Not Even Bones-review

bones

 

368 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Since this was compared to Dexter (one of my favorite shows of all time), I knew I had to read this. Because of Dexter. And because semi-justified murder is my bag, baby.
This book follows Nita, who works alongside her mother who kills supernatural creatures and has Nita butcher them up to sell for parts. One day, her mother brings home one, ALIVE, and Nita decides that she has morals. Nita can’t kill another, but she enjoys cutting them up, so there’s that. She makes a choice that propels her into the black market of perverts and murderers and forms an unlikely friendship with a being who feeds off pain. Yes, it IS as bizarre as it sounds.
As bizarre as this book was, it certainly entertained me. It was unlike anything I have read, and I have read A LOT this year alone. Barring the gruesome violence of the story, it actually had a decent plot that kept me on my toes. You know how some movies or books rely mostly on the gore to keep viewers? This one didn’t count on that. It carried itself.
Nita is not a villain nor is she a hero. She spirals down a tunnel of her own morality. To survive, she must go against what she believes in, which landed her in her predicament to begin with. She makes some bad choices and suffers the consequences. Her character arc was done nicely. This does end on a cliffhanger, FYI.
In closing, this book was really anything like Dexter, but by the first chapter, I really didn’t care. It’s gruesome and violent, and I loved every second. I followed this book by reading #MurderTrending, so I had a delicious weekend of mayhem and murder. See my review for MT here-https://theworldofceliamcmahon.com/2018/10/09/murder-trending-review/

 

Murder Trending: review

murder tre

 

352 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Freeform
Holy crap, this book was terrific.
This had to have been the most fun I have had reading a book. I felt like I was in a Saw movie…or a twisted video game with bizarre bosses that needed defeating. Needless to say, I was quite entertained.
So, Dee lives in a world where a reality star President (hahahaha) greenlights a program where convicts go to an island (Alcatraz 2.0 aptly named) to fight off against serial killers who are sent to the island to kill them off. Sort of like a really messed death penalty. But televised. Dee is sent there after the murder of her step-sister, which she says she didn’t do. There’s also a weird backstory of her being kidnapped as a kid that ties into the plot.
Let me cut in and say that one of my favorite movies of all time is Battle Royale. You know, the original kids killing kids on an island story. So, that being said, I am a fan of the pure fun that is mindless violence and the strain of survival when everything is stacked up against you. There are a lot of dystopian books with similar plots, but this one stands out as it ties in with current trends such as social media and the world’s obsession with violence. What is scary about the book is that at this current state of the country, none of it seemed all that far-fetched. Hey, maybe there’s something wrong with me that I get excited about the prospect of someone being torn apart by animals or running around in a princess dress taking down serial killers. I mean, it’s all in good fun. Blood and gore and violence, oh my.
The book is fast paced, filled with action. With it being pretty gory, I want to say this is not a YA book, BUT it’s no more than what teenagers see on the news in the real world, so I am not jumping on that bandwagon of censorship. I grew up reading Clive Barker and Stephen King, so this is cake compared to books like Desperation or Books of Blood. At times, it did feel a little silly and Dee’s reactions a little flat, but the writing was excellent and the pacing was top-notch.
This is the first book I’ve read by Gretchen, but I am going to go back and see what else has to offer.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

ladies

 

464 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the chance to review this e-arc.
Truthfully, I thought I didn’t like Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue after I read it. A few days went by and it sunk it that, I really did enjoy it more than I thought I did. Thus, I had to read this one, and I was not disappointed. Only I realized I loved it as I was reading it.
This centers around Felicity Montague who wants so badly to become a doctor in a time when women were not allowed in such fields. Her tenacity leads her to Germany where she plans to procure a job with a famous doctor who just so happens to be marrying her former childhood best friend, Johanna.
This book navigates not only the misogyny of the times but also racism. Felicity enlists the help of an Algerian Muslim pirate named Sim and soon enough find themselves on an adventure. Along with Johanna, Felicity finds herself int he most precarious situations all while rejecting the notion that women are lesser to men and even explores character’s like Johanna who argues that she can like pretty dresses and shoes and still be intelligent. Felicity learns about her own prejudices and grows as she tries to find her place in the world.
There were so many moments where I laughed out loud, which rarely happens. I was also nervous the whole time for Felicity and what other hijinks she was going to get herself into. The fact that Lee made Felicity aromantic was also so exciting. I mean, everything about this book was exciting and a breath of fresh air.
This may be one of the best books I have read in 2018, and my count is currently at 166, so those are crazy odds.

