ARC Review: The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

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syn

An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule–namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

review

3/5 Stars

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

+++Note that this is a little on the mature side of YA due to graphic violence and sexual situations

Last year when I got my ARC of The Witch Hunter, I didn’t know what to expect. I opened the book and I couldn’t put it down. It was one of my favorite books of 2015. I loved the violence, the fierce way Elizabeth fought and took risks, the heartbreaking sacrifices she made, and the twists that stopped your heart and made you hold your breath. Unfortunately, The King Slayer did not have the same magical, mesmerizing quality as book 1. 

PROS:

  • The action scenes were gory and violent. Exactly the right amount of graphic and uncertainty to keep you on edge. That final battle scene, OMG terrifying and brutal and heartbreaking. Some parts will make you wince, others will tear you open and laugh at your emotions. 
  • Elizabeth is struggling to find her strength after the events of book 1. She doesn’t know who she is anymore or what she has to offer Harrow. Elizabeth fights to find  out how to be the old Elizabeth when everything was taken from her. Healing from her wounds and desperate to destroy Blackwell, Elizabeth is vulnerable, but fierce and determined to protect those she loves even at the cost of her own life. This emotional, open side of Elizabeth adds a depth to her character that is even more expansive that book 1. This Elizabeth is all the more powerful and courageous because of her scars and insecurities. 
  • Blackwell is as grotesque and monstrous as ever. His lack of regard for human life, the way he just takes and takes, the dark magic, the torture, the agony, it’s all so much. Dangerously evil. 
  • That final twist. Stab me in the heart why don’t you? Harsh. 

CONS:

  • From the first page is was like being hit with a brick. The information flies at you and there’s hardly any summary from the last book to remind the reader what happened. Maybe it is my fault for not rereading beforehand (anyone who is reading this on the blog knows I read hundreds of books a year) but for the life of me some of these characters, I had no clue who they were and it made the complicated relationships between them hard to process. I felt panicked and kept scrambling to figure out what was going on and why it was important. It took a chapter or two for me to feel more settled into the story. 
  • The in-between sections dragged a lot. The moments between action were a whole lot of angst and drama, but surprisingly slow. Nothing really happened. Sure, they were building a camp and readying for a battle, and yet, nothing was ever really exciting except for the first sparring scene. 
  • Friendships and romance were less of a focus than in book one and it felt a little lacking because of it. The relationship between Fifer and Elizabeth, her interactions with most of the characters in the first book apart from Schuyler were limited. 

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

Keep reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review: Those We Fear by Victoria Griffith

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syn

What do you get when you cross The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre with Psycho? Victoria Griffith’s latest thriller.

When Maria becomes a summertime au pair to the children of a Scottish lord, she discovers the family is living under the shadow of two suspicious deaths.

Vanishing portraits, cloaked figures, and bizarre shrines add up to a compelling Modern Gothic psychological mystery.

review

3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the publisher & publicist

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You are enchanted by all things Gothic
  • Mysteries are your kryptonite
  • You love a good twist 

PROS:

  • That darkly mysterious and cryptic feeling of foreboding that comes with not knowing if there’s a killer lurking in the literal mist or something paranormal is SPOT ON. There are spine-tingling moments of terror and subtle threats that will leave your skin crawling. One word: dolls.
  • The children. There’s nothing more horrifying than kids that say disturbing thing. Especially about their dead mother…as if she were still alive. Randomly opened doors, singing in the dead of night with no one around, getting locked in rooms, it’s all sorts of spooky. 
  • Maria is protective and compassionate. She genuinely cares. Even in her times of utter fear, she overcomes and becomes stronger for those children she hardly knows. Getting to the bottom of the mystery is everything, and the more clues she finds, the darker the truth seems.  
  • Red herrings galore. Victoria Griffith is a master at misdirection. You’ll never see it coming. 

