Blogtober Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

GoodReads Summary:
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
Slayer (Slayer, #1)Review:
I’ve really enjoyed most of White’s books, but I was never a huge Buffy fangirl. I’ve watched and liked it well enough, but I’m not wild for it like some people are. So, I wasn’t super excited about this book when it was released like some people were. I definitely wanted to read it (obviously, because I bought it). I actually really enjoyed this book.
The story follows Nina. She’s training to be a medic for the Watchers. The supernatural world isn’t what it once was. Buffy has done something that has eliminated magic, and also changed the way that Slayers come into their power. There’s a rift between the Slayers and the Watchers, so when Nina realizes that she is the last Slayer that will ever be chosen, she really struggles with it. Nina’s dad was Buffy’s first Watcher. He died, and Nina really holds a grudge against Buffy for it. She doesn’t particularly care for any of the Slayers. So, when she learns that she is one, she has some really mixed feelings. She’s impressed and excited about her new abilities, but she doesn’t want to be a Slayer.
Eventually, Nina realizes that it isn’t about what she wants. It’s about what she’s supposed to do. There are complications in the form of Nina’s relationships. Her mother has been trying to keep Nina from realizing that she’s a potential Slayer for Nina’s entire life. Nina’s twin, Artemis, is also a complication because they’ve always been close but Artemis has always been the one to look out for Nina and protect her. But Nina doesn’t need protection anymore and this changes their relationship dynamic.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were really interesting and complicated relationships. There were demons and monsters. There were teenagers doing their best to save the world. And there were also some moments where we got to see Buffy. I sort of hope she makes an appearance in the second book, even if it’s just for a minute. I loved the action, but most of all, I loved the characters and their friendships.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: The Fell of the Dark by Caleb Roehrig

GoodReads Summary:
The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town. Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it. An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.
The Fell of DarkReview:
The Fell of the Dark is a book that I knew I wanted to read from the cover alone. I also knew I wanted to read it because it’s about a queer teen and vampires. Those are definitely topics I’m always down for. I didn’t really read the synopsis before I went into the story and it so much more than I was expecting. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I was absolutely blown away.
We follow August (or Auggie), who is a gay teen in a very small town that’s close to a Nexus (which is great for magic and not so great for regular humans). So, running into vampires after sundown is a real issue in this town. August runs into one outside of his school one day after staying to work in the art room. Jude tells August that he’s special. Jude tells him about things he knows is happening or will happen to August. But August is very wary of vampires, he’s been trained to be aware of what vampires are capable of. And August doesn’t believe anything that Jude tells him, until a week or so later.
This story moves very quickly, but there’s also a lot of players. I’m not going to talk about all the players and I really don’t want to go into too much detail about what actually happens because I think the best part of this reading experience was not really knowing anything about the story and putting the pieces together as I read. The story had some really interesting historical aspects to it that I enjoyed. I also just genuinely liked all of the characters and the way the story worked out for August.
Overall, this was such a well written and involved story. The only thing I didn’t like was that the rules of magic and vampires weren’t totally clear. There were more than just vampires in this story. People that had the ability to use magic linked to the elements were also a big part of the story, but there were some of these people that were also vampires and it either wasn’t explained or just totally went over my head. Despite this one small thing, I loved this book. I loved the characters, the interesting and unusual romance, the friendships, the supernatural aspects, and I even loved that there was a bit of politics between the different vampire factions. I definitely recommend this book for those looking for spooky queer stories to read this October. I will definitely be picking up more of this author’s books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Book Review: Horrid by Katrina Leno

