All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe

51aeqrqibilRating: 2.5 stars

Defining the genre for this was difficult. There was a YA vibe to it, but it was interspersed with moments of sex, violence, and swears. The sex and violence was glossed over, so it wasn’t graphic. It was dark enough that it kind of like horror, but OTOH it wasn’t gory or terrifying in any way. So dark fantasy may define it better than horror, but at the same time the dark parts were only mild. It was fantasy for sure but all other labels are debatable.

The beginning was interesting. Wendy Darling turned into a bitter bitch in her old age and treated her granddaughter who she took care of like shit. Wendy was heartless enough that I didn’t really care how she became the way she was. It doesn’t matter how unfair life has been because it doesn’t give someone the right to treat someone else like crap for things that are out of their control. The more I learned about Wendy the less I liked her.

Wendy’s granddaughter Madge (I hate that name) was the MC. I liked her at first. Life wasn’t easy for her with a drunk uncle and cruel grandmother. Her character lacked depth. Some screwed up things happened but strong emotional reactions weren’t there. Peter Pan was a psycho. It was clear from the start that he was selfish and cruel. I didn’t give a shit about him. He wasn’t intriguing at all.

All of the characters were so one dimensional. Some of the world building was interesting. I never read the original Peter Pan, so IDK how much the world building deviated from it. It was obvious Pan needed to be taken down since he was a murderous bastard, but the ending was anticlimactic. I wish more details had been included about what happened to some of the Darlings. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but why was Madge’s last name Darling? Her mom never married, but her name wouldn’t have been Darling either since Wendy had been married. Chances are her husband didn’t have the name Darling as well. Back them women didn’t keep their last names. I did get bored about half way through. I don’t regret reading it, but chances are I’ll barely remember this a month from now.

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

Alice by Christina Henry

51r8cqtafyl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Rating: 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of Alice #1

I never read Alice in Wonderland. I never particularly liked any of the movies either. For some reason I really wanted to read this, and I’m so glad I did. It was dark, disturbing, and gory. I loved it!

In this story, there is no Wonderland. Alice grew up in the New City where she was safe and protected. One day she went to the Old City where danger lurked around every corner. It was a hellish place particularly for women. The people who ran it were evil. Women were used in the most horrible ways. Things did not work out well for Alice in the Old City.

“Two weeks later came Alice, covered in blood, babbling about tea and a rabbit, wearing a dress that wasn’t hers. Red running down the insides of her legs and blue marks on her thighs where fingers had been.”

Memory loss and emotional trauma landed Alice in a mental institution. A relationship was developed with Hatcher, the guy in the room next to hers. A small hole in the wall made it possible for them to speak to each other. Hatcher had plenty of his own issues. He loved bloodshed and was far more insane than Alice. Despite everything Alice trusted him.

One day the opportunity arose for them to escape. They weren’t free or safe on the outside. There was no one to trust but each other. They were thrust into a world of magic where powerful people did whatever they wanted. Surviving meant being brutal.

I loved Hatcher although I’m not quite sure why. He was disturbed and unstable. Killing made him happy, and he had no qualms about doing it. Normally I wouldn’t ship a sociopath, but his love for Alice was endearing although completely unconventional.

“I won’t let anything happen to you, Alice. I will kill you before I let the Walrus or anyone else take you away from me.”

Sounds weird but that was a touching scene. The place they were in was so screwed up you wouldn’t want to live if you couldn’t be protected. Death was a far better fate than being at the mercy of those in charge.

Alice and Hatcher were different yet similar. They both had the will to live and were brutal when necessary, but Alice was able to empathize with other people in a way Hunter couldn’t. They were a good balance for each other. She grew emotionally and strengthened her abilities greatly by the end of the book.

The amount of bloodshed was astonishing. So much blood and gore. They were covered in blood for half of the book. I don’t remember the last time I read a book where so many people were killed. What was worse than the murders was the torture and rape many women were subjected to. None of it was described in extensive detail, but enough was known to be deeply disturbed by what was happening.

I loved the writing. The descriptions created interesting, creepy visuals in my head. Not everything was wrapped up in this book. Their journey isn’t over yet. I think there will be more in store for emotional and relationship growth with Alice and Hatcher. I can’t wait to read the next one!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Rating: 2 stars

Series: Anna #1

The cover was beautiful and creepy. The title was intriguing. And the book left a lot to be desired. It felt like a bad rip off of Supernatural because Cas was raised in a family where he was intended to hunt ghosts and other supernatural creatures. It also reminded me of The Vampire Diaries in the sense that a bunch of teenage kids ran around solving all kinds of supernatural problems with virtually no supervision from their parents.

The world building was horrible. Nothing was ever really explained. What was special about Cas’s bloodline? Why was his bloodline attached to the knife? Why does he hunt ghosts? Why didn’t Anna kill Cas? I just read the whole book and I don’t have a clue. By the end of the book I was left with way more questions than answers about how the world works, but I do not intend on reading more in the series to find out.

None of the characters had any emotional depth. The plot was decent, but it didn’t matter since I didn’t care about the fate of any of the characters. A few characters were killed, and the friends of the victims barely had a response. They were briefly shocked and moved on like it never happened. None of the characters had any personality. Absolutely nothing distinguished one character from the next with the exception of Anna.

Cas was a weak main character. It was mentioned that he was a professional ghost hunter. Supposedly he had experience, but he stumbled through this book like an idiot. He made numerous mistakes some of which lead to other people’s deaths. He didn’t do actual research to find anything out about the ghosts he was hunting. He preferred to get the local gossip, which didn’t make sense to me. Both are useful but having actual facts helps too. Aside from that he wasn’t likeable. He thought he was better than everyone else. He didn’t even have respect for his mother who lugged his ass all over North America for him to hunt.

First person POV was used to tell the story, and it was poorly done. The word I was used too much especially in the first third of the book. Sometimes the situations could have been described in ways other than I saw, I felt, etc. The writing felt like it was done by an amateur. I’m not big on lengthy descriptions, but they were practically nonexistent. At least getting a brief description of the characters is nice, but the only character whose looks were described at any length were Anna’s.

The horror was missing from this horror novel. Some gruesome deaths happened but were glossed over. Nothing about this was even remotely cringe worthy. The evil spirits lurking around this town weren’t scary. Unfortunately romance was thrown into the mix, but it just happened out of nowhere without explanation. Nothing sexual happened, but after a few brief interactions these two characters realized it was love. It definitely wasn’t the worst novel I’ve ever read but far from the best either.

The Horrorscape Trilogy by Nenia Campbell

200263348-001   horrorscape   terrorscape

This series was highly recommended by a friend. I’m grateful I discovered these. It’s like these were books that I’ve been waiting my whole life to read and didn’t even know I was looking for. They’ve given me a hardcore book hangover. I can’t read anything else and truly enjoy it because I can’t stop obsessing about this series.

It’s hard to even pin down a genre. I’ve never read anything else like this ever. Psychological horror/suspense is probably the best way to describe them. The trilogy focuses on the relationship between Gavin and Val, but it’s not one that could really be classified as romantic. It’s dark and twisted, and I enjoyed every minute of it. By the end of the trilogy, it will fuck with your head.

Gavin is sexy, domineering, and demented. He’s not a hero or an anti-hero. He’s a character that should be despised, but no matter what he does, there is something incredibly alluring about him. He has charm and eloquence that shows through even when he is being despicable.

Val is a naïve young girl in the beginning. Her mind becomes warped from certain things she experiences. She’s not bad by any means, but she is emotionally damaged. Regardless of her emotional issues, she was easy to relate to. Her issues didn’t make the story depressing either. Her internal conflict and struggles were interesting.

It’s an incredibly fucked up story that gets darker with every book. The books evolve from young adult to adult as the characters age. The books did have some flaws but were highly enjoyable nonetheless. I can’t really say more without spoiling it so read these. They are awesome!