Reviews

Review: THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING AND SO AM I

34743888Title: THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING AND SO AM I
Author: Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 304
ARC?: Yes, provided from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 05/29/18
TW/CW: Fatphobia, homophobia, parental neglect/mental abuse, rape (not described in detail), alcohol abuse (mentioned briefly, twice).
Rating: 5/5

From Goodreads: Virginia Shreves’ world implodes again in this long-awaited follow-up to Printz Honoree The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.

Sixteen-year-old Virginia Shreves’ life is finally back on course: she’s accepted who she is inside and out and is rebuilding her relationship with brother Byron, whose date-rape charge shattered everything.

But just as she adjusts to her new normal, her world turns upside down again. Sparks with boyfriend Froggy fade, her best friend bombshells bad news, and then the police arrest Byron. As Virginia struggles to cope, she meets Nate, an artist with his own baggage. The pair vow not to share personal drama. But secrets have a way of coming out, and theirs could ruin everything.

Weezie’s Thoughts: I read the predecessor to this book, THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER BIG ROUND THINGS, nearly 10 year ago. While the writing was simplistic, the story and its characters stuck with me, and when I found out Mackler was writing a sequel, I knew I had to read it.

My five star rating is probably a little generous (those nostalgia feels had me messed up), but it is at least a four star book, even with the little things I didn’t enjoy. Which was mostly that while this book seamlessly transitions us into a sequel for a book written 15 years ago… it kinda feels like a book that was written 15 years ago. Seriously, if something reminds me of being a teenager… it probably doesn’t apply to this new generation of teenagers. Still, it was good.

I particularly appreciated the honesty Mackler shows when writing about Byron, his arrest, and how his overbearing parents act. I liked the fact that Virginia knew her brother was in the wrong but still was unsure of her feelings towards him. Not just because of the rape and arrest, but also because of the way he treated her.

Personally I hope there is a third book where Virginia stands up to her entire insufferable family. We’ve dealt with weight issues. We’ve dealt with break-ups and new love. It’s time for Virginia to take a stand against the people who have tormented her more than anyone else. I’m also eager to get more of Annie Mills’ story and the punishment Byron deserves FINALLY handed down to him.

Carolyn Mackler, please don’t make me wait another 15 years.

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Hello From The Other Side

Hi friends. It’s been a while.

I feel like rehashing the majority of the events that conspired in me taking a long hiatus would be unproductive. In any situation there is my story, their story, and the truth in the middle. Just as I know things were misconstrued on their side, I’m sure things were on my side as well. I’m not trying to be back in that circle, not trying to remake any of those friendships: I can say that I’m sorry for any wrongdoing on my part. And I’ll leave it at that.

However, there’s also the matter of… I was so tired of blogging. I was tired of this competitive reading and competition for the latest and greatest ARCs. Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with reading what I like, ignoring what I don’t, and writing reviews when I felt like it? Having a schedule of “I need to read this many books and post these reviews and request this book and post these filler blogs to keep numbers up” was just… it was exhausting. And between dealing with the death of my godchild, my beloved uncle, and the friend fallout… I was in a bad place and decided I needed a break.

So I took one. Therapy, fishing, gardening, lazy reading, podcasts, days full of my family and godkids… those things have revitalized more than I ever imagined. I’m so happy now and so happy to be alive.

And ready to review again. I did miss it. I missed connecting with other reviewers and book lovers and having this little hobby when I get bored. I don’t care about numbers or ARCs or posting enough… I just want to have fun with this.

And I hope you’ll have fun with me, too.

Reviews

Review: YOU

23492630Title: YOU
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publisher: Atria
Published: 2015
Pages: 422
Format: Paperback
TW/CW: Death, stalking, abuse (mental and physical), drug use, alcoholism, kidnapping, slurs against women
Rating: 3.5/5

FROM GOODREADS: When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

I didn’t expect a thriller to make me take such a hard look at myself. But it did.

