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review 2017-02-16 15:28
DNF: The Shadow Society
The Shadow Society - Marie Rutkoski

Calling it quits at 200 pages.

 

Not for me. I made it 200 pages but I'm just not connecting with the main character and not that interested in the plot, I'm finding it very boring and repetitive. DNFing.

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text 2017-01-25 11:26
DNF: The Fall of Butterflies
The Fall of Butterflies - Andrea Portes

I feel sort of bad for DNFing this one as this was a book I picked for a giveaway win. It sounds very much like my sort of book - average girl goes to super fancy boarding school and becomes friends with the most unattainable girl on campus - the one everyone wants to be friends with but it's this girl from a regular background that gets her attention. Things start to go great but then go very wrong.

 

Trigger Warnings for suicide and drug use.

 

I made it 265 pages and frankly just don't care anymore. I don't quite get what the point of this book is. I don't like the characters enough to care to want to finish to find out.

 

The style of the writing is bizarre. It's like the main character is chatting to a friend as she's telling the story, it's almost like - so I did this and that happens and you know that sort thing that you never think would happen to you? That totally happens to me and I know what you're thinking and don't think like that! Paraphrasing obviously. But it's sort of like that and disjointed and weird.

 

The main character is supposed to be very intelligent and sometimes it clearly shows and she can be very deep and insightful in surprising way. Other times the rambles are pointless. She starts off by describing her only friends with their disabilities and character flaws, she talks endlessly about wanting to kill herself, almost like it's just something to do. Which is annoying because of the almost blase way she talks something so serious. Then the plot sort of trails off and nothing really happens with it. It's never addressed. Only when she needs to use those emotions to manipulate something to her own advantage to change dorms. She pretends she's so stressed she'll want to kill herself and then remembers like - oh yeah, I sort of really wanted to do that so play off those emotions. Kind of disgusting. She uses the word "spastic" a lot when describing how her best friend is acting strange. And that pisses me off. No need to use that word.

 

The main character is horrible and annoying, and almost nothing has happened plotwise. Other than she's made friends with a very rich but flakey girl and now both girls are doing drugs - popping pills. One can get away with it because she's rich and everyone wants her to like them, but the other one is a scholarship student and can't afford to be strung out on drugs and not keep her grades up. It's blah and boring as hell. One is having an affair with a teacher and the other thinks it's a spectacularly bad idea. There are two potential boys the main character could be interested in.

 

Yawn.

 

I just have no desire to read anymore of this.

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review 2017-01-09 11:25
Review: You Know Me Well
You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour,David Levithan

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A delightful story focusing on two teens during Pride week in San Francisco. Mark is in love with his best friend Ryan while Kate’s best friend has set her up with a girl who she’s built up in her mind and finally gets to meet after hearing about her from other people. Only instead of going to the meeting Kate chickens out and winds up at the same club where Mark and Ryan are hanging out. A chance meeting and somehow a friendship forms as the night progresses between Kate and Mark.

 

Mark is trying not to be jealous while Ryan is out on the dance floor and having fun, Kate is trying not to freak over ditching out on meeting Violet, the girl she’s supposed to be meeting. Each chapter is told in a viewpoint of either Kate or Mark, both voices are likeable, and very believable. Mark as he tries to convince Ryan they should be together, and the effects this has on him when trying to work through as Ryan meets someone else. While Kate is struggling to understand why she’s friends with her best friend Lehna. She’s known Lehna forever, they’re both out and proud and a beacon for other gay kids at their school. Yet Lehna’s personality is very forward and brash and I found her character irritating and obnoxious. Violet, the girl Kate is supposed to be meeting is actually Lehna’s cousin, and Lehna has told her things about Kate that aren’t exactly true.

 

Though through meeting Mark at a club in San Francisco and winding up at a glamerous party somewhere later, Kate finds the stories Lehna told about her are actually, in a kind of unexpected way, turning out to come true. Out of the two storylines, Kate’s I found was more interesting when Violet finally turns up, Kate’s story I found as a reader I was able to identify with much more and therefore liked her character a lot more. And there was some pretty swoony romance.

 

While I liked Mark, his story was more angsty, and seemed to just be focused on I love Ryan, does he love me or this other guy he’s started seeing and wouldn’t have started seeing him if I hadn’t convinced him to go out that night? It does get a bit emotional, but I did find it kind of repetitive. Though together, the two stories actually did work pretty well.

 

There was one bit towards the end where Mark and Kate go to a poetry slam and some of their other friends are there, some of the poetry was a little lost on me, some of it was awful, while other pieces were incredibly powerful and very moving.

 

All in all a very good read that managed to smoothly go from quirky and funny to angst to emotional and switch back and forth provoking a range of different emotions. I liked this so much I bought a finished copy.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-12-03 03:03
They Thirst - Robert McCammon
They Thirst - Robert R. McCammon

I'm not sure how this one slipped through my fingers. I could've sworn that I'd read They Thirst many, many years ago, but for some odd reason I couldn't remember much at all about it. So, I figured it was time for a re-read. Well, now I know why I don't remember much about it - I never read the damn thing, in the first place! And oh what a treat this has been. Imagine discovering a new book by your favorite author written smack dab in the time period of when they did their best writing. That's what They Thirst was for me! Now, McCammon lists this as one of his early books that he's not very proud of and, yes, you can see a few things that might not fly these days. But, keep in mind, this was written back in 1981. Many things written in '81 wouldn't fly today! So, in my opinion, McCammon should be very proud of this one.