CONS:

  • The story felt like two separate plots that didn’t mesh well. It starts with terrorism, murder, and witness protection, and evolves into a Gothic mystery. The transition wasn’t smooth, and the intrusion of the initial plot disrupts the time in Scotland. 
  • The pacing was slow. Though that’s pretty typical for a Gothic, the time span between spooky incidents was pretty large and diminished the actual creep factor. It wasn’t as scary as it could have been. Some parts are on the verge of terrifying and others fell flat.
  • This is not a romance. There’s barely chemistry. The characters are rarely together and nowhere near enough to build up the romance. When the attraction (barely a spark) does get to the next level, it feels random, fast, and unnecessary. A distraction. 

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

Cryptic reading,

Jordan

Review & Giveaway: Eerie-C.M. McCoy

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“EERIE, full of voice and romance, is a thrilling and beautifully crafted story that had me up late, racing through the pages to get to the end.”

-Thief of Lies Author Brenda Drake

“5 stars! I felt there was a mash-up between Hogwarts, Xavier Institute for Exceptional Youngsters, and Beauty and the Beast, AND I LOVED IT! The creatures, the classes, the college, the Middle of Nowhere! How awesome!”
 - Truth About Books by A. Fae on EERIE

“I would definitely buy this series. I really loved these characters. It read very quickly, and the Alaska jokes really got me giggling.
 - Confessions of a Book Whore, Jamie S. on EERIE

“EERIE is Harry Potter meets Twilight meets the Bible with a little bit of the abusive/controlling 50 Shades male mixed in. This is a really fast-paced, exciting novel. There is plenty of drama, romance, mystical beings and mystery to keep you flipping the pages and promising yourself “just one more chapter” before bed. And then before you know it, ten o’clock turns into two in the morning…again.”
 - Amanda’s Own Little Corner Book Reviews

synBeing a ParaScience freshman is a nightmare come true.

Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds the only thing keeping her safe from a murderous 3,000-year old beast is an equally terrifying creature who’s fallen “madly” in love with her. Competing to win her affection, the Dream Creature, Asher, lures her to the one place that offers safety—a ParaScience university in Alaska he calls home. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive a tunneling earworm, extract a carnivorous splinter, evade the campus poltergeists, and hope the only creature who can save her from an evil immortal doesn’t decide to kill her himself.          

review4/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author.

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for quirky and creative paranormal creatures.
  • You’re not squeamish. 
  • You want to spend the entire day (and night) reading.

Eerie is an unexpected, delightfully charming surprise. Equal parts creepy and inventive, there’s a light-hearted vibe that will keep you going til the bitter end. Romance, murder, mystery, and all things paranormal coupled with Fringe-worthy science, this book is perfect for fans of Eureka, Haven, Supernatural, and X-Files. 

PROS:

  • Hailey. Where do I even begin? She’s accident prone, awkward, and innocent. Her blushing and foot-in-mouth comments are enough to make anyone giggle. She’s Irish, she does dancing jigs with her sister, and she’s a spur of the moment, in your face kind of gal who will speak what’s on her mind, consequences no matter. She’s probably the most genuinely kind and thoughtful character I’ve read and extremely relatable. She had NO CLUE what she’s doing, it’s a mess, and it makes her incredibly endearing.
  • I adored EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER. They were complex, funny, unique, everything you could possibly want in characters. I wanted to get to know then and discover everything they were hiding. 
  • There are a massive amount of awesome creatures. From Yetis to carnivorous trees to banshees and bookworms, each is a surprise and so intriguing. I was excited for every new discovery.
  • Giselle. The monster with hidden depth and a beautiful soul. I love her. She’s witty, sarcastic, perceptive, and deadly. She makes rude comments that you can’t help but laugh at and the more she pushes Hailey away, the more she’ll win you over. I laughed like crazy.
  • CHEMISTRY. It’s everywhere. You almost get that alien-vibe vs. the funny bff that made Twilight‘s love triangle work so well. 
  • I could not put it down. Unfortunately, I had to because life and edits, but I could not get it out of my mind. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the ride.