The Tiger at Midnight-review

tiger

496 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
A huge thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegan Books for allowing me an advance copy of this book to review.
This book drew me in from page one. But after reading more, I almost set it aside for next month. This was not because the story was terrible, but because I got some book mail and had other books that were higher on my Setempber reading list. But after reading one of those books and about to move on to another, I got the nagging feeling that leaving this book waiting and unfinished wasn’t going to fly, so I went back to it and finished the last 400 pages in less than a day.
This story is told by two POV’s. Esha, a rebel assassin and Kunal, a dutiful soldier. Their paths cross one night and take their lives in a direction neither anticipated. Along the backdrop of an Indian inspired fantasy world, we learn of betrayals, secrets, and an exciting game of cat and mouse as Kunal hunts Esha across the land for the death of his uncle. They are two incredibly different people who bond over their past and realize their futures were not as they imagined them to be.
First off, I LOVE enemies to lovers. I’m sorry, but I’m not. Kunal going on a wild goose chase after Esha and having her slip from his grasp over and over did me in. I loved every second of it.  The slow burn romance and the fact that Kunal is a soldier falling for assassin just so swoon-worthy. Esha is cool and all, but KUNAL IS MY BOY. Skilled, strong and a little in touch with his emotions. Yes, yes and yes. And, MY GOD, he loves to paint. MY BOY IS A SOLDIER WHO LOVES TO PAINT. Just kill me now because I am already dying in love with him. GIVE ME BOOK TWO NOW.
Anyhow, deep breaths, I am upset at how early I read this book because it doesn’t come out until April of next year and that means I have to wait longer for the second book. All that depression aside, fans of Ember of the Ashes and Onyx and Ivory will love this book. I loved it. And I will probably name my second born Kunal. Thanks, Swati.

 

Dragon Pearl-review

dragonpearl

 

304 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2019 by Rick Riordan Presents
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this title.
This book follows thirteen-year-old Min who runs away from home in search of her brother who is suspected of desertion from the Space Force. She is also a fox with special powers. Most of the universe in this story have different abilities and appear as a human though they are different animals such as tigers and dragons.
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a middle-grade novel and all the sheer coincidences were, so the story wasn’t too complicated for younger audiences. Once I remembered that t the story took off for me. But something continued to drag, and I started to feel bored. The instances of situations happening just to add drama jarred me, as well as characters appearing that did not appear again in the story, which I would have liked a lot. Min made decisions so quickly, there was no build-up, as most of her choices lacked. The pacing was off. I also wanted more of other animals to appear. The dragons, for instance. The ending also irked me a lot. UGH
I can see how this would appeal to younger audiences, but as an adult reading it (and don’t get me wrong, I read a ton of MG books) it wasn’t doing it for me. There was a lot of potential for the story that never got there.

Resistance: review

resistance

 

400 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Scholastic Inc.
Bravo! That is the one word I thought to use after I finished this amazing novel. Bravo.
This story follows Chaya who, after her family is split apart during the war, decides to use her job as a courier (adopting a Polish persona) and joins a Jewish resistance group called Akiva.  The story skirts along actual events that took place in several ghettos throughout Poland. After a semi-botched event, Chaya is separated from her group, only to find that one is left and that their mission has become more dire and important than she ever imagined.
As I said before, this story centers around actual events and actual people like Chaya and those we are introduced to in a fictional and nonfictional sense. Chaya is courageous in every sense. She stands for every brave soul who fought for their freedom. Those whose stories we don’t know. She had her share of heartache, but rises above it. She knows she cannot save everyone, but even just one life would be worth it to her. She is probably the most heroic protagonist I have ever read about
I swept up by this story, its nonstop action, and tension. This is one of those books that will stick with me. I will also probably buy it for anyone who doesn’t already own it whom I think will enjoy it as much as I did.
Bravo, Jennifer. This get s rare five stars from me.

Damsel: ARC Review

damsel

 

320 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for a ARC of this book.
Oh me oh my. Okay, first off, this is marketed as a YA and part of me wants to say, THIS IS NOT A YA BOOK, but the other part says, THIS IS IMPORTANT.
This was a fairly quick read for me, at only 320 pages, I got through 100 pages each day while I walked on the treadmill as I do with most of my e-arc books. Once I got halfway through though, I just had to devour it.
It starts off with a prince named Emory who is on a mission to slay a dragon to rescue his damsel. Seems simple enough, right? Once he accomplishes sadi tasks, we switch over povs to the damsel herself. She remembers nothing of her life before Emory saved her, which he does well to remind her, over and over and over…needless to say Emory turns out exponentially obnoxious with his hardcore sexism which is normal for this world apparently. Our damsel doesn’t know better and goes along with it at first and then she opens her eyes.
I don’t want to go into too much to give away important details, but this book has a lot of talk of penises, or “yards” (I giggled) and basically nonconsensual sexual acts that made me cringe.  As much as I wanted to say that this book didn’t need it after some thought I decided that it certainly did. It is sad that this almost feels modern with the violence that she endures from men around her.
The ending left something to be desired. I even “turned the page” just to see the Acknowledgment section and I almost cried.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad book. It read much older, but I enjoyed reading it.

