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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 23, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Content warning: Anxiety, OCD, self harm, references to teen drinking, car accident

SynopsisSixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

Review: Turtles All the Way Down has been highly anticipated for quite some time. As someone who enjoys John Green's other books, I was extremely excited for his new book. Especially when I found it out centered on anxiety and OCD. I don't have Aza's brand of OCD, so I'm not going to talk about that, but I know all too well what her anxiety spirals are like. The anxiety rep in this book was very well done and Aza as a character was easy to relate to. Even her habit of digging her nail into her finger was something similar to what I've done and little instances of self-harm like that are not generally discussed in books.

Review: The story in Turtles was...interesting. Aza and her friend Daisy try to figure out where a billionaire has disappeared to, and she somehow finds a way to reconnect with a childhood friend, the billionaire's son.Aza and Davis' relationship didn't feel quite right. I didn't mind it, but I think it would have felt more natural if we saw them interact together more before Davis' dad disappeared. I did appreciate how Aza not only connected with Davis, but also with his brother Noah. More than anything, I loved how this book explored being vulnerable. With Aza, Davis, Noah, even Daisy, it discusses what it means to be honest and vulnerable even when you can loose what's important to you.

4 howls

Friday, October 20, 2017

Madness by Zac Brewer

Content warnings:Suicide, suicidal thoughts, detailed descriptions of suicide, self-harm, abuse

SynopsisBrooke Danvers is pretending to be fine. She’s gotten so good at pretending that they’re letting her leave inpatient therapy. Now she just has to fake it long enough for her parents and teachers to let their guard down. This time, when she's ready to end her life, there won’t be anyone around to stop her.

Then Brooke meets Derek. Derek is the only person who really gets what Brooke is going through, because he’s going through it too. As they start spending more time together, Brooke suddenly finds herself having something to look forward to every day and maybe even happiness.

But when Derek’s feelings for her intensify, Brooke is forced to accept that the same relationship that is bringing out the best in her might be bringing out the worst in Derek—and that Derek at his worst could be capable of real darkness.

Review: I'll be honest, this book was hard to read. Zac doesn't pull any punches when describing what it's like to suffer from suicidal tendencies. Madness was raw and emotional. I related to Brooke in a scary way, but it was also weirdly comforting to see that part of me so openly displayed in a book. That being said, there were a few times where Brooke got on my nerves. Again, I related to her, but she was still a pain. The way she treated Duckie at times was incredibly unfair. Between lying to him about her mental health to ditching him for Derek, I got pretty annoyed with Brooke. I adored Duckie. He made me think of my best friend pretty often which is probably why I got so attached to that character. He was a fun character to help break up the serious thoughts in Brooke's mind. 

Onto the story, Madness is dark. Not just because it's about suicide. It's also about abuse and aggression. Brooke has so many hateful feelings towards herself and she sometimes lashes out on Duckie, her parents, and her therapist. Then there's Derek. When you first read the synopsis, this book sounds like it could be one of those, "2 kids wanted to kill themselves, found each other, fell in love, and lived happily ever after." Don't worry, it's not. Derek and Brooke's relationship is pretty scary. They love hard and fast, and not in a good way. There were little things about the story I found particularly powerful like the subtle way Brooke's view on life and living changed. There was a scene when she was talking to Derek about college and it suddenly occurred to her that she wanted a future. She wanted to believe that there was more for her life. If you can handle this subject matter, I would highly recommend checking this book out.

5 howls

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Content warning: Talk of suicide, "suicide is selfish" brought up a couple of times

SynopsisAt sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass was refreshing. It is not only a retelling with queer elements, but the way the narrative is structured is certainly unique. This book is told from 2 perspectives, Mina and Lynet, when both girls are teenagers. But they are not teens at the same time, so it feels like 2 distinct stories that come together to make a single cohesive one. It was surprisingly well done. I really enjoyed reading Mina and Lynet both. While their backgrounds are similar, they both had their quirks that made reading both of their stories very enjoyable. Their relationship was also really great. I'm glad it didn't take the "wicked stepmother" route. From the first page, I felt like Lynet and Mina had a very strong relationship and I was rooting for them to find a way through their struggles together.

The story itself was well done. There were a lot of interesting elements that I felt were fleshed out fairly well. I enjoyed getting to experience the north kingdom and the south. That being said, I think this book could have either been longer, or the story could have been a duology. We got to explore a good bit of the north kingdom, but everything that happened in the south felt a bit rushed. I wanted more time to soak in that part of the world. Still, the world building was well-done and the romance was A+. I love retellings, and this one definitely stood out among the rest.

4 howls

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