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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-21 16:01
Immortown by Lily Markova (2015 Review)
Immortown - Lily Markova

ImmortownImmortown by Lily Markova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Famous actress Freya Auror suddenly finds herself in a very odd town where the townsfolk spend all their time consuming powerful substances and killing themselves. She soon discovers she's trapped, yet not all hope is lost. Maybe there's a way out for her, a way to escape the clutches of Immortown. Or just maybe she'll remain there until she fades...

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to Lily Markova for giving me the opportunity!

In truth, I'm not a believer in life after death or anything like that, but Immortown definitely left me thinking and probably will continue to do so for a while to come. I didn't know what to expect and from what initially started off as serious confusion, turned to fascination as the story progressed and events were explained. I've never read anything quite like it before so, for me, it was certainly unique. Markova clearly has a lot of talent, from the way she writes to the overall tone of her work; the latter being how well she implemented the dark, disturbing feel yet could pull off the occasional humour. Despite that, I feel it took me a lot of effort to read it - I had to pay the utmost attention or I feared I'd miss something relevant; even minor distractions forced me to go over passages more than once. It was easy to lose place of what was happening amongst the lengthy narrative which whilst oftentimes beautiful, also dragged on in other areas. I struggled to rate it, but after some consideration I decided firmly upon the four stars; I really think it deserves such, given my overall enjoyment and the unmistakable thought that's been put into it.

Freya Auror was, in short, a troubled character. I know what it's like to lose someone extremely important and feel like letting go, so I could somewhat relate to her in the way that she lost herself to what she enjoyed doing; for her, it was the acting and the roles she played, such as Astra. She was also a woman enthralled by art, which in itself is characteristically attractive as it's so rare this day and age. I didn't particularly understand her connection to Kai, but I think she was the only one to truly see he wasn't the supposed villain everyone thought he was. Yes, perhaps he was a selfish man, but the burning of Immer wasn't exactly intentional. I actually really liked him, even though he wasn't perfect; quite the opposite in fact. He held an air of mystery and attitude that I found appealing. The childish India, her husband Remy and Chace were also good characters and of course, "Dude", who added some comic relief yet still succeeded to be a haunting figure. I wasn't fond of Kristle, but I suppose that was the whole point.

Indeed, the entire book was about death and suicide, but it was an intriguing take on things. It wasn't just a typical, simple purgatory tale, but something I found original. As I've already mentioned, the beginning had me scratching my head several times, but I'm glad I didn't let it scare me away. Eventually, it all clicked and that, when you sit back and realise all the ties are coming together and making sense, is a great and satisfying thing to experience. The two PoV's complimented and fit together nicely and the plot itself, whilst not action-packed, still greatly entertained.

In conclusion: A very deep and thoughtful read; one I found myself impressed with. I can't help but wonder about the aftermath of Immortown. Will there be a sequel? It surely looks like it could be continued, so fingers crossed! I'd be very interested in reading more just like this.

Notable Quote:

"You know, when people lose someone, they are horrendously hypocritical. They don't pity the ones gone; they mourn themselves for being left without something familiar or loved."

© Red Lace 2015


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/21/immortown-by-lily-markova-2015-review
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review 2018-06-15 21:37
The Warrior of Clan Kincaid - Lily Blackwood

Ever since book one, I have looked forward to the next book in this series.  The characters are so captivating and intense.  Cull the Nameless is such a dark and dangerous character; with his slave background, his cold demeanor, and how he responds to Derryth.  Derryth comes across as a spoiled young girl too superficial and selfish, until she is almost raped and then capture by Cull and his army who are hellbent on taking Inverhaven.  What Cull and Derryth do not realize is that he is the third and youngest lost child of the murdered Laird Kincaid and that the Wolf of Badenoch wants him to take it and kill the “imposters”, not realizing that they are in fact his brothers.  The story is engaging, intense, action-packed, passionate, poignant, and perfect.  I LOVED the “I chose you” scenes between Cull and Derryth.  I’m glad that in the end, he got his name, and a family, and a woman that loved him so much.  His ordeal, I think, was the worst of the three brothers and he definitely deserved a happily ever after.  Loved every second of the story and highly recommend the series.

