Just A Bite Reviews

Don't mind me~ A mere youngster still trying to find herself. Music, books, and long nights spent writing are my crutches. I'm a picky, picky girl, and my reviews may be scarce, but they are heartfelt. Check out my blog at keyonnacp.wordpress.com


Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) - Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

I am most definitely not reading the second book, and when I tell you why, you're going to hate me. Probably. You'll get over it. Probably not.


[ T h e  I n f o ]


Title: Rebel Belle

Series: Rebel Belle, Book 1

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publiser: Speak, Reprint Edition (3 March 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0147514355

ISBN-13: 978-0147514356

Availability: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound |

Synopsis: 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.


[ T h e  R e c a l l ]


Looking back, none of this would have happened if I'd brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.


That is the first line of the first chapter. It's a beautiful opeing, and Hawkins had me hooked the moment I set eyes on the period.


After a perfect view into the perfect life Harper Jane Price has and a heatless argument about why her Coral Shimmer lip gloss is obviously better than her bestie's poorly named Salmon Fantasies lip gloss, Harper sucks it up and marches her stylish self to the girl's bathroom to apply the latter.


And it's while she's applying the lip gloss in the lady's restroom that the school janitor stumbles in, delirous and bloody. He locks them in the bathroom, and then slides to the ground in a bloody heap. He's obviously running from something. But what?


He haltingly asks Harper to help him stand, and she helpfully obliges. They make it to the bathroom stall doors before he collapses again. And in the midst of his final breaths, he crushes his lips to Harper's -- and breathes into her his powers as a Paladin.


The bathroom door is hacked to pieces as the janitor's murderer steps in, weilding a long sword. After searching the janitor's body, he turns on Harper. She's seen too much, and now, she must die. He attacks her -- but she parries him easily, surprising him with her battle prowess and gaining the upperhand and knocking him out.


Just as she thinks the battle is finished, he grabs her by her hair and swings her into the bathroom sinks. She collapses, and he kicks her in the stomach, and while she struggles to draw in just a single breath, he rants and raves.


And as he swings his sword up to end her, she plants her pretty pink heel in his neck, effectively (and stylishly, I might add) ending him first.


After this, more life-threatening shenanigans ensues as Harper struggles to keep her secret -- and her charge -- safe.


[ T h e  R e v i e w ]


So I am about to light this thing on fire! Adele has had a great affect on me, so let's hop to it!


The Good

The best thing about this book was the beginning. The way the book opened was designed with the readers in mind, I tell you. The opening wasn't face-paced, but it was tense and held a great promise of the havoc that was about to be wreaked on poor Harper Jane.


The cover -- I love the cover so hard, it's probably not funny, but I just chuckled like crazy when I typed that. I love how clean cut and stylish the cover is. I also happen to like (and own) knives and pearls. We obviously know what that means.


Descriptions! The descriptions were great and vivid, and I loved every single second of them; from objects to situations to places and settings to characters--speaking of which.


The characters -- I actually fell in love with each and every main character. Particularly David. As a snarky person myself, I can tell you that I'm also sadly a little friendless. But, back on track, the character development was strong and consistent. Our characters were always changing -- no behavior was inconsistent and character was given too little or too much "screen time". Each character that helped progress the story was important in their own way, and Hawkins did an absolutely beautiful job of (secretly) communicating that.


The Bad

There were only two things that I actually hated about this book. (Wow, that turned ugly quick.)


1.) The villian.


The villian was crazy, scheming, and totally earned the glorious ending she gave us. #PerfectCreeper


But seriously. My only problem her is that the villian is quite obviously *bleeping* insane. My problem was that there was no . . . rhyme or reason to it. You know? Like there was nothing to beget or explain the craziness. Maybe it's better that way, but it really ate at me.


2.) The perfection of the whole *bleeping* thing.


Don't look at me like that. I warned you it was coming.


When the book ended, everything had a place. Everything has a reason for it'd happened, and even the cliffhanger had been slid in there so perfectly, that I couldn't find a single flaw with it.


I always, always say, "I like my endings wrapped up nicely, in a bow, and without having to leave the readers guessing." Well, obviously I'm a dirty *bleeping* liar because that's exactly what Rachel Hawkins gave me, and I am completely disgusted by it.


