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DNF: The Fifth Petal

The Fifth Petal: A Novel - Brunonia Barry

I received a copy from Penguin's First to Read site.

 

This is a murder mystery set in Salem. The premise was a fairly interesting one, 20 or so odd years ago three women were murdered on Halloween night during what appears to be some sort of ritual, there were two survivors, a little girl and another older woman. The older woman turned slightly nutty, the little girl remembered nothing and was shipped off to an orphanage run by nuns.

 

Now in 2014 something has happened involving the surviving lady Rose, from the original case, someone is dead under weird circumstances, Rose has gone rather loopy. A detective who has dealt with Rose before comes into the picture to investigate, and the little girl, who survived, Callie, all grown up now, comes back to town. There's a connection to the ancestors of the original Salem people who were accused of witchcraft and executed, something to do with the hanging tree and the real location, and missing bodies, consecrating the ground.

 

It's definitely an interesting idea, however, 84 pages in and it's very boring and long winded. This one is just not getting my attention and I'm not all that interested in anymore really. One for the DNF list, unfortunately. Not for me at all.

Review: The Space Between

The Space Between - Michelle L. Teichman

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again, I’m all for lesbian relationships in YA fiction, as there isn’t nearly enough of it. Yet this is the second I’ve read I’ve found that the romance was beautifully written but the over all story was very disappointing. Also the second with an overwhelming religious theme causing major distress and upset. I found it preachy to the point of obnoxious. It was also incredibly repetitive, and I did find myself skimming through certain bits. 

 

The story is set in a high school in Canada, Harper Isabelle is going into her freshman year of high school, she’s always been pretty and popular, thanks to the help of her beautiful older sister Bronte, who is the most popular girl in school. Bronte has always been there to teach Harper about fashion and how to date and what to do with boys, how to smoke, how to be cool, how to pick the perfect friends and fit in. (Bronte is supposed to be the coolest thing since sliced bread but frankly she’s a horrible spoiled bitch). 

 

Starting high school Harper is in the perfect position to make herself popular right off. She’s got it made. Until one class where she finds herself noticing another girl, Sarah, who wears all black and is immediately branded a “loser” before she can even answer her name in roll-call.

 

Yet in answering questions in class on To Kill a Mockingbird, Sarah comes off as quite intelligent, but very shy, Harper picks up on her train of thought in answering questions. Of course, Sarah notices Harper who is drop dead gorgeous, but has already suffered the indignities of Harper’s mean girl friends (in which Harper did nothing tp help) decided Harper is not worth her time. 

 

Sarah has a twin brother Tyler, who’s hot and on Harper and her mean girl cronies radars. Sarah and Harper find themselves inevitably getting to know each other. Harper appears to have a little more of a mind than her hive and a  nicer personality than she initially shows herself to have. It seems like she's been living in her sister’s shadow trying to live up to an almost impossible reputation and hasn’t really been able to explore what she wants in her life. Her parents are lawyers and workaholics and never home so she and Bronte have always had money and the means to do pretty much whatever they want. 

Where Sarah’s father is a pastor, she and her brother live by very strict rules and even have to say grace over snacks. Of course Tyler has broken every rule and managed to get away with it, and Sarah the quieter of the two, has always been “different” because she’s not outgoing. Her parents chalk it up to “eccentric artist” type things. 

 

As Sarah and Harper get to know each other their feelings start to change and this slowly developing thing from tentative friendship to romance is actually very believable. Though it doesn’t help that Harper is actually dating Tyler by this point. Sarah is worried that Harper is using her to get to Tyler, and finds herself becoming more and more included in Tyler’s activities and hanging out with Harper and her friends and finally becoming more popular. 

 

One part that really really pissed me off was one Sunday morning when Sarah and her family go to church to listen to her pastor father’s sermon, he’s preaching about sins and how wrong it is to be gay and what a horrible horrible sin it is and how those people should go to hell forever (along those lines) and how those righteous should pray for those poor doomed soles. It is frankly disgusting that people are preaching this kind of ignorant bullshit.  

