Book Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

shallow graves

Shallow Graves

3 stars

Breezy remembers leaving the party but the next time she wakes, she’s in a grave and a year has passed. She has no explanation for what happened, or for the man at the foot of her grave that she seems to have killed with her touch after he dug her up. All she knows is that she’s now conscious and can feel if anyone around her has killed someone. Breezy sets out to find answers, both about what she is now and about the night of her death. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a dangerous cult hunting creatures and Breezy has found herself on their radar.

Shallow Graves was a creepy book that had a lot of darkness and chills. The whole concept was a dark one, a murdered girl who woke up a year later and could kill people who have killed, and a cult hunting down anyone like her. There were many tense moments and the plot was paced to make me want to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen.

Breezy was a character with a lot of darkness around her but her voice could also be quite humorous, especially heavy with sarcasm. Her struggle was interesting. Did her sudden powers to kill make her a monster? What was she supposed to do now? Was she brought back for a purpose? She had to decide if she wanted to try to get used to her new life and what that meant for her old one. I wish we’d gotten to see more of Breezy before she woke in her grave since there were a lot of times it felt like she was handling things a little too well and I wasn’t sure if it was normal for her or if it was a new development.

The secondary characters were lacking in depth for me in this book. Breezy met so many people so I can understand not all of them getting some spotlight time, but there were ones she had significant contact with and they still felt a little two-dimensional. It felt like I was supposed to care about them because they were helping Breezy, not because they were worth it on their own.

The plot was very well paced, as mentioned. There were so many pieces being introduced that by the end, it was a little hard to keep track of everything, but for the most part it just ended up adding to the story. There was usually enough time to get used to one added element before the next was introduced. It was only near the end when things seemed to get a little too fast. It was a good read. I just would have liked a little more depth all around.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Exposing My-Shelf: Shelf Thirty-Four

I am notorious for being very, very particular about where my books go on my shelves. I have reasons why they’re placed where they are. They might not make sense to anyone else but they make sense to me, so that’s all that matters. Every now and then my reasons will change or there will be an influx of new books(looking at you April/May/September) that will make it necessary for the system to be tweaked. Every Friday(hopefully) I’ll be posting a picture of one shelf and explaining the reasoning behind it. By the time I’ve posted every shelf section, it’ll be time to re-arrange and start all over again.

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Shelf contains:

Splintered/Unhinged/Ensnared – AG Howard

Salvage – Alexandra Duncan

Level 2 – Lenore Appelhans

Shallow Graves – Kali Wallace

Plus One – Elizabeth Farma

Need – Joelle Charbonneau

Madly – Amy Alward

Dreamland – Robert L Anderson

Da Vinci’s Tiger – LM Elliot

Dream a Little Dream – Kiersten Gier

Earthbound/Earthquake – Aprilynne Pike

Mystic City/Toxic Heart – Theo Lawrence

The School for Unusual Girls – Kathleen Baldwin

Life After Theft – Aprilynne Pike

5 to 1 – Holly Bodger

This is a mismash shelf of books that I’ve read, books I need to read, and books I forgot I owned because they’re tucked away in behind other books. Ooops.

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Comparing Before and After: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

revenge and the wild

This was my WoW pick (hosted by Breaking the Spine) back on September 23rd 2015. Back then, I was excited because:

“The cover is so pretty! And it’s another YA western with a strong, capable female lead. It sounds exciting and full of magic with some romance.”

After reading and posting a review, I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped. It had western elements but it was more of a mashup of genres, there was a lot of build up to the action, and a lot of characters were left underdeveloped. It was still a good read and I did like the development of the lead female character but it was just less than I was expecting.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

into the dim

Into the Dim

Release date: March 1st 2016

Goodreads: When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Why I’m excited: Time Travel seems to be the in thing this year, between books and all the TV pilots. I love that it’s set in the 12th century since I haven’t read many, if any, books set around that time period. The Outlander comparison makes me a little nervous because I love Outlander and it immediately sets expectations high but we’ll see.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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The storm never really hit last weekend. It snowed but not enough to shut down the city like last year. So far it’s been a pretty mild winter, which is a little worrisome because what happens when Old Man Winter decides to make up for lost time….