When I picked up YOU, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to stomach it. While a book written from the perspective of a stalker sounded like an interesting premise, I was pretty sure that having to read some sleazy guy’s thoughts was going to be too much for me. What I didn’t expect was to dislike Beck so much that I sort of… wished the worst for her. And all of her friends, if I’m honest. In fact, there weren’t any redeemable characters in this story save for Ethan, Joe’s coworker. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized I had actually been kind of gleefully cheering Joe on in slowly destroying Beck because she was one of “those girls”. Hypersexual (to the point that she exposed over people to her masturbating without their consent), manipulative, liar, seducer of married men, Beck was literally everything I hate in thrillers. She’s the girl I want to end up dead… even if I have to cheer for a stalker to do it. I’m kind of hoping that was Kepnes plan in writing the book the way she did. It almost feels like you have to be sympathetic with Joe as Beck jerks his chain… and then you remember that Joe has orchestrated nearly everything that has happened between him and Beck because he is a murderous stalker.

There were a few things that lost points from me. The story tended to drag, especially around the middle. This book could have been 100 pages shorter and still packed a powerful punch. The ending was also seriously abrupt and while I appreciate how it ended, I just felt like there should have been more. I was also seriously turned off by how much sex and references to sex there were in this book. Is that all straight people think about? Don’t stalkers usually think about things like life-long commitments and children? Since Joe was looking for “true love”, it didn’t make sense that he only thought about having sex with Beck.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers, stalkers, and a little murder.

Reviews

Review: THE IRON TRIAL

20578940Title: THE IRON TRIAL (Magisterium #1)
Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 2014
Pages: 295
Format: Paperback
TW/CW: Abuse, blood, death, underground
Rep: MC is disabled (problems with his leg), non-white supporting characters
Rating: 2.5/5

FROM GOODREADS: Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

I really wanted to love this one.

THE IRON TRIAL had been pitched to me several times over the last few months as HARRY POTTER meets PERCY JACKSON, and that might have been true if the book wasn’t such a snooze fest. The beginning and end were pretty riveting but the entirety of the middle of the book was almost coma-inducing boring. A 300 page book usually takes me a few hours to read… this one stretched for 3 days because it couldn’t hold my interest.

While I liked the characters and I liked the premise of the story, you could definitely tell that two different people wrote this and there was no harmony in the joining of their writing. And when I say this is a Harry Potter rip off, I mean it. A magical school, dubious professors, snooty enemies, a villain who wants to live forever with minions who are willing to sacrifice everything to help him. I was, at first, impressed with the plot twist but after realizing how closely THE IRON TRIAL mimics Harry Potter, I should have seen it coming.

As much I hate not finishing series, I will not be picking up the rest of the books in this series.

Reviews

Review: DOLL BONES

15944406Title: DOLL BONES
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: 2013
Pages: 244
Format: Paperback
TW/CW: Death/murder (part of the doll story), light mention of blood that alludes to gore, child neglect, mentally ill character being “creepy” to kids.
Rating: 3/5

From Goodreads: Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice.

But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

My first thought about this book is that it wasn’t spectacular.

Usually a middle grade involving a ghost will suck me in but this one just didn’t. It’s not that this is a bad story. I enjoyed the adventure and the premise. I enjoyed the characters struggling to cope with growing up and dealing with parent/peer pressure and expectations.

But the characters are flat. All of them are so one dimensional and not fleshed out that I really didn’t care about them. When the ghost doll is more intriguing than the three characters having an adventure, something is wrong. The pacing in the story was also really off. When I read the synopsis, it sounded like the friends drift apart and months later reunite to go on this grand adventure… when actually they didn’t really have a fight and it’s only a day or so later after Zach claims he doesn’t want to play the game anymore when they set out to bury the Queen.

