ARC Review: One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

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description

Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…

review

****Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I did not enjoy this book at all, which is very unfortunate considering I thought this was going to be somewhat horrifying or at least thrilling and it was neither for me. I also appear to be in the minority here, so unpopular opinion time!

PLOT

So we start the book out with a bunch of high schoolers going on a camping trip when they wake up and find out they’ve all been drugged and have words written on their wrists that supposedly define them: Deceptive, Damaged, Dangerous, and Darling. Their teacher is knocked out cold and all of their supplies, including their phones, are ruined too it’s obvious someone has it out for them. It’s all so mysterious and horrible! How will they all survive? Unfortunately that’s about as exciting as it got, it’s all downhill from here.

Honestly the whole story is just a mess and was executed very poorly, I’m not even sure what the point was in half of the stuff that happened! Nothing made sense to me at all and nothing wass ever explained to my satisfaction. I found myself asking “why” a lot and never really got answers by the end of the book.

There was no horror, creepiness, or even suspense. I never once feared for their lives! This is a survival book and I never cared if any of them would actually survive or not! Also the characters didn’t make it very easy with the tremendous amount of stupid decisions they made, they could have made it out of their situation just fine if they had a few brain cells between the four of them.

And the ending? Totally predictable and anti-climatic. I could have stopped reading half way through and saved some time.

characters

The characters were very unimpressive as well, the only character that was even mildly developed was Sera the protagonist and I say mildly because there wasn’t much. All we really know about her is: she’s in a love/hate relationship with the other character Lucas, she has mommy issues, and she’s into acting and drama. That’s about it and none of it is ever made important throughout the story, like the mommy issues what was the point?

As for the other characters Lucas has a temper and is the (non swoon-worthy)  love interest. Jude has two gay fathers whom are brought up at every opportunity (we get it, he has gay fathers why do you keep mention it?) and he acts like he’s hiding things which he never really is or if he was we never find out what. Emily is odd and obviously has some issues at home but they’re never brought up and we have no idea in the end. Overall very shallow character development and I could have cared less about any of them surviving.

romance

The romance? Absolutely awful and pointless. You are trying to escape a murderer out in the middle of the forest by yourselves for Pete’s sake you don’t have time to get moony eyed over each other! Honestly this was supposed to be a survival book if anything and the romance definitely played a bigger part than it needed too, I swear the author was more concerned about building a romance up versus any kind of decent story.

in conclusion

Usually I’d try to conclude my review with what I liked and disliked but I honestly didn’t like a single thing about this book. The plot was nonsensical and boring, the characters were idiots, and the romance was just unnecessary. I’m not impressed with this book at all.

Sorry for the shorter review than normal but I just don’t have much to say about “One Was Lost” other than it was not good for me.

RECOMMEND

No absolutely not. Looking for a creepy book? This is not your book, trust me. Looking for a survival book with less surviving and more kissing? This is your book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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descriptionWhat’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.review

****I’d like to thank Lauren @ Wonderless Reads for recommending this book to me!****

“Welcome To The Dark House” is a good horror book, unfortunately it wasn’t something that completely blew me away but it was definitely very fun and entertaining.

PLOT

This book is PERFECT for any horror movie lovers because it’s basically a slasher movie in book form, seriously, it reads exactly like a horror film. Which has it’s downsides as well as upsides. The downside being that this makes the book feel a little corny at times and a bit underdeveloped, like most horror movies, and the upside being that it makes reading the book ten times more fun if you already love the horror genre.

 The first half of the book is spent orienting ourselves with the characters pretty much, they all enter a contest  to meet famous horror director Justin Blake and are then dropped off in the middle of nowhere, in a forest, in an old house. How could anything go wrong with all of that in  a horror book, am I right? So for the most part we get to know everyone and nothing insanely scary happens, creepy sure but not scary.

However, the second half of the books gets a lot better. There’s more action, scares, and a lot less talk. Although I would say it still wasn’t that scary for me, it was more suspenseful than anything which is definitely alright. All of the characters proceed to be locked within a Justin Blake themed, abandoned amusement park and each character has their own ride that is related to their “nightmare” or worst fear. Those scenes were probably the best ones in the entire book, the suspense there is what kept me really reading.

One thing that kind of drove me crazy throughout my reading though? The 6 different POVs. In my mind the only time that many view points is OK is in fantasy books. I do understand why it was told this way since it is a horror book we need to be able to see everyone slowly getting picked off but I think there was too much time spent on us trying to relate to these characters when they were just B horror movie stereotypes.

