Buzz Buzz Little Crow (Black Bird of the Gallows – A Book Review)

Black Bird of the Gallows (Black Birds of the Gallows #1)
Author: Meg Kassel
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

black bird of the gallows - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A simple but forgotten truth:

Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues of soon be full.

Angie Dovage knows there’s more to Reece Fernandez than the tall, athletic boy of mystery that the whole school is swooning over, just like he can tell there’s more to her than the spazzy band-geek. When he tells her that him being here, in her town, means a great tragedy will strike, she knows he must be full of it, right? But then why is there a murder of crows always around him? Why is he sneaking off and to who know where?

When something dark and supernatural attacks Angie, she’s lucky that Reece is there to help her. Then fellow students and people around town have been going crazy. She’s left with more questions than answers. There’s a battle between good and evil, chaos and death, she never saw coming. In the middle of it all, and which is a bad idea, she may or may not be falling in love with a harbinger of death

 

The cover of this book is utterly gorgeous and breathtaking!!!!! If that didn’t make me curious enough, then the mysterious back cover did. All around, this book drew my interest and I enjoyed it! It was quirky and funny mixed with the drama of teenage love mixed with the chaos of an intriguing mythos around the harbinger of death and creator of chaos.

Scarlet Reader - Excited

the approach to magic was genius and unique. Major disasters became so much more. So did animal mythos. Evil bees? I love bumble bees so I surprised when they were used as a force of evil. The logic behind was awesome though. Same with crow. It was like the dark met the light and the light met the dark in this book and was sprinkled with love and a hint of tragedy from the main characters. Everybody has a little tragedy though, right?

Scarlet Reader - Black Bird of the Gallows

The magic was incredibly enchanting, yet dark, reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty in that way. It wasn’t overbearing, but perfectly fitting into everyday life, perfectly hidden. This design was beautiful.

Angie was both interesting and not. There were times I wasn’t into her. She’s a teenager, so she’s going to have those dramatic moments, but her tone came off goofy. She rambled off from time to time and it seemed pointless. But I loved her relationships with her dad and her friends and how mixed up she felt for Reece. I admired her passion. It was louder than a bass dropping at a rave.

I love Love LOVED the style and unique vocabulary that Kassel used to sweep this book away. It was brilliant and refreshing and kept my attention with such enthusiasm. I giggled. I felt my heart break. I was swelling with emotion and engulfed in the words.

 

Overall

I’ve never read anything like this before. Something that was both enchanting and chaotic and tragic and yet, filled with love. My big problem? The ending felt hugely rushed and vague and confusing. I was as clueless as Angie and Reece were, but more so because there was no real hint as to how everything happened. And the special possibility about magic in Angie’s family? It didn’t feel very solid. I was more fascinated than anything so it was easy to let those bits slide. I feel like they’ll possibly come into play in later books, which I hope to read someday.

 

Quotables:

“Crack your bones and eat the marrow, snap your spines like broken arrows.” (p. 104)

“…I don’t kiss guys who don’t tell me what planet they’re from.” (Angie, p. 119)

“Death doesn’t require a prediction. It’s an inevitability.” (Reece, p. 128)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

 

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Monsters of Man (to make monsters out of girls – A Book Review)

to make monsters out of girls (the things that h(a)unt #1)
Author: amanda lovelace
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

to make monsters our of girls - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

this is how I bury you

Amanda Lovelace comes back with this epic first book in a duology answering the question, and contemplating it: What happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be a nightmare with sharp teeth?”.

Poetry takes a turn into the dark and scary. Boundaries are non-existent as Lovelace’s memory of an abusive relationship is explored from unimaginable angles.

The eternal question that she also faces, that we all face: Can you heal once you’ve been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting?

 

Lovelace is always amazing when it comes to being vulnerable. She lets out ever part of her for the world with her modern and inventive poetic style. It’s what I love about her books. She takes the average box and not only jumps outside of it, but rips it to shreds, destroying the expected shape and stanza of prose poetry.