CONS:

  • The story seemed to get lost halfway through. There’s a big shift in location that completely alters the tone but that’s not the issue. The story becomes romance-centric, so much so that it distracts from the original premise. While the underlying goal is always there, there’s a substantial number of pages purely devoted to back and forth flirting and jealousy. 
  • While there are a ton of description when it comes to scenery and paranormal creatures, where it counted, particularly in details about the main characters, there was very little. I had no clue what Hailey or Asher really looked like (in Asher’s case other than a fleeting mention of his resemblance to James Dean). The description is limited to small tidbits, nothing graphic. I couldn’t get a handle on what they actually looked like other than the notion that they’re all pretty hot. 

NOTE: I’m using this as my book that deals with paranormal creatures NOT vampires, werewolves, or fae for the 2016 YA Reading Challengeteasereerie tease

Nowhere to Hide

“Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hailey plunked her head on the desk and groaned. Why, why…why couldn’t she just tell Asher that she wanted out, that she was afraid—afraid of the others, afraid of dying, and even afraid of…of him. After all, he was planning to kill her. Only temporarily, but still.

She couldn’t believe she was even considering it, but she had no choice. If Asher didn’t kill her, one of the others would.

Permanently.

And Asher protected her. He cared about her. He loved her, right? Asher—an emotionless creature. Hailey wasn’t sure if he was even capable of love.

Oh, this made absolutely no sense. Kill her to save her? Was that love?

Freshman year at her dream college was turning into nightmare, and as she rolled her forehead on the desk, the library’s impossibly large ceiling clock echoed a thump with her heart. She simply had to pull on her big girl pants and tell Asher she was done.

That’s all.

She squeezed her eyes shut as a swarm of butterflies took flight in her stomach.

Lately, she felt an awful lot like Jekyll and Hyde: logical, rational ParaScience student by day—emotional monstrosity at night. Come to think of it, this was more like The Phantom of the Opera, and she was the naïve student who didn’t realize the secret and strange angel she’d come to know was actually a homicidal maniac…

“I’m not a maniac.”

Hailey jumped up. She didn’t mean to say that out loud.

Asher slid behind her, putting his lips next to her ear. “But I suppose I am homicidal,” he whispered, his breath on her skin sending goose bumps down her arms and legs.

She leaned into him and sighed.

So much for steadfast resolve.

Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pulled her closer.

 “How did you know I was here?” she whispered.

“You were dreaming, Hailey,” he murmured. “I’ll always find you when you’re dreaming.”

ExcerptA Guarded Girl

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”

-Bertrand Russell

Hailey stared at the empty can on her tray, silently willing the caffeine to kick in. The last thing she needed was to fall asleep, dream of monsters, and have an “episode” in front of her 200 closest non-friends.

No way she’d let that happen.

Now if only her droopy eyelids would cooperate, because the hard plastic chair under her butt sure wasn’t. The dang thing was teasing her and feeling mighty comfy, like a puffy armchair, and she was sinking fast. Thankfully, though, just as her head bobbed, the bell rang, jolting her into a wide-eyed, full-body spasm.

Great. Real smooth, she thought, rubbing her face with both hands as a few gigglers shuffled past.

She groaned, rising with all the enthusiasm of a mushroom, not at all looking forward to another two hours inside the social torture chamber, or as everyone else referred to it, South Side High School.

She was so intent on avoiding the students there for the rest of her senior year that she rarely looked up from her books anymore, and those last two hours dragged. When three o’clock finally rolled around, she bolted outside, took the first open seat on the bus, rested her head against the window, and let it bounce there. She was just about to make it through another day of school very happily unnoticed, when Tage Adams smacked her on the back of the head.

“Ah!” she yelled, startled from sleep.

The bus was waiting at their stop, like normal, and Tage was waiting for her in the aisle, politely—not normal.

Tucking a wayward strand behind her ear, she hurried off the bus.

Tage followed.

“What’s up with you today?” he said nonchalantly, adjusting his pace to walk next to her.

He’d never done that before.

“Nothing,” Hailey said, surprised Tage was talking to her. They’d been catching the bus at the same stop for four years, and he’d never so much as looked at her.

“You’re usually not like that, that’s all.”

“Like what?”

“Nodding off in class, falling asleep on the bus…you know, slacking off. It’s just, you know, you usually have your nose in a book.”

He watches me?

“Oh,” she said, unsure.

