Review: Fear the Drowning Deep

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Fear the Drowning Deep by: Sarah Glenn Marsh

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC from the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team. 

I had heard about this book through Twitter. Quite a few people were talking about it but at the time it didn’t catch my eye. It wasn’t until I got the sign up form for the street team that I considered reading it.

Now I suppose because I didn’t really care much for Fear the Drowning Deep I didn’t have any expectations. I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it! The book takes place sometime during the 1913. It is written in first person through Bridey’s point of view.

The minute you read the first page the book grabs you and it’s hard to stop. We are taken right when Bridey finds a dead girls body. Soon after that the town is in a frenzy as there hasn’t been a death since Bridey’s grandfather.

When Bridey was seven years old she and her grandfather were walking by the beach. She’s trying to have a conversation with him when suddenly he stops replying. He mentions whether Bridey can hear the singing to which she replies no. Her grandfather claims that the singing is coming from the water. He walks to the cliff and jumps off with a smile on his face.

Bridey told her townspeople about what happened but they all thought she was crazy. Add to the fact that she’s the only person in the town who doesn’t like the water. Throughout the book Bridey soon realizes that all these disappearances and murders are somehow linked to her grandfather’s death. She explains as much to her people but they don’t believe her. The only one who does is Fynn and the Witch she is apprenticed to. With their help she looks for a way to stop the monster from killing her townspeople.

I didn’t see any of the plot coming! This is a very original book. The book is fairly fast paced and I was never bored. It was interesting reading about the witch that Bridey was apprenticed to as well as the monsters. All of the monsters are from some mythology. Personally speaking I have never read about these monsters before.

The family relationship was absolutely amazing! Bridey has two sisters and adoring parents. Despite some of the sisters’ arguments they stood by each other. The same goes for Bridey’s parents. When Bridey found Fynn her parents took him in and treated them as their own. They stood up for him when the town started to get suspicious of Fynn.

I also loved Bridey’s friendship! I forgot her friends’ names but I loved reading about them! They were a tight group. Now one of her friends is a guy and there is a bit of a love triangle but it gets resolved fairly quickly.

I liked reading about Bridey and Fynn’s relationship. They were sweet together. Although I did feel that it was a bit rushed. There is a certain reveal that comes out about Fynn which ruined the romance for me. I still liked his character though.

I found the ending to be just right for the book. And in a sense it was beautiful. It gives Bridey and the readers hope.

I had two problems with Fear the Drowning Deep. I wished that we got to read more about Bridey’s friends. They didn’t really come in a lot. And that reveal about Fynn was shocking and a bit odd considering that Bridey and Fynn were dating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I am definitely going to be checking out more from this author. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fantasy standalone. 

Review: The Lie Tree

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The Lie Tree by: Frances Hardinge

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

To earn a secret so profound, I would need to tell momentous lies, and make as many people as possible believe them…

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered—a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing—like the real reason her family fled Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies—like fires, wild and crackling—quickly take on a life of their own.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF 

I heard about this book through a GR friend’s review. It sounded interesting and I was happy to see that it was coming in my library. Unfortunately I didn’t like.

The book begins with Faith’s family traveling. Faith’s little brother asks why they are traveling and their mother says that it’s for their father’s work. When her brother mentions that they never needed to come for their father’s traveling. Their mother responds that this is a vacation for them.

Their mother then tells Faith that she’s happy that Faith hasn’t asked any questions. Faith is bursting with questions. She has the same questions as her brother and more. But as a Lady she is not supposed to ask any questions just do as she is told.

Faith claims that her stomach is hurting and goes for a walk. Faith then takes an about turn and listens in on a conversation with her uncle and father. Her father mentions that he is not happy that he had to come here. Her uncle then replies that they didn’t have a choice. The public believe that her father is a fraud and they would’ve all suffered.

The reason I didn’t finish this is because I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care that Faith’s father was supposedly a cheat. I had no interest in continuing further. I’ve rated it 2 stars because the premise sounds interesting and the writing style was well done.

Overall I had no interest in this book. I still recommend it to fans of murder mystery with a hint of paranormal.  

