Sep 29, 2020

Review--The Merciless II by Danielle Vega

Danielle Vega—YA’s answer to Stephen King—once again brings major scares in the spine-tingling sequel to horror hit The Merciless, which MTV calls “Mean Girls meets The Exorcist.”
 
Sofia is still processing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic visions. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish.
 
Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi. There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul?
 
Readers won’t be able to look away from this terrifying read full of twists and turns that will leave them wondering, Is there evil in all of us?

 

It took me about 6 years but I finally picked up Danielle Vega's The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores. It continues the story of young Sofia who was dealing with the knowledge that a demon is hounding her, trying to get to her to commit sin, and the more horrifying part was learning that Brooklyn already considered Sofia "one of us!"

Sofia is trying to get back to some semblance of normal after the deaths of her friends and knowing that Brooklyn, the demon girl, is still out there and will more than likely come after her. But then tragedy strikes and Sofia is left orphaned. She gets shipped off to a Catholic school for "unruly" teens and can live out the rest of her underage days there.

Sofia tries hard to ignore the nagging voice in her head that tells her she's already evil, but it's a powerful voice. She's greeted warmly at the school by her new roommates Leena and Sutton. Life seems almost good. Then she meets a boy named Jude and can't help but feel an intense pull towards him. Unfortunately for her, Leena has a major crush on Jude and has been doing everything possible to get his attention. She thinks they're meant for each other, but it would seem there's something between Jude and Sofia growing.

But then the bad things start happening again, one after another. Sofia isn't sure if she is somehow committing these heinous acts in her sleep or if there's something else in the school. Something that wants to cause as much death and destruction as possible. Things Brooklyn reveled in.

I forgotten how intense Danielle's horror stories are! I was last reading her Rollins books which definitely have a different vibe to them then her Vega ones. And oh wow. These books are downright creepy! I do want to put another PSA in here that there is unfortunately animal abuse in here, like bad abuse. It's never seen though, but the end results basically tell you how bad it was. I won't get too much more into that because it had me cringing even, but sadly it did fit well into the story and building up the events.

This book definitely took a darker turn than I expected! There was a twist I was not prepared for and it only continued to escalate after that. While this book didn't have the sort of monster-horror theme that my last few reads did, it does have a darker tone to it. One that felt more real and that made it all the more terrifying.

I found myself unable to put this one down. It was a read that completely hooked you in and you're racing through the pages eager to see what will happen next and what the eventual outcome would be! And just whoa! I'm eager to dive into the next book which appears to be a prequel to the first two books. That makes me more curious again to see what book four will be about! 

If you're looking for a read that is positively bone-chilling this Halloween season, I highly recommend any of Danielle Vega's books! You won't be disappointed!



Overall Rating 4/5 stars






Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

 

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker


Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

 

"Something catches my eye.

Three long gouges claw across the windowsill. I frown and run a finger over them, feeling the grooves' sharp edges, the tiny splinters sticking out of the wood. They look like they were made by fingernails. Like someone tried to claw her way out of this place." p. 60-61


 

 

 

 

 

 

TITLE: The Merciless II
AUTHOR: Danielle Vega

PUBLISHER: Razorbill
GENRE: YA Horror
RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2016


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

 

This week's topic is: Top Ten Recent Favorite Quotes

 

*in no particular order

 

10. A book is always a door.
9. Fear is part of life; all that matters is what we do with it.
8. Because happiness, however short-lived, is always worth it.



 

7. Imagine me. Master of my own universe. I am everything I ever dreamed of.
6. The way writers get to create worlds and people. The way they can manipulate reality.
5. Some things are easier to say in the dark. Sometimes the dark can make you brave.




4. A good book was its own brand of magic.
3. I loved escaping from reality, especially during times of trouble. Stories made everything possible.
2. But when I came across a character I loved in a book, I felt like my soul had been seen--its call answered by the author.




1. Reading was an escape to a different world, a different life. Plus it was very cheap.







Sep 28, 2020

ARC Review--Eventide by Sarah Goodman

"Eventide is an evocative YA historical fantasy thriller by debut author Sarah Goodman, for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray.

MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES

Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907

When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.

In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.

But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….

A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman."

 

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 

Sarah Goodman's debut Eventide had the looks of creepy and sinister ghost story set in the past. While the tale was a bit eerie it wasn't as creepy as I had hoped, but it still made for an intriguing tale of magic and lore with a bit of weirdness on the side.

Verity and her younger sister, Lilah, start their journey on a train to Wheeler, Arkansas where they are to be taken up for adoption. Their father had just been admitted to the asylum, his mind hasn't been right since their mother died a few years ago. Verity is just months away from being legally able to look after her sister on her own, so she sees this as a temporary setback from her goals of going back to New York and studying medicine.