 

Problem is this hangs over Sarah for the rest of the novel. When the romance finally happens its very compelling. What lets things down for this book, at least for me, was how repetitive it was. Harper’s worried about her reputation, Sarah goes down the same spiral over and over, - I’m finally popular, what if its only to get to Tyler, my religion says this is so wrong. It’s the same thing. Again and again and again.  Though out of the two of them, Harper to be fair, was less annoying. She became more sure of herself, and what she wanted, her thoughts, her feelings without giving into what everyone expected of her. 

 

Though I was let down by the ending of the book, which I found to be overly dramatic and unrealistic. It seemed to want to sum everything up, while some aspects were dealt with - others were glossed over or barely mentioned, and then it’s an epilogue of four years later. Which just seemed overly sickly sweet and made my eyes roll.

 

Boring. 

 

I gave it two stars because some of it was well done, but over all I just didn’t really like this one much at all.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Book Enthusiast Promotions for approving my request to view the title. 

Review: The Witch's Kiss

The Witch's Kiss - Katharine Corr, Elizabeth Fernando Corr

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A very enjoyable UK based YA paranormal novel with some unique takes on witchcraft, a modern day story mixed in with a fantasy like historical side plot made for some really interesting story telling. Sixteen year old Merry has been having scary dreams, involving a boy her age with a scary looking sword, who seems hell bent on trying to kill her. Not helped by the fact there is a serial killer around in her town who is striking at couple in love and taking their hearts. When the boy from her dreams turns up in real life, a hidden family curse is revealed along with the fact that Merry is the latest in the family line to take on an evil wizard who is really responsible for the serial killer taking hearts.

 

All sounds a bit convoluted, but comes together really well. Merry is a likeable heroine, she’s known she’s had witch magic for some time and started using it, the reader learns right away that she won’t any more because something went very very wrong with her magic, and Merry is afraid of it. Though her powers are getting stronger and she finds herself losing control without meaning to. Her dad is out of the picture, left a long time ago, her mum is in complete denial and hates the family magic. Her best friend Ruby knows nothing of the magic, the only solace and comfort Merry has in dealing with it all is her older brother Leo.

 

Initially, Leo comes off as a typical British lad more interested in going to the pub and hanging out with his mates than anything else. But Leo turns out to be one of the best characters in the book. His relationship with his sister turns out to be a really close one, he's there, he listens to her, he helps when he can and even though he doesn't have any magic of his own, he’s by Merry’s side and supporting her every step of the way. The magic comes through the female line, while Mum ignores and wants nothing to do with it, Merry’s grandmother and her coven are the ones who help Merry train her powers once she finally accepts her destiny.

 

Made worse by the fact that the boy from her dreams, turns out to be very very real and part of the family curse. Only the boy has two sides to him, two different personalities one of which he has no control over as it’s tied to the evil wizard and one the normal boy he was before anything happened. Oh, and that boy’s really sweet and Merry might be falling in love with him. Just to complicate things further.

 

Merry’s struggle with her normal school life and her magic duties are very believable. The reader learns a little more about how Merry has handled things with her magic when she first started learning and how things unravelled quickly. She behaved pretty badly, but at least she knew it was wrong and is trying to fix it. Merry has a pretty good moral compass and a good balance of trying to do the right thing.

 

The story also weaves in a family curse, when Merry gets the details from Gran, instead of just being told this is what happened way back when, there’s an evil wizard tied to our ancestors who wants to destroy all lovers because he was jilted a thousand years ago and there’s a curse and an innocent boy tied up in this and turned into a monster and you have to defeat him…the story is actually shown to the reader. In separate chapters, the historical part of the story comes to vivid life like a fantasy novel, then the novel switches back to the present as Leo and Merry learn more.

 

We learn more about the curse and backstory through flashback and Merry’s dreams as she turns out to have a direct tie to one of her ancestors who was involved back then.