“Guess you were working late last night…St. Paddy’s Day…”

“Yeah.” Of course she was working late. Her family owned the most popular Irish pub in Pittsburgh. Hailey pressed her lips together. Small talk was not her thing. Especially not with him.

Her mind went blank.

Searching the pavement for a thought, she chewed her lip as too many seconds stretched the silence. Finally the pressure forced her good sense aside and she opened her mouth to say…anything.

“What’s—”

“Well, see ya ‘round, Dancing Queen.”

She snapped her mouth shut and waved as he peeled off and trotted down Bridge Street. She tried to form the word, “bye,” but all that came out was “buh—”. Standing dumbfounded, she stared after him. She hadn’t realized Tage knew she existed, let alone the fact that she waitressed. And danced.

Stunned, Hailey walked, then jogged, then stopped dead to puzzle over what had just happened. Then she jogged again until she finally reached the pub.

Nobody at that school “chatted” with Hailey. Not since the fourth grade, not since the day a particularly mean girl concocted a particularly ugly rumor—that Hailey had started the fire that killed her parents. The whispers and sideways glances lasted close to a year, and in trying to defend herself, Hailey only made things worse. By the time she figured out that nobody else believed in pyromaniac-nightmare-monsters, it was too late. She’d already earned the label, “weirdo,” which, unfortunately, stuck.

authcolleeen

Twitter/Facebook/Website

C.M. McCoy is an Irish dancer and former Air Force officer living in the Great White North. Though B.S.’d in Chemical Engineering and German, she’s far happier writing stories involving Alaska and a body bag (with an awkward kiss in the mix.) While working emergency dispatch for Alaska State Troopers, she learned to speak in 10-codes, which she still does…but only to annoy her family.

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

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Review: The Accident Season-Moira Fowley-Doyle

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synIt’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

review3/5 Stars

I read this book over a week ago and it’s taken me a long time to process my thoughts. Usually, I don’t read the synopsis for books, I like to go in blind and be surprised. But I saw this book all over social media and the description was everywhere and it made me 100x more excited once I read it. I went in with expectations and came out utterly confused and mildly disappointed. Here’s the thing, The Accident Season is a multidimensional, complex story with layers that have to be chipped away to get to the heart of the story and once you do, it’s so unexpected that everything else feels diminished. At its core, it’s a coming of age story about self discovery, dealing with trauma, and opening up to love mixed in with some seriously bad luck and spooky factors. Is this paranormal? That’s really up to you. It’s a choice and that’s part of the appeal. 

Let me ask you a question:

What would you do, if, when going through photos from the past 10 years of your life, you found the same girl, in the same clothes, in every single photo, and said girl goes to your school?

Befriend her? Run? Report her to the authorities? Think it’s a strange coincidence? Know you have a crazed stalker and hunt her down? All of the above? 

Let me break it down for you:

The Accident Season is an addictive and bizarre mystery on several levels that will have you plowing through pages just to get to the truth. Who is this odd girl in the photos? Why is the family prone to life-changing accidents of epic proportions? Is there a family curse or just really, really, black cat, walk under ladders, breaking mirrors bad luck for every single family member? 

The story is a little staggered and slow, you’re not sure where it’s going and while the main hunt for the girl in the photos is on, there are so many things thrown into the mix that it gets lost.

Flashes of figures, disappearing storefronts, near-miss accidents, and terrifying doll shrines will leave you on edge throughout the story, unsure where the danger lies.  

Secondary characters were short-lived splashes of color that faded in and out of the story without leaving a substantial mark. Many of Alice’s friends are intriguing but have little function and barely surface in the story. Especially quirky and creative characters like Bea were a tad more present but there wasn’t enough of her to establish solid friendships with the main characters, emotions, or to care one way or another. 

There are some elements of the story that could be triggers, light mentions of abuse and violence without any graphic details. More suggestive than anything. 