Currently reading: the love that split the world

Finished reading: guardian of the gatecircle of firegirl from everywheredark days clubBlackhearts

Reviewed: revenge and the wildnot if i see you first

What I’m hoping to get to next week: lifeboat cliqueliars and losers like us to read

symptoms of being humanshallow gravesBlackhearts to review.

What this means for my 2016 challenges:

  • 25 books read in total
  • 9 contemporary books read
  • 16 paranormal/fantasy books read
  • 9 2016 debut authors read
  • 12 reviews posted

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January Wrap-Up/February TBR

First month of a new year is done! February promises to be a huge month, just looking at all the books that are being released that I want on my shelves.

January Wrap-Up:

the year we fell apart The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin. 4/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this story of forgiveness and second chances.

miss peregrin Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs. 4/5 stars. It was a fun and creepy book to read. The pictures really added to the creepy factor.

bookishly ever after Bookishly Ever After – Isabel Bandeira. 4/5 stars. Review. This was so cute and I really appreciated being able to connect with a bookworm character.

hollow city Hollow City – Ransom Riggs. 3.5/5 stars. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one. It was a little slower but still good.

promises i made Promises I Made – Michelle Zink. 3/5 stars. I really liked the first book and the heist and everything that went into it. This sequel was still good but much slower.

assassin's heart Assassin’s Heart – Sarah Ahiers. 4/5 stars. Review. I really liked the world in this book and the main character was badass.

for the record For the Record – Charlotte Huang. 3.5/5 stars. Review. It was good but I wish there’d been more depth to the main character’s bandmates.

the one thing The One Thing – Marci Lyn Curtis. 3/5 stars. Review.  Another book where I wish other characters had gotten more development. It’s hard to connect to flat characters.

sword and verse Sword & Verse – Kathy MacMillan. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed the overall story and concept but it was pretty slow until a little past the half-way point.

ungodly Ungodly – Kendare Blake. 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed this whole series. I love Greek mythology so to see these Gods in such dire circumstances and them fighting to live, was interesting.

encore to an empty room Encore to an Empty Room – Kevin Emerson. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I’m not the biggest fan of the main character and I think I feel most for the characters I’m not supposed to feel for but this middle book set up the last one perfectly.

library of souls Library of Souls – Ransom Riggs. 4/5 stars. This last book made me really excited that this series is(hopefully still) going to be a movie.(please don’t screw it up).

revenge and the wild Revenge and the Wild – Michelle Modesto. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I think if I went into this expecting something different than a steampunk western, maybe I would have enjoyed it more.

body finder big The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting. 3/5 stars. I really like the concept but it was a bit predictable.

desires of the dead big Desires of the Dead – Kimberly Derting. 3/5 stars. This one seemed a little slow and it was still predictable.

last echoe big The Last Echo – Kimberly Derting. 2.5/5 stars. This one was just really slow. It was a bit of a struggle to get through it.

shallow graves Shallow Graves – Kali Wallace. 3/5 stars. Review coming. This one went back and forth between being slow and being too fast.

not if i see you first Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom. 4/5 stars. Review. I really liked the friendships and the main character’s sense of humour.

dead silence big Dead Silence – Kimberly Derting. 3.5/5 stars. This was a lot better paced than the others and ended up being my favourite of the series.

symptoms of being human Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin. 4.5/5 stars. Review coming. Holy amazeballs!

guardian of the gate Guardian of the Gate – Michelle Zink. 3/5 stars. This one seemed to suffer from classic middle book syndrome.

circle of fire Circle of Fire – Michelle Zink. 3/5 stars. It was a good conclusion but things went as I expected, making it predictable.

girl from everywhere The Girl from Everywhere – Heidi Heilig. 4/5 stars. Review coming. It was a little slow but the main character was engaging and I liked the mythology of it all.

