Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 10th, 2019
Synopsis: Thirteen of YA’s most celebrated names reimagine Edgar Allen Poe’s most surprising, unsettling, and popular tales for a new generation.
Edgar Allen Poe may be one hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allen Poe’s classic tales and how they’ve been brought to life in thirteen unique and unforgettable ways.
Contributors include Kendare Blake (reimagining Metzengerstein), Rin Chupeco (The Murders in the Rue Morgue), Lamar Giles (The Oval Portrait), Tess Gratton (Annabel Lee), Tiffany D. Jackson (The Cask of Amontillado), Stephanie Kuehn (The Tell-Tale Heart), Emily Lloyd-Jones (The Purloined Letter), Amanda Lovelace (The Raven), Hillary Monahan (The Masque of the Red Death), Marieke Nijkamp (Hop-Frog), Caleb Roehrig (The Pit and the Pendulum), and Fran Wilde (The Fall of the House of Usher).
Once upon a time when I was just a tyke (8 or 9-years-old), I snuck a collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories home from the library and with great delight proceeded to terrify myself reading them by flashlight under my covers. So, when I saw His Hideous Heart on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it, especially as some of my favorite YA authors are part of this. While anthologies can be tricky, and whereas I personally have a mixed history with them, I was still a little nervous about the reworking of one of my favorite author’s stories, but I’m happy to say that this is one of the best anthologies I’ve read. Except for a couple that I thought were “meh” I enjoyed all these retellings but my favorites (in order) are:
1. The Glittering Death (The Pit and the Pendulum), by Caleb Roehrig
2. Happy Days, Sweetheart (The Tell-Tale Heart), by Stephanie Kuehn
3. She Rode a Horse of Fire (Metzengerstein), by Kendare Blake
4. It’s Carnival! (The Cask of Amontillado), by Tiffany D. Jackson
5. Red (The Masque of the Red Death), by Hillary Monahan
In addition to these creative and diverse retellings, is the caring way editor and author Dahlia Adler has put them together. The first half of the book are the new stories, and the second half are the originals. This makes it easy to go back and forth to compare them. If I were a high school literature teacher, I’d be using His Hideous Heart to not only introduce my students to Poe, but also to share with them some terrific short stories by authors they may be more familiar with. I HIGHLY recommend this anthology to both Poe fans as well as readers just looking for some wonderful storytelling.
Another day, another mass shooting here in the U.S. While details are still coming in, what’s known for sure is that the gunman was able to kill three people yesterday at a popular food festival in Northern California, and injure at least eleven others before being killed by police. Six-year-old Stephen Romero is among the dead. His mother and grandmother are among the injured and have been taken to area hospitals. My condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy. Not sure what else I can say except I’m tired…Sick and tired.
Thanks to NetGalley and MIRA for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 31st, 2019
Goode girls don’t lie…
Perched atop a hill, in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia the Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this Ivy has turned poisonous.
In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies, or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.
But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
I love mysteries set at boarding schools, so naturally Good Girls Lie called out to me. Unfortunately after struggling to read this over the last week, I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion this just isn’t for me.
This is a tough review for me to write because I actually liked the plot. It’s dark and twisty and kept me guessing. However, there were a couple of things that drove me up the wall. First, I am 54-years-old so it’s been many years since I’ve a teenager, but I can say unhesitatingly that teens do not talk the way they do in this book. For example, there’s a scene where an adult is telling a 16-year-old girl that he approves of her not being an active user of social media. Her reply is: “Goodness no. I find social media a waste of time. Not to mention an invasion of privacy.” Or how about this: “Epochs of instinct tells me this is an important moment.” Goodness no. No teen talks like or thinks this. I could bore you with the many other examples of this, but trust me. The teens consistently talk and think like 50+-year-olds. There are also sections where the author inserts an interactive narrative that directly speaks to the reader. Instead of coming across as clever, which I’m sure was the intention, to me it was grating and self-indulgent. And finally, without venturing into spoiler territory, there’s a mental health issue that’s a big part of the plot, and I vehemently disagree with the way it’s handled and discussed.
I need to be honest and say that Good Girls Lie is getting many 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads, so maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it and I’m being overly picky. This is why I’m not rating it. If you do decide to give it a try, please keep in mind that despite the boarding school setting and the age of some of the characters, this is not a YA book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Freeform for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Synopsis: WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC? the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry—no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear…uh right?
Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears to let Becca know that her Mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers—Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants To Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality game alive? Or will she get cut?
While I didn’t review last year’s #MurderTrending I really enjoyed the completely over-the-top storyline mixed with spot-on biting social commentary. The premise of the first book is that in the not too distant future, convicted murderers are sent to an island called Alcatraz 2.0 to be hunted down and killed gruesomely by costumed government sanctioned serial killers. And this is all broadcast for the masses as a bloody reality show. There’s even an app where the show’s legions of fans can comment and place bets. Of course, just as in real life, some of those convicted are actually innocent. Sound familiar? I’ve been looking forward to seeing where Gretchen McNeil was going to go with the sequel.
My biggest issue in this book is with the pacing. While there’ a lot of build up, the action frustratingly doesn’t start until the second half of the book. Because of that, the action does kick in, everything seems extremely rushed. I also didn’t connect with the new characters as much as I did with the original “Death Breakfast Club.” Becca’s being an LGBT character is welcome, but without going into spoilers, her overall attitude about Alcatraz 2.0 really got on my nerves. The relationship between her and Steph also didn’t click with me. Steph remained a standoffish mystery until the last couple of chapters and because of this I never connected with her. I actually liked the secondary characters more, especially Coop and Fiona. The survivors from Alcatraz 2.0 also make some brief appearances which I was happy to see. There are a couple of welcome twists that caught me by surprise, and while everything for the most part is wrapped up at the end, the last sentence has me wondering if there will be a third book.
Although I don’t think #MurderFunding is quite as good as it’s predecessor, overall I still enjoyed it. Questions left at the end of #MurderTrending are answered and while there are a couple of loose ends left, they could be due to the rumored third book. Because of some pretty gory scenes in the second half of the book, I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone younger than high school age. That said, I think both these books could be used to introduce some interesting discussions about our increasing reliance of social media, our fascination with realty shows, and most importantly the negatives surrounding the death penalty.
The U.S. has taken so many steps backward since 2016 in terms of civil rights, equality, and just plain humanity. Reinstating the death penalty on the Federal level however, is the worst case of barbarism thus far. Thanks to Jill for this insightful post.
Does anybody remember Clayton D. Lockett? No, of course not. Allow me to refresh your memory. Mr. Lockett was brutally murdered by our own federal government on April 29,2014 in a botched execution. Lockett was administered an untested mixture of drugs that had not previously been used for executions in the United States. Although the execution was stopped, Lockett died 43 minutes after being sedated. He writhed, groaned, convulsed, and spoke during the process and attempted to rise from the execution table fourteen minutes into the procedure, despite having been declared unconscious.
Does anybody remember Clemente Javier Aguirre? Probably not. In 2006, he was sentenced to death for the stabbing deaths of two neighbors, despite the fact that he maintained his innocence throughout. Last year, after spending 14 years on Florida’s death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence that had been withheld at his trial, and a confession by…
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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date October 8th, 2019
Synopsis: McKenna’s mission to save her friends from their predicted deaths continues in the second installment in the Light as a Feather series that’s perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!
The deadly game continues…
Olivia and Candace are dead, both casualties of Violet’s deadly game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. McKenna and Misha are the only ones left, and having failed to locate and destroy the source of Violet’s power, her curse still abounds, eager to claim more lives.
What does Violet want? And how can she be stopped? Armed with a mysterious package containing clues, McKenna hopes to end this once and for all…before it’s too late.
Cold As Marble actually improves upon Light As a Feather in terms of snappier dialogue, better character development, smoother pacing, and more scares replacing teen angst and drama. The characters are more fleshed out and relatable, especially McKenna, whose shallowness seriously got on my nerves in the first book. Zoe Aarsen also throws more interesting elements like occult and Wiccan magick. The plot is fast moving and entertaining and and I zipped through this in about two hours. The ending sets things up nicely for the final book, Silent As the Grave, which doesn’t have a release date yet. I have be honest and say there are better supernatural/paranormal books out there for teens, but overall Cold As Marble is a fun, mildly scary and suspenseful read that will appeal to fans of Pretty Little Liars.
Me back in 2014: I will never, NEVER pay one red cent for CBS All Access!
Me after seeing the trailer for the upcoming 2020 series Star Trek: Picard: Honey! Can we pleeaasse factor an additional $5.99 a month into our budget?
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