Fun! This book really grew on me. It took several tries to get past the first couple of chapters, but once Sophie finally gets settled in at Hex HallFun! This book really grew on me. It took several tries to get past the first couple of chapters, but once Sophie finally gets settled in at Hex Hall things start moving along. The witchy battles are pretty cool, there's good build-up of the mystique behind the school and behind Sophie's past and powers, and the author does a nice job with creating a variety of different characters with distinctive voices. I especially liked BFF Jenna and the super cute and witty Archer, and Sophie herself turns out to be a pretty kick-ass heroine.
It did take me a little while to get used to the author's voice, but the humor actually gets to be really good as the story develops and I've gone back to giggle over certain passages again. Overally, this is a really terrific debut and a fast-paced, entertaining read. It's always a plus when a YA author manages to surprise her audience with twists and turns in the plot too, and there are a couple of really good ones here that will leave readers on the edge for more.
Besides...you can't not love a girl who tries to stop an attacking werewolf by yelling, "BAD DOG!"...more
Still heaps of fun! I love a good paranormal book as much as the next person, but sometimes they take themselves too seriously. I'm happy to report thStill heaps of fun! I love a good paranormal book as much as the next person, but sometimes they take themselves too seriously. I'm happy to report that Demonglass retains the same sarcastic humor and a snappy, action-packed plot that is just as entertaining as the one in Hex Hall.
Sophie is spending some time on her father's estate to figure out whether she's going to keep her awesome but pesky powers, and she's still secretly pining for her missing demon-hunter crush, Archer Cross. Complicating matters is the revelation that cute-as-heck Cal has been betrothed to her for years (hey, they do things differently in the otherworld) and the afore-mentioned crush is part of The Eye, a group hell-bent on wiping out all of Sophie's kind. Kinda puts a damper on the relationship.
The politics and power struggles within the Prodigium (witches, shapeshifters, and fairies) and with the demon hunters is growing steadily more complicated, and Sophie and her father must develop her gifts before time runs out. It would be interesting to see more of the plotting ladies within the Prodigium and to have the tension ratcheted up with The Eye, but hopefully these will be further explored in future books.
The author does a fabulous job of moving the story along with cheeky attitude, however, while taking time out for real connections between Sophie and her BFF Jenna and between her and her dad. There are also some brief but swoon-worthy moments with her guy, and you really breeze through this thing rooting for everyone to be happy. I'm really enjoying Sophie and her smart and snappy banter, and this series has fast turned into one of my fluffy and fun favorites.
3.5 stars I resisted this book for the longest time because chick-lit isn't really my thing, but it really is just as super cute as everyone says. I w3.5 stars I resisted this book for the longest time because chick-lit isn't really my thing, but it really is just as super cute as everyone says. I was surprised at how engrossing the story is and by much I liked Anna, who is believably flawed and funny and well-rounded. The relationships between her and her friends as well as between her and her crush feel real and nuanced and warm, and even though they all make mistakes, it's so great to read about teenagers who are actually nice to each other. I like St. Clair a lot too, although I'm not as crazy about him as some of my friends are...he let the "I'm taken" thing drag on a little too much for my comfort. Still, the friendship and the romance between him and Anna are very cute and did win me over.
The author also does a great job of making Paris come alive as a place to live in--not just visit--and the descriptions of Anna exploring a new city for the first time really make me really miss all those summers I spent abroad. A fun, fluffy book for anyone who's looking for a cute romantic story with likable characters and a picture perfect setting....more
**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visibl**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visible text, but they're not anything that you haven't already guessed if you're already a fan of the series. And since three people have done this already, please DO NOT discuss spoilers in this book without spoiler-tagging your comments since you will absolutely ruin the book for people who haven't read the book yet. If you don't know how to do this, please learn before commenting.**
I absolutely LOVED the first two Hex Hall novels. There are few authors whose books I pounce on at midnight the day of release and stay up all night reading, so that should give you an idea of how much I love Sophie, Jenna, Archer, and Cal.
The relationship between Sophie and Jenna is still fantastic, and that was probably my favorite part of this book. Their worry for each other, their banter, etc, are all familiar and funny and a welcome interlude whenever they're together. There is also a plot line involving (view spoiler)[demon kids Nick and Daisy that pulled at my heartstrings a bit. (hide spoiler)]
I'm sorry to say that this turned out to be my least favorite book in the series, however. The action zips back and forth between a lot of locations and the various overlapping storylines felt rather jumbled, which is problematic even if you've already guessed many of the big secrets back when you were reading Demonglass. I had a hard time staying engaged in the story, especially since there were moments that seemed to lend themselves to a bigger emotional punch (view spoiler)[such as the revelation that her mom is a Brannick, the early interactions with Cal, seeing her father again, Archer being tortured, etc (hide spoiler)] than were portrayed. I also got a little tired of Elodie popping up again and again (view spoiler)[and possessing Sophie's body (hide spoiler)] and the way Sophie's magic came and went at pretty convenient moments.