February TBR:

glass swordthe love that split the worldBlackheartslifeboat clique

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s Top Ten is putting your own spin on either the future or the past. I’m doing settings I love/would love to see.

Settings I love:

10. prisoner bigfront lines I can’t get enough of WWII settings. I know going in there’s going to be a lot of action, characters I will likely cry over, and so much history.

9. under a painted skywalk on earth a stranger The Oregon trail. It’s danger everywhere and the slow pace of the wagon train or travel means lots of opportunity for new friendships and great conversation.

8. rebel mechanicsthis monstrous thing The 1800s. This time period fascinates me.

7. avalon bigstarflight Space. The possibilities just seem endless.

6. clockwork angel bigrevenge and the wild Steampunk. I do love the Victorian-era on its own but I really love when steampunk elements are thrown in as well. It adds a different mix.

5. zodiacinvaded Alien planets. How are they different than us? How are they the same? So many questions.

Setting I would love to see more:

4. Books set in countries we don’t see much of or that don’t exist anymore. Ex: Prussia.

3. The near future. It seems like most futuristic books I’ve read focus on 100+ years into the future. What about ten years? Do we change much? Is it the same?

2. The 1950s. I’ve read a lot of books with a WWII setting but not a lot that focus on the aftermath.

1. 17th century France. Or more specifically anything to do with The Musketeers era because it’s The Musketeers era.

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Book Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

revenge and the wild

Revenge and the Wild

3.5 stars

Westie lives in Rogue City, a place full of magical creatures. and humans living together. She lost her arm as a child after her family was attacked by cannibals on the wagon trail and adopted by infamous inventor Nigel Butler as she was the only survivor. Now, nine years later, she’s determined to find the people who slaughtered her family and make them pay. When new investors, a wealthy family, come to Rogue City to possibly finance Nigel’s newest invention, an invention that could save the city as the magic that has kept them save for so long is depleting, it should be a joyous occasion. The problem: these investors look exactly like the family that killed Westie’s family. Westie sets out to prove them guilty with the help of Nigel’s assistant Alistair, but she has to watch her step or risk losing the people she now calls family.

I wasn’t quite sure what this book would be like going into it. It sounded, at first, like a paranormal western, but the more I read, there were also some steampunk elements thrown in and it ended up feeling a lot less western than I expected. There were a few times when it felt like the plot was trying to be too many things at once and a lot of things got touched upon but never really felt completed. It was slow to begin with but once Westie became determined to investigate, the action picked up.

Westie was a great character. I wanted to scream at her to have come sense just as much as I wanted to be her friend. She was stubborn and could be infuriatingly narrow-sighted but she also cared about her friends and I could definitely understand her wanting revenge against the people who’d stolen her whole family away from her. She was definitely an action now, think later type of girl, another thing that made me want to scream at her. She had to learn to let other people in and to trust them, that they could help her instead of holding her back. She was entertaining and her loud-mouthed comments had me laughing at times then she’d turn around and make me tear up as she lost herself to alcohol to numb herself.

My main complaint of the book would be that all the secondary characters felt underdeveloped. There were many, and there were quite a few that interacted a lot with Westie and there was a lot of room to give them more depth, but it never happened. The character that got the most depth and attention outside Westie was Alistair, one of the love interests and a boy who’d grown up with Westie after also being adopted by Nigel. I liked his character and was glad he got some development but it felt like all the other characters barely skimmed the surface of who they were.

The plot started slowly and kept a pretty steady pace for the first half of the book, baring a few scenes here and there that had some action. It was all about setting up the world, Rogue City, and the stakes at Westie was facing trying to prove such a wealthy family of cannibalism. There was a lot of information to absorb: all the different magical creatures, the magic used to sustain Rogue City, the Undying and how they became that way, Westie’s backstory. Once Westie started to put her mind on moving on so she could be clear-headed enough to get the Fairchilds, the action started to pick up. There were a lot of twists and turns in the last quarter of the book. I was able to figure out one of the big ones but one caught me totally off-guard. I love when plot twists are able to surprise me.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