She segmented her book into parts, that for me, were curious.

pt. 1 – monster-boy

pt. 2 – monster-girl

pt. 3 – sun-heart

 

What was really awesome about this novel was also something I couldn’t fully agree upon. Lovelace approaches the idea of comparing abusive men to monsters. Throughout time (and my own personal studies) monsters are debatable. If asked, the common ones are vampires, werewolves, zombies, Frankenstein, Creature of the Black Lagoon, and the list goes on. But a lot of these have been divulged upon that they’re not so much monsters as they are just creatures turned dark by humans, which I agree with. They’re not evil 100% of the time just like people. So, as I read this book, man became its own terrifying monster over being like the ones we know through history. But for me, that’s also because an abusive man is scarier than any mythological, literary, film monster ever could be.

There’s artwork! Having read the princess doesn’t die in this one, I was excited to see artwork right alongside Lovelace’s work. It was chilling and perfectly paired to show the horror she was expressing through her words. It’s like getting hit by a million pinpricks.

Relatable on a very real level for anyone who’s been through abuse or knows somebody who has. Not just across the U.S., but the entire planet, women and men have grown stronger and braver in coming out about abuse they’ve suffered through. It’s become scary at how often it really happens and the fear it instills in people, keeping them from being able to speak out. This book was incredibly brave and vicious. It’s good to be vicious. To fight back and prove that you come back stronger from something that could destroy you because you destroy it instead. Triggers are very real, and I thank Lovelace for putting that warning in there before the beginning.

 

Overall

While I didn’t enjoy this book as I have her other one, it still approaches a major subject from an incredibly personal position, a firsthand one. The bravery of that alone is applauded. One thing I have to say is that you may not get a full feeling for what Lovelace expresses in this book if you haven’t experienced this pain before or seen it firsthand. It won’t make for a terrible read if you’ve never experienced things like this, but it’s an outside perspective versus and inside one.

 

Here are a few poems that I really enjoyed and that really ripped into me:

 

you had years
on me
&
I wanted
to drag
my teeth
across the surface 
of every one
of them.
 

-red & the wolf (p. 20)

 

I found this to be one of the most interesting ones with how Lovelace brings up the Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf is actually a monster. Like I said, I don’t believe all creatures are monstrous, but this one definitely is. The wolf of the tale is known for not only being stalkerish, manipulative, and murderous of a young girl, but rapey, too. This shed light on the question of age, and at what point it is okay to be with someone older or younger than you.

It reminds me of the latest subject flitting across the internet, too: grooming. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when an adult builds a relationship, which is usually private/secret, with a young child/teen. While it puts on the front of friendship and/or guidance, behind the scenes it is boyfriend/girlfriend and deemed a type of sexual abuse. There have been many cases made across the decades.

Thankfully, at the end of the tale, Red splits the wolf open, making him regret coming onto her.

 

on the days 
you decided you

were still in this
we me,

ancient trees
leaned into my touch;

will-o’-the-wisps
swarmed around me;

butterflies
made nests in my hair;

falling stars
tangled in my eyelashes;

nectar oozed
from my fingertips;

& even oceans
feared the multitudes in me.
 

-moon made up of honey (p. 41)

 

The imagery of this one has to be my favorite. So strong and powerful. Sweet. Fantastical.

 

he may have gone,
but I’m still finding
his fingerprints
on every surface
of me.
 
-intruder (p. 66)

 

This one can be interpreted in many ways. Positive and negative. Horrifying or straight up heartbreak. Whether she is talking about a woman whose boyfriend, the love of her life, has broken up with her, leaving only memories and heartbreak behind, or the survival of sexual assault, trying to scrub away the feeling of it and never feeling clean enough, never feeling like the assaulter let go, is still a mystery to me. This one can be divided among many situations and emotions, I feel.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Never Be Like You by Flume feat. Kai.

 

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Getcha Head in the Game (Ender’s Game – A Book Review)

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1)
Author: Orson Scott Card
Published: 1985

On Goodreads

Ender's Game

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

17/25

“I’ve watched through his eyes. I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you, he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

Andrew “Ender Wiggin, a Third, is chosen to go to Battle School for the I.F., the international fleet at the ripe age of six. What he believes are just games that he’s engaged in with other kids is actually much bigger than he knows. He hasn’t met a soldier he can’t mold or a battle he can’t win. Originally a part of a grand experiment that’ll save Earth, he becomes the top soldier in his class, advancing quicker than anybody else in history.

Ender being a part of an experiment to create soldiers and fleet generals isn’t all of it. The buggers have been attacking the Earth since long before Ender was born. If not stopped, the next attack made on the planet will end it altogether.

This book marks 17 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I’ve heard about the movie and that the book was a genius and conqueror in the Sci-Fi genre.

