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Book Review: Ill Will by Dan Chaon

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Ill Will: A Novel by Dan Chaon

Goodreads.com – Ill Will by Dan Chaon

BarnesandNoble.com – Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Adult/Mature Adult/Mystery/Thriller

Plot:We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves.” This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient’s suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.

From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

Opinion: WHEW! What a whirlwind that story was! After becoming introduced to The Girl on the Train, I have been in a frenzy trying to find similar books. I came across Ill Will on Netgalley and HAD to give it a go. Let me tell you readers, I have so many STRONG and INSANE emotions rushing through me right now…I barely know where to start! This book is like a bad mushroom trip that feels WAY too real.

Thirty years ago, Dustin and his cousins woke up to find their parents brutally murdered in their home. Already flushed with loss at a young age, a life sentence is handed down on Dustin’s adopted brother Rusty who is blamed for the crimes. Now years later with children of his own, Dustin works as a psychologist in Cleveland. Soon a call from Dustin’s cousin brings panic into his life, as he is told that Rusty’s sentence has been thrown out and he is being released. Now Dustin begins to reflect back on the night that changed his life forever, and whether he and his cousins were right about testifying against Rusty and blaming him for the murders. All the while, a staggering number of male college students being found dead is making headlines. Though the police call the strange occurrences “accidental drownings”, Dustin’s new patient feels otherwise and suspects foul play. Could there be a link to this madness, or is Dustin slowly falling down a rabbit hole?

This is a truly interesting and dark story. There are tons of misleading twists and shocking occurrences, and the characters are truly gritty. Dustin is our main character and the reader follows him as he relives moments from his past, while also dealing with his present. One day Dustin gets a call from his cousin who tells him that Rusty, his adopted brother and the person who took the fall for the murders, is being released from prison. He is told that new DNA results were discovered which proves that Rusty couldn’t have murdered his new family. This brings a panic into Dustin’s life because now he is unsure if Rusty was the culprit of the crime, or if he was just blamed because of the things he had done in his past.

As Dustin reflects on his past growing up with Rusty, I was…how should I say this…COMPLETELY f***ing disturbed. There is some SERIOUSLY dark and grimy things that go on between these boys. Rusty can be described as a tough and hardheaded boy at an early age, and grows into a metal loving hooligan that likes talking about satanic rituals and even goes as far as sacrificing small rabbits. Dustin is a young an impressionable boy, and sees Rusty as his knight in shining armor. He proves to be a more than gullible child, and will allow his mind to be overturned by suggestions and hints by his older cousins and Rusty. In each flashback that these characters take the reader in, we are given glimpses of each characters flaws as a child and reasons why they could or couldn’t have been the ones to murder their family.

Another huge part of this story is Dustin and his patient Aqil. Aqil is a former police officer who has more than an obsessive and compulsive personality. He becomes fascinated by the mass amounts of local drownings of college males, and brings it upon himself to start investigating. As Aqil attends sessions with Dustin, Dustin starts to get wrapped up in the ideas and theories that Aqil presents him. Soon he finds himself spending all of his time with Aqil and latched onto the idea that there is a murderer on the loose killing these boys. The end result for these murders is truly…SHOCKING. I was so blindsided when this portion of the story was SOMEWHAT answered. Yes, in this book you will find that the author likes to leave you guessing.

For me though, I think the ending is where this story really shines. At first I wasn’t too keen on the fact that the ending didn’t completely tie everything together. I ended the book and thought to myself WAIT, what happened?? As it has now been a few days since I have finished the book, I have a different feeling towards the ending. I actually enjoy the fact of where the author took it, because there are so many actual cases where things end up in that fashion. I think I have a pretty decent idea of what could have happened, and I think you guys will too if you give this read a go. But honestly, the best part is knowing that you have no idea what actually happened. So touché Dan Chaon, touché. All in all, I am only giving this 3 stars because this book took me a LONG time to get through and because I was rather uncomfortable for most of the read. I prefer a thriller that THRILLS me, not a story that makes my skin crawl and forces me to put it down. It is an interesting story, but I could have done without all the in-depth sexual scenes.

3-stars

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Book Review: Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

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Devil in the Countryside is available for Pre-order, and will be available on February 15, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Devil in the Countryside (Of Witches and Werewolves) by Cory Barcaly

Goodreads.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Barnesandnoble.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Bookdepository.com – Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Disclaimer: I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the author, Cory Barclay, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Supernatural

Plot: Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas.

