Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s – Delacorte Press, via NetGalley for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Horror/LGBT/Mystery

Plot: It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Opinion:

“My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.

It’s like that with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don’t know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over.”

This book will make your skin shift,

your toes coil,

and your breath hurt.

With every page it slowly peels away layers of your heart while simultaneously sewing those pieces back together; until you’re left with nothing, but this mismatched, lumpy, irregular beating organ lost inside your chest that you aren’t even sure is yours anymore.

There is a rawness and truth hidden in these beautifully writhing words.

So make sure you’re listening.

“…and I miss the way the wind steals your breath like it never belonged to you in the first place.”

A year and a half ago, the Tox infiltrated their island. It crept its way through the trees and animals, tickled the locks on the gates and doors. It sighed through the ventilation like a whisper after lights out, and it took a hold of every girl with a beating heart and a smile. The Navy said they were looking for a cure. That there is still hope, they just needed more time. But the girls at Raxter don’t have time. The Tox is ripping them apart one by one, making them turn on one another, or worse, making them turn on themselves. But Hetty, Byatt and Resse have each other. And as long as they stick together, they can survive anything.

Unless the next flare-up shreds them from the inside and turns their bodies black.

“About three months into the Tox, they came back from the woods with their names torn out of their heads. The Tox took what they were, took everything except how to hold a knife. It made them stick each other in the main hall during dinner, made them watch themselves bleed dry.”

This book took my body through a mess of psychological and physical torment. My stomach is still writhing around and trying to jump out of my throat, and I’m honestly more than a little concerned that something might be crawling around inside me now. Wilder Girls…is wild. Rory Power has taken the typical “virus outbreak” story and dipped it in a drum barrel of mental terrorism to give you a tale of graceful misery and unorthodox beauty.

Because that is exactly what this toxic storm of starvation, terror, and savagery is.

It’s beauty.

“His skin peels off like strips of paper, gathering under my nails, soft and pulpy.”

These sweet, innocent and delicate young girls are trapped in an asylum that keeps them cut-off from the rest of existence. Their once normal lives have been drowned; washed away by an outbreak that leaves behind unpredictable flare-ups that leave the girls in a state of physical insanity. Bruising from the inside out, second spines and hearts, a silver scaled hand, skin lesions and bubbles. Each girl is a walking nightmare. A grotesque and brutal version of their former selves. But what makes these girls truly breathtaking and beautiful, is that they look at one another without judgement.

Each girl is wild, untamed and ferocious. They are monstrous creatures with brave hearts and convictions. They go to physical blows over scraps of food, but protect one another with a passion and savagery that is…enviable. These girls push through their bleak existence to find love and comfort in one another. It’s a story of strength and iron-will. Of yearning and love that doesn’t need to be explained. These girls aren’t pushed into categories and stigmas, they just ARE.

“Reese and Byatt, they’re mine and I’m theirs.”

The three main girls are Hetty, Byatt and Reese. The story mainly unfolds by the voice of Hetty, but flips over to Byatt’s viewpoint occasionally as it progresses. Hetty and Byatt are extremely close, to the point of near obsession for Hetty. She wants to be everything that Byatt needs, and credits Byatt for being the one to show her who she really is. But somehow, this obsession doesn’t feel poisonous or harmful. It feels loving, respectful and protective.

“Byatt was the one who put the bones in my body.”

The romance in this story is slight, but it is absolutely heartfelt and soft. It isn’t lustful or forced, and it doesn’t take away from the plot. To be honest, it’s one of the only truly good feeling moments in Wilder Girls. The sweetness of it is quick and will be gone before you know it, so enjoy that moment while it lasts. Because this book isn’t going to lull you into blissful dreams.  

“My back arches, eyes slamming open. Thrashing against the straps pinning me, throwing my weight from side to side. Paretta, at the foot of my gurney, saying my name, but she’s the one who did this to me. I scream.”

 

This is a horror story, and it is indeed horrific. It is eerie, creepy and doused in a gloom so thick you can barely focus your eyes. It made me cringe. It made me disgusted. It made me keep the lights an hour after I finished the book. But most of all, it created a pit in my stomach that I still can’t seem to shake. And honestly, that is all I ever want from a book.