 

It’s completely addictive and completely gripping. Likeable characters, deplorable villains and a complex romantic side plot. It’s a really different way of story telling and I really enjoyed it.

 

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

Review: Sing

— feeling star
Sing - Vivi Greene

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This title had been on my wishlist when I first saw it on Netgalley. I had already pre ordered. I didn’t realise the first galley I applied for was for sample chapters only. I hate sample chapters on Netgalley. Thankfully though, I wind up getting a full review copy.

 

Took a while to get into, but I did end up really enjoying it. A fluffy contemporary YA novel about a famous pop singer who after suffering a very public break up with her movie star boyfriend retreats with her best friends to the small island where one of her friends grew up. (It does kind of read like it could have been Taylor Swift fanfiction, but all the same, it’s an enjoyable read.)

 

Though initially I must admit I did have a hard time liking Lily Ross, the pop star main character. I was getting vibes of poor little famous person. She’s chosen a career in the public eye, and then seems surprised when nasty things are written about her and secrets about her relationships come out on gossip blogs after the breakup and words are twisted and stuff comes out that was taken completely out of context. Maybe I’m being a bit of a bitch here but it’s sort of like – well what did you expect? You chose a career that puts you in the public eye – she’s got legions and legions of fans. While there are plenty of people I’m sure who just love the music and will go to the concerts and enjoy the songs without really wanting to dig into the private life of the person behind the music, there are always going to fans who go to the opposite extreme and will want to know every last little thing about the singer they love. It’s not even like it’s the first time it’s happened to Lily, she’s known for big relationships, falling in  love deep and fast and making wonderful music about the guys and the relationships. She had a whole tour and album planned around her relationship with her current boyfriend Jed Monroe. Which goes up in flames. It’s certainly not fair on Lily, yes, it must be horrible to have someone you thought you were very much in love with break up with you and it becomes unnecessarily very public. Though at the same time it’s like – well, it comes with the territory of being famous.  

 

So a retreat with two best friends who have known Lily forever, Samantha and Tess, sounds like a really good idea. Lily comes to the conclusion all she’s written about is love and relationships. She wants something new and to find new inspiration and who she is without the flashy boyfriends. Sounds like very sensible idea.  Tess grew up on a tiny island community and convinces Lily it’s the perfect spot where she can collect herself after what happened with Jed. So off they go, Lily disengaging herself from her pop star career and getting the chance to just be herself with no fans and paparazzi around.

 

There are of course people who recognise her, but it’s a world away from New York. And just as Lily starts to relax – oh surprise, she accidentally hits a car coming back from somewhere early one morning and meets a really nice guy, Noel.  Um, wasn’t the whole point of this retreat to find something else to write songs about other than boys and romance, Lily? The scenery is wonderful, she can finally be herself with no expectations and has a kind of personal freedom she hasn’t had in a long time. Yet Lily can’t seem to find her song writing mojo. 

 

It’s immediately eye rolling because this is predictable as hell. It’s easy to see exactly where this is plot is going to go. That being said, Noel was actually a really sweet and decent guy. He has a somewhat complex family situation and an awesome little sister who (unsurprisingly) is a huge Lily Ross fan. The sister has own unique personality and becomes quite an important part of the plot. 

 

It becomes quite an emotional turmoil as Lily finds her song writing mojo, gets to know Noel and the island better. Then has to start recording her songs so brings her whole crew to the island to record things and prep for the upcoming tour.  She keeps things from her two besties, and can’t seem to get why the girl who comes from the island is irritated when the whole Lily Ross menagerie comes to produce the songs and record the new album all in time for the tour. Which brings chaos and of course…the paparazzi.  

 

Lily finds herself with some very hard choices to make towards the end of the novel when everything starts going wrong. She keeps secrets, and in some cases can be incredibly naive and dumb, while in others she shows an incredible level of maturity and common sense. She may be a famous person, but after all, she’s just a human girl with a big heart who makes mistakes and realises there are things to learn, and shows herself a damn good role model. 

