Worth It Wednesdays: “Hex Hall” by Rachel Hawkins

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

Hex HallTitle: Hex Hall

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Goodreads Description: 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, a.k.a. 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 tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student 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.

Why it’s worth it: I know, it sounds kind of like Harry Potter, right? That’s what I thought. And, you know, that’s kind of correct. I honestly almost didn’t pick up this series because I thought, “Yikes, this sounds like something I’ve read before.” But you know what?

THIS SERIES IS SO MUCH FUN.

I often call this series “mind candy,” because that’s how I think about it. The plot isn’t overly complicated and the characters aren’t necessarily deeply nuanced, but I love it all the same. The dialogue is spot on, the action is packed and you can read through them like butter. Every time I re-read one of these books, I laugh out loud–and I don’t do that often!

I was so enthralled by Sophie and her narration that I almost couldn’t bring myself to read Hawkins’ next series, Rebel Belle. But, it turns out, this is just how she writes. I’ve been won over by her sense of humor and fast paced, easy reading–and I think you will too!

Read it if you’re looking for: Strong female friendships, swoon-worthy romance, fast paced action, books like Harry Potter, sassy main characters, magic, fantasy, witches, demons, humor and feel good moments

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

So I haven’t done one of these in a LONG time, but since the theme worked so well into the direction I’m turning the blog in (i.e., promoting what I love, leaving the critical reviewing behind), I just had to do it. So, here we go (in no particular order)!

  1. Battle MagicTamora Pierce

This woman was the hero of my childhood. She was the hero of my tweens. She is the hero of my twenties. I got to learn from her for two summers in a row in high school–and THEN she came to my college freshman year–and the starry eyed wonder of her has never left me. Not to mention the fact that she has written more books than I actually know how to count and I have read them ALL.

2. Clive CusslerCrescent Dawn

There are about 20+ books in his Dirk Pitt series, PLUS however many are in the Kurt Austin adventures. He’s got a few other series now, but I’m a traditionalist and I’ve only ever read through these two favorites of mine.

3. All American GirlMeg Cabot

Didn’t every girl go through this phase? I’m not just talking Princess Diaries here, either. I read her stand-alones, her All-American Girl series … everything. If Meg Cabot write it, I had to have it.

4. Philippa GregoryChangeling

I will forever be cranky about the historical leaps that she took in The Other Boleyn Girl especially, but that doesn’t stop me from lapping up every single book she writes on Tudor England. I think the only books by her that I haven’t read was that one non-Royal series she did and–strangely–her YA series. The first book of which I have lying around here … somewhere.

bloodlines5. Richelle Mead

Richelle is another one of those authors that has written more books than I know how to count, but I haven’t actually read them ALL. I’m deeply obsessed with her 12 Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books but I have also read part of her Gameboard of the Gods series. I don’t know what I’ll do without more VA goodness, but she’s got me hooked enough on her to keep going with whatever she writes.

6. Cassandra Clareprincess

Did you guys miss the time that I drove 5 hours one way mostly to see Cassie? Because I did that. I have not only read everything she’s ever written, but also own it. (Except for that middle grade series she’s doing. I’m scared of middle grade.) She’s one of my favorite authors of all time right now, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

A Countess Below Stairs7. Eva Ibbotson

Did anyone else read these books as a kid? I couldn’t stop. Sometime during my childhood, the publisher did a re-release of a bunch of her stuff and I bought all of it. It’s just so much … fun. Romantic, magical fun.

8. Simone ElkelesChain Reaction

I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone and I was just hooked. I went back and read all the stuff I’d missed beforehand, and then the two books that followed Perfect Chemistry. I even started her new series before my love of contemporary YA romance phased out. I still love these books to death, though.

Hex Hall9. Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall was absolute perfection. When her Rebel Belle series started, I wasn’t so sure I could do it. But no. I’m in love with Rachel forever and always.

10. Kiersten WhiteThe Chaos of Stars

Sometimes I forget just how MUCH STUFF Kiersten has done. Her Paranormalcy series was beautiful, of course, but then there was her Egyptian God based book Chaos of Stars–which I just reread–and her Mind Games series. All of which I own, of course!

