Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

review

I’m not quite sure how to define this book because while it is technically a contemporary it never really FEELS like your typical contemporary YA. “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” is definitely 100% it’s own book, I’ve never read anything else remotely like it. Overall I’m very impressed with it!

PLOT

I’ve always found the cult mentality and just cults in general to be very interesting, I’m morbid like that, and I feel like this book portrays both of these things extremely well too. It’s hard to imagine people blindly following someone or something that just seems so ridiculous and unbelievable to the rest of us, which is shown in this book. I really enjoyed just how developed Oakes made her “Kevinian cult”, with the Prophet’s prophecies, his own version of a bible full of made up stories, polygamy, and even the brutality of their punishments.

The violence can get very graphic at times which not only made it more realistic, I think, but also really helped to drive the point home that these things actually happen in the world. I mean a major part of the story revolves around the fact that the main character gets her hands cut off. So if you’re the more squeamish type this book may not be for you.

However, as interesting as the cult aspects of the book are it isn’t the sole focus instead it focuses more on Minnow, her story, and how she’s learning to adapt with a way of life that goes against everything she’s been taught to believe. This is the part of the book that makes it so powerful and what makes it such an amazing read.

The ending was really the only part I had any complaint about as far as the plot went, it felt kind of anti-climatic although it was still very solid. I felt like the revealing of the Prophet’s death should have been a little more dramatic and what happens to Minnow after her story is complete a little more defined but I’m happy with the choices she made.

The pacing is a little slower and there definitely is not a ton of action but the story Minnow tells about her time with the cult is interesting enough to keep you turning pages, trust me!

What I easily loved the most about this book was Minnow’s narrative, it was compelling with some wonderful snippets of humor as well. I also loved her character in general but I’ll get to that in a bit….

Also the writing! It was just plain amazing I can’t believe this is a debut novel, Stephanie Oakes writes like a pro! I will definitely be reading more books by her when they come out.

characters

As I said a little earlier Minnow is by far the best part about this book, her narrative was amazing and she’s a very strong character especially after all she’s been through. She was complex and realistically developed throughout the story, going from believing blindly to questioning everything she’s been taught.

The side characters are also really well developed, mostly everyone in the juvenile detention center such as the other girls, guards, and teachers. I loved how the “don’t judge a book by its cover” sentiment really comes into play here as a lot of the girls have a lot more to them than initial appearances.

romance

There is a little bit of romance but nothing major, Minnow develops a relationship with an African-American boy, Jude, who also lives out in the woods. Their romance is really very sweet but at the end I was still very happy with Minnow’s decision regarding Jude.

in conclusion

Overall “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly”  is a powerful story with a message that’s easy to grasp, thinking and doing for yourself and no one else. I think that’s something we can all get behind.

What I Liked:

  • Minnow and her narrative
  • Side characters!
  • The realistic (and brutal) portrayal of cults and cult mentality
  • The overall message of the book (thinking and doing for yourself and no one else)
  • The writing
  • The side romance was sweet and didn’t take precedence over the story

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The pacing was slow at times
  • The ending felt a little anti-climatic
  • The Prophet! (even though that was the whole point….but still!)

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book if you’re looking for a unique YA read that also has a really strong message! Overall it’s just a wonderful, dark, realistic book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet

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ARC Review: The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco

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When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

review

**** Big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I was super pumped when I found out Rin Chupeco was writing not only another book but a dark fantasy book! So of course I went into this book expecting to love it since I loved “The Girl From the Well” and luckily for me I was not disappointed.

PLOT

While I was very much invested in the plot of this story I will admit that the pacing was pretty uneven it was borderline slow. It felt like this book was more so setting up for the next book than having any real action on its own. This is a book you have to be a little patient with.

I also really liked how the story was told from two different POVs one being a Bard whom an older Tea tells her life story in the present and the other being told from the past by a younger Tea. I have to say the present day Tea is very dark and mysterious and I found her to be the most interesting I want to know what happened to her to make her this way! So this does jump back and forth throughout the story between the present and the past which I thought worked really well in this book, it made the story more suspenseful and interesting, it kept me reading!

