but he’s just not my type. Long hair, crooked nose… meh.
But you know who is, well, swoon-worthy? And if you’ve read the book, you’re going to think I’m a bit crazy, but I was secretly in love with DeMalo, the Tonton general or whatever he was. Here’s a description from Blood Red Roadto prove why:
He’s a Tonton. Tall, like they all seem to be, and robed head to toe in black. But this one wears metal body armor over his robes where the rest wear leather. A shiny breastplate an armbands from his wrists to his elbows. Long dark hair tied back. A watchful face. A strong face, with broad cheekbones. You don’t call men beautiful, I know that. But all the same, that’s what he is.
So yeah, I’m crazy. Weirdly enough, I didn’t notice the long hair part. Heh. Well, it isn’t going to be a part of my mental picture. Just ignore that long-haired part, unless it’s your thing. And *swoooooon* like me.
Okay, so it’s just me who was bowled over by the mysterious DeMalo. Okay, fine. To each their own.
By the way, he isn’t one of the love interests in the book. I’m don’t know if there’s a possible love triangle, after what happened at the end (ZOMG it was crazy and made me fall for DeMalo even more). There had better not be a love triangle. EVERYONE knows that DeMalo is mine. Pfft. Besides, Saba seemed scared to death of him anyways, even after all that fawning at the beginning.
The point of this rambly, fangirly-for-DeMalo post is, you need to read Blood Red Road. It’s awesome. It’s unconventional, it’s fast-paced, and the dystopian world was amazingly developed. Well, I wish I knew the term for the futuristic world of this book (and others) because damn, everyone KNOWS this is no utopia so as a general rule, there cannot be a dystopia. Science-romance-thrill-action fiction? That’s what this book is.
By the way, Jack and Saba’s story is AWESOME. Carla from The Crooked Shelf uses this really cool term: slow burn. Yeah, Jack and Saba’s story was a slooooow burn. No insta-love. It was more this: like-hate-dislike-like-love. Thank G for a story that FINALLY progresses in a chronological manner.
Parting Thoughts: READ the book! That’s all I’mma say.
Rating: 4.5/5. Need I elaborate?
Friday, 14 October 2011
Okay. Here goes. (The list is in no particular order, by the way.)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys
This is a book about war, about bad times, about struggle. And I think that the cover embodies that nearly perfectly. I love the gentle color scheme of the cover, and those spiked barb-things add atmosphere to the story. And of course the single green little thing over there means that even in desolation, something small foreign can survive.
And I can tell you all this without ever having read the book.
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Okay, so I’m a victim of eye jealousy when it comes to this cover. I mean, LOOK at those eyes. I have grey-green eyes and I like them fine, but these ones… well, I suppose they aren’t exactly natural, but still. SO COOL.
The girl looks dead, but I love how the title is designed, with those awesome earbuds and all. It looks like the perfect teen cover.
Entwined by Heather Dixon
It wasn’t until I saw this cover full size that I saw the castle the girl was running to. Well, it’s a cool touch, and the whole dress-running-castle thing comes together to make a nice historical cover. Wait, is this a historical book?
Shine by Lauren Myracle
This cover gives me the chills, honestly. I love it that much. See, I love photography, and the whole image of the lone flower against that awesome backdrop creates atmosphere. But then again, for some reason the cover put me in mind of a fantasy book, while this is most definitely a contemporary book.
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
There are three reasons I love this cover: a) there’s a camera, b) there’s the coolest heart thingie I’ve seen in a long time, and c) there’s an Asian girl on the cover! Yay for diversity in covers, yay for cameras and that cool heart, and above all, yay for the play on the title. Shooting stars, in this book’s case, means that the protagonist shoots pictures of celebrities. I find that funny.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I love illustrated covers. They have this special spot in my heart, probably because so many of the middle grade books I’ve read and loved have illustrated covers. We YA peeps don’t get many of those anymore. Anyways, this one is creepy and cool and cute and crazy.
So of course I like it 😉
That’s it. Those are the covers of books I HAVEN’T read that make me want to read those books. And since that’s the point of a cover, I suppose these books have been successful in drawing myself in as a reader.
Do these covers make YOU want to pick up any of these books?
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
This Wednesday, I came across this cool-looking book, The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, releasing February 12, 2012.
BRIE’S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn’t love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.
But now that she’s D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there’s Patrick, Brie’s mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.
With Patrick’s help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she’s ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?
“Inventive, gorgeous, funny and yes . . . heartbreaking. You will absolutely love this book.” — Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and Delirium.