I also didn’t really like the ending at all because it left me with more questions than answers and it just wasn’t very satisfying. I understand that all of the questions will be answered in the sequel but really why leave us hanging with such a shaky ending? It wasn’t even a cliffhanger it was just sort of confusing.

One random thing I loved about this book: it’s set in Minnesota. I live right next door in North Dakota so it’s always fun to find books with settings near me!

characters

As far as the characters I’m kind of in the middle, while I did sort of like them and they did get quite a bit of depth I still found them a little lacking. We spend the entire first half of the book switching through six different POVs in order to get to know these characters and yet I don’t feel like we ever REALLY know them. Sure we get where they come from and how they act but we don’t get a ton of insight into their characters which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me since we literally get into each character’s head space.

Ivy, is the main character and yet we spend about as much time in her POV as the other characters so to me she never really felt like the main character. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it was told just from her point of view. Ivy’s nightmare and story are the creepiest and most terrifying of all BUT no spoilers! I also very much enjoyed the fact that Ivy suffers from anxiety and I say this because I too suffer from bouts of anxiety and I loved the fact that this was portrayed in a YA novel, not to mention it made her ten times more relateable for me.

As I briefly mentioned earlier the other characters are all classic horror movie stereotypes: the goth girl, the virginal sweetheart, the average one, the handsome guy, the rebellious guy, and the special snowflake. They may not embody these perfectly but you get the picture right? To me these kinds of characterizations had their upsides and downsides, while it’s kind of fun to have cheesy horror movie characters it also makes them feel unrelatable. I mean come on, is anyone really this cliched?

As for the romance…… no. Too insta-lovey for my taste and very unrealistic, not to mention it lacked all kinds of chemistry. Alas though what kind of horror movie book would be complete without a cheesy love interest?

in conclusion

What I Liked:

  • Anxiety being portrayed with a YA character
  • The pacing and suspense were fairly good throughout but better in the 2nd half
  • How similar it was to a classic slasher horror movie
  • The Minnesota setting

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Too many POVs
  • The scare factor wasn’t big enough for me
  • The romance was corny
  • A lot of the characters were a little too cliched

Overall I liked this book and there were things that bothered me so a 3 star rating is perfect, right in the middle which is exactly how I feel about “Welcome To The Dark House”. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel though!

RECOMMEND

If you’re looking for a good YA horror book then definitely check this one out, what may not work for me may work for you after all!

This is a decent book but realistic things don’t scare me as much as the unknown. So if murderers scare you more than ghosts this may be the book for you! This is also a great Halloween read for those of you looking for creepy books to add to your TBR.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.

review

**** Huge thank you to Holiday House for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

Let me just say….wow I did not expect to love this book as much as I did! It’s magical, wonderful, amazing, and an all around fantastic debut novel! “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” is definitely one of my favorite reads in 2016 too because it is PERFECT for any fan of fantasy (which I am) and it blends four fairy tales together seamlessly and therefore is perfect for any fan of retellings as well. Seriously, there are so many wonderful things about this book I don’t even know where to start..well maybe at the beginning right?

PLOT

The story starts out fast paced and grabs your attention immediately with Bristal (the MC) being kidnapped and whisked away to the Water to see if she will become one of the ancient, magical elicromancers. Exciting stuff right? We also get some good insight into the world right away with explanations of the magic system and what elicromancers are but I won’t give any of that away because it’s just so great to read through! There’s just some great, classic world building in this book complete with the always fun royal politics too.

I also love the way Hannah West weaved the tales of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and Emma together. In my eyes it was flawless. We see Bristal act as a fairy godmother to both the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty characters and watch as she disguises herself as a man to join one of the prince’s group of soldiers. It was so much fun reading and trying to guess how each retold fairy tale would play out and who was acting as which character, if you’re familiar with these tales it is almost guaranteed to be enjoyable for you!

(Also on a side note I never read “Emma” by Jane Austen so I have no idea how it fit into this story, if anyone would like to enlighten me PLEASE do so!)

Then the main threat in the story is the impending war between the villain and their gathered army of supernatural creatures and the continent of Nissera, so basically Bristal is running around shape-shifting like a mad woman to ensure each character is doing what they can to prepare for the incoming war. There are also many smaller stories (the fairy tales if you will) that all intersect throughout the main plot interlinking everything into one. There are so many things going on guys, it’s awesome and there are so many crazy plot twists too! I was freaking out to the point where I’m fanning my face and yelling “NO, NO, NO!”. You guys know how that goes…..

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My only complaint about this book is that at times during the story I felt like some stuff was a little too convenient. Certain things would happen to make sure everything worked out perfectly, it wasn’t annoying but at times it was kind of unbelievable.

Overall though the plot line is magnificent it combines every element of YA Fantasy that I love: magic, ball gowns, (good) romance, world-building, royalty, class good vs. evil, and a good old fashioned villain.

characters

There are actually quite a few characters in “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” and they were all amazing, I LOVE well developed secondary characters it’s a must have for me in a book.

Bristal is the perfect heroine she’s selfless, brave, and clever. Her sole purpose is to protect the kingdoms and guide them even if it means giving up her own happiness. It’s so….honorable. Gosh I just loved her so much and she’s definitely a heroine you can’t help but root for the entire time.

Then there are so many other characters: Anthony, Charles, Elinor, Rosamund, Brack, and Tamarice – all amazing characters that add so much to the story. (Also Brack is my favorite, just saying.)

I’d also like to share without spoilers that the villain is so realistic and well developed. I love villains with depth, ones that we can FEEL for and understand and know why they chose to act the way they did. It makes the story so much more interesting when we feel conflicted about the antagonist.

romance

Now I’m pretty sure I say this in every review and if you’ve been following me for a while you already know…I do not like romance especially in YA books because they are almost always riddles with tropes. So I’m glad to say that I adored the romances in this book.

While some of the lesser romances between our fairy tale retelling princes and princesses aren’t quite as developed and are borderline insta-love they’re still just so cute. I mean come on they’re fairy tales so the insta-love can actually be pulled off without nauseating anyone. But the real romance between Bristal and Anthony is so beautiful and swoon-worthy…awww my poor little heart! Everything about them being together worked, it really did.

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in conclusion

“Kingdom of Ash and Briars” is a wonderfully told tale full of action, romance, and magic. The only thing that upsets me is that it’s a standalone and I want more! I will absolutely be checking out anything else Hannah West writes because just going by this debut novel I can guarantee I’ll love it.

RECOMMEND

Yes, a million times yes! If you love YA fantasy and fairy tale retellings this book will be perfect for you since it combines all elements of each so well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Graces (The Graces #1) by Laure Eve

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description

Everyone loves the Graces.

Fenrin Grace is larger than life, almost mythical. He’s the school Pan, seducing girls without really meaning to. He’s biding his time until someone special comes along. Someone different, who will make him wonder how he got along all this time without her. Someone like me.

Fenrin’s twin, Thalia, is a willowy beauty with rippling, honey-colored hair. Wherever she goes, Thalia leaves behind a band of followers who want to emulate her. She casts spells over everyone she encounters, just like Fenrin—even if they both deny it.

Then there’s Summer. She’s the youngest Grace, and the only one who admits she’s really a witch. Summer is dark on the outside—with jet-black hair and kohl-rimmed eyes—and on the inside. It was inevitable that she’d find me, the new girl—a loner with secrets lurking under the surface.

I am River. I am not a Grace. But I’ll do anything to become one.

review

**** Thank you to Amulet Books for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I have to say I’m a little disappointed with this one I was expecting more magical realism and more witchy things for sure but really what I got instead was something reminiscent of “Twilight”. The Graces and the Cullens are so much alike the resemblance is uncanny, they’re “mysterious” and everyone moons over them for the duration of the book. So yes “The Graces” very much had a “Twilight” vibe to it, which can be either good or bad depending on how you liked that series.

PLOT

As far as the plot goes….there wasn’t really one at all. Pretty much the entire first half of the book is our MC, River, trying to get into the Graces social circle because she has the hots for Fenrin Grace (aka Edward Cullen). That actually sums up the the book very nicely. Nothing supernatural really happens at all and you’re left questioning if the Graces are or aren’t actually witches, which added some mystery to the overall atmosphere but mostly felt a little annoying since the “witch” part felt like it took a backseat to River trying to win them over. I felt like this book was trying too hard to be deep meaningful and thus lost focus on actually developing a great story.

The pacing was also pretty slow and there was a lack of atmosphere, I’d say you have to be pretty damn patient with this book. As I said you don’t get any story until later in the book and even then? Not that great. The twist was predictable and everything up until the twist is pretty confusing, I found myself asking “what the hell is happening?” a lot and this was definitely not the good kind of confusion where it’s suspenseful….like I said it was just annoying.

However, I actually did kind of enjoy the writing. I mean how else could I have made it through the entire book otherwise? I did enjoy the dialogue between River and the Graces, those scenes were definitely my favorite because they added a bit of structure to the story for me. I also liked the little bit of general mystery surrounding the Graces, while overall it was disappointing, I craved answers through the whole first half of the book. Are they witches or aren’t they? That was what kept me reading!

