Book Review: Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Willowgrove
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

Willowgrove

I have really enjoyed reading the Hemlock series, and Willowgrove is no exception. After escaping Thornhill, Mac and her friends know there’s a target on their backs. They learned secrets they weren’t supposed to know and got away from the camp. But they’re left with more questions, and Willowgrove sets out to answer them.

Mac has been seeing her best friend Amy’s ghost in her dreams. Mac knows she’s missing something in the larger picture, something that might help her werewolf friends. But any knowledge hovers at the edge of her mind, and disappears when she tries to focus on it too hard. When she does finally uncover the secret, she’s shocked and knows she and her friends will have to do something big to change the perception of werewolves.

I like Mac. I do. She’s sweet with Kyle, and it’s clear she loves him. She loves him enough to want him to stay with her, but understands why he feels the pull to leave and join a pack. She cares deeply for all her friends, knowing that a virus is not who they are. Mac understands the fear werewolves instill in people, but she knows the affected are so much more than a virus. She wants to change how the world views those affected.

I love the relationships in this book. It’s clear that the little group is there for each other and is going to fight to keep it that way. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, and I like that through it all, Mac has a few friends to travel the road with.

Everything about this novel is well rounded, from the characters to the plot line. I certainly didn’t expect the book to end up where it did, but everything made complete sense. As each little piece of the puzzle was revealed, it was amazing to see how quickly everything else started to fall into place.

Peacock created a fantastic world where werewolves and humans exist, and not once did the series ever feel like it was out of place in this world. Mac and her life are so wonderfully written that Lupine syndrome feels like it could easily be a true syndrome. I applaud Peacock for taking what could have ended up as a cheesy love story and turning it into the action packed, drama filled, romance story it is.

If you’d like to read Willowgrove, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Thornhill
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock
Rating:
 ★★★★

I was surprised by Hemlock and couldn’t wait to read Thornhill. Despite my anxiousness to read, I knew I needed to wait until I could sit down and read it all in one go. It was filled with everything that made me love Hemlock and even more that made me fall in love with Thornhill‘s story.

Everyone eventually leaves Mac. Her mother was first, then her father, and a werewolf recently killed her best friend. When Kyle, the boy she’s falling in love with, leaves, she finally decides enough is enough. With the help of Jason, Amy’s boyfriend, Mac travels to Denver, Colorado with the determination to get Kyle to follow her back home. Once in Denver, plans fall apart and she ends up in a wolf “rehabilitation” camp, along with Kyle, Serena, and a bunch of wolves from one of the Denver packs.

Life in the camp is stressful. Kyle must keep Mac safe from the other wolves, Serena is taken away under strange circumstances, and Mac is trying to discover what secrets are being kept within the walls of the camp. Jason talks his way onto the staff of the camp and from there, plans are made, attempted, and unravel.

I think my favorite thing about these novels is the relationships. Yes, the love story between Kyle and Mac is fantastic and makes my heart race, but every relationship is fascinating to read. Jason has to reconcile his feelings about wolves with the fact that his best friend is one and all wolves are not evil. Mac must tread carefully in order to not lose ties with more people in her life, wanting to be with Kyle but not wanting to hurt Jason anymore than he already is. Each relationship is constantly changing and it keeps the novel from feeling too stereotypically Young Adult.

The sequence of events was fast paced and I was never sure what was going to happen next. I was never sure of a character’s thoughts, motivations, or actions. It kept me on my toes and I could not read fast enough.

After the surprising feelings towards Hemlock, I was ready for what Thornhill would bring. I trusted there would be romance and action, all wrapped up in a supernatural tale that felt more real than fantasy. Thornhill completely delivered and I’m already anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this amazing series.

If Thornhill sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock
Rating:
★★★★

I really wasn’t sure about Hemlock. It had an interesting idea behind it, but I felt like the werewolf storyline could really go bad. It had the potential to end up kind of cheesy and unbelievable. Somewhere between the first few chapters and a third of the way through the novel, all my fears were gone and I was hooked. I stayed up way too late to finish this book, but it was completely worth it.

Mackenzie lost her best friend Amy to a werewolf attack five months ago. The wolf was never found and without a sense of closure, Amy is haunting Mac’s dreams. Jason, Amy’s boyfriend at the time, has turned to drinking and bad life choices to forget. Kyle, the last member of their group, has tried to be there for his friends, but he’s had to deal with Amy’s death as well. When there’s another werewolf attack in town, the past is brought back up and the three of them must face secrets that threaten not only their friendships, but the town as well.

Mac is a perfectly flawed character that works to overcome her demons. She’s not a strong fighter or the best thinker, and she lets the past cloud her judgment, but she fights as hard as she can for those she cares about. She isn’t softhearted, but she is sympathetic to the werewolf plight, even though one killed her best friend. She knows one is not a reflection of them all and she believes they still deserve to have rights. She’s worried about the people she loves leaving her because her mother left when she was a baby and her father took off a few years later. She keeps everyone at a slight distance so it supposedly won’t hurt as much when they leave her. All of these little pieces come together to create one of the best characters I’ve read in a Young Adult novel.

Jason and Kyle are the not-really-a-love-triangle counterparts. Mac cares for both of them, but it is obvious where her heart lies, at least in Hemlock. Jason’s idea of honoring Amy’s death is revenge. He loses himself in the bottom of an alcohol bottle and vows to destroy the creatures that destroyed Amy. Kyle feels responsible for Amy’s death and beats himself up over that guilt every day. He doesn’t self-destruct, though, and vows to never let something like that happen to someone he cares about again. Each boy takes drastically different paths when it comes to how they deal with Amy’s death. Having these two complete opposites was interesting to read and made for some extremely tense moments.

Hemlock completely surprised me. I really was not expecting to find myself so invested and involved with these characters. The ending has me needing the next book and I’m very happy I waited to read Hemlock because I don’t have to wait for Thornhill. This is a fantastic read that blends the real world and the world Peacock has created perfectly. This is an amazing start to what I hope is an equally amazing series.

If Hemlock sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound