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review 2018-09-24 19:22
Only Really Liked Four Stories (ETA: Meant Four!)
Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft - Tehlor Kay Mejia,Tristina Wright,Emery Lord,Andrea Cremer,Tess Sharpe,Jessica Spotswood,Brandy Colbert,Robin Talley,Anna-Marie McLemore,Zoraida Córdova,Brenna Yovanoff,Nova Ren Suma,Shveta Thakrar,Kate Hart,Lindsay Smith

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my review or rating. 

 

Instead of doing a review of all of the stories (15 of them) I am only going to review the four that I really enjoyed and gave 5 stars to. Everything else was a case of me going what did I just read, or feeling as if the story in question had too many holes or was incomplete in some way. All together I gave a collection a solid three stars. That is usually the way with anthologies unless the majority of the stories area  home run. 

 

Here is a list of the stories in this collection:

 

Starsong by Tehlor Kay Mejia 

 

Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer

 

The Heart in Her Hands by Tess Sharpe

 

Death in the Sawtooths by Lindsay Smith

 

The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert

 

The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar

 

The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Talley

 

The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma

 

Divine Are the Stars by Zoraida Córdova 

 

Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff

 

 The Well Witch by Kate Hart

 

Beware of Girls with Crooked Mouths by Jessica Spotswood

 

Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore

 

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord

 

 The Only Way Back by Tristina Wright

 

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May


My four favorites are:


Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer. This takes place in the 1600s in New England. An apprentice to a midwife is witnessed to a strange birth with a lot of details leaking out that this birth was not a result of the woman in question having sex with the devil, but more like with the master of the house. This is a great callback to the Salem Witch trials and since I just read a book about Salem, this story was uppermost in my mind while reading it. 

 

The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert. Ugh. I wanted more. I was so ready to slap the dude in this story. So we have a story about a family of witches who are African American. The main character, is dealing with a lot of guilt we find because she believes (and is probably right) she threw a hex on a former friend who was bullying the love interest in this story. We also have her dealing with the fact that the boy in question is in love with someone else. When someone needs healing, he comes to her and asks for her help. 

 

The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord. Touches not only upon magic, but about mental and physical abuse. Reading about this family who love each other and won't let one of the daughters/sister disappear with a man that they know can and will hurt her. It was lovely. 

 

Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May. You will cry. You will rage. This is a great short story that feels like it was written in response to the Women's March as well as kind of companion to "A Handmaid's Tale". Considering what is in the news cycle right now you will think that Elizabeth May has a damn crystal ball. Going into why men would want to lock these teen girls up and not allow them to live is soul shaking. That all of the girls are punished for using their real names and then whisper them to each other at night. 

 

“Here’s how to fulfill a prophecy: you are a woman, you speak the truth, and the world makes you into a liar.”

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review 2018-09-24 08:10
Release Boost w/Review - Spin The Bottle

 

Spin the Bottle by Sara Wylde is available NOW!

 

“Smart and sexy NA contemporary—like the Goblin King if he starred in a modern day Cruel Intentions. I loved this story!” - USAT Bestselling Author, Virginia Nelson

 

 

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2MuENP6

iBooks → https://apple.co/2MXIvxw

B&N(Nook) → http://bit.ly/2BlrVX8

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2Mw25nQ

 

Jax

 

I’m a virgin, but I don’t want to be. I just want to get it over with, so I made a list. I held interviews. (I know, I’m a total Type A.) The winner is Sebastian Rathbone. Grade A Beefcake who plays defense for the Grizzlies’ Rugby team. Manwhore extraordinaire. So basically, a professional.

 

The problem? My best friend, Matt. For some reason, he wanted me to pick him. I’d never choose him because then I’d fall in love and I remember the hell that was middle school. Now that he’s grown into his head and feet, and he is by definition also Grade A Beefcake, there’s even less chance he’d ever feel more than friendship for me. Why put myself through that? I thought I’d locked all of that away until a game of Spin the Bottle makes me doubt everything. Especially the lie I’ve been telling myself about not being in love with my best friend.

 

Matt

 

Sebastian Rathbone? Dude. No way. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not the guy for Jax. If anyone knows the guy for Jax, that’s me. It hurts I wasn’t even consulted. Actually, what bothers me the most is that she didn’t ask me to be the one. To punch her V-Card, I mean. I’m pretty good at what I do, or so I’ve been told. It should be a good memory. Something special. And lemme tell you, Rathboner isn’t going to make it special for anyone. I don’t like it that there’s this part of her she’s going to give to someone else, but I guess I have to get right with it. I’m the best friend. Not the lover. Except when faced with losing her, I’ll have to take a spin on chance just one more time.

 

 

 

ADD TO YOUR TBR → http://bit.ly/2MpE7KF

 

 

 

Spin the Bottle (Fast Times at Ridgemont Hall Book 2)Spin the Bottle by Sara Wylde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the Fast Times At Ridgemont Hall series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding of the series and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading in order.

Jax and Matt have been best friends. They are close and tell one another everything. When she tells him she is ready to lose her V card, he loses it. Confesses to her she should choose him. She never thought this was an option and just had not considered this.

Matt is frustrated that Jax has a plan to be intimate with another man. He has been lusting over his best friend lately and feels they need to talk about the options. She just is not in the same place. So he has to have a plan......

This is a fun and quirky approach to the best friends become lovers. Each person is quite independent, and must seriously consider if this is a move they want to make. The characters have good banter, and the book goes at a good pace. If you need to feel good and get a smile, this is the right pick me up for you.



