Book Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

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Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

review

**** I would like to just say right away before I get into the review that if you liked this book, that’s fantastic! I am in no way trying to demean your experience with this book! I, however, really hated it. So I respect your opinion and I would like if you respected mine. Thank you! ****

What can I say about this book? I really, really wanted to enjoy it because YA Horror books seem so few and far between and I like to get my hands on as many as possible. Then I heard it’s based off of the movie ‘Scream’ which is one of my all time favorites so of course I wanted to read it! However, I was extremely disappointed by it.

Prepare for a very ranty and ragey review.

PLOT

Plot? What plot? Oh you mean the one that is ROMANCE TO THE EXTREME with no horror, suspense, or slasher vibes at all? I really don’t know why I expected anything more than this from Stephanie Perkins, who is a romantic contemporary author, honestly. The plot was completely overwhelmed by the romance and sorry but I came here for a damn slasher story not a love story that just so happens to have a mediocre slasher subplot!

Now, you would think that in a slasher story there would AT LEAST be a little suspense right? “Who is the killer” type of suspense? Well, think again! Because this book had zero plot twists! Sure I didn’t guess who the killer actually was right away but when their identity is revealed it was so freaking anti-climatic. I thought it was a joke, I found myself sitting there and thinking “seriously? That’s it? That’s who the killer is?”. Speaking of the killer’s identity….it was revealed WAAAAY too early on in the story! Half way through the book early. Since it happened so soon I found myself wondering if there was going to be another twist that would actually shock and surprise me. Like *gasp* it was two killers or *gasp* he was framed and the killer is someone else! But nope. What we got is what we got and no other shocks or twists along the way.

Don’t even get me started on the killer’s motive…because it was so freaking laughable.

I will say this though: the scenes where we got to see the killer…well, kill people, were the only interesting aspect of this story. They saved me from the monotony of the main character’s romance obsessed POV. HOWEVER, the story is only told through this one POV and whenever the killer is going to strike we switch POVs over to that of the victim. Surprise, surprise? Suspenseful? I think not. How exactly is this shocking when a character is killed but you knew they were doomed the minute the POVs were switched? It ruined the surprise! Half the fun of a horror book/movie ESPECIALLY slashers is not knowing who’s next!

Also this is supposedly based off of ‘Scream’ or a sort of retelling of ‘Scream’, if you will. In my opinion, comparing this book to ‘Scream’ at all is almost insulting. ‘Scream’ is a freaking horror masterpiece, at least in my eyes, and the only thing this book had in common with it is that it’s about a slasher killing teens with a knife. That’s it. Honestly if you want something like ‘Scream’ just go watch it because you won’t find it here.

There is also a sort of mini subplot in which Makani, the main character, is harboring this big, bad, deep, dark secret from her friends and peers. So of course this makes you want to know what it is, right? I figured it’d be something pretty juicy! I was wrong. Like every other “twist” in this book it was completely anti-climatic and once again I found myself thinking “seriously? That’s it? That’s your bad, horrible secret?”. Cue my many *eyerolls*.

characters

One of the other few things I liked about this book was the diverse cast of characters featuring an African-American/Native Hawaiian main character along with a transgender character.

That’s about as far as my love for the characters go though. They weren’t complex and didn’t develop whatsoever, which doesn’t really surprise me since horror characters usually fall into stereotypes anyways. Plus they constantly make stupid decisions, which once again that’s sort of what horror characters do but these guys just….really annoyed me.

And the victims? I could have cared less about any of them.

romance

The worst part of this story because it IS the entire story. Forget the crazed killer on the loose this book is 100% romance! I was so tired of all the make-out and sex sessions because that’s not what I signed up for. The main character’s love interest was so incredibly boring and I just felt like they had zero chemistry on the page. It felt like romance for the sake of romance.

in conclusion

In case you didn’t already know….I really hated this book. I normally can find more than a couple good things about a book but this book was awful.