 

An extremely well written novel, maybe a bit predictable but it’s a very enjoyable read with deep characters and a good emotional pull.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children’s for approving my request to view the title. 

DNF: The Guests on South Battery

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White

I found this title on offer on Penguin's First To Read site. Since in the current batch of titles there were no YA books on offer and I do like haunted house mysteries this title caught my attention. However, I didn't relive this was book five in an on going series. Sometimes that doesn't bother me (I came in on book seven of a long series once and just about picked up on the gist of the plot).

The idea is certainly an interesting one, the heroine has the ability to see ghosts and spirits and (I assume) helps them find rest or whatever they need. It's just that my problem with this book is I cannot stand the heroine. Even in the few pages I read I find her annoying, snobby, bossy and controlling. She's leaving her new husband detailed lists and schedules of how to feed dress and care for their baby twins. You married the man, had twin babies with him and can't trust his judgement to look after them? This is where I don't know the background relationship of how the couple got together or the history so I'm not sure on their trust and responsibilities issues. But it seems a bit over the top scheduling every last minute of the day. The woman has fired a number of nannies already for refusing to stick to her OTT schedules. Seems a bit too much, at least for me anyway. There are other things that bug me about woman as wel and its a lot in such a small amount of pages to dislike the main character to the point of where thinking I need to read more makes my eyes roll.

I just don't see myself really paying much more attention to this one, it's a DNF from me.

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 336 pages.

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I got this with some of my points through Penguin's First To Read. I apparently missed the bit where this was a sample only. Really good opening three or four chapters, beautifully written, vivid and rich mythology and strikingly picturesque. Just when it was starting to really pique my interest...that was it! Definitely looking foward to this one when it comes out. 

Review: The Secrets We Keep

The Secrets We Keep - Deb Loughead

Review: The Secrets We Keep

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

The premise of this mystery was what intrigued me when I read the synopsis on Netgalley and put in a request. On reading it, I must admit I was rather disappointed and found it rather dull. There was nothing wrong with it per say, other than the main character’s horrible best friend and said BFF’s appalling boyfriend, but it just didn’t work for me.

 

The novel starts with an assembly for a boy who died during a party under mysterious circumstances The death has been officially ruled as an accident, however, the boy’s mother a pushy lawyer doesn’t believe so and is demanding anyone who knows the truth come forward. Our main character Clementine is nervous – she was there that night and has a secret, her former best friend Ellie knows about and is blackmailing her so she can keep going out with an older boy with a dangerous reputation her mom wouldn’t approve of. Clementine reluctantly agrees.

 

Clementine was kind of spineless and annoying, Ellie was a flat out bitch who took advantage and manipulated everyone around her and had a way of making Clem feel guilty or bad when she tried to find some backbone. As the novel progresses Clem learns that she’s not the only one with secrets relating to this party where the boy died. Clem and Ellie lied to their parents about where they were the night of the party – the old you tell your mom I’m at your house for the night and we’ll tell mine you’re at mine. Which makes things worse for her never ending guilt.

 

She also finds out the boy she’s had a crush on forever – whose name I have already forgotten – was there and may be involved. He always used to be a nice guy but has recently seemed to fall with a bad crowd and become meaner and hotter with preppy popular girls clamouring after his attention, yet it’s Clem who manages to get through his façade and get to know him on a more personal level. They both have terrible feelings of guilt for their own parts and try to figure out what they should do about it.

 

As the novel progresses Clem does finally find her spine when she learns Ellie’s secrets. Ellie continues to lie and manipulate things to her advantage. Though when Clem finally learns the truth –I found myself really disappointed with the conclusion. It was sort of like – after all that Clementine goes through to find these answers – that’s it?!? Kind of dull and boring.

 

It’s pitched as YA though the tone of the characters came across at least to me as very young and that tone didn’t work for me. It was interesting enough that I was intrigued at least to find out how it ended, but I didn’t really like it that much to be honest. Just not for me.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Dundurn Press for approving my request to view the title.

