A Subject to Never Forget About…

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When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself. One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.  (From Goodreads)

I noticed a large trend in these kinds of books where it’s half in the present, and half in the past. It’s not a trend I particularly like as I adore historical fiction and mixing it with things happening in present day takes away the historical aspect, but I gave this book a chance. This one grabbed my attention because of the subject which interests me. I have not heard of the Tulsa Race Riot until I grabbed this book. It was an eye opener, and definitely something that can’t be ignored or forgotten.

The switch between Rowan and William is seamless and flows throughout the novel. Rowan attempts to figure out the mystery behind the skeleton while William’s story not only gives you the background information but also gives you the sense and the climate on how it was for African Americans back in those times. The historical aspects of the book is well written and gives you a good general idea.

At first, William doesn’t seem that all a likable character. As the plot progresses though, you change your mind as his behavior and outlook changes to something much  more favorable. Rowan’s side of the story is interesting too. She’s been pretty much sheltered in a good, privileged life who is also suddenly awakened by recent events affecting herself and others around her. She’s a well written character as well, but I’d have to say I prefer reading William’s side of the story more as I found Rowan’s point of view dragged in a few areas of the story.

The plot overall is well done and interesting. The mystery and historical elements of the story also keeps the plot engaging and it’s a good educational read.  Definitely something to read more into and a good subject to write about.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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Slow plot, liked the character, but disappointing overall…

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Preppers. Survivalists. Bex prefers to think of herself as a realist who plans to survive, but regardless of labels, they’re all sure of the same thing: a crisis is coming. And when it does, Bex will be ready. She’s planned exactly what to pack, she knows how to handle a gun, and she’ll drag her family to safety by force if necessary. When her older brother discovers Clearview, a group that takes survival just as seriously as she does, Bex is intrigued. While outsiders might think they’re a delusional doomsday group, she knows there’s nothing crazy about being prepared. But Bex isn’t prepared for Lucy, who is soft and beautiful and hates guns. As her brother’s involvement with some of the members of Clearview grows increasingly alarming and all the pieces of Bex’s life become more difficult to juggle, Bex has to figure out where her loyalties really lie.  (From Goodreads)

This one was off to a slow start, and it was pretty much slow throughout. What compelled me to finish this book to the end was wondering whether this Clearview group was legit or if there was something more to them.

You also follow through Bex and her life at home, which doesn’t seem very pleasant to start with. Her mom tries to change her despite her orientation, there’s financial issues at the home, and her brother is, quite frankly, an ahole. You quickly figure out Bex is into guns, and survival training. There’s extensive description on how she takes care of the guns, how she loads them, fires them, and we can go on. It gets tedious and lets the plot slow to a crawl. If you want intrigue and surprises, this isn’t going to happen until much later. Much much later.

There’s also focus on Bex and Lucy. They both seem to compliment each other and there is slight chemistry between the two of them but it’s not a romantic type of love story that you get if that’s what you’re looking for. They’re polar opposites and compliment one another but you also get that feeling it’s nice while it lasts.

There isn’t much to the plot until the last third of the novel, which is disappointing. However it’s jarring to see how much of the concept of survivalism is drilled into Bex and pushes her to the edge to the point of becoming paranoid over every minute detail. It’s sad to see what her parents attempt to make her do, when it comes to the subject of her brother. It’s also disappointing to see hardly any mention of Clearview except for smidgens here and there and although it plays a part in the plot, it’s not what you think and you wish there was more to it. It would have made the book much more interesting.

It wasn’t the best, but not the worst either. I’d suggest to take this out from the library instead of a purchase.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Definitely Not For Everyone…

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What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them? Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief. (From Goodreads)

What I liked about this book is it was able to draw you in slowly to the plot and it unfolds gradually by introducing you to the main characters and their backgrounds. You can’t help but keep reading to see what will happen next. Your curiosity is piqued and it’s worth reading through. There is a chapter here and there that lets you think ‘Gee what the heck am I reading here’ but it makes up for it wholeheartedly towards the ending of the book.

The plot and the pace is slow but steady. You’re taken through each girl’s perspective and when they finally come together, if you can bypass the pettiness and mean girl attitude (some parts were quite fun to read, the comebacks are something to be filed away for future use should need arise) they actually do make a solid team. Each girl has their own story and their own pain to deal with. Of the three, I’d taken a liking to Cecilia. She’s a tough one and although all three have gone through a substantial amount of pain, Cecilia seems to be the most likable and the most independent (plus she’s a Rocker girl. Who doesn’t think Rocker Girls are cool?)