fullsizeoutput_3144GoodReads Summary:
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
HorridReview:
Horrid was one of my most anticipated releases for the spooky season. I’m really upset to say that I was very disappointed with this book. This book was another that was completely ruined by the ending. I am going to have a bit of a spoiler rant after the last paragraph. I will clearly label when I start with spoiler complaints.
So, this story follows Jane and her mother Ruth as they move from Los Angeles to the middle of nowhere Maine. This is a huge adjustment for Jane. But she’s also dealing with the grief of losing her father. This grief is a huge part of the story and I really appreciated that. It wasn’t just her father is gone, but it really talked about what that meant for Jane. Her father was the one that could help her calm her rage. Now that he’s gone, she’s fallen back into old coping mechanisms: eating pages out of books. This aspect of her character was weird but I sort of understood it on a comfort level. I liked Jane. I felt bad for her, but I liked her. I didn’t like how she clearly knew something was wrong with North Manor (where she and her mother had just moved into) but she wasn’t willing to ask for any real answers about it. It felt obvious that something was wrong and everyone in town knew it. I liked Jane’s relationship with her mother, Ruth. She was obviously closer to her father, but the love between Jane and Ruth is clear and I appreciated that they were doing their best to be there for one another.
I also really liked the new friends that Jane made. She meets Alana and Susie at school. The three become fast friends. I liked them well enough, but the relationships weren’t too deep. I also like Jane’s friendship with her new boss at the coffee shop/book store, Will (who is also Susie’s older brother). They bond over books and coffee and I liked them even though it wasn’t a very developed relationship.
Overall, I enjoyed most of this book. I really liked the spooky aspects, the possibility of a ghost in North Manor. I thought the suspense and the mystery were interesting (though a little obvious). I didn’t love how oblivious Jane was being. She knew there was something wrong in her house and she never pushed when she asked questions and that really bothered me. The ending is what killed my enjoyment of the book. Without spoilers, the book ended at the climax of the story. We’re finally getting all the answers we’ve been searching for the whole story and then we’re still left with so many questions because of the players that were present in the final pages. I’m just really mad about how the story ended and that anger makes it really hard for me to say I liked this book. I felt similarly about Wilder Girls by Rory Power, so if you liked that book, you might like this one. This book has a pretty decent rating on GoodReads, so don’t let this deter you from picking up this book. But if you don’t like unsatisfying endings, this book might not be for you. Now, I’m going to get to spoilers about the ending in the next paragraph.
The spoilers are starting now. The final pages have Jane letting someone die, which is essentially murder, at the guidance of her sister ghost. But it’s never really clear whether the ghost is real or not. The ghost was pretty convincing, but there were hints here and there that made the reader think that there might never have been a ghost and it all could have been Jane. What I’m mad about is that we never got any sort of answers. The book literally ends in the climax of the story. Someone dies and the story just ends. The synopsis says “Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?” and the way that the synopsis is written makes it seem like we will find out whether it is one of those three things, but we don’t. We don’t find out what really happened or what happened in the aftermath and I’m very annoyed by this. I’m just angry and sad because I had really high hopes for enjoying this book. Okay, rage complaining is over. Thanks for reading!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

GoodReads Summary:
Be careful of the dark, dark wood…
Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.
Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.
But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.
For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.
WinterwoodReview:
After completely loving Ernshaw’s first novel, I knew that Winterwood would be on my anticipated releases list for 2019. It was everything I wanted from it. Sort of opposite from her first novel in the sense of seasons and types of paranormal.
Winterwood follows the story of Nora, a forest witch, as she finds a boy in her woods. There is a mystery surrounding him (which was so well done), and Nora is trying to find the truth. I was so drawn into the story, into Nora and her family’s history. I liked Nora right away. She was happy with her life. Magic and forest and seclusion. She was strong and independent and I thought that was shown to the reader very well.
Then she finds Oliver in the woods and her life begins to change. Oliver is one of the boys that is living in the camp for troubled boys. He was mysterious. Filled with secrets that I could never really tell what he actually knew or didn’t. I wanted to like Oliver because Nora liked him but I never really trusted him. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that Nora and Oliver’s relationship was a little weird. She loved this boy that she barely knew and that seemed a bit suspect to me. Though I was really happy with the ending.
Overall, I loved this book jst like I did her first novel. It was atmospheric and mysterious as hell. The writing and the story drew me in and made me want to live in this world. I adored the little in-between chapter bits about Nora’s ancestors. I loved the way the story unfolded and I will absolutely be looking forward to Ernshaw’s next release.

Quotes:

“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadow than August sunlight.”

“She’s not weak, she’s not frail or breakable or scared of much. She is the storm that tears away roofs and knocks over trees.”

“I’m certain that love can be a wound, deep and saw-toothed and filled with salt. But sometimes it’s worth it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.