Royals: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Royals by Rachel HawkinsDaisy doesn’t want to be a princess, or even in the limelight really, but it turns out that’s hard when her older sister is practically engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland.

After one too many near-misses with the paparazzi Daisy is whisked off to Scotland with her sister to lay low. It’s not at all how Daisy wants to spend her summer but she doesn’t have much choice in the matter. Especially when Ellie announces her engagement.

In Scotland Daisy is supposed learn how to be regal while keeping a low profile. She even has help from the royal fixer and Miles, a close friend of the royal family. But it turns out keeping a low profile is hard when the prince’s younger brother, Sebastian, is an actual human dumpster fire–he and his friends (including Miles) are literally called the Royal Wreckers–and seems hellbent on dragging Daisy into as much trouble as he possibly can.

Daisy knows she doesn’t quite fit the royal rule book with her mermaid red hair, geeky interests, and no nonsense attitude. But no one ever said she couldn’t rewrite the rules herself in Royals (2018) by Rachel Hawkins.

Royals can be read as a standalone contemporary but it is also the start of a series–each following a different heroine.

Daisy is a delightful narrator. She is smart, witty, and she calls things as she sees them in this fast-paced story. Daisy struggles to mold herself in the image of her poised and elegant sister who seems to have been born to be a princess with hilarious results. But even royals have obligations and Daisy soon realizes that she isn’t the only one feeling pressure after her sister and the prince announce their engagement.

Daisy’s story is pure, escapist fun complete with an unexpected love interest, friend shenanigans, and many zany mishaps as Daisy learns the hard way that expectations can be misleading–especially when it comes to love.

Royals is an effervescent and cheery contemporary. I cannot wait to see what happens in book two.

Possible Pairings: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira, What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy, Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

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Demonglass: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

**This review (and the book itself) contains MAJOR spoilers for Hex Hall. You have been warned.**

Demonglass by Rachel HawkinsSophie Mercer’s first year at Hex Hall is almost over and in those months everything she thought she knew was turned upside down. Now Sophie knows the truth about herself (turns out she isn’t a dark witch but a demon), her crush (undercover agent of The Eye–a group determined to kill all Prodigium including witches, shifters, fairies, and definitely demons), and the dangerous nature of her powers (being a demon could lead to, well, killing people).

All of which just convinces Sophie that she needs to go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that can strip Sophie of her powers–if it doesn’t kill her.

Traveling to London with her estranged father (and head of the Council in charge of all things magic including the Removal) Sophie finally realizes knowing the truth doesn’t mean she knows everything. Turns out there’s a lot more to her family and her powers than she thought.

As if Sophie’s plate isn’t full enough she also discovers other demons in London, learns more about her crush (the one that might want to kill her), and discovers there might be more to Hex Hall’s stoic caretaker Cal than she gave him credit for. With or without the Removal Sophie’s summer is sure to be exciting (but hopefully not deadly) in Demonglass (2011) by Rachel Hawkins.

Demonglass is the sequel to Hawkin’s first novel Hex Hall.

If Hex Hall was a funny, exciting, fantasy with strong heroine then Demonglass is all of that but more.

Readers will find the same breezy narration and action-packed story along with the characters they loved from Sophie’s first adventure. At the same time Hawkins does a wonderful job expanding Sophie’s world and building on the events of the first book to create a new and original plot here. Sophie’s relationship with her father is also handled in a realistic way helping to make him a well-realized character who adds a lot to the story. Speaking of great characters, as a fan of Cal from the very beginning, I am also happy to report that he features more prominently in this installment to great effect.*

Sophie continues to be a great heroine with her sharp blend of sarcastic humor, bravery and a basic authenticity about her. Really, my only regret about this book is that it ends with the most epic cliffhanger I’ve seen since Catching Fire. Luckily the final installment in Sophie’s trilogy is slated for a 2012 release.

*Cal is now officially a part of the very exclusive Literary Guys I Wish Were Real Club.

Possible Pairings: Compulsion by Martina Boone, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

Hex Hall: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Hex Hall by Rachel HawkinsSophie Mercer is a witch. But not with many perks. She has no broomstick to fly, no spell books, no talking cat (she’s allergic).

She can perform magic. But not particularly well. And not without a lot of unforeseen . . . complications.

Sophie and her (non-magical) mom have lived in nineteen states. They lasted the longest in Indiana (four years). They only made it two weeks in Montana. And most recently, well, that didn’t go too well either.

In fact it went so badly that Sophie’s been sentenced to Hecate Hall; a reform school for wayward witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

If Hex Hall wasn’t bad enough, Sophie also ends up rooming with the only vampire on campus, alienating a trio of students, and making a total fool of herself in front of a gorgeous warlock. All on the first day. At least her vampire roommate is nice.

Things at Hex Hall only get worse as Sophie learns more about her magically gifted father, develops a major crush, and makes even more enemies and social blunders. Oh, then there’s the matter of the weird attacks on students that look suspiciously like the work of a vampire. Sophie thought passing as a human was hard, but it living as a witch is going to be way harder in Hex Hall (2010) by Rachel Hawkins.

Hex Hall blends elements of concrete fantasy and campy fantasy in a way that is refreshingly unique. It also works really well. Sophie is a narrator grounded firmly, and perhaps unwillingly, in the magical world while also essentially being an average teenage girl (much like the girls shown on the cover–go figure!). Hawkins capitalizes on both aspects of Sophie’s character to create a heroine that is entertaining and very authentic.

Hawkins’ writing here is sharp, clever and vivacious. This is a book will have you laughing out loud and biting your nails in suspense–sometimes at the same time. Filled with action, humor, awesome characters, and a few twists Hex Hall offers readers a few surprises and a lot of fun.

Possible Pairings: Compulsion by Martina Boone, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

Exclusive Bonus Content: This is neither here nor there but one of my favorite characters was a minor one named Cal. I hope we see more of him in this book’s sequel (Demonglass due out in 2011) because I really liked him and he just kind of jumped off the page for me. Go Cal!