For it to leave my body in a state of confusion.

“…I start to know what the rope is for. But I don’t do anything. I sit so my legs are tucked under me. I watch the Tox go to work. On his knees. A rope into a noose. His eyes never close. His grip never changes. He is pulling right until the end.”

5-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Book Promo · Books · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #23: June Book Wrap-Up

There it goes…
Off into the sunset, out with the tide, out like a firecracker.
We had been waiting so long for its arrival, were so happy to see it here, but now it’s gone again.
Snuffed out for another year.
June.

 

WAIT.
No…not that June!
This June.

The happy one.
Well…anyways…

 

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~* June Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I LOVED The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which I read at the end of May.

So naturally I sprinted into June on the wispies of young love, murder and supernatural powersMORE than ready to continue smirking and swooning uncontrollably.

And it was wonderful..

Apart from those shameful moments of Mara turning herself into an Afghan and spewing silly notions like “I was his“.

Honey, you aren’t a rug.

Get control of yourself.

But the series turned out to be wonderful. Even if it did go in a completely RANDOM science fiction direction that I was not expecting. Some of the romance fizzled out a little near the end too, but I still devoured these books like my life depended on it.

 

3. The Haunted by Denielle Vega

The Haunted

I received The Haunted in a Goodreads Giveaway (shockingly) and was SO excited to get my black painted finger nails all over it!

Danielle Vega is the author of that oober super popular horror series called The Merciless, which I FULLY recommend you go read if you like blindsides and a little paranormal torment in your life.

The Haunted was a classic haunting story about a girl who moves to a new town with her family after a traumatic experience with her ex-boyfriend. But their new house is legendary to the inhabitants of this small-town, and various stories of murders and strange happenings are brought to light.

I liked this book. But did I LOVE it? Eh.

It was a super quick read, and one that will grab your attention and keep you hooked. I just felt the ending was a bit rushed and that it could have been longer.

I was definitely left wanting MORE!

(See my review here)

 

4. My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna

Ready to get your heart ripped out of your chest?

My Real Name is Hanna begins in May of 1941 in Ukraine at the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign. The book documents Hanna and her families journey into hiding as the Germans attempt to make Ukraine “Jew Free”.

It is a work of fiction, but based off a holocaust survivor named Esther Stermer and her extended family along with four other families who survived by hiding in caves for over 500 days.

This book is heavy. This book is devastating.

But it’s begging to be read.

My last thought, before I say the Shema, is of the young mother Jacob told us about, while he choked on his own tears-a mother who smothered her own child in her winter coat before the shot came, so the child would not feel the bullet.”

(See my review here)

 

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
(Again)

A court of thorns and roses

Okay…

…so maybe it IS the fourth time I’ve read this.

But you can’t blame me!

This book is…this SERIES is…

…it’s…

IT’S EVERYTHING!

In my defense, however, this reread is due to my lovely friend Tove (@fadingfairytale). She had NEVER read it and I have been on her case about starting the series for MONTHS. So she finally started it and MY OH MY, she loved it. OF COURSE!

My other friend Tabz (@literary_consumer) even joined our read, and now it’s turning into a hilarious slew of Instagram stories and even…something else 😉 (hint hint)

If you also haven’t read this series (cauldron forbid) then you MUST! NOWWW!!!!

It an amazing Fantasy Romance series packed with Fae, battles, curses, swoon-worthy high lords, love, heartache and badass females!

Just read it.

 

6. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

The Best Lies

If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling lost, confused, unsure of your current relationships, angry, sad and utterly devastated

…you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Lies is about toxic relationships, mental health, obsessive behaviors, manipulation, family dynamics, love, friendship and lies. It is a mystery/thriller but really, it should be categorized in the Allow me to rip your heart out through your eye sockets genre.

This is one of the BEST books I have read in 2019.

