Genre: Paranormal

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins 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 C. ParkerBeware the Wild Published by HarperTeen on October 21st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, YA
Source: HarperCollins
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.

This started on a great note with a super creepy premise that had a lot of potential, but it started dragging and getting more and more ridiculous; magical peaches and gaterboys and all. in the end, I unfortunately can’t say I enjoyed this one very much.

It did grab me full-on at the start, though. Sterling’s brother goes missing inside a swamp, and the next thing you know, a strange girl comes out in his place and no one but our main character even remembers her brother. So of course, her family thinks she’s gone insane. They remember this new girl, though, as if she had been there all along. Even Sterling starts getting false memories about their childhood together. Sounds awesome, right? I loved it,then, I truly did! I particularly enjoyed the creepy atmosphere and eerie swamp that seemed like a character in itself. It’s described as being both magical and evil, and had me completely enamoured. From then on, the story did not go in the direction I had hoped for and expected, however. We find out very early on what the secret behind the swamp is, and why Sterling is the only one who remembers the missing people. That was the beginning of the end for me, sadly. After learning of the swamp’s… abilities, I was less enthused with the whole story arc. The mysterious element went from intriguing to mildly interesting and even silly. The answers found in magical peaches and magical cherries only made me snicker and snort, and then when you add in half boy, half alligator beasts… nope, not for me at all.

Still, I could have rolled with it if I had cared about the characters, but unfortunately they fell flat for me as well. I feel like Sterling had this whole complex character arc that just did not come through. She talks of her physically abusive father and having a sort of anxiety anorexia, yet this is merely mentioned in passing. Sure it’s mentioned several times, but it’s a tell rather than show writing style that ultimately failed to make me feel her psychological scars or emotional struggles. Which is a real shame because it could have given the story a lot more depth and tension. Instead, I grew frustrated with my inability to understand her as her personality simply came off as confusing. Then we’ve got the secondary characters who felt like convenient plot devices with nonexistent personalities. In turn, there was absolutely zero chemistry between her and the love interest, Heath, who was your cliché misunderstood “rumoured” bad boy.

While I enjoyed the suspense and the eerie atmosphere built around this swamp, the execution of the mystery and the route it took really bored me. I also did not expect this level of strange – and not the good kind of strange (for me at least). Really, though, this is like a B-Rated horror movie. Some will find themselves fully entertained by it, and others will roll their eyes and sigh. I’m sure you can guess which side I landed on. And with that, I wish you good luck with this one!


2 Hot Espressos

The One About Voodoo: Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

The One About Voodoo: Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

Posted by on 10/08/2014 • 9 Comments

I’m excited to be a part of the Sweet Unrest tour which is a perfect Halloween season read! Today I’ve got Lisa Maxwell on the blog talking about Voodoo! And before you leave, don’t forget to enter to win! 😉 In case it’s new to you, have a look at what Sweet Unrest is about:

Guest Post by Lisa Maxwell

 The One About VooDoo

In SWEET UNREST, native-Chicagoan Lucy Aimes is thrust into the world of New Orleans mysticism and is swept into a century-old vendetta that puts everything and everyone she loves into danger.

When I was writing the book, I had to learn what I could about Voodoo—as a belief, as a religion, as an art form. The Voodoo that appears in the…

Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Review: Lailah by Nikki Kelly

Posted by on 10/01/2014 • 17 Comments

I really REALLY wanted to love this one. A girl with mysterious powers who doesn’t age and can apparently never truly die!? What’s not cool about that? If it wasn’t for the infinite details that bogged the plot down to a snail’s pace, it might have fared better with me, but my interest quickly waned and kept dropping until I found myself skimming the last few chapters.

I love a book that immediately throws you in the action like Lailah does, grabbing your attention with all the excitement, but in this case I mostly felt dazed by the disorganized chaos. This abrupt start left me with no time to get to know our main character, I simply felt disjointed without any emotional investment. When we meet Gabriel, for instance,…

Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Posted by on 09/12/2014 • 16 Comments

I didn’t love this, but it’s a very unique – I’d even say peculiar – story with some candid personalities and buried secrets. And of course, Lauren’s writing makes the storyline so intriguing that it compels you to read even if it’s not blowing your mind. This review will be short, because the whole of this (also short) book is one haunting secret after another being unearthed into a story full of tragedy.

Brought together in this house by the death and upcoming burial of a husband and father, this story encircles the lives of half a dozen people who make up our narrators of this novel. While we learn the ins and outs of what makes these people who they are, we also learn that, ultimately, this is the…

Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Posted by on 08/14/2014 • 22 Comments

Whoa! Having had no luck with witch books lately this was a nice surprise. It’s unique and well written, with a quick pacing that turned it into an unputdownable read.

Trial by Fire starts with the introduction of Lily, a sickly girl who has had a rough life of weakness and fevers. I knew right then that this was going to be a great read. This girl was funny, awkward, easy to connect to, and with a compelling narrative voice. Plus you just knew this constant sickness was something witchy and had you craving to know more. Wanting to get away from all of it, Lily finally gives in to the voice inside her head that, unbeknownst to her, is from another world completely. When she suddenly finds herself in…

Interview with Alexandra Adornetto + Giveaway!

Interview with Alexandra Adornetto + Giveaway!

Posted by on 08/13/2014 • 40 Comments

As a big fan of ghost stories, I’m excited to have the Ghost House tour stop by today where I got to interview Alexandra Adornetto, and you can enter to win before you go!

Interview with Alexandra Adornetto

What’s the best word to describe Ghost House?


What’s the biggest challenge you had while writing this book?

Allowing Alex to be a 19th century gentleman with 19th century values, without making him come across as an oppressive or controlling figure in Chloe’s life. I feel like this was best avoided by making Chloe sassy and confident within herself. I couldn’t change Alex, but I could make sure she knew how to hold her own!

Do you have a favorite scene from Ghost House?

The flashback sequence where Alex…

Review: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Review: Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

Posted by on 08/11/2014 • 9 Comments

This was a straaaange book! But most importantly: it’s deliciously creepy!

Brenna delights us with some more of her gothic, morbid, yet marvelously fascinating storytelling in her newest release. Fiendish is compelling from the very first chapter. After a quick introduction to Clementine, a slight glimpse of who she was prior, we experience her entrapment inside this cellar, held in place by willow roots, while a decade passes. The cryptic but riveting manner with which the passing of time is described had me enchanted. It was, in a way, full of desperation and longing, though strangely beautiful. All of this occurs within the first few chapters, laying the foundation – and the promise – of an eccentric, highly original road to come. Once Clementine is set free, however, is when…

Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts + Giveaway!

Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts + Giveaway!

Posted by on 06/23/2014 • 16 Comments

I’m excited to have the Dream Boy blog tour drop by the blog today. This book sounds like a lot of fun, and after reading this post you’ll know that Will has a great sense of humor, too 😉

Guest Post

Will from Dream Boy’s Top Ten T-shirts by Mary Crockett

In Dream Boy, Annabelle’s best friend Will has a collection of wise-crack T-shirts. Here are some that appear in the book (and a few that could have).


And one that may only make sense to those…