This blew my mind! Nuclear. BOOM. Orson is a master storyteller and this is only book one of a saga. So much happened and he did a splendid job of spanning it over years. It was a journey that was trying and it chipped away at not only Ender, but his sister, Valentine, and his brother, Peter. All three of them had a large part to play, proving that age doesn’t really matter when it comes to power. Rising up to their has shown both heroism and jealousy. They show that Ender isn’t the only brilliant one, but emphasize how scary it is. It was mind-blowing to see children rise up in power and scary.Scarlet Reader

Ender had so much pressing down on his shoulders. For a six-year-old, Ender was such an incredible character. So many times, he was ready to give up, but he had so many by his side. Petra and Dink guided Ender to become a better shooter. Alai and Dwarf became his closest friends in a place where friends seem impossible because everybody is against him. This isn’t just some game though. It’s more. Bigger.

Scarlet Reader

I became intrigued with Ender’s name the further I got in the book. He became responsible for hurting people and dominating in Battle School. I never thought to question the nickname until I was well over halfway through. Ender and how it relates to his actions and determination. He ends every simulation, battle, and fight on top, winning. Realizing this was chilling.

Scarlet Reader

The writing and style was amazing. Engrossing and not a detail amiss. Orson really captured a whole new frontier in this novel. It reached deep into a place that pulled at one’s humanity. He really grabbed at emotions, rocking them, and getting them to feel the pressure that Ender felt. Just captivating. And I really liked the dialogue at the beginning of each chapter from the head of the I.F. and how it gave accounts of progress with their war against the buggers. They knew what they were doing and it was great, haunting foreshadowing.

Overall

This book was engaging from page one and so entertaining. So in-depth. I was so sucked in that I felt like I was in the book. And that ending! I teared up big time. I really just want to cradle Ender in my arms after everything he went through. A phenomenal book that surprised me. The writing swept me away into this galactic world with many disguises. Everything was just perfect. I loved this. I hope to read the rest someday.

Quotables:

“The battleroom is ready. Petra’s hands are steady. The enemy is deadly.” (Petra, p. 82)

“We aren’t just ordinary children, are we? None of us.” (Valentine, p. 240)

“I’ll tell you something. If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault. You killed us all.” (Valentine, p. 241)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Titanium by Sia.

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The Black Tidal Wave (The Hatching – A Book Review)

The Hatching (The Hatching #1)
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

The Hatching

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

There is no waking up from this nightmare…

An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. A nuke is dropped in China. A strange  and fatal plane crash is investigated by the FBI in America. Strange earthquakes in India. As the series of events increase, they come to a head.

A species thought long dead wakes up and begin swallowing the world, turning into a horrifying  apocalypse that’ll haunt waking dreams.

 

First, the cover art is wicked. Webbing over a black cover really gave a great idea that the book was about spider and that it would be creepy. I got a copy that actually came with a slip on case that enhanced the ominous vibe. It really got my hopes up! Which kind of sucked.

This book straight-up comes off as a SyFy (or if you still remember the original tag-SciFi) movie. No joke. The terrible graphics and bad puns, all done on purpose, and completely unbelievable. Come on, guys. You know what I’m talking about. Sharknado. Lavalantula. And this one, of course, is about ancient spiders waking up, ready to take over the world.

the hatching - The Scarlet Reader - tumblr

I found this book unrealistic and not as scary as I was hoping. It wasn’t scary at all actually, and I’m jumpy around spiders. With how the characters came off—overly vulgar and over the top—I couldn’t take this book seriously. It dimmed my interest.

This book jumped all over the planet. From where the ancient spiders breached the earth in South America and devoured a tourist group to a nuke drop in Asia to the oval office, the book really circulated around the important parts, tying them together in a unique way that seemed random, but wasn’t. Was it clear all of the time? No. Did it seem pointless sometimes? Yes. But it wasn’t. It was just incredibly expansive, showing how dangerous this ancient species had and in such a short time. That a shoe wasn’t going to be enough to stomp them out.

the hatching -The Scarlet Reader - tumblr

 

Overall

This was not what I excepted. I just couldn’t get into this book, but I started it and then finished it. Now I will go ahead and donate it, because maybe somebody else will enjoy it more than me.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Pinch Me by The Barenaked Ladies.

