Book Review: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

review

**** Trigger Warning: Descriptions of Abuse, Sexual Abuse, and Suicide****

I was actually pretty excited to read “The Roanoke Girls” since it sounded like the perfect dark, gritty, and twisted mystery/thriller but boy was I wrong. This was super disappointing because it wasn’t any of these things….well it was twisted just not in the way I was expecting as it wasn’t shocking, just gross and also pretty boring.

PLOT

I absolutely love dark, messed up books if they actually have a good plot line that is shocking and intriguing. I can handle some pretty heavy stuff in books including the abuse and sexual abuse that is present in this book but only when it isn’t the SOLE focus of the book. I am not even joking when I say that this book revolves 100% around dysfunctional sexual relationships! There is no other plot and nothing else going on at all! I have to say this was the most disappointing aspect of the book because I was expecting a fast paced thriller and all I got was this!

I don’t want to give too much away even though the “deep, dark family secret” is revealed way too early on in the book, seriously you’ll know exactly what’s going on right away and then there’s no plot twist really at all after that. The “secret” is also very unbelievable it’s honestly just ridiculous, because really all of these girls are subject to the “secret”? Really? And no one did anything? Really? Come on.

So besides that “family drama” the only other thing going on is Lane’s “search” for her cousin Allegra and let me tell you she does a terrible job of actually searching. She was more focused on having sex with her former flame, Cooper. Like helloooo think with your brain not your hoo-ha, lady, your cousin is missing!

I did like the inclusion of flashbacks from Lane and Allegra and also all of the “Roanoke Girls” I thought they were interesting enough for the most part, they added some story. Although I will say once again that the flashbacks were, like everything else in this book, all about sex.

The ONLY  reason I rated this book two stars instead of one was because the writing is fairly good and I was interested enough to keep reading up until the very end.

Overall the plot was pretty predictable and the ending was just…cliche.

 

characters

The characters in this book were all awful, unlikable, and had absolutely NO personality! They were honestly all a mess and not the hot kind! I feel like the author tried really hard to make these characters complex but it just fell extremely short, they were dull and boring.

Lane, the main character, is very spineless and NOT someone I want to root for at all. As I mentioned earlier it seems that she cares more about getting drunk and banging her ex than she does about finding her missing cousin.

Allegra, is the missing cousin and she’s very vain and manipulative but you know those characters that are so evil and scheming you love them? Yeah, Allegra isn’t one of those characters, she just gets really annoying….

As for the other characters they were like wet mops too. Sure they had lots of flaws but they didn’t really develop the characters at all.

romance

Okay there is romance but to me it is mostly just sex and no feelings, yes there are some “feelings” but there is just such a lack of chemistry it’s blah. Plus on top of that ALL of the relationships are extremely unhealthy and dysfunctional!

in conclusion

Once again I’ll say just how disappointed I was with this story because I was expecting a fast paced mystery/thriller and instead I got no mystery whatsoever! Yeah, should we go look for the missing cousin? Nah, let’s just have a bunch of sex and get wasted instead of actually dealing with our problems! Woohoo!

No. Just no.

What I Liked:

  • The writing was good enough
  • It was short so I didn’t suffer long

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The fact that the sole focus is abuse and sexual abuse
  • No mystery whatsoever
  • The plot twist is predictable and revealed early on
  • The plot is sex, sex, sex and nothing else (trust me, the sex scenes aren’t even good!)
  • The characters are unlikable and boring as hell

RECOMMEND

NOOOOO! Especially if you’re sensitive to the triggers I listed at the top of the review! The story is just plain boring and gross, I really have nothing good to say about “The Roanoke Girls” except that the writing is adequate. If you were hoping for a fast paced thriller with some mystery and intriguing family drama, then just steer clear of this one!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

review

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Let me just start off by saying I’m usually not a big contemporary reader so when I rate a contemporary 5 stars it’s just through the roof amazing! “The Hate U Give” is probably one of the most hyped books out there and it is 100% worthy of all of it, not only is it just an overall incredible read but it’s also a very important book. It focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking up for equality and against racism and police brutality.

I wish I could go into more depth on the subject matter of this book but I am not one to talk about important issues such as these that I don’t know anything about personally (not saying I’m completely ignorant I just don’t know enough to go giving you all the information you need). All I can do is try and give “The Hate U Give” a review that will do it at least some justice and convince you all just how much you need to get your hands on a copy.

PLOT

First things first, I cannot believe this is Angie Thomas’s debut novel! Her writing is phenomenal and she writes like a pro, it was easy to follow, entertaining, and very emotional. Trust me when I say that books have to be VERY well written for me to get so immersed in the characters and story that I’ll be crying and I did more than once throughout this book!

