Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.
Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.
**** Huge thank you to Soho Teen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****
Trigger Warnings: Racism, Homophobia, Victim Blaming, and Statutory Rape
Sadly I was more than a little disappointed with this book especially since I’m always up for YA Horror books! Unfortunately this isn’t really a horror book, in my opinion it’s exactly like “Night at the Museum” with slightly creepier things running around. I was expecting to be creeped out and scared a lot more than I was but it still managed to hold my attention for the most part, so there is something to be said for that.
The story starts out pretty slow with the set up since we are introduced to each character through their own perspective, which got to be too much to keep track of at times but they did have their own unique voices so it was manageable. After the characters are FINALLY in the Boulder House things start to get a little more fast-paced and a little more interesting as well. They must all now work together in order to escape this house of horrors but may not be able to manage it since they are all harboring secrets they wish to remain hidden.
I thought the “secret” aspect to the plot was pretty interesting since a lot of these kids had some pretty odd secrets but this is where a lot of the trigger warnings I mentioned come into play: racism, homophobia, and the victim blaming/statutory rape (which was the worst one) and that’s why the kids chose to keep their secrets. I won’t spoil any of it but just know that the majority of the plot twists have these triggers in them and they can be a bit over whelming.
As far as the rest of the plot went I just felt like it was a mess, honestly what the heck was even going on? These kids went from room to room and everything got weirder and weirder as they progressed through the house! There’s whales, unicorns, centaurs, vicious angels, and all kinds of odd things that they come across. It just felt like the plot was “trying too hard” to be entertaining and it just came off being strange and messy.
Then there’s the writing….it felt really immature. Granted it is told from the perspectives of high schoolers and I’m sure Atwood was aiming for a younger crowd but it was just too much for me. The phrases “douchemunch”, “asstroll”, and “fuck-a-doodle-doo” show up way more times than I’d like to count, do people actually talk like this? It really got on my nerves while reading.
The characters are all high school students and all fit into various tropes: shy girl, popular/mean girl, goth girl and her boyfriend, and the jock. They all act accordingly as well, aside from their secrets but as I said I’m not spoiling them! Aside from the fact that they all couldn’t be more different they do try to stick and work together, which I liked since it would have been very infuriating for them NOT to in the situation.
I also liked the dash of diversity among the characters since we do have a lesbian character, bisexual character, and African-American character.
Other than that I didn’t really care about any of them and their dialogue and actions could get really annoying at times, as I mentioned when discussing the writing.
Another really messy aspect of the story: the romance. Every character got in on this too which is why it got to be too messy and too much overall.
There’s a couple that starts out a couple but one is bisexual and doesn’t care for their significant other anymore, one is secretly gay and has a crush on another character, one is head over heels for their significant other, and two other characters secretly have crushes on each other but won’t admit it.
Too messy, right? I thought so.
My thoughts on this book overall were that it was way too messy and I was very disappointed. However, I did finish reading it so points for that.
What I Liked:
- Managed to hold my attention
- Relatively fast paced
- Bit of diversity in the cast of characters
What I Didn’t Like:
- Plot was very messy and over the top
- The writing and dialogue were very immature
- Overly complicated romantic sub-plot
This just wasn’t my cup of tea and that disappointed me. There just weren’t enough horror elements for me to seriously consider this a horror book and everything was too messy and downright weird.
Once again it’s time to review some books I read last year (whoops) that I just couldn’t get my thoughts straight on at first, but at long last here they are!
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.
“Paper Princess” is definitely not my usual cup of tea but holy crap was this addictive and entertaining as hell! This is probably one of the most unexpected surprises for me as far as books go and I didn’t know how to review it for the longest time thus the mini review instead of a full fledged review. Also while the characters are in high school this seems a little more mature than your usual YA so it could be considered more NA than anything.
The pacing is ridiculously fast and there is non-stop drama and twists, never a dull moment with this book! Considering this is a book all about a girl who was stripping to make ends meet and is suddenly dumped into the lap of luxury with tons of gorgeous dudes, this book is very fun but shouldn’t really be taken too seriously. The writing and story were just so addictive (sorry I keep using the same word but it’s the only way to properly describe it!).
Of course as much fun as I had with this book there were still quite a few issues with it such as implied sexual assault, slut shaming, and just how sexist the boys treated Ella for a majority of the book. This may be hard to get past for a lot of people so I’d like to toss this all out there.