Review: 13 Minutes

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This is a brilliant twisty turning mystery with a somewhat chilling feeling of just how nasty and manipulative teenage girls can be when they don’t get their own way. I didn’t find a single likeable or redeemable character in this novel, and usually when I can’t stand the characters I have no interest in the novel.

 

However, the novel was so exceptionally well written that the story itself was pretty unputdownable. I read the first 20% or so one afternoon, and then the next time I picked it up, I found myself reading the rest, I had to know what the hell was going on.

 

This is a UK based novel set at a sixth form college (17/18 year olds go just before going to college/university). The novel focuses on two main characters, Becca and Natasha who used to be best friends whilst growing up, with another girl Hayley in their little group. But as they grew up Becca didn’t fit the image that Tasha wanted so Becca was frozen out and another girl Jenny became best friends with Tasha and Hayley. Tasha is the queen bee of the group Becca has nicknamed the Barbies because they’re all blonde, perfect and popular (and bitchy).

 

Becca is a stoner with a musician boyfriend who has left school. She’s grumpy, moody and has one real friend Hannah who is the class loser. Becca’s only real friend yet she treats Hannah horribly. Worse when she learns Tasha has had a terrible accident but survives. Becca finds herself going to the hospital to see Tasha who has no memory of the terrible thing that happened or the events leading up to it.

 

So the mystery begins. It’s clear right off from chapters of texts between Hayley and Jenny they know something. The novel is told in alternating viewpoints Becca’s third person, Tasha’s first person from a diary the psychiatrist asked her to keep, police notes and psychiatrist reports. With Tasha’s memory loss she and Becca start reconnecting and putting the pieces together much to the dismay of Hayley, Jenny and Hannah who Becca has started blowing off and being meaner to.

 

While Becca is sullen and moody and quick to answer, Tasha is your typical queen bee bitch. She makes absolutely no apologies for her appalling personality. Hayley and Jenny are cardboard cut-out mean girls with very little personalities of their own – the exception being that Jenny is pegged as trashy and made fun of for being easy and sleeping around. This comes back to be a big plot point later on in the novel.

 

Despite the annoying characters, as the mystery builds and things get darker and twister it’s extremely compelling, it gives the idea that it’s very predictable and you think you know what’s going on, it’s fairly obvious. But then there are quite a few sudden unexpected shock twists. As the twists start happening and the police investigation continues it does take a darker tone. It’s not a comfy pleasant mystery at all. It’s certainly compelling and did leave me with a bit of a chill after the end.

 

Definitely an author I would read again.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for approving my request to view the title.

Review: As I Descended

— feeling ghost
As I Descended - Robin Talley

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I pre ordered this one, as it had been on my wish list for ages and then jumped at the chance as soon as it was on Netgalley, and had a happy dance when I got approved. (Though it did take me shamefully long time actually finish). I’m not sure what it was – but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I was hoping to.

 

Great cast of characters and double plus points for diversity, but there was just something missing from this one for me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. The plot was interesting, and I could pick out the Macbeth parallels. I didn’t study Macbeth in school, so I can’t say how accurately it related, but looking from a few reviews I’ve read it’s a really loose retelling.

 

I think I struggled with it towards the end because it got very weird and very confusing, at least for me. Though I was fairly surprised by the ending, it certainly wasn’t what I expected, but on reflection I suppose it suited the Shakespearian tragedy feel.

 

The novel tells the story of Lily and Maria, who attend a very posh boarding school on what used to be a planation. There have been stories and rumours of ghosts on campus for many many years and more than a few tragedies and deaths. Lily and Maria are a couple, even though they are both still in the closet. They want to be done with high school and go to college together. Lily has her ticket to Stanford set, but Maria doesn’t. Maria believes her only option is to win the Cawdor Kingsley Prize scholarship. There’s just one problem in their way – golden girl Delilah Dufrey also head of the line for the Cawdor Kingsley Prize.

