The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven KingTitle: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: April 26th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5) Continue reading

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

The ReplacedTitle: The Replaced
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Taking Series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 28th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5) Continue reading

Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Orphan QueenTitle: The Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: Orphan Queen Duology
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: March 10, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5)

Continue reading

Book Review: Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock

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


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:
Barnes and Noble

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

New Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Title: The Fall
Author: Bethany Griffin
Rating: ★★★★

The Fall

I will admit to not knowing of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” before getting this book. So I looked the story up and read it. And became thoroughly creeped out. And then I picked up Griffin’s story. And got the chills.

The Fall of the House of Usher makes up only a portion of The Fall. Griffin takes Poe’s story and expands on it, turning it into a novel about growing up in a house that makes you crazy. I even felt a little off while reading it. Madeline was born in the house, grew up in the house, and understands that the house will eventually destroy her. Generations before her have gone mad, the house pushing them to insanity and death. Madeline and her brother Roderick are next. Roderick was sent away to school with the hope that keeping him away from the house will keep the curse from harming in.

This causes Madeline to face the brunt of the house’s feelings. The house feels heavy. It feels cursed. But the house also protects Madeline and gives her a dog for a companion. Growing up, her feelings about the house aren’t completely black and white. As the story progresses, it’s clear that the only hope for Madeline and Roderick to escape the curse is to destroy the house.

Through flashbacks, Madeline’s life story is told. I really felt for her. She didn’t have the same opportunities her brother had, and she was subjected fully to the house’s whims. She was lonely, aching for human companionship. Her brother is away at school, the doctors that live at the house only want to test her, and the only friend she’s ever had is a dog.

Based on the opening chapter, as well as Poe’s short story, you know where the story is going. But getting there is horror-filled and chill-inducing. Just reading about the house gives the feeling of heaviness and of evil. The history of death and insanity flows through every page and it honestly made me uncomfortable at times. I loved it.

The Fall is a fantastic paranormal horror novel. My only complaint is that sometimes the pacing didn’t feel right to me. However, this is definitely a good book to read if you want to get that creepy feeling. It’ll give you chills from first page to last.

If you’d like to read The Fall, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

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

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: The Vanishing Season
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Rating: ★★

The Vanishing Season

I’m just not sure about this book. I wanted to like it, to feel worried about the fate of these girls, to wonder about the characters and what was happening. I just never felt it. The writing was beautiful, but the characters and plot just weren’t there for me. It was supposed to be a story about friendship, with some mystery thrown in, but I never felt that.

Maggie moves to a rundown house on a lake in the north. She’s not thrilled about having to leave her life and friends behind her, but because her parents are struggling for money, she accepts it. She makes it work. Pauline and Liam are her neighbors. Pauline’s mother tries to put on appearances, but ever since her husband and Pauline’s father died, she hasn’t been able to feel happy. Liam’s father is the outcast of the town, and his actions make the town think Liam and his father are crazy. Maggie befriends them both, and eventually has feelings for Liam. In the midst of the move, girls begin to disappear and reappear killed. Panic ensues and Maggie and her friends must try to figure out their new friendship while wondering who will be killed next.

Maggie was a fine character, but I think she needed a little bit more of a backbone. I can see a lot of myself in her. I’d sacrifice almost anything for my family. I’m not very confrontational. I tend to think things through and then overthink them. But I can stand up for myself when I need to. And that’s what I wanted Maggie to do. It’s one thing to allow your friends to push you. But when you let them walk all over you, it’s not healthy. I wanted Maggie to stick up for herself.

Pauline was tough to handle. I really have a problem with the acceptance of her character traits. She was pushy and tended to not think of how her actions would affect others. As a foil, Pauline is excellent. Her character makes Maggie’s qualities stand out even more. But as a person, I don’t think I’d be able to have her as a friend. It was difficult to read. Liam wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either. I could tell from the beginning how he would play a part, but that didn’t mean I was okay reading it. I understand why things happened the way they did, but I still didn’t enjoy reading it.

I was ready to have a mystery to solve; one that maybe gave me the chills. Instead, the mystery was the background and I never really felt like it was resolved well. I don’t always need a perfect little bow on each open thread of a story, but some sort of resolution is nice. For how much the story would emphasis the mystery at times, much of the story just felt flat. There’d be mystery for a few pages, and then absolutely nothing.

The Vanishing Season is not the book I thought it would be. It has beautiful writing, but that’s about where the great qualities end. It just wasn’t the book I wanted to read, and the characters didn’t make me want to read. I’m sure there are people who will love this book, but I am not one of them.

