Sunday, July 31, 2016

This Savage Song

Book: This Savage Song
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Author: Victoria Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.-Goodreads

Revew: It's the future and the world as we know it no longer exists. Monsters roam free and people can be heard singing: 

“Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.”
“Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.”

The city of Verity has been divided in two. Harker controls one section with an iron fist. People pay for safety and monsters roam free. His daughter Kate has been jumping from boarding school to boarding school for years and is finally back home, dedicated to proving herself to her father. The other half is ruled by Flynn, who has 3 Sunai adopted 'children' that help him hunt the monsters. August, one of Flynn's children, is assigned to go to boarding school with Kate and keep an eye on her. 

I love Schwab's writing and world building. I love that there was no teen romance going on here. But unfortunately, I didn't love either of the main characters. I had no emotional attachment to either of them and never felt like August really had a 'sibling' relationship with the other Sunai. Kate has potential but I didn't warm to her. 

Overall-not my favorite book but I'll definitely continue with the series. Schwab is a talented writer and I'm hoping the next book is much better. 
Grade: 2.5/5

The Devil in Disguise

Book: The Devil in Disguise
Series: Bad Things #1
Author: Cynthia Eden

Don’t make the devil angry…

Luke Thorne loves having one hell of a good time. As the ruler of every dark creature to walk the earth, he certainly has more than a bit of a bad side. He lives for danger and isn’t the type to lose his heart—mostly because he doesn’t have one. Then she walks into his life.

Mina James is seduction in the flesh, a perfect temptation that the devil himself couldn’t pass up. Too late, Luke realizes he’s let a real siren into his life, a woman who is bent on using his dark powers to free herself from hidden enemies. Since Luke isn’t the type of man to be used, he should walk away from her, but…something about Mina draws him close.

Soon he’s realizing that she isn’t who she appears to be. Not dark and cold, but burning red hot. Mina is a woman fighting for her life—and the Lord of the Dark suddenly finds himself in an unlikely role…hero. Luke isn’t going to let her enemies destroy Mina. He will fight heaven and hell to keep her. But in the end, the secrets they both carry may just rip apart a love that should never have been…

There are Bad Things in the world…very, very bad. Are you ready for them?-Goodreads

Review: After reading several thrillers back to back, it was time to shake things up. And what's better than a book about the Lord of the Dark? He's basically a sexy devil who rules the underworld but likes to spend time on his private island off of Miami. Because of course-he's hot, he's beyond rich and when a mysterious woman tries to steal from him, he decides he wants her too. In his bed. Is this book going to win any literary awards? No. But it's pure fun and I enjoyed the ride. 

Grade: 4/5

What Strange Creatures

Book: What Strange Creatures
Author: Emily Arsenault

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years, one marriage and divorce, three cats, and a dog later, Theresa still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative, and loyal, he’s also aimless in work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten.

When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea that it is the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet world. Soon, Kim’s body will be found in the woods, and Jeff will become the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a cold-blooded murderer. But to clear him she must find out more about Kim. Investigating the dead woman’s past, Theresa uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal—and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own.-Goodreads

Review: I started this book absolutely annoyed with Theresa, our heroine. I found her annoying on every level and I was not excited to read about her trying to clear her brother's name after he's arrested for murder. I'm glad I stuck with the book however, because once she becomes more involved in her investigation, the book picks up steam and became more interesting. I thought I had it all figured out..and I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong about the 'whodunit.' 

Overall-starts slow, annoying main character who eventually grew on me, but this was a decent read. 

Grade: 3/5

Flowers For the Dead

Book: Flowers for the Dead
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite

ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS YOU. Adam Bourne is a serial killer who thinks he is a saviour. When he murders his victims and cuts off the women's lips, he believes he has done it to make them happy. How did he become warped from the sensitive four-year-old who adored his gran and the fairy tales she read to him? What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends? When he meets Laura Weir, Adam weaves a fairy tale romance around them. A tale she has no idea she is part of. As he hatches his twisted plan for their fairy story ending, can anyone stop him before he creates the ultimate sacrifice to love?-Goodreads

Review: This is my first Copperthwaite book and it did not disappoint. She successfully created a serial killer who I empathized with. Adam is a well developed character-he's sadistic, creepy and my heart absolutely broke for him as a child. I was captivated by the cat and mouse game he played with the object of his affection, Laura, and it definitely did not end how I was expecting. 

Overall-a fun read and I will definitely read more from this author. 

Grade: 4/5


Book: Normal
Author: Graeme Cameron

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal... and it works. Perfectly.

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room... the others. He doesn't need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.-Goodreads

Review: A book from the perspective of a serial killer? Yes, I'm in. I love the Dexter books and I loved You, so I fully expected to love this one too. 'Normal' tells the story of a nameless serial killer who kills and sometimes abducts girls. My biggest challenge reading this is that too much is left to the readers imagination. I don't need everything spelled out in detail and I understand the concept that this guy could be anyone...but I just didn't care or connect with the character on any level. There are a few details about his childhood (mother abandoned the family, father was mean) and we know Roger Moore is his favorite Bond. That's it. No exaggeration. No name, no physical description, no idea what he does for a living or how he has money, no idea what his motivation is for killing. No idea why he targets specific women. He's not a vigilante (like Dexter) nor does he have any good insight on people (like Joe from You). He's not funny and he's not interesting on any level. The main plot was so far fetched, I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. 

Definitely not my favorite book-skip this one. 

Grade: 1/5

The Memory Book

Book: The Memory Book
Author: Lara Avery

They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.-Goodreads

Review: Wow, wow, wow. I absolutely loved this book. I would go so far to say this is one of my favorite YA reads thus far. The Memory Book is about Sammie, a senior in high school who is a type A overachiever with a plan to get out of her small northeast town and go to NYU. Her plan hits a bump in the road when she is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that will soon cause Alzheimer's type memory loss. Sammie decides to write a book to her future self. 

I loved the unique format and I really became attached to Sammie herself (maybe I could see myself in her as I'm  also a type A overachiever from the northeast who couldn't wait to "escape" to go to college). Although we know how the story is going to end, Sammie's journey was sad (yes, I cried) but I was also able to smile at the last few entries in the book. 

Overall-great book. It reminded me of a YA 'Still Alice' in a more unique format. 

Grade: 5/5

Pretty Girls

Book: Pretty Girls
Author: Karin Slaughter

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia's teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.-Goodreads

Review: Pretty Girls is a fast paced thriller that kept me up late reading. Although slightly predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. If you are a fan of thrillers and dark subject matter doesn't bother you, check this book out. 

Grade: 4/5