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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Playing Catch Up! Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

Playing Catch Up has really been helping me through my ever growing TBR list. I'd like to welcome all other blogs to participate too! If you do, be sure to post your links in the comments section. I'd love to see your Playing Catch Up Reviews, and I'm sure others would too!! *wink*

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Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever. 

Miss Mayhem is the second book in the Rebel Belle series by Rachel Hawkins. I loved the first book, and this one was good too, but it felt like it was just getting us ready for the final book. Many things happened, but it kinda dragged too. Alexander starts a whole aspect to the plot line that ultimately left me wondering: "Why? What was the point of all that?" I'm still hooked on these characters though. I love Harper's character. David is still swoony, even if he's starting to worry me a little. No! I can't tell you why! I like the team they have. These are some fun characters, and I'm excited to see what happens next.

Chapter 1

“THIS IS going to be a total disaster. You know that, right?”

There are times when having a boyfriend who can tell the future is great. And then there are times like this.

Rolling my eyes, I flipped down the visor to check my makeup in the little mirror.

“Is that your Oracle self talking, or your concerned boyfie self?”

David laughed at that, twisting in the driver’s seat to look at me. His sandy blond hair was its usual wreck, his blue eyes bright behind his glasses. “Seriously, you have got to stop calling me that.”

The visor smacked back into place with a snap as I smiled at him. “But you are an Oracle,” I said with mock innocence, and now it was his turn to roll his eyes.

“You know which term I was objecting to.”

The windows in David’s car were down, letting in the breeze as well as the faint smell of beer and the pounding bass coming from inside the Sigma Kappa Nu fraternity house across the street. It was getting late, and there were a million places I would rather have been, but I had a job to do tonight.

Still, I could mix a little business with pleasure. Leaning over the seat, I tipped my face up so he could kiss me. “It’ll only take a sec,” I promised once we parted. “And besides, this is what we’re supposed to be doing.”

David’s lips were a thin line, and there was a little wrinkle between his brows. “If you’re sure,” he said, and I paused, hand on the latch.

“What do you mean?”

David pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “This whole changing-the-future thing. Sometimes I wonder . . . like, what if you can’t change the future, Pres? What if you’re only delaying it a little while?”

My hand fell away from the door as I thought about that, but before I could answer, a loud bang from the front of the car had us both jumping.

Two dark-haired guys in polo shirts and pastel shorts chortled as they walked past, their faces washed out in the glow of the headlights. “Nice car, asshat!” one of them shouted before they did some kind of fist-bumping move that made me want to bump my fist, too.

Right into their faces.

At my side, David heaved a huge sigh. “Well, if we’re supposed to be fighting evil, I’m not sure guys like that qualify.” He turned to look at me, one corner of his mouth lifting and making a dimple appear in his cheek. “Although I am a little more excited about watching you pound them into a pulp now.”

I settled back into my seat, fussing with my hair. “Hopefully there won’t be any need for that. I’m going to get in there, get the twins, and get out. And you won’t be watching anything, since you need to stay in the car.”

David scowled. “Pres—”

“No.” I turned back to him, the streetlight overhead outlining him in orange. “There’s no way those guys will let you in. Because you’re . . .”

Wearing an argyle sweater and lime-green shoes, I thought to myself. “A guy.”

He was going to argue again, I could tell. That V between his eyes was getting deeper and his knee was jiggling, so I hurried. “You’ve already done the Oracle thing, so let me do the Paladin thing, and then we can get the heck out of here as quickly as possible, okay?”

Not even David Stark could argue with that, so he gave a terse nod and leaned back in his seat. “Okay. But please make it fast. This place is already starting to have a bad influence on me. I feel the need to buy polo shirts and shorts. Maybe some Man Sandals.”

Grinning, I unbuckled my seat belt. “Anything but Man Sandals! Although, not gonna lie, a polo shirt wouldn’t be a bad addition to your wardrobe.”

David made a face at me and tugged at the hem of his sweater. “This is a classic,” he informed me, and I leaned over to give him one more quick kiss.

“Sure it is.”

Across the street, a group of boys came stumbling out the front door of the redbrick Sigma Kappa Nu house, one of them breaking away to puke in the azalea bushes.


