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Where The Wolves Read

A blog where I review mostly books. I also review, if my appetite allows, movies, music, and video games. Enjoy the feast!

Monday, October 16, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Content Warning: Violence, hazing, bullying, verbally abusive parents, murder, talk of murder

SynopsisOne-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Review: I love horror movies. I find them fascinating, but incredibly cheesy. When I found out Stephanie Perkins was writing a horror novel, I was excited. I didn't know what to think about it until I heard her talk at a signing about her ode to the horror genre. I definitely got some Scream vibes from There's Someone Inside Your House. I don't know if that's because she talked about how much she loves Scream, but I made a lot of connections between the two. I did have a few gripes with this story though. I honestly didn't care too much about Makani's life. I was a little interested in what happened to make her move to Nebraska, but it wasn't a secret I was aching to have exposed. I did enjoy the secondary characters, but one of the scary things about horror movies is no one is safe. I didn't get that vibe from this book. I knew the main cast was not going to be killed and that took away from the horror experience. Also, considering what the title of the book is, I was very disappointed in how few murders actually took place in houses. That being said, the scenes where people were getting attacked in their houses were my favorite by far. This might be a personal thing, but I even told Stephanie that I have recurring nightmares about being chased in my house. This is probably what helped put me in that head space while I was reading. I know some people don't enjoy getting scared like that, but I thought it helped with the reading experience. Overall, I enjoyed bits of what this book was, but wished it was much more.

3 howls

Friday, October 13, 2017

IT by Stephen King

Content Warning: Violence, abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, sex featuring children, racial slurs, slurs against women, detailed descriptions of guns, murder, torture, suicide

SynopsisTo the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It was the children who saw - and felt - what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.

Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
 


Review: It is only the second Stephen King book I've completed, but I can already tell it's going to remain a favorite. This story is one of the very few that has ever scared me, and stuck with me for a long time. Thanks, Tim Curry. Thanks a lot. As far as characters go, Stephen King does a really good job of fleshing out all of his characters. And I mean, all of them. I adored the main cast. I loved them when they were children, and I loved them as adults. Mike is my baby because he is a librarian. Outside of the main cast, it was interesting to see how Stephen King made their families different. As someone who grew up in a small town, it's easy to buy into the stereotype that all the families look the same, have the same beliefs, act the same, etc. King turns this idea on its head and gives each family their own unique background. Actually, I read something recently about how contemporary books do not have fleshed out worlds the same way fantasies do. Writers sometimes use generic phrases to build a terrible town for their stories. King does not have this issue. Every moment I read about Derry, I felt like I was actually there. Everything was easy to visualize and I was surprised at how easy it was to stay connected with the overall story. This book was over 1000 pages, but I was never bored. The only time I felt even a little burned out was when I spent my day off reading over 600 pages. Pennywise is such a great, creepy monster. I love that he can lure children close to him before they realize his sinister intentions. He was incredibly creative. The last thing I'm going to talk about is the sex scene with the children. I don't even know if calling it a sex scene is appropriate. It was awkward and honestly kind of funny to read. Kids have sex. Teens have sex. Adults have sex. I'm not going to say it's something you have to be personally comfortable with. But it happens and this scene was done tastefully. It wasn't like reading a passage out of an erotic novel. It was confusing and difficult for the kids to even know what they were doing, but I understand why it was in the book. It happens at the end of the novel if you want to know more specifically where it is so you can prepare yourself. IT was a fantastic book. I'm extremely glad I finally got to read it.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Content Warnings: Explicit sex and violence, slavery

Synopsis: Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.


Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

Review: Godsgrave was an experience and a half. From the start, the story was engaging and I found myself flying through this book. Even when I was at work, all I wanted to do was check in on Mia and her companions. Mia was as delightful as ever. Well, as delightful as Mia can be. My absolute favorite aspects were the interactions between Mister Kindly and Eclipse. I love them so much. Can we have a supplemental book where it's just them going on an adventure together and being awful to one another? I need this so bad. I enjoyed getting to spend time with familiar characters again. I won't say who and in what context, but I was surprised at how much I looked forward to these moments. As for new characters, I loved reading about Leona. She was fascinating. Sid was also delightful to spend time with though I am still fairly wary of him. I was hooked on the story as soon as I opened the book. I was waiting to see what would happen next and who Mia would lose. I will say that, for the most part, the footnotes didn't bother me, but there was one instance in the first part of the book where it was a little distracting. That was slightly disappointing. Other than that, I still really enjoyed the way this book was written. The ending definitely took a turn that I'm still not sure how I feel about. I'm mostly heartbroken that I have to wait what feels like an eternity for the last book. I highly recommend this series if you are looking for an incredibly dark fantasy.

4.5 howls

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

SynopsisJane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Review: Jane, Unlimited was a weird book, but in the best of ways. Jane was a great character and her struggle with grief felt incredibly real. I also love how she made umbrellas. That isn't something I thought I would be interested in, but it was nice being in Jane's mind as she worked on umbrellas. Jasper was wonderful. I grew up with basset hounds, so I felt an immediate connection with Jasper. He was a delight to read about for such a simple character. I feel like I can't really talk about other because of how different they appear in the different parts of the books. I did find them all interesting and I wanted to explore the stories with each character and see what secrets they hide. I went into this book without really knowing what it was about. No one could really give a good description of what this story was supposed to be. Honestly, I was okay with that. I enjoyed not knowing what I was getting into when I opened this book. I did get a wicked case of deja vu when I was reading the second section of Jane's story. I did catch on pretty quick as to what was happening, which made me even more excited to see what was coming next. It was nice knowing that you were essentially getting five stories in one book. I didn't feel bored at any point when reading Jane, Unlimited. Overall, a wonderful, unique book.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Content Warnings: Violence, explicit sex, mentions of rape, racial conflict and talk of slavery

Disclaimer: There has been some controversy over this book and how it depicts people of color. Specifically, Maori people. The person I originally saw discuss this took down her post. I'm not Maori. I'm not a person of color. I read this book before the controversy, and re-read it just now. I enjoyed the book and cannot speak on the racism. If you're a person of color, and especially if you're of Maori descent, you might want to stay away from this book.

SynosisIn a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Review: Nevernight is one of those books that you either love or you hate. From the first chapter, you can tell that the writing is rich and unique. Each of the characters are haunted by their past and they don't try to hide it. The story follows Mia, but you get an interesting cast of characters who all add to the story. I adored Mia. She takes no shit. Even from Mister Kindly. She starts off being really harsh to just about everyone at the Red Church, but she slowly realizes that she can have friends in this school of assassins. Which brings me to Tric. Tric. Is. Precious. I enjoyed watching him learn how to love and how to appreciate himself. Mister Kindly was my absolute favorite. He isn't afraid to speak his mind, but he is never cruel. He always looks out for Mia, but doesn't hold her hand. I loved hearing his insight to situations Mia got herself in.

This story is dark. Not just because it's set in a school for assassins. Its clearly an adult fantasy book. There is sex and gore, but none of it felt unnecessary. The story moved slow at first, but picked up when the trials began. Kristoff did a great job of showing what was at stake as the students progressed through the trials. None of the twists felt obvious to me which was appreciated. I was always left wondering what would happen next and who would end up on top. Overall, I loved this story and I can't wait to get my hands on book 2.

5 howls

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Katherine Ormsbee

Synopsis: After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?


Review: I don't know how to compose my thoughts without spoiling aspects of Tash Hearts Tolstoy so buckle in. Man, this book. First off, I really appreciated Tash as a character. It's always refreshing to see ace characters in book, and I enjoyed following Tash's experience. I liked the side characters well enough. None of them stuck out, sadly. The story itself is what fell a little flat for me. I had fun seeing Tash and her friends adapt to the sudden fame they were exposed to. The first thing that bothered me was Tash's relationship with Thom. I found this part of the story very predictable, and I honestly wish I was wrong. I was hoping Tash was going to form a really good online friendship/romantic partnership. Honestly, I think having a long distance online partnership would have worked well with a character like Tash who has a hard time explaining what being ace means. It would have been nice to see her in a relationship with Thom where he is forced to think of other ways to appreciate Tash that doesn't involve sex. Then they could have come together at the end and he wouldn't have been a super dick about Tash being ace. I was disappointed that Thom was made out to be a bad guy. Online relationships are special to me and I wanted Thom to be good for Tash. Even if they just remained friends. The other thing that bothered me is deeply personal. I HATE when the love interest is the best friend. With the way Tash/Jack/Paul were all described, I had hope that this was going to be a very special book where Tash and the best friend don't fall in love. It's exhausting to read story after story where people can't just stay friends with those they've spent a majority of their life with. I wanted to like Tash Hearts Tolstoy so much, and I think it had a lot of potential. It just missed the mark for me. I would definitely recommend it if you don't have such a large problem with the best friends become lovers trope.

3 howls

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Goodreads

Triggers: Slavery, racism, racial slurs

SynopsisA novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. 

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi's magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
 

Review: Homegoing was a rather unique story. It doesn't follow a single person, but it follows the bloodlines of two different people. Because of this, Homegoing read more like a set of short stories that go together than a fully cohesive novel. This isn't a bad thing, but it's something to be aware of before you pick this book up. I'm also not going to really make a paragraph talking solely about characters. I found most of the perspectives really interesting to read from, but I probably enjoyed Effia, Esi, and Willa's perspectives the most. I don't have a specific reason for that, but they stood out to me and I still think about those characters. There were a couple of perspectives towards the end of the book that I didn't care for which is why this book wasn't a full 5 star read for me. Another reason why I didn't give this book a perfect rating was because I didn't read it in one sitting. I think that pulled me out of the progression of the stories. This is definitely a book I want to re-read as I get a bit older and I gain some more life perspectives. Overall, Homegoing was fascinating and definitely worth picking up.

4 howls