The Wicked King: review

wicked king


336 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Thank you to Little, Brown Books and Edelweiss for the opportunity to review this title. All opinions are my own and not of the publisher or author.
The month is July 2018, and I just finished The Wicked King in less than 24 hours. This book was so good that I’m thinking about rereading it. I also pre-ordered it. Because obsessed. Because Holly Black is the breaker of hearts and taker of my money.
So, Jude is as tough as she was in book one. She takes the stage alone with Aelin and Feyre in terms for bad #$@ery. Though for most of the book she is torn between what is right and what is fair, always seems to follow her heart. She makes mistakes, and pays for them and comes out stronger for it.
We have all the characters from The Cruel Prince making appearances. Vivi, whom I LOVE who is back in the mortal world with Oak, and also The Court of Shadows peeps, Roach, Bomb, and Ghost. There is also Taryn who is still set to marry Locke (seriously hate this guy, and nothing you say will stop me hating him forever and ever)Throughout the entire book it’s like Jude is surrounded by enemies from all angles. Some new and some old, and some betrayals that made me scream at the book. WHHHHHHHHY.
Let me say this so I can get it out of my system. I truly, truly do not like Cardan and probably never will no matter what he does. Jude is an idiot for falling for that face. She knows he’s cruel. She knows he’s not what he appears. Yet she does what she does. Maybe I’m just too protective over her now. I don’t want her to get hurt. MAMA BEAR ALERT. I just don’t see the big deal about them. He is toxic for her, and she deserves far better.
There were so many twists and turns that I could not see where the book was going to go. My only complaint is that I needed to be longer. Regardless, it was addicting, amazing, and excellent in every way. But that cliffhanger….I am so sad that I read this book so darn early. I have to wait so LOOOOOOOOOOONG for the third book.
The world is wicked and cruel.

The Great Unknowable End: review



84 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Simon & Schuster books for Young Readers
Thank you Edelweiss for the chance to review this book.
Wow. This book was weird and fun, and surprising.
This story is set is the 70’s in a town called Slater, Kansas and involves one girl and one boy whose lives could not be more different. Hey, let’s throw in some mysterious phenomena and here we have The Great Unknowable End.
Enter Stella. She lost her mother to suicide and works two jobs, one at an outdoor movie theater and another at a hair salon. She puts her dreams of becoming a space engineer to the backburner to care for her father and little sister when her older brother suddenly leaves for a commune called The Red Sun without a word two years prior. Her family has distanced themselves from a town who associates evil with The Red Sun.
They’re loners, but they’re loners together.
Enter Galliard. He was born at The Red Sun and has little knowledge of the Outside. When he loses a spot as the resident artist within the commune, he seeks answers beyond the commune’s gates. But will the world outside accept his Tourette Syndrome without judgment as The Red Sun?
Strange things begin to happen in Slater. From red rain to eyeless snakes. The town puts the blame on the Red Sun. The Red Sun returns blame to the Outside. Meanwhile, Stella and Galliard meet and strike up an unlikely friendship. In the backdrop of all of these strange happenings, there’s a girl with a weird face and a boy with tics who find each other amongst their secrets and pain.
What this book reminded me of: The Twilight Zone, Donnie Darko, and Stranger Things.
I absolutely loved this book. I loved it because the two main characters were so flawed and so real that I couldn’t stop reading to see what would happen to them. I love magical realism, and I love it more when there’s no explanation for it. For some reason, that mystery is better for me. But you can speculate, and I am sure there might have been something I missed that wrapped it all up together.
What drew me into requesting this book was the magical realism aspect. What I got was the stories of two teenagers whose lives weaved with each other with that desire to be found and understood. It’s about devotion to family, no matter blood-related or not or how blindly it is. There’s a reminder in there about no matter what happens in life, be it a loss or the world coming to an end, that there are opportunities to follow your heart and to never give up on your dreams.
This is the type of book that sticks in your brain long after you’ve read it. When I finish a book, I usually move on quickly, but this one has lingered. I’ve never read a character with Tourette’s, and I’m grateful for the education about the disorder. And a girl who is in love with the stars? GIVE IT TO ME.
In closing, add this to your reading list, preorders, whatever. I am certainly going to add it to my shelves.

