Petra Dee is a woman running from the past and all the memories that haunt her dreams. She seeks distraction in the form of sMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Petra Dee is a woman running from the past and all the memories that haunt her dreams. She seeks distraction in the form of small-town Temperance, Wyoming where her father was last heard of years past and she intends on searching for him. This small-town is far from ordinary and she quickly realizes that law enforcement has no hold on the town but instead local land owner Sal Rutherford seems to be the one in control. There’s another powerful man that goes by the name of The Alchemist who seems to aid in the areas drug habit. Petra quickly ends up right in the dangerous path of both Sal and The Alchemist when she uncovers a magical artifact that is somehow tied to both men and the mysterious story behind the origins of this mysterious small-town.
Alchemy is the reason surrounding this strange towns existence and involves a mysterious figure by the name of Lascaris that during the Gold Rush, as rumor has it, figured out how to transform simple rocks into gold. His experiments were conducted in secret and he was never questioned since he was the sole reason the town was thriving, so why question anything when it’s working so well? After his supposed death in a mysterious fire, new figures rose in hope to take his place. Sal Rutherford, who currently owns the land where The Lunaria, the Alchemical Tree of Life, resides (in addition to the undead ranch hands that call themselves The Hanged Men) and Stroud/The Alchemist, a man that can trace his lineage back to Lascaris himself. The aspects of alchemy were explained sufficiently and incorporated well into the story, however, as the story drew to a close it lacked a necessary conviction when it came time for solid answers.
This one generated a lot of discussion for me when all was said and done and there is much to love but also much that left me in confusion. First and foremost, Sig the coyote, Petra’s “animal familiar” was the true highlight of this story for me. Sig possessed more personality than some of the side characters without having to say a single word. He was her first ally in Temperance and he quickly took to her and became her self-appointed guardian before she even knew she needed help. He became incredibly docile by the end and as much as I loved his addition to the story it did seem incredibly unlikely. Still, this story would not have been the same without Sig. There were many other additional loose ends that I felt should have been addressed, most are spoilery so I’ll avoid going into detail. Whether this is because the author wanted to leave some things in the ‘unknown’ so as to maybe turn the story into a series I’m not sure but this being the start of a new series seems like a definite possibility.
Possessing an interesting blend of mystery and magic, Dark Alchemy is an eerie and most inventive tale that kept me completely spellbound.
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘Sure, I was good at a lot of stuff. How many girls my age could kill a dude with her bare hands in under fourteen seconds?My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
‘Sure, I was good at a lot of stuff. How many girls my age could kill a dude with her bare hands in under fourteen seconds? That’s a skill, and one that’d get me places in life, but it didn’t help me here. All the combat training in the world couldn’t make being a normal teenager any easier.’
Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager is even more difficult when your only interaction with that age group is via the television. Seventeen year old Maggie has been home-schooled by her single mother who also happens to be a monster hunter (think Van Helsing in the modern age.) Maggie has been trained since she was young to do the job as well and is completely content with the cards that life has dealt her with one small issue: becoming a full-fledged, licensed monster hunter requires her to lose her virginity. Easier said than done.
Okay, not to be totally lame, but this really was awesome. And extremely hilarious. Not only was Maggie fantastically snarky, and sure oftentimes undignified and more than a bit crass, but she was such an amazingly confident character that you cannot help but love her. She’s realistically awkward when it comes to her “first time” but honestly the best thing about it is how awesome the topic of virginity was handled. (Yes, I know, I’ve already said awesome twice. It’s FITTING though.) It’s all displayed in such a non-shaming way and I loved the comfortableness between Maggie and her mother in how the topic broached. There wasn’t any awkwardness and her mother was straight up and honest with her about using protection and about being confident and comfortable with her body. While the summary implies that the sole focus of the story is Maggie losing her virginity, it’s actually so much more and bottom line, the relationship between Maggie and her mother is the very best.