not if i see you first

Not If I See You First

4 stars

Parker Grant has rules you best not break if you want to be in her life. Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind and never take advantage of her are two of the biggest ones. Scott Kilpatrick knows that from experience when he broke her heart. When two schools merge, Scott is suddenly back in Parker’s life, and there’s only one way for Parker to react – ignore him. She has enough going on in her life without adding Scott to the mix: trying out for the track team, if she can find a partner to run with, giving advice to her classmates on their love lives, and giving herself a gold star for every day she hasn’t cried since her father’s death three months ago. As Parker begins to learn more about the events that happened, both with Scott and with her father’s death, she starts to questions herself and her rule about not giving second chances.

I hadn’t heard much about this book before received an arc of it, then it was the Uppercasebox book for December. I found myself really enjoying Parker’s voice and the humour laced throughout her thoughts and dialogue. I also really enjoyed the dynamics between the characters.

Parker was an extremely independent girl with a strong voice that was a lot of fun to read. She had a fierceness about her that I really liked and she refused to let people treat her like a child or an invalid just because she was blind. She could still do things by herself so she was going to do those things. Her attitude did have some drawbacks as she wasn’t always completely open with people or with herself and she strong opinions could be oft-putting but it also made sense for her character. I enjoyed her growth as a character and that there were so many layers slowly being peeled away as the book went on. She was a complex characters whose bluntness had me both cringing and laughing.

The relationships between the characters was one of my favourite things about this book. Her friendships with her longtime best friend Sarah was so perfect. They were a great contrast to each other and it was obvious why they were so close. Her new friendship with Molly added a new aspect to the story since the reader got to see someone learning the rules with them instead of all Parker’s friends knowing the rules already and being used to following them without thought. There was also the interesting dynamic between Parker and her aunt. Her aunt seemed to think she was being helpful by not letting Parker do a lot around the house or having different rules for Parker then her daughter but she was actually hindering Parker’s independence and taking away things that Parker enjoyed doing, like cooking supper. It was an adjustment that wasn’t easy for anyone when her aunt and her family moved into Parker’s house after her father’s death and it made for a lot of growth opportunity.

The romance was kept light and I appreciated that. It let the main focus of the story be on Parker, her growth, and her struggles. I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet and there was a lot of conflict but also a lot of love between her and Scott. I liked that it took time for the whole story to come out about what had happened between Parker and Scott a few years ago and that we got to see both sides and feel the pain from both of them.

The main story was Parker and I loved the focus on her. She had a lot of things to work through and there was a lot of taking a step forward only to stumble and need to take a step back. She was trying new things, like track and field, but she was also having trouble moving on, like not letting herself cry and grieve after her father. It was a good, interesting read. I can see why it was chosen as an Uppercasebox selection.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Talking Books: Bookish facts about my geeky self

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  • I often think in terms of book prices instead of actual dollars. ex: I love that sixty dollar dress in the window but that would be three hardcover books. Do I really need to add another dress to my overwhelming wardrobe?
  • Reading is not a passive hobby for me. I yell and scream and throw things. I cry and laugh and pace around the room. It’s exhausting.
  • I banish books to shelves I can’t see if the covers or sizes don’t match.
  • I have scared more than one family member with sudden outbursts at character deaths.
  • I have also woken more than one family member up at night by screaming ‘you didn’t fix it!’ or some variation at the book’s author who can’t hear me.
  • I give a person one chance and one chance only if they’re borrowing a book. Books are expensive and I can’t afford to replace the ones that get damaged because a person didn’t take care of it.
  • No matter how many times a book to movie or TV adaptation disappoints me, I still get excited the next time one is announced.
  • I find re-organizing my bookshelves relaxing.
  • I have traveled to far more places through books than I ever will in life.
  • I actually don’t mind a love triangle when it makes sense within the plot of the book.
  • There are some fictional deaths I will never be okay with.
  • I wear something fandom based every single day. It might not be directly book related but there’s usually books about the movie or TV show. Ex: Supernatual.
  • While there are exceptions to lots of rules, when it comes to books, I don’t bend easily.

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