Review of ‘The Town Built on Sorrow’ by David Oppegaard

The Town Built on SorrowThe Town Built on Sorrow by David Oppegaard

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Release date: September 26, 2017

*This review was actually written a few months back, when I used to attempt to write my own book summaries, so after this one, I’ll be going back to attaching the ones provided by the publisher.*

A strange book that features a pioneer girl’s diary, a serial killer, and a long forgotten skull. (Yes…a skull…).

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In Hawthorn, Minnesota, a serial killer is dumping his victims into the town’s river, and the police are no closer to finding out who it could be.
While this is going on, Harper Spurling is becoming more and more obsessed with the locally published diary of Sofie Helle, a young pioneer girl and one of Hawthorn’s original settlers.
Sofie’s diary describes the settler’s journey to Hawthorn, as well as the strange things that happen when they arrive. But the strangest thing has to be the way it ends–abruptly, and then there’s the fact that no one knows whatever actually happened to Sofie, since she’d disappeared not long after.
Harper’s obsession has her delving further into this mystery, and doing so also unwittingly brings her closer to the serial killer as well.
But will Harper survive long enough to solve the mystery of Sofie’s disappearance?
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The title of this book is what initially drew me in. Not only did I like the way it was worded, it also intrigued me enough so that I had to request it from Netgalley. But how sad was I to find this book not quite as interesting as I’d thought it’d be?

Anyway, so there are three MCs in this book, Harper, the serial killer (whose name I won’t mention, just because I feel it’s a bit spoiler, though you do find it out fairly quickly), and Sofie Helle’s account, as well.

I thought that Harper’s interest in Sofie’s diary was refreshing, since not many people her age would usually care about an old diary that seemingly has no relevance to the modern teen. It was kind of strange how her accounts in this book pretty much revolved around the diary. For example, she had a party she was going to one night, but after telling her friend she has a date to said party (and being told the things she should do to get ready for it), she grabs the diary to read, and honestly, though the diary had some strange things going on in it, the entries weren’t really all that interesting. Harper mentions that she likes how Sofie ‘notices things most people do not, and that she describes things so well, you can see it in your mind‘…but these things that so impressed her? Yeah, I didn’t quite get the same impressions…

Really, this book just read so random for me in regards to the fact that most of it seemed so…unnecessary…
Harper’s obsession with Sofie’s diary; Sofie’s accounts of the early days in Hawthorn, and the disconcerting/bizarre things that had seemed to plague those settlers; and finally, the serial killer.

Seriously, this town just needs to call the FBI, cause the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for those not in the know) would have had this case solved so fast! The killer was by no means complex, so I’m surprised the police had nothing. Psh.

Along with the whole ‘reading random’ thing, I feel like I have to add that when we get an explanation for the skull I had mentioned earlier, it ended up being so…simple. I had expected something more–anything more–but the answer was just so not satisfying.

Anyway, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that this book was a little too all over the place, the characters weren’t fleshed out enough, and the whole wrap-up was just disappointing for me.

Because of my own response to this book, I will not be recommending it.

Thank you to Flux, via Netgalley, for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Mini Review of ‘Wake the Hollow’ by Gaby Triana 

Wake the HollowWake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:

Forget the dead, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.


Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.


This town will suck you in and not let go.


Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.


Find the answers. 


Unless, of course, the answers find you first. 

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I really liked this book, and if not for a few annoying moments (mostly stemming from the fact that Micaela would be talking to either of her confidants — who would each tell her to not trust the other — and she’d basically be like, ‘okay, so I shouldn’t, like, trust him? Only you?’ It seemed to just go back and forth and she only ended up a nervous wreck with no idea what she should do), I probably would have rated this a five.

I loved the whole idea of merging the story of Sleepy Hollow with the life of the actual writer, Washington Irving to make for a creepy, somewhat ghostly, story. It wasn’t really scary, but that could be because I don’t scare easily, though I still liked the way the creepy scenes played out.