To Best the Boys-review



352 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
To Best the Boys brings into a world where women are expected to be housewives and monsters such your soul out. Let me back up.
Rhen is a girl who wants to make a difference in a society where women are oppressed. She excels in science and to find a cure for an illness that is slowly killing many, including her mother, she enters a competition (I won’t say how) and vies for a scholarship to the best university so that dream of finding a cure can be realized.
WHAT I LIKED: I loved the premise of the book. I loved the writing, and I loved Rhen. She, despite the odds against her, raged against the patriarchy and you know I love me some raging. The dialogue was witty and the characters finely sculpted. I particularly like it when girls are obsessed with the macabre. Especially dead bodies and dissecting and such. I’ve been reading quite a few of those, and I hope there’s more to satiate me.
The labyrinth portion was a fun little romp of death and magic.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE: What I did not expect was to go almost halfway through the book with nothing of consequence truly happening. I get that we needed the build the world, but it seemed like overkill. The world seemed a bit thrown together, with all the strange creatures and such. I couldn’t get a grasp on it.
Overall, the book was fun and the second half made up for the first. Strong female characters and woman empowerment galore.




368 pages
Expected publication: December 31st 2018 by HarperTeen
Thanks to Edelweiss for providing me with an e-arc. This in no way influences my review
She came off like such a smart gal with a head on her shoulders, but she put herself into some stupid situations for reasons that were not even justified.” Me, from my review of EVERLESS.
Nothing has changed since then.
I had so many problems with Everless, and I am not sure why I opted to read the sequel. Maybe because the ending was all right and maybe things would get a little better. Here we have Jules on the run after Caro did her evil deeds and the like. She makes some idiotic choices, which happen just for dramatic effect it seems. She does nothing of any consequence. She is dry, and her internal monologue is just how she needs to do this and that and never does it. Instead, she does other mundane things that make zero sense. I was really thinking it was going to turn into the queen of dry protagonists, Mare Barrow from The Red Queen, but Jules teetered but did not fall into that Mare-wannabe trap. Good job, Jules. That’s one thing you got right.
The romance was expected and as exciting as a hair in your butt crack. Unless you like pulling hairs from your crack. In that case, think of something else really annoying and awful. The characters came and went with no real effect on just about anything. The blood currency that actually made Everless a bit interesting had little impact on the story at all. The worldbuilding is almost nonexistent. They go here and then there in no time at all. It all seemed so muddled and rushed.
It this had been a trilogy, perhaps it would have worked better for me.

The Lantern’s Ember-review



Published September 11th 2018 by Delacorte Press


Sigh. Sigh again. Triple Sigh.

This was my first Colleen Houck book, and I have to say I don’t think I will be reading any of her others unless you can convince me otherwise. This book, for all its gorgeous cover and cool synopsis, was disappointing.

This book mostly follows Ember, where it should have followed Jack, to be honest. He was the more interesting of the pair. Ember is a witch living in the mortal world whereas Jack is a “lantern” one meant to watch portal to the Otherworld and banish monsters that happen to cross over. When Ember decides she wants to be a total fool and go to the Otherworld, she enlists the help of a vampire, whom she follows quite blindly, and Jack follows to save her.

This is where it should have turned kinda awesome. Instead, it turned into some weirdo steampunk version of Oz with some legendary creatures lurking behind the scenes. But nothing truly happens that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was just…meh. The vampire, Dev, turns into a quick love interest so pile him onto Jack and Finney, Ember’s best friend and we have some distracting, useless entanglements. Ember doesn’t do much of consequence. For being a witch, I expected a bit more from her, but she seemed like a defenseless dolt, traipsing around and not being able to decide what body type she is. I mean, Houck first suggests that she is not as think as other girls and then chooses to describe her a waif and petite girl only to go back at the end and have the antagonist call her plump. I am so confused. IS SHE A STICK OR AN APPLE????

I read this pretty quickly because I skimmed over a lot of the other POV’s, but I didn’t miss much. Ember was flat and boring whereas Jack was interesting and driven so I could not see what he saw in her at all. There was no tension, and the world was jarring. I needed more enemies, more near-death situations and certainly not a ball and some lame skyship. GIVE ME STAKES. There were no stakes. That isn’t a vampire joke either.

Colleen wrapped it up. I will give her that. I was afraid I’d have to suffer through Ember again to read a second book.  I’d read it mainly for Jack. Overall this book was frustrating because it had potential. At least I didn’t throw this one across the bed. I’m looking at you, Mirage.


