Thursday, 15 August 2019

Dark Secrets 2 by Elizabeth Chandler

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Series: Dark Secrets
 Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Page Count: 599
Published: May 4th, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3 Stars ★★★


This young adult bind-up contains books 3 and 4 of the Dark Secrets series. In "No Time to Die", we follow a girl attending a theater camp where her sister died. The mystery of her death remains unsolved, but a supernatural mystery - and a love triangle - complicate things further. In "The Deep End of Fear", Kate returns to the Westbrook Estate where her friend Ashley drowned many years before. Tutoring the young Patrick, she starts to fear the possibility of dangerous family dynamics, and even the paranormal. Will she suffer from another loss? Or will she be the one to die this time?


Both of these books are best described as enjoyable, but not particularly memorable.


The atmospheres in both stories were definitely creepy and tense, which was a major strength. Overall, the characters were interesting, likeable, and made me want to keep reading. However, the second story felt way too drawn out, and at times quite boring.


I appreciate the hint of romance in both stories, although the first story had a bit more romance than the second. I like that there was a paranormal or supernatural element to both mysteries, however it wasn't too intense or overpowering the "real life" mysteries that the characters faced. It was very balanced.


I think that the reveal of the first book's villain, and their motives, was a bit too unbelievable for me. I also found that there were some annoying cliches, such as the whole "villain explains evil plan to the hero" trope.


Overall, these books were interesting, but I'm not interested enough to keep them in my book collection. I recommend this for fans of Elizabeth Chandler's first two Dark Secrets books, and for those looking for a short mystery.


Find Dark Secrets 2 on Goodreads

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Huntress by Malinda Lo + Crossed by Ally Condie

Huntress


Series:N/A
 Author: Malinda Lo
Page Count: 371
Published: December 11th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  2.5 Stars ★★



Huntress is about powerful sage Taisin and mundane Kaede, who live in a world where crops are failing, people are starving, and their home is in danger. The girls are selected to travel to Tanlili, where they are to speak with the Fairy Queen. But the journey to Tanlili possesses dangers, and some may not make it out alive. Not to mention the girls' hearts, which may be falling for each other.


I really enjoyed Ash, a Cinderella retelling by Malinda Lo. As a result I was hoping to enjoy Huntress, but unfortunately, I didn't. It wasn't the worst book ever, but I'd rather have skipped it had I known it would be like this.


My main issue is with the pacing. It made it very boring. After about 25% of the book, I was just skimming large parts, entire chapters. There was wayyyyy too much description! It kind of feels like the author was just spouting off description to fill the book up! This book could have been better....were it about 100 pages thinner.


I did like the sort of tense, almost resistant romance the two girls developed. Taisin, as a sage, would end up celibate for her whole life, so she was really uncertain concerning starting a romance with Kaede. I thought that added some romantic suspense to the book because I was wondering if she'd choose Kaede, or if she'd abandon her. I also liked the fantasy elements, like the fact that sages even exist as a valid occupation or title in this society, along with the fairies!


Overall, I can't say I truly enjoyed this, however it wasn't entirely horrible. While there was way too much description for my tastes, I did like the romance and the fairies!


Find Huntress on Goodreads



Crossed (Matched, #2)


Series: Matched
 Author: Ally Condie 
Page Count: 367
Published: March 12th, 2013
Publisher: Speak
  4 Stars ★★★★

Life forever changed for Cassia in Matched when she dared to question the Society. Now in Crossed, her journey continues as she sneaks away during a camp transfer, and finds herself in the Outer Provinces. She wants to look for the Rebellion and for Ky, who was sent away after the events of Matched, and who she loves.


But attacks and gunfire are common in the Outer Provinces, and she must travel far to reach the Rebellion. She's not sure if she will even find Ky.....will she survive?


This was a good follow-up to Matched, and I like that this book focused on the journey through the Outer Provinces, along with Cassia's hopes and fears. This story was told through both Ky and Cassia's viewpoints, which I also enjoyed because it gave me a peek into what both of them were dealing with, particularly since they were often not together.


I continued to hope that Cassia and Ky would succeed in their mission! But I have to say that I'm not sure if I want Cassia to end up with Ky or Xander. I really like them both! I can't wait to read the next book to see how the trilogy ends.


