Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blogoversary Giveaway Winner

There was 567 entries for my blogoversary giveaway, wow!! Thats crazy!
Thanks to all of you who follow BelleBooks, without you this wee blog wouldn't still be running!

So the winner is:

Monday, February 27, 2012

In My Mailbox (Feb 20th-26th)

I was planning to make a video today, I'm really sorry but I just haven't had the time!
So here are the books I got this week:


Summer (Beautiful Dead #3) - Eden Maguire
Phoenix (Beautiful Dead #4) - Eden Maguir
Forbidden - Syrie James
Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2) - Amanda Hocking
Hollow Pike - James Dawson
Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World - Derek Landy
Night School - C.J. Docherty
Heaven - Christoph Marzi
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
First Grave on the Right (Charlie Davidson #1) - Darynda Jones
A Midsummer Tights Dream (Tallulah Casey #2)- Louise Rennison
Someone Else's Life - Katie Dale
Fever (Chemical Garden #2) - Lauren DeStefano

Both are signed copies sent to me by Courtney!
Every Last Kiss (Bloodstone Saga #1) - Courtney Cole
Soul Kissed (Moonstone Saga #1) - Courtney Cole

1000 Follower Giveaway Winners!

There was so many entries for my 1000 follower giveaway, you guys are awesome!
All winners were picked via!

And the winners are:

UK Prize Pack #1
Soul Screamers books 1-3
A Haunting Violet Totebag, a Stolen Away Makeup bag and Vampire Academy goodies!

Winner: Hanna @ Booking in Heels

UK Prize Pack #2
Unleashed by Lia Habel, Dearly Departed by Nancy Holden and Debbie Viguie
A Haunting Violet Tote bag and a Stolen Away Makeup bag and Vampire Academy goodies!

Winner: Erin Taylor

UK Prize Pack #3
Desert Angel by Charlie Price, Prisoner of the inquisition by Theresa Breslin
a Haunting Violet Tote bag and a Stolen Away Makeup bag

Winner: Ninfa Sferlazzo-Hayes

UK Prize Pack #4
This dark endeavour by Kenneth Oppel
a Haunting Violet Tote bag and Stolen Away Makeup bag

Winner: Nina @ Death Books and Tea

UK Prize Pack #5
The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith
 a Stolen Away Makeup bag

Winner: Debra's Book Cafe

UK Prize Pack #6
A Stolen Away Makeup bag
Bookmark Swag

Winner: Books for Company

Now for the international prizes:

International Prize Pack #1
Signed Copies of The Fire Wars and Fire Stones by Kailin Gow

Winner: Siobhán @ TotallyBookalicious

International Prize Pack #2
A Signed copy of Shadow Light (Beautiful Beings #3) by Kailin Gow

Winner: Liz @ Fictional Candy

International Prize Pack #3
A Signed copy of Saving You Saving Me by Kailin Gow

Winner: Stephanie Verhaegen

International Prize Pack #4
5 e-books
Callum & Harper - Fisher Amelie, Ethereal - Addison Moore, Fairy Metal Thunder - J.L. Bryan, Unnatural Law - Natasha Larry, Secrets - Liz Schulte

Winner: Kristina Caden

International Prize Pack #5
A book of your choice from The Book Depository up to the value of £6!

Winner: Alivia Anders

Congrats to all the winners, emails will be making their way to you all soon!
Remember I still have my 1 year blogoversary giveaway happening at the moment!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Raising Demons (Hex Hall #2) - Rachel Hawkins

Raising Demons (Hex Hall, #2)Name: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Release Date:  2010
Date I finished it: 23rd Feb 2012
Source: Bought

Raising Demons is the second book in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. 
I started reading this one right after finishing Hex Hall, I was actually pretty glad that I had it to hand as I wanted to continue on with the story.