The story may not be the most fast paced or action packed but it’s still super interesting with all of the world building. I absolutely loved reading about the asha and their magic as well as the horrible monsters the daeva which were actually pretty terrifying. Reading about how Tea is such a rare breed of “witch” and watching as she comes to terms with her Dark abilities and learning how to use them was just a ton of fun.

The world building was also spot on and very creative, it provided just enough to keep me happy and withheld enough that I am interested to learn more in the next books. I loved the concepts of the magical Asha, the demonic monsters Daeva, the mythology of the world, and the different aspects of all the Kingdoms. Also the magic system was interesting as well. There was definitely no lack of world building here and at the same time there was no info dumping either.

The writing was something I had a sort of love-hate relationship with, on one hand I liked it and thought it was very beautiful but on the other hand I found it to be almost TOO descriptive at times. It did help me visualize things a little better but the in depth details got a little tedious after while, I can only read about clothes in that much description before it gets old.

THAT ENDING THOUGH! It wasn’t necessarily a cliffhanger but at the same time it left me crying because I don’t want to wait a YEAR for the next book!

characters

Overall the characters were pretty great in this book, I did feel some lacked a little development though especially the secondary characters because I would have liked some more background on them. I still got very attached to a lot of them mostly the other asha characters such as Althy and Polaire!

The more central characters were a little better such as Tea, her brother Fox, and her mentor Lady Mykalea. We got a lot more background on these characters and I assume we are only going to get more as the series goes on.

romance

I’m happy to say that the romance did not play a HUGE factor in this story, it didn’t take center stage and didn’t take precedence over the plot. Apart from that it wasn’t really developed either, once again I’m assuming it will be explored more in the next book.

There is a bit of a love triangle although without spoilers I will say it isn’t what you think it is a first, they kind of throw a red herring our way and it WILL surprise you when you get to the end. I hate love triangles and this one didn’t bother me at all!

in conclusion

Overall I was very satisfied with this book even though it did bother me a little bit that so much is left to be determined in the next books. The world building is the strongest (and best) part! I am VERY excited to continue with this series and so far Rin Chupeco has yet to disappoint me!

What I Liked:

  • The overall story was intriguing
  • The world-building was great and creative
  • The POVs between past and present was interesting
  • The ending left me wanting MORE
  • The characters were pretty well written
  • The romance didn’t take over the plot

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The writing got a little TOO descriptive at times
  • I wanted just a bit more background on some of the characters

RECOMMEND

If you’re interested in reading a dark YA fantasy I highly recommend this one, it combines all the best parts of fantasy with a little bit of horror since the monsters and sometimes the magic get very creepy. Also if you liked Chupeco’s other duology I think you’ll love this one too!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

review

 I would first like to say I read “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer a while ago and was not impressed and vowed to not read any of her works again because of the issues I had with “Cinder”. I assumed everything she wrote would all be the same, which was clearly very stubborn of me. So it’s kind of a big deal when I say that I not only read “Heartless” but really, really loved it. I have been won over!

It also may have something to do with the fact that I love Alice in Wonderland retellings…..

PLOT

For those of you who don’t know this isn’t just a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, oh no. It’s an origin story for the Queen of Hearts herself….which makes it all the more fun am I right?

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One of my biggest complaints about “Heartless” is that it’s pacing is extremely slow and a bit tedious at times. I would say this is true for about three quarters of the book and the last quarter it definitely picks up and gets REALLY interesting! This was kind of a “meh” or “okay” for a lot of the book but damn that ending completely won me over!

I have seen a lot of negative reviews for this book and their problems were with the slow pacing and the plot itself. You see the plot is mainly about Catherine not wanting to marry the King of Hearts and that’s really all there is to it which does get very repetitive and boring, I agree. However, I overlooked that because I was having so much fun with the characters and references to Alice in Wonderland. I would say the slow pacing has a lot to do with the plot not really moving in any other direction for a long duration of the story.

There’s also an inclusion of the Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater nursery rhyme which I thought was pretty neat. Just saying.

I also loved the way Marissa Meyer weaved in her Wonderland references without info-dumping us. We are, after all, pretty familiar with the Alice in Wonderland and I thought that made it all the more fun to pick out her references while reading.

The ending was my favorite part of the story because of how dark, twisted, and awesome it is! I loved seeing what happened to Catherine that turned her in to the beheading crazy Queen of Hearts we all know and I was NOT disappointed! Actually I take that back I was disappointed because with that ending I thought this was a series but alas it’s a standalone and I’m very upset…..

