Winter’s Reach by Craig Schaefer

23508962Rating: 4 stars

Series: Revanche  Cycle #1

Epic fantasies are not my favorite. Unlike most epic fantasies, this wasn’t weighed down with overly complex world building, which made it easier to get into. It did have a lot of characters, but not so many that it was hard to keep track of who they were and how they were related. However it didn’t grab me from the start. I had tried to read this 3 other times and never got more than a few chapters in. I’m not sure why it interested me this time. Maybe I needed to be in the right mood for it.

The pope is dying and wants his worthless son to take over when he dies. The other clergymen weren’t blind to the son’s faults and knew letting him be in charge would be disastrous. Many other powerful men and ones wanting to get more power were taking advantage of the situation in the church and playing their own manipulative games.

I didn’t love any of the characters. Some are definitely better than others, but I have the feeling we’ve only scratched the surface in regards to what these characters are capable of. It doesn’t appear that this is a series with clearly defined good and bad guys; these people have varying shades of gray. I am curious to see how all of this plays out because knowing Craig Schaefer, things are bound to take a few unexpected turns.

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

510te6onegl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Rating: 3.5 stars

It didn’t live up to the hype. It started off with a bang. Then it got really boring for quite a while. The school shooting happened. Then the events of it were immediately rehashed through police interviews. Considering one of the MCs was at the school shooting it seemed unnecessary. The tragic murder from the beginning was also written about two more times. Too much felt repetitive. I didn’t care about much of anything that was going on until about half way through.

By the end I warmed up to the characters but I can’t say that I ever liked them. Considering I hated them for most of the book it was an improvement. Charlie was a bitch. Most of the book she felt bad for herself about her marital situation. It annoyed the hell out of me because she was the cause of most of her problems. It was hard to sympathize with her. Sam didn’t intend to but came off as pretentious. I hated it that she ignored her family for so long. I liked her better than Charlie but couldn’t sympathize with her much either. Rusty meant well but was a shitty parent in many ways.

Around 60% of the way through I finally became invested in what was going to happen although this book never reached page turner status for me. I probably would have liked the book better if it had been 100 pages or so shorter. I loved the ending. It was twisted and I didn’t see it coming.

 

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.