Anyway, back to the whole Sleepy Hollow/Irving aspect.
In this book, Irving plays a huge part in the history of Sleepy Hollow, having used it as the setting of one of his most famous works, and having his own personal history with the town itself, so it only makes sense Irving would have some secrets that would end up playing a huge part in the MC’s life, and the craziness of the town, right? Yeah, so there’s the usual things that comes with being in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who the outcasts are. In this case, that would be Micaela, because she’s the daughter of the ‘town crazy’. I liked how well her role played out, because things made sense! They actually seemed plausible! I can’t really complain about a YA book that is actually pretty well written, can I?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and will be glad to recommend it!

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Review of ‘Dark Room’ by Tom Becker

Dark Room (Red Eye)Dark Room by Tom Becker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that I was surprised at how much I ended up liking this book, considering it was more of a slasher-horror story, and I tend to enjoy supernatural stuff way more.

But first, a synopsis:
Darla O’Neill and her childish father, Hopper are on the run after Hopper’s latest scam has come seeking vengeance. With only a few possessions and their trusty Buick, off they go, driving until they end up in the ritzy Saffron Hills.
Hopper manages to use a surprising connection so that both he and Darla end up with a nice place to stay for the time being.
With the help of their neighbor, artist and high school teacher Annie, Darla is quickly enrolled at an exclusive high school, where everyone appears to be blessed with both beauty and riches and Darla is finding it hard to fit in with such “perfect” people (the most popular kids in this school are actually called ‘The Perfects’, cause we all know that perfect people do not have the time to come up with more clever nicknames…).
But if that wasn’t bad enough, Darla starts having these visions where she’s seeing a photographer’s dark room, containing gruesome photos of terrified faces. It’s not long after that she finds out the visions contain things that haven’t even happened yet – but the future – and when it becomes clear that Saffron Hills is again housing its very own serial killer (I say again, because this town has already had the misfortune of having a murderer among them), Darla must use those visions in hopes that they might help her find out who the person is, and stop them from hurting anyone else.

So, as I said before, slasher-horror does not usually interest me. I am not a fan of gore, and I dislike reading/watching stupid teens get murdered because they tend to “somehow” offer themselves up as convenient victims.

But…

I found myself actually enjoying this story and was curious as to who the serial killer could be (I should acknowledge the fact that I figured it out fairly early on in the book, so that was kind of a bummer).

I even liked Darla! Well…enough. She was that typical character who made herself look crazy when trying to warn others after one of her visions, instead of trying to use a rational way to think of how to help get her point across. Then again, this was a tough crowd, and Darla was definitely not one of them.

I also couldn’t understand Darla’s newfound friendship with resident rebel (though still described as rich and beautiful) Sasha. The two became friends after Darla did ‘something’ to impress Sasha. But every time they hung out together, something horrible would happen between/around them, or the two girls would fight, and that would just get irritating to read about, pretty much over and over…

Another thing I just couldn’t understand, is that though Darla didn’t appear to have a phone (guessing due to Hopper’s lack of funding), I still felt that since the girl lives in this nice, modern, technology-filled age, why she never used a computer (like at a library, for instance…) to do any research on Saffron Hill’s previous killer. I mean, she was wanting to attribute a lot of stuff from the current murders to the previous murderer, but she never thought about looking the person up, or newspaper articles to find out more.

WHAT TEEN LIVES IN THE YEAR 2016 WITHOUT EVEN THINKING OF USING THE INTERNET?!?!

Seriously.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book overall and my issues with it weren’t enough to have me docking a bunch of stars in my review, so since I did like this book, I will recommend it to any who enjoy teen slasher stories.

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Monday Edition of #currentreads

I’ve missed my last two Monday updates, had my cousin’s wedding to go in California, and was down there for a few weeks, though I did post at least one book review up on my blog during that time.

