Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray

Title: Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale
Author: Ramona Wray
Publisher: CreateSpace
Like most girls at Rosemound High School, seventeen-year-old Lily Crane is acutely aware of Ryder Kingscott. Hands down the cutest guy in school, Ryder is cool, mysterious, and utterly untouchable…especially for Lily. For when she touches someone, Lily instantly learns all about their lives. And while such a skill might seem nifty, in truth it is wrecking Lily’s life. So she is shocked when Ryder asks her out — and even more shocked to discover he has a rival. Lucian Bell is the gorgeous new kid who can’t take his eyes off of Lily. Being pursued by two hotties should make a girl happy, but Lily is skeptical. The boys act as if they’ve met before, hating each other with a passion that could only be rooted in a dark, dangerous past. A past full of terrible secrets. The kind of secrets that could get a girl killed.

My Thoughts: Hex is a novel that's hard to write a review of because, on one hand, there were quite a few things I had problems with and yet, on the other hand, it kept me fully captivated, despite being sick in bed with pneumonia, which is not an easy feat.

My main issue with the novel was that a lot of it felt very cliché. Even the summary is very similiar to a variety of other novels out there - the guy a girl's been crushing on finally takes an interest in her and suddenly another boy shows up too and chaos errupts. However, I decided to look past that because 1.) I felt like the witch aspect of the novel would make it a little more interesting and I wanted to know what kind of secrets were being kept. Many of the clichés I was worried about did show up, like the relationship between Ryder and Lily. There were also many times I wanted to slap Lily for being so ridiculous.

Another thing that bothered me was that there were a few sexual scenes that were just very awkward. I felt like they didn't quite fit in with the novel and they definitely took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting them and the way they fit into the Lily/Ryder relationship just made me want to slap one of them.

However, these things aside, I really found myself enjoying Hex. There were quite a few things that kept me intrigued and guessing, especially when I thought I'd figured everything out. I love when novels do that. Ryder and Lucian are both much more complex than they seem to be and I didn't figure out who was good and who was bad until the very last page, which still took me by surprise.

I think that fans of Fallen by Lauren Kate will definitely enjoy this one. It's not for someone looking for a completely original paranormal but if you want a fun but captivating read, definitely give Hex a try. Personally, I'll be looking for future novels by Ms. Wray - I think there's room for nothing but improvement in her writing and I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm Home!

This is kind of a belated post but I'm back from Guatemala! For those that didn't know I was gone (I had so much to do before I left, I never got around to putting a post up), I was in Guatemala from March 25-April 3 on a school trip. It was quite honestly the BEST thing I've ever done. Ever. Words can't even describe how amazing it was. But, I thought maybe some pictures could do it better than I could.

When we got to the school, an assembly type thing was held. Most of the classes performed difference dances for us that depicted the traditional Guatemalan lifestyle. The Bilingual Secretary students, pictured above, welcomed us first in English, then in Spanish, and then in Quiché, which is the language of the native local Indians, which was extremely cool. We spent a lot of our time working with their class and helping them with their English.

The above is just a shot of the school from the second level. The center is where the students have their gym class, recess, and free time. The school is a work in progress - they're working on adding another level and a few other buildings to it.
The night we arrived in the town we'd be staying at, there was a Quinceañera, a girl's 15th birthday which is a HUGE deal in their culture, at the hotel we were staying at. It was an honor for us to be invited and even though it was really long and involved a lot of people speaking things I didn't understand, it was also REALLY cool. The cake in the picture was made by the girl's MOM.

We also took a detour to the ancient Mayan ruins, which made the history geek in me fangirl. The top photo is where they used to sacrifice to virgins, the second picture is the view BEFORE we hiked way up HIGHER, and the bottom is me standing where they used to play their ancient sports. Our host is an anthropologist (I think that's what they're called, anywhere) so he knew TONS. It was awesome.
At the end of our week, we took a trip to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan, which is THE most gorgeous place I've seen in my entire life. The photo above was taken from along the road. You can see the volcano in the background with the steam coming out of it. SO beautiful.

Before we left the school, we went around to say our goodbyes to all of the classroom. This is me with either the second or third grade class. All of the kids were so great - we couldn't walk through the halls without a bunch of them running out of class and clinging to us. The teachers were great about it, too.
We had our own personal cook, whose house we went to every night for dinner. One night, she made tomales (sp?) for dinner. They're a traditional food and take FOREVER to make and are usually saved for special occasions. They're also possibly the best thing I've ever tasted.
After the students left each day, we spent the afternoon painting their classrooms. We put different designs in each of them, along with Bible verses above their boards.

So that's a glimpse in to my trip! It was absolutely the most amazing 10 days of my lives and I did NOT want to come back to the States. I'm still craving the perfect weather and the people and the amazing things that we did every day. I'm most definitely planning on going back, hopefully to teach English someday.

I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who helped me make it on that trip, whether it was through the T-shirt promotion, blog promotion, or just a general donation. There is absolutely no way I could've gotten there without that support! So thank you so much!

Thursday, April 7, 2011