Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

FEATURING


Serial Killer
Mystery Suspense
Psychological Thriller
Dysfunctional Family Town
Dark & Deeply Disturbing
Ugly...but Compelling

With Audio Performed by Ann Marie Lee

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)
(also has a teaser trailer for Limited series on HBO)



MY RATING⇢ 3.7 STARS | GRADE B



MY THOUGHTS


What you will get when you read/listen to this book...

The writing within this book is not only brilliant but seriously audacious and scintillating in an eww, gross kind of way that will leave you squeamishly uncomfortable.  Flynn doesn't shy away from...well...anything.  It seems nothing is off-limits.
Wind Gap is one darkly twisted town...with pre-teens running amok...having sex, doing ecstasy and drinking. 
⇢The characters are all rather unlikable, including the MC...when you find out what she went through as a kid though...it feels like she is justifiably fucked up. 
⇢The whodunit is rather easy to figure out and I believe it purposely so.  The real mystery is how twisted the truth really is...and it really is, way beyond twisted. 
What you take from this book is entirely up to you and how much darkness you can take...me, I'm conflicted, I can do dark and twisted...but maybe this was a little too much of 'all of the above' for me.

The Audio is superbly executed by Ann Marie Lee...her voices, her inflections are spot on.  It had to have been weird for her that one of the girls killed has the same given name as her.


THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3.3/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 3.5/5
The Feels 3.2/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 2.8/5
_____

Book Cover TV Show Cover...
Setting Wind Gap, Missouri
Source Libby Audiobook (Library)
Length 9 hours, 35 minutes

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Falling of Stars by Traci Finlay

FEATURING


Teen Suicide
Cyber-Bullying
Mystery
Psychological Thriller
More like Under-Thrilling
I actually paid for this book...
...but thankfully not very much



MY RATING⇢ 1.5 STARS | GRADE D



MY THOUGHTS


Why does Amazon add genres to the titles of books?  This book's title is The Falling of Stars: A Psychological Thriller.  It seriously bugs me...but then a lot of things do...so moving on...

The Good:

An intriguing premise of Cyber-Bullying...although, the execution was way off for me.
Interesting family dynamic (blended family)
A fairly decent ending...

The Bad:

Unbelievable actions from characters...so much eye-rolling it made my eyes tired.
Despite the decent ending, everything in the middle was very unbelievable to me. 
The actions to the reactions of the characters came off as malicious or generally off-putting.
And last but not least...for a short book, it felt incredibly long.  I found myself skimming a whole lot.

I for real don't get why this has so many great ratings and reviews. I feel like they all read a different book than me...maybe it's a case of it's not me it's you, oops...I mean it's not you, it's me. 




THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 1.5/5
Characters 1/5
The Feels 1/5
Pacing 1/5
Addictiveness 1/5
Theme or Tone 2/5
Flow (Writing Style) 1/5
Backdrop (World Building) 2/5
Originality 2/5
Ending 2.5/5 Cliffhanger Nope.
_____

Book Cover The only thing it has going for it is the palm trees.
Setting Miami, Florida
Source I own on Kindle
eBook Length 264 pages

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Veiled by Karina Halle

FEATURING


The Veil Between the Living and Dead
Supernatural (TV Show) Vibe
Spin-Off of Experiment In Terror Series
Romance Between An Immortal and A Human
Demons & Ghosts
Sex-Plicit
May-or-may-not Be a Series...

With Audio Performed by Jo Raylan


MY RATING⇢ 3.2 STARS | GRADE C+



The Synopsis is in Italics...my thoughts on the synopsis are in Bold.

LINK TO AUTHOR'S WEBSITE (where I pulled this from)

She just wanted a normal life.
He had other plans for her.
Would you go through Hell for the one you love?
VEILED is a STANDALONE paranormal romance and urban fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lie and The Pact.

Death.