I really liked Ella as a character, she’s full of spunk and can take care of herself. All of the Royal boys are spoiled and honestly act like such assholes sometimes, however, as flawed as they are I couldn’t help but find them very mysterious and enjoyable as well. Especially Easton, I loved him sooooo much more than the main love interest Reed! Speaking of Reed I really didn’t like him all that much but the romance is pretty steamy and that says a lot since I usually strongly dislike romance books!
This book will definitely not be for everyone but if you’re looking for a fun, fast read you don’t have to take too seriously than this is it. I also think it’d make a great summer read!
It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.
Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.
This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.
But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?
I really, really wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t do it! It was all just so ridiculous and unbelievable, I wanted a mystery/thriller dammit not this!
There were some plot twists along the way but they just kept getting more and more insane, they were not good twists either. I honestly don’t know how this book could have gotten any weirder than it did in the end. I’ll tell you right now that this really isn’t the mystery thriller it’s made out to be and it’s more sci-fi than anything….not even a good sci-fi either. Nothing in the plot was believable and it all felt really forced.
The characters also made zero smart decisions the entire time! For example: Wylie and Jasper decide to trek across state lines alone to find Cassie and not tell any authoritative figures at all (seriously they ignore all parents and police officers here) and also Wylie suffers from agoraphobia but miraculously manages to just up and leave her house to go look for her friend who has become very distant over the years like it’s no big deal.
Overall my thoughts can be summarized into these three words: weird, ridiculous, and annoying.
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.
Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse
I have really mixed feelings about this book since I did enjoy it but it also didn’t live up to all I thought it would be.
Overall I thought the premise and the concept for the ViSEs were absolutely fantastic, I mean how can something like “Vicarious Sensory Experiences” not be awesome? Although I really wish there had been a bit more of these and more action like there was at the beginning and the end of the book. The mystery of Winter’s sister was interesting but I still wish it hadn’t overtaken so much of the plot and left more room for some real action. I definitely did not see those twists coming though!
Winter was a decent heroine she was very strong but also broken, however, considering what she went through when she is younger it’s definitely understandable. I really liked how developed and fleshed out her character was. As for the secondary characters, I did like Jesse but overall they were all pretty forgettable.
I did enjoy this book and I’m kind of curious to see where the sequel goes but I just wasn’t as blown away with this one as I thought I’d be.
As stated in the title of this post these are VERY overdue and I apologize for being so lazy! But here they are! These are books I read last summer that just didn’t make a huge impact on me, I felt there wasn’t enough to justify full length reviews.
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
I really wanted to love this story and I really want to love Holly Black’s books in general as well. Sadly this just doesn’t seem to be the case as her writing style doesn’t suite me at all.
I thought the premise, the potential world building, and the whole “fairy prince eternally sleeping inside a glass coffin” thing to sound very, very interesting! Unfortunately those are really the only good things I have to say about this book, I found the execution to be very poorly done.
The world building, such potential! It could have been amazing with all of the fae, monsters, and magic! Sadly it was extremely lacking and completely underdeveloped I was left feeling more confused than when I started the book initially. I wanted more information to be provided because the world building easily could have been this book’s strongest point.
The overall plot was extremely messy and as I’ve already said, confusing and underdeveloped. The pacing was slow and I gave into boredom many a time, this book came close to a DNF.
The characters were “meh”. Not terrible but also not memorable in any way, much like this book in general. Was it horrible? No, I can see why it appeals to many other people. Was it bad? Yes.
The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.
As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
This book. This book! Easily one of the worst books I have ever read, seriously, not over-exaggerating here! First of all don’t ever, ever, ever compare anything to “Gone Girl” unless you’re going to deliver! This was nothing like “Gone Girl” and frankly I’m insulted by even seeing the words “Gone Girl” anywhere near this book!
This is, yet another, YA mystery/thriller book and guess what? It’s just like all of the others. There is absolutely nothing new or original about “Beware That Girl” and it’s honestly just the same old overdone YA thriller plot. The plot twists? Please. What plot twists? Everything in this story was so over the top, ridiculous, unbelievable, and messy. Not to mention it’s all so obvious. I was here to be thrilled, dammit!
Side note: that ending is honestly laughable it was so ridiculous.
I wanted something dark and gritty with messed up and twisted characters! I didn’t get ANY of that! The characters were just underdeveloped and silly! Plus abuse being used as a plot device in very poor taste? No thank you!