It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs.

In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

Opinion: Once again, I am PLEASANTLY surprised with a book that is completely out of the genre that I usually read. This story was AMAZING! I found myself having immense trouble putting it down and doing adult things such as going to work, or sleeping. The writing is perfection. It gives the reader the necessary balance of description and detail, while also eloquently weaving a tale of fantasy and realism.

Based loosely on actual events that took place in Germany over a 20 year span, Devil in the Countryside transports the reader to 1588 as murders in Bedburg start to rise. Fear spreads quickly through the town as gruesome and mangled bodies are found in the countryside, and threats against protestant reform begin to plague the Christian ruled town. As Investigator Heinrich Franz looks into the murders, he enlists the help of a hunter by the name of Georg Stieghart who has a past of being quite vicious. This story also follows Father Nicholas Dieter of the church in Bedburg, and young Sybil Griswold who is the daughter of a wealthy farmer. While the investigator tries to hunt down the Werewolf of Bedburg, the church tries to fight off Protestants from overtaking the town and the minds of their people.

Though I gave you guys a little description up there, I’m going to explain a little bit more about these characters/events so that you really get the idea. Probably the COOLEST thing about this book is the fact that it is based on true events. In 1589 a trial was held for a man that was presumed to be the famous Werewolf of Bedburg, who was accused of murder and cannibalism. Shocked? Me too. The fact that these people actually thought that a man was turning into a werewolf and slashing bodies to pieces is just…beyond me. The again, this was also a time when everyone thought witches were casting spells and dealing in dark magic…and here I thought my generation was cuckoo.

Heinrich Franz is the investigator that is put in charge of finding out who/what the Werewolf of Bedburg is, and he seems to go to any lengths to make someone responsible. I really can’t pinpoint my feelings for this character. He is an evil and emotionally unattached man, but I quite like his ruthlessness and cunning behavior. He is the type of person that will do ANYTHING to close a case, especially if that means framing someone in the process. Georg Stieghart is truly my favorite character in this story. He comes off as a drunken idiot most of the time, but he proves to be a very strong-willed and intelligent person. As Georg seeks revenge for the death of his family, who he assumes is the Werewolf, he assists the investigator and helps him hunt the killer down. The relationship between these two characters is fairly comical. They both act friendly towards one another and share news that they have, but they also don’t trust each other and have their own agendas. I enjoyed how the story turned out for Georg and how his character makes a complete 180. He loses some of his savagery and turns into a truly upstanding person.

Sybil Griswold is the daughter of wealthy farmer Peter Griswold. Sybil goes through a lot of dark events in this story, and I commend her character for taking everything in stride. Not only does a dear friend of hers come up dead, but her father begins to force her into a marriage with a nobleman’s son who proves to be vile and pretentious. Sybil finds solace in her time spent with Father Nicholas Dieter, who is a priest at the church in Bedburg. Father Dieter seems to be the most developed character, and for me, the most interesting. He starts out being a very faithful and dutiful servant to the religion that he preaches for, but soon starts to open his eyes to what is going on in the world around him. The relationship between these two characters brings the romance factor into this story, and gives the reader a little light in this otherwise dark and gritty tale.

This story overall was fantastic! The events that took place were gruesome and unnerving, and I kept picturing a less theatrical Tim Burton setting of gray buildings and woeful expressions. Though I am not a big fan of reading a story with religion being such a central theme, it was obviously necessary to this story but it didn’t overtake the actual plot and events that the author was focusing on. I highly recommend this story to any reader that likes thriller/mystery, or to anyone who wants to dabble in a different type of story. I am REALLY looking forward to see what happens in book 2, hopefully it will come out soon!

5-stars

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Deny the Father by M. Duda

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Deny the Father by M. Duda

Goodreads.com – Deny the Father by M. Duda

Barnesandnoble.com – Deny the Father by M. Duda


Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, M. Duda, for an honest review.

Genre: Short Story/Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal

Plot: The first story in this collection, “A Sarjeta,” follows an impoverished Portuguese with one simple dream. He wants to taste meat. Although Leandro also has larger goals of becoming a famous artist, his hunger and poverty are always at the front of his mind. When he forms a relationship with the wrong person, Leandro will realize that incredible evil exists just across the street.