 

 

Andy Palatazin is the head of homicide in L.A. and is working night and day to catch The Roach, a serial killer that roams the streets strangling prostitutes. Soon, Andy will have to deal with an evil that has followed him to the states from the old country. One that makes The Roach seem like child's play. Gayle is a reporter for the Los Angeles Tattler, a National Enquirer type of tabloid rag that Andy despises having to give any type of interview. Gayle, who is hot on the story of The Roach, longs for her big break that will allow her to work for a respected newspaper. Soon, Gayle will come face to face with a far greater story of evil. In East L.A., Father Silvera works tirelessly to keep the drug dealers out of his parish. Soon, Father will discover that his parishioners have a much greater evil overtaking them than addiction. For Wes, an up-and-coming comedian, he's looking at a bright future with his African girlfriend, Solange, who also happens to be sensitive towards the spirit world. Soon, Wes will find that Solange's talents are much more than parlor tricks. At the top of the hill overlooking L.A., an evil has moved into the abandoned castle that eccentric horror movie actor, Orleen Kronstein, resided in many years ago. And this evil is looking to grab L.A. by the throat.

 

 

They Thirst is a fun-filled romp of a vampire story done right. The characters and the atmosphere are perfect. Think of how the movie The Lost Boys was done (six years after They Thirst was written, mind you) and you'll get an idea of the tone of this one. McCammon's greatest strength is his wonderful characters that you feel like you know and They Thirst is no different. Top notch all the way. Sink your fangs into this one immediately!

 

 


5 dug up coffins out of 5

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

 

 

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review 2016-11-24 11:50
Review: The Witch's Kiss
The Witch's Kiss - Katharine Corr,Elizabeth Fernando Corr

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A very enjoyable UK based YA paranormal novel with some unique takes on witchcraft, a modern day story mixed in with a fantasy like historical side plot made for some really interesting story telling. Sixteen year old Merry has been having scary dreams, involving a boy her age with a scary looking sword, who seems hell bent on trying to kill her. Not helped by the fact there is a serial killer around in her town who is striking at couple in love and taking their hearts. When the boy from her dreams turns up in real life, a hidden family curse is revealed along with the fact that Merry is the latest in the family line to take on an evil wizard who is really responsible for the serial killer taking hearts.

 

All sounds a bit convoluted, but comes together really well. Merry is a likeable heroine, she’s known she’s had witch magic for some time and started using it, the reader learns right away that she won’t any more because something went very very wrong with her magic, and Merry is afraid of it. Though her powers are getting stronger and she finds herself losing control without meaning to. Her dad is out of the picture, left a long time ago, her mum is in complete denial and hates the family magic. Her best friend Ruby knows nothing of the magic, the only solace and comfort Merry has in dealing with it all is her older brother Leo.

 

Initially, Leo comes off as a typical British lad more interested in going to the pub and hanging out with his mates than anything else. But Leo turns out to be one of the best characters in the book. His relationship with his sister turns out to be a really close one, he's there, he listens to her, he helps when he can and even though he doesn't have any magic of his own, he’s by Merry’s side and supporting her every step of the way. The magic comes through the female line, while Mum ignores and wants nothing to do with it, Merry’s grandmother and her coven are the ones who help Merry train her powers once she finally accepts her destiny.

 

Made worse by the fact that the boy from her dreams, turns out to be very very real and part of the family curse. Only the boy has two sides to him, two different personalities one of which he has no control over as it’s tied to the evil wizard and one the normal boy he was before anything happened. Oh, and that boy’s really sweet and Merry might be falling in love with him. Just to complicate things further.

 

Merry’s struggle with her normal school life and her magic duties are very believable. The reader learns a little more about how Merry has handled things with her magic when she first started learning and how things unravelled quickly. She behaved pretty badly, but at least she knew it was wrong and is trying to fix it. Merry has a pretty good moral compass and a good balance of trying to do the right thing.

 

The story also weaves in a family curse, when Merry gets the details from Gran, instead of just being told this is what happened way back when, there’s an evil wizard tied to our ancestors who wants to destroy all lovers because he was jilted a thousand years ago and there’s a curse and an innocent boy tied up in this and turned into a monster and you have to defeat him…the story is actually shown to the reader. In separate chapters, the historical part of the story comes to vivid life like a fantasy novel, then the novel switches back to the present as Leo and Merry learn more.

 

We learn more about the curse and backstory through flashback and Merry’s dreams as she turns out to have a direct tie to one of her ancestors who was involved back then.

 

It’s completely addictive and completely gripping. Likeable characters, deplorable villains and a complex romantic side plot. It’s a really different way of story telling and I really enjoyed it.

 

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

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