“Abigail and Amanda, the things I do for you,” I muttered as I got out of the car, shutting the door behind me.

Pushing my shoulders back, I did the best I could to saunter across the lawn, projecting confidence while also trying not to draw too much attention to myself. That’s why I’d picked this dress. Should things get . . . out of hand, “girl in a black dress” wasn’t all that memorable of a description.

The door to the frat house was hanging open as I approached, thanks to the puking guy and his friends, so I was able to slip inside unnoticed.

If the bass had been pounding from outside, it was like a physical presence in the house, rattling my teeth and starting an immediate headache behind my eyes.

And the smell . . .

Beer, boy, old pizza, and carpet that probably hadn’t been cleaned since they’d built this place back in the sixties.

Ugh. Frats were the worst.

But I was here on a mission, and I switched my purse from one shoulder to the other as I scanned the crowd, looking for Abigail and Amanda’s twin blond heads.

A few months ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead here. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are some fraternities worth hanging out with, but Sigma Kappa Nu was not one of them. These were, on the whole, big dumb party boys, and I was not into that. At all.

But back in October, I’d killed my history teacher with a shoe, and everything had changed.

It turned out I was a Paladin, a kind of superpowered warrior, charged with protecting the Oracle, aka David Stark, aka my new boyfriend. Being an Oracle meant that David could see the future, which obviously made him a pretty valuable commodity to a lot of people. And not good people, either. The Ephors were a group of men who had owned Oracles for years, using their visions to get ahead in the world. To predict the outcome of everything from wars to financial investments. Because David was a male Oracle, the Ephors had wanted to kill him—the only other male Oracle had been nowhere near as powerful as the traditional female ones, plus he’d become super unstable. But David had been rescued by his first Paladin, a guy named Christopher Hall, and by his Mage, Saylor Stark.

I hadn’t exactly done a bang-up job of protecting David at first—people had died, including Saylor, and David had undergone a spell that gave him stronger powers than ever. Not only did he have much clearer visions, but also, he’d been able to make Paladins, giving the same powers I had to a group of girls at Cotillion. Oh, and did I mention my ex, Ryan, was our new Mage? So, yeah, complicated, but we were all trying to make the best of things.

That’s part of why I was here, walking carefully among plastic cups and Ping-Pong balls, dodging puddles of beer. Before she’d died, Saylor had told me there was a possibility of David becoming a danger to himself, that the world-changing, super-intense visions would “burn him up.”

Ryan and I had only helped him have two of those big types of visions. The first one, in the newspaper room at our school, had started a fire in a trash can, and short-circuited every computer in there. The second had resulted in David staying home for nearly a week, his eyes glowing brightly, his head aching. After that, I decided we should start small. Besides, it’s like my mom always says: Charity begins at home.

What better way to use David’s powers than to check on the futures of friends and family, and see if there was anything I could do to help them should those futures turn out not so great?

So far, we’d kept my Aunt May from accidentally using salt instead of sugar in a batch of brownies for the Junior League bake sale (an act that would have gotten her kicked out of Junior League), and we’d saved David’s friend Chie from forgetting to save the final copy of The Grove News to her hard drive.

And now Abigail. Her future would take a hard left turn tonight when she met some douche-y frat brother named Spencer. They’d date for the rest of Abi’s high school career, then she’d marry him instead of going to college. From there, David hadn’t been able to see much more, only that Abi’s future with Spencer felt “sad,” and would lead to her and her twin, Amanda, becoming estranged.

Saving people from future earthquakes or volcanoes seemed daunting—not to mention almost impossible to get people to believe—but keeping a friend from falling for the wrong guy? Oh, that I could handle.

Provided I could find Abigail, of course. A set of French doors opened into a big backyard, and I headed in that direction, hoping to see the twins. As I kicked a crumpled Bud Light can out of my path, my phone vibrated. Pulling it out of my purse, I saw it was a text from David. “This is how I feel about fraternities right now.” Underneath was a picture of him pulling the worst face—nose wrinkled, mouth turned down in a huge frown, eyes narrowed. I smiled, unsure of what was funnier: the picture itself or the idea of David Stark taking a selfie.

