Genre: Paranormal

Friday, January 09, 2015

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker

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

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie ParkerBeware the Wild Published by HarperTeen on October 21, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, YA
Source: HarperTeen
Buy on Amazon

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Objectively, Beware the Wild is really good. Subjectively, while I found it decent, I couldn’t really connect to it very much.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing is gorgeous. It’s very showing than telling, moving the plot along in a great pace while portraying the heroine’s personality and flaws exceptionally well. There were a lot of inner thoughts and monologues that give you front-row seats of the turmoils being stirred within her as Sterling finds herself in a situation where nobody suddenly remembers who her brother is, except, perhaps, the Swamp where magic and danger lie within. There is flow, and you could even say things happen “naturally” and nothing feels forced, but… 

I don’t know. It just… fell flat, for me, characterisation-wise. Is it normal to recognize the beauty of the words and how they were weaved (which means, yeah, kudos to the writing), but not feel connected to the characters? Because that’s what happened to me. It felt like while the words flowed beautifully and naturally, it lacked ‘heart’. At times, I found myself skimming over some scenes (especially the romantic ones) because I would lose interest every now and then. And then we would have half-human/half-alligator creatures, magical fruits, and I would sigh every 10 pages because I would feel exhausted.

BUT!!! The atmosphere. The atmosphere is really well-done, and it’s something I haven’t seen this well-written in a long, long while. You’re in a small town called the Sticks (the Sticks?! Really?! It’s hilarious and a little ridiculous at the same time, but there is an endearing aspect to it), and nearby is the Swamp, and between the two is a white fence that has been there for generations. It really gives this “magical realism” vibe mixed with some eerieness that can only be achieved when characters live in a small town that knows everybody right next to a living, breathing, giant place of mud and huge oak trees. Imagine the swamp in The Princess and the Frog (Disney version) just… more sinister. And somehow romantic, even? Does that even make sense?!

As for the plot itself, I liked it, even if I weren’t emotionally-invested in it. It was really creepy when everyone suddenly had no memory of one person and had new memories of someone else who appeared out of the blue. Even if I couldn’t connect completely to Sterling, I did feel for her at least in this regard. I can’t imagine it if someone you loved suddenly didn’t exist in everyone’s minds except for yours. I would go completely crazy! To think that a Swamp has such powers really makes it formidable and somehow romantically mysterious.

All in all, Beware the Wild was well-written in a way it’s not telling than showing and that it sets up the atmosphere really well, better than many I’ve read previously. Small town with a dangerous swamp may not be original but this book gives something new to the plate, no doubt. It’s just disheartening that I couldn’t connect to the characters, and thus, the plot, because it would have an even more fantastic ride otherwise. I recommend you try it yourself, still, though. I may not have had a 5-star experience, but your journey may be well different from mine.


3.5 Hot Espressos

What NOT to Do If You Meet a Devil: Guest Post by Gina Damico + Giveaway!

What NOT to Do If You Meet a Devil: Guest Post by Gina Damico + Giveaway!

Posted by on 01/05/2015 • 41 Comments

Hi guys! I’m happy to be a part of the Hellhole tour which is stopping by the blog today. I’ve got Gina Damico here with a funny guest post along with a giveaway! First, here’s what this book is all about:

Book Trailer:

Guest Post by Gina Damico

What NOT to do if you meet a devil

If you meet a devil, I would advise against giving him snacks.

(That is, of course, assuming the devil you meet is a “he”. If you meet a female devil, nothing can help you. Just sit back, let her disembowel you, and call it a day.)

If you give a devil a Cheez-It, it won’t end there. He’ll want Cheetos. He’ll want Fritos. He’ll want…

Review: Hellohole by Gina Damico

Review: Hellohole by Gina Damico

Posted by on 01/02/2015 • 18 Comments

What a fun book!! For starters, the table of contents is a crossword puzzle. Yes, it has to do with the story, but besides that it’s super fun. (The answer is at the end of the book in case you need it.) I love dark humor and this book had that covered. With a serious storyline and humor combined, it was an entertaining read that also has you really feeling for the characters. The devil is hilarious, but keep in mind, he is a devil so he is very evil.

Max is kind of a nerd and doesn’t really have friends besides his next door neighbor. She of course is popular, pretty, and dating the star football player. He is like the third wheel. He also spends most of…

Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas: Guest Post by Courtney Alameda

Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas: Guest Post by Courtney Alameda

Posted by on 12/24/2014 • 6 Comments

On this Christmas eve, I’m happy to have the Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas tour stop by – I mean, y’all know me by now, right? >.< But don’t worry, it’s a lot more fun than scary 😉 On each day of this tour, Courtney is featuring a Christmas monster – keep reading to find out ours with a fun guest post below along with a giveaway! Here’s a bit of info on the book, too:

Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas: Yule Cat

Hi! I’m Courtney Alameda, author of the soon-to-be published YA horror novel, SHUTTER. I love Christmastime and all things scary, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite Christmas beasties with everyone this year—twelve of them, to be exact! Join me and a…

Review: The Awesome by Eva Darrows

Review: The Awesome by Eva Darrows

Posted by on 12/17/2014 • 16 Comments

This book was all sorts of fun!! I just kind of want to flail and gush over it. It is full of humor, most of it inappropriate. I found myself laughing out loud plenty of times while reading it. The characters were fabulous. Maggie’s mom was one of my favorites, and I loved their “pet zombie”. Really, they have a Zombie, but it’s not actually a pet. Anyways, they are monster hunters and people know monsters of different variety do exist. There is a whole crazy vampire storyline that happens, and it’s totally hilarious. (Well, not all of it since vampires are scary, but whatever. Let me spazz here.)

Okay, so Maggie is a monster hunter. She started doing it when she was 13 years old. It’s a family…

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by on 12/05/2014 • 19 Comments

Now I see why people love this author.

Truth be told, when I read Cruel Beauty not too long ago, I remember being very frustrated with it. Yes, the prose flowed exceptionally well; yes, the characters were complex; yes, the world-building was fascinating and all that, but I just couldn’t find myself liking it completely. It was a fantasy that read too much like a romance (although it can be debated that it’s romance first in a fantasy setting…), and I remember being overwhelmed with the talks of love and kisses. I don’t like it when a love between two people is shoved in my face; rather, I want it to be subtle and in the background and happening naturally.

Because of that experience, I was wary of starting Crimson Bound,…

Review: Ferals by Jacob Grey

Review: Ferals by Jacob Grey

Posted by on 11/26/2014 • 14 Comments

You know what’s really hard? It is to read a book from a certain demographic that gave you a migraine, just right after you read another book from the same category that made you fly the heavens because of absolute ecstasy. There is always that voice in your head comparing the two, asking why is it like this when the other one did it better? More often than not, your mind fools itself to think that the book is actually worse than it is. I know I have to take that into account, but I can’t deny that my feelings right now are leaning towards a particular end of the stick… the one where a raging She-Hulk is preparing to throw a couple of knuckle sandwiches.

With that said, please,…

Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Posted by on 11/11/2014 • 31 Comments

The Helsing Corps only showed up when someone didn’t stay dead.

Do you hear that? Those are the sounds of my tears dropping, because shit just got serious, and I am overwhelmed with emotions over the fact that YA does know how to write a horror-filled, action-packed book. I nearly gave up! Hallelujah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

If you liked Fatal Frame, you would like this. Even though I only played 15 minutes of that game, it was enough to permanently scar my brain for the rest of my life. Everything was going so well with the slow prologue, and then a ghost appeared from out of nowhere and I threw my Playstation controller at the TV and ran out of the room like shrieking like a baby (I am not kidding. My little brother…