Review of Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) by Sarah Rees Brennan

4 STARS

Thank you so much to Scholastic Inc. Books for the free copy of this book for my honest review!

I grew up in the era of the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch and then when I saw they were making a more modern day show I was really excited. Then they came out with a book and my world was officially complete. Witchy, dark books have always been a favorite of mine (probably because Halloween is my favorite holiday) and this book definitely didn’t disappoint!

This book is based as a prequel to the show on Netflix and follows Sabrina as she’s about to turn 16 and tries to enjoy her last summer with Harvey and her two best friends. Her cousin Ambrose helps her cast a spell on Harvey that shows all of his true feelings. But when a wood spirit deceives Sabrina and the spell goes wrong, Sabrina must decide if she’s going down the wrong path and if all this power is truly worth it.

I loved the Netflix show Sabrina so I knew I would enjoy getting to learn about her life before the show. It honestly makes the show a little better getting to know more about the backstories to everything and it was so well written. The author’s writing style kept me engaged the entire time and I love how she nailed the characters perfectly. All the characters were well developed and relatable in their own ways and the number of times I laughed at Sabrina’s aunts’ tactics made for a great read.

This book had the perfect amount of darkness, humor, with a bit of romance thrown in for a perfect summer read. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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Review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Thank you so much to Dutton Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I swear I will never be able to give Riley Sager anything but a 5-star review. His books have a way of sucking me and making me forget about everything else I should be doing I absolutely love them.

When Jules finds a hidden ad in the paper hiring for an apartment sitter she decides to give it a shot. Desperate for a job and barely making ends meet, Jules is willing to work just about anywhere at this point. When she arrives at the Bartholomew for her job interview she can’t believe her luck, getting to stay in this amazing place for four months and get paid a ridiculous amount of money to do so. And then comes the rules; no visitors, you must spend the night there every night, and you cannot speak to the other residents unless spoken to first. Jules agrees and when she meets another apartment sitter named Ingrid who shares the same disdain for some of the rules, Jules is excited to finally have someone to talk too and hang out with. But then Ingrid goes missing, doesn’t answer her phone, and leaves a mysterious note behind. As Jules starts digging more into the disappearance of Ingrid, she finds out more about the secrets behind the Bartholomew and how dangerous it really is.

I loved how this book was completely different from Riley Sager’s two other novels. What I had originally thought was going to be a book about a haunted apartment quickly turned into something I wasn’t expecting. The amount of suspense and creepiness in this book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I honestly couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. The plot and storyline drew me in and I loved every minute of it.

Review of Off the Grid by Robert McCaw

3 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Oceanview Publishing and FSB Associates for the free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This genre of book was something entirely new for me. I normally don’t go for military, politics, male character as the main character books but I decided to give this one a try. While it was good and the writing did keep me intrigued, I had a really hard time with this one.

One reason this book was hard for me was all of the Hawaiian language. Sometimes the words were translated and explained and sometimes they weren’t so I had to look them up. Well, really I had to look up the pronunciation for almost every Hawaiian word which kind of got irritating when trying to read, I don’t want to have to stop constantly so I can google a word. I understand the book is based in Hawaii and obviously their language is going to get thrown in but I feel the author should have had a better way for readers to understand it.

The other reason I had a hard time with this book was because I didn’t get attached to or relate to any of the characters. I’m not big into politics and I don’t know much about the police force and every big character in the book was either on the force or had something to do with politics. Don’t get me wrong, the writing style was great and kept me reading the entire book even through my other complaints but for a book to be great to me I need to have some kind of connection with at least one of the characters.

Seeing as how this was the second book in the series and I have not read the first one I did feel a little left out when certain parts of the book referenced things that happened in the first so I would recommend reading the first book before you read this one.

The plot and action of this book were good and I did enjoy the mystery that was going on. I didn’t have the ending of the book figured out so I was in for a surprise which I liked.

Overall not a bad book, his writing and the plot kept me from DNFing but I think this will be the last book in this kind of genre that I’ll read.

About the author:

Robert B. McCaw is the author of Death of a Messenger (2016) and Off the Grid (to be published July 2019).

He grew up in a military family traveling the world. After graduating from Georgetown University, he served as a lieutenant in the US Army before earning his JD degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Upon graduation from law school he spent a year as a judicial clerk for Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black. He practiced law in Washington, DC, and New York City, representing investment banks, lawyers, directors, and other clients in complex civil and criminal cases, including many that generated significant press coverage.

For a number of years, Bob maintained a home on the Big Island of Hawai’i, studying its history, culture, and peoples. Archaeology and astronomy are among his many interests. In researching his books, he talked story with Hawai’i County cops and walked the streets where his stories take place. He and his wife live in New York City.

Review of The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

5 STAR REVIEW
I honestly wish I could give it more.

Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Gena Showalter for providing me with a free copy of this book for my honest review.

I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings and this one did not disappoint at all! I loved Gena Showalter’s writing for years and this book was great!

The female main character of the book Everly has been raised in the mortal world by her mom and stepdad with her twin sister Hartly. She has no idea that she’s a fairy princess and that she possesses strong powers, powers that could get her killed. Her world gets turned upside down when they both find out they have powers and are taken to the world of Enchantia. Everything that happens to Everly is done because of what the fairytale or prophecy says is going to happen and everyone must figure out if she is the Evil Queen or not.