What I Liked:

  • Diverse characters

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Everything….
  • Romance that overtakes the entire plot
  • No suspense, action, or thrills
  • I died of boredom while reading this book
  • The killer’s identity reveal was anti-climatic and his motive was ridiculous
  • Not comparable to ‘Scream’
  • Characters were not developed or complex at all
  • The romance was awful and tropey

RECOMMEND

I cannot recommend this book, sorry, I gave it a shot and suffered through it all the way until the end. This is probably one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble

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Book Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

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Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

review

I have to say with all of the other raving reviews, I was expecting to really love this one. I mean it SOUNDS like a book I would walk away from with a 4 or 5 star rating but it just fell short for me. It was an enjoyable read but didn’t blow me away. This is kind of a “meh” book for me, I just don’t have a lot to say about it.


(I’m going to do this review a bit differently, I recently ran a poll on my Twitter asking if you guys prefer my normal method of reviewing or if you’d like a list. It was close but the list style ended up winning so I want to give it a try! Please, please let me know what you think and if you’d like more reviews in this style!)


What I Loved:

  • This is a standalone and not part of a trilogy or series, which is a nice change since this is YA Fantasy.
  • The premise is very unique and creative, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything else like it!
  • No tropes! There aren’t any of your typical YA tropes present throughout this book which was very refreshing. No insta-love, no love triangles, and no special snowflake main characters!
  • The romance never overtook the plot and it was slow burn, I really loved the two characters together as well.
  • Diverse characters! There are POC, characters with disabilities including the main character, and LGTB characters. I also THINK that Luca, the love interest, might be aromantic or asexual. It’s never fully addressed but he doesn’t like showing physical affection throughout the story. (If you’ve read anything about this, let me know if I need to be corrected!)
  • Foody’s writing was excellent and one of the big reasons I kept on reading, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her work!
  • I liked the magic bits, Sorina’s powers were really neat as were the powers of the other jynx-workers. (would have loved more development though)
  • Circus/Carnival setting, because who doesn’t love that?
  • Sorina was a good main character, I like that she had her faults but overall would do whatever it takes to protect her family. Foody also avoided tropes with Sorina’s character and that was fantastic.

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Definitely not enough world building, I felt very lost especially when all of the politics were brought in. It’s hard to care about politics when I have no clue about the countries/kingdoms/people involved. I know it’s a standalone but if you’re going to make politics a big part of your plot you need to build up your world more.
  • The pacing was pretty slow and the plot overall was a slow burn, and I honestly almost DNF’d this so many times because of how slow it was.
  • I felt the plot itself was really lacking as well, I just didn’t care about it. I mean you have an entire city that’s one giant carnival and all we explore or some murders and that’s it? Really? We couldn’t have expanded the plot into any other aspect of the giant carnival full of secrets and magic?
  • Speaking of the “murder mystery plot”: it was predictable. There were a few aspects that I didn’t see coming right away but overall I wasn’t shocked or surprised very much.
  • The characters were all sort of “meh”, they were all pretty one dimensional and once again I didn’t care much about any of them. They were unique though, I will give them that!
  • One of my BIGGEST issues with this book was that Sorina, the main character, has NO EYES but yet she’s still described throughout the book as “narrowing her eyes”, or “eyeing” someone, or even crying! How?! How the heck can she narrow her eyes and cry if she has no eyes?! I wish there would have been more thought put into this aspect of the story, if the character has no eyes then please spend some more time explaining why and how and be mindful of the expressions you’re using to describe the character.
  • Overall I felt everything from the plot, to the plot twists, characters, and world building could have used WAAAY more development.

 I can definitely see how others enjoyed this book a lot more than I did, but ultimately I’m left feeling slightly disappointed. Everything needed a lot more development for me and the pacing to be faster. It was an interesting concept with interesting characters though, credit for creativity.

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ARC Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

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Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

review

**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for approving me for an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed with “Heart of Iron”, I was expecting a lot from it especially since it’s not only a sci-fi but also a retelling of ‘Anastasia’. I just felt like nothing lived up to these expectations and while the book was enjoyable overall it really wasn’t anything that blew me out of the water. I DID still like a lot of elements within the story though, just not the story as a whole.

PLOT

As I already briefly mentioned this story is kind of supposed to be “Anastasia in Space”, (and whether you want to compare it to the real story of Anastasia Romanov or the animated movie based off of her ‘Anastasia’ doesn’t really matter. Whichever you prefer, it makes no difference) but apart from the fact that it features a lost princess….I don’t really see what it has in common with ‘Anastasia’ at all. Just because one element of the original is present in the story doesn’t make it a retelling in my eyes.