***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

  

 

 

 

 

Start the series today with Truth or Dare

 

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2Ok0RKk

iBooks → http://bit.ly/2v7NAvI

B&N(Nook) → http://bit.ly/2v7NAvI

Kobo → http://bit.ly/2NJBJLZ

Google Play → http://bit.ly/2NJo6fJ

 

 

About the Author:

 

Sara Wylde is the crackfic! contemporary pen name for PNR/UF author Saranna DeWylde. She rather imagines that all the pen names live in the same dorm in her head and frequently have discussions that look and sound something like an episode of Herman's Head.

 

Connect with Sara:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theoriginalsarawylde/

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2LvNeJx

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JT3eAa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-24 03:41
Full Tilt
Full Tilt - Neal Shusterman

 

It began the night we died on the Kamikaze.

- First sentence

 

 

This is a great Creepy Carnival book. Blake, his brother Quinn, and their friends Russ & Maggie end up trapped in an otherworldly carnival. The only way out is if they can ride seven rides before dawn. But each ride taps into one of their biggest fears, and no one has ever escaped before...

 

I enjoyed this one. It was fast-paced and creepy with a satisfying ending. It doesn't take long to get to the carnival part and I enjoyed watching Blake try to figure things out. 

 

I read this one for the Creepy Carnivals square:

 

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review 2018-09-24 02:59
Thoughts: The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of Shades of London

 

 

The Day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion.  For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school.  But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city--gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses.  Except one.  Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect.  But she is the only one who saw him.  Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man.  So why can only Rory see him?  And more urgently, what is he planning to do about her?

In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.



I haven't read a lot of YA in a long time, at least a couple years, maybe, or four.  Honestly, I don't remember, because I just kind of drifted away from it.  I might have read one YA book here and there, but I think I eventually gave up picking up anything YA unless by an author I know I love.

But all of that isn't really the point of this review.

I'm glad that I randomly chose The Name of the Star as my read for his year's Halloween Bingo, for the Baker Street Irregulars square (see end of post).  And I'm glad that it turned out much more interesting and fun than I had initially anticipated.  Mind you, I didn't expect it to be bad or anything, I just wasn't really expecting anything at all.

But I found myself quickly loving Rory's tone and her dry snark, and her random tendencies to get excited about the strangest things--like no hockey today!--and loved that she was extremely honest.  And I loved that she wasn't the typical mopey, outcast, and misunderstood YA heroine who is hated on by all the girls, but whom every male has a secret lusting attraction towards.

Rory was just an ordinary girl who traveled to England for high school, who became just another student at Wexford, who made friends and went to class and stressed about homework, like any other normal high school girl.  She had friends, both boys and girls, and there were no mean girls or overly broody alpha boys.

And then she picked up a fancy new gift after a near death experience, and ended up being the sole witness of a Ripper murder.

The truth is, I normally would have hated how dragged out a lot of this book ended up being in the beginning, and even some parts in the middle.  There was a very mundane, everyday feel to each chapter, like a boring "A Day in the Life of Aurora Deveaux."  But Rory's voice and her telling was actually kind of fun, and while a lot of detail was probably excessive, I found I enjoyed the short tangents into her family and her life back in Louisana.  Call me contradictory, because I probably would have condemned another book for being so banal.

But Rory made it interesting.

It took a while for the actual story to start up, truth be told, and meanwhile, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head wondering if we were ever going to get Rory involved in these Ripper copycat murders.  And the moment she starts seeing the ghosts, it wasn't hard to figure out how things would go from there--aside from the continuation of mundane, everyday activities, because I hadn't expected the book to keep that up.

I suppose for many others, this book might come off boring, as there is very little action, and a lot more focus on Rory's school life and her interactions with her fellow Wexford classmates.  I would have liked to have seen more scenes with her and the squad of youths known as the Shades, really, but I'm guessing that will take place more in later books.

Meanwhile, I will admit, I truly enjoyed The Name of the Star a lot, much more than I had thought I would, and that makes me extremely happy.  I will also admit that there was a point that I stopped reading this book at night because I was afraid of seeing the ghostly Ripper at my bedroom door...


***

Halloween Bingo 2018
(mystery that involves children/teens in crime solving)


Other Possible Squares:

  • Genre: Suspense
  • Ghost stories
  • Supernatural
  • Darkest London
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Terrifying Women
  • Murder Most Foul

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/thoughts-name-of-star.html
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review 2018-09-23 17:05
5 STARS for this story that lives up to its amazing cover...
Contagion - Erin Bowman

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BOOK BLURB~

Contagion

Erin Bowman

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

IT GOT IN US

 

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

 

MOST ARE DEAD

 

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

 

DON’T SET FOOT HERE AGAIN

 

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I wasn't sure what to expect with this…the only other books by Erin Bowman that I've read have been YA Westerns.  This is way different than those books.  I'll admit, early on, I thought she was jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, with this deep space horror/thriller based on a crazy virus.  It felt an awful lot like Illuminae.  Within no time though, that thought was out of my head, because I was hooked on this compelling story.  With zombie-like symptoms, this mysterious virus is seriously frightening.  It does end on a total cliffhanger, but I'm not even upset about that because I cannot wait to listen to the second book which is set to come out in July of 2019.

 

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

~MY RATING~

5STARS - GRADE=A+

๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏๏

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 5/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 5/5

The Feels~ 4.8/5

Pacing~ 5/5

Addictiveness~ 4.8/5

Theme or Tone~ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Originality~ 4.8/5

Ending~ 5/5  Cliffhanger~ Yeah…you could say that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~ Love it…especially the colors in it.

Narration~ Amy McFadden

Series~ Contagion #1

Setting~  The Planet Achlys

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

I used this for Dead Lands Square in Halloween Bingo 2018

 

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