There's not a single thing I can remember that felt out of place. Not a single action or situation that wasn't begetting in some way, shape, or form and handled beautifully and/or appropriately.


I guess I would have to say that my biggest problem is that, all throughout the book, Harper is a complete mess. Everything is a complete mess, and Harper can barely tell left from right as her life spirals down the drain.


And then the book ends perfectly, with a neat little bow on top and a cliffhanger that's already caused me to bite four of my nails down to the quicks.


Am I the only one who has a problem with this?


I have a very big problem with how this ended so perfectly, and I'm not completely sure why. It just seemed so out of place when everything had been such a maelstrom of misery for Harper before then. It seems like there should've been something . . . off.


Harper's life eats dirt the night of prom. Everything then spirals so far out her control, she's almost getting seasick from how much her life is spinning. The battle at the end of the book was epic and full of pain and sorrow. And in the midst of it all, this pefect little ending rises from the ashes of Harper's life, like a Phoenix reborn, and now it lives to pester me.


Quite frankly, how everything fit together so well was almost anti-climactic. I feel like such a hypocrite.


[ C o n c l u s i o n ]


Rebel Belle - End

You're going to gawk at your computer screen when you read this, but I kid you not, I am so disgusted with this ending.


Everything ended perfectly, and the cliffhanger is absolutely perfect -- and I'm disgusted with all of it.


Have you ever seen something so perfect that there must be something wrong with it? But you can't exactly point out what's wrong? Lord, love me, but I'm about to have a conniption over this.


Review coming up soon, my lovelies.

I snuggled in closer, and said, "I have a lot of stuff going on right now."

From Brandon's lap, Bee giggled. "You always have a lot going on, Harper. It's, like, your thing. When you die in a hundred years, they'll probably write on your gravestone, 'Here Lies Harper Price--Damn It, She Still Had Stuff to Do!"

Rebel Belle (ch.26, pg. 231); Harper and Bee

It was a tone I'd never heard David use . . . . He sounded steely and grown-up, and threatening. . . . .

But this was DAVID STARK. The only threatening thing about him was his toxic level of obnoxiousness.

Rebel Belle (ch. 22, pg. 206); Harper on David

Reading progress update: I've read 189 out of 384 pages.

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

I didn't think I'd be so interested! Now, I can't put the *bleeping* thing down!

David's grin slowly faded and his fingers fiddled with the edge of his T-shirt, pulling it up over his bicep a little. Since when did David Stark have biceps? How did you get any muscle tone when all you did was type and be annoying?

Rebel Belle (ch. 20, pg. 187); Harper on David

Rebel Belle - Ch. 15, pg. 147

Oh, silver lining, how I've awaited you!!!

"Are you insane?" I hissed.

"I told you we'd talk today," he whispered.

"Right. Talk. Like normal people, not . . . skulking around in the broom closets."

"Skulking? Really?" David raised his eyebrows, and even in the dim light, I could see that smirk forming.

"First of all, I'm not taking crap . . . from the guy who uses 'egregrious' in every article he writes. And secondly, this"--I gestured to the cluttered shelves, the cleaning products, the damp mops--"definitely warrents the use of skulkuing."

David heaved a sigh. "Fine. We're skuling. And since the bell rings in five minutes, we need to skulk fast . . . ."

Rebel Belle (ch. 11, pg. 111); Harper and David

"Oh, don't worry about it," I said, trying to sound normal even though all I really wanted to do was run inside the garage and try to lift my dad's SUV. You know, for scientific purposes.

Rebel Belle (ch. 4, pg. 45); Harper to Ryan


Darkest Fear (Birthright #1) - Cate Tiernan

Darkest Fear - Cate Tiernan

I happened to finish Cate Tiernan's Darkest Fear before I decided to jump on Rebel Belle, so I decided to go ahead and review it. So let's jump right in!


[ T h e  I n f o ]


Title: Darkest Fear

Series: Birthright, Book 1

Author: Cate Tiernan

Publisher: Simon Pulse (7 January 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1442482451

ISBN-13: 978-1442482456

Availability: Amazon | B&N |

Synopsis: Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy—and may be her downfall—in this start to a romantic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Vivi has known the truth about her family—and herself—since she was thirteen. But that doesn’t mean she’s accepted it. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar?

Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with her parents’ shocking, devastating deaths and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead—but so do dangers unlike anything Vivi ever could have imagined.


[ T h e  R e c a l l ]


Darkest Fear begins a little boring for me, and reads about as normal as a non-fiction novel. The proverbial Sugar Honey Iced Tea doesn't actually hit the fan until, a few chapters in, when Vivi and her parents are celebrating her eighteenth birthday and are suddenly interrupted by a hauguri, a person who shifts into a jaguar. *interest spikes*


To make a long arc short, Vivi's parents are murdered, and our heroine is left in the Everglades Forest of Sugar Beach having the panic attack of a life time. The cops are called, an investigation is launched, Vivi is taken to the hospital, and it's safe to assume that, in this world where her parents no longer exist, she hasn't the faintest idea which way is up anymore.


Vivi is steeped in regret -- for she, too, is hauguri. But she'd fought her parents so hard; she didn't want to be hauguri. She wanted to be normal -- and this is where her Tia Juliana (her aunt on her mother's side) made me love her.


"Everyone is different," Tia Juliana said calmly in her accented English. Her hand stroked my hair again. "There are people with six fingers on each hand. People who have super, innate abilities. Savants. There are people who have no conscience, who can kill others without caring." Her voice trailed off, but she took another breath. "People with injuries or illnesses that make them different. People who can't have children. People who are extra brave, people who are extra smart or extra pretty or extra something else. What is normal? What does it look like?"


It was the simplest, most beautiful explanation of how different, beautiful, and "normal" we all are in some way or another. But I digress.


After this encounter, Tia Juliana flew back home to South America and Vivi was left wandering in an empty house that had been filled with life and love a mere few days before. Through a series of events, Vivi discovers an envelope with the name Donella (whispered by her mother as she died) and address and follows it to New Orleans. Most of the story takes place there, and it becomes quite obvious that Cate Tiernan is a resident of NO.


Here, Vivi discovers a cousin she never knew and his closeasthis fiancee. They become connected and emotionally invested, and so begins the process of Vivi finding herself.


[ T h e  R e v i e w ]


For all the ranting and raving I'm about to do, I did actually really enjoy the book, and would readily read the second installment (if it were available). But what's a review without opposing viewpoints??


The Good

The character development was really good. I enjoyed watching Vivi go from a sniveling mess to a strong, beautiful haugura. The others characters were diverse and lovable as well.


The settings were described well.  I'm really big on descriptions and such, and I was sufficiently content with how Tiernan described the vibrant, scenic nightlife of New Orleans.


Feelings and internal dialogue were great! As I said, I'm really big on descriptions and such. When I see a sentence or even a word that inspires great imagery or feeling in the reader(s), it just makes my heart soar.


One thing I really liked (I used both italics and bold, so you know I'm serious) was that when Vivi shifted, her thought process turned into that of an animal. There were no commas, no periods, and no sense of time. There was Vivi, her jaguar, and sunsets and sunrises.


I start to move


My paw breaks a twig the deer takes off it bounds eight feet it is panicked it zigzags through trees it turns sharply it knows this land


But i am a jaguar


Within twenty seconds I knock it to the ground I do not play with it I kill it instantly its skill is fine and delicate under my heavy jaw it does not suffer


I am exhilarated


Tell me that's not awesome!


The Bad

Alright, I left out 2 crucial details (and 2 of my biggest annoyances): the love interest (Rafeal) and the bestie (Jennifer).


The bestie is my least favorite character, quite honestly. In the midst of Vivi's life shifting on its tiny access, Jennifer's life is also "shifting" -- in that, while Vivi is distraght and distracted by grief, Jennifer is going to a college that she hates and suffering her parents' orders. It's not made clear exactly what Jennifer is dealing with (*mild annoyance* on that one), but it's clear that it's obviously affecting her greatly -- a few times, Vivi notes that her besdtie looks tired, worn out, and seems to have lost some weight.


