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Search tags: rachel-hawkins
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review 2018-04-11 12:57
Review: Royals
Royals - Rachel Hawkins

I received a copy from Penguin’s First To Read

 

This book was like a giant rom-com cliché. The alternate history for the Royal family was eye rolling and cringe worthy. That being said once you over look those things, it was actually a very entertaining read. Irritating as hell, but fun.

 

(Especially like me if you have a guilty pleasure for Royal gossip)

 

In this alternate world there is a Scottish Royal Family, and the heroine Daisy’s sister Ellie has fallen in love with Prince Alexander, heir to the throne. They are getting married. Daisy lives in Florida with her mom and her ex British rock star dad. She lives a pretty normal life. She has a part time job at a local convenience store and is looking forward to a planned trip to Key West with her BFF Isabel where they will go to a convention to meet their favourite fantasy author and get their books signed. All pretty normal.

 

But all this is thrown out of whack when Ellie announces she’s marrying the prince and the Royal family have invited the whole family to Scotland for a few weeks for the summer to get a taste of what’s coming.

 

Every other chapter is a page from a magazine or a gossip blog/tabloid.

 

Daisy is fuming but agrees on the basis that the Royal assistant Glynnis who has come with Ellie and Alex can arrange for a singing at a book shop near where they are staying and bring Isabel along later.

 

So off to Scotland they go given a Royal treatment – first class flights, fancy cars, the fanciest hotels. To add to the chaos, Alex’s younger brother, charming, Sebastian (who is Daisy’s age, 17) the most eligible teen in Scotland is there as well with his group of fancy friends. Sebastian is an ass, crude, full of himself and flirts with everything in a skirt. Daisy finds herself getting into a snit with his best friend Miles when a drunken Sebastian decides to head into her room.

 

The dialogue is sharp and witty and as soon as Miles and Daisy start snarking with each other it’s completely predictable as to what’s going to happen. Daisy has to go to several royal events and dress the part (something she’s not happy about) and of course things go eye rollingly wrong (including a rather amusing incident where she finds herself getting looked down on by some of the posh women and does a delightful job of holding her own and insulting them right back).

 

It’s cheesy as hell. However, at the time, I did find myself reading this with a grin on my face most of the time. Daisy is struggling to cope with major culture shock, even when her best friend finally arrives (Isabel’s huge crush on Sebastian not helping) Daisy finds herself unwittingly creating a scandal that catches the eye of the disapproving Queen. And Miles to the rescue.

 

Which leads to a fake dating plot.

 

As a lead character Daisy was immensely likeable, easy to understand where she’s coming from. Easy to follow her story as she moves between the very different world and gets to know the real people behind the tabloid gossip and learns maybe Miles isn’t the stuck up ass he pretends to be. They have some quite interesting conversations about their differences.

 

The end is absolutely gag worthy. But kind of works.

 

Not the most brilliant book I have ever read, but certainly an entertaining one.

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review 2018-03-03 03:53
Into the Water
Into The Water - Paula Hawkins,Laura Aikman,Sophie Aldred,Rachel Bavidge

So, there is a swimming hole know as "the drowning pool."  In the 1600s, teenage girls and women accused of witchcraft were drowned there.  Since then, it's been a place of a string of other mysterious deaths--suicides, murders, undetermined.  The most recent woman to be found dead in the pool is Nel Abbott, who had been working on a manuscript about the women and girls who had died in it over the years, and this on the tail of 15-year-old Katie Whittaker's suicide.  These deaths are one-two punch for Lena Abbott, Nel's daughter and Katie's best friend.  And suddenly Jules, Nel's estranged sister and Katie's last remaining family member, arrives to look after the niece she has never known.

 

This book ended up leaving me kind of cold.  It is told from the multiple perspectives of a large cast, some narrated in first person, while others are in a more detached third.  The "Jules" sections are often dominated by Jules addressing as "you" her dead sister.  Not my favorite device.  Also interspersed are several excerpts from Nel's manuscript, The Drowning Pool. Although I mostly listened to the audio version, I quickly picked up the hardcover, when I realized that early on I was fairly lost as to who the characters were.  Reading the early chapters in print helped pull everything into place, but even once I was used to the cast, I sometimes found myself needing to think a moment to remember who some of the characters were and how they were connected to other characters.

 

I did find myself interested in following through to the resolution, but I didn't find the resolution satisfying.

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review 2017-08-18 21:21
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

So, this book had been sitting at the bottom of my TBR for just about forever. I'm rather ashamed to say that I actually received a galley of this way, WAY back when I started blogging and then it just never made it to the top of the list. I even own a paperback copy of this now, and I still ignored it. It wasn't until Hex Hall popped up on my audio book recommendations at the library that I really paid attention. Which is silly! Because I loved the Rebel Belle series by Hawkins. Still, I'm a little glad I waited. The audio was great, and this was just what I needed to listen to at the time. I had a ton of fun!