If you take away all of the suggestions of paranormal, each of the main characters is learning how to embrace their feelings and let them out in the open, to overcome their fears of prejudice and accept themselves. The sometimes hazy bond between sisters as they grow up and grow apart is heart-breaking, when it hits Cara she feels left behind, lost, and unsure what she did wrong. These emotions were powerful and important. What Alice is going through, OMG I can’t even imagine and won’t elaborate because of spoilers but it’s messed up and a bit more adult than I’ve seen in most YA. Sam’s resentment is like a simmering volcano slowly building into explosive anger and remorse. His rage at his father, unspoken blame towards his step-mother, and how he sees himself is painful and enlightening. 

The big reveal. Holy crazy surprise. You will not see it coming. Although the clues are all there, many story cues will distract and swarm drawing you away from the truth. 

There’s a whimsical and dark tone that merges with The Perks of Being a Wallflower coming of age nonchalance. 

If you have any questions, comments feel free to email or comment below and highlight if there are spoilers in your response 🙂 

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

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Jordan

ARC Review: Daughters Unto Devils-Amy Lukavics

51xvQS37eCL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Goodreads/Amazon/B&N

synWhen sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Harlequin:Teen

+++Contains: Mature themes, gore, graphic imagery, and what may be considered triggers- miscarriage 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for something chilling and unexpected
  • You’re not afraid of disturbing images, gore, and/or devils
  • You like M. Night Shyamalan 

Daughters Unto Devils would make a terrifying horror film. Amy Lukavics has perfected the use of blunt and abrasive images that are just enough to shock and haunt. There’s no need for explanation or excessive description, the brutally detached imagery will give you goosebumps. 

PROS:

  • Amanda has a profound and stunning voice. She voices her dark and twisted thoughts, voicing them, letting herself accept that her deepest desires are not always pure or even remotely nice. Amanda admits to herself that she’s morbid, sinful and a little insane. That she owns it makes it 10x more compelling. Sometimes her thoughts are sickening and startling, that someone could wish harm and death on others if pretty off-putting but Amanda’s candidness with herself (and some self loathing) almost make her more likable. She’s hardly perfect, far from it, but she sees the world for the vile and rotten place it can be, she picks up on darkness when others are oblivious, mainly because she has it tucked so close inside her. 
  • Spine-tingling, hair on edge images that blur the line between paranoia and reality, there’s something sinister in the simple images. The scenery is bleak and haunting. The snippets of ghost stores and memories that may or may not be real add an air of suspicion. You won’t know of they’re insane, paranoid or possessed until the last moment.
  • Twists that will leave you reeling.
  • One scene in particular was Excorist-worthy terror at its finest. 

CONS:

  • Some sections are slow and drag quite a bit when there’s not something sinister on the horizon. 
  • The whole situation with Henry and the Amanda is naïve and sort of grotesque. The descriptions of bulges and writhing were too much for me. Amanda’s wild-eyed wonder at this man was understandable at first but after everything that happens to have her still hoping that he’d accept the situation was crazy.
  • What happened in the cabin, the clues and tidbit scenes were spaced far apart and didn’t go into enough detail to truly capture the hysteria. 

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

23897947._SX200_SY200_51aRu-TDgvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_blood salt20728920

Spooky reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Lost Girl-R.L. Stine

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synGenerations of children and teens have grown up on R.L. Stine’s bestselling and hugely popular horror series, Fear Street and Goosebumps. Now, the Fear Street series is back with a chilling new installment, packed with pure nightmare fodder that will scare Stine’s avid fan base of teen readers and adults.

New student Lizzy Palmer is the talk of Shadyside High. Michael and his girlfriend Pepper befriend her, but the closer they get to her, the stranger she seems… and the more attractive she is to Michael. He invites her to join him on a snowmobile race that ends in a tragic accident. Soon, Michael’s friends start being murdered, and Pepper becomes convinced that Lizzy is behind the killings. But to her total shock, she and Michael are drawn into a tragic story of an unthinkable betrayal committed over 60 years ago. Frightening and tense in the way that only this master of horror can deliver, The Lost Girl is another terrifying Fear Street novel by the king of juvenile horror.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press

+++Triggers: Graphic violence and assault

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You grew up on R.L. Stine and are feeling nostalgic
  • You’re looking for a spooky Halloween read
  • You’re NOT terrified of horses
  • Gore and violence don’t make you squeamish

Stepping into The Lost Girl world was a trip to the past in more ways than one. For the people like me, who grew up on R.L. Stine, who lived for Goosebumps and shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark? you’ll feel transported back to childhood, I was flooded with memories. That, and the story jumps from 1950 to present day 🙂 As someone who is just a little terrified of horses this was HORRIFYING. 

