Review: “Rebel Angels,” Libba Bray

Review: “Rebel Angels,” Libba BrayRebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #2)
Written by Libba Bray
Published August, 2005 by Simon & Schuster
576 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Witches
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Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain...

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

Rebel Angels has always held a place in my heart as my favourite of the ‘Gemma Doyle’ trilogy. I was so eager to re-read this book and knew that it wouldn’t disappoint the second (or third!) time around. If you thought A Great & Terrible Beauty couldn’t get any better, prepare to be proven wrong.

Buddy re-reading with Hanna @ Luminous Words

Review: “A Great & Terrible Beauty,” Libba Bray

Review: “A Great & Terrible Beauty,” Libba BrayA Great & Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
Written by Libba Bray
Published December, 2003 by Simon & Schuster
403 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Witches
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It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped from the she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true. Gemma finds he reception a chilly one.

She's not completely alone, though... she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.

It's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order. Her destiny awaits... if only Gemma can believe in it.

It’s been six years since my last venture into the ‘Gemma Doyle Trilogy’ and I couldn’t wait to re-read the series from a reviewers point of view. Years on, the first installment still holds an exceptional amount of magic. With it’s complex characters and relationships, poignant writing and mixed sense of wonder and danger, A Great & Terrible Beauty survives the test of time and firmly holds on to its position as a personal favourite.

Buddy re-reading with Hanna @ Luminous Words

Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarry

I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Pushing the Limits,” Katie McGarryPushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Written by Katie McGarry
Published July, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
376 pages
Provided by Harlequin Teen Australia
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Loss & Grief
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No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins - the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket--explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

I am completely in the minority on disliking this 2012 debut by Katie McGarry. I realise this and unfortunately I can’t change it, no matter how much I wish I could have fallen in love with this book like so many other readers. I didn’t like the characters or the predictable flow of events – and I couldn’t bring myself to invest in the romance between Echo and Noah.


Review: “Tides,” Betsy Cornwell

Review: “Tides,” Betsy CornwellTides (Tides #1)
Written by Betsy Cornwell
Published June, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
304 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Selkies
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When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure.

Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning.

Full of great Selkie mythology, Tides was a promising read which also dared to tackle a lot of different issues such as same-sex relationships, bulimia and torture. While it was a book I was able to quickly read, I couldn’t find myself becoming attached to the main characters (or their relationship) and was constantly jarred by the changing of narrators.


Review: “Deep Blue,” Jennifer Donnelly

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Deep Blue,” Jennifer DonnellyDeep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1)
Written by Jennifer Donnelly
Published May, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
320 pages
Provided by Netgalley
Genres: Fantasy, Mermaids, Mythology
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Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil.

Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother.

Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

Deep Blue marks the first book in the ‘Waterfire Saga’. Though I had a few problems getting into the story, I was able to immensely enjoy the world both Disney and Jennifer Donnelly have endeavoured to create. Rich in fantasy and originality, this book is one of the better mermaid reads on offer.