Sure the plot sounds simple and straight forward, but it isn’t. This book is complex. There are layers upon layers of intricate stitches, barely visible weaves sewn into the story, minute details and mannerisms applied to each character.

And all of it is so beautifully put together to make this GIANT quilt of…despairing love.

If you don’t read any of these other books, at least read this one.

(See my review here)

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Edelweiss+ · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu

The Best Lies

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Remy Tsai used to know how her story would turn out. But now, she doesn’t even know what tomorrow will look like.

She was happy once. Remy had her boyfriend Jack, and Elise, her best friend—her soulmate—who understood her better than anyone else in the world.

But now Jack is dead, shot through the chest—

And it was Elise who pulled the trigger.

Was it self-defense? Or something deeper, darker than anything Remy could have imagined? As the police investigate, Remy does the same, sifting through her own memories, looking for a scrap of truth that could save the friendship that means everything to her.

Told in alternating timelines, Thelma and Louise meets Gone Girl in this twisted psychological thriller about the dark side of obsessive friendship.

Opinion:

“Jack’s blood is on my face and in my hair, on my arms and under my fingernails. There was so much, the paramedics had rushed to me, checking for signs of trauma, but they couldn’t see the hole in my heart.

My name is Remy.

I am seventeen years old.

This won’t last forever.”

If you’re looking for a book that will leave you feeling lost, confused, unsure of your current relationships, angry, sad and utterly devastated

…you’ve come to the right place.

The Best Lies is a book that literally any and every person can relate to.

Whether it touches the angst in your stomach for never experiencing a friendship so true and heartfelt; tickles the sadness in your heart for lost love or flicks awake the inner child slumbering deep inside you that can relate to the dire need for someone – this book is going to rip your feelings out through your eyeballs and leave you so full, you’ll be empty.

“I am pain and pain is me.”

First off, this book isn’t going to be what you think. Even from the quotes I have inserted throughout this review, you are going to be making assumptions as where this story will go. And most likely, you’re going to be wrong. This book is about toxic relationships, mental health, obsessive behaviors, manipulation, family dynamics, love, friendship and of course…lies. It is beautiful and tragic, and embodies innocence so fiercely that you can’t help but weep for every character.

“I am alone now as I was then.”

Remy Tsai is a straight-edged and somewhat reserved character. From the beginning I saw the patterns of how Remy would envelop herself into her relationships with friends or boyfriends. She gave every part of herself up and quickly latched onto them if they said something nice to her, and then fully looked to them to fill her with happiness and love. I found her character to be a lost soul, looking for others to tell her who she is or how she should feel about herself and the world. For me, Remy embodies a typical teenager. Desperately trying to discover who they are through the people they surround themselves with. Hoping they will be remembered, loved and needed by others.

 

When Remy first meets Elise, it is in a moment of deep rejection and sadness for her. She has just been dumped and is feeling alone and unwanted. But then Elise is there. Reaching out a hand and whisking her off into a spontaneous night of adventure and mischief. And so begins their fierce friendship of love, truths, lies and painfully raw emotions.

“Elise was electricity. I was the night. She banished the darkness, she lit me up.”

Elise is an electrifying, exciting, daring and fierce character. She is strong and courageous, stands up for herself and others, and sees herself as a vigilante put on Earth to right every wrong. She is intoxicating and beautiful. She is a character we would all love to be friends with, and even love to BE. For Remy, being around Elise was like breathing in sunlight or Heaven’s air. Elise made her feel safe, wanted, important and necessary. Which is everything that Remy never felt in life.

“Elise liked that I needed protection, and I liked that she wanted to protect me. We needed each other, we chose each other, and there was power in that.”

Both of the girls also have difficult family lives they fight to keep hidden from the rest of the world. Remy’s parents are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship that involves nightly screaming matches, adultery and the continuous act of her father leaving their family, only to return again in a few days. Elise was abandoned by her mother at a young age and left with an absent and angry father. Both girls find camaraderie and solace in each other, and use each other as lifelines to survive each day in their own personal Hells.

“’I need you, Remy,’ she said softly. What she was saying: I love you. After a moment I said, ‘I need you, too.’”

