My Rating: 4 Stars
What a read! Unique, imaginative and very dark: what is there not to like?
The story takes place in 1910 where occultist and adventurer Ingrid Redstone travels to the City of Angels in search of the Aztec portal to the afterlife. She didn’t count on meeting Death on the side and get on a ride through the history of the city. As their relationship develops and grows deeper, Ingrid realizes that their worlds' weren’t meant to cross and in the end, she will have to choose between a life with the living or amongst the dead.
I admire the author for the work on the organization of the storyline; in the beginning, it was a bit tricky and complex to understand and follow but then it really drew me into the story. I think it’s the first time I read a novel that manages to mix dark fantasy with historical fiction, vintage times, mystery, supernatural and romance. It is a dangerous attempt but the author managed to successfully create a unique, refreshing and new style entirely. There is an exceptional view of the underworld, how it works, how time passes differently; details that built this dark world. The way the characters explore past times and meet several notables of the old days is a great idea. I wish I had the chance to sit with Alfred Hitchcock! The historical settings of the novel are also very well described and I really do enjoy a good story that takes place in the jazz days.
The characters are solid and their interactions are very human. It’s a love story but it’s not a fairytale either; they have communication problems, misunderstandings. It’s easy to see that Death isn’t used to interact with anyone, especially not with a human woman. I see Ingrid has a more quiet type and more hesitant when it comes to Death. She jumps into the unknown without thinking very much about it and how it actually might end for her but at the same time she lets him take all the initiative, which was a bit frustrating at times.
Overall, a great, unique, thrilling adventure that I recommend to all the fans of a more complex romantic fantasy.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Rocket Surgery Books. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 2 Stars
Select isn’t the type of novel that I usually go for, and as a result, I got mix feelings about it.
The novel tells the story of Julia Jaynes, a teenage girl that is banished by her family to a public high school for putting her family reputation on the line. Gifted with unusual abilities, Julia struggles to adapt in a world where she needs to find herself, what she truly wants and what she’s willing to do to get it. When she meets John Ford, once a tennis prodigy, she starts seeing the world outside the boundaries set by her social status and her over-protected life.
For me, this was an easy read: easy to follow, no need to think, just go with the flow. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the story. The story-line is reasonably developed and the setting is a bit too cliche for my taste. I felt like it’s a bit too much teenage and family drama at some point and even though I understand that Julia had a sheltered life, some of her actions and reactions were a bit too much for me. Her wish for a strong male figure just made me feel like she is unable to deal with things herself and that didn’t set very well with me.
I would have liked to see a deeper description of emotions and connection between characters. I didn’t feel excitement or the need to keep reading the story even though I finished it. I like to feel like the story is unpredictable, and with this novel it was easy to see where it would end up.
The novel centres around the situations most teenagers go through: learning that life isn’t easy, that things change quickly and sometimes the people we get close to aren’t meant to stay in our lives forever.
I think the author still needs to polish her writing style a bit but the talent is there. I’m curious to read the next novel and see if there is an evolution.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Charlesbridge Teen. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A brilliant novel! Thrilling, a bit creepy and very intriguing novel: a promising start for a new series!
Julie Hall has had a tough life: abused by her grandmother in her childhood and cursed with the ability to find dead bodies with her dousing rods, she just wants to blend in and have a normal life with her grandfather and her dog Wookie. At the same time, a serial killer is on the loose, leaving the bodies of young women behind with very little evidence. When an FBI agent called Garrett Pierce comes knocking asking for her help, Julie has to use the ability that she was raised to believe to be evil in order to prevent other killings. As the killer gets wind of Julie, Garrett vows to protect her… but will it be enough?
Grave Calling is highly engaging and addictive. The story-line is very well-developed and constructed, full of twists and turns and a perfect ending with a very unlikely killer. I really enjoyed how the author jumped from the past to the present, it was done beautifully and it was very easy to follow the story without losing myself or the details.
Julie is a great main character and a very unlikely heroine all things considered. The abuse she suffered in her childhood is heart-breaking and the fact that she still struggles with it gives her depth as a character, it makes her more real. Her past has a direct influence in the story, not only because it shapes her, but also because it emphases her struggles to deal with the killings and the bodies she finds. It was a bit agonising to read to be honest. Even so, she has no problems in speaking her mind and definitely not afraid to take on a serial killer. Garrett is a great male protagonist and he has his share of suffering and of bad memories which makes the partnership with Julie a great one, they understand and comfort each other. I really enjoyed reading about their developing relationship and their chemistry. Despite the age difference, they are great together. The secondary characters complement the story very nicely, especially Julie’s friend Katie.
This was my first read of Wendy Roberts and I highly recommend Grave Calling for the fans of cosy mysteries with a bit of spice and a lot of twists and surprises. A great thrilling read!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Carina Press. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Addictive, new and unforgettable. This novel is just as promising as its mysterious cover and I couldn’t put it down.
Grisham is Watcher, he turns into a gargoyle to get ride of fiends. When his uncle requests his help in Hidden Creek, Gris slowly begins to realise that there is more to the town than meets the eye. Piper is the exemplary teenage girl: perfect grades, popular with the boys and she is more than ready to leave Hidden Creek to go to the university. Haunted by nightmares and dealing with OCD, her life doesn’t get any easier, especially after the brutal murder of her dog Jester. Piper joins forces with Gris and together they try to solve the unexplained events that haunt the small town. From murder of animals to disappearances and grave robberies, nothing and no one are what they seem.
I got completely addicted to this book: the characters, the setting, the reality and the build-up of the mystery. The whole idea of gargoyles and fiends is brilliant and it was refreshing to read something a bit different when it comes to the YA genre. I also really enjoyed the mentioning of more sensitive topics like OCD and self-harm; it’s a way of showing the reality and the obstacles people with these issues have to go through every day. And the best part? It’s done brilliantly. This novel mixes romance with mystery and supernatural in a unique way and it was impossible not to be pulled into the story and its characters.
I really enjoyed the setting of the story: Hidden Creek. Right from the beginning, the atmosphere around it, I could feel that there was something more about this town and it definitely set the mood for the rest of the novel.
The characters are very well-developed and they are unique in their own way. It’s impossible not to like them and to truly feel for them. I completely connected with them. It’s impossible not to like Piper: she is perfectly imperfect and that’s refreshing. She struggles with accepting herself but at the same time she’s beautiful, incredibly stubborn, honest and spontaneous. Reading about her burst of happiness and excitement, made me feel excited for her. Her knowledge on people and her gift to detect lies is brilliant to read as well as her connection with Gris. I think they perfectly balance each other out. Gris is an amazing male protagonist: even though he is a gargoyle, he feels deeply and struggles to accept what he is, something he has in common with Piper.. He is head-strong, very loyal and always whiling to help. I absolutely loved the chemistry he has with Piper, they are perfect for one another.
Overall, a great read that I recommend to all the fans of supernatural YA. This is definitely a book that I get my hands on as soon as it comes out!
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Entangled Teen, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.