I found the ending to be kind of confusing and very unsatisfactory, I read all of this just for THAT? I felt that it left me with more questions than answers and I already had a lot of questions! Although it does have me considering reading the sequel……

characters

The characters were easily the worst part about this book for me which is sad since the driving force of this book is the characters.

 River, the MC, is quite scheming and manipulative. Her goal is to get in good with the Graces in order to get to Fenrin, right? So she will do whatever it takes to get there and that means playing along with them and pretending that she’s not using them to get to Fenrin when in fact she is. I kind of liked River’s scheming honestly it made her a sort of unreliable narrator which I love. However, we as the readers never actually get to know River and that was kind of tedious because yes it made sense to hide her “real self” from the Graces but from the readers as well? How about no? I felt like we never got to really know her which made her feel like a very flat, unrealistic character and not to mention she was also quite immature her whole purpose after all was to become best friends with these people for a boy.

The Graces themselves were…okay, at least they had some personality. Summer was probably my favorite character while Thalia and Fenrin came off as sort of shallow. Not that impressed.

romance

There wasn’t really any romance besides River swooning over Fenrin but there was a kind of …plot twist romance that was pretty predictable. So overall there isn’t romance and what there was wasn’t that great, no surprises there.

in conclusion

“The Graces” wasn’t terrible but it was far from becoming a favorite of mine. I found it interesting enough to finish but ultimately a disappointing read. Am I interested in the sequel? A little bit but would I perish if I never read it? No, definitely not.

RECOMMEND

If you’re into books about witches I would say this one will probably be disappointing to you but if you want a less interesting version of “Twilight” this will be for you. That’s right I said it, a LESS interesting version of “Twilight”. Honestly I don’t think I can seriously recommend this to anyone, as I said it isn’t a terrible book but it has nothing I could brag about to someone to get them to read it.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cordova

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Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

review

****Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

“Labyrinth Lost” was a very delightful surprise of a book, I loved it way more than I expected to. The entire plot of the book is very unique and unlike anything I’ve read before and there is so much diversity going on here as well. Not only do we have a cast of Latin American characters but also a LGTB romance! Yes, “Labyrinth Lost” has a lot of wonderful things going on!

PLOT

  I would say that maybe my rating is more of a 3.5 than a 4 because while I did absolutely love certain aspects of this book I also had a few problems with it as well. For instance I loved the diversity in this story I found there to be a few inconsistencies throughout my reading of it that my nit-picky little brain couldn’t handle.

One of the big ones being the pacing, it started out decently, grabbing your attention straight away but towards the end of the book it got a little….wonky. It was too fast! While I read I had to double check and make sure I hadn’t accidentally skipped a page because what was happening changed with just a sentence. I felt like the ending was crammed into a few pages which left me more than a little unsatisfied. Overall it started out strong but was all a little too rushed at the end for my liking.

I loved the plot itself it was crammed full of magic (literally), adventure, and some very interesting world building. I loved every scrap of information on the brujas (witches), the Deos (their gods), and basically just all of their lore and mythology. Yes, I would say the world building was definitely my favorite part of “Labyrinth Lost”.  There are some great plot twists that I did not see coming too because everybody loves a good plot twist, am I right? Also as you probably read in the description it’s compared briefly to “Alice in Wonderland” which is probably the best comparison I could make for this book, Los Lagos is very much a Latin version of Wonderland.

characters

Something I didn’t enjoy all that much were the characters they weren’t as developed as they could have been in my opinion, in comparison to the vibrant world and story, the characters felt a little bland. They weren’t great and they weren’t awful, they were simply just…okay. Which is why it’s kind of hard to make up my mind on how I feel about all of the characters. I liked them but they were just sort of…two dimensional and not all that relateable for me.

Alex, the heroine, wasn’t anything special or new and she didn’t really stick out all that much in my mind. She had a bit of a case of “Special Snowflake” but not to the point where it was nauseatingly bad. Overall she was just your average YA heroine.

Nova was probably one of the most developed characters in this story and I honestly really liked him, we got to see a little bit more backstory and insight into his character than we did with anyone else. Rishi, Alex’s best friend, was probably one of the blandest characters for me. I felt like she had no other purpose in the story other than to just simply BE there and to be a love interest. She never really actually did anything to contribute to the plot and was basically just kind of useless overall.