As the story unfolds, it gets chaotic towards the last third of the novel. Pretty good action – brutal at times so might not be for the faint of heart, and of course it leaves room for more things to come (two books follow after this one). Understandably this book might not be for everyone. Gratuitous swearing, references to Catholicism which may be offensive to some, some serious what the F chapters that make you wonder what kind of shrooms they’re on, and references to rape are mentioned in the book.

So while it may not be for everyone, I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this one so much. Although it took awhile for the book to gain momentum and this thing with Sebastian being a somewhat Charles Manson wannabe without the murders is a bit tedious, it was actually pretty good. However it comes across as a book that either you’ll really like, or you’ll really hate. So, when in doubt, just take it out of the library and save your money for other things.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

More of an Adventure, needs more spooky…

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In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.  (From Goodreads)

So it may help to read the first one in order to grasp a bit of understanding of the character relationships and the overall plot (there’s a main one underneath the layers here)

***Possible spoilers here you’ve been warned***

I loved the first one, really liked the characters and Jackaby’s quirkiness. With this one though, it’s a different type of case, albeit still with a supernatural/fantastical element but it felt like you were reading an Indiana Jones type of adventure. Which is all right and it made things different and interesting but I was looking forward to something a little more darker and spookier.

However, the adventure aspect with the missing bones was still well written and enjoyable to read. It took more of a comedic tone and I enjoyed the fighting between Lamb and Horner over the bones while poor Charlie seems to be always stuck in the middle of each argument. Abigail really shined in this one with her passion of dinosaur bones, she was in her element and showed how much she loved doing the job despite the obstacles she had because of her father and society. She really stepped up and developed a lot in this book.

And yes! She breaks the tension with Charlie!!! Finally! It was all throughout the novel until she finally took matters into her own hands. I like them both together. They seem to complement each other well enough even though it seems she has a much more determined and strong minded temperament whereas Charlie is more mellow and laid back. Well maybe Abigail will slowly bring him out of his shell?

What I enjoyed the most about this plot is there’s an even deeper and darker story underneath and this was just a diversion. That pale man is creepy and I hope it gets explored more in the next book as it features Jenny’s story too. This was a fun read but I’ll be happier going onto much darker things in the story.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

 

Anything Assassin’s Must Be Good

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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down. Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.  (From Goodreads)

This book reminds me so much of Assassin’s Creed. I LOVED IT!

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

The world building is really well done with different Families pitted against each other and each one wanting to rise up in the ranks to gain more influence and power. There’s elements of fantasy, as it also involves deities and Gods (each city has their own patron deity). Lea has Safraella for example, who happens to be the Goddess of her city and protects her followers from the ghosts that frequent outside during the night. I loved this concept as it kept the world interesting and played a large role in Lea’s character.

Speaking of Lea. I really enjoyed her as a character. She’s fiercely loyal, headstrong, and her skills are on point. She’s a survivor and once she sets her goals, she does it. Despite all she goes through, she continues to keep going. I love her devotion to Safraella. It may seem fanatical to some but it’s what kept her advancing into her plot for revenge. (Also, she wouldn’t have the drive to go find Les and Marcello)

Although I rather liked Lea and Val together but well he just had to go ahead and do that thing didn’t he but well, Family before family right? Les and Lea were all right. Not the ideal chemistry that I thought she had with Val, but it’s still sweet nevertheless. I can’t say I enjoyed reading the romance in the book though. It felt awkward and out of the place (do we really have time for this when revenge is priority??) and I didn’t care too much for reading about that. I preferred the plotting and surprises that were in store for Lea with the Da Vias.

Aside from the awkward moments of romance, the plot itself was great. It’s got good amounts of action and drama to keep the reading going, and the excellent world building really helps in this case. I especially liked the encounter with Lea and the Goddess Safraella herself. The last third part of the book closed nicely (bwahaha! Revenge was sweet!!!!)

I’m looking forward to the second book, I’d like to know what happens next considering what Lea chose to do.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

You Won’t Forget This One…

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When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.  Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.  This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget. (From Goodreads)

It’s a quick, but extremely brutal read. This may not be for everyone.