Review: The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 6

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The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 6 by: Jun Mochizuki

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Jun Mochizuki, acclaimed creator of PandoraHearts, continues her epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!
Showing up without an invitation, an old friend of Noe’s appears and…collars him?! Vanitas can’t very well let his companion up and disappear, but where exactly are his quarry headed??

Find out what happens in the sixth installment of Jun Mochizuki’s latest epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas, the same day as Japan!

Beware spoilers ahead!

After finishing the last chapter I was eager to read this one. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this chapter!

The chapter begins where the last one left off. Noe is doubling over in pain and says that he indeed did see the Charlatan. Dominique a woman claiming to be Noe’s fiancee enters. Noe reveals that he isn’t engaged to Dominique and that she is a childhood friend. Dominique then takes Noe with her leaving Vanitas.

When Noe asks why she came after him she explains that it is because she was worried about Noe. As readers have already seen Noe is absolutely clueless and very child-like. Dominique thinks that Vanitas is using Noe for some personal gain. Dominique mentions that she was able to get an invitation to a party so that Noe can have a word with one of the attenders about curse breakers. Eventually Vanitas finds them and goes with them. The chapter ends with Dominique telling Vanitas Noe’s backstory.

The only reason I rated this 3 stars is because I felt that the chapter was too short. When I got to the end I was surprised and assumed that there would be more. But alas I finished it. What I really enjoyed about this chapter was Dominique. I liked her character. And as usual this was funny. What’s interesting is that Dominique is Noe’s teacher’s granddaughter. I’m really looking forward to learning more about Noe’s past in the next chapter!

Overall a good but too short of a read. I recommend this series to people looking for a unique fantasy. And for anyone who is new to reading manga, who would like to start off with fantasy. 

Review: Wolf by Wolf

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Wolf by Wolf by: Ryan Graudin

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

This book was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Chantal! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had been hearing about this book for quite a while. I never paid attention to it. It wasn’t until I came across Chantal’s review that I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

The book begins in the year 1944. Yael and several other Jews are being transferred to a death camp. Everyone around Yael is either screaming or crying. Once they reach their destination the men and women are separated. Yael sticking to her mother comes across a very peculiar man. He continues to stare at Yael. Eventually he tells one of his people to get Yael sent to a lab for experiments.

The reason I couldn’t finish this book is because of the experiments. Yael was 6 when she was experimented on. To me it was horrifying. I kept on cringing when I read the first chapter. I should’ve known that I wouldn’t be able to finish this because of the experiments.

Overall this book was not for me. But I still recommend it to fans of dystopia and sci-fi.  

Review: The Diviners

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The Diviners by: Libba Bray

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. A friend of mine (can’t remember who) had finished reading this book and gave it a high rating. I read a lot of positive reviews and decided to read it. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this.

The book begins in Manhattan with a girl throwing a party. Throughout this party the girl remain unnamed. It’s her eighteenth birth day so she wants to make it special. Her parents are out of town so behind their backs she purchased an Ouija board. Of course she doesn’t believe in ghosts. No she just wants to have fun.

They set up the Ouija board and begin. The ‘ghost’ they summon goes by Naughty John. After asking the ‘ghost’ some questions Naughty John reveals that he is going to bring doom on all of them. The girl is a bit scared but quickly realizes that this is some big joke. Once their fun is over the girl puts the board away without properly wishing the ‘ghost’ farewell. After the girl disappeared Naughty John sees this as his chance to exist. He zooms through and decides to keep his promise to those party guests. Even the wind is afraid of him.

This was a case of ‘It’s me, not you.’ The murders and mystery behind them was too creepy for my liking. And it was pretty disgusting. All of the victims were used as a ritual. It was all linked to Christianity. I actually had to look up some terms to fully understand what was going on. It became really obvious what sort of ritual these victims were used for. As well the murderer. You’ve probably already guesses who the murderer is. I was immensely creeped out and disgusted.

There were however some things that I did like (hence the rating). The writing style was compelling! Despite how grossed out I was I kept on flipping the pages and just wanted to know more-of course I stopped  myself when I started getting several chills up my spine. The author did an excellent job researching!  I actually felt I like was there with the characters. The powers were really cool! These factors weren’t enough for me to finish the book.

