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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #13: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 8 2014
Publishing House: Putnam Juvenile
ISBN: 9780399256936
Source of Copy: Purchased from FullyBooked


Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She's imbued with the powers of a Paladin, a guardian with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and Harper's least favorite person. Things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him - and discovers that David own fate could very well be to destroy earth.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Harper Price is perfect. She's homecoming queen, captain of cheer squad and her boyfriend is the hottest guy on campus. Nothing can go wrong. That is until a run-in with a strange man who imbues her with Paladin powers and puts her in charge of her nemesis David Stark. The David Stark who mercilessly makes her life a living hell and the boy she might be falling for (gasp!). 

This book was so much fun. Harper is an adorable heroine, a little bit of an overachiever but totally likeable, smart and funny. She's also a prude - PDA is vile and she does not cuss. If she were a real person I don't think we'd get along very well. David is the anti-hero. He's moody, insufferable and wears really tight pants (he's a hipster and of course that disturbs Harper's delicate sensibilities). He's also nephew to the school principal and editor on the school paper. 

I had a lot of fun reading this book despite the fact that the ending was sort of rushed and the bad guys felt really random. You know, like, toss a bad guy in just for kicks. The book also seemed to put a lot of focus into Harper's messed up love life. Ryan aka The Perfect Boyfriend on one hand and David the Archnemesis on the other. Normally I'd be irritated by this but not this time. Rebel Belle was just too much fun. And you just know that Hawkins is totally setting readers up for the next book with the way Rebel Belle ended. Oh what a fine mess our adorable heroine is in.

Let me just add that the secondary characters were boring too but eh, who needs them. David and Harper were my sole focus so I couldn't really care less. And nobody needs a bunch of cheerleaders with super powers please.

Anyway I'd definitely recommend this to readers looking for a light, fun urban fantasy. Also suitable for those who'd like to ease themselves into the genre, I think. 



"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Aha! It has been so long since I last did a Novel Nails feature for the blog. I've recently been doing a lot of nail art inspired by books I've read before this feature was born. If you're interested please check out the instagram for my bookish manicures!

Changed the instagram handle. Hehe.

Anyway! Onto the manicure. This week's feature is Rebel Belle, of course. And my nails are pink. PINK. With rhinestones and pearls and a ribbon.

Nail polish used:
OPI I Theodora You
China Glaze Fairy Dust

So here are my nails with the book. I'm not used to seeing my nails painted such a dainty color. It's weird! Can you see the pearls on my fingers? Heh.

My nails with the book. We match, don't we? Nails look so dainty. It's really strange.

Here are the rhinestones I used. They come in a cute glass bottle.

Hope you liked my nails! Don't forget to check out my other bookish manicures on instagram. I've been doing a lot of freehand recently.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Nihal of the Land of the Wind by Licia Troisi

Title: Nihal of the Land of the Wind
Author: Tricia Troisi
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publishing House: Mondadori
ISBN: 9781497648
Source of Copy: Netgalley


Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere.

Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is face with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Nihal has no idea why her hair is blue, or why she is unique. She's never known her mother, and thinks that her father is an armorer. 

She's wrong. 

Nihal is the last of her kind, the lone survivor of the race that the Tyrant has wiped out from existence.

And she will make him pay.

Nihal's story spans her childhood to her being a fierce young female warrior. It encompasses the people she grew up with, people she has unique interactions with in her journey into becoming a young woman who almost always defies everyone's expectations of her.

I must admit that Nihal, while being bold and defiant, could have appealed to me, and her being rash and, at times, irrational may have endeared herself to me, she didn't. There was a detachment from her I could not place. It seems that Nihal of the Land of the Wind was originally written in Italian, which could probably be the reason why some scenes just didn't make much sense to me. Some paragraphs and scenes felt stunted and cut too short, while others were much too drawn out to be desired. Nihal of the Land of the Wind had a lot of characters as well that I didn't care much for, given that their appearances in the storyline were too short-lived. I get that this is a fantasy novel and that maybe Troisi was angling for a pretty massive world, but it just seemed a bit too crammed for me. The world the author created didn't really span a huge territory in my head, only that it was full of characters that Nihal would have to have an encounter with.

I also didn't quite get Nihal's fascination with Fen, the older dragon knight who is in a relationship with Sennar's aunt. He rides his own dragon and is one of the best combatants around, but I didn't really get why she gets all moony-eyed, even knowing that Fen couldn't and never would be hers. Maybe I'm coming across too serious and seem hellbent on crushing every teen girl's fantasy of the dreamy older guy, but come on. All throughout the novel, all she did was worry about Fen and think of him so pardon my French, but ughhhh

While the novel held its own with an intriguing premise and an ambitious young character bent on proving everyone wrong, Nihal of the Land of the Wind lacked depth and further explorations of the psyche of the characters that could have made a deeper and more lasting impression.


Monday, July 14, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: The Dark World
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: May 27 2014
Publishing House: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 9780373211203
Source of Copy: NetGalley


Paige Kelly is used to weird - in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the  1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer - and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons - and she might never make it home.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Color me surprised. After DNFing Spellbound (I barely reached a quarter of the book) I never really though I'd pick up another book by Shultz again. How wrong was I? See, I was drawn in by the cover and the promise of demons so I said yes. Why not? And thank the universe I actually ended up liking this book.

Think parallel dimensions; our world on one side and a darker, more evil version next to it. That side is called The Dark World. Enter Paige - she's an outcast and her penchant for talking to ghosts isn't doing her any favors. Her best friend Dottie is the aforementioned ghost interested in boys and invested in Paige's nonexistent love life. Paige has always known she was stranger than most and she's learned to deal with it. That is until a fire demon attacks her and Logan steps in to save the day. Now she's got demons to face, a cute boy to play with, all the while trying to not get sucked into The Dark World. Sounds like fun.

I have, overall, no complaints about the characters. And the romance was pretty okay. There was a case of insta-love but nothing too cringe-worthy. I also thought I saw a love triangle in there but thankfully it was a false alarm. Thing is I kind of wished there was more story, less romance. But hey, at least Logan gives Paige her own weapon and rather than making her hide behind his back, actually teaches her how to use it.

Shultz has this super creepy alternate New York set up where all different kinds of demons in varying levels of power cluster as they wage war with the warlocks. It's interesting, I wanted more, I wanted to see blood and maybe a little gore (hello, bloodthirsty demons!) but there wasn't much of that. Hopefully we'll get more in book two.

I get though that all those teasing glimpses into the Dark World set us up for the next. With the way it ended, I'm not really surprised. I'm looking forward to the next book and thank you NetGalley and Harlequin for the copy. Looking for your next paranormal read? This could be the one.