Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

servantsDelilah S. Dawson has done what many adult authors are doing. She’s made the leap to writing YA, but she shines were many adult authors fall flat. Servants of the Storm is an engrossing, enjoyable, terror filled ride sure to delight horror and supernatural fans.

I’m going to be honest. I read this simply because the cover is beautiful and haunting. I mean, just look at it! It’s fantastic. The book? It’s even better.

I loved the setting of a Savannah that’s been ravaged by a horrendous hurricane that took of life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. A year has passed and Dovey is beginning to come out of her stupor. But what she find when the fog lifts is more terrifying than she could have imagined.

Before I stated the book, I thought I was going to be reading a supernatural romance, which I was fine with. But this is really better classified as supernatural horror. There is romance and a love triangle (kill me), but the romance takes a back seat to the action and squirmy things in the book. However, I do want to note that there is the typical love triangle that I am so completely over present in this. But this is the least annoying love triangle I’ve ever read. Ever. The only other thing I didn’t like was what I call “the hot mysterious stranger,” which is prevalent in literature. I struggled with that in the book because I was just yelling at Dovey, who I liked, for being stupid and trusting someone she barely knew. But, of course, he had the answers she needed. My annoyance didn’t last long because everything else was so awesome.

I know I’m being vague with the awesome, but I have to be. I can’t spoil the surprise for you. I can’t spoil your jaw dropping in surprise and disgust. Things are gross and creepy and atmospheric and amazing. The amusement park scene? It’s been a long time since I read a book with my eyes that wide or with such suspense. It’s been a few weeks since I finished it, and I’m still thinking about that scene.

And the ending. Oh, the ending. I need a sequel. Like, I needed a sequel weeks ago. I need it. I really hope this book sells enough for the publisher to want a sequel (and I hope she wants to write one), because I need it. Desperately. And I need it now. When I finished the review copy, I kept swiping my finger and hoping my copy hadn’t downloaded correctly just to have a few more pages.

I will be buying a copy for my personal library and telling my coworker to put this on our ordering list for the library.

I received a digital advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

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Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

rumbleEllen Hopkin’s newest novel in verse, Rumble, tackles many timely and important topics without ever being pedantic or preachy or implicating one person as the villain and one as the hero. The protagonist, Matthew Turner, is having a terrible senior year as his family is in shambles after his younger brother’s suicide. Matt doesn’t believe in anything, especially not God, no matter how devout his girlfriend Hayden is.

Suicide is no new issue for Hopkins or her readers, neither are issues of faith, and while the issue of faith is prevalent in the book, it wasn’t until the last part (and I mean like the last 50 or so pages, maybe even less) that the accident teased in the publisher summary appears. The book ends soon after that and the “rumble” was a bit anticlimactic for my liking as was the “after.” I wanted more insights into Matt’s thought process after the horrific accident (Hopkins is so great are creating terrible accidents right at the end), but the book didn’t provide it.

None of that is to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. I really, really, really liked it. I didn’t love it as much as I love some of her others like Burned and Crank, but I will be purchasing a personal copy and letting my co-worker who makes our order lists to add this one in the fall. I read most of it only a few hours when I couldn’t sleep and finished it on my lunch break because I couldn’t stand not knowing how it ended. The discussions on faith and how it could be so many different things to so many different people were thought provoking as was the opposite of that of how faith can be used to hurt.

There is also the immense guilt and anger Matt feels about his brother’s suicide and the role he, his friends, his family, and their community played in it. There are no easy answers in this book and no easy villains or heroes. The inclusion of Matt’s uncle added another layer in a book that already felt miles deep. His uncle runs a shooting range and often has retired military come for target practice. This new setting provides a commentary on PTSD, the effects combat can have on individuals. The end effect of that is not at all positive and extreme, but Matt’s uncle was pretty much the only adult who seemed to be thinking about Matt and his well being.

There are plenty of things in the book that will offend people, and it wouldn’t be an Ellen Hopkins book without that. Matt has his own gun and enjoys shooting at his uncle’s range. An atheist gun enthusiast? Not something you see everyday, which is one of the many reasons I like this book. It challenges readers to examine what they believe and encourages them to question those beliefs, whatever they may be.

Ultimately, this is an excellent book that will make a fine addition to any library, especially where Ellen Hopkins is popular. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed with her newest book.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance digital copy from Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

We Were Liars by E. Lockart

Just a quick note before the actual blog post: Dr. Welch, I don’t know if you’re finished grading the blog, but if you’re not, this blog post is not part of the posts I did for class. This one and any after are for my personal use. All the ones before this are for the class.

Okay, now for the real blog post.

liarsWe Were Liars is the story of Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest granddaughter of a prominent, wealthy family that appears to have it all, including a private island where she and her cousins reunite every summer. The Liars—Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat—spend every summer together. Gat, the outsider Indian boy in an all white family, is the son of Cadence’s Aunt Carrie’s boyfriend. Summer Fifteen (the fifteenth summer they’ve spent on the island) is when everything changes. It’s when Cadence falls in love with Cat, and it’s the summer of Cadence’s traumatic accident. The book opens with the introduction of the accident and readers quickly learn that the accident has left Cady with memory loss and debilitating migraines. For Cady, Summer Seventeen is the summer to discover what really happened two years ago—how she got hurt, why no one talked to her ever, and if she and Gat can have a future.

It’s no secret that We Were Liars is about a secret. That cat’s been out of the bag for a while now, and I kinda wish it wasn’t. Since I knew there was some big twist at the end, I was looking for clues and expecting everything. Ultimately I didn’t correctly guess the whole twist, but it was a little disappointing. However, knowing there was a secret, some sort of payoff kept my reading until the end. I read the majority of the book in a single day while ignoring all of my schoolwork.

This is drastically different from E. Lockhart’s other books. I’m a huge fan of hers and love the comedy typically found in her books. This book is not humorous. Not that there weren’t some funny moments, but this is certainly a drama. Cadence is abusing her prescription pain killers, and Lockhart does an amazing job of portraying Cady’s fuzziness in all aspects of her life as they drugs affect her. I did enjoy the cousins’ interactions, their closeness, because that is often how cousins are in life, which is something I feel that gets overlooked in books. So many characters are only children, and not being an only child, I’m always excited to see siblings and other family members in books.

There was also an undertone of prejudice and acceptance anytime Gat was mentioned. As the only person of color in the entire book (the Sinclairs are stereotypical rich white folks with blonde hair and blue eyes) and despite coming to the island for almost as long as the others, he was always an outsider. Cady’s grandfather was never accepting of Gat and Cady’s burgeoning romance because Gat was Indian. And only the tallest, whitest, blondest, and richest boys will do for Cady.

But something was lacking from this book for me. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t really like Cady either, but I needed to know the secret, so I kept reading. This book just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it.

Overall, I would give this a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I received a digital advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.