You really do feel for ‘Alice’ throughout the novel and what she goes through. There’s a feeling of utter helplessness watching her suffer under the hands of Ray and his cruelty is hard to read. What’s worse is, as the novel progresses and Ray develops other plans to include Alice you feel horrible reading the book (almost like having a bad taste in the mouth).

Alice’s behavior is also hard to read. She’s been conditioned because of Ray, and some of her actions are the cause of it. You almost cringe because you start doubting her and wonder if she really will listen to Ray or not. She’s had various chances to leave Ray but her fear for her family kept her staying. It’s understandable as Ray is a manipulator and managed to twist things around to get Alice to be compliant.

There’s pieces here and there of Ray and his background. However at that point you don’t care anymore since he’s an awful scumbag and deserves any horrible thing coming at him. It’s a pretty straight forward plot, everything is done through Alice’s perspective, and it’s definitely the type of book that will stick with you for a long while.

I’m not going to recommend this, it may be too much for some readers. Definitely pick up something with a much lighter theme after this one.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Like a Reality TV show you can’t break away from…

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Welcome to Manderley Academy

I hadn’t wanted to go, but my parents were so excited… So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine’s not the name on everyone’s lips. Oh, no. It’s Becca Normandy they can’t stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley— the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it’s my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me. Then, there’s the name on my lips— Max Holloway. Becca’s ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can’t. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much as I’m starting to like it at Manderley, I can’t help but think she’s out there, somewhere, watching me take her place. Waiting to take it back. (From Goodreads)

This is one of the few times where I enjoyed the book however the characters were so unlikable I was amazed that I stuck through and finished the novel. It was well written enough that I was super curious as to what happened to Becca and whether she was really around or if she had a horrible outcome. The mystery element was well done to keep you guessing. The point of views changes between Becca and Callie’s. There’s a good easy flow between the two perspectives so it makes the reading easy to follow and quick.

That being said, the characters were just awful in a sense not that they were unreadable (almost) but they were just horrible awful people. Even our main character wasn’t that likable. However I digress. Let’s break them down:

Becca; Oh darling. You horrible awful attention seeking harpy. Not only do you have issues of your own but because you aren’t happy you feel the need to destroy others and to make sure you drag them down into the mud and follow you through your misery. I had no sympathies. Even when it was revealed what happened. Except for …well you know.

Max: Another horrible creature and he’s pretty much meant for Becca anyway as they’re both rather terrible people. The “I like you but I don’t want to be together” spiel is ugh. On top of that after you say that you go and do the pursuing. You’re the emotional manipulative type just like Becca and it’s hard to figure out which one is worse. You emotionally  play with the main character and give her the yo-yo treatment then get mad when she’s talking with your best friend..oh wait sorry let’s re-write that: “Best Friend”. Dude, you’re like a horrible Tinder date gone wrong.

Dana: You’re a psychotic twit and holy mother mary do you have issues. I get what happened and you stood there and was an observer but you lashing out and being Queen Horrible to Callie (main character) was inexcusable. This behavior can’t even be blamed on grief, you’re just pure malice. Your obsession with Becca is creepy it makes you look like the type of fangirl nobody ever wants.

Madison and Julia: You have no spines and you follow Becca like she’s a Goddess. Stop being sheep and your condescension towards Callie was uncalled for. You each deserve a swift kick for treating her like that.

Johnny: You broke the Bro-Code. You should be banned for life.

Callie: Where do I start with you? You started off as a great main character and a lot of sympathies to you because you started off on the wrong foot and in a precarious situation. However then you did this yo-yo game with Max saying “Yeah I like you but I never said I was going to be with you” sure, that was a savage burn on your part but you keep *whining* about how you like Max so much and he’s not returning the favor because of Becca but he keeps coming back to you like you’re the side piece and you don’t seem to mind that treatment. You try to stick up for yourself with Dana (which was admirable) but then you shrink back into your turtle shell and you just *walk* into these situations even though YOU KNOW it’s going to turn out with potentially bad consequences. You’re like the friend that complains about how horrible your significant other is treating you but you’re still with that person but you don’t listen to advice. You have got to be one of the most frustrating characters I have ever read so far.

Well now! That sums up my opinions of the characters. I say go for reading this one. It’s almost like you’re watching reality TV and it’s such a guilty pleasure but you can’t help but not look away. Maybe because the characters were just so hateful you had to keep on reading. You just wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I give it an 8 out of 10.