“Goofball,” I texted back before sliding my phone into my purse and stepping outside.

A giant keg had become a sort of fountain in the middle of the yard. Two boys were holding another guy up by his legs so he could attempt the dreaded keg stand, and I sighed, wondering what the appeal of these dudes even was.

And then, thank God, I saw two identical blond heads close together by a cluster of coolers.

“Abigail! Amanda!” I called, making my way over to them. That involved stepping over more beer cans, and at least two unconscious dudes, and I frowned. Ew.

The twins both raised their eyebrows at me, surprised. “Harper? What are you doing here?” Abi asked. She wore her signature fishtail braid loose and over one shoulder, while Amanda’s hair was pulled back from her face with two little clips. They were both wearing red dresses, so I was glad the hair made it easy to tell them apart.

I gave them my sternest look, propping my hands on my hips. “I should ask the two of you that. Now come on. We’re leaving.”

This is a secret I learned from cheerleading and SGA. If you act like you’re in the right, people will fall in line without really questioning. I’d never bothered to come up with an excuse as to why I was looking for the two of them at Sigma Kappa Nu, and it wasn’t like I could say, “My boyfriend has psychic powers, so tonight I’m saving one of you from a terrible future.” Instead, I relied on two years of being their head cheerleader to make Abi and Amanda follow me.

And it worked.

They both studied me for a minute. Abi screwed up her mouth like she might argue, but Amanda shrugged and took her twin’s arm with a muttered “I’m over this place anyway.”

I made my way toward the French doors, pleased. That had gone so much easier than I’d—

A figure suddenly reared up in front of me. “Whoa, whoa, little lady, what’s the rush?”

The guy who blocked the doorway looked a lot like my ex-boyfriend, Ryan. Tall, nicely built, reddish hair that was just a little too long. But while Ryan’s smile was charming, this guy’s was smarmy, and I was not in the mood to deal with him right now.

“We’re leaving,” I said, smiling but saying the words firmly enough for him to know I meant business. “My friends are ready to go.”

“No, I’m not,” Abi said, one strap of her red dress sliding off her shoulder. Amanda kind of shook her head, too.

Man, what I wouldn’t have given for Ryan and his mind-control powers right about now. But all I had were my powers of persuasion, which I thought were still pretty great.

“This place is super gross, Abi,” I told her, gesturing around at the crushed cups on the lawn, the stained couches inside, the random depressions knocked into the walls by heads or fists, “and if your parents knew you were here, they’d die. Heck, you’re not even related to me, and I kind of want to die. Now let’s go.”

But Frat-enstein over here was still looming in the doorway, arms braced on either side of the frame, a red plastic cup in one hand. “‘Super gross’?” he repeated. He pressed a meaty paw over the Greek letters on his shirt, and his blurry eyes tried to focus on me. His cheeks were red, and his nose was kind of shiny. Honestly, what did Abi even see in a guy like this? “Sigma Kappa Nu is the best frat on campus.”

I snorted. “Please. Alpha Epsilon is the best frat on campus. You guys are the biggest frat on campus, and that’s because there’s so many of you without the grades to get into decent fraternities. Now get out of our way.”

He was blinking down at me, like my words were taking a while to penetrate the haze of beer and dumb that clearly clouded his mind. Then, finally, he slurred, “You’re super gross.”

“Zing,” I muttered, turning back to Abigail and Amanda with eyebrows raised. “Can we please go now?”

Amanda nodded this time, thank God, but Abi was still chewing her lower lip and looking at the guy. “It’s not even eleven,” she said, fiddling with the end of her braid. Now the guy was looking back at her, blinking, and, ugh, this was going to be harder than I thought. “I mean, we could stay for a little while.”

Biting back a sigh, I made myself smile at Abi. “No, we can’t. Now kindly get out of our way . . .”

“Spencer,” the guy offered with a flick of his hair. “And I think your pretty friend is right—she could stay for a while.”

There was no real danger here, but everything in me ached to go super Paladin on Spencer’s fratty butt. And then, thankfully, he gave me the chance.

His hand came down on my shoulder, hard enough that I actually winced. “Hey, there—” was as much as he got out before my fingers curled around his hand, holding him in place while my other hand shot out, heel of my palm smacking him solidly in the solar plexus.