It’s something that Ada Palomino has always known so well, having grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night.
But after the sudden and tragic death of her mother two years ago, death has never felt so personal.
Or so close.
Now eighteen, Ada is trying to move on with her life and the last month of summer holds nothing but sunshine and promises with her first year at a Portland design school just around the bend.
That is until her increasingly violent and realistic dreams, dreams of other worlds, of portals and veils where her mother is tortured and souls bleed for mercy, start to blend into reality. Ada has to lean on her older sister, Perry, to try and make sense of it all but even then, she’s never felt more alone.
Then there’s Jay. Tall, handsome and deeply mysterious, Jay would be just another stranger, a familiar face on the bus, if it wasn’t for the fact that Ada has met him before.
Every night.
In every single dream.
And the more that Ada is drawn to him in both worlds, the more she’s in danger of losing everything.
Including her heart.
And her very soul.

QUESTIONS ABOUT VEILED: (This is part of the Synopsis)

Q: Is this YA?
A: No. The main character is 18 and there is sex, crude language and violence in the book. Readers sensitive to those components may not find the book suitable. If you are a reader who doesn’t like a lot of the “F” word, this is your warning…. All true.  Luckily, the "F" word and I are old friends.

Q: Is there a cliffhanger?
A: Nope! There’s also no cheating and no love triangle (think I’ve covered the bases there!) All true!  

Q: Do I need to read the series (Experiment in Terror) that Veiled is a spinoff of first?
A: Nope.
Absolutely not.  I disagree...I feel like you would have inside knowledge that would enhance this story since they're a ton of references to that series.
Veiled stands alone from that series...It didn't feel like this is true, although I'm totally guessing since I haven't read it.
Don’t listen to anyone say otherwise. EiT fans are very passionate about their series and want to share the love (and I love them for it) BUT Veiled was written specifically for those people who haven’t read EIT.
And furthermore…most importantly…IF you do decide after reading Veiled that you would like to read EIT, then I promise, promise, promise that your enjoyment of that series will not be spoiled or compromised. Trust me on this. EIT is too epic of a series to be spoiled.
PS if you are a passionate EIT fan, Veiled is a great starter to get people interested in this whole “world.” Also, all your favorites do appear in this story as it takes place right after Dust to Dust.  There are definite instances that feel like spoilers to EIT, especially since it takes place after the 9th and final book in the series.

Q: Is it horror? Your other series was and I don’t handle scary very well…

A: No, it’s paranormal romance (though I promise you there are no vampires or werewolves), and while there are creepy elements to the story, it wouldn’t be classified as horror. You’ll be fine.  This is also true.

MY THOUGHTS


Overall, it wasn't too bad, if you're into this type of urban fantasy/paranormal romance, this could be your jam...especially if you've read the Experiment in Terror Series.  Sadly, though, after finishing Veiled, I'm not feeling like I want to read the EIT series, myself.  I already know where they (Perry and Dex) end up, and I even know a few mishaps that they get into.  Also since finishing this book, my second by this author, I'm thinking I'm not necessarily a fan of her writing style.  

The narration was acceptable, but it could have been presented or produced better...it was too quiet by far, especially when she whispered.


THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3/5
Narration Performance 3.5/5
Characters 3.2/5
The Feels 2.5/5
Pacing 3.5/5
Addictiveness 3/5
Theme or Tone 3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 2.8/5
Backdrop (World Building) 2.5/5
Originality 3/5
Ending 3/5 Cliffhanger Well...kind of.
_____

Book Cover Love the cover, actually.
Setting Portland, OR
Source Hoopla Audio (Library)
Length 9 hours, 43 minutes




Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

FEATURING


Ghosts & Possessions
Dark Spirits & Exorcisms
Japanese Folklore
Sort of Horror-if-ic
No Romance Whatsoever
Interesting, but I felt detached...

With Audio Performed by Andy Arndt


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 3 STARS | GRADE C



MY THOUGHTS


This would make for a super creepy movie...but as for listening...I didn't really get too frightened, except maybe in the beginning.  I think this could be due to the fact that it's told from the POV of the Ghost.  That and she only kills people who hurt kids, so that really isn't all that scary.  In that respect, it reminded me of Anna Dressed in Blood (which I rated about the same).  Basically, the effect isn't as freaky scary as it could be if I had actual visuals.  Maybe, it's also why I failed to be fully immersed in the story.

