Posts Tagged: ARC

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
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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

Review: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Review: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Posted by on 10/09/2014 • 18 Comments

So these girls drink the remains of a bat and start seeing the future. Yep, this will be a weird one! You have been warned!

Ok so, only having read 2 books by A.S. King so far, both of them being fairly normal, I wasn’t expecting this level of weird, but somehow it ended up working really well for me. The magical realism aspect of it turned it into a sort of contemporary-slash-dystopian hybrid which was, surprisingly, quite interesting. Though I foresee some people not being fans of this one; it’s definitely not for everybody, and you’ll have to go in with an open mind, believe me.

What helped me really enjoy this novel is Glory’s voice. She’s not at all a very likeable character – especially at first, but…

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Posted by on 10/07/2014 • 17 Comments

After reading Legend, when I heard Marie Lu was coming out with a new series I just knew I had to read it. This woman is a fantastic author with great imagination and a knack for character development. This one was much more fantasy that I usually read, though, so it was less my taste, but it was still an entertaining ride that I think will captivate a lot of readers of the genre.

We begin this journey with a look into the heartbreaking story of Adelina’s upbringing. A girl who was once affected by the blood fever that swept the nation and made her a malfetto. A girl with a marking; useless, worthless – and feared, for many are thought to have unnatural abilities. This immediately made me…

Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Posted by on 10/02/2014 • 20 Comments

Ooh what a wonderful, incredible, and perfectly cryptic story! It’s with no surprise that I absolutely adored this novel; having loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds a year back, I already knew the talents of Cat Winters’ storytelling, and I thoroughly expected to be transported into yet another fantastic tale – this time full of magic, mystery, with a dash of horror and romance.

The year is 1900, and Olivia is one of many women who’s currently fighting for the rights of women. But with a father who’s determined to shut her up, dreaming of a better life is not an easy feat. Olivia is a girl with a lot of opinions and strong views. She’s determined to have a future that is not controlled by men, to help…

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: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Posted by on 09/25/2014 • 16 Comments

The Fall was so very unique and the writing: wonderfully atmospheric. Having really enjoyed Bethany’s Masque of the Red Death (I have yet to read the sequel), I knew that I was in for a stunning read. Masque was very well written, gorgeous in its melancholy, really – and that’s what I love the most about these historically creepy novels: the way they enchant you into their eerie settings. The Fall was no exception. I felt transported into this ancient house which was truly a character in and of itself. I could see every crack and hear every faint footstep. You could say that I was sufficiently creeped out.

Madeline is living with a curse. A curse revolving around a house that feels alive and vengeful, a house they…

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Posted by on 09/22/2014 • 9 Comments

There are some books you read for pure entertainment, and others, like Lies We Tell Ourselves, end up being much more than that. This novel tells an important story tied to our own history. One not too far in the past. One that is still a factor in our present, just with an altered face. It’s hard to read at times, but it’s also full of hope, strength and courage.

Not only is this an eye opening story, but it’s one narrated with the help of two wildly compelling teenage voices. The year is 1959, and Sarah is one of the first black students to attend a school that used to be all-white. This integration is not wanted by any of these white kids nor their parents, so you can…

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Posted by on 09/19/2014 • 15 Comments

It took me months to get through this one, I kept forgetting I was even reading it, so let’s just say it wasn’t a memorable read for me. It is unique, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t really care about any of these characters. Then when the magical element got introduced, it made the book even less interesting, not more as I had hoped.

Ok so let’s start with this premise. After her boyfriend dies, Jam gets sent to boarding school for troubled teens, and in one of her classes she’s given a journal that, to her surprise, sends her to a magical place whenever she writes in it. This place is free of pain and heartache: it’s a world where the tragedy that brought them to this…