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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.
I don't have much to say here. This book took me almost three days to get through because that's how boring it was. Taking place in the 1930s, I was expecting to see some language/slang from that era. You don't get that at all and just have a woman on the run (who decides to reinvent herself as a reporter) and a former magician (yeah I know) getting caught up in murder and mayhem.
Irene (formerly Anna) is pulled into investigating when a woman turns up dead in Burning Cove, CA. The woman is found dead at an exclusive hotel run by Oliver Ward. Oliver is angry that someone dared to murder someone on his grounds. Irene is hoping for a story that is going to launch her career.
Irene and Oliver felt like cardboard cutouts when compared to Quick's Regency heroines and heroes. We get I think one love scene with them and I think after that everything is just a fade to black type thing. I don't even get why they were attracted to each other. Oliver being an ex-magician should have been more interesting than what we got.
There are also too many secondary characters to keep track of while reading this book. You have Nick Tremayne (up and coming Hollywood actor), his assistant, Irene's boss, a hired killer, the hired killer's father, Oliver's close associates (who I refuse to look up) and at a certain point I ceased to care about keeping people straight in my head.
The writing was not typical 1930s. I was hoping for a screwball comedy type writing (think His Girl Friday) or some typical noir mystery book that would have fit in perfectly.
The pacing was awful from beginning to end. When you think one mystery is over, the second mystery jumps in and it goes back and forth. I still don't know what happened and who did what to who except in one of the plot-lines. Maybe that was the issue, we had too much going on in the first book in this series.
Burning Cove, CA is the setting of this book and it did not come to life to me at all. You would think there would be some hint of the Great Depression or the second World War. The whole book felt weirdly out of touch with the time period being depicted.
This is so freaking boring. Reading Quick set in modern times in America is not doing a thing for me at all.
Things just keep happening to Irene (fleeing, finding a dead body, etc.) and there seems to be very little set up for the plot at this point. Just stuff happening. I had a hard time keeping people straight at this point.
I also don't get why Irene would go work for a gossip columnist in order to keep a low profile from someone that could hurt her. I am still confused why this is a thing.
FYI, I am guessing this book takes place in the 1920s or 1930s cause of the terms and slang being used. It would have been helpful if Quick had used a location and year to set up the first part of the book. She at least does that in her regency romances.