 

Delilah is the most popular girl in school – she appears to be friends with both Maria and Lilly. The opening scene is them all hanging out with some other kids doing a séance where weird things start happening right away, there may be a ghost in the room and there’s hints that Maria has some sort of understanding or communication powers with spirits which she is in deep denial of. So Lilly and Maria plot to get Delilah out of the running so Maria can win the prize.

 

It’s an interesting take on how far would you go to stay together and go to be the best you can. With a lot of morality issues as well – which at first seem non existent in this school setting. But some as things progress and the plot gets twistier –there’s that underline attack of conscience and nagging doubt as things quickly descend into darkness and madness.

 

There’s lots going on with ghosts and spirits and something to do with the history of the plantation where the school was built on. Spanners thrown into Maria and Lilly’s happiness when other students start to realize what’s going on – namely Maria’s best friend Brandon and his boyfriend Mateo start putting the pieces together.

 

(The other thing this book has going for it is there isn’t a single hetro couple that gets any focus – which was awesome – it’s all about Lilly and Maria and Brandon and Mateo).

But as the novel goes on and things get creepier, it seems the effect of guilt with the atmosphere in the school and the ghosts takes its toll on everyone’s mind. And this was where it got very confusing, (for me anyway).

 

But it was certainly a gripping read, even if it was weird towards the end.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Mira Ink UK for approving my request to view the title.

Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other People's Houses - Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

I received a copy from Netgalley when my wish request was granted. I also purchased a finished paperback because I love the UK cover.

 

This was a really interesting book. The paperback has a map in the front of the area in Alaska where the book is set, and it was a little confusing, there were several towns, a river and I could also see a nunnery on the map as well. It was like – how does all this tie together? The plot itself is not a new one, there are four main characters, each chapter is told from a different character’s view point. It tells of how the three main female characters know each other and the others in their small town, and the outsider who comes in.

 

Ruth is madly in love with a boy and keeps sneaking out to see him, Dora has a horribly abusive father and escapes to live with her friend Dumpling, Alyce is a fantastic ballerina but doesn’t want to leave her parents, she works with her dad and her uncle on their fishing boat. Hank and his younger brothers are running away from something.

 

What makes this book unique is it’s setting – it’ Alaska in the 1970s and it’s so different it was almost impossible to picture living this way, (even with a map of the areas). The writing and the narrative are what makes the novel unputdownable. It does deal with a few disturbing issues – Dora’s escape from her horrible father and her annoying, passive enabler mother doesn’t help at all. There is a rather violent scene at the beginning of Ruth’s helping her dad kill and skin a deer and her mother dances in the blood, while it may be a shock to the reader, it seems like the most normal thing in the world for Ruth as a small child. Then her dad dies, her mother loses her mind and is shipped off to an institution and Ruth’s nasty overbearing overly religious grandma comes to look after Ruth and her sister. Alyce’s story I found a little boring – she has the potential to be a really good ballerina, with the option to audition for some big show, but if she gets it – it will mean having to leave the town and her family. There’s a lot about how the fishing side of things work with Alyce’s story. And then Hank and his younger brothers Sam and Jack are running away from something. Though I can’t remember if it was ever really explained what. I didn’t really care much for Hank or his storylines.

 

The novel deals with teen pregnancy as well and has some surprising results as how it brings the girl and the family involved together. It plots along quite well. And at some point all these story lines are supposed to interact. And eventually they do, they were quite a few emotional bits towards the end and some “ah, so that’s how” moments as the story lines connect.

 

Beautifully written, fascinating setting and interesting characters (even if there were one or two story lines I found a little dull). Definitely worth a read for something a little different.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Faber and Faber LTD for granting my wish request.

Review: Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts - Krystal Sutherland

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This was one of those delightful books that I loved almost as soon as I started reading. A bit of cover lust as well (I loved the big fish on the front) I’ve not come across a lot of YA romantic/drama types from a male point of view before.

