Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

33791316The Cruelty is the first book from a groundbreaking new YA voice: an utterly compelling thriller.

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Walker Books. Goodreads.

 Amazon AU | Amazon US | Booktopia | Bookdepository


I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review >>

“A woman who seeks to rise in this world must be crueller than even men.”

Yes! Kill them, kill them all Gwendolyn. Oops sorry, that wasn’t me, it was The Cruelty inside me.

We (the reader) follow 17-year-old Gwendolyn Bloom as she goes through the process of; finding out her dad is missing, finding out what her father did for work wasn’t what she thought it was, finding out who she can and cannot trust, and finding out what she is truly capable of.

We watch Gwendolyn harden and evolve as she unearths and follows clues about the whereabouts of her father and the real reason behind his disappearance. Her journey takes her from New York, to Paris, to Berlin, to Prague, to her own personal Hell and back again.

I really enjoyed this book. I am confident I could give this book to my 78-year-old crime thriller loving grandfather and he’d devourer it. I confident that even in my early teens I would have enjoyed this book. Scott Bergstrom has written a captivating story that I think teens and adults alike will eat up greedily.

I loved that Gwendolyn wasn’t instantly a super spy /ninja assassin extraordinaire. She wasn’t a natural born killer, she made mistakes, had regrets, got herself in and out of trouble, needed help and knew when and when not to use the help offered – but ultimately, I loved that she got the job done like a boss, like a badass bitch.

 “…if no one else is going to act for me, then I have a choice: remain a child and do nothing, or become an adult and do it myself. That, it seems to me, is the difference between the child and the adult, the difference between the girl hunted by wolves and the woman who hunts them.”

By the last page of the story Gwendolyn Bloom is dead and a force to be reckoned with lives on in her hard-won skin.

There is a sequel, The Greed, coming out in 2018 and I am interested to see what becomes of Gwendolyn, her crash course mentor Yael and what goes down with the organisation that now, as I see it, “owns” Gwendolyn and her father.

Four “I really Liked It” Stars.

The above is what I drafted before I went onto Goodreads to see what the masses thought. It is, what after much deliberation I ended up posting. I almost altered it, I started to, because of all that I ended up reading online started to sway me (reviews from people I respect, news articles about the author and tweets about the text).

People are calling the author out for comments made in the book by the protagonist. I remember that while reading the particular part of the book they refer to, that I just thought he was trying to make her come across a bit up herself, you know, as if she thought she was above it all. Then after reading all the banter online I thought, damn maybe I got it wrong, maybe he really believed what he was writing. Maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for the story being too farfetched and a protagonist being to superficial in her transformation. Hello you’re reading the YA book version of a mission impossible action movie, of course it’s farfetched and shallow. Isn’t that the point. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Calling the author out for some belittling comments he and his people made. To me they just came off as idiots not knowing what they were talking about. I’m sure their intention wasn’t to offend. I’m sure that they are just ignorant of the wonderfully diverse and complex world that is young adult literature. Again, maybe I’m stupid.

Once I realised that other people’s views were swaying me I stopped and went back to the copy that I had drafted immediately after finishing it. My honest review. Yes, it is a happy rah rah review where I only mention the good points, but that’s how I try to write all my reviews. There is enough negativity in the world without me adding to it and I want my reviews to make people read more books, not turn them off them.

Sorry, I had to say something. It really upset me how quickly I started to think my thoughts were wrong. Damn you internet.I really enjoyed reading this book. You blew my after book buzz.

Review: Weregirl by C. D. Bell

30090014Eager to escape the small town of Tether, Michigan, once home to 90s corporate polluter Dutch Chemical, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. Motivated to improve her times, she fits running into her busy schedule between school, helping out at home, and a weekend job at a vet’s office. One night she is out on a stealth training run when she comes across a trapped wolf. Trusting her animal skills from working for the vet, Nessa tries to free the animal but is bitten badly instead. The first clue that something has changed is her freakishly quick recovery. A wound that should take weeks to heal is gone in days. Other changes, both powerful and frightening, begin to emerge. She can hear conversations a quarter of a mile away and smell the cold weather coming. Finally, one day, she is transformed into a full werewolf. In this state, she begins to see and understand things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. What is a Nobel laureate doing working one day per week in a small-town medical clinic? Is the interest from some top college track scouts genuine or a ruse to get her off the scent? Managing her power drastically alters the course of her daily life. The question is what will Nessa do with the secrets she learns, and what will others do once they realize what she knows? Now Nessa must navigate the social, romantic, and academic challenges of junior year while coming face to face with true human darkness, all while she tries to make peace with her new, wild nature.

