Review: Rebel Belle By Rachel Hawkins

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So, I’ve basically been dying to read this book since I saw it as a preview on Amazon a few months back–I mean look at the cover, who wouldn’t want so read something so pink, beautiful, and knife like. Needless to say, I was really excited about the book.

Rebel Belle follows Alabama Belle, Harper Price as she finds herself wrapped up in an ancient battle and subsequently becomes responsible for protecting her arch-nemesis David Stark.

What I liked: The whole Southern aspect. Hawkins really creates a richness to the setting and even her characters personality by the way she plays up the Southerness of everything. I have a weird obsession with the South that has culminated in a love of sweet tea and Southern drawls.  I also really liked the dynamic between Harper and David. They have a sweet innocence about them that was really endearing.

What I didn’t like: Honesty, I found the plot a lil’ on the confusing side.  It’s never really fully and truly explained why David is super important. I also kind of disliked the ending. The build-up was amazing, but the ending was slightly lack-luster.

Overall, I would recommend picking this up. It was a great read and really fun. I give it a 7/10

Review: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

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 Okay, so let me start this by saying that I’ve had this book on my shelf for months and months. I’m a little ashamed of that fact, but I was on a Supernatural (the show) bender and it was reflecting in my reading habits. One Saturday, when I was in the mood for something different I decided I’d finally pick it up–after all I had bought two copies on a splurge so I should probably read one. I originally picked this up, because the synopsis reminded me a lot of Kimberly Derting’s “The Body Finder,” series, which is one of my all-time favorites, so with that in mind I started.

The book follows the character Nearly or Leigh as she mostly goes by as she tries to discover who is murdering students from her school and setting her up to take the fall for it. Throw in a semi-weird power and a hot bad boy and you’ve got a YA suspense novel. The story takes place right outside of D.C.–I’m guessing in Northern, VA– and Cosimano really uses her setting well. I think it’s important for an author to ground their stories in a setting, it makes the world they create seem so much more lifelike when I can picture an actual place.

So here’s what I loved. I loved that Nearly was smart. Like genius level intelligent. You don’t see enough stories about girls who are crazy smart; this made Nearly different. Sure she was still the shy girl with kind of a messed up past, but she was constantly striving to use her brain–it was cool. What I ultimately loved and what really kept me engaged was the fact that I had no freaking clue what was going on with the murder-mystery. This was a true, blue mystery. Then ending was a complete shocker to me. Which brings me to the next thing, the ending. It’s realistic. Sure, Nearly gets some things that she wants, but overall she kind of lucks out. There’s even a fantastic moment of self-awareness when she recognizes that despite saving the day she doesn’t get a pot of gold.

What I didn’t like. So there wasn’t really anything I disliked greatly. I will say that I wish Cosimano had stuck with the original murder plot. There were a few sub-plots based around other characters that made things a bit muddled for my taste. They served a purpose, but I don’t feel like they warranted as much focus as they received.

What made me go hmmm. Nearly’s “ability.” You find out pretty early on that Nearly can feel people’s emotions when she touches them. Naturally, this makes her avoid people like the plague. I get that. The ability itself kind of felt like a throw away. It didn’t really help her solve the case and wasn’t even brought up too often. I felt like an extra that I didn’t really understand. In fact, if her ability would have been her ability to actually grasp the concepts of Chemistry I would have high-fived someone, but the whole touching thing felt empty. I have read that Cosimano is in the midst of a sequel so maybe this will get explained/more play there.

Overall, I really loved the book. I also loved finding out that Cosimano graduated from my alma mater St. Mary’s College of Maryland. That was SUPER exciting. I give this a very solid 7/10. It’s a great read and I’m excited to see what is next.

Because I love finding new books and I really, truly enjoyed this I am running a giveaway where one lucky winner can win a signed-copy of “Nearly Gone.” It’s a great one to add to the collection!!  Follow the link below to find out how to win your copy! Unfortunately, this is only open to those in the US. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: Hits of the Summer

So for this Top Ten post, I wanted to add a list of the Top Ten Books I am dying to read this Summer. I’ve finally found myself with some time, and I’m excited to power through a whole bunch of awesome reads that have been backing up into my que. 

 

 

1. Rebel Belle, Rachel Hawkins. 

I have a really weird obsession with the South and I love a good girl kicks  butt story. I’ve read Hawkins’ other series and absolutely love her style. I can’t wait to get to this, the cover alone is beautiful enough to make me pick it up. 

 

2. Cinders and Sapphires, Leila Rasheed

The fact that this looks like a Downtown Abbey story only with teenagers and in print makes me want to devour it. 

 

3. If I Should Stay, Gale Foreman

Yea, yea, yea. I need to read this before the movie comes out. 

 

4. A Mad Wicked Folly, Sharon Biggs Waller

Debutantes, coming-outs, dresses–yes. 

 

5. Sleep No More, Aprilynne Pike

This was recommended by a friend of mine and she loved it. I trust her enough to explore this. 

 

6. The Taking, Kimberly Derting

Love Kimberly Derting! I can’t WAIT to get my hands on this book. 

 

7. The Falconer, Elizabeth May

Edinburgh is one of my favorite places in the world and I love history. Enough said. 

 

8. The Winners Curse, Marie Rutkoski

I’ve heard great things about this all over the blogsphere, though I have to admit I’m a little hesitant to pick it up. The summary doesn’t do much for it, but I’ve read books I didn’t think I’d love and become obsessed with them. 

 

9. See Me, Wendy Higgins

I love Wendy Higgins and I’m excited to see what her self-published story is like, especially since it’s set in Ireland. 

 

10. The Entire Game of Thrones Series

(apparently this is a thing I need to do)

 

Let me know what books you are excited to read this Summer. 

 

Review Remix: White Hot Kiss, By Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

So remember that time, I wrote this review and totally didn’t post it correctly?! I’m calling this my Review Remix.

Holy crap!! I really needed something after coming off of “City of Heavenly Fire.” It gave me the post-reading blues. I wanted it to be something and I left feeling unsatisfied. Enter, “White Hot Kiss,” by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I love her. I read The Lux series before I knew she was kind of a big deal, and then I won her “Wait for You” series when I attended Wendy Higgins “Sweet Reckoning” release back in April. Basically I’ve become a fan-girl. That all being said, I was like gargoyles fighting demons WTF?? But JLA made me love aliens, so I was like, what the heck.

Wow, I finished this in two days, and that’s because I have this thing called a job that steals me away for 8hrs. Let me start by saying, don’t judge a book by the synopsis on the back, because admittedly I did find this one a tad silly. The story follows, 17 year old Layla who is Half-Warden and Half-Demon. Layla is your average 17 year old girl, except she has the ability to see human souls and the desire to consume them via her kiss–makes dating a little difficult. Enter two hot boys, ones a demon named Roth, the other a Warden named Zayne, and you have my favorite thing in the world–a love triangle of the supernatural variety.

What I liked: D.C. The story is set in the city and I love how JLA used it so beautifully. I live in the city and I loved that it finally got to play a role in a book–at least one that I read. It really is a magically diverse place, and I like the idea that Constitution Ave. is home to some ancient biblical type stuff. Speaking of biblical, I love the lore. Any book that has a good back story rooted in myth, legend, or the bible is my kind of jam. She even made a few tasteful Supernatural nods–you go girl, loved it. And obviously, I love the writing. JLA is so sassy and I love it!

What I Mehed on: I didn’t outright dislike anything, a rarity for me. But I didn’t LOVE Layla. There was a whole addiction subtext that I really respected, but she whined a little too much for my overall taste. It made sense, but I still kind of wanted to smack her. The boys, okay the demon boy, really carried the character side of this for me. With that all being noted, Layla towards the end started growing a bit more backbone. She started to become someone I could get behind and I’m really excited to see her next move.

Sadly, I thought the sequel was already out and planned to start ASAP, alas I will have to wait till the Fall. If only I had a time machine. Oh well. In the meantime, you should all get your butts in gear and pick this up. I feel like it need a deeper following and given that I’m a little obsessed I want to help make that happen. I look forward to seeing what everyone else thinks. 8.5/10