 

I was captivated immediately by Henry’s tone of voice and personality. I liked all of the characters in this one, except for Grace Town. I didn’t really like her much at all. But I really enjoyed the narrative and the build of the relationship and how she came into Henry’s world. Henry also had a great support system, some wonderful friends and some likeable parents, an older sister with a bit of a reputation as a troublemaker from when she was at school which had some lingering effects on Henry’s teachers (even though Henry and his sister are nothing alike, and the sister was kind of awesome too).

 

Grace Town comes in dressed in weird boys’ clothes looking very dull and while everyone stares she immediately gets Henry’s attention. They both end up working on the school newspaper with one of Henry’s other friends and develop a sort of tentative friendship, despite the fact that their personalities are very different. Henry is quippy and quirky while Grace is sullen and quiet and seems very brash. Yet Henry’s head over heels for her very quickly.

 

There’s one brilliant scene where Henry and his friend are asking the school gossip queen to dig up some information for them on Grace, and Henry’s friend Murray is looking for gossip on his ex who he’s trying to win back. And Murray actually uses The Simpsons quote “Everything’s coming up Millhouse” quote in the right context and it’s absolutely hilarious. The use of that quote alone was worth five stars.

 

As things progress and Henry learns more about Grace and gets to know her better, there’s parties, drinking, misinterpretation of feelings - do they love me do they not -– the usual things you find in teen romantic drama. A bit of sex as well which was handled very well. Nicely thought out and dealt with from both people involved considerate of each other and where they want to be.

 

It’s exceptionally well written and manages to go from being romantic and sweet to angsty and dramatic without being over the top. When you think things are going smoothly, it twists and becomes deeply emotional and made me sniffle a few times towards the end. It’s got a great cast of diverse characters, each character is fully developed with their own distinct personalities and storylines, interactive parents and family members. And manages to be both funny and hearbreaking and wraps up with a believable conclusion.

 

I loved this so much I purchased a finished copy before I was even half way through. Definitely something I can see myself reading again.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Bonnier Publishing for approving my request to view the title.

Review: The Night Parade

The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi

 

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

It’s been a while since I read a really good horror novel, and this one caught my attention whilst browsing through Netgalley. Viruses that wipe out the world stories kind of leave me apprehensive in that it will either wind up focusing on zombies or be far too like Stephen King’s The Stand. This book stood out on its own merit.

 

I think what was so great about this one was that the main character, David, was just an ordinary guy. He wasn’t trying to save the world or find a cure or save his town. His wife had died under mysterious circumstances, and government doctors looking for a cure for the virus were supposedly involved. His main concern is to save his daughter.

 

David is a likeable guy because he’s a normal guy. A regular family man who works as an English professor with a wife and a smart small child. As the novel progresses and you learn the circumstances of how the virus stared told in flashback chapters, and the where David is now – on the run from the government, trying to debate how much to confess to his daughter.  The daughter Ellie, appears to be quite apathetic about the whole thing. She appears to be very quiet and very intelligent. At eight nearly nine she’s very well spoken, very well behaved and seems remarkably mature as things go from bad to worse as she and her dad try to find somewhere to hide. David has a brother, Tim, who lives “off the grid” who comes in to help at some point.

 

The tension is well written, the scenes are pretty damn creepy as David and Ellie go from town to town meeting a variety of scary people and towns all virus effected. Ellie starts to exhibit strange powers and there’s hints that her mother knew and possibly could have had them too only the government got to the mom first. The flashback chapters tell how everything started – and it’s completely believable which makes it even more tense and uncomfortable in parts.

 

As it goes on, it’s completely unpredictable as well. And as a reader I found myself really caring about David and Ellie and hoping they made it out okay. You get a sort of sense of how on earth is this going to wind up comfortably for everyone? But it’s a realistic horror novel. A happy ending isn’t necessary. The end was again well done and believable in keeping with the tone of the novel. It didn’t go down in a rush of stupid action. It built up to a dramatic conclusion left very open ended.