UH, DID YOU SEE THE BLURB BY LAUREN OLIVER? I happen to love Lauren Oliver’s beautiful writing, and if she thought this book was awesome…I’m guessing it will be. Call me biased, but whatevs =)
So, well, I thought for some reason that this was a contemporary, and it is, sort of, with a supernatural twist. But I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy it. And the title is AWESOME.
What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday? Drop a link- I’d love to visit!
Monday, 10 October 2011
Eden didn’t expect Az.
Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.
So long, happily-ever-after.
Not trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.
She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.
And that’s only the beginning of the end.
Before Reading: I thought the cover was pretty cool, and the summary above is one of the most engaging I’ve seen, so I was looking forward to reading this book.
Okay. So maybe urban fantasy is NOT my thing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find wings and bad angels and stuff particularly compelling. Except maybe the Shadowhunters and Philip Pullman’s version of angels. This book consisted of neither, but I still liked it, which both pleased and surprised me, honestly.
The writing was what made the story engaging. At first I was thrown by the amount of swearing- not shocked, because people talk like that at school all the time- I was just surprised at how natural these characters sounded, because dude, teenagers swear. A lot.
So the swearing wasn’t the issue for me. In fact, it made everything more realistic. It was just that there was so much I didn’t know about this type of fallen angel story, like what exactly the Siders were, or why people Upstairs (in heaven, of course) weren’t actually all-knowing. I had to read back a few times to fully understand what things like the Touch were.
Other than that, there was action, angst, and a type of teenager I don’t encounter at school often: goth. Oh, and the protagonist had pink highlights in her hair. Cool or what?
The MC, Eden, was kickass for sure, I suppose, but it was characters like Gabriel and Libby and Kristen and Luke that made the story more exciting. I guess it’s cool when the side characters are more interesting than the main ones, like Az (he wasn’t my cup of tea) but I did like Eden for her bravery and resolve.
Parting Thoughts: overall, I ended up liking the book, even though I’m more into dystopian and contemporary and some historical fiction than anything. I’m glad I gave the genre another try, because angel stories really are pretty cool, as long as they’re told in an engaging and fast-paced way like in A Touch Mortal.
Rating: 4/5. If you like urban fantasy, this is SO for you. Even if you are a staunch non-supporter of paranormal and urban fantasy like me, you have a good chance of liking it, because I liked this book.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Being an active blog reader, I’ve always been aware of just how unappealing ads can be to readers, since I hate those irrelevant pop-ups that make you regret visiting an otherwise perfectly suitable blog.
What advertising really needs is something new, something unique, something that really brings the message forth in a way that hasn’t been seen before, and above all, in a way that doesn’t interfere with content or distract from the information that the reader is trying to gain.
Infolinks provides just that.
Infolinks has launched a new self-serve Infolinks Marketplace, and it’s way ahead of the game- as of now it’s the only in-text advertiser.
What Does Infolinks Do?
Basically, Infolinks gives a double underline under a link – like this – and when the reader hovers their mouse over the word, a speech bubble containing an ad appears, providing further information on the underlined word.
Benefits to the Advertiser
What’s special about Infolinks is that the advertiser is almost assured of relevant clicks. The Infolink bubble appears only when a reader moves their curser over a keyword they’re interested in. And if they aren’t interested, they simply move on.
It’s an effective and efficient method of advertising that really gets the message across to the target audience.
A few more plusses include:
- User Friendly – create an in-text advertising campaign in minutes.
- Keyword Selection – you can select and own keywords of your choice.
- Keyword Bidding – Segment your geographic and vertical market budgeting
- Advanced Optimization – Customize your reach and maximize ROI
- Real-Time Reporting – Monitor and continuously improve your brand lift
The service costs $5 a day.
Benefits to the Blog Reader
Infolinks is never in your face. You choose to hover your mouse over the Infolink, and you choose to follow through by clicking the ad if you’re interested. If you’re looking for information, this is the way to go.
Benefits to the Blogger
The fact that Infolinks doesn’t slow down your blog at all is very appealing, and above all, Infolinks caters to the blogger something that they’ve always been looking for: a non-intrusive ad choice that makes the content all the more appealing and informative.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Uh, pretty much? I’ve always loved almost every single Graceling and Fire cover, because they SPEAK to me about the content of the book, you know? Like this one. The blues and purples are beautiful, the keys look badass (even the KEYS look badass! squee!) and dude, this makes me even MORE excited about Bitterblue’s release than I was since, well, reading Graceling. OHHEY look there’s even a face when you look at the cove more closely.
Kristin Cashore is one of the best YA writers we have, and I’m glad she gets awesome covers like these all the time. And MAN the book is releasing sooner than I expected: May 1, 2012. That’s SO long. But I love Kristin Cashore’s fantasy world almost as much as I love the Harry Potter world. And that’s high praise indeed.
