ARC REVIEW: Rose Petal Graves – by Olivia Wildenstein

Title: Rose Petal Graves
(The Lost Clan #1)
Author: Olivia Wildenstein

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: March 29th 2017
Publisher: Weapenry Co-Op
Finished reading: March 27th 2017
Pages: 390

“You make your own happyiness, Kajika. Just like you create your own destiny.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Weapenry Co-Op in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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This first book of a new fantasy series has definitely been a case of instant cover-love, and I admit I was superficial enough to request a copy of Rose Petal Graves mostly based on the cover. The blurb was really promising as well: a story involving a poweful tribe of Gottwa Indians, ancient graves and mysterious things happening in a quiet town… Sounds great! Add the line that Rose Petal Graves is basically a mix between myth and fantasy and something between A Court Of Thorns And Roses and Pocahontas, and I was sold. Unfortunately, I dont’ think the actual story lived up to expectations. Rose Petal Graves started interesting enough and I still like the general idea behind this story (the mix of myth and fantast with fae and fae hunters), but I encountered quite a few problems along the way. The biggest turn off for me was also very much a cliche. Because Rose Petal Graves turned out to be yet another YA fantasy series destroyed by a… yes, you can already guess… a freaking LOVE TRIANGLE!! I’ve become seriously allergic to them, and this particular case is no different. Too many forbidden love interests and love triangles seriously distracted from the rest of the story, and the fact that the main character (Cat) changes ‘teams’ constantly doesn’t really help either. That leads me to another point: the credibility of the plot and the actions of the main character(s) in general. There were parts I just didn’t find credible at all… An example? Why does Cat trust the very same persons that might have hurt her mother? And why does she keep talking to certain characters after she finds out the truth? Thankfully it was a fast read at least and I guess those who don’t mind a love triangle or two will probably enjoy this story a lot better.

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Cat left the quiet town where she grew up in to study, but found herself back unexpectedly after her mother died suddenly. Her dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in their backyard… But Cat is not so sure. She has the feeling something is off, and not just because the only thing she finds inside the old coffin is fresh rose petals. Does it have something to do with the tribe of Gottwa Indians that founded the town all that time ago? Cat will soon have to deal with some unwelcome visitors…

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I was actually really looking forward to this read, mostly because I haven’t read that many Indian-inspired stories before. Unfortunately, the story kind of fell flat for me. Annoying tropes like love triangles, problems with credibility of the plot and characters and a lack of dept in the Indian myths and fae world; it’s not a bad read, but I was hoping for something better. I would probably still read a sequel at some point though, just to see how things would develop over time.


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ARC REVIEW: The First City – by Joe Hart

Title: The First City
(The Dominion Trilogy #3)
Author: Joe Hart

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: March 28th 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: March 24th 2017
Pages: 444

“There’s always hope, but change is the most difficult thing in the world for human beings to do. There is safety in static. Change is the great disrupter, even when it is for the good.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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The First City is the third and final installment of The Dominion Trilogy I started reading some time last year. I remember not being completely convinced by the first book, especially because of the not-so-original dystopian plot and annoying main character, but I enjoyed the second book a lot better. This improvement was probably the main reason I decided to request a copy of the third book, although I don’t like leaving series unfinished either. Unfortunately, I don’t think The First City continued the same line of improvement seen in book two. In fact, I had a really hard time finishing this third book… Like I said before, I never liked the main character Zoey, but in The First City she is becoming amost impossible to tolerate. I have even seriously considered DNFing it at various points… Her self-centered, annoying and whiney dialogues and actions made this read into a true struggle. An example? Her thoughts are basically all about how she is only putting others in danger and that she should do everything alone; sacrificing herself for the greater good; just put that on repeat indefinitely and you get the idea. Luckily the other POVs were slightly better and that’s probably why I decided to see it through. The plot yet again isn’t all that original and I’m not sure if everything is completely credible, but the ending was satisfying enough even though a bit cheesy. All in all the best of this series definitely came a bit early.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first  two books in this trilogy yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

It’s the 2030s and the world Zoey has grown up in hasn’t been an easy one for women. Little girls stopped being born suddenly years before, and the natural balance could never be restored. Zoey grew up in a research center (ARC) along with other girls, the investigators experimenting on them and trying to find a way to save the world. A lot of things have happened since then and Zoey is about to get a very shocking message: she might be the key and only hope for salvation.