Waiting on Wednesday #35

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

School SpiritsTitle: School Spirits

Author: Rachel Hawkins

ETA: May 14th 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy’s mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who’s always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Rachel Hawkins’ delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!

What are you waiting on?

Top Ten Favorite Authors in YA Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay guys, this is going to be a fun one. There are SO many great authors in this genre it is going to SUCK to pick just one. But I’m going to try. So here we go!

1. Tamora Pierce

She’s my idol and an all around amazing person. (I met her! Did you not see?) I have also only ever disliked one book she’s written in like a gazillion. (And sadly that’s the only review of her stuff on the blog.) I have read and own everything she’s written anyways.

2. Cassandra Clare

Another idol of mine. Another person whom I have met (Did you miss that too?). I also own everything she has ever written. It is even more impressive that she managed to win me back over into the Mortal Instruments series after City of Fallen Angels and the whole three more books thing. City of Glass still had the perfect ending, but City of Lost Souls was actually really good! (See here.)

3. Rachel Hawkins

I cannot get over how much I love these books. It’s actually the only series I’ve read where my favorite book is the middle one. (Not that I didn’t like Spell Bound. Review here.) These books are SO quotable and fantastic and they make me laugh EVERY TIME. EVERY TIME. Most books get stale fast with me, but not these! Also, she’s a fantastic person to follow on Twitter.

4. Richelle Mead

While not solely a YA author, her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines series are all the ones I’ve read and OHMYGOD I LOVE. After VA I thought I’d never love another character of hers like I loved Dimitri, but Adrian is just so … ohmygod. I prefer Rose over Sydney only because Rose is snarkier, but Adrian totally picks up the slack. (I have reviews of Bloodlines and The Golden Lily.)

5. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another writer whose work just never gets old. Ellie is as snarky as I like them, and Will is just hello-honey. Romance that I can stand in YA is few and far between, and this would be one of those select few. Courtney is also an AWESOME person to follow on Twitter, and I actually got to update a few things I said on my review of Wings of the Wicked because we discussed it. I had a moment right there.

6. Jodi Meadows

She may only have one book out so far, but she’s cemented her spot on my list like whoa. (There is too much CAPS in my review of Incarnate, for one.) I freaking themed my prom dress around that cover (albeit accidentally to begin with). I may have mentioned that Twitter is an awesome place. Well, Jodi happens to be another awesome person in the twittersphere who I’ve had awesome conversations with. Asunder can’t come out soon enough.

7. Julie Kagawa

Several people may kill me when they realize I have only ever read her book The Immortal Rules. It was actually one of the first books I was approved to review from NetGalley! I have her first Iron Fey book in my possession, though, and I plan to read it as soon as humanly possible. Either way, though, I can’t handle the way she writes. It’s beautiful. Therefore, spot on this list without further proof necessary.

8. Sarah J. Maas

While we’re on the subject of gorgeous writing, let’s skip on over here, shall we? Again, Sarah has only released (in full novel form anyways) Throne of Glass, but it completely blew me out of the water on so many levels. I appreciate good writing, and Sarah HAS IT.

9. Rae Carson

My review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns still makes me laugh. I mean really. It was one of my earlier reviews and its second in hystericalness only to my review of Anna and the French Kiss.  But I just LOVED IT. I have the next book in my possession RIGHT NOW but I’m so behind on reviews I haven’t been able to read it yet. I’m dying inside just staring at the pretty cover.

10. Jay Kristoff

My review of Stormdancer was a long and complicated thing, but that still doesn’t change how I feel about the way he writes. For me, a favorite author can have issues as long as the writing is solid and HOLY BANANAS. Jay can write me into deep jealousy.

Top Ten Bookish People I Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Once upon a time, I would have thought this subject would be really easy. But then I met Tamora Pierce, Cathrynne Valente, Kij Johnson and John Joseph Adams. And then I met Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare. Oh no, wait. This is still a really easy list because there are SO MANY AMAZING AUTHORS OUT THERE.