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review 2018-06-14 20:53
Review: Undead Girl Gang
Undead Girl Gang - Lily Anderson

Review: Undead Girl Gang

 

I received a copy from Penguin's First To Read.

 

This. Book. Was. Awesome. 

 

I absolutely loved it, from start to finish. I loved it so much I bought a finished hard back. There are some books you know from the tone of the first page if you're going to love them and the main character, and for me, this was one of those books. 

 

I felt a connection with Milla right away. I loved her don't give a fuck snarky tone. She's clearly grieving, the book opens with her best friend Riley's funeral. She has quite an interesting perspective on the funeral itself, a bunch of people from their school wailing and crying who would never have given Riley the time of day. Riley died in mysterious circumstances. The third death to happen to students from their class recently. Two of the schools most popular mean girls June and Dayton were also found deceased recently in what looked like a suicide pact. 

 

Neither Riley nor Milla fit in with the other students, they were heavily into Wicca, spending all their time at the local new-age magic shop or an abandoned house they found where they practice their spells and hang out. Riley's family own the local funeral home and Riley found herself a outcast, she and Milla connected and became best friends and have been for years. Though she'll never admit it Milla has an epic crush on Riley's hot, popular older brother Xander.

 

He's actually talking to her after the funeral. Milla is struggling with school, mandated meetings with the school shrink, and certain people (namely her chem lab partner) being a dick about her weight. She has two annoying younger sisters who don't seem to get 'personal space' and is generally miserable.

 

It's well written and believable without being over the top with the goth Wicca scene. The characters are well fleshed out as well. Milla's voice, despite her attitude problems, is easy to connect with. Her family drama, her school problems, it's not surprising she's not coping as well as she's saying she is. It's a sort of read between the lines thing. 

 

So she decides she's going to perform a spell to bring Riley back from the dead, find out what happened so she can bring the person who killed Riley to justice. It's not a simple basic spell, there are things she needs to get, certain times it can be performed. Kinda complicated. The method she received the volume of spells in which the actual spell to cast came to her is a little spooky. 

 

And of course when she heads to the magic shop with the  book, the lady who runs the shop tells her its a very old book and a dangerous one. Naturally of course, she doesn't listen to a word of warning. Hardly surprising then, when the spell works it not only brings back Riley, but June and Dayton too.

 

No one knows how it happened and it's not so much fun anymore with the two mean girls back again. They're all still dead, and discover some less than pleasant things about being a sort of zombie as they go along. No one remembers what happened before they died. The book from then on focuses on figuring out what happened to June, Dayton and Riley.

 

Some secrets come out as the novel progresses. And it has moments where it's very entertaining and quite funny as well. Though it has it's fair share of deep emotions and a few surprising twists to boost. Hints at something that could finally start to progress between Milla and Xander when they start developing a friendship of their own. 

 

One thing I did like was there wasn't really much romance involved. Hints and teasers, but it was more about the friendship with Milla and Riley and dealing with June and Dayton than about hooking up with the hot boy. 

 

A few more twists by the end when things start going wrong. Though when the truth is finally revealed, it's one of those why didn't I see this coming thing? It was quite clever. A tad over dramatic, maybe. Also, a standalone. Everything wrapped up decently and there wasn't any well what happened about so and so and no unanswered questions. 

 

I loved this book through and through and would definitely read it over and over.

 

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review 2018-05-27 02:05
I Want to Join the Undead Girl Gang
Undead Girl Gang - Lily Anderson

Mila Flores is just about as outcast as a teenage girl can get: the opposite of popular, she’s Latina, fat, a Goth, a practicing witch, and her only friend lives above a funeral parlour. So when that BFF shows up dead in a suspected suicide pact with her high school’s resident Mean Girls, Mila takes action: by summoning Riley back from the dead… and the other girls, too. By accident.

