Posted in Book Review, netgalley, Thriller, YA

Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong

Title: Hidden Monster

Author: Amanda Strong

Publisher: lean Teen Publishing

Pages: 264

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Thriller , Mystery, Supernatural, Young Adult

Rating: 2

We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a great story. Some say it was murder others say it was an accident. What we can all agree on, brothers and sisters, this is a loss that the community did not deserve.

Plot:

“For seventeen-year-old Samantha Campbell, running back woods trails usually means freedom from her less-than-perfect life. That is, until the day a morning run turns into a living nightmare. When Samantha wakes up to find herself bound to a dirty, pinstriped mattress, she realizes she’s anything but free. With a masked abductor repeatedly injecting her arm with an unknown substance while holding her captive, Samantha tries in vain to find out what he wants, but he refuses to speak. Until the day he breaks his silence and his twisted words are worse than what she’d imagined. He promises her one day she will fall in love with him but the best part will be that she won’t know who he is… until it’s too late. 

Finding herself freed from captivity, with her captor still at large, Samantha is on guard against everything and everyone around her. Unfortunately, walling up her heart proves difficult when eighteen-year-old Blake Knightley moves in next door. When Samantha starts experiencing strange changes within her, she realizes her captor may have left her more damaged than she originally thought. Now she must turn to Blake for help in order to unearth the truth behind the monster who started this all… or risk experiencing worse things than just falling in love.”

 

My Experience:

By the middle of this book, I was just begging it to please stop. Please let it just end.

I’m sorry to say my experience was not one I would like to go through again. I had very high hopes for this book. Abduction by a mysterious man and then she would eventually fall in love with her captor without realizing it!? Sold!

It started off so well.

I could immediately identify with the character. I could sense a good flow of the story. I could hear her breathing I was caught up in her fear. I was captured in the story tied down to each word.  The first hint of danger came with the introduction of Blake.  There was an awkwardness in the way Sam and Blake spoke  to each other and a forced friendliness. Out of nowhere I was surrounded by so many characters and their physical descriptions that I had to search for the story. However, I thought it was a false alarm especially with an element of supernatural emerging out of the story. I told myself just keep going Snow you are being paranoid.

I kept waiting for the story to get back on track to go back to that soft spot of thriller and mystery but it was like I had accidentally picked up a new book. This new book a young adult novel emerged in high school drama. I could barely see the characters anymore their dialogue had transformed into that of a badly dubbed Latin soap.  Any indication of the previous chapters had disappeared. Yes, it was still there but more like a pimple than anything else. Making the character self-aware and concerned about what others thought.

It was absolutely enraging. I have read my fair share of abduction and abusive novels. This was almost offensive to the genre.  How can a character that was just abducted and tortured for 3 weeks develop an instant crush on the boy next door?! How can a family who’s daughter just came back after being missing for 3 weeks continue as if nothing happened?

If the family was in the media calculated about their actions, not a loving family or perhaps a family of assassins, I would understand the lack of reaction. This is a normal family I expect change, drama, at least a bit of shouting.

Multiple times I wanted to throw the virtual copy against the wall and rage. I groaned out so many times at the horrible inner monologues and reactions of the characters, it became impossible to read in public.

What I liked:

I liked the beginning. I liked the idea behind the story.

What I disliked:

 I disliked the way it was written. I disliked Samantha and the way she would become a teenager from “I’m a Barbie girl” that acted in a completely unrealistic manner towards the situation that she was in.

Rating:

The book redeemed itself a bit by the end. There was a twist I did not expect which is why I am prepared to give it 2 snowflakes.

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/ 5

 

– Snow

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Posted in Book Review, mystery, netgalley, Thriller

The Body Reader by Anne Frasier

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Title: 
The Body Reader

Author: Anne Frasier

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 302

Source: NetGalley

Genre: General Fiction(Adult), Psychological Thriller and  Mystery

Rating: 4


When I read what this book was about, I requested it faster then you could say:

“Give it to me now or else…”

And thank goodness I received the notification from NetGalley that Thomas & Mercer had approved.