Despite this, it is a unique story steeped in Japanese myths, legends, or lore whichever you prefer to name it.  Rin Chupeco has said that her inspiration for this story is from an old Japanese legend or ghost story called the Bancho Sarayashiki.  Which is also the basis for the movie, The Ring.  BTW, I can't watch that movie...it's too scary for me, lol.  Talk about creepy visuals...

Andi Arndt didn't feel quite like the right fit for the narration, but I normally love her, so I can't say anything too bad about her.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 3.3/5
The Feels 3/5
Pacing 2.5/5
Addictiveness 3/5
Theme or Tone 3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 2.5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4/5
Originality 4/5
Ending 3.5/5 Cliffhanger Sort of, but not really...and there is a second book.
_____

Book Cover I actually had a different cover than the one above (I like the one above better though)...I had the Audio Version of the cover, which is very creepy...

35799923
...totally creepy, right?

Setting Japan and somewhere in the US...maybe Maine, I can't remember now.
Source Audiobook (Library)
Length 6 hours, 44 minutes

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

FEATURING


Red Riding Hood
On Her Way to Grandma's House
Fairytale Retelling
Viral Apocalypse
Survival
Darkish & Mysterious
Horror-if-ic


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)



MY RATING⇢ 4.2 STARS | GRADE B+


MY THOUGHTS


If you like your fairytale retellings to be fun and full of happy elements...this isn't quite the right fit for you.  This one is bleak and full of end of the world sadness and destruction.

For a fairytale retelling, the ending is perfect.  But, for an apocalypse story, I was like WTF this can't be ending like this.  I was left wondering...what about this and what about that...no way, you're just going to leave me hanging like this.  I also read on the Author's site, that she has no plans at this time to write a sequel...insert disappointed face.

Basically, she took an apocalypse/dystopian premise and weaved it into the story of Little Red Riding Hood.  When looked at it from this standpoint the story completely delivers.  But, when looked at it from the standpoint of an apocalypse/dystopian story with references to Red Riding Hood...it definitely leaves you wanting more from it.  Her premise for the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it was not only clever, but it was also rather intense at times.  With an air of mystery added to it, I was completely hooked.

But...I want more...seriously, I know I'm not the only one...


THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.2/5
Narration Performance 4.5/5
Characters 4.3/5
The Feels 4.2/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 4.3/5
Theme or Tone 4.5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.3/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 3.8/5 Cliffhanger Not exactly...but it is rather open-ended.
_____

Book Cover It's actually quite awesome!
Setting I believe it's in the US...but, I'm not sure if they ever mention an actual town name.
Source Own Audible Audiobook
Length 8 hours, 21 minutes


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Killing November by Adriana Mather

FEATURING


Secret School for A Secret Society
Savvy Teens
Lions, Wolves, & Bears...Oh My!
Mysterious Setting
Murder Afoot
Awkward Romance
With Audio Performed by Cassandra Morris

Link to Synopsis (Goodreads)


MY RATING⇢ 3.5 STARS | GRADE B-



MY THOUGHTS



I want to say that I liked this, but that wouldn't be entirely true...there are just too many elements at play that I'm not sure how I feel about them...I'll attempt to explain...

Throughout the majority of the story, I was wondering where this was going...because it didn't seem all that clear.  It's steeped in mystery to the point of being slightly annoying.  The Author only hands out a few breadcrumbs of info, and those are really just told to you.

This story is definitely different...from the characters to the secret society to Academy Absconditi (what a strange name), this is unlike anything I've ever read about.  This secret school is so secret a student is brought in knocked out so they don't know where it is...and its eye-for-an-eye policy is kind of messed up, among other policies/rules. Even the classes they take are off-kilter...they have a class for tree climbing, of which the heroine loves to do.  There are many more oddities in this that I'm not going to give away, though.