But this isn’t just a story of strength between two friends, or family dysfunction. It is also a story of obsession and need. I can’t go too into detail without giving away all the best parts, but this story definitely takes a turn into a space of deep darkness and sorrow. The relationships and friendships that once felt uplifting and whole, begin to crumble. The common theme for many of these characters was their overwhelming need to be NEEDED. It leaves you feeling irritated because they can’t find love for themselves and have to seek it out in others. But it also leaves you aching because you know EXACTLY what that need feels like. To be wanted and accepted by others.

“She wasn’t magical. She was magic itself and I was completely under her spell.”

Obviously, this story ends tragically. Remy’s boyfriend is killed by her best friend and it is…devastating. But the reason behind WHY he is killed, is really why you want to read this story. It is intricate, well-developed, dripping in emotional turmoil, and embodies every feeling a teenager can have.

But just remember.

This isn’t a happy story.

It will hurt you, and you will feel lost afterwards. Just as I do now.

So tread carefully.  

“A night tech comes into the room. ‘Are you okay?’ he asks. I answer honestly. ‘I don’t know.’”

 

 

5-stars.

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Reviews

Book Review: My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is Hanna.jpg

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Tara Lynn Masih, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/WWII-Holocaust

Plot: Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant, award-winning debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that will resonate with fans of The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray.

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.

Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Opinion:

“My last thought, before I say the Shema, is of the young mother Jacob told us about, while he choked on his own tears-a mother who smothered her own child in her winter coat before the shot came, so the child would not feel the bullet”

A book hasn’t left me speechless in a while…

But here I am…

speechless.

This book will ignite a fire in your bones and put an ache in your heart.

It is a beautiful, devastating and horrific story, but a story of one light that is incapable of being extinguished.  

A light that burns so fiercely with conviction, resilience, hope and determination.

That light is the Slivka family.

My Real Name is Hanna is set in a small Ukrainian village called Kwasova where the reader is introduced to fourteen-year-old Hanna in May of 1941 at the height of Adolf Hitler’s reign. She describes the drastic changes to her town, the way neighbors and villagers begin to shun her family, and the non-Jewish children who throw stones at her siblings. How countless signs paint the Jewish people to be disease ridden with lice and infection, and that they should be eradicated from the Earth. As the Germans attempt to make Ukraine “Jew Free”, Hanna and her family are forced to flee their home into the forest. For two years they hide with other families in first a small shelter, and then underground caves for thirteen months.

 “We leave on the first cloudy night, so the moon won’t betray our fleeing figures.”

It is never easy reading the terrifying experiences that millions were subjected to during WWII. But it is especially difficult living those moments with a character you cherish so deeply, as they experience each second of terror, confusion and fear. Hanna is everything I could ever hope to become in life. She is brave, unyielding, and hopeful. She is a force that sees the beauty and kindness in the world, even when the same world seems so set on ripping her to pieces.

She exudes a strength that is almost unfathomable for a girl so young. She is impossible not to love as she portrays such compassion and care to her family members, and the families that run with them. But reading about Hanna was exhausting. It put a cloud over my already blue head, cut my air supply in half, and made my stomach flutter with anxiousness.

Reading this book is like holding Hanna’s hand as she is forced to live in darkness; starving and scared. All you can do is sit in silence, and hope that she lives.

“For she was in a black dungeon…for she was in a cage…She had been in that cage a long time now, but now long enough to break her spirit.”

Where reality really set in for me, is when the families arrive at the caves. Their plan is to live underground, in the hopes that they won’t be found and that they can survive until the war ends. Though this story was incredibly sad up until this point, my stomach didn’t actually drop to the floor until Hanna began crawling inside. To say this moment is heavy, would be a completely inappropriate and horrid description of the situation.

It isn’t heavy.

It’s devastation.

But with each moment of bleakness and suffering, there are tokens of brightness littering this story as well. Countless people assist the families in finding shelter and food, there are meaningful stories shared during their days in hiding, and a tree that is a symbol of their hope and salvation. The writing is superbly done, and the voice of Hanna is captured beautifully by the author. She is youthful and views her surroundings with a tint of innocence, but knows the seriousness of the situation she and her family are in. She is an old soul full of wisdom and strength, and you can’t help but look up to her.