Weregirl by C.D. Bell is a contemporary YA thriller filled with humor, romance, adventure, and a real-world relevant storyline. This fall’s must-read, set for release on November 1, 2016, Weregirl is a breathtakingly fun, not-to-be-missed addition to one of today’s most exciting literary genres – crafted by a truly feminist team of authors who passionately believe that teen girls deserve a better teen girl protagonist.

Created by a talented group of six female writers and inspired by the working tradition of television team writing, C. D. Bell is a Chooseco author pseudonym developed with teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, who has written I Remember You, among other novels for young adults.

Expected publication: November 1st 2016 by Chooseco. TEEN ages 12+.

Book Links = Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

img_7448 My Thoughts: Firstly, thank You NetGalley and Chooseco for allowing me a review copy to read.

“All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel.” – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. This was the quote at the start of the copy I read. Now I might not totally agree Wolves are the only thing worth writing about, but I do love stories about wolves and I liked this quote.

The Basics: The story follows Nessa as she struggles and strives to reach her dreams of earning a college scholarship through hard work and dedication. Nessa’s world is turned upside down by a run in with two wolves in her local woods and some revelations about her towns so called saviours, a malevolent corporation by the name of Paravida.

The Good: The supportive friendship between Nessa and Bree and the way the two girls interacted kept the book feeling warm and inviting even as some rather nasty goings on within the town setting were being discovered. Nessa & Bree were both easily likable characters. Actually other than the Paravida employees all the other characters were likable, so the good / bad set up was simple, but strong.

I liked the way it felt being with Nessa in wolf form and I enjoyed the way this book did the whole ”werewolf thing”. The wolf pack Nessa enters into is beautiful and they were easy to connect with. Their mission was more about keeping balance in the natural world then any kind of solo personal agenda. I would even have to list Paravida’s genetically modified ”bad” wolves as a positive because their plight at the end of the book is what I think will get people to read the second book, wanting to find out what becomes of them.

The Bad: I really enjoyed the first 80% of this book and was thinking it was going to be a solid Four Star read, but the last 20% felt wrong somehow and kind of lost me. I’ve spent the last week trying to rationalise why I felt this way.

There is a werewolf “The Grey Wolf” and as the reader you have suspicions very early on as to who he is, but it felt like Nessa never had a big ”oh my god the grey wolf is” moment. I think the story needed her to have it. Nessa is supposed to be this strong, smart and capable young woman and I felt It made Nessa look stupid that she doesn’t figure it out sooner. I feel like if it had happened after her first trek into the Paravida’s compound it would have made the two characters’ connection stronger and the ending more solid. I didn’t need her to confront the Grey Wolf on his human identity, but just to have her identify him.

Conclusion: I would have liked to have found out more about all the wolves and I will be interested to see what becomes of the Paravida pack in the next book. All in all, I’m happy I read this book, it was well worth it and over all I did enjoy it. I want to rate this at 3.8 stars, that’s how I’m feeling.

**Cover Reveal** Demonic Pact by Majanka Verstraete

demonic pact

Sixteen-year-old Halfling Angel of Death Riley Scott is on a dangerous mission. To save her friend’s life, she must make a pact with the man who just tried to kill them both and break him out of the Celestial Prison, guarded by Angels of War—fearsome warriors who can squash her like a fly. If caught, she’ll be sentenced to eternity in that impenetrable prison. Riley will have to make deals with demons and her number one enemy, turn her back on her most loyal friends, and risk losing her family forever. Worst of all, her very existence is in the hands of her devious new allies.

Title: Demonic Pact
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Series: Angel of Death, Book Two
Publication Date: March 2016

Majanka’s Website | Majanka on Goodreads

If you missed the first book >>

23168992The Soul Thief (Angel of Death Series #1) by Majanka Verstraete

When sixteen-year-old Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.

For My Review of Book One Click HERE

The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete

23168992

 

The Soul Thief (Angel of Death #1) by Majanka Verstraete

Thank you to Majanka, Booktrope and Net Galley for giving me a copy of this book to read and review.