The plot was a little confusing at times, like what’s going on? What’s supposed to be happening? What is the overall POINT of the entire story? I just felt like the “plot” described in the synopsis is resolved too early and the rest of the story is kind of directionless. Don’t get me wrong: things were definitely happening, but to what end? I have no idea, and I don’t really know what’s going to happen in the sequel either. As for the plot twists, those were very predictable and didn’t really surprise me whatsoever.

I did like how fast paced the story was though, we are thrown into action right from the start and it keeps the pace up throughout the entire book pretty evenly. There was also a decent amount of action and it did keep me interested.

I wish there had been more world building provided, I loved what little bit I got and I’m very curious about a lot of it! I wanna know more! I loved how well it blended sci-fi and fantasy elements together. I’m definitely looking forward to more of it in the sequel, hopefully it’s expanded on.

One thing I didn’t really like was that there are 4 different POVs and while each character had a very distinct “voice” and were easily distinguishable, I thought it was a bit much to keep track of.

characters

There are four main characters, and as I mentioned all have a POV during the story. I actually did like them all for the most part, they were good characters with quite a bit of personality. However, I did still feel like they could have used a little more complexity, but I understand that’s a little bit harder to accomplish with 4 differing POVs!

I also wish the secondary characters were developed a bit more, they are clearly very important to some of the main characters but to me they just didn’t feel very “real”. At times it felt these secondary characters were used solely for the purpose of being “cannon fodder” and I just couldn’t care much about them since they were never really developed at all. Shock for the sake of shock, is what it was.

However, one secondary character that was a freaking awesome queen was Captain Siege! I loved her! She was a total badass and also a POC and lesbian, she needs her own damn book because she is a godess.

Captain Siege’s crew also reminded me A LOT of ‘Firefly’, I know people compare things to that show frequently but trust me! I wish they would have been a little more important to the story because there was some serious ‘Firefly’ retelling material there. Plus space pirates are always awesome.

Last but not least we had a diverse cast of characters! Captain Siege, as I already mentioned, is black and lesbian, Ana has darker skin as well, and two characters (that will remain unnamed because of spoilers) are both gay. So there is quite a bit of diversity in the story!

romance

I’m a little “meh” on the romances in this book, they weren’t terrible but they really didn’t have me swooning either. They were pretty cute but at times I felt that the two different romances between main characters got to be too much and overshadowed the plot a bit. Now of course, I’m not a big fan of romances taking over especially in an action packed sci-fi. BUT like I said the pairings were adorable so I didn’t mind too much.

Although one of the romances was very, very insta-lovey and I didn’t like that. I ended up rooting for that pair but it was some hardcore insta-love which annoyed me.

Also diversity in the romances as well with F/F and M/M pairings!

in conclusion

Overall I liked the story but I didn’t love it, which was  disappointing because I was definitely excited for a sci-fi ‘Anastasia’ retelling. It’s definitely a three star rating right up the middle.

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Decent amount of action
  • World building was interesting
  • Diverse characters
  • Space pirates comparable to ‘Firefly’
  • Characters were likable
  • Romantic couples were adorable
  • Captain Siege!!!!

What I Didn’t Love:

  • ‘Anastasia’ elements weren’t very big or important
  • Plot twists were predictable
  • The story and overall plot got “lost” at times and confusing
  • Wish there was a little more character development
  • Romances took over the plot too much at times
  • Insta-love

RECOMMEND

If “Heart of Iron” sounds interesting to you I say go for it, you may enjoy it more than I did! It isn’t a bad book whatsoever, it just wasn’t 100% for me but it did have enjoyable parts.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble

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ARC Review: Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1) by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

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Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

review

**** Big thank you to HarperTeen for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

Trigger Warning: Parental Abuse

I have to say even though I liked this one I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I went into this book thinking I’d be walking away with a 5 star rating if not a 4, but sadly it didn’t live up to those expectations. I feel like this will probably be more of an unpopular opinion and will I LIKED it I didn’t LOVE it, so it’s “meh” to me.

PLOT

I liked that we are thrown into action almost immediately and it’s pretty fast paced throughout the beginning. I did feel like the story really dragged in the middle and that’s where I got really bored with it but it did pick back up in the end. Overall I thought the pacing was kind of uneven though.