Except Lilah is taken by a young woman, Miss Maeve, who can only adopt one child. If Verity wants to stay in town to be close to her sister, she'll have to be picked up by another set of adults wanting a child. She ends up taking a job at a farm in order to stay in Wheeler. It's not until a little while later that she gets the warning to never enter the woods, always stay on the path that goes around it. There's a strange and eerie presence in the woods, Verity can sense it, but she writes it off in her most logical way.

Life continues to go on for Verity in a mundane fashion. The other farmhand, Abel, of course plays a love interest for Verity. Though they have a certain chemistry brewing between them, he's apparently spoken for by another young woman. It's a bit of a gossip mill in the small town!

Sometime later, Verity starts to get a suspicion that Miss Maeve might not be the best person to care for Lilah. Verity thinks there's something dark and almost, sinister about the schoolteacher and she's determine to do whatever it takes to get her sister back safe and sound.

From the way the cover looks, I was anticipating a creepy and ghostly story, but yet, that's not exactly what we got. There's definitely an eerie vibe going on in this story, but the answers are usually slower to come. Which is to be expected, I guess I was just hoping to see more ghostly apparitions or something. 

As far as the romance goes it's not all there all the time. We have that budding romance brewing between Abel and Verity, yet there's still great strides that stand between them and there will be unimaginable obstacles they will have to overcome without realizing what they are facing. Vague enough? Hopefully. Lol.

The end had quite the twist! Though I will admit, I was hoping that one part to it was going to be more fruitful, I guess you could say. It just seemed like there was too much "happy" to the ending, though it was borderline melancholy. I just wasn't happy with where all the players ended up, let's say that! But if you're looking for a nice eerie read that's light on the scary this Halloween you might just enjoy Eventide!


Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars


Eventide releases October 6, 2020






It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

 

Last Week I Read:

Eventide by Sarah Goodman (ARC)--Review to come later today!
Possession by M. Verano (5 stars)
Book of Shadows by M. Verano (4.5 stars)
 


Currently Reading:

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega


What I Plan to Read Next:

The Merciless III by Danielle Vega


Other Posts of Interest:

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Waiting on Wednesday

Random Thursday 

Book Blogger Hop

Rachel Caine Contest Winner! 

Stacking the Shelves

 

 

 


 

Sep 27, 2020

Stacking the Shelves

 

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

 

I don't know about you guys, but this week just felt extra long. Doesn't help me when work is starting to get slow. I'm going to be doing some training for the next few days starting Monday. So hopefully that will provide fruitful. In other news, I am have the damnedest time trying to find some Halloween merch! Firstly, it truly looks like Target will not be putting out any adorable miniature erasers! I don't know about your guys, but I kind of just like collecting them! Lol. But I guess COVID has had an impact on Target's eraser industry because they have not had any! On top of that, I keep looking for a cute little Halloween Ghost Succulent thingy-mo-bob, but literally NO Target in my area has it! They either say SOLD OUT or NOT SOLD AT THIS STORE! I took a peek at eBay, which I do in times of desperation, and naturally saw someone selling a set of 3 succulents for $60!! SIXTY DOLLARS on 3 succulents that add up to $9! NINE!! That's highway robbery right there I tell you! Add to that I cannot find a Halloween tote at my usual stores. I knew last year or the year before that I should've bought an extra one, but noooo, I thought the store would keep getting them! And they haven't yet!

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, that this is still September, shockingly. But I am a planner. I like to be ready and done for things before they really get close to starting. I mean, if you've ever seen me pack for a trip, especially a bookish trip, I start like 2 weeks in advance by making multiple lists of things I'll need, what bags they'll go in, etc etc. And yes, that's mainly when it comes to bookish trips that require the extra planning and meticulous packing! Lol! For non-bookish trips I'm making a list of clothes and such a week in advance!


But onto the haul, as I did just ramble a bit too much there! I did not buy a single book! I came close yesterday, but sadly the one and only copy on the shelf was so severely damaged I was not going to spend full cover price on that!

I did do something rash though...I requested another ARC for review and was accepted!

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (ARC)
 
 
THANK YOU Bloomsbury YA!
 
 
 
Then I got a few other bookish goodies, like my Crush pre-order goodies:
 
I got a notepad, two bookmarks, two stickers, a bracelet, and the surprise item was an art print, which I decided to cover so if you are waiting on yours you can still be surprised too! 
 
 
 
Then...I fell back on old habits and bought another book sleeve! But it's Halloweenie!! And it's a mass market paperback size and I've only a few of those! I decided I wanted a variety, so I think I'm up to 4 of that size alone! So it's not an addiction in that particular size. LOL!
 
Thanks again for Fandomsleeves so aiding me in my addiction! Lol! I LOOOVE this size for my mass market paperbacks and have yet to find another shop that carries it or makes the sleeves with such great sturdy quality!
 
 
 
And then some time ago, but it's really hard to remember since shipping and processing times are slower because of COVID, I placed another order on ShopDisney! This is only half of it, the other half has not shipped which makes me nervous because the items were back and forth being on their site, then disappeared, then reappeared, then one disappeared. Just tell me that MINE are set aside and are awaiting being boxed or whatever! I ordered them as quickly as I could so it better not get canceled.
 