As I mentioned above this book focuses mainly on racial inequality, our corrupt justice system, police brutality, and racism and in my opinion it really nails all of these things and sheds light on the truth of the way our society works. While this is some pretty heavy stuff that doesn’t mean “The Hate U Give” is that way the whole time, in fact there is a lot of humor in the otherwise somber plot. I loved how many light-hearted moments were included even though what Starr was going through is very tragic and scary.

The story is very character driven and that being said almost every single character has their own storyline that interconnects with everyone else’s as well. So the plot is very complex and there is never, NEVER a dull moment. You will be hooked from page one and will be 100% invested in these character’s stories.

Remember when I said the writing is very emotional? That’s probably one of the things that stuck out the most with me, just how emotional this story gets in so many different ways. There were times when my heart was absolutely broken, other times when I was over-joyed, and times where I was legitimately terrified for the characters.

This last thing I want to say involving the plot is kind of a side note but I wanted to mention it because it pissed me off so much! The white kids at Starr’s private school decide to hold a protest for Justice for Khalil which is awesome….except the only reason they did anything was to get out of class and they didn’t actually care. How about NOOOOOO? I did really appreciate the fact though that some of the other white characters refused to do it once they found out it was just a gimmick.

characters

If I was going to be honest and tell you what my absolute favorite part of this book was I’d have to say all of the characters! There wasn’t a single character who didn’t have a personality and a story all their own.

Starr is an extremely down-to-Earth and relatable character, I was rooting for her the entire time! Not to mention she’s also sassy, smart, and brave but she also isn’t without her flaws as well. Overall she’s very complex and has earned a spot in my favorite bookish heroines!

I also absolutely adored the family dynamic in “The Hate U Give”, literally loved it to little bits and pieces! It’s definitely a nice change to see a loving, supportive family in YA with children/teens who respect their parents and elders. I mean how many times do we see YA heroes/heroines that blow their parents off? Too many is the answer and it drives me nuts to see kids be so disrespectful.

The secondary characters were amazing as well and it was almost mind-blowing to see so many complex and developed characters all at once!

romance

So this is going to be very brief because while there is romance in the story it definitely does not take over the plot, THANK GOD! While I do love the way Starr’s interracial relationship is handled by themselves and outside parties I just didn’t like it overall, I felt that Starr and Chris just didn’t really have any chemistry. I think that Starr’s friendships and family relationships were handled a lot better with much more depth.

in conclusion

This is usually where I state the things I did like and didn’t like in the book and honestly there just isn’t anything I disliked that strongly, it is a 5 star book after all! I loved the story, the writing, and most of all the characters and I have zero complaints.

RECOMMEND

If I could give every single one of you a copy I would that’s how much I wish everyone would read “The Hate U Give” because as I said not only is it just a plain amazing book it’s also an extremely important one that handles some very serious and all too real issues.

GO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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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: Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

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description

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

review

**** Big thank you to Random House Kids for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I actually really enjoyed reading this book and finished it in one sitting but I didn’t like it quite enough to rate it more than 3 stars though. It’s the kind of book to just pass some time but won’t really have any lasting affect on me, I don’t foresee myself thinking about this book much after reading it.

PLOT

The plot itself wasn’t that special, the pacing did drag a lot especially in the beginning and then the ending felt really rushed. I was also expecting the witchcraft and magical bits to be a lot more prominent then they ended up being, I liked what parts there were but I wanted more. Overall I just thought the general story surrounding the magic was really under developed and didn’t have much depth, there just wasn’t enough plot!

The dream sequences Heather had of Prudence and Primrose were a little flat although they did add a lot of drama to the story, there were definitely a few shockers in there. Generally though I didn’t feel like I knew enough about them to care what happened to them, they were the major conflict in this book and they were just meh. Also the way things were resolved in the end with these two was quick and easy, talk about too convenient.

I also didn’t really like the way mental illness was shown in this book, used as a plot device and nothing more. It’s also like her self-harm problem is being thrown in our faces throughout the story, I’m talking screaming in your face “HEY SHE CUTS HERSELF” like we get it but you don’t need to mention it constantly to get your point across. Besides that the cutting isn’t because Heather really has a self-harm problem it has to do with the magical part of the plot (all I’ll say because of spoilers), she isn’t “crazy” and the book throws that word around like it’s nothing.

I think the part I loved the most about this book was the setting in Scotland and the inclusion of some Scottish folklore. I thought the author did a wonderful job with describing the places and the people and the culture, it just made me long for Scotland more!

characters

Heather was an okay MC, not annoying but not very memorable either. I did, however, love her friends especially Fiona she was feisty and added a big fun factor to the story. So basically all of the characters were good, not bad or great, just good.