As for the plot itself, the premise was amazing but the execution fell short for me. I liked what little world building there was, the concept of sentient ships was really interesting but that’s as far as anything really went in this book. We hardly find out anything about the Leviathan and we really don’t learn anything about any other alien lifeforms out in the universe either. That was disappointing, however the ending seemed to promise future expansion on the world building in the sequel so I’m thinking I’ll read it just to learn more!

Other than the Leviathan (the sentient ships), the plot felt like it was really lacking any tension or action. Nothing about it compelled me to keep reading, since I felt nothing was really happening at all. This kind of carried throughout the entire story, the feeling that nothing was really happening. Which is a bummer because, come on, sci-fi should be filled with a lot more action than this! There really weren’t any big plot twists and when there were some, they were pretty anti-climatic or plain predictable.

There were some scenes where the action would pick up and things got a little interesting but it still felt…..flat and tedious. I don’t know, but the “action” scenes still felt lacking, which is a big reason I felt bored while reading.

However, the ending was pretty dang good. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger and it definitely piqued my interest enough to want to read the sequel.

characters

Since this book mainly focuses on a pair of Honors (people) traveling alone on a sentient ship through space, there really aren’t that many characters to keep track of.

Zara Cole is the main protagonist, she’s a thief/con artist that gets herself into more trouble she can handle just as she’s selected to travel with a Leviathan. I normally enjoy the “street rat/criminal” types of characters but it really didn’t work with Zara, in my opinion. I felt that the authors were trying way too hard to make her a “badass” and she just came off really flat and at times plain rude. Having an attitude problem towards every character doesn’t make you “tough and badass”, which is exactly how I felt with Zara.

On top of that, Zara makes stupid decisions. Granted, she didn’t make stupid decisions the entire time but there were a couple incidents where I cringed and wanted to teleport myself into the book just to make her stop. For example, when meeting an alien life form that doesn’t immediately attack you maybe DON’T shoot it. Just saying. Use some common sense here, shooting first and asking questions later isn’t going to make ANY life form fond of you.

So, I guess it’s safe to say I didn’t really like Zara.

As for Beatriz, Zara’s co-Honor, I actually did really like her. She’s quieter but she’s extremely smart and very sweet, I liked her a lot more than Zara anyways. Plus what Beatriz did to their medical bot was HILARIOUS!

Zara and Beatriz actually build up a really great friendship by the end of the story, and I LIVED for it. We need more great female friendships like this in YA!

The last important character is Nadim, the Leviathan/sentient ship. Honestly, Nadim was so innocent and adorable, I wanted to protect him because he is too precious for this world! There really wasn’t anything bad about Nadim, he is very kind and adores Zara and Beatriz and will do anything to protect them. Although as sweet as Nadim is, he is a bit naive which puts them in potential danger at times.

Also there is diversity! Zara is black, Beatriz is Brazilian, and there is a side character who is Chinese.

romance

Is there a romance in “Honor Among Thieves”? Kind of? I don’t really know myself as it was hard to tell. There was definitely SOMETHING between Zara and Nadim and while normally I would feel it was just a strong bond of friendship, I got some romantic feeling vibes. It was…….really weird. I hope it’s just a friendship thing and not romantic because that would feel really awkward in my opinion.

in conclusion

As I already mentioned I thought the premise for the story was fantastic but the overall execution fell short. I am interested in reading the sequel though, that ending left me feeling that the series may get better.

What I Loved:

  • The world building (even though it wasn’t much)
  • Beatriz and Nadim
  • Strong female friendship

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Uneven pacing
  • Overall plot was lacking tension and excitement
  • Zara’s character felt like she was trying too hard and she made some dumb decisions
  • The potential “romance” between Zara and Nadim was just plain weird

RECOMMEND

I can’t really say this will be a book I’ll go around recommending but it isn’t a BAD book by any means. I did enjoy it for the most part, it just wasn’t something that blew me away. I would say if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, go for it!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish.

Of course there are already TONS of 2018 releases to look forward too but these are the most exciting to me! These are books coming out all throughout 2018 and not limited to a month or half of the year, I do posts every month of the upcoming releases so you can always check those out as well.

These are in no particular order!