Note this is really slow. By page 200 Evie still hasn’t told her Uncle about her powers due to fear. And there are only two murder victims. Also like I mentioned earlier there is a lot of reference to Christianity. If these don’t work for you I would suggest skipping this book.

Overall this book was not for me. I do recommend it because it was compelling and very creepy.  

Review: Love, Lies and Spies

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Love, Lies and Spies by: Cindy Anstey

My Rating 4 of 5 Stars

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Cookie! Click on her name to read her review.

I has heard about this book through Cookie’s review. At first I didn’t think much of it but then it started popping up on GR. After reading the synopsis I didn’t hesitate to pre-order this book. I am happy that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Juliana in a sticky situation. She is dangling of a branch and if she lets go she’ll fall. She is really hoping that help arrives soon. But hopes that it isn’t a gentlemen who saved her. Much to her dismay there are only gentlemen. She explains the two of them that if she is saved by gentlemen word will get to her Aunt and she won’t be allowed to go to London.

Realizing that she has no other choice Juliana expects their help. They agree to keep this a secret between the three of them. They also decide that if they are to meet in person they would pretend to not know each other. With that Juliana goes back home.

 Spencer was quite amused by the women he and his best friend Bobbington saved. He really does hope that she keeps the interaction a secret. It would likely ruin his mission otherwise.

I really did not expect to like this book this much! Like seriously it blew my mind! The book is written in third person switching between Spencer and Juliana’s point of view. Which does make it interesting to see all the heist and espionage stuff. The writing style was good. And there was a lot of mystery to it. Rather than chapter titles there are chapter headings. Which were funny to read about.

All the characters were well done in this book! Especially there relationships with one-another. Juliana was an interesting character. She was smart and respected herself. I loved reading about her relationship with her cousin Carrie! I didn’t really like her Aunt. I felt that she was controlling and condescending. Her uncle and father were sweet. Spencer’s character is quite vague  But his relationship with Bobbington was nice! As well as his family who come in much later in the book.

Juliana and Spencer were absolutely adorable! There banter was hilarious! On a few occasions I actually laughed out loud which rarely happens! I honestly thought that I didn’t like historical romance’s before I read this book. The chemistry and the tension between the two of them was well done! And they were so sweet together!

I only had two problems with this book. The heist and espionage stuff was really confusing in the beginning. We are kept in the dark for so long that it was hard to connect the dots. And what I found odd was how Juliana and Spencer would think about their first names. In those days you had to give permission to someone to say your first name. That didn’t happen until the end but they still thought each other’s first name which was odd.

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to anyone looking for light regency and historical romance.  

Review: The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 5

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The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 5 by: Jun Mochizuki

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Jun Mochizuki, acclaimed creator of PandoraHearts, continues her epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!
Back at Count Orlok’s place, Noe and Vanitas are reunited with a familiar face! But to get what they want, Noe will have to employ a power that no one knew he possessed…
Find out what happens in the fifth installment of Jun Mochizuki’s latest epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas, the same day as Japan!

Beware spoilers ahead!

After finishing the last chapter I was hoping that this chapter would be better. I am happy to say that this chapter was way better!

The chapter begins with a flashback to Noe’s past. Noe is relaxing when someone approaches him. I’m assuming this someone is his teacher. The man mentions that he has noticed that Noe has not been having any blood. Noe says that it’s not necessary therefore he doesn’t see the point. The man offers up his blood. He also tells Noe that Noe won’t see anything different.

Noe wakes up from his dream and Vanitas appears at his window. The two eat breakfast together and decide to visit the Count and check on Amelia. Upon arriving the Count says that Amelia is free to go but he will be watching all of them. Vanitas then asks Amelia some questions.

This chapter was more interesting. We get a little bit about Noe’s past. And the type of vampire he is. When Vanitas questions Amelia you do find out how the vampires realize that they’ve become a curse bearer. Which was interesting.

The chapter was really short. Noe uses his abilities to help Amelia. And it ends with a person from Noe’s life coming in. I would really like to see this teacher of his. It seems that his teacher is everywhere and is going to play a significant role. Hopefully we’ll find out even more information on Noe’s past. 

Overall this was a really good chapter! I recommend this to anyone looking for a unique fantasy series.