Though these characters are fictional and created by the author, the Slivka family is based on real-life survivor Esther Stermer, her extended family and four other families who survived WWII by hiding in caves for over 500 days. My Name is Hanna is an incredibly important story that NEEDS to be shared with all ages. In a world where there is so much hate and lack of communication and listening, this book will will serve as a reminder that we are all human and deserve the same amount of decency.

Please read this. It’s important.

“I am jealous of how quickly they forget”.

5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews · The Parliament House Press

Book Review: Hook & Crown by Nicole Knapp

Hook and Crown Cover

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, The Parliament House Press, for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Plot: You’ve heard of Neverland and its inhabitants… Fairies, pirates, mermaids and a boy who didn’t want to grow up. But you can’t always believe the stories.

Elena Hart arrives in London, bound for a new boarding school operated by her estranged uncle. A fresh start is exactly what she needs. But when strange things begin happening, things she can’t explain, she begins to wonder if she has lost her mind.
Until the night a strange girl appears in her room, claiming to be a fairy from Neverland, come to take her to the fantasy world at the request of its ruler.

Skeptical, Elena refuses. But the following night, a young man with strange green eyes appears, and though she tries to resist his charms, something about him draws her in and Elena is whisked away from the world she knows, to a world she always thought was make believe.
But when she arrives in Neverland, it is nothing like the stories and Elena realizes that she must figure out for herself who the true heroes and villains are.

Opinion:

A retelling of Peter Pan where Neverland isn’t the free and magical place that we all remember.  

It’s a beautiful place with a dark and sinister atmosphere.

And one where pretty girls are pulled from their bedrooms to be Queen.

I have been waiting months for this release.

Unfortunately

The result was…not stellar.

I wanted to LOVE this book. I have been SO incredibly excited for it’s release, and even more happy that I was gifted a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for a review. So when I started Hook & Crown, I dove RIGHT in and started devouring it. But the problem was…well…

There was a lot of problems.

There is ZERO connection to characters, barely any world building in London or Neverland (though there is SLIGHTLY more in Neverland), there is an excessive amount of useless information thrown at the reader, the story takes way too long to get going, there is Insta-love like you wouldn’t believe, and a lot of contradictory moments by way of dialogue and plot. It felt like the author was rushing towards certain moments that she was really excited to write about, but when she got there, she rushed through those moments too until everything felt disingenuous.

Elena is seventeen and starts out complaining profusely about men and how she doesn’t trust them, even though her first glance at a guy results in immediate eyelash batting and awkwardly forced flirting. Kind of contradictory, right? The funny thing is, Elena does this the ENTIRE book! She INSTANTLY switches her opinions/feelings if someone contradicts them, characters who don’t even know her say that she’s fiery but the reader is never shown proof, and it takes her an embarrassingly short amount of time to fall for a guy and get naked before she goes back to a different guy.

Aiden (Peter Pan) and Will (Captain Hook) are two other main characters, but I really don’t have much to say about them since I made no connection to them at all. They are both possessive and obsessive with Elena, and it’s not an enjoyable love triangle in the slightest. It’s weird, uncomfortable, forced, and I really don’t get it. There is also an instance where Aiden comes into his quarters and finds Elena drunk, makes a comment about how drunk she is and how he wishes he were more drunk, and then they have sex.

Yea. That’s super dreamy.

There isn’t a buildup of danger or mystery anywhere during this book either. Everything is given away to the reader WAY too soon. It’s a repetitive cycle of “Hey, guess what happens. But before you do, I’m going to give you the answer”. The writing is very “list” oriented – “I ate, then I showered, then I put these series of clothes on, then I sat down in bed, then I dreamed of this, then I woke up, then I did all that again” – and doesn’t let the reader come to any conclusions on their own. The author has a habit of telling the reader everything about the characters, but in a way that isn’t believable and leaves you feeling turned-off and annoyed. Things are brushed over too quickly and left unexplained, names are thrown out at random (Elena doesn’t even learn Will’s name until AFTER she has sex with him -_-), and you barely meet any other characters.

