Dreaming Darkly Review

Synopsis-

Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it.

But she isn’t. Mariah Bloodgood was a confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth- about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.

Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven- but what they don’t know might kill them both.

“You deal with your issues when s child is involved,” Simon replied. “You don’t pass them on.”

I loved this book! Who doesn’t love a good mystery though? I will admit that the ending came a little too fast. It could have been stretched out a bit more but other than that it was awesome! And that plot twist near the end. Holy cow!

5/5 Stars!

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely Review

Synopsis-

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall… and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen and his people from utter ruin.

“Words spoken in the dark in the middle of the night always feel so much heavier than they would at any other time.”

I have wanted to read this book for so long and now I finally have! And I absolutely loved it! I flew through it in less than 2 days. It’s definitely gotten me out of my reading slump for now! So bonus!

“I close my eyes and hug my arms to my body, thinking of my mother. When I was little, she would tell me that we all have a spark inside of us, and our sparks can find each other no matter where we are. It gave me a lot of comfort when I was young.

It’s giving me a lot of comfort now. I never asked her what would happen to her spark if she dies.

When she dies.”

I feel for Harper. She’s had it tough for so long and she’s trying to be so strong. She’s a tough little cookie, that’s for sure. I’m super proud of her so standing up to the bad guys and fighting for what she believes in, even though she has Cerebral Palsy, she doesn’t let that define her. She takes charge and doesn’t back down. A true warrior right there, my friends.

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

This romance wasn’t insta-love. It was slow and just right. Rhen and Harper didn’t fall for each other right away, which i find always happens in books now a days, there were fights and yelling. They clashed heads and fought. Trust had to be earned. It wasn’t just “oh she’s pretty/ he’s handsome, I automatically love her/him.” It was more than that.

“Failure isn’t absolute. Just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”

I’m just gonna our this out there, Lilith is a savage bitch and I hate her. The end.

5/5 Stars!

The Raven’s Tale ARC Review

I received an ARC of The Raven’s Tale in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to ABRAMS Kids for supplying a copy for me.

Synopsis-

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until can escape his foster family- the wealthy Allan’s of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse names Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

I wasn’t sure how I would feel going into this book but I actually liked it more than I thought I would. Some parts where a little confusing but overall it was interesting and entertaining and kept my interest.

“Give me a name that means ‘light,’ not shadow,” she says, “and we may be able to show them there’s beauty in horror.”

I found this book to be unique and quite interesting. Reading a book that’s a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe is something that I haven’t seen before and I liked how it started off and took flight. It was interesting seeing the events that took place in the book and watching Edgar discover his Muse and watching Lenore battle to be recognized and appreciated.

“Sometimes muses follow us around when we don’t want them. But other times they’re not there when we need them.”

The creative have muses, it’s just a matter of choosing to shun them or embrace them.

“No man has ever died from stifling his muse, said Pa tonight- but oh, my dear Pa, what you don’t understand is that no artist truly lives after silencing their muse!”

4/5 Stars!

Smoke and Key ARC Review

I received a copy of Smoke and Key from NetGalley, Riki Cleveland, Entangled Publishing and the author Kelsey Sutton in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around.

And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names- from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was- and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden- before she becomes the next victim.

Key fell down into Under without any recollection of her identity or memories of her life before her death. Throughout the whole book she has short memories that come back to her about her previous life.

“How can I not know my own name? Everything has a name. I can tell him what the oceans and continents of the world are called, so why can’t I recall that one word that defines the entirety of my being.”

I found the concept of Under to be quite extraordinary to be honest. All of Kelsey’s books have interesting worlds and let me just say that Under really grabbed my attention. One of my favourites.

“Now I believe it. I can feel the boy looking at me as he answers. “Well, we call it Under.” At this, I frown. “Why-“ “Look up.”

Instead of sky, there’s a ceiling, of sorts. More dirt and what appears to be tree roots. Scattered among these roots are splotches of shadow, though it’s too far away to tell their purpose or origin. “What are those?” “Those are the holes each of us fell through. Out graves are right over them.”

As Key starts to remember things about her previous life she must also find the one killing off the others. She must unlock secrets, both from this world and the living.

“Smoke smiles, a ghost of what s smile should be. “Nice to meet you, Key. Welcome to Under.”

This book was phenomenal. It grabbed my attention from page one. And towards the end had be on the edge of my seat guessing about who each character was and where they were tied in with the story. Amazing!

“Just remember. You can kill what’s already dead.”

5/5 Stars!

Bird Box Review

Synopsis:

Something is out there…

Something terrifying that must not be seen. Once glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is it where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in abandoned house near the river, Malorie has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat- blindfolded. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar And frightening, Malorie embarks in a harrowing odyssey- a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

“Malorie!” Shannon calls again. “There’s another report on the television! Something happened in Alaska.”

9 months before the twins were born, things started happening. Horrible, gruesome things.

A man tearing off another mans lips with his own fingernails then killing him self, a woman burying her children alive and then taking her own life, a man wielding an axe attempting to kill another man and succeeding.

“Once she told me I looked like the sun to her, because of my hair. I asked her if I shined like the sun, and she told me, “No, Daddy, you shine more like the moon, when it’s dark outside.”

Tom, poor Tom, lost his daughter to the creatures. He lost his whole world. But the way she died was too horrific for a parent to endure. No parent should see their child like that.

“If they don’t know what they do, they can’t be ‘villains.’”

I’m going back and forth on wether Malorie was a good mother or not. I understand that she has to train an teach her children to help them survive and that she had to be strict but the methods that she used didn’t sit well with me.

“What’s in the box?” Cheryl asks.

Behold. The Bird Box.