First off, I can't exactly say that Sophie Mercer's story is light. There are definitely sinister things happening at her school, and terrible fates do definitely befall some of her fellow classmates. However, I think what kept this buoyant was the fact that Sophie is just so easy to fall in love with. She's sweet, sassy, and pretty much the type of teen girl that I'd love to be friends with. Despite her situation, and the funk that it threatens to push her into, she keeps looking for the good. In other words, Sophie was real. Not overly sad, not overly excitable, just a Prodigium who really wanted to fit in and have a good school experience.

Even the "mean girls" in this book weren't over the top, which was nice. I know we all love to hate a good mean girl character, and Sophie's bullies aren't any exception to that rule. However it was nice to see that they also had some substance to them as well. I can safely say, without risk of spoilers, that I finally came to care about these girls in the end. It says a lot that I not only powered through this audio in a matter of days, but that I'm also eagerly waiting for the next book to hit my library app. I need to find out what happens next.

For keeping me smiling, and guessing, this book gets a big four stars from me. I needed something in the YA genre that wasn't full of swoon-worthy, brooding boys and this was just perfect. Highly recommended.

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review 2017-04-11 00:00
Rebel Belle
Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins It's so weird to be giving a book 2 stars and yet knowing that you might one day, mayberead the next one.

This book tried way too hard to be some sort of tribute to BTVS and I don't know what else (X-men?), and didn't quite manage to pull it off.

There was no depth to the characters, they were so unremarkable that I sometimes had trouble knowing who was saying what if it wasn't explicitly pointed out to me because everyone's voices were so similar. Not even to the overachiever Main Character, Harper, who was supposed to entertain me with her funny commentary, wits, and badassery managed to stand out.

The humor wasn't great. I might have laughed a couple of times and not because of the many 'trying-way-too-hard' jokes inserted in the dialogue. (That bit about the lipstick at the beginning of the book? I almost dnf'd right there)

The "romance" was tropey to the max, which on its own is not bad, but the author abused the rivals-to-lovers trope (Not a spoiler because this is right there in the book's blurb) and it felt forced when MC Harper already had a perfectly nice boyfriend who couldn't be more sweet.

The bad guys who wanted to kill/turn/help the other MC (David) were ??? (This actually made no sense. They first wanted to kill David because of "X" and then all of a sudden, with little to no explanation they want to help David because of the same reason they wanted to kill him in the first place? What's up with that?

I don't know, this book was sort of a very predictable, over-simplistic and not that funny read with a plot that could give so much more than what it was.

BUT it was sort of entertaining and a super fast read and, again, I miiiiiiight read the second book...one day.


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review 2016-12-31 20:52
Atlas of Animal Adventures
Atlas of Animal Adventures: A collection of nature's most unmissable events, epic migrations and extraordinary behaviours - Rachel Williams,Emily Hawkins,Lucy Letherland

 

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about myself after reading this children’s book but I do know that I loved this book and highly recommend it. While reading it, I was overwhelmed with all the information that the authors packed inside its pages. I felt smarter by the time I finished reading it and I know that there is no way I will be able to remember everything that I have read but I also felt a bit dumb because I thought to myself, wow…. here I am a grown adult and I didn’t know half the information that I read. The information was educational, stimulating and compelling. I can’t tell you how many aahh moments I had while reading this book but I can tell you that I did become annoying to my husband as I kept interrupting him with tidbits of information as he tried to read his books. I am excited about this book, really excited to share this book with others because the material and facts that they presented was fascinating and interesting. I learned that:

 

• Puffins lay their eggs on sheer cliffs. To prevent their eggs from rolling off, their eggs are a cone-like shape.

• “If two queen bees hatch at the same time, they might fight to the death.”

• Orangutans are the only creature who have ever responded to being tickled.

• The male bird of paradise will sometimes make a display to attract a female that can last for hours.

• A platypus has venomous spurs on their hind legs, to defend themselves.

• Red kangaroos (Australia) lick their wrists to cool their blood vessels.

• The Bowerbirds fascinated me with their bowers of twigs. These birds are cousins to the birds of paradise. The male birds build a bower to impress the females (this is not a nest). They decorate this with anything that they can find in the wild (feathers, buttons, stones, anything colorful). The females then come by each of the bowers, as the males make noise and fluff themselves up to attract a female. The female picks whichever one she wants.

 

There is such great and interesting information on each species that the book chose to include in this book. Don’t get me started on hummingbirds and ants because I thought I had known a lot about these creatures but after reading this book, I still have plenty to learn!

 

This oversized book would make a perfect addition to anyone who enjoys learning about critters. I enjoyed the heavy cardstock paper that the book is written on and I loved how the book is laid out. Sectioned off into continents, then broken-down into individual species in that continent, this book is a gem! I loved all the small facts/information that were sprinkled out throughout the illustration as well as the main facts that accompanied each page. The illustrations were colorful and wonderfully done. The only drawback that I could see was that sometimes a few of the smaller texts/facts that were sprinkled throughout the book blended into the background and they were hard to read. Since this was such an excellent book, I’m not docking any stars for this small issue as I was willing and determined to overlook this issue. It’s a book that should not be overlooked! I loved it!

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