 

 

Undead Girl Gang is Heathers meets The Craft by way of a fabulous and morbid teen voice. Mila is totally awesome: not always likeable, she felt very real to me, with insecurity issues every teen girl can identify with. I felt like Anderson addressed her body issues and the microaggressions that affect her daily as deftly as she did with Mila’s Latinx heritage, including being an unconfident speaker of Spanish. Mila is fat but it’s not a source of shame for her. She owns her fatness and I love her for it. It’s everyone else who is uncomfortable with her size.

 

 

I have to admit that the mystery kept me guessing: I couldn’t quite pinpoint who the murderer was, and I even at one point thought maybe Mila had it all wrong and it really was suicide. This is due to the skill of the author who very cleverly wrote beautiful red herrings that honestly at first led me to underestimate the skill involved. I am happy to say that I was wrong! Lily Anderson is a skilful writer and I’m deadly sorry I underestimated her #punintended. It wasn’t predictable at all, although it seemed to be heading in that direction. Anderson really made reading the whole book really pay off.

 

 

I really loved how as Mila spent more time with accidental-zombies June and Dayton she actually kinda became friends with them, even though they had been incredibly self-centred in their lives. Dayton was so chirpy and positive, I adored her, and June was feisty and stood up for herself, and most importantly, didn’t hate Mila for liking Xander, whom she dated at one point. I am so sick of girls’ knee-jerk reaction to competition, even for someone they’re not interested in, and I liked seeing June actively encourage Mila to tell Xander how she felt.

 

 

It was actually Riley, Mila’s BFF, whom I had the most issues with. While June owned her awfulness, Riley was supposed to be Mila’s best friend, but she was pretty mean and ungrateful to Mila for bringing her back. She didn’t seem to really love Mila the way Mila loved her, and I even had a hard time buying that they were BFF until the very last section of the book. She seemed so angry and snappy all the time. I get it, she died and then was resurrected through powerful and frightening magic, and Mila was confirmed as a powerful witch which was more Riley’s thing, but still. I didn’t really like her and I felt like Mila was kind of blinded to her meanness. Dayton was far sweeter and nicer to Mila than Riley was, and I was supposed to buy that Dayton was a bully? It didn’t quite fit for me.

 

 

Overall this book was interesting as hell, with a thoughtful narrative that dwelled on the morbid nature of death, a feisty Latinx goth witch who wouldn’t let herself be shamed for being fat, well-developed relationships between most of the other characters, and a mystery that kept me guessing until the last possible moment. I really recommend you listen to the audiobook read by Rebecca Soler since she inflected her words beautifully when reading as other characters and nailed Mila’s voice.

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review 2018-05-23 12:38
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Undead Girl Gang - Lily Anderson
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was fun! I was initially drawn to this book by its awesome cover and when I read the book's summary, I knew that I needed to have this book in my life. This book had so many elements that I love including witchcraft and undead characters. This ended up being a really quick read for me and I found myself liking the book more and more as I worked my way through the story. I found this to be a really entertaining and original novel.

This book hooked me from the very start as it opens with Mila attending her best friend's funeral. The story is told from Mila's point of view and her internal dialogue really made it easy to like her character right away. Mila believes that her best friend, Riley, was murdered but everyone else is calling it a suicide. Mila is a really low point as you would expect. She misses her friend and is angry that nobody seems to think her death is a result of murder. When a book shows up with a perfect spell, Mila decides to take action.

Mila and Riley practiced witchcraft together. Mila decides to cast a spell that will bring her friend and two other girls back for a short window of time so that they can solve their deaths. It was so much fun to watch this group of four girls try to figure out what to do with their time. I thought that all four of them showed a lot of growth during the story. The mystery at the core of the story had a few surprises and kept me guessing until the end. 

I would recommend this book to others. I found this book to an entertaining look at friendships, zombie, and learning to move on. This was the first book by Lily Anderson that I have read but I will definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 

I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Razorbill via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
This was fun. I liked how the girls grew over the course of the story. It was really a unique story that kept me completely entertained. I had no idea who was responsible for everything until it was revealed within the story.

 

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