Tag: Magic/Supernatural (Page 3 of 29)

BOOK REVIEW – Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda Drake

BOOK REVIEW – Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda DrakeThief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1)
by Brenda Drake
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Parislibrary, where Arik and his Sentinels-magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books-rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren't busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.

Review:

***Updated Review After Re-Read***

Thief of Lies was addicting and completely entertaining.  And I’m so glad that I re-read this book!  You see, the first time I picked this up, I struggled connecting to the characters.  The story was so much fun, but I never felt as though I was fully immersed until Bastien appeared on the pages, and well I’ll talk more about him later.   But this time around, it all clicked into place.  I was so happy because Thief of Lies was an adorable story filled with adventure and magic!  And I can’t wait to see how this series unfolds!

Time crept by as I waited for Bastien, and I closed my eyes.  But the nightmare of where I was and who I didn’t know I was, strangled my breath.  Gia Kearns didn’t exist anymore.  She’d been lost somewhere on that first day when the gateway book ripped her from her world, dumping her in a dark hole.  A fog surrounded me.

But to start, can you imagine what it would be like to jump from library to beautiful library?  Well Gia and her friends accidentally jumped through a book and landed in a library in Europe.  Yet it’s not all ahhh this library is breathtakingly gorgeous and I’m going to sit here and read some fabulous books.  They become witness to the Sentinels, who protect the libraries with magic, kill a demonic hound that almost took out Gia, our heroine.  Within the group of magical knights that saved them was Arik.

“Did you just check out my boobs?” I whispered. Please say yes.
“No.” He smirked. “Okay, yes. I am a guy.”
That you are.
I yanked the covers up to my chin and suppressed a smile.

At first, Arik was everything I adore.  Sexy, secretive, protective and with a wounded past.  He had so much potential!  Yet I had a love hate relationship with him.  Luckily, this time around I got why he was being standoffish and cold to Gia.  But at other times, he could be so sweet and charming.  Yet, I never felt any electricity between Gia and Arik.  Their moments together didn’t leave me all smiley and giddy, so I truly don’t feel like he’s the right guy for Gia.  Especially when he said things like the quote above.  So I nicely stepped off Team Arik.

I gulped down my fear, drew my sword from its scabbard , and kept it close to my side.

Gia had a lot on her plate, and she tried her best adapt while leaving her old life temporarily behind (I can’t say why, but you learn the why early on in the book).  Yet it took me a while to warm up to Gia.  At times, she got caught up in being jealous and boy obsessed.  It came across as immature, and I wanted her to work harder on finding herself. But as I watched her deal with her new world and a new set of people/creatures I loved her resilience.  Even though she kept getting thrown into situations that were way above her head, I loved how she reacted realistically while she also jumped right in to help others.  Gia is someone who showed huge possibilities for growth, and I can’t wait to see how much she’ll learn and improve as the series progresses.

“With time, I’ll prove to you we belong together. Go ahead and have your fun with Arik, but it’s my arms you’ll end up in one day.”He kissed my cheek and headed over to the gathering crowd. – Bastian to Gia

I have to talk about Bastien now, or I will burst.  Oh Bastien.  From the first moment that he appeared on the page, I was captivated.  He was a wizard who was confident, sexy and strived to do great things while dealing with a broken heart.  He fascinated me.  And whether it was his sense of knowing himself or knowing what he wanted, he felt so much more grown up than Arik.  The words and manor that Bastien spoke to Gia always left the hugest smile on my face.  He was respectful, caring and I loved that he seemed in control.  So I truly hope Gia sees what I see and comes around.  Please oh please don’t end up with Aric by the end of this series and break my heart.

“I take it you’re not used to rejection,” I said.
He lifted a smile. “I’ll admit it’s a rare occurrence.”
Arik took a step toward us. “All right, we’re finished here.”
Bastien stood and leaned over to my ear. “You not wanting nobility intrigues me.  I’m curious to learn more about you, Gianna.” His whisper tickled my neck and sent a shiver down my back.  I held my breath, every inch of my body at attention.  He straightened, gave me a wink, and swaggered to the door with Arik on his heels.