I feel like this review turned way more negative than I intended, but it was really hard for me to find a lot of positives. I appreciate the effort and intention this author put into this work, but it just needed a LOT more edits. It seems like this could also be the first book in a series, but I do not plan on continuing. This was enough for me.

1-5-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · New Releases · Reviews

Book Review: The Haunted by Danielle Vega

The Haunted.jpg

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Razorbill – Penguin Random House, via Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review. 

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Horror

Plot: From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

Opinion:

Grab your salt and sage, kids.

There’s a haunting in our midst.

After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what happened in Philly. As she tries to fit into the small-town atmosphere, Hendricks learns the history of the house her parents purchased to fix-up and flip. Steel House is haunted, a little girl was murdered there a few years ago, and rumors say that it was the brother that did it. But when Hendricks starts to hear male voices in the house and things start moving on their own, she wonders if the rumors are true. That Steel house is haunted, and that it wants revenge.

You’ll know Danielle Vega from her hugely popular series called The Merciless.

If you don’t…well.

What are you even doing?

If you have read the series (or even if you haven’t, I guess), you know that she LOVES to freak her readers the f*** out with demented scenes brought to life by truly evil, yet charismatic, characters. So naturally when I saw THIS little gem, I knew I had to have it! I, like the next darkness seducer and lover of loners and creepers, have an affinity for spiking my anxiety levels to ghastly rates so I can never feel safe again.

But can I say The Haunted was on the same level of creepiness and horror The Merciless is on? Did it make my skin crawl? Make my stomach twist into knots? Did I feel as if I could never close my eyes again for fear that I’d be transported into Steel House and forever haunted by sadistic ghosts and a cat that goes “mew” “Mew” “MEW”?!?!!?

No.

But it was good.

If there’s one way to get me hooked into a book, it’s to introduce a protagonist with a trauma that is kept hidden until halfway into the book. What happened with her ex-boyfriend? Did he dump her? Did he “Carrie-fy” her with a bucket of blood at prom?! Did he ASSAULT her?! Well, I’m obviously not giving those precious little details up. But that is definitely what spiked my curiosity and got me hooked.

The book as a whole, however, is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong! It was enjoyable, an easy/quick read and definitely had the spooky vibes I was looking for. But there’s nothing that really sets it apart from EVERY OTHER haunted house tale. It felt a bit rushed, especially near the end, and I wish the author would have made the book longer so the suspense and horror could REALLY build up!

Though the ending was rushed, I am left feeling pleasantly annoyed with the author. Danielle Vega really likes to build me up and then set my heart on fire. At first, I thought “oh, just a little gasoline on my aching heart. No problem, it’ll be doused later.” But then I got to the end where, instead of putting out the fire on my heart, SHE ADDED MORE GASOLINE.

*Le Sigh*

The characters are well-developed, the plot and history surrounding the house was molded well, and the book doesn’t get boring at all. BUT! By the end, I am left feeling like some things weren’t cleared up as much as I would have liked. I wanted more insight into the aftermath. What happened with Hendricks’s friends outside? What happened with popular smiley guy? What did her parents say?! Due to these little things not being addressed, I can see why other readers are miffed about the ending. Instead of the book gradually wrapping up, it just smacked us across the face with an ending and said bye.

That said, the book is good. I’d recommend it. I’d probably even read it again. It’s definitely for the reader that doesn’t read a lot of horror – because it is only MILDLY SCARY. If you want to dip your toes into the “scary stories” world, definitely start with this. You can’t go wrong!

4-stars

 

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Binding of Bindings · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Reviews · Wrap-Up

Binding of Bindings #20: May Book Wrap-Up

Wait.
Where did the time go?!
It can’t be June ALREADY!
Can it?!
But…
…where did MAY go?!

