Serious Subject Matter but needs to be read.

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Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Her little brother, Sam, wasn’t as lucky. Now she’s trying to begin the new life she always dreamed of for them, but never thought she’d have to experience alone. She’s hired a techie-genius with a knack for forgery to remove the last ties to her old life. But while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees one day in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks. That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the messages. Threatening notes left in her apartment–without a trace of entry. And they’re addressed to Piper, her old name. As the messages grow in frequency, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead. (From Goodreads)

You simply just can’t imagine the terror Piper had to go through all throughout her life, and then to get out of that vicious cycle shows how strong she is. It’s sad that it had to come to severe extreme measure for her to escape but nevertheless she was able to do so is a feat in itself.

The way the characters; both Piper and Sanda are extremely well done in this book. They’re both mistrustful of others (can’t blame them) and although they try hard to learn how to integrate with society, they do tend to stand out. (Examples such as Sanda being fearful of not seeing Piper again or Piper learning how to register Sanda to school) This is so well done by Johansson. It’s very realistic of their characters and it shows how they struggle to blend in because of their fear of standing out due to their trauma. They shy away from physical contact to the point where it causes them physical discomfort. This is well written and felt by the characters accurately.

The plot itself was good as well. It just seems like wherever Piper goes horrible awful things just seem to follow. It’s serious and dark, and Piper being stalked does increase the chill factor several notches up. The idea of someone breaking into your apartment and leaving lovely goodies to freak you out is unsettling and terrifying. These moments are well written and does set the mood for the plot. There’s a moment or two where you feel so angry because of particular actions and the suffering some of the characters go through. (Yes Lily, I’m looking at you…you horrible girl you…)

I’m not sure what to think of the relationship between Cam and Piper. Sure Piper has a great deal of mistrust and puts Cam at an arm length’s distance but seriously? Romance? I know he’s trying to be friendly and has a bleeding heart for those in need but I’m not sure Piper would jump in at the chance to have a romance with him. Yes, she puts him as far away from her as possible and he tries hard to approach her through different ways but I really don’t see a romance as a thing in this story. Should there even be one? Why was there one in the first place? I found it rather unnecessary considering the serious subject matter.

This novel is nerve wracking, and props to Piper and Sanda for their inner strength. It was a good read. Not a light hearted one, but one worth the read nevertheless.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

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River turned out for the better in this book…

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Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me. Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on? (From Goodreads)

There wasn’t a substantial plot with this one. You had an idea on why River was trying to be friends with The Graces and there were hints here and there throughout the story on what River was really wanting to do all this time. You’re pretty much following River as she makes friends and tries to be part of the in crowd with The Graces.

I didn’t really like River that much in the beginning. You knew why she was wanting to befriend them however at the same time she had a great friendship with Summer and you were hoping nothing would spoil it.

The Graces did have a certain charm to them but at the same time there was also something strange. They’re close knit, secretive, and not your average family. They already had their secrets to start with, and of all the three I’d have to like Summer the most. She was the outspoken one and the rule breaker with at least some semblance of sense and logic that her two siblings didn’t have (those that have read the book would know what I’m talking about).

Back to River. Oh darling. You know this could have gone well if you HAD JUST TOLD THEM. Sometimes I hate reading books where the protagonist has this huge secret because they tend to keep it to themselves until they finally realize it wouldn’t help anymore but by that time, it would mess up a lot of things now would it? And all throughout the book you’re screaming JUST. TELL. THEM. Sheesh.

Although I know I said I didn’t really like her in the beginning, she redeemed herself in the last third of the book. I was expecting her to be sniveling, crying and pleading but she suddenly became this beacon of rage and I suddenly pulled a 180 and loved her instantly. She finally realized who she was and what she was capable of. She didn’t need the Graces at all – well maybe she needed them to put her in the right direction but it was nice to see her pick herself up and be strong about it.

Loved the ending! Such a cliffhanger and I want to know what’s going to happen next now that River has found herself. Sequel is coming out this year! So I’ll be looking forward to it!

I give it a 7 out of 10.

The horror and thrill…oh but Stella smella….

