Monday, 14 August 2017

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

My Sweet Audrina


 Series: Audrina
Author: V.C. Andrews
Page Count: 403
Published: September 15th, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books
  3 Stars ★★★


Audrina isn't the first Audrina. No, she's the second and worst Audrina. Her father wants her to be like the first and best Audrina, sitting in a rocking chair to capture her "gifts". Staying home with her mother and aunt, it seems that she can't remember before a certain point in her life. Time passes by quickly, and she has to deal with her mean cousin Vera, who gets to go to school.

The first Audrina is dead, and her family often visits the girl's grave. They warn the second Audrina never to go in the woods, because that's where their first daughter was attacked and murdered. As she's tormented by Vera, and as time passes by, it becomes obvious that there's something that she doesn't know, and whatever it is could change her life forever.

Ok, so this book was really, really, really weird. I have never read anything like it before in my life.

There were some great things, and some not so great things. First, the great things. The author did a good job of capturing a fairly creepy atmosphere throughout the book. Audrina's home is big and fancy, yet it seems to hold frightening secrets. Descriptions of everything from the windows to the wind chimes added to the unsettling feel of the novel.

Audrina's confusion was also well represented. I found myself just as confused as her at times, what with the strange rituals her family performed (teatime, anyone?), and the passing of time, and her memory issues. I think the author's intention was to clue the reader in that something was wrong with Audrina, and that definitely worked.

I also found the family extremely creepy and unlikeable. Now, this didn't take away from the book at all, rather it added to the distinctly disturbing atmosphere. The way that her family phrased things was at times inappropriate for the occasion and shocking, and her father was a frightening mix of loving yet abusive. Her aunt was also quite abusive and obviously had many unsolved personal issues, and her mother seemed off to me. Vera, her cousin, was a horrible bully, making life harder for poor Audrina.

Now, there are the things that I didn't like. The first half of the book was way too slow. I understand that the author wanted to build tension and convey the confusion that Audrina felt, but she didn't have to take two hundred pages to do that. Some scenes felt drawn out and unnecessary. This book could have done with a hundred less pages, and still been just as unsettling.

I also found the explanation behind what was going on to be anti-climactic. I had guessed it from near the beginning, but I was thinking that this couldn't be the case, it was too predictable and actually didn't even make much sense.....how would Audrina's family achieve this? The explanation was not very believable. That was disappointing.

Overall, this book had a very unsettling atmosphere and characters that thoroughly creeped me out. However, the conclusion fell short of my expectations, and the first half of the book dragged on for way too long.

I recommend this book to those looking for a creepy mystery. If you're interested in books with characters who clearly have issues, with plots that span over many years, and with an unsettling atmosphere, this book is for you.

Find My Sweet Audrina on Goodreads

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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 Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
Page Count: 372
Published: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Speak
  4.5 Stars ★★★★

 Rory is an American teenager who moves to London to attend a boarding school. On the day that she arrives, a brutal murder occurs, and it is oddly similar to a murder committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper from decades before. She soon learns, as she deals with meeting new people, crushing on a guy, and talking with a strange and mysterious man, that the horror has only begun, and that she has some amazing abilities of her own. 

As is the case with many of my books, I snagged this one from the bookstore while it was on sale. Drawn in by the cover and the idea of Jack the Ripper, I couldn't resist. While this book was not exactly what I expected, it was certainly enjoyable, with an ending that left me wanting to read more about Rory and what comes next for her. 

I really like the way that the author wrote the characters, especially Rory and her roommates, including one who comes along a bit later in the novel. They created friendships and relationships that to me well mimicked what I see in the real world, which brought the friends together in times of crisis or fear. However, I can't say the same for the romantic aspect. I didn't really understand why Rory found herself attracted to Jerome. While he didn't seem like a bad guy in any way, he didn't exactly seem too appealing either, he didn't feel as real as Rory and her friends did. 

A piece of the book that I really enjoyed included all of the various happenings with the mysterious and strange man that Rory comes across. She is actually the only one who can see him for a portion of the book, which lead to a great guessing game on my end. I won't spoil the explanation behind it all, but I was definitely satisfied with how the author explained what was going on. 

The ending was a cliffhanger and has me adding the second book in the series to my wishlist. I hope that some of my questions left over from this book will be answered in the next, and that I'll be able to read about the cast of characters again, and maybe learn more about them, in book two. 

I recommend this to people who like their murder mysteries with a side of paranormal intrigue, If you're interested in Jack the Ripper and ghosts, this is a great pick for you. 