My two biggest issues with the book, however, were:
1. (view spoiler)[Sophie kissing Cal very soon after the book begins, before she even knows if something's happened to Archer. I'm not satisfied with the amount of guilt she felt after Archer pops up again, and in fact, she never even tells him about that particular kiss. Then Elodie later uses Sophie's body to kiss Cal again to torture Archer! Both scenarios just seemed very convoluted and forced to me, and they felt very different from the sunny nature of the previous books. (hide spoiler)]
2. DO NOT CLICK THIS if you haven't read the book. Seriously. Don't do it. (view spoiler)[Cal's death. And the precious little amount of time spent mourning him. Please give me a hug. :( (hide spoiler)] Not only did that make me extremely sad, but it felt so unnecessary.
Many of the elements I enjoyed so much about the previous books just felt different here. It's definitely still a funny book, but there's so much going on that the humor doesn't flow quite as smoothly. The parental relationships, always one of the stronger parts of the Hex Hall and Demonglass, were largely absent here as well. And most of all, there's very little time spent with Archer or Cal. What's there relies a tremendous amount on your past knowledge of Sophie's intimacy with them, and there aren't nearly enough meaningful moments between them for my taste. (view spoiler)[Okay, and not nearly enough make out scenes, either! (hide spoiler)] Don't get me wrong, there are some, but they didn't seem as urgent and charged as the ones in the previous books.
Maybe it's just me? I'm really sad to feel this way about the ending of a series I love so much. I'm very curious to see what my fellow Sophie fans think of this one, though. I liked this book overall, but the surprises that this book offered were just not the kind that I really enjoyed.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There's something about rhythm of summer that slows down time and makes every moment especially delicious. Summer's fleeting season means that its momThere's something about rhythm of summer that slows down time and makes every moment especially delicious. Summer's fleeting season means that its moments are also bittersweet, however, and no one knows this better than beach-town girl Anna Patrick. She's falling head over heels in love with Will...but knows that he'll soon have to go back to New York where he belongs.
I'm not much of a contemporary YA romance person, but found myself thoroughly charmed by this book, which is the perfect lighthearted beach read but is also filled with unexpected layers. After reading so many paranormal or dystopian novels with complicated set-ups or books that put you through the emotional wringer, it's so nice to relax with a book that doesn't have a typical love triangle, bad boy posturing, or some sort of looming imminent danger. It's also a pleasure to read about teens who are actually nice to each other and do normal things like going on cute dates and talking on the phone, and who have good relationships with the adults in their lives.
Anna and Will's summer is filled with ice cream and curly fries and bike rides and barbecues and long walks in the moonlight...and kissing. Lots of kissing. Anna is a relatable, likable girl who has normal insecurities but doesn't let them spin out of control--and she takes the time to be a good friend even as she's learning what it's like to be a girlfriend for the first time. It's easy to see why Will falls for Anna and for this comfortable and amazing town, which is almost like a character of its very own, because I'd sure like to visit! You can practically feel the sand between your toes and the warmth of the sun on your arms and the coldness of Anna's Pineapple Ginger Ale ice cream melting in your mouth. There are also lovely moments with luxurious swims, encounters with crabs on the beach at night, a bittersweet baby sea turtle rescue, and a beautiful early morning moment that Anna shares with Will that I won't spoil with details, but will be familiar to anyone who's ever lived near a beach.
I'm mostly glad, however, that although this is a romance book and it's all about Anna's relationship with Will, she lives a rich and bustling life outside of him. He enriches her interactions with her friends and her family and her job and her pursuits, but he doesn't define them. Even as summer draws to a close, Anna agonizes over the upcoming heartache of their separation, since she knows that losing her first love will hurt badly. But she's smart enough enough to know that no matter what happens, she is strong enough to handle it--which is a great message for women everywhere, no matter what her age.
I loved being so consumed by Will. Adored it. But I kind of hated it too, because I felt like a huge part of myself had been wrested from my control. I mean, sometimes you just want to make a peanut butter sandwich without being overcome by your own passion, you know?
I don't normally gush over books like this, but I found this book to be full of sweet, sweet moments, believable conflicts, smart, funny characters, and a surprisingly nuanced narrative underneath its romantic YA surface. It's a perfect summer read that will take you back to those heady days of falling in love for the first time...with the added bonus of leaving you with a big goofy smile on your face.
How was it fair that I had to conduct a murder investigation and do trig?
If Nancy Drew had a cheeky sense of humor, she would be Hartley Featherstone.How was it fair that I had to conduct a murder investigation and do trig?
If Nancy Drew had a cheeky sense of humor, she would be Hartley Featherstone. Hartley's boyfriend Josh has been cheating on her, and even worse, the girl turns up dead and Josh is now the prime suspect in Courtney's murder. What's a girl to do except band together with her best friend Sam and the good-looking Chase to try and solve the crime?
Reading Deadly Cool is like eating a bowl of ice cream. It's a refreshing treat following the afterburn of reading so many mopey and middling young adult novels, and it's one that goes down smoothly and will leave you craving more more more! I didn't expect for a murder mystery to keep me laughing throughout the entire story, but this one totally did. Hartley's observations are hilarious, and so are her interactions with everyone around her. At one point, an anonymous note demands a meeting with her on the football field at midnight, and she rolls her eyes and says,
"Seriously? Am I living in an episode of CSI: Silicon Valley?"
And when Josh tells her he's created a new account to chat with her, she says,
"My Space? No one is on that anymore."
"Exactly. What better way to hide out?"
This book feels very current and modern in a way that I'm not sure I've seen in any other YA novel, but the contemporary details are seamlessly interwoven and feel like a natural part of the story. There are also tons of funny pop culture references (sympathetic head tilts, etc.), Hartley's believably exasperated but loving relationship with her health-nut mom, and adults who aren't just props and actually try to help her...even if one of them does smell like Fancy Feast. I also appreciated that Hartley absolutely confirms that Josh has been cheating on her and dumps him (see the way she dresses him down in my status updates), but she decides immediately that she will help him anyway. Besides, how can you not love a girl who hides Ben & Jerry's in the back of the freezer, says "eff you" to her crappy mood by putting on sparkly flats, and admits to eating two slices of lasagna in one sitting? It's gluten-free tofu lasagna, but still.
The mystery is also pretty entertaining, with a good amount of plausible detailing, but it doesn't go overboard on the technical details. Even if you guess who the murderer is, it isn't going to spoil the experience of reading the book since the narrative voice is so bouncy and cute. The investigation, by the way, leads to a really funny scene where Hartley is trapped under a hot guy's bed who's unaware that she's there and he starts to undress. There are a number of scenarios like that might normally raise my eyebrows if they're tastelessly done, but Gemma Halliday writes with such wit and charm that they don't seem at all forced or tacky. Instead, you feel every bit of Hartley's embarrassment and anxiety, as well as her, um, inability to look away.
This book put me in such a good mood, and has a similar vibe to fresh and funny books such as Hex Hall and Flying Blind. Hartley is a lot like a cross between Sophie Mercer and Nancy Drew, actually, and she also quickly became one of my favorite YA characters. I had such a good time with this book, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel Social Suicide, which will be out soon in Spring 2012. If you enjoy non-angsty YA, Deadly Cool is a book you'll definitely want to take for a spin.
P.S. I thought it was funny that one of the secondary character's names was Cody Banks, which made me think of the movie from awhile back. The name "Hartley" reminded me of Beverly Cleary's The Luckiest Girl, however, which was a big bonus in my book. :)...more
I've pushed through to 100 pages, but I just can't go on. For all its braininess, this book feels very juvenile to me, except that girls in most middlI've pushed through to 100 pages, but I just can't go on. For all its braininess, this book feels very juvenile to me, except that girls in most middle grade books are rarely this boy-crazy--and few of them have so little else going on their lives.
Here are some things that make it feel very young to me:
--the story seems to be centered around a "caper" in which Frankie tries to infiltrate a secret boys club --three boys who don't recognize Frankie after her body develops (or pretend not to, anyway) --a full page about boogers --occasional overuse of exclamation points --and above all else, the writing style
Written in the third person with an occasional interruption by some unknown narrator, it's all done in arch prose that strives very hard to be humorous and clever without being very smart. Or deep. Or interesting. At least to me, because this book certainly has its share of fans.
I'll leave you with just one paragraph so you can decide whether this writing floats your boat and if you want to read any further:
Most young women, when confronted with the peculiarly male nature of certain social events--usually those incorporating beer or other substances guaranteed to kill off brain cells, and often involving either the freezing-cold outdoors or the near-suffocating heat of a filthy dorm room, but which can also, in more intellectual circles, include the watching of boring Russian films--will react in one of three ways.
Honestly, the whole premise of this felt like a brain candy book disguised as something much more smart or meaningful. Boys aren't paying attention to you? Who cares? Not me.