 

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~* May Book Wrap-Up *~

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1. Drowning by Margaret McHeyzer
Drowning

Drowning is about a girl named Ivy who has been cutting for years, but has kept it hidden from her friends and family. There is a demon in her head that tells her to cut and hurt herself, and more times than not, she isn’t able to fight him off. But when a young man named Tobias enters the picture, Ivy wonders if it’s finally time to let the truth be known.

As I had said in my review, the intent for this book was solid, but the execution was lacking and cringe-worthy.

The author was SO focused on stuffing this book with hot topics (self-harm, sexual abuse, school shootings, homophobia, codependency, suicide, schizophrenia) that she forgot to focus on the character development.

I’m all for talking about important topics, but the way the author shoved all of this into one book felt so exaggerated and unbelievable. There was no connection to the characters, they were vapid and boring, and I just wasn’t impressed with this book.

2-stars

(See my review here)

 

2. The Unrepentant by E.A. Aymar

The Unrepentant.jpg

I was VERY excited to start The Unrepentant, which was gifted to me from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, it was a DNF for me.

But trust me when I say, it had NOTHING to do with the writing style, the characters or the plot! The subject matter in this story is REALLY heavy. You will need thick skin to read it, and even then, I’d be surprised if it was easy for you to get through this book.

It is the story of a girl named Charlotte who is on the run from the gang that kidnapped and forced her into a life of sex trafficking and physical abuse. She is rescued by a man named Mace that happens upon her and her kidnappers in the woods, and the story follows the two as they flee.

WARNING: This is an ADULT book and depicts graphic sexual content, rape and violence.

This book has phenomenal reviews on Goodreads, so if you think you are up for it, I would really recommend this book. It has a powerful message and the first half that I read was really amazing.

 

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Yes.

This is my third time reading TOG.

Yes.

It is STILL hurting my heart.

I am taking my time reading these books again, since I am reading them in between every other book I have on my list.

*Sigh*

The series begins with 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien being dragged from the hard labor prison of Endovier, to the Crown Prince of Adarlan. She is to be the Prince’s champion in a competition to win the title of Adarlan’s Assassin, in exchange for her freedom after a few years of service.

If you haven’t read the books yet, YOU MUST!

They are action-packed, romantic beyond belief, full of magic and will make you sob all night long.

Do it, you know you want to.

 

5. Stolen by Marlena Frank

Stolen

Stolen is a YA Fantasy with Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth themes throughout.

It follows main character and sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet as she is kidnapped and taken into another world filled with mystical creatures and magic. There is an evil “Queen” residing over a garden, a cowardly lion, a rat-boy creature driving a flying bike…sound familiar? In this new land, Shaleigh must prove to the court that she is the reincarnation of a powerful magician that once ruled the land.

A very cute and wonderful world, but one that I was feeling a tad bored in. The pacing was a smidge slow, and I didn’t have a huge connection to any of the characters. I might suggest this book for a younger audience. Very enjoyable, but a little too simple for me.

3-stars

(See my review here)

 

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

THIS BOOK!!!!!!

Still wondering how and WHY I waited SO long to begin this series!

Mara Dyer wakes in the hospital after a fatal accident that claimed the lives of her best friend, her boyfriend and another friend. Unable to remember the events of the accident, or to cope with her loss, Mara convinces her family to move. Once in Miami, Florida Mara tries to transition into life at her new school. But two students tormenting her, unwanted attention from the mysterious Noah Shaw, and daily hallucinations of her dead friends slowly put Mara over the edge.

I LOVED reading this.

The characters are incredibly molded and so amusing! The banter is witty and sarcastic, and I spent most of my time reading this laughing out loud or with a stupid smile plastered on my face.

Once you can get past Noah‘s initial asshat-ness, the romance is wonderful and sweet and OH SO swoonworthy. I am currently reading book two in the series, and really enjoying it!

(See my review here)

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May was cool, but I definitely need to up my reading for June. I am currently 9 books behind in my Goodreads reading challenge (trying to get to 100), and if I want to get back on track…I need to light a fire under my cauldron and get to cookin’.

As always my dear and wonderful readers, stay witchy! ❤

 

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