Raising Demons follows Sophie as she learns and try to deal with her family secret, she is in fact a demon. One of only two in the world, the other being her father. She is also trying to come to terms with the fact that her friend is dead, murdered by the ghost of her grandmother and the boy she has a crush on is actually a member of The Eye, a group whose sole purpose it is to destroy witches, fairies, vampires etc. Sophie is toying with the idea of going through the removal, which will either take her powers away completely, leaving her scarred for life. Or it will kill her.
And if that wasn't enough to deal with Sophie's father who is the head of the council and who she has never met before shows up at Hex Hall, offering to whisk her away to London for the summer.
Anyone else's head spinning yet?!

Even though this is a bit of a complex book and there is a lot going on, it does all seem to fall into place. Trust me it does!

I loved getting to finally meet Sophie's dad. We had heard bit and pieces about him in Hex Hall, especially with him being head of the council. He is pretty much exactly like I imagined him, think of a younger version of Giles from you get the picture!

I liked the new setting for Raising Demons, the house in England sounded amazing, I wanted to move in there!
It was really neat seeing everyone in the house using magic so openly, especially when it is kind of frowned upon by the teachers in Hex Hall.

This series is really starting to grow on me even more with this book, I gave this one 5 stars.
Mostly because of all the witty banter going on with the characters, honestly there were some moments this book had tears streaming down my face with laughter! Which is something a bit odd when you think that at it's core it is a YA paranormal book. Who said paranormal can't be funny at the same time?! The one thing that will stick in my mind probably forever is Bad Wolf. If you've read the books you'll know what I'm talking about!

After saying that Jenna was my favourite character in Hex Hall, I've done a complete turnaround this time and in Raising Demons Sophie is my favourite character! Although she does act young for her age I felt in this book she has grown up quite a lot. She proves herself time and time again to her friends and family who aren't too sure if they believe in her yet and she stands up for what she believes is right.

The ending of the book left me completely shocked! Authors should not be allowed to leave a book on a cliffhanger ending ever! I'm so glad that I recieved an advanced copy of Spellbound because I picked that up as soon as I finished Raising Demons.

Extra scene from Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins posted this on her blog last month and I've only just come across it.
On her blog it does state that this is free to share, so I thought I would.

This is a scene that takes place during the first book, Hex Hall when Sophie and Archer have one of their afternoons in the cellar sorting out magical items.

"In Which Our Heroine Finds Herself In a Compromising Position in the Cellar. Again."

“Well, this is...awkward.”

I glared at Archer as I once again tried to yank my hand free from his. “ 'Hey, Mercer! Let's try on these enchanted rings! I'm sure putting pieces of magical jewelery on is nothing less than a totally stellar idea! After all,-'” I broke off to blow a hunk of hair out of my eyes, “it's never ended badly for anyone before!”

Now it was Archer's turn to scowl. “Okay, I would like the record to show that that was a truly terrible impression of me. And secondly-,'” he made an attempt at wiggling his fingers, but they stayed laced in mine- “you didn't have to put one on. There was no peer pressure happening here.”

Sighing, I braced my foot on one of the lower shelves and tried once again to untangle my fingers from Archer's. Our hands stayed fixed together, but Archer stumbled forward, practically falling on top of me. Flustered, I pushed him back with my other hand even as he grinned.

“You know, Mercer-”

“Shut up.”

“You don't know what I was going to say.”

“Something snarky that's also vaguely suggestive?”

Archer mulled that over for a bit. “Actually...yeah. Nice one.”

I rolled my eyes. “Awesome. Does your brain have other uses besides crafting the perfect comeback? Anything in there about these rings or how me might break the spell?”

Rubbing his chin with his free hand, Archer said, “Nothing in my brain, but maybe something on the papers?”

Ah, yes. The papers.

We were supposed to be doing inventory in the cellar, so both of us had clipboards listing all the magical junk down here. Mine was on the shelf nearest the cellar steps, while Archer's was wedged between two glass jars on a shelf a few feet away. I was pretty sure I'd seen something about rings on my clipboard, so I moved toward the steps.

