Publisher: Penguin

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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I received this book for free from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Merciless by Danielle VegaThe Merciless by Danielle Vega
Published by Razorbill on June 12th 2014
Genres: Horror, YA
Source: Penguin Canada
Buy on Amazon

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.

Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .

In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?


This was my reaction to much of this novel’s… happenings. It’s a horror through and through, and definitely not for the wussies or faint of hearts. After a quick introduction to our protagonist and the setting, we’re thrust into a house-of-torture kind of read where these girls have it in their head that one is a demon that must be exorcised.

“Most girls would just start a burn book.”

But not these girls! These girls opt for pulling hairs out of scalps and taking fingernails out. Yeah.. Excuse me while I go barf!

The book itself is more for the horror and shock value than substance. Character development is not especially strong, for instance. And I found myself frustrated by the number of times the protagonist “almost” got the upper hand in this story – 20 pages spent on her plan to get the girls drugged so she can escape, just to fail in 10 seconds, and so on. But it does offer a pretty decent horror story, nonetheless. And like I said, it’s also not for the faint of heart, let me tell you right now. You’ll be reading detailed accounts of torture including someone’s nail getting ripped out without anything left out of its description. I even had to skip a few pages during a part that involved cockroaches and a dead body. No details spared there either! No, thanks!!

Where there’s a lack in character development, there’s also lacks emotion and depth. While I was horrified by what these girls were doing, I was not crying over any death that occurred in this story. I was just mostly grossed out and traumatized by the lengths they were going to remove this supposed “evil” from this girl. Though, even with the extremes, it’s not exactly unbelievable, especially in light of stories in the news at the moment about girls stabbing each other to prove something to a fictional character created by the internet. This made it all the more shocking to read, to be honest.

Throughout the book, we get flashbacks from our protagonist that quickly tells us she has dark secrets of her own. We also learn a bit of the other girls’ secrets as well, but the main characters’ story ends up being the one with the most meaning. It lent purpose to the story’s twist. Personally, I actually really liked the ending, but I can also see it being a hit or miss for most. I found it to be a good and unique angle the author decided to adopt.

Overall, is pretty much the whole of the book: A one-night stay in a torture-filled house with no escape and a bunch of psychopathic teenagers. There’s not much more I can say about it, really. It’s plain and simply a cheap-thrill kind of read that I would recommend to true horror fans.


3 Hot Espressos

Review: The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

Review: The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

Posted by on 04/02/2014 • 24 Comments

A funny, recurring conversation I always have with my friends is about the stark contrast between books I like and movies I like.  See, I love me a good action movie. Give me Jason Statham, Mark Wahlberg or a nice gory horror film any day of the week. But when it comes to reading, I want the “chick-flicks” I want heartbreak, I want emotion, I want to be left so emotionally wrecked that I can’t even see through my tears.  The Wicked We Have done brought everything that I like in movies so perfectly to a book that it surprisingly worked incredibly well for me!

What struck me right off the bat with this one was how original it was. First of all there is the fact that it is…

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Posted by on 03/03/2014 • 32 Comments

Half Blood started as a 5-star read for me. This lasted ’til about three quarters which is when I realized we really hadn’t gotten anywhere in the story. Boredom quickly followed, until I was unfortunately underwhelmed by the anticlimactic ending. Nevertheless, it’s an incredibly well written book that has a lot to offer if you have a bit of patience, although it’s unique in a way that may not adhere to all tastes.

When we meet our protagonist, Nathan, he’s naught but a young lad. Young and unfortunate to have been born the son of a notorious Black Witch; a fact that makes him a leper, someone to be hunted down and caged. We learn that, even though he’s highly intelligent in many ways, he’s not exactly book smart….

Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

Posted by on 01/27/2014 • 21 Comments

Minders is a futuristic story about a new science that allows a person to piggyback on someone else’s mind. During what’s called Syncopy, minders see what their host sees, read their thoughts, feel their pleasure and pain, however they can’t control anything, and their host don’t know they’re being watched.

I was quite surprised by the depth of this story. For the most part, it comes off as a contemporary novel inside a sci-fi bubble. We’re literally thrown inside Ford’s mind; someone hurt, broken, and deeply troubled by grief. It’s saddening to see his family crumbling from his brother’s murder. With a now useless mother, Ford is the one who has to raise his sister and put food on the table. He’s also starting to realize there’s more to…

Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Posted by on 12/13/2013 • 17 Comments

Closer to a 3.5 star.

While I didn’t like this one quite as much as Origin, it was still an exciting read set on an isolated island full of secret experiments and shady operations. Even if you haven’t read Origin, this is not actually a sequel; both are independent of each other. You could even say Vitro is more or less a refitted version of Origin. They both have a similar setting and mirroring scientific conspiracies. And Sophie, after a distressing email from her mother, gets trapped into its web of genetic alterations and unethical experiments.

What I found to be the best part of this novel is the vividly detailed setting. You get fully transported to this island that quickly becomes the heart of the story, and…

Waiting on Wednesday (96)

Waiting on Wednesday (96)

Posted by on 10/16/2013 • 34 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:

A new Brenna Yovanoff!! Yay! Paper Valentine is the only one I read from her but it was so well written – kind of gothic-y and creepy. I loved it. But even if it wasn’t an author that I know could rock it, this premise sounds right up my alley! And I mean, look at that cover!

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Posted by on 06/10/2013 • 31 Comments

“He’s cursed. He’s human flesh worn by a demon.”

A fantastically atmospheric Gothic novel, Ashes on the Waves is based on an eerie Edgar Allan Poe poem – which is really all you need to know, right?

In a way, this novel reminded me a little of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. It’s set on a secluded island where people live in the old ways without much as far as laws and structure goes. There is also paranormal presence that makes the island unique, and a little chilling. Like in Teeth, you will need to go into this with an open mind as the novel is not considered a paranormal, but a Gothic story. Meaning the paranormal aspects are not examined in detail as far as their history or…

Review: Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass

Review: Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass

Posted by on 09/29/2012 • 29 Comments

Ok ok.. I think I loved it. But I’m not sure. This was just very …. You know the movie Inception? Yeah, kinda like that. I’m so lost, yet I love it… I think.

For one thing, Lucid is a book that makes you think. You have to piece every single moment together to begin to understand what just happened. And this is what you will see yourself doing after you turn the last page. Then you will want to immediately read it again in a new light, so you can grasp the puzzling nature of the plot.

I’m not sure how many of you watched Momento!? But that movie, you’re watching it with no idea what the frick is going on. You end it with no better idea of…