(It actually made me sniffle a bit).

 

I would really like to see a sequel following on from this one. Definitely an author I would read again.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for approving my request to view the title.

Story Sprites Round 5 Complete

 

Another round of Great Imagination's Story Sprites complete. This was a tougher than it looked. 

 

Pink Path

2016 Fantasy- Ruined by Amy Tintera - 3 stars
Gay Female MC - Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler - 3 stars
Character with Physical Deformity - Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto - 4 stars
Novel with Fire and/or Ice Theme - A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick - 4 Stars

 

Yellow Path

Fairytale Retelling Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige - 1 star
Villain Turned Good- Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - 3 stars
Book Cover with a Face - The Reader by Traci Chee - 5 Stars
Book with a Fantasy Land - Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - 4 stars

 

Green Path

Historical Standalone - Stone Field by Christy Lenz - 2 stars
By an Author or Color - Pasadena by Sherri L Smith - 4 stars
Setting: An American Chinatown - Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee - 5 stars
Female Empowerment as a Theme - Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes - 5 stars

 

Blue Path

Classic Horror - The Shining by Stephen King - 5 Stars
Vigilante MC - The Society by Jodie Andrefski - 3 stars
Book with Vampires Betrayed (House of Night #2) PC & Kristen Cast - 3 stars
Classic Rewritten Monsters - Romeo and Juliet and Vampires by Claudia Gabel 2 stars

 

Purple Path

Setting: 19th Century - These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly - 4 stars
Book by Deceased Author I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan - 3 stars
No Romance - The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn - 5 stars
Book with a Shipwreck - Titanic The Long Night by Diane Hoh - 5 stars

 

You can see my Goodreads shelf with dates for all titles and some of the ones I reviewed here

 

Best Books

Girl Against the Universe, Outrun the Moon, Titanic The Long Night, The Shining, Pasadena,  The Smaller Evil, The Reader

 

Worst Books

Stealing Snow, Romeo and Juliet and Vampires, Stone Field

 

Honorable Mentions

Revenge and the Wild, These Shallow Graves, Falling Kingdoms, Read Me Like a Book, Ruined, A Frozen Heart

DNF: Paper and Fire

Paper and Fire: The Great Library - Rachel Caine

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I was really looking forward to this sequel. I had pre ordered a paperback copy, and took a chance when I saw it pop up on Netgalkey thinking I most likely wouldn't get approved but then I did and it was like OMG YES!!!!!!! I was so excited when I got approved for this one. 

 

However, it's a case of I can barely remember anything about the first book, I vaguely remember the world building and remember that I absolutely loved it, but barely anything about the plot. And that is making the second one quite confusing, I like what I read of it,m but it's been over a month since I last picked it up and I'm completely lost with who some of these characters are and where they came in in the first one. 

 

What at I will do at some point in the near future is read the first one again and then follow on immediately with the second one, cause I really do like this series and want to know more about these characters. Just not feeling it at the moment. 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for approving my request to view the title.

DNF: This Savage Song

This Savage Song - Victoria Schwab

Managed 141 pages but I'm bored. This book is not getting my attention at all. The world building is divided territories and monsters and the two factions who are in charge. Kate is the daughter of the baddie and August is the son of the goodie. The setting is bleak and dark, and whole Kate is a reasonably interesting character trying to prove she belongs at her father's side in charge and not shoved away in boarding schools, I'm finding August very dull and a woe is me type. Just not interested in where this is going.

DNF: King Slayer

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter) - Virginia Boecker

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Snagged a copy with auto approval from Hatchette Children's on Netgalley as I remember quite liking the first book and being interested enough to know what happens next. Problem I have is I can't actually remember anything about the plot of the first book and I haven't got a clue what's going on in what I've read of the second one. It's not a bad book by any means, it's just confusing as hell. And at the moment I don't feel like re reading the first one. It's certainly something I may do at a later date, and then pick up the second one as I purchased a paperback copy, but not at the moment. So DNFing.