The middle story, “Good-bye, Sweet Mercury” takes a turn away from the horrific and focuses on a father’s love for his daughter. In this short, simple tale, the father stands at a precipice in his life. He doesn’t want to leave his little girl and will have to make a big decision about his future.

The last story, “Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today,” furthers M. Duda’s theme of metamorphosis and introduces an indentured farmer who is trying to make up for his criminal past. In a future civilization, the farmer faces harsh truths about himself.

Through these glimpses into different worlds, M. Duda tells three intricate, compelling tales of transformation.

Opinion: Readers! I bring you yet another collection of short stories by the highly imaginative author M. Duda. This is the third book I have received from this author, and might I just say these stories just keep getting better and better. What I love about this author is that he isn’t afraid to create stories that reflect on the darkness and savagery that exists in the world. I love any story that is able to make me slightly nauseous at the truths that I am seeing, but a story that also excites the ravenous reader that I am.

Deny the Father has a total of three short stories. The first story A Sarjeta (The Gutter) follows a poor young man that has the sole desire to earn enough money to taste meat for the first time. While living with his sister and her children only eating beans day after day, Leandro finds himself caught up in a dangerous game on his path to riches. In the second story, Good-bye, Sweet Mercury, Tim struggles with saying goodbye to his daughter and moving on after his death. The third and final story, Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today, is set on another planet called Menhir-X. Jax and his wife, Delna, live on this planet as sugar cane farmers along with other alien life forms called Allohms. This story documents as Jax struggles to keep his farmer, while also confronting his past and present mistakes.

I think my favorite story in this collection would have to be Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today. The overall theme focuses on the struggles to provide for oneself and their family, while also putting a spotlight on the mistakes that one makes and how they can cost you dearly in the end. This story shows the wrinkles and imperfections that can scar a person in time, and I think it was an interesting tale of a man seeking redemption. A Sarjeta (The Gutter) is a truly gritty and grimy story. It captures the idea that innocence can be stolen rather than lost, and it gives the reader a sad feeling of hopelessness and despair. It made my heart squirm in my chest and left me feeling uneasy. To me A Sarjeta (The Gutter) and Yesterday Never, Tomorrow and Today are two stories that test the evil inside oneself and others, and it makes the reader question their conscience or morals.

Good-bye, Sweet Mercury is a very VERY short story that lasts only three pages. I have noticed that the author, M. Duda, touches on life after death at least once in each of his books. In this story, like his other paranormal tales, we are greeted with a character who struggles with the idea of moving on and leaving a loved one behind. Good-bye, Sweet Mercury instills a moment of hope for the reader while they read this story. It was a welcome moment that brought me out of the darkness that usually embodies these shadow books and restored my faith in humanity…if only for a moment.

When it comes to reading an M. Duda collection of short stories, I am always very pleased with the imaginative and poetic tales that I read. As much as I adore reading my overly fluffed YA/Fantasy stories, I will always be seeking a story like this that evokes deep thoughts long after I have finished reading. As always, I HIGHLY recommend reading these shadow books! I hope this author NEVER stops writing these eerie stories, they are truly special and amazing.

5-stars

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January 2017 Book Wrap-up

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Here we are my darlings, my January 2017 Book Wrap-up!

I have given myself a goal of 100 books to read for 2017 (via my Goodreads challenge). If I keep this pace up then I will have no problem completing this. I have been devouring every book I have been getting my hands on, and reading everything so much quicker than I normally do. Though this means that I am reading more, it also means that I don’t get to enjoy and savor some of these stories as much as I would like. Oh…the curses of being a fast reader.

Throne of Glass

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The Throne of Glass series…*sigh*. I demolished all five of the books in a week, and let me tell you…I WISH I would have slowed down.  This series is INSANELY amazing! Our main character is a lethal and sharp-edged female assassin, and we follow her as she is hired by her kingdoms enemy to slaughter her own people. As the books go on, the story only gets better and the reader becomes overly invested in the lives of each of these badass characters. I am patiently waiting for the next book in the series, and you can be sure that I will be reading this series over at least once this year.  

Flicker and Mist

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Flicker and Mist involves invisibility and a large amount of segregation between different races. Myra is half Plat and half Leftie and has the ability to flicker, or become invisible. As flickering is outlawed in New Heart City, which predominantly consists of Plats, this story follows Myra and other Flickerkin as they fight against being killed for their abilities.  Though I wish this story dove deeper into the creative writing and the story was more drawn out, I found it to be very entertaining and a unique story.