Overall, despite how weird it is, something about this story intrigues me and I may even listen to the second book, in the hope to figure out what that is.  Although, I wish that they had picked a different narrator for this...it's not that she was bad...she just wasn't the right voice for this.  I have listened to her in other stuff and absolutely loved her.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3.7/5
Narration Performance 4/5
Characters 2.8/5
The Feels 2.5/5
Pacing 4/5
Addictiveness 3.5/5
Theme or Tone 3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 3.7/5
Originality 3.5/5
Ending 3.5/5 Cliffhanger A "to be continued..."
_____

Book Cover I like it.
Setting Academy Absconditi
Source Audiobook (Library)
Audiobook Length 11 hours, 47 minutes

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Final Girls by Riley Sager

FEATURING


Mystery Thriller
The Final Girl Standing
Twisted and Twisty
Slasher Story
Unlikable & Flawed Characters
You Totally Got Me With Your Twist
Audio Performed by Erin Bennet & Hilary Huber

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4.5 STARS | GRADE A-



MY THOUGHTS


Before starting this, I was worried that it might prove to be too scary for me...I'm not a scary movie enthusiast after all.  There was one point where I did get a tad freaked out...but overall it didn't end up freaking me out too much.   I was happy that the focus of this story wasn't the systematic killing of Quincy's friends.

It was so much more than that.

I perused quite a few reviews where some said they guessed the ending right from the beginning...I, on the other hand, was completely thrown by the ending.  I didn't see anything that was revealed throughout the story, actually.  I felt like the only real issue not addressed was Quincy's anger management, because she has one helluva problem there.

While the book starts out kind of slow, eventually there is so much being revealed, you can barely keep up.  Told in alternating POV's from present time to flashbacks of the past at Pine Cottage where Quincy's friends were all killed, the effect is staggering.

With a different narrator for each, the past and the present, the narration is very well executed. 

THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 4.5/5
Narration Performance 5/5
Characters 4.3/5
The Feels 5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Addictiveness 4.3/5
Theme or Tone 4.5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 5/5
Originality 5/5
Ending 5/5 Cliffhanger Not really...
_____

Book Cover The slash marks are cleverly done...but otherwise it's boring.
Setting New York & Pine Cottage
Source Audiobook (Library)
Length 12 hours, 24 minutes


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Survival of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Molly Southbourne #2


FEATURING


Unique Storyline
Creeptastic and Horror-if-ic
The Second Half of A Complete Story
Science Fiction

LINK TO SYNOPSIS (TOR.COM'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 3 STARS | GRADE C



MY THOUGHTS


The first book introduced a very disturbing story...that quite literally blew my mind with its sheer craziness.  Unfortunately, the second book felt a little like he didn't really know where he wanted to go with the story...almost as if he was never really planning on continuing the story at all.  Like an idea that never fully formed. 

I want to say it was worthwhile overall...and it definitely wasn't $3.99 worthwhile.  In fact, the more I think about it...the more I feel that this was better off without a sequel at all.

THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 2.8/5
Characters 3.7/5
The Feels 3.2/5
Pacing 3/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 3.5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4/5
Originality 4.3/5
Ending 3/5 Cliffhanger Not really...
_____

Book Cover It's better than the first book's cover...bloody hands aren't quite as creepy as a bloody nose.
Setting:  This book is definitely the UK...London, mostly. 
Source Own Kindle eBook
eBook Length 128 pages.


The Conspiracy by Kat Martin

FEATURING


Light on the Romane
& Heavy on the Suspense
Romantic Suspense
Missing Persons
The Beautiful People...
Cliché'd Characters & Actions
Sex-plicit
With Audio Performed by Ryan Turner



LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 2.3 STARS | GRADE D+



MY THOUGHTS


If you like the style of romantic suspense that was popular in the '80s and into the '90s or you like the style of Susanne Brockmann than this is probably something you'll love.  This Author's style of writing reminded me of her work quite a lot...and I, used to like this...but sometimes our tastes change, including our taste in books.

Laden with the type of characters that are so-hot-you-can't-take-your-eyes-off-of-them and a romance that I didn't feel was truly believable.  This book just didn't do anything for me...and overall it felt like she just kept throwing in plot twists to make up for actual substance.  Sadly, this kind of book just isn't my cuppa, at least not anymore.  I should also mention that the narration by a guy, especially this particular guy, really killed the vibe for me and maybe it could have been better if it had a female narrator for the female POV.  Although, it might not have made a difference.

THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 3/5
Narration Performance 2.5/5
Characters 2.5/5
The Feels 1.5/5
Pacing 3/5
Addictiveness 2/5
Theme or Tone 2.7/5
Flow (Writing Style) 3/5
Backdrop (World Building) 2.5/5
Originality 2.3/5
Ending 2.3/5 Cliffhanger Nah...
_____

Book Cover I love the sky in this cover, it's what drew me in...sadly, I was fooled by a pretty cover.
Setting Aruba and Texas
Source Audiobook (Library)
Audiobook Length 11 hours, 8 minutes





Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

FEATURING


Dystopian Setting/Alternate World
Society Where Men Have the Power
Oppression Of Women
Horror-if-ic
Death, Lies, & Betrayals
Splash of Romance
Women Supporting Women
Stand-Alone


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 5+ STARS | GRADE A++



MY THOUGHTS


Wow! This book...

This book is a lot of things...dubious, challenging, frustrating, darkly horrifying, curing, wonderful, loving, saddening, hopeful & most of all empowering. 

I first started reading this about two months ago and had to stop because I just wasn't feeling it...I thought this is a premise that would never come to pass...or so help us all.  I couldn't wrap my head around this society where women not only outnumber men, but their rights are so marginalized by these men, it's unthinkable, unbelievable.  They are treated as property and made to go through a year away from everything they know to expel their magic.   When they come back from this supposed magic-letting they are forced to marry the guy that chose them...and if no one chooses them (because women outnumber the men)...they have to work for the good of the community.  This book will push your buttons...for sure. 

The second time I started it, I found this enthralling...I devoured it in very little time.  The Grace Year has earned a spot as one of my favorites of all time and I don't think I will ever forget it.  I especially won't forget how it made me feel by the time I finished it.  I was stunned, with everything that happens, and...So. Much. Happens.  This one has all the feels, from the good to the bad, and everything in between.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot 5/5
Characters 5/5
The Feels 5+/5
Pacing 4.8/5
Addictiveness 5/5
Theme or Tone 5/5
Flow (Writing Style) 5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 4.5/5
Originality 5+/5
Ending 5/5 Cliffhanger Not really...
_____

Book Cover Love it.  It's absolutely perfect.
SettingGarner County & a remote island within a great lake.
Source I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
eBook Length 416 pages


I Read This for Dystopian Hellscape (and it's so fitting for that)
(Transfigured from Relics & Curiosities) 


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

FEATURING


Mystery | Thriller | Suspense
Online Solicitation
Urban Legends
Secrets
Middle School
With Audio Performed by Brittany Pressley


LINK TO SYNOPSIS (AUTHOR'S WEBSITE)


MY RATING⇢ 4.5 STARS | GRADE A-



MY THOUGHTS


First off, the narration by Brittany Pressley was phenomenal.  She did multiple POV's with ease, even the male one.  She especially did well with the voice of a 12-year-old Cora.  I usually complain that multiple POV's need multiple narrators but it IS possible for one to pull it off, sometimes.

I finished this Audiobook in one day, it was super compelling right from the very beginning and held onto that intensity until at least the last quarter of the book.  The hints are laid out for you along the way and you'll feel like you know where this is going...and then the ending, while unexpected was not necessarily what I wanted from it.  Nonetheless, it was still quite a thrilling and mysterious listen/read.  Dealing with issues of bullying, online solicitation and inappropriate behavior by a teacher this has a very timely theme going on.



THE BREAKDOWN⇢  


Plot4.3/5
Narration Performance 5/5
Characters 4.3/5
The Feels 5/5
Pacing 5/5
Addictiveness 4/5
Theme or Tone 4.3/5
Flow (Writing Style) 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building) 5/5
Originality 4.3/5
Ending 4/5
_____

Book Cover It's okay...I like the other one with the three girls on it better.
Setting Pitch, Iowa
Source Audiobook (Library)
Length 10 hours, 18 minutes


I read this for New Release Square for Halloween Bingo 2019


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REVIEW: DEAD TO YOU