ARC Review: Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

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A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston.

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

review3/5 Stars

***I recieved this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Delacorte Press

+++Contains what may be considered triggers for graphic self-mutilation/cutting 

It’s taken me a while to write this review because I still tilt my head and squint at this book. It’s not at all what I expected. It feels like a bunch of ideas mashed up together and flattened to make a solid picture, but really it’s a Monet close up. Good grief, I’m rambling. Simply, a whole slew of story arcs and ideas are strewn together and they don’t quite fit. It feels messy and random. I honestly have no idea how it went from something so serious and heartbreaking like self-mutilation/harm to compulsive blood magic but alright. I’m perplexed. Not to say that this wasn’t an enjoyable read. It absolutely was. 

The book begins with Heather, who is recovering after being committed for cutting. She is granted permission to go on her annual summer trip to Scotland and the majority of the story takes place there. What I liked about Heather’s story and this book in general, was the descriptive and emotionally compelling exploration of what Heather feels when she gets the urge to cut. Her struggle to understand why she harms herself, her fear, her shame, and her desperation to hide it from even her closest friends. Getting into her head space was enlightening and helped to understand the many motivations and reasoning behind self-harm. 

What threw me for a loop was the dreams/visions. There’s this ghostly, haunting vibe which is pretty cool and carries throughout. But if you’re like me, you’ll spend the entire book trying to figure out what this has to do with anything. And then the witchcraft happens. I just…I feel like the author couldn’t decide on what she wanted this book to be. Or maybe this was the plan all along, it’s not as seamless as it could be, it’s jumbled and flips from one thing to another. Then throw romance in there. 

To say some scenes are jarring would be an understatement. Sometimes they’re downright insane. Like out of your mind, how could you ever think that was a good idea, crazy. You might feel the urge to scream at the book or avert your eyes. Plus, vague-booking here, but NO THAT IS NO WAY EVER FORGIVABLE. Not even remotely.

The romance is dreamy. In some ways, I feel like had this book been about Heather’s self-harm and the romance, or just one or the other, it would have been more engaging. Heather and Robby are playful and flirty. They’re discovering attraction when before they only saw each other as friends. It’s sweet and Robby makes the cutest little songs on the spot. He’s seriously adorable. And the kilt. 

Primrose and Prudence’s story, when you get to it, it awesome. It’s full of revenge, jealously, heartbreak, and the worst betrayals. I wish there had been more of that. 

Overall, this was an interesting read.

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

Haunting reading, 

Jordan

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Lost Review: Throwaway Girl by Kristine Scarrow

 

18851343Goodreads/Amazon

 

“We are ‘throwaway girls,’ kids that are too old to be cute and cuddled, too set in our ways, and too old to be saved because the damage has already been done. But to each other we are sponges, soaking up every bit of love and praise we can find. We’re warriors of our pasts, searching for the part of ourselves that want to grow into something more than we’ve been told we’ll ever be. We long to be accepted and loved so we create the only family we’ve got.”

***

“I run the shard up and down my arms, making my body as broken as my spirit. I imagine myself dead, lying in a pool of blood in the dark, damp stairwell and cry even harder.” 

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Andy Burton knows a thing or two about survival. Since she was removed from her mother’s home and placed in foster care when she was nine, she’s had to deal with abuse, hunger, and homelessness.

But now that she’s eighteen, she’s about to leave Haywood House, the group home for girls where she’s lived for the past four years, and the closest thing to a real home she’s ever known.

Will Andy be able to carve out a better life for herself and find the happiness she is searching for?

review

3.5/5 Stars

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Dundurn.

***Contains graphic scenes of abuse, mutilation, and rape. May not be appropriate for some readers. Upper YA.

Throwaway Girl is an incredibly raw and piercing emotional journey into the psyche of a beautiful young girl, broken but undefeated, recovering from the scars of her past. A collision of the past and the present, Throwaway Girl reads almost like a diary, full of poignant memories of loss, abuse, and the struggle of the human spirit to overcome life’s horrors. An achingly brutal and realistic look into child abuse, self-mutilation, and dangerous coping mechanisms, Throwaway Girl empowers the and awakens a sense bittersweet sorrow and admiration for Andy.

Throwaway Girl is a gritty, dark, and introspective journey into the heart of the most twisted and prevalent injustices in our society. The things we look away from because they seem too overwhelming, like we can’t make a difference, that it’s too much, these are the very things that we need to stand up for. Those children who are beaten and broken by their loved ones, who live on the streets, who have no one and are shown “love” in the most violent, horrific, and sickening ways, they’re everywhere and they’re growing in number. Throwaway Girl is harsh and eye-opening. It shows a reality that is mean and cruel and threatens to destroy so many people. 

There are many subjects and scenes in this story that are graphic, violent, and mature. For a YA audience, this may be too adult for some readers. However, these subjects are a part of our world and happen every single day. The number of people who have been sexually assaulted is 1 in 4 in the United States. AND that’s the number reported. Awareness is crucial. 

Andy is strength embodied, though she doesn’t know it. She fights hard against her circumstances. No matter how hard she’s hit, how many people take from her things that are precious and steal her sense of safety, she bounces back and comes out stronger and more determined. Sometimes, Andy doesn’t know how to cope and she lives in pain, anguish, and distancing herself from reality-much like an out of body experience. Her world is devoid of happiness, it’s bleak and brutal, and made of those who want to damage her for their own selfish reasons. Andy may have her downs, she may feel suicidal, broken, and defeated, but she never ever gives up on her dreams. The moment she discovers the therapeutic value of writing is like a revelation-it’s absolutely beautiful and written so well. 

Emotions are off the chart. You’ll feel everything. Love, elation, despair, depression, betrayal, and a need for safety so poignant that it feels as if you’re living the emotions as they happen. It’s powerful.

The love story was a serendipitous event that’s sudden and becomes a little like a plot filler. It’s glossed over and while the build up is talked about, it’s summarized, without any true scenes.

The discovery of her mother after ten years have passed is not traumatic or even psychologically explored. It’s just there, from one scene to the next with no effect on Andy’s character growth. It’s there and then gone, this should have been a pivotal moment for Andy, one that spiraled into deep emotional reflection and processing and it’s disregarded. The transition from this scene to the next is abrupt and feels as through an entire plot point was completely forgotten or even ignored.

Andy’s healing process is mentioned but barely. How Andy made such a dramatic change and recovered emotionally is left out altogether except for a fleeting mention of therapy at the Haywood House. By not including this it takes away from Andy’s character growth and makes it seem as though magically she’s okay after everything she went through.

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

Compelling reading, 

Jordan