I immediately started to devour this book. If I did not attend college or needed sleep, I probably would have finished it in one go.

Plot:

Detective Jude Fontaine was held prisoner by a sadistic captor for 3 years. She was kept in an underground cell by a man who had taken everything from her until all she had left was him. Jude knew every line on his face, every scar on his skin, every meaning behind every movement and what would follow. She learned how to read her captor and it kept her alive.

With Jude’s experience of hell, she learned something: Words lie but body language does not. Everything Jude experiences around her are now heightened. Her ears pick up the slightest shifts and her nose competes with that of a dog. Everybody’s body is saying something, even when they are quiet even when they are dead.

Jude resumes her position at Homicide with a new partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, who is uncertain of her sanity. But the town has a serial killer and the police need manpower. And no one knows evil quite like Jude does.

My experience:

Where are my words?

Where are my words indeed…

I seem to be unable to write coherently after finishing the last chapter.

Wow! What a journey. What a radical road trip.

It was such an adrenaline rush. From the first page, my heart was in my throat and I had no idea how I was going to get through the book. It felt like I was on a motorcycle that was speeding down a highway while also being on the wrong side of the road. And instead of being terrified at the danger and the shocking speed the book was going, I was on an adrenaline rush and  I was craving more, shouting at the bike to move even faster. There were so many moments where I had to put the book down and just give my mind a bit of time to comprehend what I had just read. It was as thrilling as I expect thrillers to be. It disturbed me on just the right scale. The plot was complicated  enough that you couldn’t immediately guess what was going to happen but not so complicated that you became lost  which tends to happen with me and thrillers.

What I liked:

The characters were so likable . Magnificent! Excellent! By the end of the book, I knew the detectives personally, their struggles their quirks and I didn’t even know when that happened. I just realized I knew everything about them.

What I did not like:

My disappointment came from the lack of history from Jude’s captor. Without spoiling anything I will just say… I wish I had received more details about the villains in this story.

Amazing quotes I loved:

“Her mind kept her company because she’d long ago decided nobody was coming for her. She no longer remembered what her parents looked like, and she no longer remembered what the sun felt like or what snow felt like. All she knew was one man. He was her world.”

“It’s kind of unnerving to think about how we’re shaped by the darkness in our lives,” he said in an echo of her own thoughts.”

Recommendations:

Gather around those who love to solve puzzles and those who are looking for their next mystery thriller/ psychological novel. This one is for you.

This is an Adult fiction novel it deals with abduction, violence, and other intense themes. This book is not for sensitive readers.

Rating:

And the rating is

*drum-role*

4 snowflakes out of 5.

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/ 5

Posted in Book Review, netgalley, Thriller

Book Review: Reverie by Lauren E. Rico

 

“The cello is a wordless voice, heaving, and sighing with the weight of her sorrow.”

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Title: Reverie

Author: Lauren E. Rico

Series: Book 1

Publisher: Harmony House Productions

Pages: 289

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Romance, Mystery , Thriller, 

Rating: 5

I  was lucky to receive an ARC of Reverie by Lauren E. Rico from NetGalley provided by Harmony House productions for an honest book review.

The first thing that struck me about this book were the credits:

For Vanessa, who told me I could.

For Tom, who told me I should.

For Janet, who told me I would

I started reading this book at 12:00. I thought I would read a chapter to see what it was about and then I would go to sleep. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.
It was finished by 2:44 AM.

Plot:

Julia James has always been part of the background. If she passed you, you probably wouldn’t even notice her. Julia had to learn from a young age how to go unnoticed not to stand out or face the consequences. So, she became quiet, quiet like a mouse.

For Julia, the only way to escape her past and to release the cacophony in her heart is to be on stage with her hands curved around her cello.

Then somebody notices her. That somebody is no other than the handsome devil, Jeremy Corrigan. His charm is only exceeded by his talent as a french horn player. Soon he starts showing Julia a whole new world. A world of danger, desire, and lust, He helps her to grow more confident and discover the strength within herself.

