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