Besides Bastian, Gia and Arik, we’re introduced to a lot of characters who range from witches, wizards, sentinels, fae etc.  On top of that, we learn about many different places and kinds of magic.  But I never once felt overwhelmed or lost.  We’re slowly introduced with little bits of info here and there, except for a few info dumps that  were relatively quick.  So it was easy to take it all in.  And ironically, I thought the story was somewhat simplistic a few chapters in, but I couldn’t be more wrong.  It continually grew and become more elaborate and layered as each chapter went by.  Especially when I started to discover clues and meet people err creatures? who were bent on not only revenge, but also ruling their world and the humans world too.  It was so entertaining!  So I can’t wait to see how the story proceeds, and here’s hoping you’ll join me and be on Team Bastien!

I grabbed a stapler and crouched behind the nearest cabinet. Nick and Afton ducked down beside me. I pulled the leg down on the stapler, held it up, and readied it to shoot.
“Yeah, that’ll work,” Nick said.

PS I have to give a shout out to her best friend Nick who could be grumpy at times, but I adored him.  And Afton, her other best friend, was this lovable girl who warmed me heart!  Ohhhh and Lei, she’s a Sentinel that is funny, sweet and kick ass.  I can’t wait for you to meet all of them!

PPS I finished Guardian of Secrets (the 2nd book in the series) last night and LOVED!  It’s 4.5 Stars and this series just gets better and better!  My review will be posted on February 6th with the Blog Tour. ♥

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
thief of lies brenda drake
Thief of Lies #1
Review:

Jen
guardian-of-secrets-brenda-drake
Guardian of Secrets #2
Review:

Jen

Assassin of Truths #3
Reviews:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh BardugoCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

 

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

It’s been so long since I’ve really sat down and wrote a review about a book that really mattered to me. Since I’ve had all this (all day)(endless) morning sickness, I’ve been pretty bleak about my outlook on reading and if I’d ever want to again-I know, right? Ridiculous. As if I’d ever give up my one true passion. But it’s been a long road…and when I saw Kaz on the horizon, I knew it was my time to reintroduce myself into the book community.

“Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch, Brekker. You have to be the craziest bastard I ever met.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

As everyone knows, Six of Crows has been my favorite read this year (yes I was late to the party). No, I haven’t had the longest, most prosperous reading year of my life (that was last year, boo), but when a book truly stands out, you simply don’t forget it. And so here was my baby boy, his final book coming up at the speed of light…and I knew I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But with that comes a lot of expectations.

Kaz had tapped his crow’s head cane on the flagstones of the tomb floor. “Do you know what Van Eck’s problem is?” 

“No honor?” said Matthias.
“Rotten parenting skills?” said Nina.
“Receding hairline?” offered Jesper.
“No,” said Kaz. “Too much to lose. And he gave us a map to what to steal first.”

For one….this is Kaz. You fuck up Kaz? I fuck YOU up. So…this author had a lot of hype to live up to in my pathetic world of nausea and the occasional regurgitation of Blue Raspberry Mr. Misty Floats from Dairy Queen. And not only did I have that larger than life hype in my head, but this was the FIRST BOOK to bring me out of my endless woes of re-reading and missing out on countless new releases. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

Jesper tapped his fingers restlessly on his thighs. “Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?” “So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”


So. Was it worth the hype? Was it everything I ever dreamed of and wished it would be? Was everything as perfect as the first? No. I’m sorry, but the answer is an absolute no. And I keep asking myself, if you didn’t love it as much as the first, if you have qualms about the integrity of the novel and all of the characters…why the 4.5 stars? Are you rating this so highly because you love Kaz more than you love the air you breathe? Or is it simply out of loyalty to your love of the first-Possibly your favorite book of all time under Hunger Games? And the truth of the matter is, I can’t answer that question. I really can’t. But what I can answer is this: No matter whether I believe this wasn’t what it could have been or whether it was and I just missed the party…I always, always rate with my gut. And my gut won’t let me rate lower than 4.5.

Kaz had rescued her from that hopelessness, and their lives had been a series of rescues ever since, a string of debts that they never tallied as they saved each other again and again. Lying in the dark, she realized that for all her doubts, she’d believed he would rescue her once more, that he would put aside his greed and his demons and come for her. Now she wasn’t so sure.

And every single one of my best friends, ask any of them (Harriet, Anna, Jenny, Jen, etc.) will tell you I do NOT lie on my ratings. They come from deep in my heart and I wouldn’t be able to stand it if I rated something less/more than what it deserved. So, I think I made it clear that, while I’m a tad confused on what made this click for me, I am set in my rating. If anyone is even still around I guess I’ll get to my thoughts on the book now.