Synopsis mk3

When sixteen-year-old Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.3c83e-addtogoodreads

My Thoughts mk3

We get straight into the action with this book, seeing the main character in a horrific car accident. Riley Scott is a Halfing Angel of Death but she doesn’t know that yet. She isn’t hurt all that bad physically in the accident but the chain of events it sets up changes her life forever. She goes from being a normal sixteen year old girl to finding out some serious family secrets, coming across a range of paranormal beings she didn’t even know existed and through no fault of her own becomes a target for the bad guys.

By the end of this book we know who the good guys are, have seen Riley kick some butt, but we’re not quite sure who all the bad guys are. So I’m sure there will be plenty more twists and turns in book two and three.

The cliff-hanger ending of this book really sets Riley up with some epic tasks to accomplish. This book is action packed, intriguing, full of paranormal beings and the main characters are easily likable. Bonds of friendship are tested and some romance is thrown in too.

I liked the way the book dealt with the whole God/Angels thing, I’ve found it to be a bit of an interest killer for me with angel related books. I tend to stick to shape shifters and witches for my paranormal, but Majanka appeased me.

I’m going to leave it at that, anything else I think off to write just feels like a Spoiler!

Four stars for this strong start to what promises to be a fantastic new paranormal young adult series.

4s

Now a quote: riley scott

I read this and thought “Ohhh I like that. I have to write that down. Yes, I never needed a knight in shining armor, but damn a cunning wizard could come in handy. I should use pretty font and Instagram this quote” 😛 :-).

Author’s Links mk3

Author’s Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N | Booktopia AU | Amazon AU

The Unseen

The Unseen by Katherine Webb

A vicar with a passion for nature, the Reverend Albert Canning leads a happy existence with his naive wife, Hester, in their sleepy Berkshire village in the year 1911. But as the English summer dawns, the Cannings’ lives are forever changed by two new arrivals: Cat, their new maid, a disaffected, free-spirited young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law; and Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby.

Quickly finding a place for herself in the underbelly of local society, Cat secretly plots her escape. Meanwhile, Robin, a young man of considerable magnetic charm and beauty, soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. Sweltering in the oppressive summer heat, the peaceful rectory turns into a hotbed of dangerous ambition, forbidden love, and jealousy—a potent mixture of emotions that ultimately leads to murder 

*** The synopsis does not mention any of the 2011 characters; it only refers to the historical 1911 ones, Cat, Hetty, Robin & Albert. The synopsis gives a hint at the things that Leah (2011 character) uncovers.***

The Book starts of in 2011 when the body of a WWI soldier is found near Ypres, in Belgium. Leah is a freelance writer and her ex Ryan works for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he contacts Leah thinking she might be interested in the no named soldier for a story.

With the dead soldier, there are two extremely well preserved letters. Leah is intrigued immediately. After reading, the letters she wants learn as much as possible about the dead soldier and get as far away from Ryan as possible. This sets her off researching the Canning’s of Cold Ash Holt, where the letters were sent from and starting the whole story in motion.

It took me a bit to settle into the 1911 to 2011 jump the story kept doing, but enviably I was drawn in and it turned out to be a real page turner. I was rather angry at the book when my favourite character was murdered, I knew it was going to happen, I pleaded with the book that it would not, then was shocked by how it was done. I loved the 1911 world, and at first thought, I would have been happier to be reading the whole novel in that time. In the end I ended up growing to really like Leah.

So my fave 1911 character is killed off (and I am still giving the book 5 stars), at least my fave 2011 character gets a happy ending.

“Second Son” a Jack Reacher short story

“Second Son” a Jack Reacher short story – Lee Child

Before I had read this story my Reacher familiarity had only been through One Shot (9th of 18 Reacher Novels) and Echo Burning (5th of 18) I read One Shot and thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

Before One Shot I’d never been into reading crime novels. Really before one shot I’d mainly read fantasy and romances, but Lee Child manages to write in a way that keeps me wanting more as opposed to making me feel sick from the pointless horror I’d come to associate with crime and thriller novels. I’ve only ever gotten the Oh My God that was awesome ‘buzz’ before from epic fantasy and thrilling romances.

I really liked this short story because it took you back to a 13 year old Reacher living with his parents and older brother. I liked reading about Reacher’s father and seeing the start of how his life turns him into the man he becomes. In this story he and his family have just had to move AGAIN, following his dad around in the service. It goes on to show what a tough not so little cookie he has always been, getting into fights and beating up the bigger kids on the base, solving perplexing mysteries and even getting himself a girl – same old Reacher as always – Pure Awesomeness!

http://www.leechild.com/