He let out a whoosh of air that smelled like stale beer and sour apple Jolly Ranchers, making me wrinkle my nose even as I hooked my foot around his ankle and sent him crashing to the ground. The dude was built like a tree, so he went down hard, and I didn’t give him the chance to get up again. Still clutching his hand, I pressed my shoe to his chest and slid my fingers down to circle his wrist. I only had to pull the littlest bit before he whimpered. And, I mean, I didn’t want to break his wrist or anything.

I just wanted to scare him a little bit. It occurred to me that once upon a time I could do that with a mere icy smile or an eye roll. These days, things were a lot more . . . physical.

“When a lady says she’s ready to leave,” I told him, applying pressure, “she is ready to leave. And you do not get in her way. Is that clear?”

When he didn’t answer, I gave another little tug that had him nodding frantically. “Right, yes. I’m sorry, I—I won’t do it again.”

I tossed his hand down, dusting my palms on the back of my skirt. “I would hope not.”

Lifting my head to the twins, I saw them watching me with mouths agape. Luckily, most of the party was still outside, so only a couple of guys—also dressed in the maroon and blue of Sigma Kappa Nu—saw me with Spencer, and they were so drunk that they barely noticed me.

I glanced back at the twins. “Self-defense class,” I told them with a little shrug. “Now can we please go?”

Spencer was sitting up now, holding his wrist and watching me with wary eyes, but I saw Abi hesitate before following me out of the room, and I wasn’t sure if I’d done my job here tonight or not.

“You’re not the boss of us, Harper,” Abi said once we were out of the frat house and marching down the front steps toward the street. She’d grabbed her cardigan off the back of a chair on the way out, and was shoving her arms into it, scowling.

Then why are you following me? I thought.

What I said was, “I’m just looking out for you. That’s what friends do.”

“Abi’s right,” Amanda said, and they both stopped there at the edge of the yard. “We’ve all known you were a control freak, but this is kind of nuts.”

I stopped then, turning to glance between them, wishing their words didn’t . . . bug.

It was too close to what David had said when I’d first come up with this idea. “People have to live their lives, Harper,” he’d said.

But, as I’d reminded him, what was the point of having superpowers, superpowers he could actually use now—safely—if we didn’t, you know, use them?

“Ladies,” David said with a little wave, and they both scowled at him.

“What is he doing here?” Abi asked, and I rolled my eyes.

“He’s my boyfriend. He drove me here, obvs.”

The twins were looking at David’s car like it might give them a disease, and while I was irritated, I couldn’t really blame them. David’s Dodge was a total clunker, full of dents and dings and scratched paint, and . . . the truth was, I might have done some of that damage myself during a car chase last fall, but the point was that it barely looked drivable. I didn’t know why David insisted on hanging on to that thing. He still had his aunt’s car, and while Saylor’s Cadillac was of the old-lady variety, it certainly wasn’t in danger of having its engine drop out.

Abi opened the back door, delicately kicking a stack of books off the backseat and onto the floor. David winced as the books fell, and the corners of his mouth jerked down as he cut his eyes at me.

However, when Amanda tossed his ratty messenger bag out of the way, he twisted to look into the backseat. “Hey,” he started, and then he winced.

I wondered if Amanda had pushed his bag onto something and broken it—there was no end to the random stuff in David’s backseat—but then I felt my own chest seize up in pain, and knew we were in for something way worse.

A vision.

But those didn’t just pop up the way they used to. David’s powers were under control now. Thing was, David didn’t know that me and Ryan were using the wards to keep his powers under control. But it was for his own good. The smaller visions didn’t leave him sick and shaking.

Or looking so scary.

“What the hell?” one of the twins squawked from the backseat, and David fumbled with his door handle, shaking his head.

“David,” I said, reaching across the car to grab his arm.

Fingers closing around the handle, David shoved the door open, spilling out into the street.

Check out my review of the first book in this trilogy!

Rachel Hawkins is the author of Rebel Belle and the New York Times bestselling series Hex Hall. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English for three years before becoming a full-time writer.

To learn more about Rachel Hawkins and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on GoodreadsTumblr, and Twitter.

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