Find Crossed on Goodreads


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Beautiful Cover of the Day

Hey everyone. I haven't done one of these in a while! But there are so many beautiful book covers I want to share....


Today I am featuring Gravemaidens!



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I like this cover because all of the elements work together to create a beautiful, striking image. I love the colour scheme, it is interesting because I tend to prefer darker covers but I think the lighter colours work so well here. I like that the colours are fairly faded/toned down except for the bright, bold blue in the middle of the jar/bottle. It really captures my attention.


I love the font of the title, and the positioning. The slight curve of the letters mirrors or parallels the slant on the top of the bottle/jar, but it isn't too curved.


The words "beauty is a sacrifice" sound ominous and draw me in so much! I also like how the author's name is prominently displayed, but it does not overwhelm the cover image (as I have seen in some covers).



What are your thoughts on this book cover?

Friday, 7 June 2019

Hotter Blood by Jeff Gelb (Various Authors)


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Series: Hot Blood
Author: Jeff Gelb and Various Authors
Page Count: 352
Published: September 1st, 2004
Publisher: Pinnacle
  4 Stars ★★★★


So I can't say too much about the individual stories and plots featured in this anthology, as this would result in a review made of spoilers. So, I am just giving my general thoughts!


This erotic horror anthology features a range of short stories from contemporary horror to supernatural terrors. All stories have some erotic component to them, but don't worry, this doesn't undermine the scare or creep factor! In most cases, it actually makes the story more creepy.


This was a great anthology that introduced me to so many new authors. I loved the mix of erotic and horror themes, as I'm interested in genre-bending stories and all the strange and bizarre places our imaginations can go. I really enjoy both erotica and horror on their own, and while I was a bit skeptical about if they would mix well, this anthology showed me that these two genres/themes mix incredibly well under the right circumstances.


The stories ranged from very scary and shocking to not scary at all. I found a few of the stories were good overall, but I don't think they were suited for a horror anthology. On the other hand, some stories introduced me to concepts and ideas I'd never ever thought of! Many of the authors were very creative and original, and this resulted in me adding even more books to my to-read list.


I definitely want to read the other erotic horror collections in this anthology series. I recommend this to fans of erotica and horror fiction who want to see an interesting blend of the two. If you want to discover new authors in these genres, this would be a great pick for you.



Find Hotter Blood on Goodreads

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Let's Talk About Reading in Public

Alright, folks. So with the weather warming up, I am determined to spend more time outside the house this summer. However, I also want to read more this summer. I guess that means I will be reading more outside my house!



I do have some ideas and concerns about this, though. I want to talk a bit about them, and get your thoughts.



So first, I want to talk about the benefits of reading outside the house!



Exercise. You have to walk, or jog, to where you're going to be reading. This is great because there is a library near my house where I want to spend more time, so I get to be surrounded by books and get some exercise!



Sunlight and fresh air. Reading outside the house can include reading in parks, cemeteries, or at the beach. As a result, this can increase the amount of sunlight and fresh air you get, which is also great.



Bench behind abandoned house

Image found here


Discovering other books. If you decide to go sit at the library to read, you can also browse for more books to read later on!


An excuse to get ice cream. Hey, I'm outside and sweating in the sun, might as well get some ice cream to cool down!


I do have some concerns about reading in public, though!


First off, comfort. I like to sit cross-legged, or stretch my legs on the couch when I read. I can't exactly do that on the park bench. I have to be more careful about taking up space.


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 I would not read this in public.


The books themselves. The subject matter of a book can be an issue when reading in public. There is the issue of the cover of a book, of course. Many romantic books have very steamy cover scenes, and personally I would not be comfortable reading them in public. Sometimes book titles can be a little raunchy as well! Maybe I am being paranoid here, but I also would avoid reading books such as Pet Sematary or The Smart Aleck's Guide to Grave Robbing in the cemetery.


The sun/heat. Of course, while getting more sun and fresh air is great, if it is too hot or sunny outside, you might find yourself regretting settling outside for a read.


People. People might come up to you and ask to talk about what you are reading. This is an issue for me because I am introverted and socially awkward.


What are your thoughts on reading in public? Do you agree with my pros/cons? Are there any other benefits or concerns you have that I have missed?


Happy Reading!