If you’d like to read The Vanishing Season, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

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

Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Title: (Don’t You) Forget About Me
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Rating: ★★★★

Don't You Forget About Me

This book messed with my head. In a good way. It’s a complete trip of a book, from beginning to end. Just when I thought I had a handle on what was going on, something would happen that would completely throw me off again.

Gardnerville is a special place. People don’t get sick there. It just doesn’t happen. And sick people who move to the town suddenly aren’t sick anymore. But it comes at a price. Every four years, a teen explodes with deadly consequences. The book begins in the middle of one of these fourth years, just dropping the reader right into the town. Skylar uses pills to forget the past, a past where her sister led teens to their death four years ago. But something finally stops Skylar from forgetting. The secrets she’s held for years have to come out. And as little pieces of the truth appear the story becomes even more confusing and amazing.

Skylar is an interesting character. She just wants to forget what happened to her family. She wants to forget that her sister was the cause of the last fourth year destruction. She wants to forget about the evil that possesses her town. She just wants to forget. But forgetting means she can’t move forward with her life. As her secrets are shown, between flashbacks and the present day, she becomes a great character. It’s clear she knows what she has to do for her town, even though only little pieces are shown at a time.

The town is a character itself. It has a strange power to heal people, but it’s not without a price. The town gives, but it also takes. It really made me think about what price I would pay for complete health. A small connection I made to the novel is that the mother of the book had the same disease I do, cystic fibrosis. Obviously, since she lives in the town, it’s not a problem for her anymore. But it made me think about if living in fear of external death would be enough for me to cure my internal death. I can certainly understand why the mother lives in the town, but her life isn’t perfect. She traded one pain for another. It’s an interesting thought; to examine what price a person would pay for perfect health.

I’m going to be honest. I was completely confused for the majority of the novel. But it was confusion I enjoyed, because it meant Quinn has weaved an intense story. Every little piece she gives you s dropped without much context, leaving you to try and piece it together. It’s like putting together a puzzle that doesn’t have a picture until every piece has found its place. You’re working to solve a puzzle where you can hardly figure out where each piece goes.

This is not a book anyone can pick up and enjoy. You have to be able to suspend reason and take the events that happen for what they are. If you can do that, then (Don’t You) Forget About Me is a fantastic book.

If you think (Don’t You) Forget About Me is a book you’d like to read, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

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

Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Sleep No More
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Rating: ★★★

I’m sure there will be some people who have issues with this book. It’s a snapshot of Charlotte’s life as an Oracle, not her life story. Because of that, it only details the events that have such a huge impact on her as a teen, that the rest of her life will always feel the effects. I’m glad it’s a standalone novel. It was entertaining, but dark.

Charlotte is an Oracle. She gets visions of the future. After she changes the future to save her aunt, her father dies. From that moment on, she works hard to keep her Oracle side pushed away, resisting visions anytime they start to come. She’s seen how altering with the future can backfire and she never wants to risk that again. Then, she starts getting visions of her classmates’ murders. She feels guilty she can’t save them. To her, what good are visions when she can’t do anything about them? So when someone new comes into her life, claiming to know what she is and how she can use her visions to change the future, she jumps at the chance.

There were moments I wanted to shake some sense into Charlotte. From the outside, I could see how her choices could end up backfiring. I could sense that things weren’t right. But I also felt for Charlotte. She wants to know all she can about being an Oracle. She finds comfort in in knowledge. The unknowns are what make her question everything. Her aunt, the one in change of teaching her how to be an Oracle, holds back information, claiming she doesn’t need to know it yet. It’s because of this that she jumps on the change to learn more, even if it’s from someone she doesn’t really know.

The mystery and suspense in this novel were fantastic. I never really knew what would happen next. It’s clear that there is a serial killer, but the identity is hidden. Even in her visions, Charlotte is unable to find out any clues on who she is fighting against. The entire novel had this feeling of darkness, but it wasn’t heavy with it. There were light moments when Charlotte could just be a teenager before having to try and fight an evil she doesn’t know again. The pace of the novel is perfect, giving just enough information for one question to be answered before throwing in even more questions. This kept me on the edge of my seat, unable to put the novel down.

Sleep No More was a fantastic novel. It was fast-paced, but it never felt like things were moving too quickly. Pike would slow the novel down for a few moments before throwing something new in. It created a novel that ad me engaged and wondering with every page. I’m looking forward to reading more from Pike.

If Sleep No More sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

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