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Like I said before, I mostly decided to read the final book of this trilogy because the second book was such an improvement. Unfortunately the main character didn’t change her way in The First City, and I ended up spending most of my time having my patience tested to its limit. It’s a shame a character can influence my feelings about a story in this way, but claiming otherwise would not have been honest. Also, the plot in general sounds too much like your typical dystopian story and some of it was farfetched, but Hiraku’s POV did add a little something extra to the plot.


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ARC REVIEW: Bull – by David Elliott

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott

Genre: YA, Poetry, Mythology
First published: March 28th 2017
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: March 16th 2017
Pages: 200

“Minos says I’m nothing more than Nothing.

Can Nothing take a form and call it me?

But Nothing is ever what it seems.

Watch Nothing laugh.

See Nothing cry.

Hear Nothing scream.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and HMH Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have a weak spot for (Greek) mythology retellings, so I knew I had to request a copy of Bull as soon as I saw it mentioned last year. Like the title already suggests, this story written by David Elliott is a mythology retelling of the classic Greek Minotaur story I’m sure most have at least heard about. I actually translated part of it during high school so I was looking forward to revisiting the story! One thing is for sure: Bull definitely wasn’t the mythology retelling I was expecting. I’m still not sure what to make of it all, but there is no doubt it was at least both an entertaining and very original retelling. Why? Bull is a story full written in verse and each character in the story has its own unique style; very creative indeed. The writing style made me laugh more than once, although the humor might be a bit unorthodox and I’m still not sure the tone was actually appropriate. To get an idea what I mean, here’s how the story started:

“POSEIDON

Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.”

Not exactly what you would expect when starting a Theseus and the minotaur retelling, right?! Still, I would recommend this story to anyone searching for an original and slightly bizarre story and to those who enjoy reading in verse and don’t mind a swearword or two.

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A story completely told in verse… Minos wanted to be king and asked for the help of Poseidon, only to deny the God his sacrifice when Minos gets what he wants. Poseidon is furious and decides to punish Minos, but the best revenge is one that’s properly planned and needs time. Minos doesn’t know it yet, but his future will change forever… Because instead of a little boy, Minos’ wife and queen will give birth to the Minotaur. And that sure is something else!

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It personally took me some time to get used to the original and unorthodox way Bull narrates the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, but I can also really appreciate the direction the author decided to take with this retelling. There is no doubt that teenagers will find it easier to connect to Bull than the original story and it has without doubt a high entertainment factor. It’s not for everyone, but the right person will definitely have a blast reading this Minotaur retelling told in verse!


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ARC REVIEW: Last Breath – by Robert Bryndza

Title: Last Breath
(DCI Erika Foster #4)
Author: Robert Bryndza

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 12th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 16th 2017
Pages: 281

“ ‘You know, Sparks, you might have been handed your superior rank by brown nosing, but you have to earn authority,’ said Erika, holding his gaze.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I became a fan of Robert Bryndza‘s detective series right after I read the first book The Girl In The Ice last year and I have been looking forward to another Erika Foster adventure ever since I finished the third book. Last Breath was on my list of most anticipated releases this year: I literally requested a copy the minute it appeared on Netgalley and put all my other reads on hold. It looks like Erika Foster came back stronger than ever! Last Breath is without doubt my new favorite novel of the series… And not just because of the excellent plot and disturbingly creepy killer. I also really liked the interaction between Erika and the other main characters in this one and it is great to see her character evolve over time. The case had me hooked right from the start and the plot and plot twists had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I literally couldn’t put Last Breath down until the final page! In short, this fourth Erika Foster book is fast-paced, full of twists, well written, has an interesting plot, disturbing killer and just the right amount of creepy; what more to ask? I’m already looking forward to book five and this one hasn’t even been published yet.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first three books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