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10.) The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

After reading “Queens of Geek” and absolutely freaking loving it, I’m now fully prepared to read everything Jen Wilde writes. This is about a teen drummer who must navigate family problems the paparazzi, and coming out as bisexual. It sounds amazing!


9.) Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This is so close to being released now and I am SO excited because it’s described as being Indiana Jones in SPACE!


8.) Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

I did enjoy Alameda’s other book “Shutter” and I can never get enough of YA horror! Plus it’s inspired by the Alien franchise which are some of my favorite movies.


7.) The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

So far Tucholke’s books haven’t really agreed with me but I am so ridiculously excited for a feminist Beowulf retelling that I will still chance it!


6.) The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Three sisters battle each other for the crown, I mean what could sound more awesome in a fantasy? I love fantasy filled with politics, too.


5.) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I’m so freaking excited for this, honestly. It’s a diverse fantasy (which we need more of, seriously) about a land thats magic has disappeared and the magic wielders hunted down. Zelie must now try and bring the magic back with the help of a rogue princess. Also hints of a forbidden romance, which I’m here for.


4.) Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women and Witchcraft by Various Authors

I AM HERE FOR THE WITCHY ANTHOLOGY!!!!


3.) Hullmetal Girls by Emily Skrutskie

A sci-fi with two badass heroines who become cyborg soldiers, essentially. I feel like this is going to be as badass as it sounds, I hope so anyways.


2.) Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

To be fair the real reason I’m even adding this is because it’s a fantasy with pirates. I need ALL the pirate books in my life.


1.) Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

A Viking-age inspired fantasy book and just like with the pirates I am all for Viking books!

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Are you excited for any of these books as well?

What are some 2018 releases you’re looking forward to?

Let me know in the comments!

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ARC Review: This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

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description

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

review****Huge thank you to Simon Pulse for approving me for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

Trigger Warning: Mild Gore & Graphic Description of Medical Procedures

This was a pretty good book, definitely creative and fast paced! It held my attention and made me curious about the sequel, but overall it wasn’t anything that blew me completely away.

PLOT

“This Mortal Coil” started out pretty strong with action right off the bat, we are also provided with a good amount of backstory/world building as well but it never felt like info-dumping which was great. It’s also very much a survival story as mentioned in the synopsis humanity has been brought to its knees due to the deadly plague that has spread across the Earth, and the main character Catarina does anything she can to survive on the surface and is also recruited to help find a cure. I liked the details on the virus that were provided I thought it was a pretty unique plague too, if it wasn’t too weird to think a plague was cool I would think this one was cool. I don’t won’t to spoil anything though!

I really enjoyed all of the science and genetics aspects that were included as well, and it was all very believable there wasn’t anything I felt that was too over the top or unrealistic. Normally things such as DNA and the gene-hacking that people did would fly over my head or be boring but it was actually pretty interesting! I also loved that certain aspects of the story felt very “X-Men” and “Resident Evil”, which of course are two franchises I adore so there’s that but I won’t spoil anything by going into too much detail!

The pacing was pretty fast throughout the entire book and things were in a constant state of tension for the most part, it really kept me on the edge of my seat! There were also more than a few completely mind blowing twists, I almost couldn’t keep up! However, there was one twist that kind of confused me and seemed a little….far fetched but it took me by surprise nonetheless. Also even though I thought the pacing was fast it still felt like the book was too long and it felt like it was taking me forever to finish. I think if the book could have been maybe between 50-100 pages shorter it would have been better.

Another thing that I liked was that the world and characters were morally grey, everyone does what they have to do in order to survive. It made things very exciting because you never knew what to expect!

characters

The characters were alright, I didn’t feel overly invested in any of them though. They weren’t overly complex or developed but they were interesting enough to keep me reading.

I felt that Catarina was a bit of a Special Snowflake at times because she was this “brilliant prodigy” and was the “only one who can figure out a cure” so that got kind of old but in general she was an alright protagonist.

As for the other side characters I enjoyed them but as I said I just wasn’t overly attached. Don’t get me wrong, I had moments where I was concerned about their well being but overall “meh”.

romance

The romance got a little too intricate for me since Cat is in love with Dax and Cole is in love with Jun Bei and they’re all sort of in relationships but there wasn’t ever any affirmation, if that makes sense. Then Cat and Cole start to develop feelings for each other but then still have feelings for their other significant others/crushes. What? Why? Sorry, but I would have preferred if you’d ended the other crushes and then initiated the Cat/Cole romance because that just feels like emotional cheating?