Unfortunately, Archer chose the same moment to go for his clipboard in the totally opposite direction.

Our magically joined hands pulled us up short, and once again, we stumbled into each other. 

As my cheek collided with Archer's surprisingly solid chest, I got a whiff of laundry detergent. It was the same soap I used to wash my uniforms- Mrs. Casnoff was big on us not using magic for menial stuff, so we all had to do laundry like regular people- but somehow, on him, it smelled....different. Better. 

“Whoa,” Archer said, catching my shoulder to steady me. For a moment, his hand lingered there and our eyes met. Archer's were so brown they could look black, and right now, his gaze seemed especially dark. 

Clearing my throat, I stepped back as far as our hands would let me and nodded toward my clipboard. “I think I saw something about rings on my list.”

He was still watching me. “Hmm?”

I knew my cheeks were red, and his hand felt very hot in mine as I lifted it, waving our clasped hands together. “Rings? The ones we need to get off right now?” I looked away, like I was studying the silver bands really intently as I added, “Not sure how your girlfriend would feel about us being joined together for all eternity.”

I felt a little jolt go through Archer's arm. “Elodie,” he said, like he'd just remembered she existed. 

“That's her name,” I agreed. I held out my free hand. “About this tall? Red hair, gorgeous? Evil in human form?”

Archer shot me a wry look and batted down my hand. “Okay, okay. So we'll go for your list.”

Together, we walked over to the shelf and Archer held the clipboard while I flipped through pages, scanning the inventory. “Rings, rings, rings...Fangs, no. Necklaces, close but not quite...ooh, apparently there are some bracelets in here that will make you the owner's prisoner for life, so the next time you go on a jewelery trying-on kick, let's try to avoid those...aha! Wedding rings, Matthew and Isabella Foster, witch and warlock, early 17th century.”

I looked up at Archer. We were wearing wedding rings. The thought filled me with a weird mix of conflicting emotions. Embarrassment, for sure. Somehow, the fact that these rings were wedding bands made this whole thing more awkward. But I also felt kind of...giddy. 

They are rings, you moron, I told myself. Cold little pieces of metal that belonged to other people and have absolutely nothing to do with you and Archer. Please to get a grip. 

“What kind of freaks would wear wedding rings that permanently joined their hands?” I asked, trying one last time to free my left hand from his. “I mean, I get that marriage is a binding thing, but this is just stupid.”

But Archer had his eyes closed, frowning in concentration. “No, I read something about those two. They're famous for...something.”

“Maybe for being co-dependent freaks?”

Archer didn't open his eyes, but his lips quirked. “That's probably part of it, but...right!” He snapped his fingers. “They were the ones who first introduced the whole betrothal thing.” 

All witches and warlocks were betrothed sometime in their teenage years. The person your family picked for you was usually based on things like complimentary powers, but you didn't necessarily have to go through with a betrothal. Or at least that's what I was hoping, seeing as how Archer was pretty sure I was betrothed to someone, and I wasn't all that sold on the idea of marrying a stranger.

“So these rings...,” I said, raising my eyebrows.

“Weren't their wedding rings. They were used to help the Fosters make matches.”

I glanced down at our hands, still tangled up together, fingers laced. I had no idea what to say except, “Oh.”

I thought I felt Archer's grip tighten a little. “Apparently, the rings think we would be a good match.”

The words hung there in the air, joining us as surely as the little bands of silver. Finally, Archer made a sound somewhere between a snort and a laugh. “Which just goes to prove that these things have clearly broken.”

I laughed, too, both out of nervousness and relief. “Right. Apparently sitting on a shelf for three hundred years screwed up their magical matching mojo.”

Archer's fingers twitched in mine as he smiled at me. “God, can you imagine? Me and you, all...,” He waved his free hand, “coupled up?”

“Totally ridiculous,” I muttered, shaking my head. 

“Insane,” he added, dropping his gaze to the rings. To our hands.

