Category Archives: 2014 Read

Review {36} HEX HALL by Rachel Hawkins

HEX HALL

SERIES: Hex Hall | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Hex Hall #1 Demonglass #2 Spell Bound #3

AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins

PUBLICATION INFORMATION: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Books

EDITION: Paperback, 323 pages

ACQUISITION: Own

CATEGORIES: Hex Hall Series, Young Adult, Review, 4 Stars, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Vampires, Witches, Faeries, Shapeshifters, Supernatural, Demons, Rachel Hawkins, 2014 Read

RATING: 4.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.99/5.00


WHAT THE COVER SAYS: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she is a witch. Her non-gifted mother has been supportive, consulting Sophie’s estranged father – a 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 exiles her to “Hex Hall”, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fairies, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day, Sophie has three new enemies, a futile crush on a warlock, a tag-along ghost, and a vampire roommate. Worse, Sophie soon learns that an unknown predator has been attacking students. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries converges, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: An ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this book more than I expected to! I first picked this book up from the library when it first released, and had trouble getting into it, and ultimately didn’t finish it. But then the reviews started pouring in, and some of my favorite fellow bloggers really enjoyed it and were saying great things about it. So, I bought it when it released in paperback. 

Sophie was a likable character because it was easy to sympathize with her when she starts learning all of the secrets that have been kept from her all of her life – important secrets that probably could’ve really been useful to know! When she attempts to help a girl at the prom get her dream date, the spell goes horribly wrong – landing Sophie at Hecate ‘Hex’ Hall as punishment. 

There weren’t many elements of the story that I didn’t like. I really enjoy that there are many different paranormal creatures – Prodigium – at Hex Hall, but I feel like there were too many to really get to know any one group more than just on a superficial level. I am really hoping that in the next two books we get to know more about the workings of the faeries, shifters and witches. We get a main story on how they were “Created” from angels/fallen angels, but I did want more background.

The pacing of the story moved quickly, and there was always some type of action or event occurring on each page. I liked the dynamics of all of the characters, each was different and individual and held their own. I really enjoyed Jenna’s character, and how she and Sophie work together as roommates-turned-friends. 

I didn’t like how secretive everyone was; however. It wasn’t just Sophie’s parents (including her Warlock father whom she’s never met) but Ms. Casnoff, the head of Hex Hall as well. Nobody wanted to tell Sophie who she truly is, her family lineage, or the dangers that face her now and in the future. I feel like keeping everything a secret was even more detrimental, than had everyone been open with her. I cannot imagine the feeling of finding out these secrets about yourself and your family from other students, especially when you’re already new and feel out of place.

The aspect of the book that I really liked, was the ghost of Sophie’s great-grandmother, Alice, who takes it upon herself to teach Sophie how to protect herself. But things aren’t always as they seem, and when things start to get a little weird, Sophie starts to piece everything together and we are left with a pretty crazy cliffhanger. I do like that Hawkins isn’t afraid to kill off characters and not give them happy endings, but I’m curious to see how the series proceeds now without a few key players.

SIMILAR READS: AWAKE AT DAWN (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter | THE GHOST AND THE GOTH (The Ghost and the Goth #1) by Stacey Kade | Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White | SHADE (Shade #1) by Jeri Smith-Ready | ONCE A WITCH (Once a Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough | FIRESPELL (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill

Happy Reading!
Laura

REVIEW {35} THE FIERY HEART by Richelle Mead

THE FIERY HEART
SERIES: Bloodlines | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Bloodlines #1, The Golden Lily #2, The Indigo Spell #3, Silver Shadows #5 (Release Date: 7/29/14)
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: November 19th, 2013
EDITION: Hardcover, 438 pages
ACQUISITION: Own
CATEGORIES: Bloodlines, Richelle Mead, The Fiery Heart, 5 Star Rating, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Witches, Review, Love Triangles, 2013 Release, 2014 Read
RATING: 5.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.47/5.00
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

MY THOUGHTS: *MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* Considering I have absolutely loved every book in this series so far, as well as the entire Vampire Academy series, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d absolutely adore this latest installment in the Bloodlines series as well.
Can I just take a minute to state the obvious, and tell you all what the best part of this book is? I can do it quickly in just three words. Ready? Sydney and Adrian. They are full steam ahead with their relationship – which we all know is totally not okay by Alchemists standards – but really, the heart wants what the heart wants and Sydney’s wants, needs, has to have, Adrian.
This book follows suit with it’s non-stop action and “Whoa did that just happen?” moments. We have all the regular players, plus a new dhampir named Neil, whom Jill and Angeline both are crushing on. But Neil’s heart lies in a recently-restored-from-Strigoi named Olive. And besides – Angeline can’t stop thinking about Trey (Yep, that Warriors of Light Trey), and Jill and Eddie are both interested in each other, but Eddie can’t get over his feelings of not being good enough for a Princess. Luckily, Jill takes the first step towards showing Eddie she doesn’t care if he’s “just” a dhampir. 
The main theme of the book, is Sydney’s continuing to help Marcus and the rebel ex-Alchemists, while juggling her job in Palm Springs in the midst of hiding her relationship with Adrian from her Little-Sister-Turned-Alchemist who is disgustingly loyal and obedient to their controlling Alchemist father. Sydney’s magic use and training goes even further, when she joins a coven and starts working on her own formulas to make the ink Marcus needs to break the Golden Lily tattoos that Alchemists are given to control them.
Everything is going great – Sydney’s able to hide her love for Adrian, keep Zoe under wraps, and make sure everything’s running smoothly. That is she thinks everything is going great. Unfortunately, it’s the person she loves nearly as much as Adrian who betrays her and causes her entire world to come crashing down.
I loved every minute we got to spend with Sydney and Adrian together. They are the textbook definition of opposites attract, and their dynamics work so well together. I usually do not like dual-narration in books, but I think Mead was able to wonderfully give Sydney and Adrian their own voices, and gave us the ability to see things from both of them – as well as what was going on with one when the other wasn’t there. They both have their fair share of struggles and inner demons carried over from the previous books, but one challenge we experience with Adrian, is his choice to start taking medication to help control Spirit, after he is left to suffer the consequences of a “Spirit Hangover”. He fights within himself to justify that the meds will help, and in true Adrian fashion, begins beating himself up when he needs Spirit and isn’t able to access it because of the pills. One of my favorite Adrian-isms is his “Escape Plans” for himself and Sydney.
We see more of how controlling the Alchemists are when we spend time with Zoe. Sydney sees so much of her former self in her younger sister, and hopes she can help Zoe see that the Alchemist way of life isn’t the best choice. Unfortunately, Zoe is under her father’s mind-control, and ultimately causes the destruction of Sydney’s life in Palm Springs, and that of everyone she loves and cares about. With the details of their parents divorce, we can see love isn’t something the Alchemists tend to really consider being important. 
The Fiery Heart leaves us at a gnarly cliffhanger, which is Mead’s M.O. We have Sydney in a “jail” cell being held captive by the Alchemists, who are ready to re-educate her; and Adrian and Jackie Terwilliger who are desperate to save her. I cannot wait to read Silver Shadows, number five in the series to see if Sydney and Adrian are able to find their way back to each other.
SIMILAR READS: Daylighters (The Morganville Vampires #15) by Rachel Caine | Revealed (House of Night #11) by P.C. Cast | The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2) by Julie Kagawa | Oblivion (Nevermore #3) by Kelly Creagh | Sentinel (Covenant #5) by Jennifer L Armentrout
Happy Reading!
Laura