I know the Disney ornaments are not of high quality for their high price tag, but when I saw this one of the Beast giving Belle her library, I had to have it for that alone! The paint job isn't the best, but it's not terrible either, so it's a keeper! I love the details on the back even more because MORE BOOKS!


And then because my order was like $7 or so away from free shipping, I threw in this cute little Halloween pin! Granted now I see another one I really want, so I'm waiting for when one of the other items I'm eyeing "releases" and hopefully I can buy them then too!  



And that was it for me! What goodies did you get this week? Both bookish and non?










Sep 26, 2020

Rachel Caine Contest Winner!

 

Hey all! It's time to announce the winner of my Rachel Caine giveaway! One lucky winner gets to choose one of any Rachel Caine's books! And there's a lot to choose from!

And the lucky winner is...


Jeffrey C. Lowe!


Congrats Jeffrey! I'll be emailing the winner shortly and he'll have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will be chosen.

Thanks again for entering guys! And if you haven't read any of Rachel's books yet, I highly recommend checking them out regardless! Her Weather Warden series is still my absolute favorite!





Sep 25, 2020

Review--Book of Shadows by M. Verano

All Melanie wants is a blank book to keep a journal of her private thoughts. One day while browsing in a used bookshop, she finds the perfect blank book—smooth black leather with strange symbols in gold embossing. But once she gets home, Melanie finds herself too intimidated by the heavy vellum pages to write her trivial thoughts on them. Her Wiccan friend Lara tells her it’s better suited to be a magical spell book, called The Book of Shadows.

Melanie doesn’t know much about that stuff, but Lara, her boyfriend Caleb, and his friend Lucas, get her started by writing their own made up spells inside the book’s tempting pages. What they didn’t expect was a new spell showing up inside the book—and in handwriting none of them recognize.

Soon they discover that the spells suggested by The Book of Shadows itself do work—but not without wreaking havoc on the lives of the four teenagers.

 

 

It seems we have reached the end of M. Verano’s Diary of a Haunting series with the last one titled, Book of Shadows. I’m sad that this series is over already. I found it to be utterly creepy, yet just the right kind of read for this time of year. In this one, we get more of the traditional diary sense in formatting. There’s a few drawings added, but no photographs or other pieces of “evidence.”

Melanie starts the story talking about how she acquired a new diary for herself from a local magic shop. Not the cutesy stores, but a real shop for Wiccans and the like. She didn’t get it by honest means though, she lifted it off the shelf and stuck it in her bag. Already I wasn’t too thrilled with Mel as a person, I mean shoplifting, really? But since this blank journal is so pretty and special, she wants to make sure she fills it with something meaningful. So her diary entries continue in a plain journal, I think it might have been an online version too.

When Mel’s Wiccan friend, Lara, gets the idea that she should write spells in it. She starts the journal with a spell for good luck. Joining them in this venture is Lara’s boyfriend Caleb, and his friend, Lucas. They think it’s all fun and games, just a joke, but they find out that the spell really works.

But that’s not the end of things, far from it. Soon Mel becomes consumed by this book. Constantly drawing in it and she’s not much of an artist for that matter. Yet she gets this urge just to draw these monstrous creatures in the book and sometimes, has no memory of even doing it.

Things start to escalate, naturally, as the powers that the quartet are messing with are not the nice kind and soon things ultimately take a turn for the worst.

I do want to give pre-warning right here that this book does bring up the topic of religion a lot. Not only with Wicca, but Christianity as well. And the latter it’s almost cult like. Mel and her friends live in part of the Bible Belt and nearly everyone in town belongs to one church, except for Mel of course. They’re almost zealots in their belief and preaching to anyone not in their church why they ought to be.

The horror in this story derives from the book Mel and her friends are toying with itself. It’s something demonic and with a mind of its own and what it does to its owner is unfathomable. There are a few shadows and things that Mel sees and can’t figure out what it is that just passed the corner of her eye. It’s definitely a book to make you jump at every little thing for sure.

I was once again a bit upset that the mysterious M. Verano did not make an appearance again like he did in the first book. Granted, he does tell us this story, in a way, with his foreword and editor’s note and how he came to be in knowledge of all that passed with Mel and her friends. I guess because he clearly had a role in the first book, I expected it would be something similar in these last two.

The ending was once again, spine-tingling chilling. Let’s remember that these are horror stories and those tend to end one of two ways. I won’t say which one of those this book took, but it was surprising nonetheless. I guess I still had hopes for just a bit more detail though and what Verano was going to do next with this knowledge.

I would easily pick up another of Verano’s books should he write another novel to terrify his readers. Book of Shadows will have you thinking long and hard about what journal you chose next for your thoughts. Choose wisely friends. ;)

 

 

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars