They Mostly Come Out At Night – Benedict Patrick

Many thanks to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 stars.

I am just going to make a note at the beginning of my review: this is an honest review. I’m not giving this 5/5 stars as a favor or anything like that. I don’t do that stuff.

But… Wow. Just wow. When I initially received a copy of this book, I read 70% of it in about 2 days. I knew I would probably give it a 5/5 rating, but I wanted to give myself some time/space away from it just in case I was a little too excited about it to be fair.

So I set it aside. The week or two that I meant to set it aside for, turned into about four or five months (or 6 months…). I picked it up again today, and finished it.

Why am I telling you this? Well, so you know that my 5/5 stars was not just the starstruck “Oh my gosh this book was amazing” high that I sometimes get after reading a novel that gripped me. This is a starstruck “Oh my gosh this book was amazing AND I WANT MORE” high that has lasted for months.

As a voracious reader as well as a writer myself, I have a very vivid imagination. As such, I don’t watch TV – I read instead. Seeing things like book adaptations on TV/in movies can be somewhat frustrating since they’re not always portrayed as I’d like to see them portrayed. I know for some people, TV is relaxing and more distracting.

Again – why am I telling you this? Because reading They Mostly Come Out At Night is like watching the action-driven portion of a movie, except you get to fill in what the characters and places look like yourself. I could completely envision myself there, with Lonan, with Artemis, with the Magpie King… fighting in the forests, running through the halls of the Eyrie, seeing the destruction in the Eyrie, seeing the darkness that overtook the forest. I could also very vividly see the more gory scenes even though they were not extremely gorily written (so the enchantment of “seeing” what I read, especially evident in this book, was not always a blessing).

I don’t entirely know how Benedict Patrick managed to write They Mostly Come Out At Night the way he did. I don’t know how this book, above all others that I’ve read in recent years, plays out in my brain like a movie, with none of the issues that watching movies/TV comes with for me. I don’t know what it was about his writing that pulled me in, but whatever it was, I want more.

I loved how myths and legends were the backbone of this book. It was not a unique idea, but the way that it was carried out was, in my opinion, unique and wonderful. I definitely recommend this to anyone, but especially those who love fantasy combined with myths/legends.

Warning, though: They Mostly Come Out At Night does have portions that are dark and sad. So be ready to be pulled into the world that Benedict Patrick has created, and be ready to feel All The Thingsโ„ข.

This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

3.5/5 stars

This is the first book of this nature that I’ve read – a YA novel that deals with a school shooting, told by 4 different POVs over the course of only 54 minutes. It was interesting, and I enjoyed it to a degree, but I never really felt a deep connection with any of the characters.

* Autumn – She was the character I felt the closest to. The dancer. She wanted to escape Opportunity, Alabama, and had been accepted to Juilliard for ballet. The sections of the book that involved her seemed to be the most emotionally laden, because of her abusive father and how he discouraged her dancing once her mother died…

* Sylv – Autumn’s girlfriend (but this was kept a secret until the shooting occurred, due to worries about what people would think – including Sylv’s family, who had very traditional values. And again, this takes place in Alabama, which is Bible Belt territory). I didn’t really ever feel connected to Sylv – it was clear that she cared for Autumn, but aside from that I found her to be a fairly forgettable character.

* Tomas – Sylv’s brother. Not forgettable at all, due to the fact that (view spoiler)

* Claire – the only one of the four who was not in the school when the shooting began. The one who went to get help. Yet she also was not terribly memorable nor did I feel any sort of emotional connection from her.

Perhaps that was intentional – the lack of emotional connection to the characters. Because of the horrific nature of the shooting, the disengagement might serve a purpose… because if it were too real, too emotionally-laden, then the readers might… oh, I don’t know. I’m really just bullshitting here.

And Ty. It was never really clear why he went on the rampage. He felt like no one was there for him… he was bullied and then dropped out of school, but it wasn’t clear what he was bullied about, since he seemed to be fairly popular when he was at school. He and Claire had dated for a time. I… really don’t understand. I mean, from what was shared in the book, the bullying had been fairly bad, but the point of it (him being awkward, a social outcast, a geek – any “reason” that kids bully other kids) was not really ever stated clearly. Then again, kids don’t always need a reason for bullying others…

Also, Sylv stated near the end of the book that Ty had hurt her in some way. It was alluding – I think? maybe? – to sexual assault (I’m thinking this due to a few other passages earlier in the book) but I don’t know and this was also never made clear.

Overall, it was the lack of emotional connection and lack of clarity about several key points that knocked this book down from a 4/5 or higher to a 3.5/5. It was interesting enough but the blurb pretty much tells the story… there wasn’t really anything hidden or any surprises throughout the book.

A Cure for Madness – Jodi McIsaac

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer, via NetGalley, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

5/5 stars.

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that I love to dissect books about mental illness, especially when the author has done a terrible job at the research involved in the book (for examples, see this review of The Asylum Prophecies or this review of Switching Time).

There was none of that nonsense in A Cure for Madness.
(Can I tell you how much I adore authors who present a realistic picture of mental illness??)

Anyway. I think what really caught me up in A Cure for Madness was not so much the fact that there was a pathogen that created an extremely contagious and incurable disease that was very similar to schizophrenia… but was more the relationships. I loved seeing how Clare slowly realized that her brother, Wes, was right in a lot of what he said, regarding her running away from Clarkeston. I loved seeing her character growth throughout the novel. And I loved Wes’ brotherly jabs at her (“my friends aren’t dickheads… unlike yours”).