1. Rachel Hawkins

Do you guys follow her on Twitter at @LadyHawkins? Because if you don’t and you have a Twitter, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. There are few Twitter accounts that I actually search for updates on, and this is one of them.

2. Jodi Meadows

I’ve had far more Twitter conversations with this woman then I’d ever dreamed possible (YAY TWITTER), and now I would LOVE to meet her in person. She is clearly super awesome.

3. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another author I’ve been able to talk to on Twitter and have decided is supremely awesome. Also, writes kickass heriones. These two things combined makes for a very happy Gretchen (who talks about herself in the third person…?).

4. Richelle Mead

Her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines books make me SWOON AND DIE. I love those books with a fiery, fiery passion and I would ADORE a chance to squeal about Adrian and Dimitri with her for just five seconds.

5. Sarah J. Maas

Though I’ve never spoken to her on Twitter, I stalk her mercilessly. (Really, Twitter is just a stalking tool.) She seems really awesome, and also writes AWESOME AMAZING BOOKS. Clearly she’s a winner.

6. Nina Berry

Not only did she write an AMAZING book called Otherkin, but we’ve also chatted on Twitter several times. More than that, she’s been a huge friend in retweeting several of my messages about my blog, which I’ve never been able to thank her properly for. I’d love to be able to do that in person.

7. Julie Kagawa

It’s Julie Kagawa. I fail to see why I must explain this to you.

8. Stephanie Perkins

Have you ever looked at her author picture? Followed her Twitter? Then you’ll understand how Stephanie seems like the kind of person I refuse to live without seeing at least once.

9. Katie McGarry

I want just five seconds to blubber about how much Pushing the Limits pushed my emotions. And I mean literally blubber, because OHMYGOD THAT BOOK.

10. Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me was a SUPER FANTASTIC BOOK, and I would die for a chance to pick Kat’s brain about what it was like to write multiple people in the same bodies because OHMYGOD was that amazingly done.

Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish

Does anyone else here have an addiction to Goodreads quotes? Because I do. This is going to be the HARDEST thing, only picking 10. Well, let’s diver right in, shall we?

1. “You didn’t kill him. He would have killed you, but you didn’t kill him.” / “So? He was stupid. If I killed everyone who was stupid, I wouldn’t have time to sleep.” – Tamora Pierce, In the Hand of the Goddess

2. “Someday I must read this scholar Everyone. He seems to have written so much–all of it wrong.” – Tamora Pierce, Emperor Mage

3. “…at the time, King Herbert felt that to remain safe, the kingdom needed an effective intelligence force.” / “An intelligent force?” said Will. / “Not intelligent. Intelligence. Although it does help if your intelligence force was also intelligent.” ― John Flanagan, The Ruins of Gorlan

4. “Girl Scouts didn’t teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys.” – Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

5. “Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?” / Jace said, “unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.” / “At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.” / “Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.” – Cassandra Clare City of Bones

6. “Patience, grasshopper,” said Maia. “Good things come to those who wait.” / “I always thought that was ‘Good things come to those who do the wave,” said Simon. “No wonder I’ve been so confused all my life.” – Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

7. “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.” – Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass

8. “Names are just words. I know that. But learning that the last name I’d used all my life was fake… “So what should I call myself, then?” I asked. “Sophie Atherton? Sophie Brannick?” Both sounded weird and made me feel like I was wearing clothes that didn’t fit. Mom smiled and brushed my hair away from my face. “You can call yourself whatever you want.” / “Okay. Sophie Awesome Sparkle-Princess it is.” ― Rachel Hawkins, Spell Bound

9. “Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.” – Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door

10. “Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.” Mom gave a startled laugh. “Sophie!” / “What? You did. I hope you like hot weather, Mom, that’s all I’m saying.” – Rachel Hawkins, Hex Hall

There are SO MANY MORE, but this is just a random pickings!