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I want more!

So while the pacing is slow and plot is more or less a little boring it’s still okay because this is more of a character driven book in the first place.

characters

As I said this is a very character driven book so the characters are pretty important and Meyer does a great job of making them as interesting and complex as possible. I think you can have a boring plot and the book will still be great if you do a good job developing your characters and that’s proven in “Heartless”.

Catherine is a likable enough main character she’s sweet, kind, and the most fantastic baker in all of Hearts (which made for some stomach-rumbling reading). I ended up being very sympathetic to Catherine’s cause, she wants to open a bakery and her mother wants her to marry the king and become Queen of Hearts. You can see how those two wants would conflict and I just became very invested in Catherine’s plight.

Jest, the new court joker, is also a very interesting character and also the love interest. He wasn’t particularly the best character or even my favorite character but he was very charming and a lot of fun , if that makes sense. I also really loved his bird companion Raven, who speaks in poetry and quotes Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” which was hilarious!

Hatta (aka The Mad Hatter, speaking of which the name Hatta for this character drove me insane! It’s just stupid to me and I hated pronouncing it Hatta in my head!) was also a great character and stayed pretty true to the Alice in Wonderland character. Even if he was rude sometimes…..but you’ll understand when you read his origin story which I thought was very interesting and adds a lot to your perspective of the Mad Hatter.

I, of course, have to mention how much I loved Cheshire because I always love the Cheshire Cat in every Alice in Wonderland related work. He’s just as mischievous as always!

There’s also a slew of other characters that were absolutely wonderful as well and even if we saw very little of them I still feel like they had a complexity all their own.

romance

As you all already know it takes a lot for me to enjoy YA romances since they’re usually so full of cliches. While I did catch a whiff of some insta-love at first this romance was not completely nauseating. It was a bit charming and a bit cute but overall it was just sort of okay and I didn’t mind it but I didn’t love it either.

However, the romance between Cath and Jest is a major plot point and yet it never feels like it totally takes over which is definitely a plus.

in conclusion

Overall I very much enjoyed this book even though it had a few issues I was able to easily overlook them and still end up loving “Heartless”.

What I Liked:

  • The Alice in Wonderland references and that this world stayed pretty true to the original
  • The characters were interesting and complex
  • That ending!
  • Cheshire

What I Disliked:

  • The pacing was very slow
  • The overall plot was a bit boring
  • The romance was just okay/meh

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend reading “Heartless” if you’re willing to push through the slow pacing and get to that wonderful ending but if you aren’t a fan of slow books and lose patience quickly then maybe give this one a skip.

Also if you’re like me and didn’t love “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer and aren’t sure if you want to give this book a try I strongly urge you to take the plunge! I really disliked “Cinder” and ended up not only loving “Heartless” but am now willing to dive back into the Lunar Chronicles as well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

review

Let me say this first: Not as good as “Illuminae”.

I gave “Illuminae” 5 full stars despite the minor issues I had with it and so my expectations were extremely high for “Gemina” and I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it overall. However, this book is still getting a 4 star rating because it’s still a great book despite not enjoying it as much as the first book.

PLOT

First of all the plot stays really true to what Kaufman and Kristoff did in “Illuminae” in which case I mean it’s full of action and death mostly. However, I felt like the plot could have used MORE suspense and that survival feel that we saw in the first book. I didn’t feel as…thrilled as I did during “Illuminae” my adrenaline wasn’t pumping as much (well as much as it can be while reading a book). Remember all the insane plot twists in “Illuminae”? Yeah. Didn’t really see them in “Gemina”. There were a few that I enjoyed but for the most part they were either not that great or a little bit predictable.

I did enjoy the inclusion of alien life forms in this book because come on what sci-fi series would complete without that? They were terrifying and interesting and probably one of my favorite parts about this book and I almost would have enjoyed them playing a bigger part than they did. There’s also a kind of Russian Mafia in this story too which is pretty much guaranteed to always make things more interesting. Then we have space pirates/mercenaries invading a space station and even a time paradox which may or may not be a little confusing.