Otherworld

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I just LOVED this book…talk about nostalgia overload! Otherworld plays with the idea of turning our imaginations and daydreams into worlds that we can actually walk through and experience. The author did a wonderful job of combining something from everyone’s childhood into this story. Though it follows a very young main character, this highly imaginative story can target every audience. I can’t recommend this story enough! It is a heart-string puller.

Lodging

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Lodging is a short story that is sure to make you really REALLY sad. This story takes the reader back to WWII and gives them a taste of some very real experiences that young adults faced during the war. This story touches on the young men that went away to war, as well as the effects that it had on many young women in that time. Call me crazy, but I have been trying my hardest lately to find a book that will bring me to tears and crush my soul a little. This story is probably what kick started it.

The Other Inheritance

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…*sigh*…this book.

If you guys read my review for this story, you already know my feelings. I might have completely ripped this book apart, but trust me it was necessary. I tried my hardest to stay optimistic while reading this fantasy story, but it was just flat and executed poorly. The characters made me cringe and the descriptions of the worlds and magic didn’t feel at all complete. Not my cup of tea AT ALL.

Butterfly Bones

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Butterfly Bones is yet another fantasy book that I was gifted from Netgalley. Once again for this month, I came across another book that is truly unique and veering off the yellow brick road to take their own path. Our main character Bethany suffers from a rare bone disease that makes her look like a child, when she is in fact fifteen. As Bethany struggles with her vicious high school peers, she also deal with being injected daily with butterfly hormones from her father…in the hopes that he can find a cure for her. This is a very bitter-sweet coming-of-age story that falls into the science-fiction/fantasy realm as the story progresses. I thought this book was GREAT and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Chat Love

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Last but not least, Chat Love. This is a quirky story that touches on the struggles of finding love and the awkwardness of online dating. We follow a young woman as she goes on dates that range from unmemorable to completely insane. This book was packed with comedy and snarky comments, and I loved the main characters. If you guys are looking for a relatable story, look no further. You are sure to find a moment in this story that resembles an embarrassing experience in your life. You’re welcome.

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: Chat Love by Justine Faeth

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~ Buy through the links below ~

Amazon.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Barnesandnoble.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Goodreads.com – Chat Love by Justine Faeth

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Justine Faeth, for an honest review.

Genre: Romance/Comedy/Adult

Plot: City girl Lucia is having trouble finding a man. With a few nudges from her friends, she decides to try out Chat Love, an online dating service for New Yorkers. Hilarity ensues with one disastrous date after another…where do these men come from? Mars? Certainly not Manhattan! She finally meets someone from work who is almost perfect, but decides to move on as he’s still seeing other women. She keeps in contact with a man named Jack on the Chat Love site. Could he be the one? What about her love interest at work? Just like the lovable cast of characters from Sex and the City, Lucia is Carrie, a stylish woman who has found her “Mr. Big” but can’t seem to get him to commit. Danni is Samantha, who loves to have fun and is wild and promiscuous. Autumn is Charlotte, desperate to meet the right man and settle down. Skyler is Miranda, level-headed and quick to offer advice. Will these ladies ever find love? Will Lucia find her man? Chat Love will give you something to talk about!

Opinion: Well here we are my darlings, a book that we can all relate to: meeting countless idiots on the way to find your ONE TWU WUV. Is it a Prince Charming or a Prince Toad?!? *Sigh*…cue the cringing and face palming ladies, because the relatable embarrassment and horrible memories are about to ensue.

With the pressures from her family to get married and start having children, Lucia finds that she is almost twenty-eight with no future for a decent relationship on the horizon. With so many failed relationships in her past, Lucia finds it more and more difficult to meet a great guy outside of a bar or club. So with much persuading from her friends, she decides to join an online dating site called Chat Love. As Lucia starts going on dates, she finds herself being on more disastrous dates than positive ones. As Lucia yearns to find love, it doesn’t help that her younger sister is newly married and has just announced that she is pregnant with her first child. Now her parents are pushing Lucia more than ever to find love, but she just can’t seem to find her perfect man. To make matters even more complicated, her arrogant and promiscuous co-worker Jackson starts acting flirty towards her.