Then there’s the villain, The Devourer. Sounds badass and incredibly terrifying, right? Wrong. This was probably one of the saddest excuses for a villain I’ve ever seen and I’m really sorry to say that because there was a lot of potential there. There was zero development or backstory or insight into The Devourer’s character, so basically  we never really got a motive as to why she’s evil other than she’s just evil. How boring and very unmemorable.

My favorite characters were probably the secondary/minor characters such as Alex’s family and the inhabitants of Los Lagos, they were by far the most interesting. Probably because their characters were more “fun” and didn’t need a lot of development to be likable.

romance

Moreover we have the romance which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand I applaud the fact that it is an F/F romance which I don’t think we see often enough in YA books but on the other hand the way it was executed was pretty bad. I felt ZERO chemistry and honestly I didn’t even think there was a romance going on at all until their sweet little kiss, which is pretty bad if you think about it, I mean how hard is it to BUILD the romance up a little instead of just diving into it headfirst out of nowhere? Alex and Rishi were such an underdeveloped couple and the whole thing felt like it was trying a little too hard. I desperately wanted to love them but I just couldn’t, the lack of development and chemistry just makes me cringe. I think Alex and Nova would have been better, sadly, because I think we saw way more bonding between them.

in conclusion

Overall I really did enjoy “Labyrinth Lost” but as I said it had it’s share of flaws as well. I absolutely loved the plot and the world building but the characters and romance really fell short. My favorite parts about this book would be the unique premise, Latin American characters, and the LGTB romance even if it wasn’t executed that well.

RECOMMEND

Yes! If you’re looking for any kind of diversity in a YA book this is most definitely for you! Also how can you pass up something that can be called a Latin version of Wonderland, I mean come on!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

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description

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.

You cannot escape the palace.

You cannot guess its secrets.

review

Allow me to sum up “A Drop of Night” in one word: weird. Trust me though, it’s definitely a very good kind of weird! I’ve never read anything like it before and I doubt I ever will because it most certainly is VERY unique and one of the big reasons I enjoyed it. Also this is NOT a YA mystery/thriller it is very much a YA horror book.

In the description it says this book is perfect for fans of The Maze Runner and The Cabin in the Woods, boy is that spot on. Throughout my reading I was constantly reminded of both of those movies so I can honestly say if you were a fan of either one or both even, you’ll probably like “A Drop of Night”.

 PLOT

I can’t say too much about the plot itself without giving any of the juicy details away but I will tell you what I liked the most about ” A Drop of Night” without spoilers!

This is very fast paced and there are constant twists and turns with plenty of action, there is very little time wasted at the beginning of the book and we are almost immediately dropped into the good stuff right away, I was pleasantly surprised. You definitely won’t be bored with this one!

The story is told from dual POVs that go from Anouk in the modern day and Aurelie in the period of the French Revolution. This made the story both more interesting and more exciting but also made the narrative a bit confusing at times. Although it does add to the overall mystery and suspense of the book, which I’m sure was the goal, in which case it did a fantastic job. I liked not being able to put all of the pieces together before the end of the book!

As I mentioned before this isn’t a mystery/thriller book and is very much a YA horror/survival book, which is in fact what I was looking for when I picked “A Drop of Night” up and it definitely delivered! The horror elements are pretty strong throughout the duration of the book, with Anouk and four other companions trying to survive. Survive what? Well that’s half the fun of the book!  I wanted maybe a bit MORE on the horror/scary stuff front but was still thoroughly creeped out enough while reading to be satisfied.

Another thing I adore about this book: no romance. That’s right! There is absolutely no romance to speak of, instead the book focuses more on the survival of the characters and the action. I find that YA books without romance are very unique and too few and far between. However, I didn’t find that the lack of romance took away from the plot; in fact the plot was too fast paced and action packed to even notice it!

This is a standalone book so the ending concludes the entire story and while there were some things I wanted to know more about everything was wrapped up very nicely!

characters

Anouk, the MC, is absolutely fantastic. She’s unlike many we see in YA books, she’s snarky, standoffish, and a bit of an introvert. I know at first this kind of sounds like your typical angsty teenager trope but it isn’t, she just doesn’t want anyone knowing her business and she develops quite a bit throughout the story, becoming more trusting with others. We learn more about Anouk as the story progresses and we start to understand why she acts this way but she’s still snarky and full of the sarcastic humor I love!

The four other characters were likable but ultimately I didn’t feel like I really connected with any of them and they felt very….expendable next to Anouk. But they were likable as I said, just not very interesting.

in conclusion

This is a very unique, fast-paced, fun YA horror book! Although it was creepy I kind of wanted a bigger scare factor and the characters were a little flat. Overall though I really enjoyed “A Drop of Night”!

