Tuesday, May 7, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY- Top Ten Characters that remind me of....ME

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
This week it is the top ten characters that remind you of yourself.
I have gone with ANY fictional character. 

The vampire Lestat

The Brides of Dracula

Blue the Velociraptor 

John Taylor from the Nightside

Princess Cimorene

                                                           Crowley King of Hell

                                                      Lorelai Gilmore

                                                    Morticia Adams

                                                        Pru Halliwell

                                                     Regina Mills

Belly Up by Eva Darrows aka Hillary Monahan

There’s a first time for everything.
First time playing quarters.

First time spinning the bottle.
First totally hot consensual truck hookup with a superhot boy whose digits I forgot to get.

First time getting pregnant.
Surprised you with that one, didn’t I?
Surprised me, too. I’d planned to spend senior year with my bestie-slash-wifey, Devi Abrams, graduating at the top of my class and getting into an Ivy League college. Instead, Mom and I are moving in with my battle-ax of a grandmother and I’m about to start a new school and a whole new life.
Know what’s more fun than being the new girl for your senior year? Being the pregnant new girl. It isn’t awesome. There is one upside, though—a boy named Leaf Leon. He’s cute, an amazing cook and he’s flirting me up, hard-core. Too bad I’m knocked up with a stranger’s baby. I should probably mention that to him at some point.
But how?
It seems I’ve got a lot more firsts to go

I really enjoyed this novel. When the reviews I read mentioned it had a Gilmore Girls Meets Juno feel, I knew I had to read it.

So I am going to get my one negative thing out here first. I was pregnant at 20, not as young as this protagonist, but young enough not to know what the fuck I was doing. I kept my daughter and would never change that decision. But my life has been hard. I had friends who got pregnant younger than me whose lives were difficult.Not bad, just hard.  I did not feel like this book talked enough about the fact that Sara's privilege of living with a family who supports her, friends that won't abandon her, being able to finish school, keep her baby and get a hot boyfriend are exceptions to the rule. While teen pregnancy can be a positive experience and I like that this novel highlights that- in general, it is not. I wish the author had made Sara a little more aware of the fact she is blessed and lucky.

Now, with that being said. This book got me. Every time the MC spoke it was if teen me were cheering. In fact, adult me cheered too. Because I still sound just like that, if my slang is a little outdated. Sara's relationship with her mother is totally me and my 15-year-old. We are just like this, this same style of banter and teasing each other, love fueled by jokes and sarcasm. (Though my kid and I swear a lot more.) My mom and I are also very similar to Sara and her Mom, put the three of us in a room and you will walk away shaking your head.

I love how Sara is a bisexual fat girl and not once did the story shame her for her eating habits. I've been pregnant four times, the hunger is real. I enjoyed all the talking about food and the reality that sometimes the cheeseburger is what you need to stuff your face with. This novel is real about how pregnancy feels, tired all the time, horny, hungry, hairy, emotional. The author did not sugar coat it.

The inserts of Romani culture, from new boyfriend Leaf, was amazing and if you liked this aspect of the book you should read her novel The Hollow Girl. Sara's boyfriend Leaf is a wonderful (if a tad unrealistic) boy that if I were a teen would be swoon-worthy.

Sara's friends are written beautifully and are very diverse. Speaking of diverse, I also wanted to touch on the fact Sara is half Hispanic and feels out of place in her own culture as she doesn't speak Spanish and her Swedish mother and grandmother (mormor - who is amazing!) raise her.

I am that girl. I am half Puerto Rican and don't speak Spanish and am constantly trying to figure out where I belong. It's hard when you want to connect to part of your heritage and don't know how. I (like many characters in this book) use food to do that. I cook meals my grandma taught me and look up Puerto Rican cuisine and food customs.

While I understand why the author brings back Jack- the baby daddy- I kind of wish she hadn't. It did bring in some ugly realism to the funny rom-com feel of the story.