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
This book is so, so hyped and of course me being me I had to at least give it a try. Plus it’s so short! I can’t pass up short books, it’s a weakness! I digress though. As I said this is a very hyped book and was it as good as everyone says? Yeah, sort of. Was it as bad as a lot of other people say it is? Meh. Overall my thoughts are that this was a decent book that is the perfect 3 star rating, right down the middle.
As far as the plot goes I have to say I was left feeling slightly confused about the whole thing, maybe a re-reading would help me out I don’t know! However, I did NOT see that twist at the end coming at all I was truly blown away! Honestly though that’s one of the only parts that stuck out with me.
The characters were all just kind of okay, I felt very disconnected from them but I suppose what else did I expect from a bunch of spoiled rich kids? That’s the part that bothered me the most was how much these kids wallowed in their privilege and how “beautiful” the whole family is. Boring and dislikable.
So as I said, I’m really split down the middle with this book. I enjoyed it while reading but other than that it wasn’t anything special to me.
When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.
Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.
As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .
If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?
There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.
****Thank you to Random House Kids for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review****
This was a big disappointment for me since I was expecting to really love this book, honestly, it was just sort of a big mess. This book is basically one big insta-love romance that just so happens to be in a fantasy world….
The overall premise of the story is interesting and, come on, who doesn’t love the promise of dragons? Unfortunately the ONLY interesting thing in the story were the dragons and even then they weren’t that great. Other than that the plot was boring more than half the time and it was predictable, NOTHING new or original at all.
Everything that happens in this story is too convenient and entirely unbelievable even for fantasy. Princess Sorrowlynn is unskilled in anything not necessarily even very clever and yet an event in the story MAGICALLY makes her so. Really? You had to magically make your character skilled and clever? She couldn’t have any skills beforehand or slowly develop some? Needless to say the rest of the plot was similar with everything falling into place conveniently rather than with any work.
Generally I don’t mind the writing in stories but this was…..terrible. The dialogue was cringe-worthy and way too simplistic, overall it didn’t feel like I was reading Young Adult but more like Middle Grade because of how immature the writing felt. This was one of the bigger issues I had with this book which just goes to show the writing can really make or break you, in this case it broke it.
I can’t really tell you why I felt compelled to finish this book other than I was a little curious to see where the story would go since I had no idea what direction it was going in but also because I wanted to give a full review on this ARC. Honestly I think the only truly interesting parts were with the dragons and their “treasure”, that was it.
One other random thing that bothered me is the Antharian people are essentially a rip-off of the Dothraki from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. They have dark, tanned skin, long black hair which represents their status as a warrior, they come from grasslands, and they are known for their love of horses. I’m sorry but that is EXACTLY what the Dothraki are!
Overall the story is bland, boring, unoriginal, and unexciting. I had to skim through some parts because I was so bored and could have cared less what happened to anyone or anything.
All of the characters are very flat and two dimensional, there’s virtually NO development whatsoever especially since what development there is is done over the course of minutes rather than slow, realistic development over the course of a few days or weeks. I didn’t like any of them!
Princess Sorrowlynn is NOT a badass, fantasy heroine so if you’re here for that you will not be finding it! She’s unskilled and honestly makes some very drastic, stupid decisions such as choosing to be fed to a dragon over being married to a “barbarian”. She also turns out to be quite the “special snowflake”….
Golmarr is one of the Antharian princes and was kind of interesting but he, too, makes stupid decisions. For one, he made Sorrowlynn believe she would have to be a sister wife to his brother and would she would not be treated well which ultimately made her choose the dragon. What a great guy!
The rest of the characters were just as boring and badly written, I’m sorry but I cannot get behind characters that have dialogue this painful to read through!
Insta-Love to the max! I haven’t seen it this bad in a while but this is pure, 100% insta-love folks. The romance feels so forced too and there is zero chemistry between the characters but that can be just because the dialogue isn’t that great. No slow-burn romance here at all.
I did not like this book and I’m really sorry to say that since I was really looking forward to this book. There was nothing in here redeemable for me so it’s a bit of a total loss.
What I Liked:
- The dragons and their interesting concept of treasure
What I Didn’t Like:
- The writing was awful including the dialogue
- The characters were flat and undeveloped
- Everything in the plot was way too convenient
- Major insta-love
I can’t say I’d recommend reading this since there are so many better YA Fantasy books out there.