Anyway, since it is Monday and I am back home, here are the books I am #currentlyreading:

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Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz ~ I am only 3% in, having just started this book today. That being said, I still haven’t formed any opinion about this book, but I have been really interested in reading this to see how the author addresses one Filipino family’s illegal immigration status, and how it affects the kids, especially the MC, whose college goals are put in jeopardy when she finds out she’s not legal.

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(Not pictured):

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria (e-arc from Netgalley) ~ 13% in. I have been stuck on that 13% for the last two or three weeks, and I’m going to attempt to work on this some more but it’s been hard because I just can’t seem to find the interest to keep reading it. But, since I want to clear it off of my NetGalley shelf, I’ll probably be putting the work in soon to see whether or not I’ll have to list this one as a DNF.

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So there we are with my #currentreads, and I’d love to know what you’re currently reading and whether or not you’re enjoying it!

Review of ‘Lotus and Thorn’ by Sara Wilson Etienne

Lotus and ThornLotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took me a long time to finish and honestly, I was pretty torn on whether or not to rate it as highly as I did, but honestly, I really did enjoy this book.

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On a planet called Gabriel, there exists two sets of people; those who live in Pleides, governed by the Abuelos, whose religious regime has determined that any who are born with noticeable differences (like MC Leica with her 12 fingers) are considered Corruptions, punished by God for whatever sins their ancestors had committed.
The other set live under a glass dome, the elite Curadores and their concubines, called kisaengs.

When Leica is banished to the desert for committing a “crime” that goes agains the laws of the Abuelos, she eventually joins a crew of other exiles and manages to survive in the otherwise very empty desert. But after Leica’s crew comes across a wrecked shuttle with what appears to be a beacon from Earth (who had long since abandoned Gabriel), they also end up coming in contact with the virus known as Red Death and end up dying one by one, Leica being the sole survivor. It’s after this that Leica meets the Curadore Edison, and he offers to bring her in to the dome, but the catch is that she’d have to go in as his kisaeng.

Leica does go, but this only happens after a group of rebel revolutionaries see this as a chance to find out more about the way the Curadores operate the dome, and to learn more in regards to Gabriel’s caste system.

Though Leica’s time in the dome starts off in a flurry of beauty and delicious foods, she soon realizes that things aren’t quite what they seem, and finds herself immersed in a mystery that can reveal the truth about Red Death and the reason Gabriel was cut off from Earth.

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I loved the infusion of Latin and Korean culture in this book! It was so refreshing to read a book that wasn’t centered on the typical “All-American” looking characters that tend to dominate YA fare. These characters ranged in their descriptions and I enjoyed that. (Though I am by no means saying that I’m going to stop reading such books, because I still enjoy them.)

I also loved the easy the author stressed the need for the kisaengs to learn self-defense. Though the kisaengs’ main purpose in the dome is to entertain/keep the Curadores happy, they still would want the chance to defend themselves in any types of problematic situations and I appreciated that. I love reading about characters who want to be stronger, and actually work on achieving it. Reading about the kisaengs was definitely some of the more interesting parts of Lotus and Thorn.

I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention this, but I really liked the fact that Leica was a “flawed” person with her 12 fingers. It’s definitely more unique when it comes to the different “quirks” that make an MC so
special
compared to all the others who inhabit their planet.

So, in conclusion, I really liked this book, but had to dock a star in my rating because my mind did wander at time and sometimes I’d have a hard time getting back to reading this when I’d pause for a bit. But otherwise, as I’d said in the beginning, I really enjoyed reading Lotus and Thorn and would be glad to recommend this.

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Review of ‘Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here we are with another review of an Armentrout book!!!
(I previously posted a short review of White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)  by Armentrout only on Goodreads.)

One thing that I noticed was prevalent when reading reviews, this was prior to actually reading Half-Blood, was that many felt it was a bit of a rip-off of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Now, I’ve only read the first of the V.A. books, and did note a few similarities myself, but I still very much liked the way this book was presented.
The first thing I would have to mention in my own review, is that I love Armentrout’s humor!!! Half-Blood was funny in a sarcastic, sometimes roundabout way, and this type of humor tends to be my favorite! Keep throwing sarcasm at me, and I’ll be a happy girl!!