“If you don’t care about money, Nina dear, call it by its other names.”
“Kruge? Scrub? Kaz’s one true love?”
“Freedom, security, retribution.”
“You can’t put a price on those things.”
“No? I bet Jesper can. It’s the price of the lien on his father’s farm.” The sharpshooter looked at the toes of his boots. “What about you, Wylan? Can you put a price on the chance to walk away from Ketterdam and live your own life? And Nina, I suspect you and your Fjerdan may want something more to subsist on than patriotism and longing glances. Inej might have a number in mind too. It’s the price of a future, and it’s Van Eck’s turn to pay.”

This book…..this book was not what I expected-both good and bad. Because, really, what did I even expect? I knew the first was out of this world creative, that nothing could compare….yet I longed for it to. Second books and third books are almost never my favorite…but I yearned for something better. And, while I didn’t get that, I did get a lot of things I was missing in the first. They weren’t as beautiful, far-fetched, as magnanimous as I had hoped, but they were there, and they were flawed…and how can I complain when I got my (cough) sweet Kaz to show his barest emotions, his most broken self to the only one left in the world he loved. I mean….Jesus. My heart couldn’t take any more. No, I didn’t get a full page proclamation of love-sorry to disappoint those who wanted that-but we did get the Kaz flair, the Kaz way of showing how much he cares, how loyal he is. And, frankly, despite what I had thought before…it was more than enough for me. This book was flawed. The crew was flawed. And Kaz was flawed….and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Around Pekka, he lost the shape of who he was—no, he lost the shape of who he’d fought to become. He wasn’t Dirtyhands or Kaz Brekker or even the toughest lieutenant in the Dregs. He was just a boy fueled by a white flame of rage, one that threatened to burn the pretense of the hard-won civility he maintained to ash.


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The beginning started out just as I’d hoped it would-right where it left off, give or take a week. They have very little time to get to Inej and free her from that bastard Van Eck, and Kaz (just a warning, this review is centered around Kaz so….yeah, sorry) is a man on a mission-A deadly mission. Everyone is battered and bruised, dedicated to the cause of getting their Wraith back, no matter what happens. After all, she has saved their lives countless times.


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But, here lies my largest issue: The POVs at the beginning. I’m sorry, but why do we have to wait one billion chapters to get into Kaz’s twisted head??? That pissed me off-No, the story wasn’t bad without it, but, for me, this felt odd. In the first book, he and Inej were the main POVs and I, quite frankly, liked it that way. In this one, it was all Wylan, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, etc..and THEN Kaz. And THEN Inej. I didn’t like that and it immediately put a sour taste in my mouth-NOW, I will just say this…it didn’t effect that much, I just was a pissy pink elephant about the whole thing. And, frankly, I thought the pairings at the beginning of the book were odd. I can’t explain it…it just didn’t feel right. Everyone was around, but I definitely was missing something. (TO HARRIET-Don’t worry, Kazzy bestie, he was not missing from the story, don’t misunderstand me).

“My mother is Ketterdam. She birthed me in the harbor. And my father is profit. I honor him daily. Be back by nightfall or don’t come back at all. Either of you. I need crew, not sentimental nubs.”

Now, while it didn’t effect the story…I do think it effected the intensity of Kaz’s character. This is why I LOVE him, okay? So when he is stifled by A) too much action (am I really stating this as a problem?) and B) No time in his mind I definitely noticed it. Which I guess brings me to the negatives, since this seems like the appropriate timing of both my review and the book: The middle. So many books effect me this way, even some of my absolute favorites, and I guess I just hoped that since book one had literally no slow parts, for me, that it would be the same here. But it was almost an opposite effect: There was literally so much going on at one point, that my mind couldn’t take it. Anna said it best: We missed the strategizing, the camaraderie, the banter, the scheming, and there was literally no time to do that. The weakest point for me, and where I lost interest for about 7%, was part three: Brick by Brick. This happens in many books, like I mentioned before, but I was hoping it wouldn’t here. And it ended quickly-it won me back almost right away-but it took a minute, and that scared me. I will say, though…it had one of my top three favorite Kaz quotes in the whole book-EEPS. That has to count for something!!


