Review: STILLHOUSE LAKE by Rachel Caine


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STILLHOUSE LAKE
Rachel Caine

SeriesGwen Proctor #1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 302
Release date: July 1st 2017

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.


But she’d never asked, she didn’t know, and in the end, that was what destroyed her.


Stillhouse Lake is a fast paced mystery-thriller novel with an interesting premise and well-done execution. Gwen’s story is one of suspense, personal horror, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children. It is gruesome and engrossing, and it hooks readers in right from the first page.

Rachel Caine’s writing is easy to get lost in. The opening scene packs quite a punch, and the slow build up of the mystery plot keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The tensions translates rather well in the writing, making it easy to connect to the main character. Despite the ending being a little predictable, this is still an emotional, suspenseful, and entertaining book.

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Review: DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES by Seanan McGuire


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28114396
DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES
Seanan McGuire

SeriesWayward Children #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Tor.com
Pages: 189
Release date: June 13th 2017

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.


Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.


Down Among the Stick and Bones is a delightfully creepy novella. The beautiful writing gives the story an eerie and haunting atmosphere, the twists and turns tug at readers’ heartstrings, and the complex characters and incredible setting make this a fascinating novel. There is blood, death, love, hate, more blood, and two sisters trying to figure themselves out and their place in the world.

Seanan McGuire deserves all the praise! The writing in this is absolutely stunning and sweeps readers off their feet and into the dangerous world of the Moors. The plot is engrossing, even in its horribleness, and grasps your attention right away. The novel also has a really important message, delivered in an enchanting way: let others decide who they want to be in this world.

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ARC Review: MASK OF SHADOW by Linsey Miller


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28114396
MASK OF SHADOW
Linsey Miller

SeriesUntitled #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 384
Release date: August 29th 2017

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.


I needed to win.


Mask of Shadows is an YA Fantasy novel with lots of action, intrigue, a sprinkle of romance and a wonderful main character. The plot is rather light on the Fantasy aspect, as the world-building lacks development and falls a little flat, and the magic get some mentions but no explanations. The premise is also familiar — different people fighting to death for a place as the Queen’s new assassin —, giving readers a huge sense of deja vu and making the story a bit boring to follow

Linsey Miller’s writing is good. It’s easy to follow the story along, and Sal, our main character, is a great narrator. The way the author addresses Sal being genderfluid is incredibly well done and definitely the highlight of this story. Unfortunately, Sal is really the only thing that grasped my attention in this novel.

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WWW Wednesday: Read, Reading, Will Read (15)

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday, a meme currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s a place for you to do a little update on what your reading plans are.

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

 

1. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I’m a little halfway through with this YA Fantasy novel! The beginning was a bit slow, but really interesting and engaging. So I’m a bit disappointed at how things are developing? A lot of decisions just don’t make any sense and the world-building is really vague and shallow.

2. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Another YA Fantasy novel! The premise is so unique and intriguing. I’m at the very beginning and I’m really liking the story so far. My one main problem is that my paperback copy is filled with editing errors? I’m not sure how it passed publication, and it’s bumming me out a bit.


What did you recently finish reading?

    1. Vampire’s Kiss by Ella Summers: Urban Fantasy novel that started out really interesting, but fell super flat! Review here.
    2. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin: Amazing little additions to the ASOIAF world! And Egg is my new favorite. Review here.

 


What do you think you’ll read next?

22840421Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell


Same pick as last week, because this just released yesterday! M/M Sports Romance, come to meeee.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.


What are books did you recently finish reading? What do you plan on reading next?
Tell me in the comments!


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Top 10 Tuesday: Ravenclaw Recs

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is: Ten book recommendations for Ravenclaws!

Shamelessly pimping my own house, but this was such a good opportunity to talk about Ravenclaw that I could not pass it up!

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Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.

Traits: wisdom, intelligence, wit, creativity, originality, individuality, acceptance.

31145148Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente


A glorious retelling of the Russian folktale Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, set in a mysterious version of St. Petersburg during the first half of the 20th century. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya’s fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace – only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death.

22840421Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves?

30233110Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor


The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

18189606The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

27883214The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny.

23299512Lost Stars by Claudia Gray


After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows stronger. The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead…

24485589Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb


Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill–and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.

23592235A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin


Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

30095464Matilda by Roald Dahl


Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

25733660Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.


What’s your Hogwarts house? Have you read any of these?
Let me know in the comments!


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#TheReadingQuest: Off to Slay my TBR!

#TheReadingQuest is on!

For those of you wondering, this is a reading adventure based entirely on a video-game quest. In this challenge, we’ll be embarking on a journey to conquer our TBR pile through a series of stages. We’ll read new stories, gain experience, and level up a character of our choosing. You can check my TBR here.

As a Knight, I have a path I need to follow and books I need to strike down.

As of today, I’ve slayed one book in my reading quest!

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A huge thank you and shoutout to CW of Read, Think, Ponder for the cute art!

A Book With a Verb in Its Title: Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino is out! This was a 2-star read and a very difficult book to get through. Review here.

I am also making a change to my TBR. The novel I picked for the Book With a Weapon on Its CoverGuns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is a DNF for me. With that, I’m changing it to a new read:

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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

This is an YA Fantasy novel with a genderfuild main character and a fight to the death!

To everyone else participating in the quest: good luck and happy reading!


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If You Like… THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

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31145148Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


fantasy setting, girl warriors, twisted games


mightlike

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SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo ✽

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

SOULBOUND by Heather Brewer  ✽

Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons’ wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret.

THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May ✽

Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth—and drop-dead beauty.  But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers ✽

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.


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