Another thing that I liked were the characters. MC Alex is one of the “half-bloods” alluded to by the title of said book.

(I’m going to try and see if I can describe what the Half-Bloods are as opposed to the Pure-Bloods. The Pure-Bloods are the Hematoi, originally descended from the ‘unions of Gods and mortals’, thus creating a race of people that are pretty much like gods themselves – at least status-wise – and they are kept pure by the fact that they only marry another Pure-Blood and then have Pure-Blood children. The Half-Bloods are the children of one mortal, everyday human, and one Pure-Blood. Hopefully that wasn’t completely confusing, cause I’ll admit it was a bit hard to put into words…).

Anyway, Alex had been on the run with her Pure-Blood mother for the last three years, and after her mother is killed in an attack, Alex is brought back to the Covenant, where she is given the ultimatum – either train to become a Sentinel (these hunt and kill demons, like the ones who killed her mother) or become a servant in a home of a Pure.

Obviously we know which choice she makes, so that brings us to her trainer, a Pure-Blood named Aiden, who Alex very much has a forbidden crush on.

Why is it forbidden?

Halfs and Pures are not allowed relationships, and though they don’t say why, we’re led to believe that it’s like because something catastrophic will happen.

Actually, that just may be how I remembered and interpreted it…

Aiden is pretty good in his role of balancing out Alex’s wild side, and he does prove to be interesting as the book goes on, so I’ll have to see if I still feel this way in the next book.

Lastly, we have Seth, who gives us that famed YA love triangle aspect we all love or hate. I tend to lean more towards the love side, because I’m easy like that, so I enjoyed the way Seth blended into the story and I am definitely excited about seeing his role grow in the future!

So, because I did enjoy this book (and will definitely be reading the next when I have the chance to), I
will
recommend. Just be aware of the Vampire Academy similarities so that you don’t go in thinking ‘why does this sound familiar?’, but instead look at it with fresh eyes.

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My (late) August Wrap-Up!

This is a few weeks late (as most of my posts seem to be of late…), but here is my August Wrap-up!

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I finished 6 books in the month of August).

Here are the ratings for the books I completed.

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Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by  Cassandra Clare ~ 5/5⭐️ *I was so happy to be able to read another book set in the Shadowhunters’ world, and this “new” set of characters were able to find a place in my heart so that I am dying to see more of them!!
What the Dead Want by Norah Olson ~ 1/5⭐️ *This was such a disappointment for me, considering how much I enjoy books of the supernatural variety, but unfortunately this one I just did not like.
November Rain (Bad Bloods, #1) by Shannon A. Thompson ~ 4/5⭐️ *I really liked this book and found it to be more original, plot-wise, then a lot of YA books I’ve read in recent years. I’ll have to make sure to read part 2 of Bad Bloods to see how this cliffhanger continues!
And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga, #1) by Keirsten White ~ 4/5⭐️ *This was such a cool book! Albeit, the first half was pretty slow for me, but the second blew my mind! The MC, Lada, is one of the more fascinating characters I’ve read in a while, and I can’t wait to read more about her.
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer ~ 4/5⭐️ *Yes, I boarded the Lunar Chronicles train a million years too late, but I’ve finally climbed aboard (yup, I’m really going with this train analogy) to find that I did like this book and will be sure to continue on with this series!
The Graces (The Graces, #1) by Laure Eve  ~ 2/5⭐️ *I really really disliked the MC, Rain, and if not for the fact that I feel like I have to see what happened after the cliffhanger that ended this book…I probably would not have given this 2 stars – and would not be subjecting myself to another book about her – but cliffhangers be getting the best of me at times.

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Would love to hear any thoughts if you’ve read any of these, and what books you’ve finished in the month of August that I should be sure to add to my TBR! (If I haven’t already, that is.)