RECOMMEND

Definitely! If you’re looking for a very unique YA book then give this a shot, although be wary if you aren’t a fan of horror!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

 

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description

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

review

I’m very conflicted when it comes to reading books by April Genevieve Tucholke, on the one hand I love her writing style because it’s just absolutely gorgeous and lyrical. However, I just seem to have a hard time liking her characters and I find her storylines to be either confusing, boring, or both. Mostly I’m left feeling indifferent because there is both good and bad with her books such is the case with “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”.

PLOT

The plot in this book is riddled with your usual YA tropes and the big one is insta-love. Violet (the MC) pretty much falls head over heels in love with River after knowing him for just one day. We also have the forbidden love trope much like the one seen in “Twilight”, honestly if you didn’t like “Twilight” you won’t like this one because River and Violet are very Bella and Edward-esque. River is always telling Violet how bad he is for her but does she listen? Nope. Not to mention we also have the whole absent parents thing going on, which I do consider a YA trope, because how convenient is that? You can have ALL the strange boys come rent your guest house now! So yes I think this book is loaded with tropes, many of which I find quite annoying.

I did like the overall atmosphere though, it’s selling itself as gothic and I think it does a decent job of pulling this off. It’s all very old fashioned feeling with the old Victorian houses and small town. Everyone cares about social standing and family names, so as I said it had an old fashioned atmosphere and I really enjoyed that part. Even Violet felt this way as a character seeing as how she wears her dead grandmother’s old clothes and goes to the park to watch old black and white films.

In general, though, the plot didn’t make much sense at all. There is no big mystery and what mystery there may have been was ruined by it being revealed too soon in the story. I also felt that there was no real climax to the plot either, it was just the same pacing throughout the entire book. Honestly, this book just sort of did its own thing. There wasn’t a set, structure storyline and no horror to speak of and a tiny sprinkling of the paranormal, which considering the plot and blurb I expected a lot more creepiness. Basically what you get is a whole lot of romance that left this book feeling like more of a contemporary than anything else.

Also for those of you, who like me, thought this would be about a romance with the actual Devil in teenage boy form, think again. I thought that idea made it seem more exciting but don’t waste your time if that’s what you want because you’ll leave disappointed as I did.

characters

All of the characters were meh, I didn’t hate Violet but I didn’t exactly love her either. She’s sort of pretentious and snobby, with her always quoting old classic literature and cinema. It made her come off that way, in my opinion. She’s very…hipster-y, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Violet made it come off as condescending.

River is even less impressive, especially as the love interest. He’s essentially psychotic, compulsively lies, and Violet chooses to be blind and ignore all of the crazy, crappy things he says and does. She catches him in every lie he tells and he’s always warning her away from him. But oh! That makes him so mysterious and dangerous! No. You should probably listen and stay away from him.

There was also absolutely zero point in Violet’s brother Luke and her “BFF” Sunshine. They were the single most annoying part of this whole book. I can’t even really explain why, they were just always THERE doing nothing to move the story forward, rendering them essentially meaningless characters.

romance

This book is very, very romance-oriented and as I mentioned earlier you’ve got an atrocious amount of insta-love and forbidden love. I can handle forbidden love if it’s done correctly but it tied in too much with the insta-love for me to even remotely like River and Violet’s relationship. Knowing him for just one day had Violet drooling over River.

Also River compulsively lies to Violet and there is a certain point in the story where a certain incident borders a little too much on potential rape. Not a fan. Therefore I found this romance to be completely unsatisfying.

in conclusion

I actually really enjoy Tucholke’s writing a lot and I did like the overall atmosphere of this book but I found the plot itself and characters to be really lacking. Basically the only reason this is getting a two star rating instead of a one star rating is because the writing is beautiful and great quality.

RECOMMEND

No not really. Unless you really, really loved “Twilight” or if you really enjoy paranormal romances then maybe you’ll find this more to your liking!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

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Mini Book Review: We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

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description

Murder.

Fire.

Revenge.

That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.

review

Alright, so mystery/thrillers are pretty much the only contemporary books I read and I have read more than a few of them, I think because of this I didn’t enjoy “We’ll Never Be Apart” as much as I could have. This is a psychological thriller that relies very heavily on its plot twist for it to be any good. I saw this twist coming a mile away and honestly knew it was coming throughout the entire book but I kept reading in the hopes that I would be proven wrong. I was not, in fact, proven wrong at all.

