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Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Book Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory PowerBurn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Burn Our Bodies Down is the second book I’ve read by Rory Power, and I’m really wondering if she is maybe just not the author for me. Wilder Girls was enticing but the ending just left me a bit dissatisfied because I was expecting more, and Burn Our Bodies down had such potential to discuss a tense mother-daughter relationship but instead it was a slow burn story that, again, ended kind of strangely?

Also, this author has a real thing for plants.

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Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Book Review: The Dragon Republic by R. F. KuangThe Dragon Republic by R F Kuang
Series: The Poppy War #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 8th August 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Borrowed, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.</br></br>

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.</br></br>

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. I put off reading The Dragon Republic for almost a year. A YEAR. I adored The Poppy War and after THAT. ENDING. I knew I had to be in the right headspace for the sequel. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I finally though screw it, and picked The Dragon Republic up and never looked back.

Rin is still going through a lot of crap. After the way The Poppy War ended, I wasn’t too sure what to think or expect of her character. She did some awful things, and I think it takes a very talented writer to pull off a character in such a way that Kuang did. Honestly, Rin’s character development (or, sometimes, lack thereof) is done wonderously and it makes so much sense. She has grown in lots of ways, but in others she’s still the same ol’ Rin, leaving lots of room for her to continue to grow and work on her sh*t in the final book in the trilogy.

I do have a bone to pick with Kuang, though, because she completely destroyed my ship. Like, blew it out of the harbour. I’m mad and angry and super sad. And yet I’m still clinging onto the fact that it might resurface somewhat in the third book. PLEASE GIVE ME THIS.

In all seriousness, the only issue I have with this series so far is that Rin has, like, no female friends. All her close friends are guys, and she often shuts out female characters and looks down on them and belittles them. I really hope that this is addressed and tackled in the third book, as I think it’s the only downfall of the series for me. I don’t want to read about a badass main character if they don’t have any badass female friends! GIVE ME FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS, DAMMIT.

Read the book. That is all I wish to say on the matter.

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 30th June 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Mexican Gothic has proven to be a really tough book to review! I have mixed feelings about the book, but those mixed feelings are, on the whole, positive, if that makes any sense? Basically, there’s nothing I disliked about Mexican Gothic. It’s an atmospheric, eerie gothic story, and I was super invested in it for the most part.

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Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana UrbanAll Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 17th March 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

I thought All Your Twisted Secrets was a tonne of fun! I had a feeling when I requested it that it would be one to watch out for, and I wasn’t surprised to find that it was a hit thriller for me. I’m really impressed with how debut author Diana Urban wove this story, and I now can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future!

Check back in a few days for my author interview with Diana Urban!

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Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan DennardTruthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 5th January 2016
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Do you ever read a book that you’re SO. EXCITED. for and then come out of it wondering what the hell the bookternet is thinking by hyping it up? That’s how I feel about Truthwitch. You can watch my Witchlands vlog below if you’re interested!

I remember when Truthwitch was coming out and there was this whole big campaign alongside Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I’m pretty sure it was one of the biggest book marketing campaigns I had seen, and it seemed as though everyone was talking about the book. I was sad I’d missed out by not getting in on the hype early on, and since then I’d kept putting off reading Truthwitch because I wasn’t ready to dive into a new and addictive series.

I really shouldn’t have bothered, though, because Truthwitch turned out to be such a disappointment. I don’t think it was soley because I’d hyped it up in my head, as it seems as though this book series has a massive online fanbase. I don’t really understand why.

My main issue with Truthwitch is that I don’t care about any of the characters, and the reason for that is that they’re badly written. We follow the POVs of four characters in the first book, all of which sound exactly the same. I struggled to differentiate between them, and I had kept forgetting whose head I was supposed to be in in the middle of chapters.

I don’t think Truthwitch is very well written. It lands you straight into the world and does a bunch of info-dumping in the first half of the book, not giving you any time to settle in or get to know the characters. And then in the second half of the book you’re expected to care about these characters and empathise with what they’re going through, even though the author spent all her time in the first half info-dumping and distracting you from getting to know them.

It didn’t make much sense to me.

In addition, it was clear to me that the author wanted this to be a fast paced and action packed story. And it was. To such an extent that the characters were all over the place. They were rushing from one scene to the next, from one location to another, and I had absolutely no time to settle down and enjoy the story because there was always another thing going on.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fast paced plots. Slow plots can bore me. But if a plot is fast paced, the rest of the book has to find some sort of balance. I have to care about the characters who are running around, and I have to understand the world building and why they’re running.

I wasn’t a fan of Truthwitch, and I’m so disappointed that I hyped it up and waited so long to read it. I tried to read the sequel, but I ended up DNF-ing Windwitch and I won’t be continuing with the series, unfortunately.