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Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Only Stella came back. Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush – until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets. Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t. She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead you have been warned***

What really got me turning the pages in this book was the horror and mystery aspect. It set the mood and the setting perfectly. It certainly gave you the necessary thrills and chills to keep you interested in the book. There’s some supernatural element to the story but as you progress into the finale well, answers will be revealed in time. 🙂

I loved the plot, the setting and the mood. There was no stalling. No dry bits. It was perfect flow throughout the book. This was so excellently written that I completely bypassed my extreme dislike for the characters. (Yes the plot was that good.)

So onto the characters. I just don’t like Stella. Not only is she particularly nasty to Sam, but her attitude and personality just stinks all around. She’s your typical mean girl (or should I say, the Queen Bee’s lackey?). I hated her treatment towards Sam, and Sam being your typical nice guy takes it like a doormat. Oh and he gets walked on not one, not twice but more than enough times to count. You know what this smells like? This smells like a dysfunctional relationship heading towards some horrible form of co-dependency. It’s horrible to read and if this is some sort of messed up way of redeeming Stella for all the things she’s done, I hardly think this qualifies.

True, Stella had a pretty traumatizing event happened to her. But I can’t sympathize with her behaviour. Zoey is just as bad and just as spiteful but one thing she had going for her was her extreme loyalty. I had to admit that was something you need in a best friend. Minus the Queen Bee behaviour of course.

This is one of the few books where I disliked the characters, but the plot just kept me reading. The elements of mystery was so well done that I enjoyed reading this one. I would recommend this one for the plot, but don’t expect to like the characters much. But thankfully they don’t make a negative impact on the plot at all.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Our Dark Duet Punched me in the Gut.

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THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY. KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it. AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost. THE WAR HAS BEGUN. THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING. Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons. Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

***Possible spoilers below. You’ve been warned***

The plot was off to a pretty slow start in this one. Before I start, I’d have to recommend you read This Savage Song before going to this book. You would need the foundation that was set up in This Savage Song to really benefit and enjoy reading Our Dark Duet.

As mentioned before, the plot slow in the beginning. Kate and August are on both different ends of the spectrum but have changed drastically. They’ve definitely ‘grown up’ so to speak. Kate becomes monster hunter extraordinaire. August leads his own squad in the FTF. Kate’s part of the story was definitely more interesting. Despite trying hard not to warm up to people she manages to have her small group of friends (but of course, shuns them anyway despite one of them trying to reach out to her numerous times). I love this quality in Kate. It makes her so much more realistic and puts her way from the group of those ‘stone cold butt kickers that apparently have no soul’.

That being said about Kate. Oh. Lord. That ending. Kate dying with August nearby got my stomach into knots and twists. I can’t believe it. It was beautifully written though and a suitable ending for her. Kate was pretty much a pariah and a lone wolf. August was one of the few that was able to get to know Kate at a more deeper level. It was only fitting that she meets her end with that one person by her side. Beautifully done.

I didn’t really think the romance scene between Kate and August was necessary. It was a minor filler that didn’t need to be added. I never saw August and Kate that way. They were too different and didn’t have that nice ongoing chemistry together. Fighting partners, yes. Partners in love? No I don’t think so.

So more about characters dying. Am I the only one that felt a punch to the gut when Ilsa died? Ilsa was a character I really loved in these two books. She went down in a blaze of glory though (albeit, a shocked blaze of glory.)

You have to admit, Sloan is one of the better villains I have read in a long while. I like him teaming up with Alice even though villains they are, they are looking out for themselves. He’s creepy, malicious, calculating, and cunning. He’s a perfect villain.

The last half of the book, which was filled with action, blood, explosions and all the good stuff set the pace for the great ending to a wonderfully written duology. I know fans out there are asking for more, as it’s not the end of the adventures for August and Soro. For me, it’s just enough and it’s a perfect ending. Well done Ms Schwab! Now I’m off to read your other works!

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

More Like a Guilty Pleasure Book

1616203536.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgHarper has never been worried about falling in love, something she is skeptical even exists. But everything changes when Logan moves to town, and to Harper’s shock, the two tumble into an intense romance. It’s everything she never thought she wanted. Then she meets Logan’s twin brother, Daemon, who was expelled from his last school. True, he’s a bad boy, but Harper can’t shake the feeling that there’s something deeply sinister about him–something dangerous. When Logan starts pulling away, Harper is convinced that Daemon’s shadowy past is the wedge being driven between them. But by the time she uncovers the truth, it may be too late. (From Goodreads)

 

I would call this a guilty pleasure book. Why? Because it’s not the most greatest read out there but you read it anyway because something about it just draws you to continue reading. Whether it be characters, or the cheesy plot albeit ridiculous as it may be.