Follow Friday #4

It’s time for another Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read! You follow me, I follow you – it’s as simple as that! You can follow me by email, Feedburner, Linky or NetworkedBlogs. Twitter follows and Facebook likes are nice, but I don’t count them unless you also follow another way. In the comments, PLEASE TELL ME HOW YOU FOLLOW ME. I always follow back as close in kind as I can. (Meaning if you follow me multiple ways, I will also follow you multiple ways.) Now onto the question!

Q. What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?

A. Well, having been able to talk at length to Tamora Pierce thanks to a writing workshop called Alpha, I guess I’ll have to pick another of my close favorites…

Dear Rachel Hawkins,

No one has a right to be this funny. Seriously. I never get tired of ANY of the Hex Hall books, and I’m literally chomping at the bit to see what you write next. I live for snark, and you came up with some of the BEST SNARK EVER. Snark is great, original snark is hysterical. The best thing is, you’re even that funny on your Twitter. (@LadyHawkins) Someday I really hope I can meet you in person, because you just seem awesome all around.

Love, Gretchen

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Alright, now, total disclaimer here: books that I can read in a day are … everything. Seriously. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one day. I am a speed-reader like nobody’s business. I’m going to try to slow it down here as best I can and not add something like War and Peace to this list. 😛 (All title links go to Goodreads)

1. The First Test by Tamora Pierce

Now, seriously, I’ll let you in on something. When I read this one (the first book in Pierce’s Protector of the Small series) or, say, the first book in her Song of the Lioness series or – erm, really, any of her books up til the Beka Cooper series, I just read the entire series in one shot. As I see it, I own them all – why not? Every single one is a funny, exciting ride that brings back so many memories for me, so that’s just kind of become a tradition with me.

2. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Yet another blast from the past, I know, but a book I just adore. Don’t ask me WHY I own so many Ibbotson books, because after a while they all look very much the same, but A Countess Below Stairs has always been my favorite. Eva Ibbotson is classic and this book is cute. Enough said.

3. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

My favorite of all Moran’s books (so far) is also, sadly, the shortest. Still, rereads happen FREQUENTLY. Nefertari is a very active character I wish was my best friend, and the genuine love story that develops between her and Rameses never gets old. This is also by far my favorite overall cast of characters when up against Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter.

4. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

If you’ve read my review of this book, then you know I squealed in it (and have squealed multiple times since) that this book and it’s predecessor Angelfire read like rapid fire shot guns. It’s AMAZING. These books ARE big, but you just HAVE to read them in a day because EVERYTHING just keeps HAPPENING. It kept me up til wee hours of the morning because there is just no way I could put it down.

5. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The next two books in this series might have been a lot like repeats of this one, but there is a reason for that: this book was pretty good! It’s one of my guilty pleasure books when I’m in the mood for YA romance.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

As much as I try, I don’t think I will ever make any kind of favorites list without mentioning this book. I’m really sorry, guys, but again: HAVE YOU SEEN MY REVIEW? There is more CAPS than I ever care to write with. I just adore this book til the moon and back, and I just can’t seem to stop rereading it. Ever. It still makes me laugh so hard I cry. Speaking of which…

7. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Again, I believe we’ve been over this too. Several times. But GUYS. The ENTIRE Hex Hall series. (No matter what I said about Spell Bound!) I love these books. I want Sophie to be my best friend. I want Archer to be my boyfriend. (SHH, don’t tell my real boyfriend!) I want Jenna to be my best friend. I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I think it’s bad that I live for the end of this book. Nothing gives me more glee than to watch this love triangle set up, knowing what’s coming. I think that’s a sign that I need to either stop reading books with love triangles in them or get therapy. Or, you know, both. But seriously. Check out my book review! And read this if you want a fresh take on a love triangle!

9. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

TIME FOR MORE CAPS. Why? Because why not! I adore this book and I’m not ashamed to say it! (Seriously, have you SEEN my book review?) Anyways. This book is for people who want a fresh new world to explore, people who want to see some interesting characters AND people who want some real romance. It’s like you can’t lose!