The body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, and Detective Erika Foster is one of the first on the scene. One problem though: it’s not her case… But after one look at the tortured remains of the woman Erika knows she needs to have this case. She is fighting to be put on the investigation team, and even though she is told not to, she starts investigating the crime. Soon she becomes involved as she finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Erika is determined to find the killer before he strikes again, but he seems to be a ghost. Will she be able to stop him on time? The life of another girl might be on the line…

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Like I said before, I have been following this series ever since I finished the first book. I always enjoy a good fast-paced crime thriller and these books simply deliver. Last Breath might just be the best one yet with a chillingly creepy serial killer on the loose and some very shocking plot twists… The prose is just as good as ever and I had a blast reading this fourth book even though my heart almost stopped once or twice. Excellent plot! If you haven’t read the series yet and like the genre, this one should be on your wishlist.


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ARC REVIEW: Goodbye Days – by Jeff Zentner

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner

Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
First published: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s / Andersen
Finished reading: March 14th 2017
Pages: 416

“For the most part, you don’t hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s/ Andersen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Birthday review! 😀 Because reading Goodbye Days this week was basically an early birthday present in the first place.

I absolutely loved reading Jeff Zentner‘s other novel The Serpent King earlier this year and I added Goodbye Days to my list of most anticipated releases as soon as I finished it. You can imagine my reaction when my Netgalley request was actually approved… I didn’t want to set my expectations too high after such a fantastic debut, and I kept telling myself it would be hard for Goodbye Days to outshine it. But I guess I shouldn’t have worried, because I think I have just found my new favorite Zentner novel. Basically, this story took my feelings, put them on the middle of the road and ran them over repeatedly with a bulldozer. It doesn’t happen often that a book actually manages to make me cry, but Goodbye Days managed to break my heart more than once. Brilliant prose, excellent characters and those feels!! I literally flew through the pages of this story and the characters were easy to love. And this isn’t just another YA contemporary story either; it also touches a very important topic. Thank you Goodbye Days for raising awareness to the dangers of using your phone while driving; is more dangerous than drunk driving and causes so many unnecessary accidents… Hopefully an eyeopener as well as a brilliant read! Recommended to any contempory/realistic fiction fan who doesn’t mind sad stories.

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Carver Briggs never thought something so simple as a text message could end the lives of his three best friends Mars, Eli and Blake. He didn’t think about possible consequences when he sent the text as they were driving to meet him, and while Mars was trying to answer the three friends ended up in a fatal car crash. Carver cannot stop blaming himself for the accident and it seems like he isn’t the only one… The authorities are looking into the accident to try and determine if they can press charges against him. Blake’s grandmother doesn’t blame him, and asks Carver to help remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. That leads to the idea to have memorial days for his other friends as well, but not everyone is willing to forgive… Can the goodbye days really help?

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Goodbye Days is without doubt one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I don’t think I can find something negative about it, other than that it basically broke my heart and left me nursing a book hangover. The writing style is brilliant and will have you flying through the pages as you ride the emotional rollercoaster. The characters will win over your heart and the plot is both wonderful, sad and has an important lesson. If you like the genre, Goodbye Days is a must-read!