My biggest problem with Jennifer, however, is that it seemed she insisted on Vivi being her constant. They'd planned out this fabulous college life together (the wardrobe and even the greatest distance Vivi could achieve from her overbearing parents), but it had all been destroyed because, in the midst of her grief, Vivi no longer wanted to attend college. Vivi's life took a completely different route than either of them had planned, and when Vivi began building a life in New Orleans, Jennifer had no problem expressing her disagreement. Which upset me greatly.


It seemed to me like Jennifer wanted Vivi to live in Sugar Beach, Florida and wait for her to come home. She couldn't live in New Orleans and come visit when Jennifer was home; no, she had to live in Sugar Beach. Perhaps I got too personal with the book, and that's why I've written 3 paragraphs on my mild annoyance with Jennifer.


But yes. Jennifer annoyed me. She kept struggling to keep Vivi from changing just so she'd feel comfortable. Even though Vivi's life had already changed so drastically.


Another uber-annoyance of mine was Vivi absolutely refusing to contact her Tia Juliana.


Vivi's mother and her aunts apparently had some kind of falling out, where it ended up in on sister (Donella) basically being wiped from the family history. So when Vivi's parents die, through a series of events, she discovers Donella and tracks down her address, and discovers that Donella and her husband were killed in a "car crash" a year before. BUT their son is still alive and well (with his girlfriend and living with friends).


Vivi has to decide whether or not to tell her mom's other sister (Juliana) that she's found out about Donella. And in the grand scheme of all the shit hitting the fan, there are a few crucial questions that Juliana can answer.


The annoying part? Even when the situation turns as serious as it can get, not once does Vivi contact her aunt or even think of contacting her. NOT ONCE, my lovelies. Seriously? So risking death is better than risking a little wrath from your aunt? Who may very well want to know that her sister is dead?


And lastly: the love interest.


Now, Rafael was a great character. He was almost critical to Vivi's character development, and quite frankly, I liked the hunk I imagined when Tiernan described him.


But. There's a certain level of silliness and outright stupidity I allow for MCs in books, and Vivi just barely tipped toed the threshold here. I'm telling you.


There were so many hints that Rafeal was hauguri. SO. MANY.


The 2 biggest ones I saw were:


1.) He painted himself as a Jaguar


2.) When Rafe went missing (as his awful grandmother hinted he had), Vivi, Aly, and Mateo went to find Suzanne and James and also ended up finding a mysterious hauguro.


Who no doubt knows that Vivi is working at this nifty place called Ro's that he's managing *snicker snicker*


The two biggest hints that the universe could've conjured up, and Vivi was too stupid to see them. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in an MC. It wouldn't be so horrible if Tiernan hadn't went to such lengths to stress how focused on Rafe Vivi always was. If she was so "focused" on him, you'd think she could've taken a hint or 10.


[ C o n c l u s i o n ]



I turned and looked in the mirror. My face was still gray, my eyes were still huge, and the crown looked fake and stupid.

I burst into tears.

All four girls wrapped me in a group hug, and at first I thought they were comforting me, that somehow they understood that I'd had a terrible night, and that I had thought I'd killed a guy, but actually, I was just going insane, and seeing that EFFING crown on my head had been the final straw.

But then Abigail squealed, "Oh, sweetie, I know! It's, like, a dream come true!"

Rebel Belle (ch. 4, pg. 41); Abigail to Harper

Rebel Belle, Pg 12

The preppy tone is almost coming off as prissy and annoying; it's also becoming quickly evident that whatever earth shattering event is going to bring Miss Harper Price out of her traditional, semi-bourgeois little world will. Be. Epic.


Hawkins is making Harper entirely too perfect. And that never ends well.

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

So, I had to pause in reading the Virals series. I love a good suspense as much as anyone, but Lord love me, I just can't take all the plot weaving that Kathy Reichs cooks up.


So let's get pink, shall we?

[ x X x ]

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.

[ x X x ]

I've never read anything from Rachel Hawkins, but I'm pretty excited about this, and I fully expect for her to make good on her promise of "snappy banter". I'm a sucker for some good banter and an absolute nutjob for some raging sarcasm.


Quick Hi

Just wanted to say hi before I started posting :)


Currently reading

Exposure: A Virals Novel by Kathy Reichs, Brendan Reichs
Progress: 104/448pages