Review: The Dark Divide

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The Dark Divide by: Danika Stone

My Rating: 3 Stars

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Animal deaths and gruesome murders.

I received this Arc via the author in exchange for an honest review and in participation of the Sunday Street Team. I was pretty excited to hear that Edge of Wild was getting a sequel. I didn’t hesitate to participate in the street team. I am glad to say that I liked The Dark Divide!

The Dark Divide begins with a prologue set in 1970 in Ohio. A student who was protesting for the Vietnam war is shot by a police officer. In the first chapter readers are told that Rich is going on trial for his hotel, which was burned to the ground in Edge of Wild. After a few chapters in it is revealed that the trial will proceed.

On Sadie and Jim’s (police officers) end they receive word from the Ohio police department that the unidentifiable finger print from the hotel break-in is linked to the prologue murder. After that student was murdered a fellow classmate at the time shot the police officer. And no one has been able to find the person. Waterton has yet another murderer in their midst.

The Dark Divide was a fun and twisty book! It is written in third person from various different characters’ points of views. There are emails and police documents. Also flashback’s and Lou’s visions. The Dark Divide takes place in 1999.

The trial was a lot of fun to read about! I was desperately awaiting an answer. I enjoyed Rich’s lawyer and long time friend Stu. He actually knew his stuff. Lou also played a big part in the trial. As did some of the townspeople.

Lou and Rich’s conflict’s about their relationship was well done! Lou has to try and mentally prepare herself to tell Rich some truths about herself. I enjoyed reading about Lou’s character development. And when Lou did tell Rich the truth, at first he was baffled. But then came around to support her.

Rich was under quite a bit of stress throughout the book. Which made it frustrating to read about his character. Although I did grow to like him towards the end. His character development was suburb!

The townspeople were definitely better in this installment. They were actually much nicer towards Rich and way more welcoming! Rich developed some friendships with a few of them. Which was nice to read about.

The mystery wasn’t as strong as it was in Edge of Wild. Nonetheless it was well done and pretty twisty. And yet again completely unpredictable. Some of the questions in Edge of Wild are answered. Jeff Chan makes an appearance. 

There is a new character that comes in, which rocks the townspeople’s relationships. His name is Alistair a movie maker who comes to Waterton searching for the ‘truth’. Alistair’s character does play a huge role in Lou’s story arc and character development.

The backstory regarding Lou’s visions was fun to read about. Alistair also has visions and the two may have known each other in an another life. The mythology behind it and Lou’s mother was really well done! I also liked how their is an expansion regarding Lou’s abilities. You find out that she can do much more than in Edge of Wild

Another towns-person comes in (was on vacation) Levi. He has a lot of hostility towards Rich and Alistair. Levi has some unfinished history regarding Lou’s mother. He was somewhere in between frustrating and interesting to read about. 

I really appreciated that the Japanese internment camps were brought up! Stone did an excellent job bringing it up and making it apart of the story. It was important to some characters’ arcs.

I had a few problems with it. The Dark Divide suffered a bit of middle book syndrome. It wasn’t as strong as Edge of Wild. I really don’t know what to make off the big reveal about Susan Varley. It was definitely not as ground breaking as the reveals in Edge of Wild. Alistair was utterly frustrating to read about! While his point of view was well done, I really really didn’t like him.

Overall I liked The Dark Divide. I will definitely be reading the last book. I highly recommend it. 

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Review: Ace of Shades

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Ace of Shades by: Amanda Foody 

My Rating: 1 Star

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

Disclaimer: I skimmed a majority of this book. Lots of my information is based on that. If I have some wrong information/details please do mention it in the comments. 

Ace of Shades has been everywhere. Fellow book bloggers have been giving it raving reviews, it was avaliable on Netgalley for review, everyone was talking about, and there was quite a bit of advertising done on Twitter. Foody’s previous book was decent (I DNFed it), seeing as this is her second book I was hoping it would be good. Unfortunately that was not the case.

I liked was that Enne is very much a girly girl. I definitely enjoyed reading about her clothes and whatnot. I’d imagine that she’d have really great fashion sense if she were real. The idea behind their powers was cool. Levi was black and bi. Yay for diversity! The major plot twist was interesting. And that’s the end of my likes.

The writing was very frustrating. In Daughter of the Burning City I enjoyed Foody’s writing style. Ace of Shades had a very condescending tone. This reflected in the characters’ as well. None of them were likable. The plot wasn’t a lot better. I felt a weird sort of detachment toward the characters and plot. I just couldn’t bring myself to truly care about anything that happened.

The tone of New Reynes was nothing like Ketterdam. New Reynes was dark, filled with money obsessed people, and a ton of male slime-balls. It just wasn’t fleshed out enough. While I could picture myself there I didn’t exactly get a good feel of the world. It was very difficult to wrap my head around it.

The same goes for the history, politics, and magic system. Despite the info dumps scattered throughout the whole book, I felt that there wasn’t any depth to the information. The magic system probably confused me the most. Every time Orbs was mentioned I kept on imagining spheres floating.

I found most characters to be annoying. Enne’s stupidity really grated on my nerves. You would think that when Enne realizes her true potential she’d get smarter, but she doesn’t. And aside from Enne’s true potential she didn’t really have a personality. I didn’t care for her friendship with Lola. 

Levi was proud and just ugh! I really didn’t like how many times he called Enne ‘Missy’. Levi wasn’t believable as the leader of the Irons. Levi is nothing like Kaz.  Levi never felt like a black character. You could really just believe that he’s white. I felt that his friendship with Jax wasn’t developed enough. 

Enne and Levi are attracted to one another early on (chapter 3 or 4). Though there are hints of two getting together, nothing actually happens in this book. It’ll likely be the case in later books.

I really don’t understand why Ace of Shades is constantly being compared to Six of Crows. The later chapters are definitely reminiscent of Six of Crows. And that’s about it. It would make more sense to compare it to Jade City. 

The series is called The Shadow Game. The Shadow Game is actual game wherein you play with cards and certain people can die. This reminded me so much of Yu Gi Oh. Just with less interesting cards and odd rules.

Overall I didn’t like it at all. I recommend Jade City, Six of Crows, and Yu Gi Oh instead.  

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.