“The worst idea in all of Bad Idea Town.”

Archer's shoulders lifted a little, but he didn't laugh. Neither did I.

Just when I thought the silence might actually break me, Archer kind of shook himself and said, “Anyway, now that we know what they are, they should probably be pretty easy to get off.” 

He raised our hands, pulling them close to his mouth. For a second, I thought he was going to kiss my hand, and I went a little dizzy. But instead, he spoke directly to the rings, his breath warm on my knuckles. “Um...hey, little guys? While we appreciate your efforts at matchmaking, this fair lady and I have no desire to be paired up. I amgrateful you picked a girl who matches me in sarcasm,so nice job on that front. And I know she appreciates you finding her an incredibly hot stud such as my- ow!”

Rubbing the spot on his chest where I'd shoved him, Archer scowled at me and continued, “Anyway, Rings, thanks but no thanks. So if you could un-stick us now, that would be great.”

There was a barely audible hiss and the silver heated up. Archer's sucked in a breath through his teeth and I winced as the rings glowed hot. And then, just like that, our hands dropped free. 

Archer shook his wrist while I cradled my hand to my chest, flexing my fingers. 

“Well,” he said at last, flashing me a grin. “Yet another adventure to add to our long list of Weird Things That Have Happened To Us In The Cellar.”

There was a loud click from above us as The Vandy unlocked the door, signaling the end of Cellar Duty for tonight. I grabbed my clipboard with my left hand, hoping that might erase the feeling of Archer's palm still pressed against mine. 

“That was the last one,” I told him as we headed up the stairs. “After that and the thing with the gloves, and that time you killed a pixie-,”

“It was already dead!” he insisted, but I ignored him. 

“I am done having adventures in the cellar. The rest of the semester is going to be adventure-free.”

We were at the top of the stairs now, pausing in the doorway. Archer turned to me. He was still grinning, but there was something different in it now. Something that made my knees feel a little watery. 

“Now that would be a disappointment,” he murmured. 

And with that, he was gone.

Review: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) - Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)Name: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Release Date:  2010
Date I finished it: 23rd Feb 2012
Source: Bought

I want to start this review by saying I have had Hex Hall sitting on my bookcase for over a year. It was one of those books where I kept thinking I'll get around to it one day. Well I finally got around to picking it up and I could almost hit myself for not reading it sooner, much sooner!

Hex Hall follows 16 year old witch Sophie Mercer as yet another one of her spells go wrong and this time she is being shipped of to Hecate Hall. A sort of reform school for witches, warlocks, werewolves and fairies.
By the end of Sophie's first day at Hecate Hall she has almost been attacked by a werewolf, made three enemys in the form of some very powerful dark witches, has a crush on the hottest boy in school and a vampire for a room mate. Could things get any worse for Sophie?

I loved Hex Hall! I'm probably being super bias here though. Give me anything to do with witches and boarding school and I'm in heaven. I think that comes from growing up on Harry Potter. I was hooked on Hex Hall from page one, I read it in one sitting and literally could not put it down!

Rachel Hawkins writing grips you and pulls you into the story right alongside Sophie and her friends. 
The setting for the book is perfect, a hard to reach, practically deserted Island in the middle of no where, hello  something is definitely going to happen to shake things up at this school! 

I loved the divide between the different races, witches, werewolf, fairy and vampire. You can really see how tense the situation is between the different races and how much they all don't want mixed there together at Hex Hall.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of the different magical classes at the school, all we really get to see in Hex Hall is their equivalent of gym class. Which by the way involves a lot of fighting action!
The teachers there all have their own little quirks and charms, which I think is awesome. It shows how well thought out the characters are for this series.

I think Jenna is by far my favourite character in this book. The things that come out of her mouth just cracks me up half the time! She has been though such a horrible and tragic past, but yet isn't looking for pity or sympathy at all. Just for people to accept her for who she is.

Overall, I loved it! If you haven't read it yet I would really try to pick it up soon!

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