The pacing throughout the story is very slow and it just feels like the whole book is a build up for the “big reveal” at the end. There’s no action and basically no real story going on until the end of the book. There is quite a bit of backstory and flashbacks but even with all of that the story is still very flat and uneventful.

There are also plot holes that grow pretty tiresome, such as the fact that the main characters Alice and Chase are in a mental hospital and still manage to run around constantly without any problems. Not that I have any experience with mental hospitals but I’m preeeetty sure they’re stricter and more in control than this.

Also on a little side note here this book contains animal cruelty! If you’re like me and can’t stand this then I would skip “We’ll Never Be Apart”. While I know this bit was done to show the wavering mental stability of a character and while it doesn’t play a major role in the book, I felt that it was still completely unnecessary.

Apart from the slow and predictable storyline the characters were very lacking as well. None of them were interesting, relateable, or developed. Considering the fact that this book is psychological, well developed characters are kind of a necessity. However, they all just felt very shallow and VERY unmemorable.

I did like Emiko Jean’s writing though and it was enough to round this book up to a 2 star rating since the book wasn’t an absolute mess either. Since this is her debut novel I think she shows a lot of potential and I will consider checking out her future works.

Overall “We’ll Never Be Apart” isn’t very original, surprising, or shocking and this twist has been done so many times before it’s nothing new. However, if you haven’t read many psychological thrillers you might actually end up enjoying this book!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

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Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

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description

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

review

Two pretty girls, an exotic foreign location, mystery as to why I did it, and the potential for revenge and jealousy to be the cause. It didn’t matter what the truth was — what mattered was that it was fun to talk about.

Tell me that quote didn’t snag you right there.

This book is fun, a lot of fun and I devoured it in one sitting so that says a lot right there since I usually don’t read books so fast. However, while “With Malice” is a very fun, quick read it’s not anything game-changing, not something super unique it’s actually quite similar to a lot of other YA thrillers but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. And if “With Malice” is one thing it is definitely enjoyable.

PLOT

I know how hard it is for us bookworms to not read a description before reading a book but honestly with this one I think it’s better to go in 100% blind. There are a few great twists in the first couple of chapters that are completely spoiled in the book’s summary. So I frown upon that but it can’t really be helped and I’m sorry this warning may have come a little too late already!

“With Malice” is very fast-paced and keeps the pages turning, your thirst for answers will have you finishing it in no time! I loved how deceptive Jill’s narrative was, we can’t quite trust what she’s telling us or the memories she slowly starts to recover. Who doesn’t love a questionable narrator? Jill’s amnesia and the overall mystery are really what drive the whole story and make it interesting, everyone is pointing fingers at her and she can’t remember a damn thing. It’s just intense, we’re left wondering what the hell is going on the entire time!

This isn’t a dark thriller or even a very twisted one but that doesn’t take away from it at all, of course you have the final big twist but honestly it wasn’t very predictable at all and I loved it. I had to cover up the next pages so I wouldn’t skip ahead and read! Eileen Cook does an excellent job of deceiving us throughout the story and more than likely you won’t see the ending coming either. Speaking of the ending it is great but also a little unsatisfying, I wanted something a bit more conclusive but I think that just adds a bit more to the story so I’m not too mad.

I also really enjoyed how the media and the public were portrayed throughout the story, using every little thing Jill has ever said or done to brand her a murderer. They were cold, they were vicious, and it really added to the tension. It really just made me root for Jill the entire time though.

There’s also no real romance in this one, so if that’s a plus for you, hooray!

characters

 Really the only character I thought or cared about was Jill, everyone else was pretty flimsy and disposable. “With Malice” is definitely not a character driven story and it shows.

I actually really enjoyed Jill right away, I found her sense of humor to be amusing and I just wanted to root for her the entire time because of the amnesia and the way the media treated her. Jill is a bit of a bookworm and cares more about her academics than boys and she’s also loyal to a fault, especially when it comes to her best friend Simone. I found Jill to be a quite relateable character and her narrative really stuck out to me, I mean come on what book lover can’t relate to a fellow bookworm?

As far as some of the other characters go such as Simone or Anna (Jill’s rehab buddy), it’ll be hard to trust your first impressions since we’re seeing the world through Jill’s POV and she doesn’t remember the last 6 weeks. I really liked how easily my opinion of a character could shift based on certain information, you can’t quite trust anyone.

in conclusion

Really the best way for me to describe “With Malice” is to repeat myself, it’s just a fun and fast book. That’s just all there is to it, it’s not dark or very twisted but just an enjoyable little mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing and turning pages.