The Waking Forest-review



Expected publication: March 12th 2019 by Delacorte


ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


So this was so-so for me. I wanted to like it, but some things kept me teetering.

This story follows Rhea who is plagued by nightmares both while asleep and awake. When a strange boy who only seems to exist in the dark appears, she is thrust into a game where she soon discovers who she truly is.

This book is pitched with comparisons to Pan’s Labyrinth, which is one of my favorite movies of all time so I had some high expectations. As I did not get Pan vibes, I did get some Mirrormask, Oz, and Alice vibes instead. I can see some Hazelwood in there, but I chose to ignore it because that book was a major disappointment for me and I wanted to separate that book from this one.

What I did not like was the flowery writing. The descriptions were a bit extra and took me out of the book often. I found myself huffing and rolling my eyes because some of them just didn’t make a lot of sense to me and often dragged out without ending for an entire paragraph. I felt breathless after reading it. Not in a good way. In a way that was kind of like choking on a piece of popcorn.

What kept me reading was the expectation of magic and some cool ass beasts, but that didn’t come either. And the intrigue and tension weren’t there. I think that this may play out better as a movie and I would watch it if they did adapt it.

I did like Rhea and her family. The love gave me the feels. There was no real romantic love, though I the hint of it was there. It was a quick read with a tied up ending that will leave you satisfied.



The Cold in Her Bones-review



258 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for allowing me to review this title ahead of the release date.
I know this is an old song, but after finishing this, I could not get Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie out of my head. Seeing as music inspires my writing, it is no surprise that it encourages my reading as well, but for one to fit so perfectly is a shock even to me. Music is life.
This book is about a curse that plagues young girls after one particular was shunned for being different. Because of the fear of being overcome by the “demons” Milla has been kept under lock and key only knowing her parents, neighbors, and brother. After a young girl comes to live with her grandparents, Milla’s neighbors, they find themselves becoming close friends. But when Iris begins showing signs of being taken by the curse, she is sent off to The Place, a sort of prison for possessed young girls. When Milla’s brother decides to stay behind with Iris, Milla sets off to find him and set things right. Heroines journey, ACTIVATE.
I am a sucker for any book that involves curses, and I have read some outstanding ones this year. This one is no exception. I was hooked in by page one. It reads like a dark fairy-tale and focuses on female friendships as well as sending out the message that no matter how ostracized you or broken down you are, there is always a way to break free. Be it from society or your own personal demons. Although the end reminded me a lot of The Ring and finding out how the curse originated and how to break it, it was still engrossing. I think if the book had been a tad longer, the end wouldn’t have seemed so rushed and Milla would have time to better organize her decisions, which seemed confusing at times. MILLA I WANT TO LIKE YOU, BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a quick read and didn’t leave me bored whatsoever. And that cover is gorgeous! LOOK AT THOSE SNAKES, YO!

You’d Be Mine-review



320 pages
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Wednesday Books
Okay, so I just got done watching A Star is Born and reading this book in parts for the past two days, and I think my emotions were sky high because this book and that movie are like peanut butter and chocolate so this is going to be a FIVE STAR review.
From afar this appears to be a simple story of two teenage rising country stars who go on tour together, laugh, cry, and fall in love. But when you get a little closer, you see that this is really a story of heartache and grief and the coping mechanisms some use to see themselves through it.
Meet Annie. She is the daughter of two country music legends who died tragically. Annie has talent beyond her years, yet is fearful of following in her parent’s footsteps. In comes Clay. He’s a borderline alcoholic who lost his brother in Iraq and has his own personal demons to contend with. When Clay’s label threatens to drop his due to his booze-filled antics, he’s forced to recruit Annie for his summer tour. Together, they form a songwriting duo that captures the country’s hearts. But the past sneaks on the both of them, threatening to stall them where they stand.
I was all on board with Annie and Clay from the first two chapters. I am not a fan of country music save for Garth Brooks, and maybe some Carrie Underwood (Blown Away is the most epic song ever) but this book had me pulling out the old Johnny Cash albums that my husband and I used to take cross-country road trips to and losing myself in the nostalgia. These two kids are broken yet together they find themselves whole. I read this book and imagined it as a movie, and honestly, it should be.
This is one I would probably buy even though I received an e-arc from the publisher and Netgalley. I cannot wait to see what Erin has in store for us next.

Not Even Bones-review



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-


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.