Okay, I’m done pimping this book.
Friday, 7 October 2011
I have no problem with faces on book covers… so long as they’re illustrated. But when it’s people IRL on the cover… yeap, major problem there. It totally interferes with my own image of what the person(s) in the book would look like, and that’s usually not a good thing. Look at this one. I mean, the book might be almost as awesome as cheesecake, but with that cover… Forever Young Adult pointed out this trend in YA covers: put a celebrity lookalike on the cover, and you’re good to go. Is it just me, then, or does the girl on the cover look like Mariah Carey?
Now, I actually happen to like the cover for the Bad Girls Don’t Die books (tell me those covers didn’t scare the shiz out of you). I don’t mind a scare. But I do mind a creepy-as-heck face staring out of every cover. Like the one for Nevermore. I have no idea if anyone likes or dislikes this cover, but I wouldn’t want this on my bedside table at night.
I’m sorry, but I just happen to HATE these sorts of covers. It matters not what is inside, because I wouldn’t ever want to be seen around people like my mom and on a train with a cover like that. Call me 10, but that’s what I think. And there we go with the faces again. Ack!
Uh…is That a Barbie?
I loved the first Pretty Little Liars book, and I’m going to read the rest of the series as well as that other one Shepard has out, but some of the covers that Sara Shepard gets… man. I really hate those creepy doll faces beside the creepy girl faces. Don’t ask. Maybe you like them, but sorry, not for me.
Could Have Been So Much More
Come on. Look at the cover for Shatter Me and tell me you weren’t disappointed. If you just take out that girl who is obviously like 25 and put in something else without a CLEAR AS DAY face because obviously readers cannot imagine Juliette on their own, hmm, you could’ve have something.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
This Wednesday I’m waiting on The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell, book 2 of the Vespertine. It’s releasing April 7th, 2012.
It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going.
When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young “sooner” whose fertile land is coveted.
As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.
I haven’t actually read the first book in the series *looks abashed* and I generally don’t post about the second or third book in a series if I haven’t read the first. But a) I have The Vespertine sitting on my TBR pile right now, b) the cover for this book is GORGEOUS bright and clean, and c) I like historical fiction, so I have high hopes for this book.
What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Drop a link; I’d love to visit!
Monday, 3 October 2011
Summary (book jacket):
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, aka 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 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.
Cover: I like it. I love the way you can see two Sophies in different forms, and also because it’s totally relevant to the book.
I was instantly struck by how Harry Potter-like the whole idea of the book was- witches, warlocks, a magical boarding school, an elegant Dumbledore-like headmistress, and even a groundskeeper like Hagrid (only the one in Hex Hall is totally hot and a white warlock).
There. I’m done with my This-is-so-HP spiel. Let’s get on to the good stuff.
I actually really liked Hex Hall, even though I initially didn’t like how similar it was to the HP series. But really, anybody who writes a book about a boarding school for witches and wizards (in this case, warlocks) is bound to a) be influenced by Harry Potter, and b) therefore going to initially come off as an HP spoof. That’s just how it is, which is probably why there aren’t many HP-like books out there as far as I know.
While both these points were true for Hex Hall, thanks to my prejudice and the way things are, I did like the murder and almost-murder mysteries, and would you believe, an experienced storybook sleuth like me (thanks to Nancy Drew) got put in the wrong direction as to the identity of the killer not once, but twice. A book like that has got to be an amazing mystery, because I only figured out who the killer was in the third quarter of the book, shortly before it was revealed.
So yes, great plot with just the right amount of romance but enough pining to make me relate. So prepare to be skilfully misled while reading the book.
I liked the MC Sophie a lot more than I thought I would. While some of the jokes weren’t all that funny, there were some cutesy-funny parts with Archer, who, might I mention, is hot despite his curly black hair, which I thought I didn’t like until Archer came along. Archer. Nice name, right?
Mrs Casnoff was a surprisingly real character, given that she reminded me of Dumbledore minus his philosophical words. Jenna, the pink-loving vampire- she was pretty real and believable too. I would comment on her suspect status, but I’m sure that would equal a spoiler. *sighs*
Parting Thoughts: I liked Hex Hall way more than I thought I would. It was nice and refreshing for a fantasy based on witches and all, not just the regular vampires/werewolves/faeries thing going on right now. So, yes, definitely worth your time, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Demonglass.
Rating: 4/5. I came away smiling- and this is NOT a spoiler, it’s just that things were nicely tied up at the end with a cliffhanger that made me wish my library would hurry up and get me Demonglass already. So that’s good. Go read this one- I love Rachel Hawkins now!