ARC Review: Revenge and the Wild-Michelle Modesto

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“With each touch of his lips, her dead heart was galvanized as though being woken from centuries of black sleep. His kiss was alchemy, for she felt golden, illuminated. Her once cold heart flared like the sun, and she could feel its beat in every part of her.”

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The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

review3.5 /5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss & Balzer + Bray 

+++Contains mature situations 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You love genre-bending books
  • You’re searching for adventure, romance, and paranormal
  • Cannibals don’t terrify you

Revenge and the Wild is incredibly unique. A Western meets science fiction meets supernatural adventure, there’s a little bit of everything. 

PROS:

  • The writing style is amazing-a powerful voice. 
  • Westie is an unconventional heroine. She’s vulgar, without being the typical trollop, she calls peoples bluffs, sees through the flowers and roses and has hardly any filter. The girl is a sassy little thing with mad skills. A weaponized parasol, bone crushing arm, and far from ladylike, she’ll keep you laughing and flipping pages. Westie also has a vulnerable side. Her mechanical arm sometimes makes her feel a bit insecure but it’s fleeting, she owns her body. She’s confused about love, who isn’t? And her past haunts her. But does that stop her? No. Westie is a girl on a mission and you can’t help but enthusiastically follow along.
  • The plot twist. Did not expect that. 
  • World building = stellar
  • The romance. This is not a triangle. It’s more of a square. Which will totally throw you off but at the same time holy chemistry overload. There’s love, romance, sexual tension, that scene in the vampire brothel…no words. Alistair (Ally) is the best friend that has always been there that you suddenly start to notice (in this case, Westie has noticed him all along but feels rejected by his cold shoulder when they were younger). He’s devoted, compassionate; he’s got insecurities and fears-he’s complex. His scars and mechanical (Bane-style) mask make him terrifying for a lot of people but somehow, his wounds are endearing and beautiful, especially knowing his past. The feels. All of them. When they go on that wild scavenger hunt for clues…LOVE LOVE LOVE. 
  • The cannibals are beyond creepy. Olive takes those sing-songy little demons in horror films to a new level of terrifying.

CONS:

  • There are so many subplots and chaotic things going on that the focus is hazy. What you think is the main story arc becomes secondary and doesn’t really get back to it until the end. The premise is genius but falls prey to this bombardment of creatures and issues. The back story is tossed in off-hand and if there had been a stronger establishment of the past might have made the present story work better. 
  • Westie’s sleuthing is terrible. While she does make discoveries, none of them were surprising and she was slow on the uptake. I wanted to shout the answers at her. 
  • Some characters were a washout that I would have LOVED to see more of. The pet chupacabra, Nigel, the sexy as sin vampire Costin and the Wintu tribe, all intriguing but with minimal plot time. Isabelle was the WORST. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

 

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ARC Review: Vengeance Road-Erin Bowman

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“But the hurt fades with time. You always feel it but it becomes a duller sting, ‘stead of sharp. Course, that’s assuming you don’t ride the road of vengeance.”

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When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You want to be transported back in time to when yellow-bellied outlaws, gold prospectors, and good old-fashioned gunfights were an everyday occurence.
  • You are looking for a fiery, ballsy female protagonist.
  • You DON’T want a romance-centric story.
  • You love Westerns.

PROS:

  • This was my very first YA Western (I think this is sorely lacking in the genre). Immediately I was drawn in and teleported back in time. The dialects, the phrasing, mannerisms, everything was delightful old-fashioned and colorful.
  • Kate is not your typical female lead for a Western. She’s certainly not a demure young girl looking to get hitched. Kate is deadly with her Colt and Winchester, she wears pants, binds her body so that she can pass as a man, and doesn’t take threats from anyone, this girl can hold her own with the best of them. Kate is on a quest for vengeance and is not afraid to kill to make things right. She’s fierce, brave, independent, and doesn’t need anyone to hold her hand. Nothing will defeat her. Despite all the danger (and there’s a lot) she goes in guns blazing. Kate’s love of Little Women endeared her to me. 
  • Lil, the Native American girl who plays a critical part to their survival has some of the most compelling stories about folklore and perspective on the White Eyes (white men) who took over the land. The bigotry against Mexicans, Native Americans and the constant pointing of fingers while taking away rights was eye-opening, especially for those who know the history. Reading it in history books and having the experience through these characters was unbelievable 🙂 
  • The mystery of the journal, the greed for gold, and the sheer violence brought the scenery home. Scoundrels, ladies of the night, outlaws come together in saloons, bringing life to the past. 
  • The Rose gang is violence, sadistic, and heartless. They’re fueled by greed and their hunger for gold. Anyone who gets in their way is taken out and tortured. Some scenes are graphically violent and easy to imagine. You’ll want to kill him yourself. 

CONS:

  • Some sections seem pieced together and randomly thrown in. 
  • It’s kind of remarkable how often they’re able to escape full on gunfire unscathed. 
  • The back story for many of the secondary characters was largely absent. Characters are fleeting and just when they start to get interesting they disappear.
  • Will and Jesse, huge characters have brief moments of revelry that showcase their personalities and then, gone. Their story, their lives as ranchers, cowboys, their parents, etc., it’s all mentioned but not really expanded upon. It was hard to connect to either of them. When things go downhill, what should have been a critical, emotional moment was flat.

Happy reading, 

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