Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover ★★★

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“A writer should never have the audacity to write about themselves unless they’re willing to separate every layer of protection between the author’s soul and their book. The words should come directly from the center of the gut, tearing through flesh and bone as they break free. Ugly and honest and bloody and a little bit terrifying, but completely exposed.”

I had a VERY hard time deciding how to rate this book. On one level it was so engrossing and compulsively readable, creepy, and twisted – really good! But on the other, there were parts of the book that were actively turning me off from it and ruining my enjoyment, namely the characters and their behavior/choices. I was warring between 3.5 or 4 stars and I think in the end, I am going to settle on 3.5 stars.

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Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant ★★

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“What you have to understand about the mermaid legend is that it’s universal. No matter where you go, the mermaids got there first. Even inland, if there’s a big enough lake, I guarantee you there’s a local community with a story about women in the water with beautiful voices who lure men to their deaths. Where there’s water, we find mermaids. Maybe it’s time we started asking ourselves exactly why that is.”

😐 Very disappointed in Into the Drowning Deep, unfortunately. I had heard such great things about it, and I was in the mood for something chilling and scary, so I thought it would be the perfect read right now. I really wanted to love it! However, it just didn’t work for me. At all. It was poorly constructed, repetitive, unintelligent, and very dull. It was basically Sharknado with mermaids. Spoilers ahead.

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Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt ★★★★

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Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted–? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?…If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or…is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?”

I finished it! I feel so accomplished. Wow wow wow, this book was a masterpiece! So good. 4.5 read for sure, with just a few very minor hangups.

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Book Review: Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk ★★★★★

Survivor: A Novel

“Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Funny, biting, harsh, satirical, absurd, poignant, real, nonsensical, dark, humorous, genius! This is what I love from Chuck. This is the Chuck that I look for when I want a slice of razor-edged, existential pie for breakfast. He soothes that ragged, sometimes consuming dread that most people feel from time to time. He just slaps on a balm of laughter and violence, and tells you to buck up and, honestly, it totally works. I love his books and Survivor is one of my new favorites for sure.

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Book Review: Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco ★★★

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“The only way to influence another’s fate is by destroying them. It’s the only thing that can be done permanently and by an action within your control. To try to protect someone is to try to intervene in the actions of the world against them but that’s something you can’t face alone or entirely because if fate has bullets for them you can only take one.” 

This was a really interesting book! I was excited to read it ever since I started following Rae on Instagram. She seems like such a cool lady, with her beautiful horse and cow rustling and reading Faulkner in woods. Her debut novel was very much what I was hoping it would be and, despite some flaws, turned out to be a solid 3.5 star read! I would warn you, though, that this novel is extremely violent, not just to people (cause who cares about them?), but also to animals, so keep that in mind before picking it up.

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Book Review: Soul Scent by Reyna Favis ★★★

“I did not want to imagine, but the worst part was that in my experience, the truth could easily outstrip my imagination.”

In this second installment of The Zackie Stories, author Reyna Favis brings everything I loved about the first book and more. She really ups the ante here and creates a stronger, bolder thriller. I was wavering between 3 and 4 stars for this one, and decided overall to go with 3.5 stars, because of the progress made from the first book, and the potential for this to become a great full-length series. All of the characters that we met in the previous book are back and they create a fun and endearing misfit ensemble. Fia returns as our main character, with her life teetering precariously between a normal Search and Rescue field agent and paranormal soul seeker. As much as she tries to keep her two lives separate, though, a tragic event threatens to merge them together, when her team has to search for a body in the woods.

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Book Review: This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab ★★★

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“But the teacher had been right about one thing: violence breeds.
Someone pulls a trigger, sets off a bomb, drives a bus full of tourists off a bridge, and what’s left in the wake isn’t just shell casings, wreckage, bodies. There’s something else. Something bad. An aftermath. A recoil. A reaction to all that anger and pain and death.”

This book was really good! It started off a bit slow, but I think in the end getting the complete history of the characters and city was well worth it. I am eagerly anticipating the next novel about August, Kate, and the monster menagerie we were introduced to here!

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Book Review: Soul Search by Reyna Favis ★★★

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“The dog quickly passed each person as they offered their hands for the dog to sniff. I stood still with my hands extended as the dog took my scent. Rather than move on to the next person, she paused and stared directly into my face. Her eyes were the color of whiskey and surrounded by dark fur, as if someone had outlined them with kohl to emphasize their distinct color. While I thought her gaze would be gentle like all the other dogs I have encountered, I instead saw a disturbing intelligence that I was not prepared for.”

When the author of the Zackie Stories, Reyna Favis, reached out to me, I was thrilled! Of course I would jump at the chance to read a series featuring a Plott Hound and rep for the coolest dog breed there is. I was already interested, but when Reyna began telling me about her own background as a K-9 handler working in search and rescue, and her idea about creating a fantasy/supernatural suspense series around that concept, I was beyond sold. Soul Search is such a unique and entertaining book, and I would officially give it 3.5 stars.

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Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins ★★★

“The water, the water, the water – no way to get away from it in this town.”

Into the Water was a chilling, and well-written thriller! I have never really sought out thrillers or mystery/crime novels as my go-to reads, but Paula Hawkins has definitely made me a fan. There is something very real and visceral about the way that she writes, that just draws me the heck in! This book follows the story of Jules, who finds out in the first couple pages that her sister, Nel, has died. Not only did she die, but Jules is told that she has committed suicide in the Drowning Pool, a significant place from their childhood that they have not been able to forget. Upon hearing this news, Jules is forced to return to her family’s vacation home in Beckford, take in Nel’s wayward daughter, and confront  memories from her past that she’d rather leave to rot at the bottom of the river. Spoilers below!

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