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ARC REVIEW: The Missing Ones – by Patricia Gibney

Title: The Missing Ones
(Detective Lottie Parker #1)
Author: Patricia Gibney

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
First published: March 16th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: March 9th 2017
Pages: 518

“No one had seen anything. Was Ragmullin the town of the deaf, blind and mute? What had happened to the valley of the squinting windows?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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❤ Happy publication day to The Missing Ones!! ❤

You can never have enough psychological thrillers, right? I had high hopes for this first book of a new detective series, especially since I’ve heard a lot of great things about it lately. Now I have finally been properly introduced to Lottie Parker in The Missing Ones, I have instantly joined the fan-crew. Psychological thriller plots can tend to start sounding the same if you read a lot of them, but Patricia Gibney had me fully intrigued by this story. Not only is The Missing Ones a very well written story, but it also has an intriguing and complex plot and very interesting characters as well. Sure, detective Lottie Parker is a bit of a cliche with her messed up personal life, but she does grow on you. And the case itself is a mix of twisted, disturbing, dark and intriguing and will have you on the edge of the seat until the very end. 1970s flashbacks are mixed in with the present and will slowly start to reveal more about the past and what really is going on… And boy, you will find some very disturbing details and plot twists along the way! I also loved the little Rome bits, especially since the Santa Maria Maggiore and me have a little history and my heart literally skipped a beat when it was mentioned. In short, The Missing Ones is a rich, intriguing and gripping psychological thriller that is both well written and will manage to surprise you more than once. Disturbingly good!

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When just after Christmas a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate both cases. The deaths seem random, up until it becomes clear both bodies have the same tattoo crudely inscribed on their legs. The two seem to be connected, but how exactly? Lottie Parker has to dig into the past to find out more about both victims, and the evidence leads her to St. Angela’s. Suddenly the case has become personal, as the former children’s home has a connection to her own dark family history… And the current victims might be linked to decade old unsolved murders. Will she be able to discover the truth before the killer strikes again?

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If you like well written psychological thrillers with a complex plot and excellent plot twists, I can definitely recommend The Missing Ones. The story is a bit longer than your average thriller, which only contributes to the richness of the plot without slowing down the pace. The switches between the past and present are well executed and only add to the intrigue as well. There are definitely a lot of disturbing and twisted details and reveals along the way! I will be looking forward to the next book in this series.


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ARC REVIEW: Renegade Red – by Lauren Bird Horowitz

Title: Renegade Red
(The Light #2)
Author: Lauren Bird Horowitz

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: March 14th 2017
Publisher: Papaloa Press
Finished reading: March 7th 2017
Pages: 420

“Some scars are necessary.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Papaloa Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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For the longest time, I remember a few fellow bloggers including Ashley and Maren saying lots and lots of wonderful things about the first book in this series (Shattered Blue). In fact, it made me wonder why I didn’t see the series mentioned more often… I admit it took me way too long to make true on my promise to give this series a go, but I’m so glad I finally saw ‘the light’. Because this series is without doubt one of the most underrated ones I’ve read to this date! True, it does have a love triangle and lots of going back and forth between the two ‘candidates’, but somehow Lauren Bird Horowitz made me forgive the story for it. And trust me, it doesn’t happen often I actually tolerate a love triangle. How? You just have to read a little sample of the prose to get an idea. The writing style is lyrical, flows and is simply so beautiful! And not only is this series well written, it also has a fast pace and an interesting plot and main characters… I can definitely undersand the love for this series now, and I will be waiting impatiently for the third book to come out so I can read all three books together. If you like YA romantic fantasy, make sure to check out this series! It’s without doubt a hidden gem.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

The story continues right where it ended in Shattered Blue… Noa Sullivan jumps into a collapsing Portal desperate to try and rescue her little sister Sasha. Noa and the Fae brothers Callum and Judah will have to find a way to survive, but it’s not only the different world that complicates things… Their search for little Sasha will take them to dangerous and treacherous places and even their own minds will start working against them. The battle has to be fought both on the inside and out; will they be able to succeed before it’s too late?

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This series isn’t exactly widely known and now I’ve had the chance to experience it myself I really don’t understand why it hasn’t received more attention. I’m sticking with my belief that The Light trilogy is probably one of the most underrated series I’ve read so far! The lyrical writing style will manage to put most YA fantasy fans under an instant spell and even though it does have a slightly annoying love triangle, the rest of the story will make up for it. More than recommended!


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