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So, with that doubt in my mind, which saddened me greatly that I had to consider that gap at all, I was suddenly more apprehensive of the rest of the story. Would it even out? Would I get my big declaration? Would I get the Kaz I had loved from story one? Well…not everything was what I’d expected, but there were some parts that were more, and that excited me so much I could barely contain my giddy glee. There are literally so many moments I could touch on, so many scenes I’ll never forget…Brutality, courage, loyalty, respect, love, betrayal [by the author] (sorry lady, but you definitely tried to pull a fast one on me I don’t know if I’ll ever agree with-at least how it happened).

He reached out and took Nina’s hand. Wylan suddenly felt he was intruding on something private. “I am grateful you’re alive,” he said. “I am grateful you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

You think you have it all figured out, that everything is finally going to go as you had hoped from the very beginning, and then out of nowhere there’s yet another curveball thrown your way. And while that worked extremely well for the last half of the book, I must say it was sometimes a misfire in the beginning parts of the book. Like I said, I LOVE this series, but it wasn’t without it’s flaws and I feel the need to talk it out on this page. Yes, I’m rambling, but it’s how I’ve always done reviews so…

His eyes scanned her face as they always had, closely, hungrily, snatching at the details of her like the thief he was—the even set of her dark brows, the rich brown of her eyes, the upward tilt of her lips. He didn’t deserve peace and he didn’t deserve forgiveness, but if he was going to die today, maybe the one thing he’d earned was the memory of her—brighter than anything he would ever have a right to—to take with him to the other side.


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Okay, forget it, I’m just going to touch on what I care about most and then I’ll end the suffering that is this repetitive review: Kaz. Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz KAZ. How do you like me now, computer??? I swear, it keeps putting that damn red squiggly line under his name and, since I’ve mentioned him like 100 times, my screen is completely reddish-IT’S A NAME, DAMN IT. LEAVE ME ALONE. Anyway, I digress. Kaz has stolen my heart completely with his brutal truths, cutthroat way of life, ABSOLUTE LOYALTY, his cunning, his scheming face, his cane, his gloves, the phobia he was stuck with because of his unfortunate circumstances…..the list goes literally on and on. And that’s why I was so angry that he was such a small part, I felt, in the beginning. Wasn’t he the main character? He and Inej, mostly? Wasn’t he the reason they even existed, this crew? Well, I didn’t care about them, any of them, like I did him, so that was hard for me to swallow. So when he got back to normal (and his chapters came more frequently), perhaps even more brutal than before…it was like coming home.

The silence between them was dark water. He could not cross it. He couldn’t walk the line between the decency she deserved and the violence this path demanded. If he tried, it might get them both killed. He could only be who he truly was—a boy who had no comfort to offer. So he would give her what he could. “I’m going to open Van Eck up,” he said quietly. “I’m going to give him a wound that can’t be sewn shut, that he’ll never recover from. The kind that can’t be healed.”
“The kind you endured?”
“Yes.” It was a promise. It was an admission.


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It’s true that most of my expectations centered around Kaz, Kaz and Inej, and him getting everything his poor heart deserved (revenge included), but I still know what a good, COMPLETE story is so shhh. I am happy with his chapter closing the way it did, with more to come for him and his eventual (I hope) complete happiness…and I do believe Bardugo finished his story in a way that was completely believable. I did want bigger, grander things for him-But the story ended in the way I think it was meant to, mostly. There’s plenty more I could wish for and plenty more I could say…but I’m happy leaving his story here. I love him. I adore him. No one compares to him. End of story.

Inej thought of Kaz’s pale trickster hands, the shiny rope of scar tissue that ran atop his right knuckle. Van Eck could break every finger and both of Kaz’s legs and he’d never say a word, but if his men stripped away Kaz’s gloves? Inej still didn’t understand why he needed them or why he’d fainted in the prison wagon on the way into the Ice Court, but she knew Kaz couldn’t bear the touch of skin on skin. How much of this weakness could he hide? How quickly would Van Eck located his vulnerability, exploit it? How long until Kaz came undone? She couldn’t bear it. She was glad she didn’t know where Kuwei was. She would break before Kaz did.