The perfect set up for a Disney romance right?
Nope.
This is not a fairy tale.

My Experience:
After finishing this book I was a mashed ball of wrecked emotions only able to repeat the words:

“So good.”
“So good”

I don’t know how to explain my experience without giving any spoilers so I have decided to explain it metaphorically.

It starts off soft and sweet with a pinch of sadness vibrating from the violins. Dragging you into the dark despair of Julia’s past.You hear broken strings being gently plucked whispering of heartache and moaning with sorrow. Then a cheeky piano interrupts jovially and you feel the tone changing from sorrow to thrill.An explosion of instruments bursts through the pages silencing the sadness playing the melodies of wishes and seductive roses.

You become so entranced with the beauty and power of the pages you fail to notice the tempo slowing and the tone changing. The instruments turn dark and the music becomes almost mechanic. Gone is the cheekiness from the piano that whispered of promise and fun earlier. Instead, it is replaced with ominous tones screeching from an old cello. A false note escapes the piano and all havoc breaks loose. A sound so sinister and so horrifying hits you in your ears it stretches into your stomach and you can hardly comprehend how such a sound can exist. Yet it echoes through the pages and you get lost in the symphony of this absolute masterpiece.

I can’t say more without ruining it for you. All I can say is you have to read it to hear it. When you read it you will hear it.

What I liked:

I loved how the music was described. I could actually hear it when reading the words which rarely happens for me in books. I could feel the vibrations of the strings and the echoes of the horns.

What I did not like:

Brett’s character was a bit confusing. I thought I had an idea of who he was until the chapter where you get to read from his perspective. I felt as if his inner monolog did not go with how he was portrayed throughout the story.

Recommendations:
Everyone just everyone. I want to go buy a trolley filled with copies of Reverie and just throw people with this book.

However, there are some heavy themes in this book including BDSM, abuse and sexual assault in this book so I will only recommend this to everybody over 18.

Rating for the book:
I can not, not give this book a 5.

It made me dream. It made me cry. It made me shiver. It made me remember and I will never be able to forget this story.

* * * * * / 5  

5 stars. 5 snowflakes. 5 golden medals.

I salute you.

Snow

Posted in Book Review, netgalley, Thriller, YA

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

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Title: Julia Vanishes

Author: Catherine Egan

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Pages: 243 

Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4.5

I received an ARC of Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan from NetGalley provided by Random House Children’s for an honest book review.

The plot:

Welcome to a time where magic is taboo. If you are found with a pen on you, that’s enough cause to be drowned. If a match is lit on your skin you better burn baby burn because if you don’t you are a witch. Whether you knew this or not. Surprise! Unfortunately for you, this means you will now be drowned.

Julia has learned long ago that an honest job will pay but crime pays way more, especially if you have the skills that Julia has. Julia has the ability to become unseen. Not invisible exactly but she is able to slip into a space severed from reality where others can not see her.

This makes Julia very good at what she does.

My Experience:

Oh, great hounds where do I begin!

Oh dear, how do I describe this delicious adventure?

How do I describe this date this book and I had?

It started with a strong introduction. It made some light conversations. The book was attractive and it caught my polite curiosity.

Slowly its charm subtly started to seep through the pages. Its words flirting harmlessly with me. Then it took a deeper turn it looked into my eyes and started whispering secrets in my ear. By the end of the date, I was utterly seduced.

I need the next date book in the series now.

Julia is a strong female character with an intense curiosity about anything and everything. She can find comfort in being alone and when presented with new knowledge she does not merely glance at it but she dissects it, absorbs it and makes it part of her.

I loved how I was able to connect with Julia. I could relate to her and I could even dislike her. She wasn’t a perfect character she was a thief and unlike many books where the main female character always makes the right choices this is not the case.

Quotes:

“I’ve tangled with forces stronger than I am, and they haven’t killed me yet. I may not be able to change the world, but I am the best thief and spy this wretched city has ever known.”

“I hold the pen and do not know which of us is master”

What I liked:

I loved the third person written pieces between the chapters. It gave a completely different level of intensity of the book and made me that much more invested in the story.

