Genre: Paranormal

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Croak by Gina Damico

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Review: Croak by Gina DamicoCroak by Gina Damico
Series: Croak #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on March 20th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Buy on Amazon

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

-This novel was listened to via audiobook-

Murders, Grim Reapers, Scythes! Oh my!

This was the perfect book to listen to on my way back from a 9 hour road trip. Its sarcastic protagonist, charismatic secondary characters, and entertaining plot made the drive feel like 30 minutes. Ok maybe a couple hours. But still.

Lex used to be a perfectly good student, except lately she’s been a bit of a delinquent. This is what gets her shipped to her uncle Mort’s place in a bizarre small town of population 80. This is also where she learns who, or what, she really is: a grim reaper. Grim reaper books have always been a favorite of mine and I loved what Gina did with this one, especially with the constant humorous tone. She’s created a whole reaper world with hierarchies and distinct reaper roles that I found so imaginative. There’s Killing, Culling, the Afterlife, the spiders *shudders*; each aspect of this world building is surprisingly intricate. Some of it is cheesy, I admit, – the presidents in the Afterlife bit especially – but it is amusing which, I believe, is the purpose of this book as a whole. In the midst of all the Killing, there is also someone (or something) murdering Reapers which adds a suspenseful mystery to the story. This part is more predictable than I was hoping, but it did work to put some emotional depth to the novel. When a character dies or gets targeted by this unknown killer, it stings a little! I also liked how Gina dealt with the topic of death; she doesn’t let the dark humor go too far.

The plot is entertaining, the pacing could have been a little faster for my taste, but what really stands out in this book are the characters we meet. Lex’s sarcastic, violent nature will have you chuckle and snort throughout. Though she’s also intelligent as well as thoughtful. She’s the anti-heroine we all love to root for! Uncle Mort will also be a fan favorite with his compelling personality coupled with a badass demeanor. Then Lex has a partner, Driggs; the two, mostly through bickering, develop a quirky relationship that I enjoyed seeing grow and evolve as the book progressed. There’s also a hint of romance, of course, and it’s as sweet as it is awkward – a perfect fit for this book! Really though, each and every citizen in this town adds their own dash of crazy to this story.

A note on the audiobook: the narrator imitated Lex flawlessly. Her voice was perfect for her character. However, I did find her inflections over the top at times. Like, she would sometimes end sentences in an exaggerating manner as you would when reading to a child.

Full of laughter and witty personalities, Croak is the perfect read to brighten a gloomy day!


4 Hot Espressos

Waiting on Wednesday (90)

Waiting on Wednesday (90)

Posted by on 08/21/2013 • 42 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:

Whoa how creepy is this cover? Let’s hope it lives up to it! The blurb sounds promising, anyways! 😀

What are you waiting on?

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Posted by on 08/19/2013 • 35 Comments

“What are they? Are they diseased or demonic? Are they citizens who have become ill, deserving hospitals and care, as some have argued? Or are they the bodies of our loved ones animated by some dark force that we ought to seek to destroy?”

And here I thought originality was gone from vampire stories! It takes none other than Holly Black to prove me wrong. Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not only unique, it’s a fun, exciting story full of horror and blood with a little flair of post apocalyptic.

Ever since a sudden outbreak of vampirism spread throughout the world, vampires are out and feared; even though they’re kept quarantined in gated cities, you’re never quite safe from the stray ones. Tana learns how true this is when…

Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

Posted by on 08/06/2013 • 26 Comments

A delightful, yet dark MG novel; The Year of Shadows is dusted with ghosts, entertaining personalities, and an unexpected amount of grave topics which are handled with complete expertise, all through the delicate eyes of a child who is harboring a mountain of pain.

This book is about a young girl, Olivia, who has had to move into this battered concert hall where her father works due to the stupid Economy. Fostering anger towards both her father for bringing her to this dank place, and her mother for leaving without saying goodbye, she’s tuning everyone out to concentrate on the one thing she loves: drawing. Then the ghosts show up. From abandonment to loneliness to grief, Olivia’s heart became my own when I was reading her story; the heavy burden…

Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi

Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi

Posted by on 08/02/2013 • 18 Comments

This blurb, this cover, it gives off such a wonderful creepy vibe that intrigued me immediately. Ghosts! London Cemeteries! A girl with no memories! All things that made this book an instant must-have. Although one part does have its share of thrill, the mythologies introduced felt out of place, the characters are flat and boring, and the story is nothing if not cheesy.

The book begins with Jude finding this girl in a cemetery who is not quite a ghost, but not a live person either. People can’t see her, yet she’s not cold nor does she have any other ghost qualities. She also has no memory of who she is. It was an attention grabbing beginning which I thought for sure a good sign. Then we start to learn…

Waiting on Wednesday (86)

Waiting on Wednesday (86)

Posted by on 07/17/2013 • 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:

You know what I haven’t read lately and been really in the mood for? A good shifter/paranormal book! I remember enjoying a bunch of werewolf books for a while over a year ago and I miss it! There hasn’t been any that caught my eye but this one sounds like it could be awesome, especially seeing this is the author of a series that’s been recommended to me countless times, Immortal Beloved. So I’ll be sinking my teeth into this one for sure! (PS – feel free to rec me some good were/shifter books in the comments ;))

Continue Reading »

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Posted by on 07/15/2013 • 39 Comments

“Their faces were white. And grim. They glared at me, streaks of pale moonlight sweeping across their cheeks. They looked somber and gruesome and not like kids at all.”

Highly atmospheric, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a haunting tale of evil and family secrets for every Gothic horror fan!

Although most Gothics are set in the past, this one is not, but it takes place in an old and tired estate which gives this book the perfect ancient feel. It’s not long before strange things start happening in Violet’s extremely small, quaint town, setting about hair-raising goosebumps that last throughout. First we get frightening legends about a kidnapper in a retired tunnel, then creepy kids walking around the cemetery claiming to have seen the devil, but…

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

Posted by on 06/14/2013 • 34 Comments

Magicians, mediums, old school theatre entertainment, and a historical New York setting; I absolutely loved the atmosphere in every aspect of this novel!

Anna Van Housen-the opening act of her mother’s magic show-is the real deal: she’s a medium, she has visions of the future, and she can feel others’ emotions. Plus, she’s rumored to be Houdini’s illegitimate daughter. With a premise like that, how can I not be intrigued? Plus, just look at this amazing cover! I was excited to finally sink my teeth into this one and it was definitely worth it. Not only is our protagonist a wonderfully compelling character with a great personality, the book is set in 1920’s New York City which is utterly fantastic in and of itself. I’ve always loved a New York…