This book was great, funny, quirky, full of fluffy feel-good nonsense with an underlying serious plot. I got a copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review and when I finished it I bought myself a copy to support the author. So go forth and read the funny fluff!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Till Sudden Death Do Us Part by Simon R Green

Although he hasn't seen Robert Bergin for 40 years, Ishmael feels duty bound to respond when his old friend calls for help. Robert's daughter Gillian is about to be married, and he is afraid she'll fall prey to the ancient family curse. Arriving in rural Yorkshire, Ishmael and his partner Penny learn that the vicar who was to perform the ceremony has been found dead in the church, hanging from his own bell rope. With no clues, no evidence and no known motive, many locals believe the curse is responsible. Or is someone just using it as a smokescreen for murder? With the wedding due to take place the following day, Ishmael has just a few hours to uncover the truth. But his investigations are hampered by sudden flashes of memory: memories of the time before he was human. What is it Ishmael's former self is trying to tell him ... ?

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love Simon R Green. I don't read his Drood series or his intense Science Fiction, but I've read everything else.  And his new series about Ishmael Jones? It is great!

This series is primarily closed room murder mystery types, taking place in mansions, tiny towns, old inns, and archeological sites.

In the last book we found out what Ishmael really is and in this book he struggles with worrying about whether his old self will storm through his barriers and take over, erasing everything he likes about himself and destroying the woman he loves.

I adore this authors world building, all his words link together. Nightside, Drood, Ghost Finders. They all exist in the same world of weird underground organizations, hidden unseen places and spaces and the abnormal covered by a thin layer so us normal folks never discover it. If we do? We are covered up and cleaned up as efficiently as possible.

So please go and enjoy this creepy murder mystery, but I'd recommend reading it with the lights.....on.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Trigger warnings direct from the author's website:
Wilder Girls contains graphic violence and body horror. It depicts on the page character death, parental death, and animal death, though the animals are not pets.
Wilder Girls contains behavior and descriptive language akin to self-harm, and references to such.
Wilder Girls contains a scene depicting chemical gassing.
Wilder Girls contains reference to suicide and suicidal ideation.

I received a copy from Net Galley in return for an honest review

Seriously people. I picked this book up yesterday and couldn't put it down.
This was a fast-paced, strange and delightful read. So different from anything else I've read in the last few years.

The characters are a bunch of tough, flawed, strong females trying to make the most of life after being stranded at a girl's school where everyone is sick, mutating and/or dying. They are put in horrible situations and just trying to make it out alive.

 It's labeled a queer horror and I love it so much more for this. The relationship in it is a delicious side note to the plot.

The descriptions of the "Tox" and how the women suffer, how the animals and landscape are affected are beautiful and disgusting.

The world building is intense and the emotions evoked are powerful, please pay attention to the trigger warnings.

The book ends, in a way that wasn't surprising but also left a lot of questions.

 The author never  100% explains the "Tox", how it came to be, why it's there or what it is for.  The author gives the reader just enough to form their own opinions.

This novel is a great YA to add to lists which include books like The Power.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

ARC- The Vanishing Season By Dot Hutchison

Eight-year-old Brooklyn Mercer has gone missing. And as accustomed as FBI agents Eliza Sterling and Brandon Eddison are to such harrowing cases, this one has struck a nerve. It marks the anniversary of the disappearance of Eddison’s own little sister. Disturbing, too, is the girl’s resemblance to Eliza—so uncanny they could be mother and daughter.
With Eddison’s unsettled past rising again with rage and pain, Eliza is determined to solve this case at any cost. But the closer she looks, the more reluctant she is to divulge to her increasingly shaken partner what she finds. Brooklyn isn’t the only girl of her exact description to go missing. She’s just the latest in a frightening pattern going back decades in cities throughout the entire country.
In a race against time, Eliza’s determined to bring Brooklyn home and somehow find the link to the cold case that has haunted Eddison—and the entire Crimes Against Children team—since its inception

I received a copy of this book for an honest review

Trigger warnings for child abuse, death, murder, and emotional abuse.

I don't know what I can say about this novel. It was amazing. I laughed and I cried. I saw characters I have grown to love and new characters that were amazing. I was appalled, horrified, relieved and amused.