“You’ll go on that date tomorrow, and before you get all pissy-pants over the suggestion, listen to me, Margaret Jane. […] I tell you that because life goes on despite our jobs. It’s too short not to have fun while we can. Sitting at home with guns and silver expecting the worst is no way to live. Trust me on that. I know.”
The relationship/friendship between Maggie and her mom reminded me a lot of my relationship with my mom, except alas, we don’t go out hunting vampires and other night beasties together. My mom was also one of those awesome women that didn’t tread lightly around the topic of sex and seeing how vastly different other parents handle that subject makes me forever thankful to her for that. It’s a natural thing that shouldn’t have a taboo placed around it. It’s something I feel should be openly discussed because having someone to answer those difficult questions will only lead to smart decisions in the future. Seeing the topic of sex addressed in that way and a parental relationship like that is rare in fiction, but shouldn’t be so.
The Awesome takes Maggie on a hilariously snarky, undead adventure that will leave you eager for more. While satisfying enough as a stand-alone, this still has definite room to grow, and I definitely want more.
I received this book free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘Listen closely. Hang on to every word. But most of all, please believe me.’
It’s been a full month since Naomi Carradine waMy rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
‘Listen closely. Hang on to every word. But most of all, please believe me.’
It’s been a full month since Naomi Carradine was involuntarily admitted to Fairfax Mental Health Institute. She’s adamant that she’s fine, healthy and ready to go home but the doctors are also adamant that it’s going to require more time for her to be ready. Her memories of the past leave her baffled and confused as to why her parents would ever put her in a place like this. As part of her therapy she begins to tell her story, her full story, and slowly the painful pieces of her life begin to piece back together.
Unravel was incredibly captivating from the very start. The story transitions between her present life in the mental health institute and various pieces of her past. I was thoroughly engrossed and eager to find out how Naomi got in the position she was in and with each new bit of information it continued to be intriguing but all conclusions I came to were shrouded in a haze and nothing made sense. I spent the majority of this book in a haze, questioning everything and disliking the character because of her actions.
It wasn’t pleasant, however, it still made for quite the page turner. It feels wrong to complain about the confusion the story causes only to have it all answered in the end, but I can’t help it. There were various instances where I was close to quitting, but as I said, it does make sense when you have the resolution but getting there is half the problem.
My main issue from the very beginning was the semblance of a love triangle that was happening. Naomi has returned home for the summer from college but is staying with her friend Lana’s parents as her parents are traveling Europe. Naomi went off to college, leaving behind Lachlan after the two professed their love for each other. Upon Naomi’s return however, she meets Max and their tumultuous affair is sudden and instantaneous. It’s incredibly hot and super steamy but it came straight outta left field.
‘...if you listened very carefully, you would hear the sound of a faint tear. That was just the sound of my heart unraveling like a torn ribbon. All from one touch.’
This is the 2nd time they’ve met.
‘The hunger I had for him was like an addiction. It controlled me. It took away the power I thought I had and controlled every single action I made.’
It was an eye-rolling good time. In addition to their mad infatuation with one another right off the bat, Max was doing things for her that no new boyfriend would ever do, like get crazy angry when something bad happened to Naomi’s friend and subsequently helped her pay rent when she needed to move into her own place. Again, it all becomes justified in the end and makes much more sense in retrospect but there were sections that were so ill-fitting that it made it a tough pill to swallow overall.
Unravel is a New Adult novel that touches on the deep topic of mental illness. Having read books that featured similar storylines, I can’t say Unravel was my favorite or that it was even portrayed accurately. Not being a doctor, I could be completely off the mark but some things just didn’t seem logical. I did enjoy the psychological twists overall though because they were shocking and kept me guessing right up till the very end. Just a heads up, there is one, maybe two incredibly violent scenes of rape that were very hard to read about.
I’ve been very wary about branching out into New Adult because the subject matter never sounds like my cup of tea. Unravel seemed to be possess an originality that I would enjoy so I took a leap of faith. While I wasn’t completely disappointed, I did expect more....more