This story was kind of hard for me to get into at first but once I started I couldn’t put it down (can you say binge reading). I loved all of the characters but I especially loved Everly. She was such a sweet girl and only wanted the best for everyone and had a hell of a time when she had to be mean or kill someone. I loved the background thinking she had in some very intense parts and I loved how snarky and sarcastic she was, kind of reminded me of myself. And don’t even get me started on the romance between her and the Prince, holy swoon.

The fight scenes in this book were also incredible. Gena goes into so much detail in her books that you honestly feel like you’re right there with them and I honestly flinched at a couple of the spots when someone got hit, it seemed that real to me. I think that was one of the best parts about this fantasy novel was how descriptive and creative everything, it sucks you into the story and doesn’t want to let you go.

Review of A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

Thank you so much to Nelson Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my review!

I have read many true crime stories but this was my first true crime memoir.  This was a very interesting read for me as it happened in my home state of Kansas and I got to watch it as it unfolded.

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

4 STAR REVIEW

This story hits pretty close to home for me as I live only about 4 hours away from Wichita, KS.  I remember watching the news as it happened and watching the movies based on the heinous crimes, it was stomach-churning.  I don’t know how I would have managed if it was my dad that had committed these crimes.

A few parts of this book were confusing to me as the author touched on things that had happened in the past or memories but didn’t really go into details about them.  

You couldn’t help but feel terrible for Kerri Rawson as she had to go through this.  Her dad was such a well-respected guy in their town, church president, and a Boy Scout leader and he lead this total double life that no one knew about until he was caught.  His daughter had to carry the burden and get looked at funny all because of what her father did and that’s what made me the saddest of all, that she was getting repercussions from his crimes that she had nothing to do with.  

Her writing style and how she explained growing up with her family in Kansas was so well written and I found myself really liking her.  She was so real in her writing and really held nothing back.  

This was a very personal book and I commend Kerri for completely opening up her life for everyone to read.  It was an enjoyable read and I really liked hearing more about the story.

About the author:

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Kerri Rawson is the daughter of Dennis Rader, better known to the world as the serial killer BTK. Since her father’s arrest, Kerri has been an advocate for victims of abuse, crime, and trauma, sharing her journey of hope, healing, faith, and forgiveness. She lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Michigan.

Review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Its Terrifying Times by Joseph Lanza

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve been obsessed with horror movies since a very young age (thanks Mom and Dad).  I love that this author wrote basically a tell all about how the movie idea came to be and all of the history behind it.  

When the movie first premiered in 1974 some viewers were engrossed while others were disgusted.  Due to its violence and gore it was actually banned from many countries and pulled from US theaters because of its extreme violence.  Tobe Hooper didn’t let that stop him though and the movie ended up being called one of the most influential horror movies of all time.  

I loved how this book touched on what all went on in the 1970s that inspired certain aspects of the movie.  It incorporated so many political views, other serial killers in the US, and racism and sexism.  It was more than just a horror movie, it included a lot that was going on at the time.

Tobe Hooper touched on such a violent decade and made this book so much more than just about the horror film.  Even though the budget for the movie was slim, he made it work and now there have been numerous sequels to the movie that seems to have made horror movies.

His writing style and details about the history of the 70s were so enjoyable to read and I learned many new things that I didn’t know about then.  This was a great book if you’re into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and want to hear more about the backstory.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-texas-chain-saw-massacre-joseph-lanza/1131267528?ean=9781510737907#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joseph Lanza is the author of several books that center on independent film. His book Gravity: Tilted Perspectives on Rocketships, Rollercoasters, Earthquakes, and Angel Food (St. Martin’s Press/Picador, 1997) was well-received and was selected for the Los Angeles Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books list of 1997. Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films (Chicago Review Press, 2007) received positive reviews from Financial Times. He lives in New Jersey.

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June

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4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Blink Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was my first novel by Christina June and I was hooked right from the beginning.  I know a lot of people said it was a modern Hansel and Gretel retelling, which loosely put it could be, but I thought of it more as a YA contemporary.

Ashlynn can’t wait to be back home after spending a year at boarding school away from her parents.  But then she finds out her dad is going to prison for tax evasion, and she found out not from her parents but from social media.  And to add the cherry on top, her mom is going to rehab for “exhaustion” aka depression.  She gets shipped off to spend the summer with her relatives that she barely knows and starts a summer job at a wilderness camp that their daughter Hannah works at. 

I automatically fell in love with the main character Ashlynn.  I felt so bad for her at the beginning when she found out both of her parents were pretty much abandoning her and she had to go live with her Uncle and Aunt that she hasn’t seen in forever.  The way her tyrant Dad treated her about made me want to cry and then the sweet way her Mom acted toward her when her Dad wasn’t around made me want to cry again.  But then when she actually started becoming happy and finally made friends with Hannah my heart just soared.  You can’t help but want to root for her the whole novel.  Yeah, she messed up once but what happened to her was really not her fault at all and her Dad just couldn’t drop his ways and see that.

I also really loved the character of Baxter.  He was so tentative with her and soft-spoken at first and then really opened up at Ashlynn.  He didn’t try to be the macho douchebag like Marcus, he actually helped with Ashlynn’s family problems and was always there to help her (and rescue her!) and was an amazing friend.

This is definitely a perfect summer read about family issues and learning how to trust new people even when you can’t trust your own family.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-like-here-christina-june/1128931453?ean=9780310766926#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://hannahbjorndalphotography.pass.us/authorchristinajune

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.