 

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Doing Some Wrong to Get It Right (Bold Tricks – A Book Review)

Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3)
Author: Karina Halle
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

Bold Tricks - Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

The faster they live, the harder they fall…

They’re all in this together now and that could get them killed. Ellie Watt, raised by con artist parents and a con artist herself, she is teaming up, with two extremely dangerous men both obsessed and in love with her in order to get her family back from Travis. Her will is pressed to limits that she didn’t she didn’t even know she had.

The price for a normal life with the man she loves, Camden, is steep, and though heartache plagues her, she’s determined to put the pieces back together. In order to have that she’ll have to do some bad things.

S&N - Hachetter Book GroupSins & Needles – here

Shooting ScarsShooting Scars – here

 

Everything hit its peak in this final installation of The Artists Trilogy. Ellie Watt finally figured one of the greatest secrets of her family: who her real father is. This discovery is one of my favorite parts of this series. It’s very real. Emotions ran high for all of the main characters. Ellie just wanted the love of her life back and her family. The peace of mind she also desperately seeks lays just on the horizon

The book reverts back to being in Ellie’s POV, which I like more. She’s feisty and full of heart and while it was interesting to look through Camden’s eyes, he’s too intense. He just made me feel super uneasy, but he is a hottie. Tattoos are NICE when done right and I could tell he had them right. So right *purrrr*. And, I totally believe that if there’s anyone that can handle that out-of-control man, it’s Ellie. That’s right, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re perfect for each other.

Fever

The addition of new character, Derek, was fantastic. Having been in the military, he’s tough and understands the value of life. He brought a balance to this turmoil of good and bad for Ellie. Like, giving her a brother. He helped them, though like a bounty hunter, he expected payment. He never acted like the bad guy. I found that to be really intriguing.

While I admire the characters, I couldn’t get that with this story. This adrenaline rush of a story actually came across as an uncomfortable flip-flop. One minute, my eyes are bugging from my skull and my stomach is twisting, and the next, I feel like I’m left hanging awkwardly. In some cases the story came off repetitive as well. However, puns and sarcasm were on point.

Shrug II

 

Overall

I loved the characters. They made reading this trilogy worth it. The plot was an interesting one, filled with the great many shocks that I’d expect to see in a thriller movie. The corny bits were acceptable LOL. A great read for the weekend, but not that memorable for me sadly. I didn’t get much from it that I felt like talking intensely about it, and you’ve seen me get hyped about a book. It fell short of the ones before it.

 

Quotables:

“How could I ever explain that my body got what it needed at the time but my heart was fooled?” (Ellie, p. 39)

“Fuck my luck.” (Ellie, p. 124)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Out of Your Mind by Tove Lo.

 

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Scars Are Forever (Shooting Scars – A Book Review)

Shooting Scars
Author: Karina Hale
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

Shooting Scars

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A dangerous kind of love…

Ellie Watt, con-artist and bad ass. Ellie Watt has also gotten herself into a tight situation. After messing up her latest con against Camden McQueen, and then falling in love with him, she now must save him. To do that, she is forced to team up with drug lord and ex-boyfriend, Javier. Now, she’s trapped with him and his gang of killers on a tirade.

Camden McQueen, tattoo artist and bad ass. Camden is in turmoil after Ellie is taken and he is left with his psycho ex-wife and young son, Ben. He’s in love with Ellie, but he must take care of his family as well. He won’t leave her to her fate. Will being chased down by the law for a crime he didn’t commit stop him? Definitely not.

But when he does find Ellie will he leave her to her new life or will the hunger of vengeance consume him entirely?

 

Ellie Watt has never lead the typical life. The massive scar on her leg is proof of that. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want it though. To have it, she must fight for it, which means doing a whole lot of bad things she doesn’t want to do, including going up against the man that gave her that nasty scar.

Remember I said that I was working on sequels this months? Well, here’s another one!!

 

S&N - Hachetter Book Group

Sins & Needleshere

 

I have mixed feelings about this sequel. IT was good, but it just didn’t hold up to Sins & Needles. It picks up right where it ended. Ellie leaves with Javier, the drug lord and ex-boyfriend, in order to save Camden and his family’s lives. It’s quite honorable of a con-artist to do such a thing, and rare, and not selfish. It was shocking.