PROS:

  • The sickening, disturbing bit of horror and shock that R.L. Stine is known for is back with a vengeance (though, I don’t think there was enough of it). Some scenes are extremely graphic and disgusting. The first horror scene was so intense and terrifying I don’t think I’ll EVER get it out of my head. It’s so real, you can picture every little detail. Prepare for nightmares.
  • The cat and mouse game that follows a surprising accident is unexpected and edge-of-you-seat thrilling. You won’t know who is next until it’s too late. 
  • Michael’s infatuation with Lizzy is irresistible and disquieting. There’s something dark beneath the soft, clumsiness she exudes. Michael is confused and dazzled by Lizzy, so much so that even her bad behavior is temptation in human form, a mere curiosity that intrigues him even more. 

CONS:

  • There wasn’t enough interaction with characters or back story to make me care about their fate. They were typical and forgettable. Gabe, Kathryn, and Pepper, apart from her fiery redhead stereotype, seemed to be there for the purpose of eventual torment and not much else. A firmer establishment of their friendship, maybe some memories that connected them to Michael would have made their ordeal more emotional instead of sheer spectacle. 
  • Points could have been strengthened to get at the terrible power Beth possessed. Instead, it felt like a random fact. Lizzy’s super sketchy stalker attitude was played up as whimsical and sort of quirky and everyone was oblivious to her weirdness. 
  • Characters are far too easy going and dismiss incidents that should have had them running to the police. The hysteria missed its mark entirely as did the suspense.
  • There was a massive amount of telling. Description was strong only to showcase the gore. 

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

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Pleasant reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: The Suffering-Rin Chupeco

51aRu-TDgvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

synOver the last year I’ve gone against faceless women, disfigured spirits, and grotesque revenants. Some people keep dangerous hobbies; skydiving and driving at monster truck rallies and glacier surfing. Me? I cast my soul into the churning waters of potential damnation and wait for a bite.

It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.

When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’, both must resolve their differences and return to that country of secrets to find her.

Because there is a strange village inside Aokigahara, a village people claim does not exist. A village where strange things lie waiting.

A village with old ghosts and an ancient evil – one that may be stronger than even Okiku…

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re a fan of Japanese horror
  • You’re not queasy on blood and gore
  • You want to sleep with the lights on

PROS:

  • Japanese superstition and beliefs in spirits were compelling and even more powerful than the last book. The ritualistic aspect of marriage, afterlife, and power were all coupled in with the great mystery of the hidden village in a forest made famous for suicide. 
  • Okiku and Tark’s relationship is thrown into chaos but through it all, their devotion to each other becomes even more clear. 
  • Okiku’s rebellious side and Tark’s inner darkness rise to the surface, their Supernatural-style hunts for the bad guys are twisted and sickening at times. Some allusions to sexual abuse, violence, etc. may be triggers for some, however brief they are. The violence and grotesque imagery is startling and detailed. 
  • The clues, all seemingly random, come together in a shocking, horrifying way. Mystery and desperation to propel the plot forward when things slow down and the constant capture of spirits feels a little tedious. 

CONS:

  • The ending was resolved extremely quickly and without enough conflict. It felt clipped and far too easy after everything else that happened. 
  • The nightmarish, anxious feeling that was like its own entity in The Girl from the Well is muted and scenes that should have been hiding under the covers terrifying fell a little flat.
  • There were some issues with time frame and jumps in years that altered through the story. A big reveal didn’t really make sense.
  • Part of the story, mainly the first half, was like another book entirely. Focus was placed on Tark’s high school misfit status and his ventures in dating. While time with Okiku was obviously there (she never leaves), Tark’s conflicted feelings and Okiku’s jealousy were surprisingly light and not at all as explosive as I would have expected. 

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Jordan