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review 2018-08-12 07:45
A ‘bloody’ good book, not for the faint of heart, which encompasses action, dark fantasy, and even morals behind dissecting your enemy
Not Even Bones (Untitled, #1) - Rebecca Schaeffer

This is a breakout bloody good book (pun totally intended), and if you don’t like blood, the idea of autopsies, or a lot of gore, I would stay far far away. But if you’re anything like me, and you don’t keel over at the thought of body parts being cut off (I know someone who does), and you’re looking for the most original dark fantasy this Fall (some would definitely call it horror), look no further.

 

In ‘Not Even Bones’, Rebecca Schaeffer has given life, as gory, twisted, and fantastical as it may be, to a sort of anti-hero we can’t help but rally behind, Anita, who not only is masterful when it comes to dissecting dead bodies, but who possesses magical capabilities (she’s able to turn her pain receptors on and off, and do amazing things like heal parts of her own body).


Nita and her mother have traveled the world working within the black market of selling body parts of other ‘unnaturals’; Nita’s mother does the killing and Nita does the dissecting, something she enjoys, but she uses the moral reasoning whereby ‘it’s all okay because she’s not actually doing the killing, her mom is’. She even has dreams of one day doing medical research and putting her skills to good use.

 

But then the day comes when Nita is betrayed and she ends up on the wrong side of the ‘Death Market’, and possibly will become body parts herself, and she really has to question all those good morals and boundaries she has set up for herself. She ends up putting trust in someone she’d never have imagined she’d have to, and doing things she’d sworn to herself she never would. And there’s a LOT of blood and guts along the way.

 

I don’t like making comparisons, and make a point of not doing so myself, but the one that has been made about ‘Not Even Bones’, and is right on its cover, is that it’s a mashup of ‘Dexter’ and ‘This Savage Song’ by V.E. Schwab. I could barely tear myself away from the TV show ‘Dexter’, I loved it to death, but this isn’t why I read this book (just look at the scalpel on the cover), and making comparisons like the one made here doesn’t give author Rebecca Schaeffer the true credit she should even give herself (Dexter is referenced in the book, so I know she loved the show too). I relished all the adventure and the gore, but I also found the writing and story captivating, and not worth comparing to anything else, especially once I got lost inside this new world and involved with the characters.


Above all, the questioning of Nita’s own existence, her morals, and her judgment in the situations that come up, was so fascinating to read, this book has levels beyond the ears and toes in jars of formaldehyde. It was so thought-provoking amidst all the horrifying bloodiness and excellent world-building, and that was so unexpected.

 

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this series progress; the fate of Nita looked precarious at the end of the book, and I can’t wait for more blood and more magical ‘monsters’ to be cut up into tiny little pieces to make her strange future right again. One can only hope, and even if she doesn’t really ‘deserve’ it.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/34324484-not-even-bones
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review 2018-02-13 18:03
Absolutely riveting thriller inspired by a real-life case; I couldn’t put this down!
Mister Tender's Girl: A Novel - Carter Wilson

I waited with baited breath to receive my finished copy after reading the initial excerpt, and I was not disappointed when I got the actual book in my hands. ‘Mister Tender’s Girl’ kept me riveted from start to finish; the tension, and gripping story just didn’t let up for the entire novel.

 

The main character, Alice Gray (formerly Hill), has been victim to the atrocity of being attacked and stabbed by the Glassin twins, some 14 years ago now, and the crime was ‘encouraged’ by their fanatical attachment to graphic novels that Alice’s father wrote and drew about a character called ‘Mister Tender’. For many readers (and author Carter Wilson writes about this at the end of the novel), this will remind them of the real-life crimes spurred on by the Slender Man case.


Alice now lives in a world where she has tried to run away from her terrible past back in England, where her father was also later attacked and killed, her brother has been diagnosed with mental illness, although her mother is pulling all the strings for him; along with all that, Alice gradually finds out there’s a whole online community dedicated to following Alice’s new life, obsessed with her struggle, and she comes to learn that the past is catching up with her. There’s now a ‘Mister Interested’ on her tail, and figures from her past are popping up, making her her terrible PTSD symptoms and panic attacks incredibly difficult to deal with, especially in her new life that she has tried to create; she now owns a coffee shop, and has dedicated time to make her body and mind stronger in response to her past. It seems her changes are not enough though, as she is living in a world of constant terror, anxiety, and fitful dreams.

 

I feel like this is more than just a thriller though; it kept me glued to my pages for 2 days straight, as often as I could get reading time in, Wilson has done an excellent job in creating a character who has worked hard on herself and fights back against all odds, shows great tenacity, and although she is struggling with problems like PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks, she continues to rule out being a victim any longer. She also wants to have strong bonds with her brother and sees his struggle as well. I like that Wilson delved into the ‘scary depths’ of mental illness here because this was important to these characters.
I know you have to suspend your disbelief about the cops becoming involved at certain junctures of the plot perhaps (I’m trying so hard not to reveal what happens!), but the tension and drama in this book doesn’t let up and I was INSIDE this book all the way; it was written THAT well.

For writing Alice as a survivor who decided to fight back after she became a victim, I say bravo. And for making it so that I forgot about about real-life scenario comparisons, extra kudos. I also enjoyed the writing tactic of taking the reader inside other worlds within the book successfully, without losing me in the least: the children’s story, the graphic novel, the past storylines, the dreams, the Internet chatroom, all very cleverfully employed.
*Extra points for taking me back to Dover, England, where my dad lives.

 

Overall, this was one enthralling suspenseful read, and just like I couldn’t wait to get this in my hands, I can’t wait to read what Carter writes next. I couldn’t get ENOUGH of this book, I just wanted more. That’s ALWAYS a sign of a good book.
*Thank you to Sourcebooks and BookishFirst for my copy of the book.

 

 

 

 

**First Impression of what I’ve read so far (written after reading initial EXCERPT):
I actually slept on my first look of the book before writing this ‘impression’, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I read. I also lapped up those first 30 pages (and kept swiping, hoping there was more on my Kindle, because I didn’t want it to end yet), because I was immediately drawn into the story that Carter has written. Alice is gripped in this world of anxiety and ongoing terror after what happened to her (and her father) so many years ago, and those feelings just emanate off those pages. I was immediately made to feel what she was feeling and because I love psychological thrillers in general, this just felt unique, with the graphic novel element, just jumping off the pages too. The writing was smooth and felt natural as Alice’s ‘voice’, and out of all of the ‘First Impressions I’ve read yet, this is the one that has pulled me in the fastest. Alice is haunted daily by her past, while trying to hide behind a veneer in a different world where no one really knows her, and now this ‘Mister Tender’ shows up?! I absolutely am dying to know what happens next and I would be honored to read and review an early copy of this thriller. It looks fantastic.

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