The action is jammed packed in this exotic and dangerous book. Ellie is going to South America for her biggest con yet and the reward is Camden staying alive. She must kill the man who took her family and gave her her scar. Hale detail really painted the country in such a raw, yet luscious light. It wasn’t just the beautiful parts that she depicted, but also the gritty parts as well, both with the people and the landscape. I was getting a Queen of the South vibe from this book. Twists and turns everywhere and You better be careful of who you trust.

Shooting Scars-Freelance Magazine

Ellie is good at handling herself under pressure though, and I admire that. In a world of drugs, guns, and cons, she was strong and I really liked that. Even more, she proved that you can break and be strong. You can be afraid as long as you fight for what you want. She really pulled at my heartstrings with that.

Ellie has a type and her type is psycho. LOL. Camden is still on his tiny loco train, desperate to get Ellie back to point that he gets pretty stupid. Really, he’s not so bright and always flying off the cuff. Then there’s her ex, Javier, and he’s downright SCARY. He’s cruel and abusive.

The POV of both Ellie and Camden really added to the book. In Sin & Needles it was only Ellie, but I’m really glad to get a chance to look inside Camden’s noggin. It was enlightening, though I’m still wary of the man. These two are a fiery passion and that’s definitely something to be desired. They are meant for each other.

 

Overall

This didn’t live up to the hype of the first book for me. Javier was all over the place, flip-flopping. And I can’t deal with Ellie being into men that don’t come off as mentally stable. Camden isn’t so bad, but when he gets in a mood it was scary. And at times, the book got really corny and cliché, but that’s mass market romance for you. They’re built for the HEA (Happily Ever After).

 

Quotables:

“I was trapped with a man that would either love me or kill me.” (Ellie, p. 1)

“Tattoos were self-expression in its rawest and most permanent form. They weren’t for one set of people or another.” (Camden, p. 44)

“You sacrifice nothing and gained everything…” (Javier to Ellie, p. 155)

“He who casts doubt on himself is often as good as dead.” (Gus to Camden, p. 190)

“Lose your heart but don’t fucking lose your head. You don’t know if you’ll get that back.” (Gus to Camden, p. 276)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Devils Don’t Fly by Natalia Kills.

 

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The World is Changing (daughters – A Book Review)

daughters
Author: Stuart Land
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

daughter

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

There are no terrorists, only mothers.

Young girls all over the world are suddenly becoming pregnant. First thoughts are, who are the fathers. But then more strange news. They’re virgins. Doctor Sam Enright is the father of one of these girls and takes it upon himself to help them as they come from the far reaches. This worldwide epidemic keeps growing with grave consequences that leaves humanity’s existence in question.

 

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

The book had a slow start. It felt kind of drawn out, so I was pushing through it some, but it got really good! I was getting strong X-Files vibes as I read. Even had the theme song going on in my head. There weren’t any aliens, but this would be a case for Scully and Mulder. The 11 to 12 year-old girls getting mysteriously pregnant was mind boggling and crazy. And it didn’t stop there. Births came to term quickly. And the children born were anything but ordinary.

x-files theme - The Scarlet Reader

The plot was very intricate and detailed. Wonderful imagery. There wasn’t a beat missed. The multiple POVs was nice! Very refreshing. There wasn’t just one person involved or focused on. It was the whole world, so I was stretching from the United States to Russia to Africa and many other places. The diversity is one of my favorite parts. Dr. Enright, the father of Kimber, one of the girls that became pregnant, did become more central than other characters at times. The way he struggled to handle this worldwide situation was so remarkably human. While angry and confused, he’s scared. Anybody would be scared. It was realistic. I love it when a book can do that.

The down side, I couldn’t get a strong emotional touch on these characters. I wasn’t feeling anything for them. I would’ve been more into this if I could’ve gotten a stronger emotional pull.

 

What I found son interesting was that this came across pretty realistically. I could imagine something like this happening and causing a worldwide, apocalyptic worthy, riot and panic. The controversy of young pregnancy and how it effects people differently. Whether it’s an abomination or a miracle. The things that followed as aftershocks tested the world, and since I’m not privy to too much spoiler-y you’ll just have to read this book someday.

 

Overall

This was a book that stretched my mind. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. The concept is original and really got me thinking. This book allows the reader to be open about a subject and others that are difficult. I do wish I liked this more, but it came across more as something of a theory than something I could enjoy.

 

More to come coon…

-K.

 

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P.S. Song today? A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay.

 

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