The pacing of the story was a little off in the beginning of the book by which I mean it was slow and a little boring at first. I’m here for the spaceships and death! I don’t care about a teenage girl and her boy problems, damnit! Anyways, the pacing picks up as the story progresses until suddenly you’re done with the book, very much true to “Illuminae” style.

Of course we have the same awesome format in “Gemina” that we saw in the first book and even the inclusion of some of author Marie Lu’s illustrations. There’s also a few hidden things in the book if you pay close enough attention, one being the names of several other YA authors included on a list of casualties. So I thought those were some cool little treats to include for us booknerds!

I enjoyed the story at the ending the most where we got to finally see some of the characters from “Illuminae”, *cough* AIDAN *cough*. It really livened things up in my opinion.

I would also like to take a moment to discuss the thing that irritated me the MOST in this entire book and while I will not mention names I will mention a sort of situation that might be considered a spoiler soooo….

****Start of potential spoilers****

The single most irritating thing in this whole book is: HOW DEAD PEOPLE DO NOT STAY DEAD!!!! This is the most proficient way to piss me off and make me resent the character that did not stay dead. The whole entire point of killing a character off is to make us shocked and it really ruins that when they were fine the entire time! Quit ruining it!

I also feel like that twist is a little “been there done that” considering it was used in the first book as well.

****End of potential spoilers****

characters

One word for the characters in this book *ahem, cough* NOOOOOOOOOO!

Really by this I mean Hanna one of the main characters, couldn’t stand her. I thought I had issues with the characters in “Illuminae” but oh boy they look like gold compared to the characters in “Gemina”. Hanna starts out as a spoiled, entitled teenage girl and really that shows in her attitude a lot of the time. Does she develop? Yeah, I guess but she still never failed to annoy me.  I thought Hanna acted really selfish through a lot of the book, sorry sweetheart but the world doesn’t revolve around you…or your boy problems.

Nik, the other main character, I actually thought was pretty decent. He was funny and a little more down to Earth (space? space station? not technically Earth…) than Hanna was. Although his constant flirtations with Hanna were by far the most annoying thing about this book. Still liked him though.

I liked a couple of the secondary characters as well and the villains for this book were pretty intimidating which I LOVED.

Overall though I just felt that the characters weren’t all that great in “Gemina”, I didn’t feel a connection and I really could have cared less about most of them.

romance

I briefly mentioned the constant flirtations between Nik and Hanna but I’m here to say it again. This took so much away from the plot itself I thought, it wasn’t cute or funny it was just extremely irritating because of how constant they were. Seriously! I do not exaggerate! It’s happening all the time throughout the entire length of the book.

There’s also insta-love, not in it’s traditional form but it’s still kind of there. If you’ve read the book you might know what I mean and if not you’ll find out. There’s also a love triangle that once again isn’t your typical love triangle but is still technically a love triangle. Both of those things annoyed me as well….

Overall not impressed with the romance whatsoever but no real surprise there.

in conclusion

I DID like this book but it was not as impressive as “Illuminae” in my eyes. I’m hoping this is just a case of “middle book syndrome” and the next book will live up to expectations.

What I Liked:

  • The unique and fun format
  • The fast pacing (although it was a little slow to start)
  • Aliens
  • Space mercenaries
  • Time paradoxes
  • The inclusion of characters from “Illuminae”

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The thing in my potential spoilers section
  • Hanna, the main character
  • A lot of the other characters were bland
  • The romance
  • The constant flirting which was more annoying than cute

RECOMMEND

If you’ve read “Illuminae” I definitely recommend continuing with “Gemina” but I would maybe lower your expectations a little bit so you don’t end up like me. If you aren’t sure about this sequel you can always wait to binge read it when the last book comes out!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

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description

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

review

**** I apologize for the extreme tardiness of this review (almost a year!) but better late than never! As a result this will be a little shorter than usual.****


6 Reasons You Should Read “The Impostor Queen”


1.) The Magic System

This book contains one of the most fascinating and well executed magic systems I’ve ever read about, it’s simple and yet intricate all at the same time. In this world magic wielders can control either fire or ice and the only one that can control both is the Valtia (the queen) who uses it to serve the Kupari people. The thing about the Valtia’s magic is that while it makes her the most powerful magic wielder it also consumes her, the magic is so strong it can only be contained within its vessel for so long ultimately killing it.