I would’ve liked to see more romance between her and Kenneth, but given the hectic and tense situations that they continuously faced, it makes sense why there wasn’t (and honestly, given the setting of this book, it would’ve been more of a distraction had there been more of a spark between them). That being said, the book ended on such an amazing cliffhanger-but-not-quite-cliffhanger so if there is a follow-up/sequel to A Cure for Madness, I definitely want to see more Clare-and-Kenneth interaction in there (even if it’s not super romantic).

My honest opinion – Jodi McIsaac has a lot of talent. And I’m very interested to see where she will go from here. I’m definitely going to be putting some of her others books on my TBR pile (which is about the size of Mt. Everest now… and growing!).

Relentless – T.L. Childs & T. Deebs

Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire, via NetGalley, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5

I loved this book.

I didn’t read the first in the series (Powerless) but I think I’m going to – at some point – because I loved the world that Childs and Deebs created. A world where maybe the heroes aren’t all good, and maybe the villains aren’t all bad…

Kenna and her “gang” were very much enjoyable – hilarious, fun, and interesting – although I felt a little like I was missing some information since I hadn’t read the first book in the series. However, Relentless is standalone enough that I understood the majority of what was happening. That being said, for anyone who wants to read this, I’d recommend starting with Powerless for a smoother ride through Childs’ and Deebs’ world.

Nitro cracked me up.

I did get a little tired of Draven being “the bad boy” at the start, but then that illusion disappeared.

The ending was amazing, and I could totally see it playing out in my head like one of Marvel’s movies. (And that is a definite plus!) That being said, I’m not vying for this book to be the next YA made into a film, since I think that would do it an injustice. Though I do think that it would be a very interesting and enjoyable movie, I am more excited about the world and the action scenes being so vivid on paper alone.

I’m not sure what else I can say about this without spoiling elements of the story, but I do recommend it to those who want a rather different take on the hero/villain world. ๐Ÿ™‚ I whizzed through Relentless and even though I’m a fast reader, I’m pretty sure it would be a fairly speedy read for anyone.

Now I want to get my hands on Powerless… ๐Ÿ™‚

Haven – A.R. Ivanovich

Many thanks to Alloy Entertainment, via NetGalley, for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review!

5/5 stars.

I’ll be honest. I’ve read a lot of lackluster YA fantasy in the past couple of years – not enough that my interest in the genre is burnt out, by any means, but there certainly seems to be a lot of reuse regarding world building, etc.

I found nothing in Haven that I would consider a trope.

I also found myself enjoying Haven far, far more than I thought I would.

Yes, our protagonist, Katelyn, can be a bit of a brat. Yes, there is instalove (although I didn’t really find myself getting annoyed by that, since there was a lot of other stuff going on throughout the book as well).

But the world was amazing. Many of the scenes – if not all – that took place outside of Rivermarch (and even some that took place there) were ones that I could easily envision, almost like I were watching them unfold on a TV screen. The characters, the places – everything, pretty much – came alive for me.

I don’t really have any complaints about this book, at least not that I can think of right now. If any do pop into my brain, I’ll definitely edit this and add them. But for me at least, this was one of the rare 5/5 stars as well as a book that I think I’d be happy rereading (which is generally what I mean by giving 5/5 stars to a book).

Definitely do recommend to any fantasy lovers, YA lovers, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

These Vicious Masks – Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, via Netgalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5 stars.

Okay, seriously. This book was amazing.

I didn’t read the blurb on Goodreads prior to reading the book (the blurb on Netgalley is entirely different). Had I read the GR blurb, I may have been a little less intrigued by the story – because really, Jane Austen meets X-men…?

But the heroines, Evelyn and Rose, are badass and awesome. They aren’t fainting flowers, and the romance in the book really… wasn’t that bad. In fact, comparing this to some of the other books I’ve read (or am currently reading), there was barely any romance in These Vicious Masks at all. So I guess that’s my way of saying – there was romance, but it definitely didn’t play a huge role, nor did it overpower the actual story.

I loved the characters. I loved the mixture of steampunk and fantasy. I loved the idea of having abilities that are not your normal “superhero abilities.” I loved Sebastian especially.

And the ending – oh my heart!!……

I’ll definitely be keeping this series on my radar… I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! That being said, These Vicious Masks didn’t quite end on a cliffhanger, so that made me happy. There are just some unresolved portions of the story but nothing “serious enough” to warrant me calling it a cliffhanger. But as I said – I definitely want to read the rest of the series.

And yes, I definitely do recommend this to anyone who loves steampunk, who loves romance in small doses, who loves kickass heroines…

(My only problem with this book is that I did get bogged down in it a little bit, at about 60%. However, I think that was more my own fault – I got too involved in reading a ton of books at once – rather than it being the fault of the writing style or anything else like that.)

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark, via Netgalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5 stars.

Okay, in all honesty, I did get a little bogged down in The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. For me, the bogging down occurred around 75% or so through the book. However, once I picked it back up and resumed reading, the story sped up after ~80%.

I. Loved. This. Story.

It’s a charming, quirky, adorable story about a spinster bookseller, Sara, who comes to America to visit a close friend (with whom she has been in contact via snailmail for a long time, but never met in person). And it’s a charming, quirky, adorable story about how the little town that Sara is visiting falls in love with her.

There were a few sections that were confusing or that I felt weren’t completely well-explained.

But the adorableness of the ending and the soft spot I have in my heart for those who believe – as I do – that books can change lives… that bumped my rating from a 4/5 to a 4.5/5. I think it’s fair to say that this book almost received a 5/5 from me – the only reason that I didn’t rate it that high is because near the end of the book, I felt as though the characters were a bit flat (in some regards – Grace and her hunting rifle excluded!). Additionally, I think that in taking a rather longer-than-intended break from readingThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, I did the book a disservice since it was somewhat difficult to jump back into the story.

Definitely do recommend – definitely will keep this author on my radar!