This book was far from perfect…but it made me happy. It had pain and torture and brutal moments that any sick bastard like me would lap up happily in each and EVERY story….but it also had its moments I wish were better. It’s a fine line between obsession and sanity, loving a book and its characters too much for my own good. So I will take this as a win-I just know it could have been even better. Less plots upon plots, a little less confusion around the middle because so much was going on (not always a good thing), and the fact that all this made me care less about certain things…these are the issues I had that I wish didn’t exist. But the fact remains: Bardugo rules. Her characters will stay in my heart forever. Kaz can literally get out of ANY situation….and I am at peace with where this story went. I could be happier….but at least this isn’t one of my final book Chelsea fails that happen so frequently. No Mourners. No Funerals.

***************


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Buddy Read with my LOVELY SNAKE-YAY!! We’re BACK! Well…at least for Kaz 😛


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BOOK REVIEW – Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog

BOOK REVIEW – Unnatural Deeds by Cyn BalogUnnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.

Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks…until magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.

And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and it’s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secrets…secrets that have finally come back to haunt her.

Psst! Guys! You really have to meet …

… Because in case you didn’t know, Z is your sun, your light, your LIFE.

“By the end of that first day without Z, the whole school fell into a general malaise. Students moved through the halls slower and didn’t smile as much. Everyone looked doubly hard at Z’s desk, as if staring could will him back. He was the sun, and his disappearance had sent us all out of orbit. And so, as the planet closest to him, I felt even more purposeless.

Who is Z, you’re asking? Their guru? Their METH DEALER? What – naaaah, he’s just that intriguing and oh so mysterious new guy *cough* every YA ever *cough* whom everyone loves because of REASONS.

I kid, I kid. There’re reasons.

① He’s got such an awesome sense of humor :

“Torture animals?”
I should have known he’d joke around.”

O_o

“Friday, as he set up the Bunsen burner, he said, “I wish I had a can of hair spray. I should have warned you that I’m kind of a pyromaniac. (…)
He continued, “Tip : When you’re with me, always scope out the nearest fire exit.” (…)
“You know that song? ‘The Roof Is on Fire’? That’s my favorite song. For obvious -“

Oh my God, I’m laughing so hard there. He’s just so funny!

② He’s just so intense, ya know?

“Oh, there is nothing as intense as the way he looks at you. When he does, it’s like you’ve been touched, maybe not by the hand of God, but by one of God’s fingers.

Blah, if that’s the fingers then. Small player.

“I looked into his eyes as he repeated, again and again, that it was under control. You know I don’t believe in witchcraft or hocus-pocus or junk like that [Twilight, though?] But in that moment, I knew that magic existed. Those eyes could make me believe anything. Anything. The world is flat? OK. Have a bridge for sale? Sign me up.

You, girl, have a problem.

③ He’s so respectful of other human beings and, you know, like, so fun to have around because he really cares, see what I mean?

“Instead, Z said, “I’m hungry. Let’s get food.” I didn’t have to agree. It wasn’t a question. He was just going to do it, and I suppose if I was against it, I’d have to jump out at a spotlight.”

I know what you think – he didn’t ask her but SEE! That’s where you’re wrong about him! He obviously did know before even asking her! How freaking AWESOME is that?!

④ He’s so interesting, people can’t help but be affected. Because of course.

“Brainy Gerri never wore anything other than the school’s regulation pink blouse, buttoned to the very top. Today though, her two top buttons were undone.

TODAY THOUGH.

“Some of the guys had taken to chewing gum.”

That is MIND-BLOWING stuff there. I am in AWE of that guy, really.

Honestly? There’s just something so appalling in seeing the main character fall head over heels for this imposture. Sure, from the *not so discreet* insinuations we understand that something bad is going to happen (sorry, this is YA thriller : something really really really bad is gonna happen – the badder kind of bad, like, so bad) but what baffles me is the fact that she fell (and the whole school with her) in the FIRST PLACE?! Like HOW? Alright, it tries to do something interesting by twisting the trope of the hot new guy (who is – shocking – actually a creepy dude, BOO!) but how can I feel invested if that’s obvious from the start? I mean, Victoria’s just so naive? O_o Also, she doesn’t like other girls, so, you know, I don’t like her. BIM!

► UNBELIEVABLE. BORING. RIDICULOUS.

Oooooops. Better leave then. DNF 37%.

BOOK REVIEW – Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

BOOK REVIEW – Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay RibarRocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

I’ll be upfront with you : If you can’t stand unlikeable MCs, you may want to steer clear of this book.*

While we’re at it, I need to point that the Paranormal label is misleading in my opinion : Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies (how’s that for an awesome title?!) reads more like a coming-of-age/mystery novel with important magical-realism elements (I know, it looks complicated XD). Look, I’m the first to say that genres aren’t important and that we shouldn’t choose our books because of some marketing categorization, and I still stand by it, but going into this book expecting some action-packed plot and detailed world-building would only lead to disappointment.