What I did not like:

I feel Julia’s brother, Dek, was not developed to his full potential. I could see he cared for his sister , crippled by disease and extremely smart and perceptive but I could not see more. I could not see him as clearly as all the other characters. I didn’t get to know him. I still don’t know him.

Also, the lack of information of the owl.

Recommendations:

This book is the perfect book to snuggle and cuddle with in the winter.

For all of those who loves a good mystery novel sprinkled with supernatural enchantments this one is for you.

I would recommend this to ages 13+.

Rating:

I give this book 4 and a half stars out of 5

*  *  *  *  / 5

Snow

Posted in Book Review, Thriller, Uncategorized, YA

Gone by Michael Grant

This book is fantastically original and brilliant it has the approval of Mr. Stephen King himself.

(Drum-role)

.

 Gone by Michael Grant

.

.

So imagine you are sitting in class.

Some boring teacher is droning on about some war or is busy telling a hit-your-head-against-the-desk-because-it-is-such-a-lame joke. Then…

*poof*!

The teacher is gone. At first, you wipe the drool of your face because you were just starting to fall asleep. You look around and all the children in the class look just as dazed and confused as you. Where is prof… what’s his face?

This is what Sam Temple experiences in the first few pages of this book. In the beginning *poof* is an amusing joke everyone makes but then what do you do when you realize every person that is older than you is gone…

This book is brilliant.

Really.

I guess you can call this a modern version of Lord of the Flies. What happens when there are no rules and children can do what they want? What happens when children start doing  the strange and the impossible ?

Somebody gets hurt that’s what happens.

Recommendations :

I don’t recommend this book for all ages… This book contains scenes of cruelty and violence and it exploits the true evil nature that hides in humans.

I would definitely not recommend staying up until 3 am in the morning to finish reading this book because you will (like I did) jump at every shadow for another hour before falling asleep. If you did this try keeping on the light it helps!

Themes :

Good VS Evil

Freedom VS Captivity

Order VS Chaos

Self-preservation VS moral values

Young love

Rate :

**** 5 stars 😀

*UPDATE*

I recently read the rest of the series. Plague was by far the most terrifying disturbing traumatizing book I have ever read and I loved every letter of it.

The series as a whole is also a 5. It is a marvelous series by Michael Grant and I will never forget the FAYZ and the 3000 pages we traveled together.

FAYS FOR LIVE

Snow

(Michael Grant retweeted this review)

 

Posted in Book Review, Comics & Manga

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Crystal S. Chan , Stacy King , Sunneko Lee

I received an ARC of Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter from NetGalley provided by Udon Entertainment for an honest book review.

 

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Adapted by : Crystal S. Chan

Artist : Sunneko Lee

Dialogue editor: Stacy King

“The Scarlet Letter”

The Plot:

This is a novel based on the infamous classic The Scarlet Letter.

In the puritan community of the seventeenth-century Boston was ruled by religious laws. Anybody who was found guilty of sin was executed or exiled from the community. In walks Hester Prynne who just gave birth to a beautiful baby. The problem? The father is not Hester’s husband. The consequences of this adulterous act result in Hester to be branded with the letter A on her chest. From an unknown lover to a very outraged husband, this story is a classic that has been retold for years.

My Experience:

This was the first novel I have read that was redone in manga style.

I devoured it and I’m hungrily searching for more.

Even though I have not read the actual piece of literature, I was immediately sucked in by the story. The story was told in vivid pictures evoking sympathy outrage and empathy for Hester.

I was absolutely enthralled by the manga style. This is probably because of my love for anime but I obsessed over every single block with Hester. On some of the pages, I was lightly struck by a picture and it would trickle through my veins and leave me frozen in an ice block of roaring emotions.

Themes:

Religion VS God

Love VS Hate

Forgiveness

What I Liked:

I loved the illustrations. I can not emphasize how much I related to the drawings. I did not need the book to tell me how the characters felt because it was reflected in their eyes screaming from their entire being.

