Book review: Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

Ask Me Anything by Molly E. Lee
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Purchased

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever. 

It’s been a while since I read Rebel Belle, but I remember enjoying it an awful lot. It was a ton of fun, gave me some serious Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes, and there were so many things about it that I thought were great! I had planned to read Miss Mayhem much earlier than I did, but I kind of forgot about it until I stumbled across this book at a used bookstore (for $1!!) a few months ago.

I think that three-star reviews are the hardest ones to write, because I just don’t have that much to say. I didn’t love this. I didn’t hate it. It was entertaining enough that I finished it in about 24 hours, but not entertaining enough that I’m sad it’s done.

Harper is still a great character. She’s so strong, she’s just trying to do the right thing, and she knows how to use good manners as a weapon. She finally gets her best friend, Bee, back, and it was so great to see their friendship and how they supported each other. Harper’s Aunt Jewel was amazing and I wish she could just adopt me.

Aside from those high points, though, the book was just okay. The book is only 272 pages, but it felt like it moved very slowly. There’s only one real plot point in this book (aside from a lot of relationship drama), and while it’s interesting enough, it’s not enough to support nearly 300 pages, and I didn’t really feel like any progress had been made by the end of the book.

It almost feels as though Miss Mayhem was written to set up Lady Renegades. Given that Lady Renegades has a lower Goodreads average than Miss Mayhem, though (3.41 vs. 3.48), I’m not really sure that I want to take the time to read it. If you’ve completed this series, I’d be really curious to hear what you think. Is it worth continuing?

#killingthetbr: four months on shelf
#ps19: a book about someone with a superpower
#romanceopoly: magic row

Have you read Miss Mayhem? What about Lady Renegades?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Purchased

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians 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 possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Harper Price just wanted to be Homecoming Queen.  And really, everything would have been fine if she’d just remembered her lip gloss.  But no, there she was, stuck in the bathroom putting on the sub-par color she’d borrowed from her best friend when her entire life changed.  The janitor came running in, mumbling something about pals and profusely bleeding underneath his disguise.  (And why, exactly, was the janitor wearing a disguise?!)  He gave her a weird, chilling kiss, and suddenly she was super strong with crazy fighting abilities!  As if that wasn’t weird enough, her history teacher burst into the bathroom – with a SCIMITAR – and called her a bimbo before trying to kill her, too.  To top it all off, as she’s trying to recover from all the craziness, David Stark (her mortal enemy) witnesses her looking less than her best and plasters it all over the school newspaper the next day.

The next thing Harper knows, she’s a Paladin assigned to protect, of all people, DAVID STARK, the one guy on the planet that she can’t stand.  Why?  Because David is an Oracle, and there’s a mysterious organization trying to kill him because historically, boys make really bad Oracles.  Her formerly perfect life is falling apart, and she can’t even tell anyone why!  (And if she did, would they even believe her?)  Harper’s the queen of multitasking, but balancing her homework, extracurriculars, friends, boyfriend, and her new duties as Paladin might be a little much, even for her.

Rebel Belle is probably the most fun book I’ve read in recent memory.  I picked it up on Friday night intending to just read a few pages before going to bed.  Next thing I knew, I was about 200 pages in.  After a quick sleep, I picked it back up and finished the rest before lunch.

Why is Rebel Belle so great?  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list.

  1. Harper is very girly, and she’s never belittled for it.  She loves high heels, pretty dresses, makeup, and cute boys.  She can’t wait for Cotillion.  She’s head cheerleader.  She’s Homecoming Queen.  She goes out for tea and bakes fancy cakes.  And she can perform her duties as Paladin just as well as any of the men who came before her.  The only people who give Harper a hard time about being girly are the bad guys.  Everybody else in her life accepts her as she is.
  2. Harper, a female, is assigned to protect David, a male.  How frequently does that happen?  (Not often.)  And again, it’s not a big deal.  There’s never a scene where David claims that he can protect himself, that he doesn’t need Harper’s help.  In fact, David is just thrilled that there’s somebody there who can help him and that he can talk to about all this crazy stuff in his life.  And although David and Harper never got along before, he makes it clear that he trusts her to do her job – and do it well.
  3. Everything that I usually critique in books was great!  The character development, the pacing, the continuity, the dialogue – everything.  Even the more fantastical elements (mages, magical potions, visions of the future) were introduced in such a way that they felt natural.  The writing was very accessible, almost to the point where I forgot I was reading and felt more like I was watching everything play out in front of me.
  4. I appreciated how the author handled the love triangle.  (Have I ever said that before? I don’t think so…)  There was just so little drama, with no fighting, no tears, no screaming or arguing or angst.  The end result just felt right, and all three parties agreed.
  5. The whole thing just kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is one of my favorite tv shows of all time.

I can see how some people wouldn’t enjoy Rebel Belle.  Harper seems to be a love her or hate her kind of character.  Personally, I loved her, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Miss Mayhem.

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #39: a book with magic.