What is it about, then? Well. Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies primarily deals with Aspen’s character growth and what it means to be who we are. All the tiny traits that define us…. What if they’d been stolen? At which point do we stop being ourselves?

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies (I do love this title, sorry) can also count on its captivating mystery to keep the tension growing.

But mostly, it’s about following Aspen while he’s busy being an asshole. No, really. Trust me on this. At first I thought, oh, hey, he reminds me of Cassel**, arrogant but sarcastic and I love his voice? Then he did something and I was all –

DON’T YOU DARE!!!

*Yell and throw my hands out in a frustrated fashion*

But then, his voice was still compelling? Sorry? Still, every time that *insert swearing terms* decision was mentioned I felt icky. I mentioned character growth, and yes, there is, but don’t go in there expecting that Aspen will become a nice guy at 20%. Or 50%, for that matter. I’m not even sure he is a nice guy in the end – but I’ll come back to that.

If I take a close look at his flaws, I genuinely can’t fathom how and why I was able to stand him. The guy pushed All. My. Buttons. Every time I thought that I would be able to get past some shitty decision he took, he had to go and – Ugh. Facepalm and swearing ensued.

Yet the thing is, his behavior was believable : it rang so, so true.

See, Aspen’s family has an original power : all of them are able to reach into someone – anyone – and steal a part of them for their own benefit : their sight, their ability to do Math, their sadness, their memories – you name it. Grade-A thieves, the bunch of them. Granted, the first purpose of their power is to prevent the cliff from Three Peaks, their town, to fall and well, kill everyone. But would they be humans if they didn’t use this amazing power in their everyday life? Of course they wouldn’t.

We love reading about magical characters who are so selfless and genuine and martyrs and nice and kind and… really? Who are we kidding? No matter how insufferable Aspen was, oh my gosh, that was so much more believable and – hate me for this but – so satisfying. A teenager, who grew up with the ability to (basically) manipulate people, ever since he was a toddler?! Of course he’s an arrogant asshole! It doesn’t mean that I love these parts of him, but they make sense, even if the guy is an hypocrite piece of shit.

Yet more and more along the way, we start getting the impression that something… isn’t quite right. Is Aspen genuinely clueless, delusional or a damn SOCIOPATH?

What? The guy can’t be bothered with empathy, or so it seems.

About that : (do not read before finishing the book) View Spoiler »

Most of all, I loved that Aspen’s character development was slow and incomplete, because no matter what romance novels tell us, a complete 360 in someone’s personality isn’t really a thing. Also, he really made me laugh. Oops.

The relative predictability – I guessed one major plot point early on – actually HELPED me to enjoy the book better, but that doesn’t mean that I saw everything coming : I did not. So many lies, really : the questions surrounding Aspen’s family made for the most unsettling mystery, keeping me eager to turn the pages, because I really, really needed to know if I was right. Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies was thoroughly engrossing and fascinating, albeit disturbing. As I said, though, it was certainly not an action-packed novel, and there were many random everyday life events pictured (including romance, but…). I couldn’t stop reading all the same.

The ending wasn’t wrapped in a neat bow but I thought that its honesty suited the book perfectly : Some readers can find it unsatisfying, but for me Lindsay Ribar couldn’t have taken a better decision.

Add a compelling writing, and you get an unputdownable book. A weird, but thought-provoking one, for which I developed a strange fondness.

*Yes, in the end, I cared about him anyway. Sigh.

**There were similarities with White Cat, by the way. They didn’t bother me, but they were here.

BOOK REVIEW – Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley Armstrong

BOOK REVIEW – Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley ArmstrongDeceptions (Cainsville #3)
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Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Otherworld series delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, where the discovery of Cainsville’s dark past and the true nature of its inhabitants leads to murder, redemption, love, and unspeakable loss.

Olivia Taylor Jones’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she is not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders but also her stalker ex-fiancé.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks both Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating the triangle that connects them. Will darkness prevail, or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?

✨ Now available in Paperback! ✨

Whaaaat? Is it finished already? Damn it.