I also really loved how female friendships and family relationships were portrayed in this book, it’s all about love and support with no abuse or hate.

romance

The romance in “Bad Blood” was another thing that was just sort of alright, nothing special. I liked the love interest, Robby, he was pretty adorable and that Scottish accent was swoon-worthy.

What I DID NOT like was the fact that Heather had absolutely ZERO interest in Robby her entire childhood and teenage-hood and loved his older, cuter brother more. Then Robby loses weight and “gets hot” and suddenly Heather is interested. I just thought that was unbelievably shallow of her since she couldn’t give him the time of day before.

in conclusion

I enjoyed this book but it did have a few problems and just wasn’t anything completely mind blowing. Like I said though it was still a decent read, just not anything that will be sticking with me for a long time.

What I Liked:

  • LOVED the setting in Scotland
  • The characters were pretty good, especially Fiona (she was awesome)
  • The portrayal of female friendships and family relationships

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Kind of slow paced and the ending was rushed and too convenient
  • I didn’t like the way Heather’s self harm was portrayed
  • Heather’s end of the romance was pretty shallow

RECOMMEND

I would say “meh” I’m not going to go around recommending it since it was just alright but if some of the points I made sound interesting to you then go ahead and give it a try. Like I said it isn’t a terrible book and it isn’t a fabulous book it’s just a good book that will give you a moderate amount of enjoyment.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: The Women In The Walls by Amy Lukavics

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description

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

review

So of course I was really pumped for this book since I LOVED the author’s debut novel “Daughters Unto Devils” (full review here), but while I enjoyed this book it just wasn’t as good as the debut book. Still a very solid read though especially if you’re a YA horror lover!

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book (and why it didn’t get a 4 or 5 star rating) was that the beginning of the story was extremely slow paced and kind of boring. There really wasn’t any real creepiness, horror, or gore at all in the beginning of the book but it had ALL of that within the last 50 pages or so. Honestly, the ending was what made reading the whole book worth it! It was fucked up and weird in the best and creepiest way possible, I wish I could say more but I can’t without spoiling it! There’s also a bit of mystery towards the end as well that made the atmosphere a little more eerie.

Speaking of the ending it is open-ended and I thought it was the perfect way to end it. I feel in horror books open endings really work, the add that much more to the creep-factor because you don’t know what REALLY happened or what will happen afterwards…… I personally loved that it was open-ended because of that reason and it was just like “Daughters Unto Devils” in this manner.

Women (as the title hints at) play a very important and big part in this book as well, basically any and all men are useless side characters and the women hold all the power and sway. Of course I’m going to say this is a plus!

There also is some representation of mental illness in the form of cutting, Lucy (the MC) does cut herself. However, even though I have zero personal experience with people who do cut themselves I felt that the matter was kind of brushed over in this book. It plays a pretty big part in Lucy’s life and yet it never really gets an attention. I just felt it should have been a little bit bigger of an issue with the characters….

The writing was sort of just “meh”, nothing too spectacular. I felt it was better in her other book “Daughters Unto Devils”.

 A HUGE plus for this book is the fact that there is no absolutely zero romance. That’s right there is no romance in this YA book, and isn’t that refreshing?

characters

There was not a whole lot of character development but that’s to be expected with a book that’s only 278 pages long. I didn’t really connect with Lucy or any of the other characters, I felt really distant from what was happening to them. Lucy did have her moments where she stuck up for herself and her family and yelled at some of those arrogant country club people but for the most part she was just okay.

Not to mention I LOATHED Lucy’s dad with a fiery burning passion, talk about worst dad ever! He basically shows zero emotion towards his own daughter and ignores her when she comes to him about things. It really ticked me off so I thought it was worth mentioning.

in conclusion

Overall I did enjoy reading this book although it was a little painful to get through the beginning but ultimately that ending is worth it! I don’t think this one was as good as “Daughters Unto Devils” though but I will still read anything Lukavics comes out with.

What I Liked:

  • THAT ENDING!!!!
  • Women play a big part in the plot and men are useless side characters
  • ZERO romance

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not a lot of character development (hated Lucy’s dad!)
  • Up until the last 50 or so pages is slow and a bit boring
  • The writing is “meh”

RECOMMEND

Even though I didn’t like this one as much as “Daughters Unto Devils” (which I highly recommend checking out) it is still a pretty good book and the ending is insane! If you’re looking for a short YA horror book with zero romance to distract from the creepiness this one is for you! I definitely do recommend at least checking this book out.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Dragon’s Price (Transference #1) by Bethany Wiggins

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description

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.

review

****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….

PLOT

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.

characters

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!

romance

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.

in conclusion

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

RECOMMEND

 I can’t say I’d recommend reading this since there are so many better YA Fantasy books out there.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy