Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine AngeliniWhat She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 25th July 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.

Over-medicated and under-confident, she's fearful she'll never escape her past.

Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.

But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realises she can't trust anyone.

Not even herself.

I mean, What She Found in the Woods was a good book. It was decent. I enjoyed it a lot, and it kept me engaged. But I don’t think this is going to be an all time favourite, and to be honest the most memorable parts weren’t the thriller aspects at all.

I really enjoyed what Josephine Angelini did with this book. The main character, Lena, was enjoyable to read about because there were so many sides to her personality. She has a mysterious past, and she has apparently done something really wrong, and it’s a slow journey to learn what that is. I really liked the slow burn and revelations about her past experiences.

The love interest, Bo, is so sweet and cute, and while I didn’t SHIP ship it (I almost never do any more), I thought his relationship with Lena was adorable… for the most part. I had a few issues with it, that I won’t go into because of spoilers, but I will say there was so much insta-love. So much.

I’m also questioning the fact that Bo’s family were basically less aggressive anti-vaxxers but hey, let’s not be a downer.

Overall, this was a decent book, but it’s not one I’ll immediately go to to recommend to thriller readers.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins! The tour is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and a lot of other bloggers are taking part so you should check out the tour schedule and read their posts!

I received a copy of Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline FirkinsHearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 17th December 2019
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First there's Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there's Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player. He’s totally off limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone's heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn't hers.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things is a retelling of Mansfield Park, but if you haven’t read the original novel, don’t let that put you off. I haven’t read it either! I still understood a lot of the references, and I don’t think that missing out on the original novel impacted my feelings towards this book at all.

I knew that Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things was going to be a light and fluffy read as soon as I heard about it. It’s a YA contemporary about a girl who’s in a somewhat complicated love triangle, and who is struggling to fit in with her posh family and in her posh school. I love me some rich people drama, so I signed right up for this.

I have to admit that the main character, Edie, got on my nerves a lot. She’s what stopped me from truly loving this book, with her superior attitude and constant classic book quotes. I really couldn’t connect with her at all, and it was such a shame.

Edie spends a lot of time looking down on her cousins and their friends for wanting to go to parties and dress nice, which gave off SO MANY “Better Than Other Girls” vibes. In addition to that, she was always coming out with random quotes from classic novels, which seemed to me as though she was showing off her superior intellect and looking down on people who don’t read. This really got to me, and I was not here for that.

I did, however, get really invested in the love triangle. I’m going to have to be vague here, because my ship didn’t end up together, but in my opinion Edie chose the wrong guy. A guy who she barely knew or spoke to. Instead of the guy who was quickly becoming her best friend. That was about as vague as I could be, so I’ll leave it at that. I WAS DISAPPOINTED.

Aside from all of that, I loved the Rich People Drama and the parties and all of the normal drama that was happening. This was a fun and fluffy book that I think contemporary readers will really enjoy.

ARC Check In #1: December 2019

I wanted to start doing a regular feature to share the review copies that I have, which ones I’m planning on reading soon, and which backlist titles I’d like to aim to read. I figure this way the books get a little more promotion than they would just sitting on my shelves, especially if I don’t get to them immediately.

I would also really love it if you readers could tell me which books I should prioritise, either because you want to see my review or you highly recommend the book. This would be great motivation for me!

I’m still playing around with the format of this post, so the layout may change drastically next month once I’ve figured out what I do and don’t want to include. I’ll get into the groove at some point!

Current NetGalley %: 54% (99/185)

Current Edelweiss %: 70% (116/166)

I would just like to point out that I’ve been using NetGalley for nine years, and my percentage looks awful because some of the ebooks expired before I could get to them. Another reason I’m so behind is that I’ve taken several blogging breaks over the years, and that has meant that I’ve left a lot of review copies unread. I’m partly doing this post to shame myself into reading my e-ARCs, though, and so I’m hoping this percentage will increase by the end of the year.

ARCs for December and January

I don’t have too many review copies to get to for the next couple of months, so that takes the pressure off a bit!

Pending: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (blog tour & 2020 debut)

I have four (maybe five if I get approved for Woven in Moonlight) books that I really need to focus on as they’re either part of a blog tour that I’m participating in, or they’re part of a feature that I’ll be doing next year. These, plus the other two that I’d like to get to as a lowkey goal, are all January releases, so I should have plenty of time to get through all of them.

Expectations

I’ll be honest, I’m in more of a contemporary and thriller mood than anything else at the moment. Therefore I’m actually most drawn to the thrillers and mysteries on the list, especially Six Wicked Reasons. The thrillers are the ARCs that aren’t as urgent, so that’s just typical! I’m also drawn to Spellhacker since it’s a fantasy heist story, so that at least has a bit of mystery cross-over. There aren’t any on this list that I’m not at least a bit excited for, however I’ve never read a Tara Sim book before so I don’t know if I’ll connect with her writing.

Diamond City also sounds like it’ll be a quick read, so I’m feeling really motivated about all of these!

Backlist Titles

I’ve got quite a few backlist titles that I want to get to ASAP, for various reasons. I’ve picked out a few that I need to read in order to recap for Recaptains, and others I’m just really intrigued by but haven’t found the time to read them until now.

Renegades is one I’ve been putting off for ages, and I was going to try to read it before Supernova came out at the beginning of November, but I got distracted. I’ve been putting The Dragon Republic off as well because I’m SCARED, and it’s also freakin’ enormous. I want to prioritise it once I’ve read a couple of my January ARCs though, because I’m desperate to be back in Rin’s world.

I’ve been on a bit of a sci-fi kick, so I’ve added The Pioneer to my Urgents list as I think it’ll be one that I’ll enjoy now that I’m in the mood. I’m currently reading The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, and I’m expecting to finish it fairly soon, so that’ll be another one knocked off the list. And, finally, I’ve added the graphic novel of To Kill a Mockingbird to the list because that should be a really fast read, especially as I’ve read the original novel before. I also LOVED the original novel, so I’m excited to read it in a new format.

Recently Read

There are a few ARCs that I read recently that I still need to review that should up my numbers a bit. Here’s a quick sneak peek before I get around to reviewing them!

As you can see, there are quite a few that I’ve read recently! I managed to smash through some of my ARCs in November, and a couple of these are from way back when that I never got around to. Look out for reviews in the coming month!

And that’s all! That’s my long winded post about my review copies and how I’m planning on tackling them. I’m really hoping that these posts will be interesting for you and motivational for me. Don’t forget to let me know which books you’d like to hear my opinion on, and I’ll prioritise those!

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda BérubéHere There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 6th August 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets

Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.

In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.

Then Deirdre disappears.

And when something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming she's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

I am so incredibly disappointed by Here There Are Monsters. I was expecting an atmospheric, creepy story about sisterhood, but the book fell short.

I think my main issue was the inability to connect to the writing style. It just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what exactly it was that didn’t click with me, but I think that perhaps the writing was too basic. It was very much “This character did this and then they did this, and then they yelled this at another character”. There wasn’t much to connect me with the characters because there was little emotion.

Additionally, the characters were freakin’ annoying. I wanted a nice story about two sisters, one trying to find the other, but really Skye was just complaining about not wanting to watch Dierdre all the time, and Dierdre was complaining about Skye no longer being interested in her fantasy world. It was dull, annoying, and there was no sisterly love there, which is something that I desperately wanted by the end.

I don’t have much more to say about Here There Are Monsters. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to be bored to tears from watching people bicker for 300 pages.

New Book Releases: December 2019

Every month I like to share my most anticipated new book releases. December is a slightly quieter month compared to the rest of the year (which is probably for the best because I have a lot of catching up to do), but I still have seven books to talk about in this post.

(The links are all affiliate links.)

1. Children of Vice and Virtue by Tomi Adeyemi

Admittedly, I probably won’t be reading this one right away. I didn’t love Children of Blood and Bone (in fact I found it quite boring!) so I’m going to wait for the reviews before I decide whether or not to read this one. Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? Is it an improvement on the first book?

2. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Wives is about a woman whose husband has two other wives. The main character knows this, but one day she finds a note from one of them and tracks her down – probably out of curiosity. It seems as though one of the wives is being abused by the husband, so I’m hoping the wives are going to team up together and become a badass team. It could go in completely the opposite direction, though.

3. A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh’s first adult thriller! I’ve been rereading her Psy-Changeling series and I had forgotten how easy her books are to read. I’m really looking forward to this one now! A Madness of Sunshine is about a woman who returns to New Zealand, to a town that a small detective is basically running himself. A jogger goes missing, and the two of them have to team up to investigate.

4. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A black woman is accused of kidnapping the white toddler that she is babysitting. The mother of the toddler wants to make things right again. I don’t know if this is going to be a small town drama like Little Fires Everywhere, but I’m here for it.

5. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

This seems to be some sort of rom com about an assistant who has to help a screenwriter beat his writers block. If this is going to be cute, I’m here for it, but I’m worried it’s going to have the woman do all of the work for this really important guy then I’m going to be quite disappointed.

6. Reverie by Ryan La Sala

This is being pitched as Inception meets The Magicians. The main character is found half dead in a river, and after that reality seems a bit off. I loooove parallel universe and timey-wimey fiction, so I’m quite excited for this one!

7. The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

This is about Norse mythology and Vikings! The main hcaracter’s sister dies, and the main character makes a deal with Hela, aka the goddess of Death.

Which new releases are you looking forward to getting your hands on in December? Are you also glad that it’s a bit of a quieter month?