I just really enjoyed how unique it was and also that instead of having all elements represented it’s only fire and ice and how the magic isn’t all-powerful and can sometimes be dangerous and uncontrollable.


2.) The Story

While it starts out a little slow (and slows down quite a bit in the middle) the story in this book is so suspenseful and addicting that it’s just un-put-downable. Not to mention how unique it is! We essentially start out with Elli who is going to be the next Valtia and is prophesied to be the most powerful one the Kupari have ever had. Basically the “Chosen One” trope we see a lot in YA Fantasy books but boy oh boy did Sarah Fine throw us for a loop. Turns out Elli is not who everyone thought she was because the magic does not enter her body and she isn’t going to be the next Valtia. The thirst for answers to these questions will have you turning pages until you finish, trust me!

The story also gets pretty gritty and brutal, which I loved (I’m not weird, okay?). Sarah Fine puts our heroine through hell and back and it was painful to read about sometimes but also very important and I understood why it was happening. It added a bit of shock value that I think fits in with this genre (and this book) really well.

Really my only complaint about this book is, as mentioned, the occasional slow pacing.


3.) The World-Building

Usually when reading YA Fantasy I always find the world-building to be way too lite and lacking depth, this was definitely not the case with “The Impostor Queen”. This is how world-building should be done, there’s enough information provided so you know what’s going on and so you feel completely immersed in the world without ever info-dumping.


4.) Elli, The Main Character

Elli is a fantastic, likable, flawed heroine and what she goes through in this book it’s easy to root for her the entire time. While she isn’t what I would call a badass female protagonist she’s admirable nonetheless with her courage and selflessness. I also liked the addition of Elli’s bisexuality and while it didn’t take it center stage I thought it was a nice touch and one that we rarely see in YA Fantasy.


5.) The Secondary  Characters

If there’s one thing I love in a book it’s well-developed secondary characters, which this book has! As the story unfolded I grew quite attached to a lot of them especially Sig and Oskar, the little darlings.


6.) The Romance

As I mentioned earlier there is a bit of LGTB romance in this story but it isn’t the main romance it’s more of a crush. The main romance between Elli and Oskar is adorable, sweet, and never actually took precedence over the plot. I also just ship them really hard because they’re just so sweet and both characters could use some happiness.

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 Overall this is a great book and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you enjoy YA Fantasy books!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

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No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

review

**** Big thank you to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

I could tell this was going to be a YA mystery/thriller that I would love and I definitely was not wrong! From the first page I was hooked and every time I had to set this down I could not wait to pick it back up again because I needed answers! “This Is Our Story” is a fantastic, compelling book but I did have some minor issues with it which is why it didn’t receive a 5 star rating.

PLOT

I won’t talk about the details of the plot too much because I definitely do not want to spoil anything for you all since there are more than a few twists you won’t see coming!

My attention was immediately grabbed right at the beginning of the story I was instantly drawn into the mystery of what happened to Grant (the boy that was shot) and who did it. This story is extremely fast-paced and trust me when I say you’ll be turning pages until you reach the conclusion!

I also loved that I didn’t figure out who did it until it was revealed at the end because the plot gives you just enough information without actually giving anything away. The story is told from two perspectives one from Kate who works as an intern in the DA’s office and the other from the shooter but we also get perspective through the use of interrogation videos and old text messages. All of these things added so much atmosphere and suspense to the book.

One of my gripes about the plot were that I thought SOME parts were a little predictable and that’s just a personal opinion, it’s frustrating for me to guess something and have it take the main character forever to come to the same conclusion. However, these were just some minor things and not any of the major plot twists I definitely didn’t see the big ones coming.

The other problem I had was the ending was that, while it was satisfying and made sense and the shooter’s identity was a still a surprise, was that I thought it was just sort of anti-climatic. There wasn’t some completely crazy, mind-blowing ending to the story like I kind of thought there would be. Like I said though that’s just my opinion and it could be completely different for you if you read it!

characters

The characters were very well done and I liked them and hated them by which I mean the good kind of hate of course. I also thought they were very well developed, complex, and realistic.

I really liked Kate I thought she was a very smart and determined heroine and I thought her narrative was very fun to read through.

