ARC Review: Blood Will Out by Jo Treggiari

35390436Goodreads/Amazon/B&N

“That’s scary for a boy if he’s not willing to man up. Expectations are heavy. It’s like sticking a mirror in front of his soul.”

synAri Sullivan is alive—for now.

She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.

Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous—and Ari may not be the only intended victim.

review2.5/5 Stars

***Trigger warnings for graphic violence, animal abuse, gore

What I liked:

  • The story started in a really engaging and mysterious way. We know that the main character wakes up injured and terrified, with no memory of how she got there and no way of getting out. 
  • The killer’s POV has tremendous back story and is ridiculously graphic. You truly gain insight into the crazed mind of this serial killer-how the proclivities developed, the transformation from minor fixation to full-blown obsession. It’s both sickening and fascinating. 
  • A twist that was so unexpected, I’m not sure that what I thought was the twist wasn’t actually a twist within a twist. By the end, I was still uncertain. 

What I disliked:

  • Despite the rollercoaster of a start, the pacing was slow. I skimmed through page after page, where there was so much unnecessary detail that it extended scenes for pages that should have been much shorter. The sentence structure was also weird and oddly scientific. 
  • SO MUCH GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. If you are an animal lover, steer far, far away. If you are at all queasy when it comes to blood, slicing, dissection, anything of that nature, quickly step away from this book and don’t look back. 
  • The main character is dull. Predictable. Makes some choice decisions that will leave you wanting to throw things across the room. When the reveal comes where you find out how Ari ended up in the cistern, it’s really no surprise with her poor decision-making skills. Completely naive and judgmental to her detriment. Also explosive anger, crude and misogynistic insults. 

Read your heart out, 

Jordan

 

 

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ARC Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

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syn

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

review
3/5 Stars
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers
+++Some scenes are MATURE
           I was dying to read this book. It been on my TBR forever. So when I got the ARC, well… to say I was excited would be a major understatement. Unfortunately, the more I read, the less intrigued I felt. This is one of those sad perfect premise, poor execution stories for me. 
          The May Queen Murders has several awesome things going for it. The captivating and insanely interesting subcultures and interactions between the people who live in the trailer parks and the Glen people. There is so much detail that you feel the tensions and embrace the wonder that happens in the Ozarks. There’s a deep layer of superstition and prejudice. A dark foreboding and wonderful sense of deep-seeded belief. The stories of what brings bad luck, the herbs needs to bless the house, tying strings around the wrist for protection, it’s fascinating and draws you in. You’ll want to know more and engage in this magical world. Ivy is made of the Glen and these beliefs are a part of what makes her whole. Her convictions are so strong, it kind of pushes her further away from everyone. The history is pervasive and hypnotizing. 
          Ivy’s relationship with Heather is complex, but full of unwavering devotion and love. Ivy is on the threshold of maturity and Heather has hurdled forward without her. Ivy is childish, young, inexperienced, and their relationship shows that crippling fear and loss that best friends feel when one is moving at a faster pace, separating them, and they might just leave the other behind. Sometimes there’s no hope of catching up. Ivy is heartbroken and Heather is over Ivy’s clingy behavior. She follows her around like a duck. This was real and honest and a diverse depiction of friendship.
          The romance was weird and awkward. Parts were fairly graphic and mature. There’s not much development, it suddenly is. I honestly didn’t feel an ounce of chemistry between them. I felt more of flare up towards Milo and August than Rook. 
          Secondary characters were barely a blip in the story. There were MANY I wanted to know more about. Milo, and Violet’s sister. Her horrific bullying situation. That’s a story I would have liked to hear more about to get a full picture of the animosity within the area. 
          The pacing was slow. Like turtle’s pace slow. For the majority of the book, apart from the mini stories about the former May Queen murderer, NOTHING happened but angst and drama. It was hard to push through. About 75% of the way through, things got a little more interesting. After the first murder, it escalated to the creepy and sadistic in a blink. 
          Plot twist. I did not see that coming. It was convoluted and epic. You’ll have NO CLUE. It was like being splashed in the face with cold water, jolting. Parts near the end, the climax are gory and terrifying. The blood and sadism. Well, let’s just say nightmares are in your immediate future. 
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Creepy reading, 

Jordan

Review: The Girl from the Well-Rin Chupeco

18509623Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copyYou may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

+++Contains scenes of graphic violence and alludes to child abuse. Trigger warning.

Perfect for fans of The Ring, The Grudge and spooky ghost stories that set your teeth on edge and have you sleeping with the lights on. The Girl from the Well is a haunting story of passion and vigilante vengeance.

PROS:

  • The Woman in White is creepy. She walks on ceilings and hides her eyes in a cloak of dark hair. Her vengeance bleeds off the page like an open wound, the anger is vicious and sinister. The violence is detailed, graphic, and all sorts of twisted. I loved the she is not just the Woman in White but a girl scorned by a horrific past who serves as a guardian for abused children. She’s more than her legend. Nothing is black and white, she’s not pure evil, everything is a solid shade of gray. As the story progresses, she becomes more of a girl learning about herself and what she’s capable of, she rediscovers the heart she’d left down in the well with her broken body.
  • Images are consistently disturbing and vibrant. There’s a hollow, dark energy that colors the carnage, bringing it to life as if you were watching it on film.
  • The sub-stories are unique, they bring in culture and myth, adding a historical aspect to the story. Not the atypical haunting, there’s a weighty purpose and heritage that links the story pieces together seamlessly.
  • The Woman in Black is a nightmare. She’s twisted, vile, grotesque and her intentions will make your skin crawl. I don’t think I’ve ever been more terrified reading in my life. Every look, every bone-chilling moment she’s present sinks in deep and the foreboding escalates. Her back story was intriguing and unexpected, full of shock and surprises. I adored the tie-in with Japanese culture and exorcisms. 
  • If you have a doll phobia BACK AWAY SLOWLY.
  • The relationship between the Woman in White and Tark is bizarre. It’s warm and kind of weird but it works. Their connection grows as the story progresses, it transcends friendship and becomes a strange brand of love.

CONS:

  • Secondary characters faded out, they didn’t have defined personalities, and in some cases weren’t memorable at all. They got lost in the dominant story arch. 
  • Callie drifted in and out of the story, she felt wishy-washy and undeveloped. I found myself searching for more of her, some distinct personality traits or likability but she read flat.

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

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