The romance in this is so unnecessary and really kind of threw me out of the story (not that I was ever truly into it…). I wish authors, especially authors who switch between middle grade and young adult, would realize that romance doesn’t need to be included in middle grade. Sometimes it’s done well but this one just wasn’t. Black almost sets this up as a love triangle because there are hints that Poppy likes Zach, too. I would have been much more satisfied with the jealousy aspect if one was afraid the other two were closer in terms of best friends. But romance? No.

Again, it wasn’t terrible. The ghost story is reason enough to read this and I think I would have loved this if more attention had been given to the Queen and her story.

 

Monthly Wrap-Up

January Wrap Up!

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January was a pretty fantastic reading month.

READING STATS FOR JANUARY

Books Read: 20

Pages Read: 6,208

New Authors: 11

Previously Read Authors: 7

Physical Books: 12

eBooks: 8

5 Stars: 6

4 Stars: 3

3 Stars: 6

2 Stars: 2

1 Star: 3

DNF: 0

BOOKS READ IN JANUARY

  1. SURVIVE THE NIGHT by Danielle Vega. (4/5)
  2. GERALD’S GAME by Stephen King (3/5)
  3. A DASH OF TROUBLE (LOVE SUGAR MAGIC) by Anne Meriano (5/5)
  4. WINTERHOUSE by Ben Guterson (3/5)
  5. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery (5/5)
  6. ANNE OF AVONLEA by L.M. Montgomery (5/5)
  7. ANNE OF THE ISLAND by L.M. Montgomery (5/5)
  8. LIVING DEAD GIRL by Elizabeth Scott (3/5)
  9. TIME BOMB by Joelle Charbonneau (2/5)
  10. THE CELLAR by Natasha Preston (3/5)
  11. THE VINES by Christopher Rice (1/5)
  12. THE LIBRARY OF SOULS by Richard Denney (1/5)
  13. THE DEADLY SISTER by Eliot Schrefer (2/5)
  14. GIRL MADE OF STARS by Ashley Herring Blake (5/5)
  15. THE WITCH DOESN’T BURN IN THIS ONE by Amanda Lovelace (1/5)
  16. A PLAIN LEAVING by Leslie Gould (4/5)
  17. MORE THAN FRIENDSHIP by Amy Lillard (3/5)
  18. AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White (5/5)
  19. DOLL BONES by Holly Black (3/5)
  20. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor (4/5)

 

Twenty books feels pretty stellar to me and I hope I’m able to keep the momentum going into February… with maybe a few less 1 & 2 star books.

What did you read this month?

Reviews

Review: AND I DARKEN

27190613Title: AND I DARKEN
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: 2016
Pages: 475
Format: Paperback
TW/CW: Blood, death, gore, attempted rape, child abuse, mental and physical abuse, warring religions
Rating: 5/5

FROM GOODREADS: No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I spent so long thinking I wouldn’t like this book and kept putting it off… only to discover that I freaking love this book. Well, I love Lada. Mean, brutal, vengeful, cunning Lada who bites men in the face and kills would-be rapists. Honestly, she’s the feminist hero we all deserve.

AND I DARKEN is a truly complicated story. There’s political intrigue, warring countries, traded children, and a tinge of romance. But at the center of it all is Lada, Radu, and Mehmed, three children who were forced to grow up when they were thrust into roles that they were not ready for.

As I already said (and screamed about on twitter), I love Lada. I think she’s the perfect mix of terrible and amazing, and she has probably the best character development in the story. She goes from thinking women (especially women in the harem) are weak to realizing how power comes in many forms, and that the dainty women she used to scoff at are just as capable of owning the world as she is. Literally girl power, y’all. And Lada realizes all of this AND STILL DOESN’T CHANGE HER MIND ABOUT MARRIAGE AND GIVING BIRTH. It’s amazing! Lada is more comfortable around men and fighting but by the end of the book, she has learned to appreciate other women who don’t choose the same path as her and that’s the character development I am always here for.