“MAN IS THE CREATURE HE FEARS.”

I have to admit, this is probably my favourite horror book ever! So action packed and this is the first horror book to actually make me feel scared. Like something was right behind me, ready to strike. I was constantly looking over my shoulder. Loved it!

5/5 Stars!

Russian Sleep Experiment Novella Review

Synopsis:

Four political prisoners living in a 1940s Siberian POW camp volunteer to be Subjects in a Soviet Military experiment. They are promised freedom in exchange for completing the exercise. In return they must endure 30 days without sleep, fueled by Gas 76-IA.

The longer the experimentees endure insomnia, the more they deteriorate. Words and pleasantries break down until they turn on each other.

Researchers look on, neutral, and take notes for the super solider applications possible with this new, wonder drug. One researcher, Luka, stands alone in believing the experiment needs to be stopped before irreversible damage is done but is he too late?

The Subjects no longer want the Gas switched off…

Ever since my brother showed me an article online a few years ago about The Russian Sleep Experiment, I had become obsessed. It sounded so horrifyingly creepy but incredibly interesting all at once. I’ve been trying to find as much info about it as I can and I’m glad I read this book!

“All subjects awoke by 7:08am, eight minutes after Gas 76-IA was switched on and pumped into two corner holes of their five by seven room. The eight minute delay between drugged sleep and induced wakefulness suggests the dosage was adjusted correctly for the larger room and mammal size. The mice had a seven minute wake time in animal testing.”

So they first tested with this experimental gas on small animals and then all of a sudden, worked their way to humans next? Unbelievable.

“It will be informative to watch their relationships develop in the coming days. Animal trials showed a big shift on day four which developed into a quick downward spiral. Perhaps there will be a clearer transition with human subjects?”

At the beginning of this experiment, the four men that were put into a five by seven room together, got along and no violence or ill will had occurred. But as we near the fourth day, things begin to change.

“No violence yet, but subject A is very restless and easily bored. He could be the first to crack.”

As the men begin to go mad, they turn into horrific creatures. More monster than man. They turn on each other. They do not feel pain as they rip each other and themselves to shreds. They don’t feel anything. Unless the Gas gets shut off. And trust me, you don’t want the Gas shut off once it’s been done.

“Luka swallowed and shoot his head. “Just hate to see that happen to someone.””

Short note. These men were to be kept awake and in this room, for 30 days. They only made it to 9.

“I looked to my chair and shook my head, knowing I would never sit on it again. It has been claimed now, by the shadows of what we’d done. Those poor men…”

Luka obviously feels massive regret and guilt after the experiment comes to an end at last. He knew it was wrong but was unable to stop it from happening and going on and that will haunt him. But other things are starting to happen to Luka. Monsterous things.

5/5 Stars!

Corpse and Crown ARC Review

I received a copy of Corpse and Crown from Harlequin TEEN in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Agatha DeLacey’s family isn’t rich or titled, so studying nursing at Ingold’s East End Hospital in London is a rare opportunity for her. Despite the school’s focus on the innovative Bio-Mechanical program, Aggie cares more about the desperately poor human patients who flood the hospital, even if that means providing unauthorized treatment after hours… and trusting a charming, endlessly resourceful thief.

But the Artful Dodger is barely a step ahead of his underworld rivals, the menacing Bill Sykes and mercurial Oliver Twist, and Aggie’s association with him soon leads her into danger. When a brutal attack leaves her blind, she and the Dodger find themselves at the mercy of an experimental Bio-Mech surgery. Though the procedure restores Aggie’s sight, her new eyes come with an unnerving cost, and the changes in Dodger are even more alarming- instead of seeing Aggie as the girl he fancies, he now views her as a potential threat.

As war between England and Germany brews on the horizon and a sinister medical conspiracy threatens to shatter the uneasy peace in Europe, Aggie and the Dodger must find a way to work together so they can protect their friends and expose the truth… even if it means risking their own survival.

“I promise you, we’re not going to do anything bad to your mum. We’re going to help her.” His eyes searched her face. “You swear?” “On my life. May I be struck blind if I’m lying.”

We met Aggie in Cadaver and Queen. We didn’t learn too much about her in the previous book. All that we knew was that she was a nursing student and roomed with Lizzie.

“There were so many ways for a working woman to get burned and bruised and broken in the course of a day. Whenever some man started talking about how women were the weaker sex, Aggie thought about all the women she knew who worked in factories until the moment they went into labor.”

In Corpse and Crown we learn a lot now about Aggie. She’s a nursing student, yes, but she’s a great nursing student. She’s compassionate and caring. She wants to help anyone who is in need of her assistance. I loved seeing the character development throughout the book. It was amazing.

“Without the older woman’s support, Aggie knew she wouldn’t last long here. Her own mother had said as much. “London, is it? You’re just asking for trouble aren’t nurses supposed to keep their legs crossed? We’ll see how long that lasts. I reckon you’ll be ruined by one of them young doctors and selling yourself in the streets within a year.”

My heart does go out for Aggie. Just hearing the way her mother, her own mother, didn’t believe in her. Saying those awful things about her own daughter. Telling her that she will end up a prostitute instead of a nurse.

Even though she was told that she would end up the lowest of the low, and even thought she suffered through a terrible life changing accident, she didn’t let that stop her. She came out stronger than ever and even more confident in her abilities.

“What the eye cannot see, the heart never grieves.”

Throughout the book we see other characters, primary as well as secondary, go through their own struggles and challenges. Dodger, Will, Byram, Justine, Lizzie, Victor.

But in the end, everything will be okay.

“The moment you chose to harm him, you stopped being a nurse.”

4/5 Stars!