The friendship between Kate and her best friend Reagan was very well portrayed as well and even though it wasn’t a big focus in the story I appreciated seeing a strong, loyal girl friendship.

The River Point boys were also very well depicted and I liked how flawed they were all shown as being. I won’t elaborate too much on them since that’s part of the joy of reading this book!

romance

Meh, the romance was okay and I liked that it wasn’t too big of a factor in the story too.

One thing that actually bothered me a lot about these two (I won’t say who the other is because spoilers) was that I felt at times Kate put her romantic feelings over doing what was right for the case she was helping on. That irritated the living hell out of me! Like hellooooooo I think the confidential information for the case your working on is a little more important than your crush!

This was another reason I didn’t give a full 5 star rating, stupid decisions, while I respect that our heroine is flawed I thought the complete lack of common sense at times was a little too idiotic.

in conclusion

I enjoyed “This Is Our Story” very, very much despite having just a few minor issues with it. I thought it was a great fast-paced, suspenseful, and thrilling book!

What I Liked:

  • Great plot twists
  • Unpredictable ending
  • Interesting narrative style
  • Fast pacing
  • Complex characters

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Some predictable minor twists
  • The ending was kind of anti-climatic
  • Romance had some irritating points

RECOMMEND

Absolutely! I think this book would actually be enjoyable for pretty much anyone who likes YA there’s nothing about it that I think wouldn’t appeal to everyone. I would say if you like very original, fast paced YA mystery/thrillers then you’ll definitely love “This Is Our Story”.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

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When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

review

****Warning: Do Not Read This Book When You’re Alone!****

“Daughters Unto Devils” is one dark, twisted, and creepy book. It takes quite a bit of creativity to write a book that actually scares the crap out of people especially in the YA genre but oh man does Amy Lukavics do a fantastic job here! If you’re an avid horror fan who loves gore and terror galore then strap in because you’re in for one Hell of a ride!

PLOT

The story starts out very slowly and it does take quite a bit of patience to get to any of the creepy parts but they’re there I promise!

We are first introduced to Amanda, our main character, who is the eldest of five children and whose parents are strict Christians. So you can only imagine Amanda’s fear and worry when she discovers that she is pregnant by the post boy who wants nothing to do with her or their baby. Along with the burden of her secret pregnancy Amanda learns that her family plan to move away from their cabin in the mountains and find a homestead on the prairie in order to avoid a brutal winter this year.

As the story progresses we also get flashbacks of the previous winter when Amanda’s mother and baby sister, who was born deaf and blind, almost perished and Amanda supposedly saw the Devil in the woods. Combine these creepy flashbacks with the current gruesome situation on the prairie and you have some spine-tingling chills! I won’t give away anymore because of spoilers!

So in case none of that grabbed your attention here’s a few things that might convince you that this book is truly horrifying and to give it a try:

  • An Abandoned, Blood Soaked Cabin in the Middle of Nowhere
  • The Devil
  • Demons
  • Man-Eating Pigs
  • Creepy Scarecrows

Need I go on? This book is loaded with TONS of horrific things that will have you sleeping with the lights on for a while after reading! There is most certainly a wonderful mix of quiet, psychological horror as well as good old fashioned jump scares!

The plot and story do get a bit muddled and confusing towards the end but that is what makes the book so terrifying: the unknown. I certainly was satisfied with the way it ended as well although it was left open and little bit up to one’s imagination.

characters

There is also an astonishingly great amount of character development too, we definitely get a lot of it with Amanda herself. She is constantly feeling conflicted with her thoughts and the way she was raised, it made for a very interesting narrative. Amanda overall was a very complex and interesting character.

We also get a fair amount of insight into the personalities of Amanda’s entire family as well mostly her sister, Emily, and her parents. As for a few other extra characters we don’t get much but complexity but they do add to the story in their own ways.

in conclusion

Overall this book was amazing and we should definitely have more YA horror books like it!

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What I Liked:

  • Many, many different terrifying things going on
  • Great character development
  • Creepy setting (isolation is terrifying after all!)
  • Very fast paced when you get about half way through the book

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Slow paced beginning
  • The story had a lot happening towards the end and left a bit of confusion

RECOMMEND

Yes! If you’re looking for a great, terrifying, and quick read for Halloween then definitely check this book out!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy