Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

The Glass Spare
by Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: October 24th 2017
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Find This Book: The Glass Spare
Rating: 4/5

An ARC of this book was provided to me by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn’t quite sure where this book was going to go and was pleasantly surprised. The world-building is an interesting mix of industrial-revolution, mythology, alchemy, and “marvelers” aka magicians. The main character, Wilhelmina or “Wil” for short is everything I want in an MC; she’s feisty, strong, smart, and very skilled. Is she magically all of these things? No. She’s had years of training being the 4th in line to the throne (or the spare child). As Wil had trained to by the King’s spy her whole life, these skills come to great use on her journey.

Wil has an interesting dynamic with her parents and siblings, which only becomes more complicated when she discovers that an adrenaline spike will allow her to turn anything she touches into gemstones. I’m really excited to see how that continues! Viewing all of her options through the perspective of having a curse and how she might affect other people was really impactful. Here is a young girl in an unfortunate situation, and while she might think of herself and her power as a monster, her kind actions tell the reader otherwise. Maybe I’ve just read too many villain origin stories recently, but having such a noble character not cave to the treacherous world around her was really inspiring.

What knocks this down one star for me was the occasional switching of the POV. It happened only a couple times and wasn’t consistent. It felt like “oh the reader needs to know this but Wil doesn’t, what do I do?” sort of situation and it always felt a bit off when I was out in a different character’s shoes. The world building as I mentioned above was an interesting mix. The industrial-revolution wasn’t super impactful in this book as Wil’s father is pretty apposed to new machines, but I’d be into the weird plants and potions and then all of a sudden peanut butter was mentioned and I’d be briefly taken out of the scene wondering “wow they have peanut butter in this world?” All minor stuff but it did stop me from being fully immersed in the story.

Story-wise, there are a couple plot twists along the way, but what I really enjoyed was that the ending was a bunch of slow reveals. I wasn’t thrown for a loop or cliffhanger and I was still effectively steered into wanting reading book two which was a nice change of pace. I grew really attached to Wil and her companions Loom and Zay and will definitely be reading the next book!

Monday, December 11, 2017

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

This Darkness Mine
by Mindy McGinnis
Publication Date: October 10th 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Find This Book: This Darkness Mine
Rating: */5

An ARC of this book was provided to me by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think I can give a star rating to this book. I’m not even really sure what to think of it. This book was an experience. I’ve never read a Mindy McGinnis book before but I will definitely be checking out her other works. There was some really creative prose full of double meanings within conversations between Shanna and Sasha that were extremely impressive.

This book was weird as hell. Sasha has basically no memories whenever Shanna (the sister she absorbed in the womb) takes over her body. I’m still not sure if it’s an alternate reality where possession is an actual thing and the sister was real, or if Sasha has Multiple Personality Disorder. Sasha is a well-put together terrible person (she gets called abitch multiple times) and she’s the GOOD twin. By well put together I mean she is so smart and so sure of herself that as the POV it’s hard for the reader and for the characters around her to discern what’s the truth and what is Sasha’s delusion.

The book is dark, it has its graphically violent moments, and it’s a lot to take in. Handle this book with caution, but if you’re up for an effed up adventure- go for it. Don’t be hanging on to the edge of your seat for a resolution though- while things get tied up there are some intentional loose threads that personally bother the heck out of me.

This book is absolutely perfect for what it is: a psychological thriller. Whether that genre is up your alley is completely a personal preference, however; I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten
by Katie Cotugno
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Find This Book: Top Ten
Rating: 5/5

An ARC of this book was provided to me by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

So not even getting to the actual plot, I love how the story is told. It’s got a really cool nonlinear narrative and like the back of the book says- this narrative is compelling. I can’t imagine the novel being told in chronological order- it is perfect the way it is. That being said I can get how non-linear timelines are not for everyone. For those who want to read a creative experience pulled-off well- this book is for you! Instead of a start and an end, the reader gets taken through the 10 most important parts of Gabby and Ryan’s friendship. It starts with their senior year graduation and then goes back and skips around their high school career, their ups and downs, their best memories and their major fights.

The story is about the complicated relationship of Gabby and Ryan. Honestly, who hasn’t had that weird relationship where you don’t know how you became friends with the person? Gabby is a bisexual photographer (woot woot thanks for the rep) and additionally struggles with social anxiety (which I don’t have personal experience with but it seemed pretty realistic?). This book is not about discovering Gabby’s sexuality, or coming out to her family, or societal acceptance- she simply is bi which was nice to read about. Ryan on the other hand is a party-hard hockey player who the author does a great job of not stereotyping. He’s not a ‘dumb sports jock’ and his character is three-dimensional.
These characters are from two different worlds and their two beings somehow clicked and I feel like everyone has this bizarre experience at some point? Very relatable. The book is told from both POV’s so you really get a feel for both characters equally. How they met and continue their relationship made for quite the entertaining read (this book also got shelved with my tear-jerkers: books that made me emotional to the point where I almost cried). 

 This was the perfect stand alone book!