This was a very welcome and nice change from the books I normally read. This story was something truly relatable and amusing, and I think most women will find one or two things that mirror their own experiences with men. Lucia is a career driven young woman, who like most of us, have just had bad luck with men.  As she starts to near turning thirty, she starts to worry more and more about finding someone to settle down with. Lucia is from a very large and loud Italian family, so of course her parents are constantly questioning her about who she is dating and when she is going to pop out some children. Thankfully for me, I have never had to go through that with my family. I can’t even IMAGINE how irritating that would be!

The main characters that surround Lucia are fun and definitely have their own big personalities. I loved Lucias male friends that were the epitome of what most guys around me are like. They are crude but hilarious, and constantly finding a new woman to take home with them. I enjoyed Lucia and Jackson the most. I think their characters were the most relatable and down-to-earth, even though Jackson was a COMPLETE pig at the beginning of this story. I think it is fairly obvious how this story is going to end, so we might as well draw attention to it yes? Yes. Jackson and Lucia have that typical relationship where there is an obvious physical attraction, but Jackson is a player and is known for getting with A LOT of women. We follow Lucia as she dates different men, while also figuring out what is happening between her and Jackson. It’s the typical “good girl wants to fix the bad boy” story. Look, I’ve been there. I wish that was actually possible…but whatever 😉

Overall, I really liked this read. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did I just wanted to keep reading and reading. It’s a quick and easy read and it’s exciting to see what kind of crazy encounter Lucia will have next. Since I have never seen Sex and the City, I unfortunately can’t really compare this book to the show. I am thinking of shooting this story over to one of my girlfriends who I know is OBSESSED with the show and have been looking for something good to read. I bet she will just love it!

4-stars

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Book Promo · Book Tag · Books · New Releases

Bookish Book Lover Tag

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Here we are guys, my first book tag post for 2017! Though I was tagged in this when it was still 2016…we don’t care do we? No, we don’t. THANK YOU to Luci over at Irontallica666Blog for the tag!

The rules:

  • use the original banner
  • answer the questions
  • use lots of book covers
  • tag your friends!

What book are you currently reading?

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Can you say OBSESSION? This girl is psychotic, and I love her oh so much.

For those of you have read this book, can we all just take a minute to bask in that WTF moment between Rowan and Aelin where Rowan says that cringe-worthy sentence? You know the one. It involves using the word moan and turning my wondrous YA story into a borderline disturbing erotic novel, where I feel like I have interrupted a moment that I REALLY don’t want to be interrupting.

Someboodddyyy say AWK-ward?

What’s the last book you finished?

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Obviously.

Favorite book you read this year?

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It has to be Hatred Day and Emotions. These were both SUPER original and interesting reads, and I was hooked on them.

What genre have you read most this year?

Fantasy books for sure! I have become a sucker for anything involving royal courts and sword play!

What genre have you read least this year?

I would have to say romance or horror.

What genres do you want to read more of?

2015 and 2016 have been years where I have REALLY branched out of my normal comfort zone in regards to genre of books. I am pushing myself to become open to anything at this point.

Except erotica. Just no.

How many books have you read this year and what is your goal?

I don’t even want to know the low amount of books that I read in 2016, twas a hard year indeed. I want to read 100 books in 2017, or more. The more the merrier! My goal is to stay focused and become a reading machine. Goodbye social life, I don’t need you anyways!

What is the last book you bought?

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What book are you saving up for to buy?

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*Sigh*…Childhood. (Insert dreamy and twinkling eyes)

How many books did you check out last library visit?

Last Library visit? I couldn’t even tell you the last time i was in an actual library.

What’s a book you can’t wait to read?

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NUMBER 5! Let’s just keep them coming Sarah J. Maas, no need to ever stop the series.

Seriously. Write forever.

What’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

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I read A Series of Unfortunate Events years and YEARS ago, and to my dismay….*sigh*…I can barely even say it…I LOST THEM. Ugh…woe is me.

Who’s an author you’re hoping writes more? 

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This book….always this book. If Jay Asher could just write more stories like this, he would be probably my favorite writer. I know that another story of his called What Light was just released in October, but I have a feeling this isn’t going to be as captivating as Thirteen Reasons Why.

A few books your heart adores?

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So as not to be a Repetitive Rebecca, I left out my books that are a series since I have already placed them above in a previous question.

These are some of my favorite books, so you might as well trust my judgment and put them in your TBR list if you haven’t already read them.