Both of the male characters, Radu and Mehmed, I was kind of ‘meh’ about. Mehmed has lofty pursuits and goals, which I admire, but I couldn’t quite get passed his casual misogyny and treatment of the impoverished. Radu… don’t get me started. Everyone kept saying I would love Radu but he was my least favorite of the trio, something that never happens with a Queer character. I wanted to believe in the “he’s a soft Queer baby!!” but while I could appreciate Lada’s manipulation (to get home, to save Radu and Mehmed’s lives), Radu’s took a really disturbing turn for me. I understand heartbreak and longing but some of Radu’s actions were abusive and he was trying to manipulate someone into loving him in a way that they didn’t appear to want to love him in. It left me with an unsettled feeling.

This was definitely the book I needed, though. While I dearly respect highly femme kickass women in books, I will always have a place in my heart (and on my bookshelf) for girls who don’t know how to tame their hair or flirt. Lada is ferocious, hard, and wants to burn the world down in order to get home… and I love her. I love her so much.

Besides Lada herself, I loved her little army. Nicolae was such an unlikely friend but their interactions were perfect and made me laugh. Nicolae is the brother Lada deserves.

I’m not normally a huge fan of historical novels, especially ones based off of real people, but I was intrigued by the idea of a female Vlad the Impaler. White does a great job of mixing fact and fiction by filling in the missing gaps in their history, and she writes about Lada’s longing for her home country so well that I was cheering Lada on the whole time. Get your home country, girl!

I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves mean girls, assassins, and unlikely friendships.

Book Haul

January Book Haul!

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Late last year I decided that 2018 would be the year that I got my incredibly awful book buying habit under control. I already have a house overflowing with them and nearly 400 unread books that deserve my attention. So, I set a limit of $100 for books every month… and that didn’t go so well this month. I went about $40 over my limit but I blame AND I DARKEN, NOW I RISE, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (I bought 4 new copies, someone help), and 3 new middle grade releases that were on my most anticipated 2018 releases. To balance it out, I’m going to try and keep my buying around $60, which shouldn’t be too hard. I only have 2 books on my most anticipated list releasing this month.

Here’s what I bought and received in January!

 

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  1. A DASH OF TROUBLE (LOVE SUGAR MAGIC #1)- Anna Meriano. This one is about a young girl who discovers her family is made of brujas and there bakery is anything but ordinary. Tired of being seen as the baby, Leo decides to take matters (and magic) into her own hands… with some disastrous consequences. I LOVED this book.
  2. REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh. Besides the cover, I was totally sold on this book by the premise of necromancy. I mean, give it to me. REIGN follows a young necromancer as she races to figure out who is, essentially, creating a zombie army. I’ve also heard our MC is bi.
  3. WINTERHOUSE by Ben Guterson. Exiled from her aunt and uncle’s house during Christmas break, Elizabeth finds herself at Winterhouse, a vacation mansion where secrets lurk around every corner.
  4. THE PROBLIM CHILDREN by Natalie Lloyd. After their house is destroyed, a family moves into their Grandfather’s abandoned mansion. While the Problim children think it’s a grand opportunity to make friends, rumors are already flying about the family, their return… and a secret treasure.  

 

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  1. MODERN VEGAN BAKING by Gretchen Price. I’m a vegan and I liked baked goods. So…
  2. THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord. When Lucy’s mom finds out her cancer is back, Lucy’s life is turned upside down. After being sent to a camp for kids who have gone through a rough time, Lucy makes friends with her coworkers. This looks like a really great story about learning to cope with hard times and family bonds.
  3. THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black. Honestly, I haven’t had much luck with Holly Black books, but I want to give this one a try. I don’t know much about this book besides the fact that it’s supposed to have faeries and strong sibling bonds, so cheers to that.
  4. EMILY OF NEW MOON by L.M. Montgomery. Lucy Maud, I’m going to read all of your books. This is another orphan story and that’s all I know!
  1. A PLAIN LEAVING by Leslie Gould. Years after leaving the Amish community, Jessica is called back to attend her father’s funeral. Dealing with her father’s death and being shunned by her family and community, she’s determined to just grin and bear it until she can leave once again. But all that changes when she realizes her boyfriend from years ago may still have feelings for her.
  2. THE DISAPPEARANCES by Emily Bain Murphy. Um, I think this is a mystery within a mystery?
  3. MORE THAN FRIENDSHIP by Amy Lillard. Two friends discover they have more than friendly feelings for each other. This was a quick, mildly fun read.