Yeah, I was over the love square and got pretty tired of keeping track of everything. I also don’t like when plots start to focus heavily on the romances either, which it felt like it did the more the story proceeded.

in conclusion

Overall I did enjoy this book, did it blow me away though? Not really. I find myself pretty in the middle as far as the rating and feelings go.

What I Loved:

  • Interesting World Building (No info-dumping)
  • Fast pacing, lots of action
  • Science!
  • Morally grey ambiguous characters
  • Plenty of plot twists

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Felt too long, could have been shorter
  • Dragged on in spots
  • Characters were kind of “meh”
  • Romance was overly complicated and also “meh”

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this one out if you enjoy books with a little more science in them and also just plague/dystopian type novels in general.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

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description

Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

review**** Huge thank you to Soho Teen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Homophobia, Victim Blaming, and Statutory Rape

Sadly I was more than a little disappointed with this book especially since I’m always up for YA Horror books! Unfortunately this isn’t really a horror book, in my opinion it’s exactly like “Night at the Museum” with slightly creepier things running around. I was expecting to be creeped out and scared a lot more than I was but it still managed to hold my attention for the most part, so there is something to be said for that.

PLOTThe story starts out pretty slow with the set up since we are introduced to each character through their own perspective, which got to be too much to keep track of at times but they did have their own unique voices so it was manageable. After the characters are FINALLY in the Boulder House things start to get a little more fast-paced and a little more interesting as well. They must all now work together in order to escape this house of horrors but may not be able to manage it since they are all harboring secrets they wish to remain hidden.

I thought the “secret” aspect to the plot was pretty interesting since a lot of these kids had some pretty odd secrets but this is where a lot of the trigger warnings I mentioned come into play: racism, homophobia, and the victim blaming/statutory rape (which was the worst one) and that’s why the kids chose to keep their secrets. I won’t spoil any of it but just know that the majority of the plot twists have these triggers in them and they can be a bit over whelming.

As far as the rest of the plot went I just felt like it was a mess, honestly what the heck was even going on? These kids went from room to room and everything got weirder and weirder as they progressed through the house! There’s whales, unicorns, centaurs, vicious angels, and all kinds of odd things that they come across. It just felt like the plot was “trying too hard” to be entertaining and it just came off being strange and messy.

Then there’s the writing….it felt really immature. Granted it is told from the perspectives of high schoolers and I’m sure Atwood was aiming for a younger crowd but it was just too much for me. The phrases “douchemunch”, “asstroll”, and “fuck-a-doodle-doo” show up way more times than I’d like to count, do people actually talk like this? It really got on my nerves while reading.

charactersThe characters are all high school students and all fit into various tropes: shy girl, popular/mean girl, goth girl and her boyfriend, and the jock. They all act accordingly as well, aside from their secrets but as I said I’m not spoiling them! Aside from the fact that they all couldn’t be more different they do try to stick and work together, which I liked since it would have been very infuriating for them NOT to in the situation.

I also liked the dash of diversity among the characters since we do have a lesbian character, bisexual character, and African-American character.

Other than that I didn’t really care about any of them and their dialogue and actions could get really annoying at times, as I mentioned when discussing the writing.

romanceAnother really messy aspect of the story: the romance. Every character got in on this too which is why it got to be too messy and too much overall.

There’s a couple that starts out a couple but one is bisexual and doesn’t care for their significant other anymore, one is secretly gay and has a crush on another character, one is head over heels for their significant other, and two other characters secretly have crushes on each other but won’t admit it.

Too messy, right? I thought so.

in conclusionMy thoughts on this book overall were that it was way too messy and I was very disappointed. However, I did finish reading it so points for that.

What I Liked:

  • Managed to hold my attention
  • Relatively fast paced
  • Bit of diversity in the cast of characters

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Plot was very messy and over the top
  • The writing and dialogue were very immature
  • Overly complicated romantic sub-plot

RECOMMENDThis just wasn’t my cup of tea and that disappointed me. There just weren’t enough horror elements for me to seriously consider this a horror book and everything was too messy and downright weird.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy