Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

wink poppy midnight

SummaryEvery story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy, Contemporary, Thriller

Review: April Genevieve Tucholke is on my auto-buy list. Any time she publishes something, I don’t hesitate to read it. And this book was just what I expected from her. While it differs from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea in a lot of ways, her style is clear and present. This book is eerie, consuming, atmospheric, and gritty. Full of mystery, it made you keep guessing at every twist and turn.

After learning what this book was based on (Les Diaboliques, a French film from the 1950s), I was completely hooked. The plot was just a bit of fantasty, just a bit of mystery, and just a bit of murder that combined into something completely original. The book built and built to one moment, and then changed your whole thinking afterwards. I loved the flip-flopping that occurred at every turn, which is really what made this book stand out, and why it’s so important to repeatedly mention. There was just a bit of romance to keep you engaged on one point, but that added to the intrigue of the plot, never overpowered it.

Every character was just as engaging as the others. I loved the split POV that changed in the middle of pages, and that there were no real chapters. You were continuously urged to keep reading with the short, intermittent chapters. I loved that each character was given a seemingly obvious cliche persona, but you never knew who they were. Either to themselves, or to others. By the end of the novel, what you thought you knew about the character types they embodied was completely wrong. You never stopped guessing about who these people really were.

Overall, this was a stunning novel from a stunning author. I can’t wait to see what Tucholke puts out next, as I’m sure it’s going to be just as gritty as her previous work. If you haven’t picked up this beautiful book yet, do so immediately.

Review: Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle #3) by Rachel Hawkins

lady renegades

 

SummaryJust as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again.

Now, it’s a desperate race for Harper to find and rescue David before she backslides from superhero to your garden-variety type-A belle.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary

Review: If you don’t already know, I’m an enormous fan of Rebel Belle. I’ve spent a lot of time with this series, and with Rachel Hawkins’ writing, and I could not be happier with this conclusion. It was happy, it was sad, it was funny – it was everything this series needed. At this point, if you haven’t read Rebel Belle, you’re seriously missing out. And this book is proof of that.

After suffering the heartbreak that was the end of Miss Mayhem, I’d been anticipating this release since the minute I finished the sequel. I was initially surprised at the length, but I think if it had been any longer it would’ve begun to drag. I was so happy to see that there were snippets from David’ point of view, even if they appeared without warning or acknowledgment in the middle of a chapter. Still, seeing his situation (and Harper) from his point of view was so necessary to this book.

If there’s anything I wouldv’e liked more from this book, it would’ve been more David. There’s hardly a thing to complain about, but I would’ve loved a split POV (or just a chapter in his POV here and there) to better understand where he was coming from. That being said, I didn’t feel like romance was necessary for the entire book. You got bits and pieces of the feelings Harper and David have for each other, you just simply got them with distance. What really mattered here was the care they have for each other as people and how that manifested. It was so important to me to see.

This novel built on every piece of foreshadowing that the previous novels gave. I thought coming into this that it wasn’t necessarily going to be happy, and I was right. But that being said, it was so bittersweet and hopeful. I loved that not a single moment slipped from this book. The things you saw and the people you met in both Rebel Belle and Miss Mayhem were present in this. Between the hints at prophecies, the fading Paladin powers, and the reappearance (or remembrance) of characters, you really felt like everything came together, which I think is rare for a conclusion.

The ending completely wrecked me, but it was so fitting. At the end of the day, Harper and David are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Seeing them return – at least partially – to who they were before felt pivotal to closing out their story. As sad as I was, the ending wasn’t unexpected.I could see it coming from a mile away, but I was just as upset as I would’ve been if I hadn’t. The ending gave me so, so much hope, and if Harper and David ever want to return to my life, I would gladly accept them back in. All in all, a stunning, fitting conclusion to a series close to my heart.

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass [ARC Review]

cresswell plot

I recieved this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

SummaryCastella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Review: I came into this book not knowing what to expect, just having been intrigued enough to request an advanced copy, and I was pleasantly surprised. Though short, an incredible amount of development occurred. I really enjoyed the religious aspect of the book, which I was surprised by. Even as the book made clear that the Cresswell family took part in a harmful form of religion, religion as a whole was never condemned by the author, which I thought was so important. There was very little romance that occurred, and I was so happy about that. And when it was there, it was not only focused on one couple. However, I will admit, I was put off by the idea of incest. It was certainly not approved of, and was shown to be wrong, but I was a little wary. I loved Castley’s development. It was so natural and felt so right for her situation.The development for everyone in the family was amazing. There was a fair amount of surprises, which was great! I do wish this had been just a bit longer, though. I feel like if it was, the plot development and minor character development would have reached a whole new level. I also wish there had been more about their family history. I would’ve loved to see more about their father’s and his reasons for becoming who he was, and his motives for doing the things he does at the end. Overall, this was a very good book that I enjoyed immensely. I’m so glad to have received the ARC!