Gabriel character’s growth : Alright. I feel like a broken record, so don’t mind me. As in the first two books, here lies my favorite part of these books. I’m all about the characters most of the time, and a great characterization can decide of my love for a book. In Deceptions Gabriel continues to learn how to stop being a cyborg (not really) and I absolutely adored peeking through the layers of his character. GAH. I love this man. See, I love the way he talks. All practical. I’ve loved his tough side from the start, his inability to react like people are supposed to, because that what makes him different from other characters : he’s not a bad-boy, he’s not a knight in shining armor either, he just… is, and I can’t help but enjoy every time he appears, even if he is being an ass (yes, it happens. No, it doesn’t change a thing). When he starts showing vulnerabilities, though? I melt. I just – I can’t. It’s subtle, and it’s way more interesting as it is. It’s showing, never telling, but he cares, so much – it made my heart throb with wonder and yes, break a little.

“He kept giving me that look, the confusion deepening to something like disappointment, like hurt, as if he’d tried to be kind and thoughtful, and I was rejecting it, and he didn’t know why. That little boy, reaching out and being pushed away. Goddamn it, Gabriel. Don’t look at me like that. Wake up. Snap out of it, pull that wall back up and retreat behind it.”

Finally, his interactions with Olivia and really – everyone – made my day. I’ll take more of this, please.

“His brows shot higher. “That would imply I have time for such frivolities. I don’t watch television or movies, and while I read a fair bit, fiction would hardly advance my education. Data, data, data. I cannot make bricks without clay.” I crossed my arms and glowered up at him. “Obviously, you’ve made an exception.” “I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule.” ” I hate you so much right now.”

Ricky’s case : Strangely, I feel bad about Ricky. Why? Because he’s genuinely adorable with Olivia and they seem really great together but even if 1)he doesn’t annoy me and 2)I don’t mind their sex scenes, on the contrary, I can’t help but feel not involved in their story. I’m a Gabriel girl through and through, even if I repeat, it’s not a love triangle-team Gabriel kind of situation. Not really. To be frank, I have nothing against Ricky : he’s sweet, respectful, charming, a little wild… I like him, really. And still… He isn’t near as fascinating as Gabriel. *shrug* Gabriel is the one who makes me smile. Always.

Olivia’s behavior : I still like her, but I have to admit that she annoys me a little when she refuses to see the obvious View Spoiler ». However, she does act on it and I appreciate how realistic that makes her : yes, in real life we bury our head in the sand sometimes. I’m often the Queen of that ship, even if I’m not proud of it. That doesn’t prevent me from waking up when I sense that I need to, and Olivia does. Whilst lost and confused, she always stays brave, smart, and funny. Am I tired to be in her head? No, never. And that’s saying something : she doesn’t ramble, she doesn’t daydream, but she always tries to make the best out of the chaos that followed her arrival in Cainsville. However, I cannot stand how she handles a certain situation, and it’s a spoiler, so here we goes (sorry) :View Spoiler »

TC! Every book needs a moody cat.

Addictive factor : Once again, the writing is completely addictive and I couldn’t stop reading for the life of me. From page one I dived into Cainsville’s mess as if I had never stopped, and there are very few series about which I can say that.

Creepy factor :

First of all : I’m a chicken (yes, it’s important to state). This being said, the creepy scenes increased in number in this third book, definitely. I got chills at her visions and no, the light of my Kindle wasn’t enough anymore. Chicken, I said.

ANSWERS! I’m not gonna lie, the first two books let me –

You get the idea. Lost. Confused. Did I say lost? So, does it change? Yes we get explanations about the murders. Yes they’re twisted and wicked. Yes I loved that. Does the story seem less captivating after getting these answers? Oh hell no. I’m even more curious to see where the story will go from now on. Now, I must confess that some parts disappointed me and that I am scared that this series will become stereotypical (that’s why I lowered my rating) View Spoiler ». I hate Fate related plots and I really can’t fathom why authors do that. I strongly hope I’m wrong, and I want to trust Kelley Armstrong to stay far from the easiest path View Spoiler », because so far everything was way more complicated than it seemed, and I loved these books for it.

Ps. I need to say something about the bike club scene : it made me cringe so bad. I do not like girl fight at all, and the whole “handling over” Olivia played with my nerves. I know, I have no idea if it is accurate or not. Maybe it is. I still can’t help but hate the casual sexism that is pictured there. Ugh.

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