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  1. A SON’S VOW by Shelley Shepard Gray. After a fire kills both of their fathers, two friends struggle to reconcile their feelings for each other.
  2. HER BROTHER’S KEEPER by Beth Wiseman. I don’t know a lot about this one. I think it’s about a woman who infiltrates an Amish community, trying to get revenge for her brother’s death but she ends up falling in love with someone? Listen, my brain demanded Amish books and I obeyed.
  3. AMISH PROMISES by Leslie Gould. Amish girl falls in love with a soldier who has PTSD.
  4. THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY by Shaun David Hutchinson. The only thing I know about this book is that a boy lives in the hospital after his family is killed in an accident. And it was $.50 at the thrift store.
  1. THE LOST LEGACY (THE SUPERNORMAL SLEUTHING SERVICE) by Gwenda Bond. This author is going to be at SeYa Fest so I decided to pick up a copy of this at the used book store when I saw it!
  2. THE IRON TRIAL by Holly Black and She Who Must Not Be Named. I almost passed this one up because of She Who Must Not Be Named but my godkids wanted it and… I’m a sucker for them. I think this is about some kind of trial (duh) that everyone wants to pass except for our MC… who ends up doing well on it. Adventures ensue?
  3. DOLL BONES by Holly Black. Poppy, Zach, and Alice are three friends who play an epic, unending game of pretend… until Zach suddenly tells them he doesn’t want to play. Believing her doll is haunted, Poppy coaxes the other two on an adventure. Is the doll really haunted or is Poppy playing one last game?
  4. FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe. I’ve avoided this one for a long time because I generally don’t like books that involve drug use, but I couldn’t really pass up a nice copy for $1.
  1. SONG OF THE CURRENT by Sarah Tolcser. This was a total cover buy and I’m not even ashamed of it. I know this has to do with river gods and blessings, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it regardless.
  2. THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
  3. AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White. LAAAAADDDDDAAAA. I didn’t truly expect to love this Vlad the Impaler (but as a girl) retelling but, whew boy, I’m in love with Lada and would marry her in a heartbeat. If she were into marriage, that is.

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  1. A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi. So, I haven’t even read THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, but this was on sell for like $7 on Amazon for a hardback and I couldn’t pass it up.
  2. UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornoll. I think this one deals with anxiety and agoraphobia, so I picked up sometimes after Christmas.
  3. NOW I RISE by Kiersten White. LAAAAADDDDAAAA is back. And I can’t wait to see her destroy more men.
  4. WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore. I finally, finally got a hardback copy of one of my favorite reads of 2017. If you haven’t read this incredibly story about sisters, secrets, and flowers… what are you waiting for?

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225241011. MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma. Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

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These are the new Anne books I added to my collection this month!

 

And that’s my January haul!

Reviews

Review: THE CELLAR

19155234Title: THE CELLAR
Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcefire
Published: 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 347
ARC?: No
TW/CW: Kidnap, rape, abuse (physical and mental)
Rating: 2.5/3

From Goodreads: Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out.

Hello, Flowers. Time for… a review.

So, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I mean, it had potential. But it was still pretty bad.