This is supposed to be a modern day retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I see some similarities although the way it’s explained (the soul thing) is a bit of a stretch. At least with Jekyll/Hyde he had something concrete and explanatory (eg; the serum that gets him to change personalities).

The book itself is filled with oodles of cliches so it’s not for everyone. It may induce eye rolls and may have some readers frustrated and quit reading altogether. Why did I keep reading? It’s a very simple plot and there’s not much when it comes to twists and turns, there’s a bit of a creepy and chilly factor which was actually pretty well done and I stuck with it. Despite the plot being as it is, the writing was pretty good and I enjoyed it.

A couple of things however. I’m not sure what Madison really had to do with the story. She’s just your average mean girl but doesn’t really add to the plot (except for being a previous romance. Woopie) so to me, this was just unnecessary filler moments in the novel.

Harper isn’t really that likable and there were moments where she goes off the deep end into the realm of stupidity. I do admit though, she’s got good chemistry with Logan and the writing that conveys their feelings towards each other is well done. Logan seems to be a great boyfriend if it wasn’t for that fatal flaw. Harper does tend to have some annoying qualities to herself – being a forgiving doormat for one, and lacking common sense in particular stages of the story (seriously? You’re going to break into a house and you say: “hello?” can we say first one to die in a horror movie here?)

Although this book has quite a few flaws, I couldn’t help but enjoy reading it. It’s a very quick read and it’s like you’re watching a B movie but you enjoyed it despite the many cliches and things you normally wouldn’t watch. There’s just something about it that makes you want to continue reading it. I’m not going to recommend this one, but if you’re up for a quick read to get back into the reading groove, why not?

I give it a 6 out of 10.

 

This Book Had It’s Moments…

1616203536.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWhen a building collapses around five teenagers and they just barely escape they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page (From Goodreads)

 

I have to agree, this was indeed a page turner. It started off with a bang and it was one event after another until our four characters started putting the pieces together. It got really thrilling at certain moments of the book and even you are left wondering what the heck is going on and you’re feeling just as lost and confused as the characters.

The plot itself in general was all right. Be prepared for some predictable scenes. It didn’t bother me as much as it was expected but there were plenty of moments in the book where you were blindsided with surprise which makes up for some of the predictability.

The characters were well done and complimented each other as a group despite each one having their differences. The narration done throughout the novel is by Caleb and Saralinda. Both characters are likable to an extent. I prefer reading Caleb’s side of the story instead of Saralinda only because she got annoying towards the second half of the novel. I thought she was trying too hard to be the happy nerdy girl with the forceful jokes. (You certainly CANNOT be thinking of first kisses and romance while you have the police and your murderous parents after you…seriously now?)

The read was all right. Some thrilling moments here and there and an ending that’s enough to close the story. Would I recommend this? Not really. I’d say more along the lines of: take it or leave it.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Jessica Rules the Dark Side Was Good!

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It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is —and whom she can trust— before it’s too late? (From Goodreads)

I loved the first book and the second one lives up to it (thankfully!) what I really liked about this one while reading was Jessica’s development as a character grows up. Dramatically. Considering she now has to rule and take Lucius place due to the circumstances she had to learn how to take control and she does it gracefully.

The plot itself wasn’t so bad although there could have been more substance to it. The reader already has a hunch as to who is behind the entire plot – a little mystery would have been appreciated and would have kept the plot a little more exciting. So the predictability of it sort of dampens the enjoyment of the book.

Nevertheless it’s the characters that keep the book going. Jessica and Lucius still have that great chemistry together. It’s the light banter Lucius has with Raniero that was also fun to read throughout the story.

Fun to read and it’s light, worth the time – from what I know there’s no more after this one. So to give the duology a nice closing, it’s a good one. (A story about Mindy would be great though.)

Bonus points to the cover. Love it!

I give it an 8 out of 10