RECOMMEND

Definitely. If you’re looking for a quick read this summer then “With Malice” is worth a look!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

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Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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description

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

review

I didn’t really like this book.

I am having an immensely hard time coping with the fact that I did not think this book was that great, it was just okay. Not great, not mind blowing, not the best YA fantasy I’ve ever read. The hype surrounding this series is INSANE and that’s probably why I had such a hard time with this book because, to me, the hype just was not worth it at all.

I’m very disappointed with “Throne of Glass” but at the same time it was alright. In the end I feel like a three star rating is being very generous because I honestly could have easily gone with 2 stars or 2.5 stars as well.

PLOT

I think what my biggest problem with this book is that it promises things it doesn’t deliver. Celaena is described as the best and most dangerous assassin around and she spends the better half of the book SAYING she is but not SHOWING that she is. Where’s my badass assassin who actually kills people? Where’s the action? I wanted more action! We got to read about some of the tests for the competition but only a handful, why? If we had more insight into this King’s Champion competition it could have been more action-packed and therefore a little more interesting, at least for me. There was a lot of missed out opportunities to read about something other than the love triangle and dresses.

So while I didn’t think there was ENOUGH action and too many descriptions of Celaena’s dresses, Maas did succeed in keeping the plot suspenseful and tense. I did manage to finish the book after all, right? I wanted to know what was going to happen next and that’s what kept me turning pages even when nothing else really did. I really wish I could explain more in depth what I loved about the plot but I can’t  without spoiling it, so you’ll have to find out on your own!

The pacing was pretty fast and seldom was there a time when it really slowed down. I know it took me practically forever to even finish this book but honestly that wasn’t due to a slow paced book so much as me not being very attached to the characters.

Also the world building was pretty decent, there were enough interesting tidbits to satisfy me and make me curious for more all at once. It is a little bit light on the world building for my tastes but it was still interesting and I liked the descriptions of the places, religion, and politics of Maas’s world in “Throne of Glass”.

characters

Remember when I said my biggest problem with this book is that it doesn’t deliver? That mostly applies to these characters. They were all just very bland to me I didn’t feel any sort of connection to them and I was very underwhelmed when anything happened to them.

Celaena by far is the most disappointing overall and honestly I think it may be safe for me to say she’s the most disappointing character I have ever come across. Everyone, herself included, talks about how dangerous she is and how she’s the world’s greatest assassin but I found myself asking “how?” the entire duration of this book. As far as I could see all she did was talk about how skilled she was instead of proving it, I just have a hard time believing Celaena Sardothien is the best assassin this fantasy world has to offer.

Celaena is also extremely vain and we spend an extensive amount of time reading about her worrying about dresses and shoes. I mean for someone who is supposedly the greatest assassin ever you would think she wouldn’t covet material items so much, right? We also hear about how beautiful she is constantly with her special eyes with special rings of gold in them. All of that was definitely giving me Mary-Sue vibes.

Then we have Prince Dorian and Chaol the Captain of the Guard. Meh. That’s how I felt about both of them they weren’t particularly interesting and definitely not very swoon-inspiring.

Honestly my favorite character was Princess Nehemia and I thought her to be far more worthy of my respect. She doesn’t shy away from anyone or anything and I loved her loyalty and devotion to her people and her country. If the entire book was more about her I might have enjoyed it more.

romance

I did not enjoy any of the “romance” one bit. We have borderline insta-love and a tedious love triangle. Count me out.

Celaena is almost instantly enamored and making moony eyes over Dorian and I feel like their “relationship” came out of nowhere, it didn’t feel developed at all since they barely spent any time together. With Chaol it was a little more believable since he was always training with Celaena. Either way I thought both options were very uninteresting and I could have cared less who she chose in the end.

I also feel like the love triangle took away from both the characters and the plot in this book.

in conclusion

I’m going to try my best to just quickly sum up my feelings on “Throne of Glass”:

  • I strongly disliked our main character, Celaena.
  • I really hated the love triangle.
  • I didn’t think there was enough “world’s greatest assassin”-worthy action.
  • I did enjoy the pacing and the plot itself, it was actually interesting.
  • The world building was satisfying enough.

So there is both good and bad for me which is why it received a sort of neutral rating at 3 stars. I enjoyed it enough to finish but overall I wasn’t too impressed.

I will be continuing the series with “Crown of Midnight” because it seems to me everyone says it gets way better. *crosses fingers*

RECOMMEND

Eh, not really. For as crazy as the hype is I think if you want to check it out for yourself then definitely go right ahead, it’s not a terrible book but for me it just wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

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