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Seriously? Did you think you could get out of one of my lists without a Cassandra Clare book? Because you can’t. Ever. READ THESE BOOKS. Okay, so, her Infernal Devices series is said to be better than this Mortal Instruments series, but these were the first ones I read and therefore closest to my heart.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

When I think of playing hooky, I think I better have a darn good reason. (Yes, I’m responsible. For the most part…) Anyways. If you’re going to play hooky, you have to do it right: with the best friends you can find; the kind you KNOW you can laugh and have fun with. So here are my top ten books that I would stop everything to go hang out with, again. (All title links will go to Goodreads.)

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

You may or may not know how I feel about Cassandra Clare. Basically, the important thing is I LOVE CASSANDRA CLARE. Out of the entire Mortal Instruments series, City of Glass is probably my favorite. There is Alec/Magnus love, Jace/Clary love, Simon being badass and just general all around awesomeness. Plus, Clare is SO QUOTABLE. My brother and I can have Mortal Instruments quote wars. It’s a beautiful thing. I wasn’t a real big fan of City of Fallen Angels, but I’m still excited for City of Lost Souls to come out May 8th!

Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

Far and above my favorite book in the Hex Hall series. I do usually prefer conclusions, but I’ve made my feelings about Spell Bound clear. Demon Glass had a bunch of awesome magic, a load of snarky Sophie and–my favorite–the best Archer/Sophie scenes ever. Archer and Sophie have some of the best lines EVER WRITTEN. What can I say? I love me some snark!

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

This may be devolving into a list of the best snarkiest characters ever, but hey. Rose Hathaway is both snarky and UTTERLY KICKASS. Plus, in this one the love drama was intense and there is plenty of battle scenes. Plus, Rose/Dimitri love. Guys. I have never shipped a couple as hard as I have shipped Rose and Dimitri.

Squire by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors of all time, just fyi. Her Protector of The Small series has grown on me like nobody’s business. Though there is nothing wrong with the finale book, Lady Knight, I have just always had a soft spot for Squire. There is a lot of humor, some romance, great friendships and a great storyline. Oh, and battles and griffins and centaurs and a whole bunch of other awesome stuff. You can’t go wrong.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

If you haven’t seen my review of this book yet, you’re about to be in for a surprise. ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS EVER RIGHT HERE. I reread this just a few weeks ago and thought it was possible that I’d become immune to this book’s awesomeness. I was so wrong. I tried to take a drink during one of the bunch lines and nearly spurted it all over. This book is ADORABLE and HYSTERICAL. READ IT, ALL OF YOU.

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

If you’re wondering about this book’s inclusion to this list, you also missed my review of this book, didn’t you? Guys. The Angelfire series is some of the best stuff ever. The main character is a kickbutt girl with, what else, snark, the guy is droolworthy and the mythology is A+. I chose Wings of the Wicked for this list because I can’t stop rereading it. SO MUCH HAPPENS, and–guys–ALL THE WILL AND ELLIE. I drool, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Adrian. Guys. Adrian. His presence is worth the inclusion to any list such as these. He is THE BEST. I had my opinions about Bloodlines as a book, but Adrian has ALWAYS been awesome, throughout the Vampire Academy series and now into the Bloodlines series. Pretty sure these books could turn awful and I would still adore these books because of Adrian’s lines. I can’t wait for The Golden Lily to come out soon!

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Pierce’s The Song of the Lioness series will always, always have a spot in my heart. They are one of those pieces of my childhood I just can’t live without. Abosutely no vacation is complete without these books. I enjoy the series as a whole, but all in all I’ve reread Lioness Rampant the most.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I walked into Divergent so, so wary, because I was sure there was NO WAY it could live up to HALF the hype it got. You know what? It actually met most of the expectations. Obviously, no book is perfect, but color me impressed. I even got my brother into this series. Anytime I need to lose myself into an interesting world with action and adventure, Divergent is always my go to book.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

There is no way we couldn’t finish off this kind of list the way we started it: with Cassandra Clare. The Infernal Devices series is, in some ways, even better than the Mortal Instruments. I chose this book because GUYS. THE WILL/TESSA/JEM STUFF GOING ON IN THIS BOOK. Even with none of the other awesomeness, that takes the cake any day. I just recently discussed how they are the ONE love triangle that works for me, and BOY DO THEY EVER.

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Four stars

Talk about timing…

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. With her powers locked inside her, Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies–the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t so sure.

The only known spell that can help Sophie regain her magic is at Hex Hall–the place where it all began, and now the headquarters of the evil Casnoffs. Together with her best friend, the vampire Jenna; her boyfriend, Archer; her fiance, Cal (yeah, her love life is complicated); and a ghost for a sidekick, Sophie must battle an army of demons. But even with her friends at her side, the fate of all Prodigium rests on her shoulders alone.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride… Can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Okay, I should be noted I’m a total fangirl of these books. Did you not SEE my Waiting on Wednesday post a couple of weeks ago? So you can understand that I really, really wanted to like this book. And I did, I really did. But there was a problem.

THIS BOOK WAS WAY TOO SHORT.

Now, I’m really not saying that because I love these books and I’m sad that they’re over. I’m being downright  technically serious. So much happened in this book, and Sophie was bopping all over the place and it just went way too fast. I didn’t feel like I got a chance to really get to know any of the new characters (Izzy, anyone?) and some of the biggest, most heart wrenching scenes just … happened. And all the while Sophie is here, Sophie is there, Sophie is back there again and then gone and then–aiyee! You can’t process what just happened because it’s all just WHOOSHED right past. Now, you’re probably thinking, doesn’t she LIKE fast paced books? Didn’t she say she loved Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton because it read “like a rapid fire machine gun”? Yes, yes I did. But this … wasn’t that. It seemed way too choppy in places, and a lot of important things weren’t handled with as much care or as fleshed out as they could have been. It left my head spinning–and not in a good way.

That is basically the entire reason this book only got four stars, unlike the 5 I’d have given Demon Glass or Hex Hall. I wanted this to be the roaring, hysterical, funny finale to an amazing series, but in the back of my mind I was just always a little thrown off by the writing.

Yes, in the back of my mind. In case you were worried, Sophie is still entirely Sophie. I was still laughing out loud at her snark. I still want to be her best friend. Speaking of which, you don’t really need to wait that long in the worry that all her friends and family are missing. They start popping out of the woodwork in ones and twos in the first third or so of the book, which almost made me upset. Hawkins set up that tension so well, and then it kind of resolves itself.

If you were going to bring back Archer that early, there should have been more make out scenes. Just sayin’.

Two last things to discuss: Elodie and Cal. Let’s start with Elodie…

Okay, we get that the girl is a ghost tied to Sophie. Personally, her constant actions regarding Sophie didn’t really bother me too much. They seemed entirely like an angry Elodie would act. The problem was really when Sophie started leaning on said Elodie as a crutch, but that didn’t last all that long (as nothing did in this book) so I got over it pretty quickly. I know a lot of people have been annoyed with how much that certain event happened, but I kinda just took it in and went with it.

Now. Cal. (Please note that we are about to devolve into fangirl rantings, not a technical critique.) CAL. CAL. RACHEL HAWKINS. I… I… I FEEL ALL THINGS. THAT ENDING. THAT ENDING. Personally, I don’t find anything technically wrong with it. I thought it was actually poetic. BUT. BUT. THE FANGIRL IN ME DIED A LITTLE. AND THEN SOARED A LITTLE. AND THEN CRIED A LITTLE. And now you know.

I realize that this review doesn’t sound all that complimentary, but hey, that’s what a review is. It’s basically a place to nitpick at books. 😛 I gave it four stars for a reason. Spell Bound was a good ending to the Hex Hall series, and hopefully left it open for Hawkins to return to this world–hopefully from the eyes of Izzy. However, it wasn’t spectacular. Sometimes I think that the endings to series can never be everything you want them to be, but after I had closed the book I just had such mixed feelings. Everything that I had wanted to happen, happened. Just not in the way I wanted it to. Everyone has their own opinions about how they want series’ to end, and maybe I’m not capable of separating my fangirl from my critical reviewer. But I think BOTH of them wish that Spell Bound had taken a little longer to really give itself a finished polish.