Waiting On Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sharing Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books for All Ages!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. It offers opportunities to share and recommend books with each other.

Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

All Your Twisted Secrets

Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

All of the comparisons for this book seem to mention One of Us is Lying, which unfortunately I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading (though it is sitting high up on my TBR), so I can't speak for that.

What I can say is that All Your Twisted Secrets just did not hit the mark for me. It started out super engaging, and to start with I was super interested in the plot. High stakes, mysteries, a complete sense of panic... it was so exciting for me and I couldn't wait to see how the characters were going to deal with the situation they found themselves in.

However as the story continued on, my interest in any of the characters and also their safety and fate just... waned? 

The problem with books like this is that they are hit and miss. You have to have really interesting characters and you need to care about them. You need to build 3-D personalities so that you can see the good and the bad in everyone, otherwise you don't care about the 'mean kid' or the 'popular kid' and you do care about the 'nerd' and the 'good girl'. It also means that any plot twists don't seem too out of character. This book also had the added issue that the present day story took place in a locked room so it relied so much on dialogue and character interactions, and yet it still erred on the side of 'telling' and not 'showing'. 

If the interactions had been richer and the characters had been less stereotypes and more real, this book would have held my interest until the end and thus the ending would have hit me harder and made me go 'wow', but unfortunately it just didn't land for me. 

It was a good enough time killer, but I can't say I would recommend it to anyone unless they were looking for a very specific type of book and even then, there are gritty, thrilling contemporary books that I would recommend over this one anyway.

Book released  17th March 2020 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Oh, what a ride. What a fantastic ride to board when I'm trying to motivate myself to read more.

I've been avoiding long books, as my attention span seems to be so short these days and so as a result I have a back log of long, rich fantasy books that I just haven't read and really need to read. Today I told myself I was going to read Serpent and Dove because the hype was so huge and frankly, I was expecting it to let me down.

It didn't.

I mean, yeah, this book is tropey. It is hella tropey. It has as many tropes as a fanfiction and in so many ways it reads as one. 

But does that necessarily need to be a bad thing? Just because Serpent and Dove doesn't do anything too out of the box doesn't mean that it doesn't put all of the tropes together in a really well thought out way. It was unpredictable in a way that was predictable, like I knew that twists were coming and certain things may happen, but I didn't know the when or the how, so it did keep me guessing.

I absolutely loved the characters as well. Lou was spunky and funny and just a likeable character. She was vindictive and manipulative, but in a way that fit with the character and made me cheer her on rather than disliking her. Reid was adorable in this good boy being corrupted but still keeping his core values (to a degree). Coco was very likeable and supportive and I loved her little side story - I feel like I'm going to see more of her in the upcoming sequel. Bas was a wasted character though - we get all these words about their past in the first bit of the book and then - poof, he's gone and then Beau just turns up which seemed a little out of the blue.

The romance did develop quite quickly and it didn't feel entirely natural to start with but as soon as they both admitted their attraction, it just clicked for me. And yes for good, well written sex scenes. I've not read anything that steamy in a YA novel in a looong time and I totally appreciated the inclusion.

The only thing that did sort of throw me off at times was the dialogue. I understand that in fantasy books the dialogue has to suit the setting, but some characters justs eemed stilted and try hard - namely the Archbishop and also Morgane. It did seem to veer into fanfiction as opposed to rich, fantasy setting.

The pacing in this book was excellent though, from start to finish I was engulfed and absorbed and could not put it down. I was reading while cooking, while cleaning, while feeding my baby, while trying to shove a pacifier in my baby's mouth so I could finish it. It couldn't put it down.

Now I need to go crack open Blood and Honey and pray that Reid and Lou get their happy ending because I might cry if they don't.

Book released 3rd September 2019 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review