This is the last installment of this series and I am sad to see it end. But oh, what a great ending.

This novel gives us an ending to a series-long question; What happened to Eddison's sister?

I downloaded it on Kindle and didn't stop reading until it was over.

I loved the way the author handled an ongoing theme of abuse in this book and making sure characters are accountable for their actions. This book is filled with strong woman and characters who are deep, have their own scars and rise above their pasts to challenge and live their best lives.

This is also a very diverse book.

I do not recommend reading this unless you've read the others. Go now and buy them, then gobble them up. But have some tissues nearby and be prepared to need self-care afterward.

Thank you Ms. Hutchison- I have very much enjoyed the ride.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by thatartsyreadergirl. This week I am showcasing my: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Friday, February 15, 2019

Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...
She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.
She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn't utter a word. There's Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key's instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can't remember why.
Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I love Kelsey Sutton, not gonna lie. Every single one of her novels has made me gobble it up quickly. I read Some Quiet Place- every damn year.

This book was amazing, the concept is unique, the writing and descriptions are great and the characters are lovely.

The idea that everyone in the Under is named after what the were buried with? Makes them feel so much more, gives them extra bits of personality.

The ending is not quite HEA and a little sad, but oh so brilliant. This book feels like a gothic romance and now I am sad I finished it so quickly. Like all her other novels I will buy this one in paperback too so it can live on my shelves with the rest of her novels.

Key is a great female MC, really wanting to live her life to the fullest. There is magic in the book which leads into my two tiny complaints: 1) the magic didn't have any real rules and could be considered overly convenient. 2) the main plotline is caused because one woman is jealous of another- which is a little overdone and trope-y. I enjoyed the book anyway.

The twist at the end I had figured out, but it's still a good twist.

This book made me feel dark and dank, a little sad and very romantic. But these are all emotions it's trying to make you feel after all 90% of the novel takes place underground.

So enjoy :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Cold is in Her Bones- by Peternelle van Arsdale

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.
Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.
Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself

When I heard this novel was a medusa retelling I knew I had to pick it up and read it. I was not disappointed. I am surprised it has such low ratings on Goodreads. I really enjoyed this.

Milla was a great character, forever trying to be who her family wants her to be but realizing she can't fake it anymore. She can only be who she is. Her relationship with Iris is really more like she's in love with her and less like a sister, so the reader can take it truly either way. (Though they call themselves sisters...I found this annoying. They have a chemistry between them)

Iris is this beautiful fantastic creature in Milla's eyes, which made me wonder, was she really this sparkling thing or did Milla (who'd never had a friend or even met another girl) just idolize her? The writing was superb, to make these the sort of questions I came away with.

Milla's brother Niklas was and a meh character; perfect, beloved by everyone and can do no wrong. He was the least interesting person in this novel.

Her parents are awful people (a common theme in YA).

They never say where this novel takes place, it's a very generalized puritan type time frame with villages, outhouses and no electricity. Which I found to be an interesting choice for the author. Focusing so much more on the plot and characters then where the story takes place.

The demon and Hulda, the magic of the snakes were all intense and very descriptive. Spiders I hate, but snakes? Never pay much mind to them, so the idea of having powers to talk to snakes is original. Outside of Harry Potter I don't see it much. However, there are wasps in this book to so: eeeeew.

The plot of this novel is simple and it is a fast read, but I really enjoyed it. It is written in parts and towards the end, there is an entire section I felt unnecessary, hence 4.5 stars instead of five.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favorite Couples (Books and Video Games)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com
This week, cause Valentine's Day we are doing Top Ten Favorite Couples. I threw in a few of my favorite video game pairings- since I read smutty fan fic.

Rand T'Ash and Danith Mallow

Roarke and Eve

Eric and Tamara

John Taylor and Shotgun Suzie

Video Game Couples:

Cullen and the Inquisitor- Dragon Age

Garrus and Shepard- Mass Effect

Dorian and the Inquisitor- Dragon Age

Anders and Hawke- Dragon Age

Alistair and the Grey Warden- Dragon Age