Our story revolves around Summer, a sixteen year old airhead who is kidnapped by a man in a white van. This man, Colin aka Clover, takes her to his house where he has kidnapped three other women and is keeping them in his basement… as flowers. I mean, not literally as flowers. He isn’t planting them or anything. He does, however, rename them after flowers and makes them dress like “proper ladies”. They have designated meal times, are allowed to knit, read books, watch movies, and clean. Because apparently Colin/Clover has OCD and of course it revolves around cleanliness. Oh, and he also has mommy issues and kills prostitutes.

There were 3 things that really killed this story for me.

First, Summer is the most boring protagonist of all time. All she did was cry, say “I’m scared”, and think about her boyfriend, Lewis. Not her family, not her friends, just her boyfriend of one year. We also get to see Lewis run around trying to find Summer… which is mostly just him saying he’s frustrated and cursing at people. And he totally figures out that Colin/Clover is the guilty party… with just a look.

Second, Colin/Clover’s backstory made NO SENSE. His dad had sex with prostitutes, his mom made Colin/Clover kill prostitutes, there are hints he had a sexual relationship with his mother, and when she died he decided to kidnap 4 women and name them after flowers? I needed more. I needed to know why four women? What happened to his mother? Between him and his mother? What was Colin/Clover’s big descent into madness? I definitely was not satisfied with “here’s a vague background… he’s just wild ok”.

Third… why didn’t those girls gang up on him? They had knitting needles, they had numbers… why in the world did they stand back and let one girl attack him? And none of them had been there long enough (except Rose who was apparently actually in love with him uhhhhh) to be afraid enough to not fight back. Stab him in the eye and get out. Seriously. Instead, Preston had the women cower and scream and cry.

Also, stabbing someone in the stomach with a pocketknife (like Colin/Clover did to the prostitutes) would not instantly kill them. Y’all, stop.

Here’s the thing- this book is bad. But it’s so bad that I enjoyed reading it. The ending was absolutely revolting and ridiculous and I wish Summer would have died just to spice things up, but no. But I have enjoyed hating this book. Terrible, yes. Terribly enjoyable… also yes.

Don’t go into this expecting to be wowed.

Reviews

Review: LIVING DEAD GIRL

3Title: LIVING DEAD GIRL
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: 2008
Pages: 170
Format: eBook
ARC: No
TW/CW: Kidnap, rape, drug use, food restriction, pedophilia, murder.
Rating: 3/5

FROM GOODREADS: When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

Whew, what a painful punch this tiny book packs.

If you’re looking for something that starts off awful but has a happy ending… this probably isn’t for you. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I went in but I had hope that at some point, this bleak, disturbing story was going to take an up turn but no. It never happened.

The book follows ‘Alice’, a now 15 year old girl who was snatched from a field trip when she was 10 by a pedophile named Ray. For the last 5 years, Alice has been living in the Shady Pines Apartment complex with her captor. The descriptions in this book are bleak. Alice is a shell of a person. After five years of rape, torture, and being forced to stay small and childlike through starvation, Alice has become a nightmare version of herself- ready and willing to help Ray capture another child on the off chance that he might let her go… or kill her. Either way, Alice starts trying to woo a child. When that doesn’t work, she has sex with the girl’s older brother (who is supposed to be watching her) in order to provide a way for Ray to snatch the little girl. The ending was heartbreaking and the book left me feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, and dirty.

This isn’t a great book. The plot is very point blank and the character’s are flat. Ray is the abuser (we only know that his mother abused him when he was a child), Alice is the victim who turns towards sociopathic behavior in order to survive, Lucy (Annabel) is the next victim, and Jake is the stoner who just wants sex. I’m still trying to figure out why Jake wouldn’t have gone to the authorities, or you know, tell his parents what was going on.

However, this book touches on how abuse perpetuates abuse and how dire situations can make people do things they never thought they would do. Alice knows what she’s trying to do to Lucy is wrong but she’s tired.

This is a deeply disturbing book. If you decide to read it, please take precautions and maybe read a few other reviews to make sure this is something you can handle.