Saturday, 5 August 2017

Beautiful Book Cover of the Day

Heya there everyone! Today I wanted to share another beautiful book cover.


This Wicked Game



From Goodreads:


Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.

The voodoo business.

Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaids run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.

She doesn’t believe.

Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.

But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.

Including her own.

As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her.




~~~~~~~


I want to read this book eventually. I think the book cover is so gorgeous and the synopsis is very intriguing. Have you read this? What did you think?

Monday, 31 July 2017

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller


Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)


 Series: Untitled
Author: Linsey Miller
Page Count: 384
Published: September 5th, 2017
Publisher:Sourcebooks Fire
  4 Stars ★★★★


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. 

Sal is a thief, living in a world complicated by politics and war. Still haunted by the 'shadows', they steal for Grell, but they're tired of it. After stealing from some nobles, Sal finds a flyer that could change their life. If they prove their worth, they can audition to be part of the Queen's Left Hand, a group of assassins that get their namesakes from the rings that the Queen wears. Opal has died, and this may be Sal's chance for a new life, and vengeance. 

The competition is deadly, and the stakes are high. With a romance blooming and drama between contestants, Sal will be lucky to survive with their heart, and their life. 

So this book was really awesome. It was close to perfect, I am so happy that I received an ARC from NetGalley! 

First off, Sal was genderfluid. I am genderfluid, and there are so few people like me in books that its incredibly exciting whenever I come across a nonbinary character! Not to mention the way that Sal's genderfluidity was incorporated into the book.... I loved it because it wasn't the focus of the plot. Sal was casually genderfluid, kinda like how most genderfluid people just wake up and live their lives like everyone else, eh? While I think stories about identity and coming out are great as well, I want to see more of this, more books with nonbinary people just existing as nonbinary individuals, not necessarily on display for their identity. I loved the casual way that Sal's pronouns were discussed, and the way that most characters just complied. It was quite optimistic and a great break from the real world where just the mention of singular "they" will spark a fight. I also loved the way that Sal described genderfluidity and I thought it was really accurate. I won't quote it since this is an ARC and the final manuscript may prove to have minor differences, but when you read the book, you'll get what passage I'm talking about. Anyways, this was an awesome aspect of the novel, I really appreciated the diversity!

Then there's Elise, the love interest. Elise is a noble of Erlend, a nation whose people haven't been kind to Sal's people. Elise is smart, assertive, and likeable! At first, Sal is a bit wary of Elise, almost using her, but I love how later in the book they realize their feelings for her! Alongside Elise is the idea that a person is not the sum of their heritage, or their nationality, and I thought that was a really great message. Sal realizes this and it adds to their growth as a person throughout the novel, in my opinion. This just made me love the book, and Sal, more. 

I also have to mention that there are some emotional scenes in this book. I can't say much without giving it away, but if you get attached to characters, get ready to potentially have your heart shattered!

I also loved the beautiful descriptions throughout the novel. Metaphors and such really added to the way I visualized Sal's world. I loved this fantasy world, I loved getting lost in the danger of the shadows and the life that Sal was escaping, and the life they were ultimately working toward. However, this book lost a star because sometimes the world-building was confusing. Maybe this is because I'm new to this type of fantasy, but I had trouble keeping up with all the political drama, national tensions, and historical events. 

Overall, this was a really awesome fantasy novel! I loved the inclusion of a genderfluid character, and I really like Elise and the messages that accompanied her character. While the world-building could use a little work, the author's descriptions were often beautiful. 

I absolutely recommend this book! If you're a fan of fantasy novels, this book is for you. If you are interested in a book featuring a genderfluid person, you'll want to pick this one up. I know that once this is released in stores, I'll be picking up a copy!

Find Mask of Shadows on Goodreads


Friday, 28 July 2017

50/50 Friday - Place You Buy the Most / Least Books





This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is place you buy the most / least books 


Most


 https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/e5/a4/76e5a4c877a2505b8726740e5e6dc0fc--thrift-fashion-recycled-fashion.jpg


Thrift stores. In recent years, my financial situation has gotten worse so I have bought less books new, straight from the bookstore, and instead I've been going to thrift stores! This includes both general thrift stores, and used book stores. (Image found here)



Least





 

Bookstores, where they sell the books brand new. I still go to Chapters / Indigo, and I still order from Amazon on occasion (and I've started using BookOutlet too) however I definitely don't buy books brand new very often anymore.  (Image from my Instagram)



Where do you get the most / least books? Do you share my love of thrift stores?