Out of the Blue-review

blue

 

266 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Roaring Books Press
This has a queer rep and a diverse cast. It’s also about loss, and falling angels, which is pretty rad.
Ten days after Jaya’s mother dies, angels begin falling from the sky. They land in random places all over the globe. None of them survive the fall. Except for one. Jaya is in the right place at the right time to find the angel. She promptly hides her and names her Teacake.
At first glance, I thought this would be all about the angels. But it goes so much deeper than that. Jaya’s father moves her and her younger sister, Rani, to Edinburgh for a few weeks because he’s obsessed with the angels. Grief pulls them all in different directions. For Jaya, she wrangles with her mother’s loss and her confusion over the disappearance of her girlfriend shortly after the Beings began to fall to earth. Her father obviously deals in his own way, seeing the falling angels as a sign from his late wife in some way. Jaya finds trust in a girl named Allie, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and her introverted brother. Together they keep the fallen angel hidden and plan ways to heal her broken wing and keep her from The Standing Fallen, a local cult.
I bought this book IN Edinburgh on vacation which is funny because I didn’t realize it until I got home so reading the setting, and all the places Jaya goes was bittersweet. I loved Scotland with all of my heart. Although this book was lacking in its explanation as to WHY the angels were falling, it was very character driven with scenes reminiscent of E.T.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Along with the diversity and magical realism, this stood out for me as I did go in thinking it was some sort of Hush, Hush type of book. I cannot wait to see what else Sophie Cameron has in store for us next.

Sherwood: Review

Sherwood

 

496 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for the E-ARC
**1/2
When this was first announced, I nearly leaped out of my living room window in pure excitement. Because that is how I prove my joy. By jumping from things and also eating lots of Fritos. When Edelweiss approved my request to read this in advance, I googled what the tallest building near me that I could climb was. You know so I could jump.
I was confident that I would love this as much as I loved HUNTED. I was so confident that I started reading this on vacation, which I reserve for fascinating reads to get my vacation mood flowing continuously. Alas, I am disappointed to say that it did not live up to my expectations.
This story is about Marian who, after the death of Robin, takes up what she believes is his noble deed. At first, I liked her character. She grieved for Robin and seemed to give a big, fat middle finger to anyone pushing her into something she didn’t want to do. She yearned to find her strength and break free of how society saw her. But then she slowly became a Mary Sue, a special snowflake if you will. I stopped rooting for her at some point near the second half of the book and cared mainly for the Merry Men. Little John mostly. He was cool. The horse was too.
It wasn’t all bad. It just didn’t go in the direction I expected it to.
AND WHAT WAS WITH THAT ENDING???? I was scowling. Disgusted. Aghast.  I mean, what was all of this for just to have her end up with this A-HOLE?? I may be alone in thinking that this ending was all wrong. All wrong. I am tempted to rewrite myself, so I stop scowling.

Pride: review

Pride

 

August 29, 2018
Hardcover  | 304 pages
Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer and Bray for the e-arc. All opinions are my own.
Pride is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Brooklyn and centers around Zuri Benitez whose pride for her heritage and neighborhood lead some unexpected situations.
A new family moves in across the street; a RICH, new family. A stark contrast to Zuri’s barely-getting-by family of her own. She resents Darius straight away, labeling him as arrogant and haughty. She doesn’t like that he’s invaded her seemingly deep-rooted neighborhood and knows in her heart that he will never understand her.
Zuri is amazing. She is not one dimensional. She loves reading, poetry, her family, her heritage, her city, and most of all, she is eager to get into college and make something of herself. She can hold her own and takes nobodies crap. Especially the boys in her block.
True the classic story, there is the love/hate thing with Zuri and Darius (Darcy, duh). It seemed so real and not as flat as the trope can sometimes be. I felt like I was in her city, eating with her family, shopping in the local bodega, talking with her sisters on the rooftop of her building…everything.
The writing was breezy. I read this in less than four hours. As much I love shorter books sometimes, this one I wanted to be longer. This is one of the best retellings I have read to date. If you love Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend this one.