The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

34189556Rating: 3 stars

A thriller this was not. It took a while to get into the story. For a while it was nothing more than a banal story about a scorned woman left for a younger woman. Then it turned into a story about a deceptive husband.

This fell flat. Most of the time what was going on didn’t hint at anything deeply disturbing going on. There were a few twists, but they certainly weren’t mind blowing. Richard was the main impediment to this story being appealing. It was apparent from the start that he was controlling, demanding, selfish and superficial. It was hard to understand why more than one woman was ever in love with this man. Sure he was rich but that’s not everything. I felt like this was supposed to be a story about a charming man who was not what he appeared. For that to work, he had to be charming in the first place. Vanessa’s role in the story wasn’t interesting as it alluded to.

The ending wasn’t what I hoped it would be. It was good, but I was expecting more. There were dark elements, but the story itself wasn’t dark. Nothing that anybody did was shocking or maybe I was too unattached to the characters to feel disturbed by what happened to them. The prologue definitely had an unexpected twist although it wouldn’t have changed anything if it hadn’t been included.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Twisted Ever After #1

***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!

This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.

Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.

Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.

It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.

I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.

I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

18350798Rating: 4 stars

Series: Menagerie #1

The world was similar to our own except cryptids (mermaids, minotaurs, oracles, werewolves, mermaids, etc.) existed and people were aware of them. Everyone got along until 1986 when a massive number of children were killed in their sleep in one night by a specific kind of cryptid that people thought was human. Acceptance of cryptids suddenly turned to hate. Then they were either killed or captured.

Delilah lived a normal life. While visiting a menagerie which is a circus of cryptids, Delilah encountered a man mistreating one of the cryptids. As her anger rose, she turned into an unknown type of cryptid. Her life as she knew it was over in an instant. All of her rights were stripped away since she was no longer human. People she had known all her life abandoned her and acted as if she were a threat to them.

Menagerie is very dark. It was hard to get through at times. At the heart of it this is about hatred and the innocent ones who suffer as a result. Often those who hate and demean others are truly the ones worthy of being hated because they are vile, selfish people. What Delilah experienced was horrible, and her experience in the menagerie was far more pleasant than it was for the others. Most of the handlers were sadistic and cruel.

“[T]he only true difference between the hybrids and most of their handlers was that the handlers hid their beasts on the inside.”

Gallagher was different than the other handlers, but I spent most of the book wondering if he was trustworthy or not. There were many other characters. Occasionally some of them would get a brief chapter from their POV, and it helped to get a better understanding of what it was like for various people in the menagerie. The cryptids have a rough road ahead of them; it will be no easy feat to attain freedom legally.

Wake to Dream by Lily White

wake-to-dream-2Rating: 3 stars

Alice was in therapy for her disturbing dreams. Aside from those she was too lost in her own head to know what was going on in her life. It was obvious that the dreams were sprinkled with truth, and her amnesia and mental issues were preventing her from seeing the truth. It wasn’t easy to figure out exactly what was going on. Once I thought I had things figured out, it would get twisted into something different.

It was suspenseful. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going on. Although the book was dark and had several elements that would be triggers for people, it didn’t have the same impact as these elements have in other novels. Bad things don’t seem as drastic when the MC is delusional, and half or more of what is going on isn’t really happening although it does take a while to know what is really happening and what isn’t.

The book was good, but I was waiting for a mind blowing moment that never came. There was a big twist half way through and another at the end. They weren’t predictable but weren’t particularly shocking either.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Silent Sounds of Chaos by Kristina Circelli

81059acb3f96e65905ebd27c9dfed65dRating: 3.5 stars

Finn and Snow could speak to each other telepathically. Both of them went through hard times in their lives, and telepathy allowed them to connect in a way no one else could. They were an unlikely pair of friends considering they lead very different lives.

Their friendship worked. It was much easier to understand their connection since the story alternated between both of their POV. They were both lonely and depended on each other. Finn’s life was much more difficult since he was severely neglected as a child. One day Snow was kidnapped. Finn was the only one with any hope of finding her. Tracking her down wasn’t easy since he had no idea where she had lived.

The ending was completely unexpected. There weren’t any clues I can think of that would have lead me to think it would end the way it did. Although the ending was surprising somehow it fell flat. I hadn’t really expected such a solid explanation for everything. It twisted the whole story into something different. I didn’t completely love the ending, but it was definitely worth reading. The writing was great, and I would definitely read something else by this author.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

His Light in the Dark by L.A. Fiore

27857530Rating: 3 stars

Mia and Cole met as children when her father tried to save Cole from his abusive father. The story spanned about 2 decades showing how their relationship evolved. Mia was the good girl with the perfect life. Cole OTOH could never escape his demons. Despite their differences they were still drawn to each other.

I would have liked this better, but it started to drag in the middle. Cole and Mia’s dad got into some trouble, but they never let Mia know what was really going on. Someone betrayed Mia’s dad, and it set off a huge chain of events. No one knew who betrayed him, and Mia was desperate to figure it out. This part of the story was boring because it was fairly obvious who wronged Mia’s dad, and it took a long time for the characters to put it together. It would have been more suspenseful if the book had been shorter.

I wasn’t feeling any passion or chemistry between Mia and Cole until the last quarter of the book. They were close as kids despite the 5 year age difference. Then they were separated for several years. When they reconnected, Cole purposely kept his distance. No matter what happened, Mia tried to strengthen their relationship. Chapters from Cole’s POV gave insight to his reasons for this, but from Mia’s perspective I couldn’t figure out why she didn’t give up on him. He gave her the cold shoulder for over a decade. There were a few moments between them during that time, but they weren’t intense enough to really get the feeling they were meant to be. It was pathetic after a while for Mia to put herself out there over and over again while he barely gave her a response.

I’m not going to say anything specific about the ending because it would give away some major spoilers. It was too perfect and over the top. I didn’t want a dismal, sad ending, but it would have been okay if certain things hadn’t happened.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.