What I did not like:

There were a few times that a set of frames were missing that was needed for the transition of emotions. Since sometimes there was an immediate transition which made it a bit confusing to understand/relate to the scene completely.

Rating for this manga novel:

As this is my first rating for a manga novel I am giving this a 3/5.

*  *  */ 5

A really good book with fantastic illustrations but I do feel some of the strings to attach the story were missing. Especially the story of the scorned husband.

Recommendation:

I would recommend that (unlike me) to first read the actual book so you can appreciate the manga more and have a bit more background about the characters.

I recommend this book for anybody who has been intimidated by The Scarlet letter and other classics before but that always wanted to read it.

Sincerely

Snow

(Talk to me on Twitter @snowbookhollow)

Posted in Book Review, YA

The Progeny by Tosca Lee

“My name is Emily Porter. I’m 21 years old and I am renting a tiny cabin in the north woods of Maine for reasons I know longer remember.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC(Advanced Reading Copy) from NetGalley provided by Howard Books for an honest book review.

After I read the description of this book I was unsure whether I would like it but my curiosity was tweaked. I peaked at an excerpt featured on NetGalley and after reading the first paragraph it slipped on my To-Read list faster than you can say “Just take my money!”.

The plot:

Emily wakes up in a remote cabin with no real memories of her past or who she is. She remembers sounds, places but not the names of the places or when she was there. The reason? She had willingly undergone a procedure to erase her memories.

Emily is on the run from an ancient order that will stop at nothing to find the memories that she had buried. But with no memories, she has no idea whom to trust and from whom she must run. The only person she can trust is herself, even though she can’t exactly remember who that is.

Follow Emily in an action-packed mystery novel that will have you on the edge of your seat yelling at anybody who dares to interrupt your reading.

My Experience:

From the first chapter, I was ravenous and very eager for more. I wanted to know everything I could about the character. What could possibly have been in Emily’s past to make her erase her own memories?

The pace of the story started slow and steady and all of a sudden you are on the run for your life trying to keep up with everything happening around you. Car chases, underground orders and forbidden love for more I could not have asked.

The way the author wrote this book is beautiful. Graceful like a subtle dancer making you experience the creaks and atmosphere of living in a cabin and  looking into the eyes of a stranger that had turned “grey like drifting clouds”.

Quotes:

“Emily it’s me, You”

“I didn’t come to start over. I came to hide”

Themes:

God

History

Love VS Evil

Power VS Hope

What I liked:

I was fascinated about how the author wrote about Emily before her memories were erased and after her memories were erased. Usually, when I read a book about missing memories it feels like you are reading about two different characters. However with The Progeny, it was masterfully implemented the character was carefully sewn together so you can see every carefully stitched detail no matter the knowledge she has or does not have of her past.

What I did not like:

In one paragraph the characters joke about running away to South Africa and living in a rain forest. I am from South Africa we do not have rain forests just normal forests.

Recommendations:

I would recommend this for teenagers and up and for anybody who loves action/mystery novels.

Rating out of 5:

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

* * * * / 5

Posted in Book Review, Models, Photography

AOI Ink Nymphs Los Angeles by Tim Stephens, Nelson Blanton

 

“Every page is a meter deeper into a wonderland of tattoos and fantasy. Honest, raw and alive.”

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I received my copy of AOI Ink Nymphs Los Angeles by Tim Stephens free from NetGalley in order to be able to provide a review.

Mama mia!

Review:

This book is simply dazzling. Women redefine beauty with ink and skin.

Every picture hides a story.

Every model is hiding a message.

Every page is a meter deeper into a wonderland of tattoos and fantasy.

Honest, raw and alive with masterful photography and simply breathtaking portraits. Be allured into the world and eyes of Nelson Blanton and be prepared for a demanding paradigm. Vivid statements echo through the pages intoxicating you with the stunning backgrounds and original themes. Whether you love or dislike tattoos anyone will be able to find something beautiful reflecting out of these pages.

What I did not like:

I would have liked some more diversity in the themes and nature backgrounds.

Rating:

Overall it’s a stunning book and I rate it 4/5 stars.