DEFINITELY get Whispers of Bedlam Asylum because guess what?! Yours truly  and my wonderful girl Annelise are in it. Oh yeah, I s**t you not ladies and gents. The wonderful Mark C. King gave us the esteemed pleasure of being written into this majestic little tale.  Just to make you want to get this even more, both our characters are stuck in an insane asylum together against their will…and I swear, we’re sane.

(Just look for the names Jenaca and Annelise 😉 )

What series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

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(Uncontrollable tears) I don’t want it to ever end!!

What books are on your wish list?

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There is like…over 300 books in my TBR list right now, so the above will have to suffice for now.

~ TAG Bloggers, You’re It! ~

~ Tag One – TheGenreMinx ~

~ Tag Two – GeekandBookNerd ~

~ Tag Three – HersfortheReading ~

~ Tag Four – LexiesLit ~

~ Tag Five – ACupofWitTea ~

~ Tag Six – MollyGould ~

~ Tag Seven – RavenWing72 ~

~ Tag Eight – HerInkedSoul ~

~ Tag Nine – MorganHobbes ~

~ Tag Ten –  TheBloodyBookBlogger ~

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Book Review: ROSEBLOOD by A. G. Howard

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RoseBlood will be available to purchase on January 10, 2017, links for Pre-order are below:

Amazon.com – RoseBlood by A.G. Howard – Pre-order

BarnesandNoble.com – RoseBlood by A.G. Howard – Pre-order

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.  

Genre: YA/Romance/Fantasy/Gothic Romance

Plot: Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
 
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.

Opinion: Usually when I come across a book that focuses on music, I normally avoid ever reading it. Due to RoseBlood being written by A.G Howard, and considering how much I LOVED the Splintered Series, I knew I had to go for it and request it from Netgalley. I am honestly so happy I branched out and decided to read this, because it was a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera.

When Rune was the age of 4, her father played an opera song on his violin that changed her life forever. Now, many years later, anytime a new opera song is played around Rune she has the overwhelming urge to burst out singing…no matter how much she resists. In the hopes that Rune will get help, her mother sends her to a school called RoseBlood that focuses on Opera. Here they hope to help Rune control her gift, but the history of the institution begins to frighten Rune.  With thoughts that RoseBlood is the home of the famous Phantom of the Opera, Rune also comes into contact with the mysterious boy named Thorn that lurks around the grounds. As the relationship between Thorn and Rune starts to strengthen through music, the plans that the real Phantom has for Rune forces Thorn to choose sides between his love and his father.

So obviously this is a fantastical spin-off of The Phantom of the Opera, where the original characters names are used and the past events are more or less the same. The reader is reintroduced to the original Phantom Eric, but also given a new character named Thorn (Etalon). Thorn is rescued by the Phantom at a very young age from a child human-trafficking ring (dark stuff I know), and makes the decision to go live with the Phantom and learn from him. Our female lead character, Rune, has the voice of Christine and the Phantom desperately wants her for her voice. I really liked how the author took this very famous story, kept most of the facts the same, and completely made an entirely new tale for readers to fall in love with. The story has strong gothic romance undertones in it, which was an absolutely perfect setting for me to get lost in. I love anything dark and eerie like that, so as soon as Rune stepped into her new school I knew that this was going to be something special.

I will say that the story can drag on a little at certain points, like in the beginning for example. That was SUCH a long and drawn out introduction of Rune and her mother sitting in the car, and I found myself tentatively rolling my eyes and skimming the “blah blah blah”. I also feel as if I didn’t get enough out of the character of Rune. I wasn’t very connected to her character as much as I was to Thorn. The troubled past that Thorn had gave me a sense of compassion for his character, but I really liked how put together he was all around. Rune’s character came off as boring to me most of the time, and I would have liked a better description on her singing. When Thorn sang as a child, he was described as an avenging angel that’s voice could force a person to face their most unforgivable sins. The description of the power that Thorn held over people with his voice was beautifully explained, but Rune’s voice wasn’t. Seeing as how this story centers around Rune and her voice, I think the author could have gone the extra mile to ensure that the reader felt how important and amazing her singing was.

With those small points aside, I overall really liked this book but felt that the character of Rune could have had more. The romance between Rune and Thorn was heartwarming and sweet, and I was constantly wanting more for these characters. I think that this is a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original story. Even if you are not familiar with the original, the reader is given enough explanation to understand the past events and be able to dive into this world.

3 Stars

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