Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mini-Reviews: School Spirits and Shades of Earth

I have gotten behind in reviews the past year since beginning college and I figured doing some mini-reviews would be the perfect way to share some quick thoughts on those titles I never got around to fully reviewing. Enjoy!


School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Release date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 297
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Series: Book 1
Source: Publisher
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads 

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.
Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? 


I am a huge fan of the Hex Hall series, so I was beyond excited when I found out Rachel Hawkins was writing a spin-off about Izzy. While I did enjoy this one, it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Izzy was a fun and likable heroine. Her family history of hunting magical creatures leads to her sister's disappearance and from there Izzy's life changes forever. She starts attending a new high school and quickly learns that there is something dark plaguing the students there. While Izzy expects to figure out the problem and prove herself to her mother, she does not expect to make close friends and meet a cute, but unique, boy. I enjoyed the mystery angle of this story and watching Izzy navigate her new life. She was a character I could root for and I liked how different the secondary characters were- it made them stand out a lot. While I did enjoy School Spirits, some things felt a little rushed to me, particularly the ending. I also found myself not as engaged in the story as I would have hoped. For such a short read this one took me awhile to finish. The characters and plot were fun, but the rushed pace and lack of connection I felt to the story at times left me disappointed. Hopefully news of the sequel will be released soon because I think this series does have the potential to develop into something better.


Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Release date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 369
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Book 3
Source: Publisher
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


I can easily say that this is one of my all-time favorite series. I devoured Across the Universe, A Million Suns, and Shades of Earth and was left feeling quite sentimental when I turned the last page in this action-packed and romantic trilogy. Just when things seem to be working out for Amy and Elder and the rest of the passengers aboard Godspeed, they land on Centauri-Earth. The joy of reaching their new home is quickly shattered when the planet reveals it's darker side. Nature is attacking them and it seems they are not the only ones calling the planet home. I think this was definitely the most intense read of the series, especially because I was so attached to the characters at this point. Amy and Elder are put to the test over and over again and I was worried they might never find happiness. Beth Revis is an incredible writer and story-teller and I am heartbroken that this series has come to an end. I don't want to give anything away, but if you read and enjoyed the first two books in this series you will love this final addition to what is easily one of my favorite new series. I can only hope Beth's next offering will offer up such brilliant plot twists, lovable and strong characters, and sweet romance as the Across the Universe series did. 


  1. I need to check out both of these books! Thanks for these mini-reviews!

    1. I definitely recommend the Across the Universe series!

  2. Loved the crap out of the Across the Universe trilogy! I STILL have not written a coherent review for Shades of Earth, just for the sheer fact that there are way too many things that need to be said... and whoa my God. Just, that series. Definitely one of my absolute favourites so far. I'm not even surprised by how much I still remember of what happened in that book, because I was fully absorbed in it.

    1. I'm so glad you loved that series as much as I did- SO AMAZING!

  3. I'm probably going to read Shades of Earth next; I adore the first two books in the trilogy so far and I imagine I'll love Shades of Earth just as much. Good to see you enjoyed it! :)


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