Lost Girls Reviews

Lost Girls Reviews

We are insomniacs, book hoarders, wine tasters, occasional cosplayers, thrill seekers, oncers, ringers, collectors, gamers and explorers with a terrible sense of direction. We came, we saw....we're lost!

Review
4 Stars
The Death of Mrs Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

“Trepassen was too Gothic and gloomy to ever feel like a truly welcoming place.” 

 

I enjoy a good mystery with a creepy atmosphere and this one delivered. Hal's mother passed away leaving her completely alone in the world. She learned from her mother how to give tarot card readings in order to scrape by, but she is barely managing to pay her bills and now has goons threatening her if she doesn't pay back a loan.

 

“She didn’t believe in anything mystical, but she did believe in the power of the cards to reveal something about the querent, both to the reader and to the sitter themselves.”

 

Hal never truly believed the cards would reveal the future, but she has the skill to read people and because of this skill, she believes that she might have a chance at claiming an inheritance she knows doesn't belong to her. Desperation is what sends her to the estate pretending to be a long lost family member.

 

The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because a certain reveal left me completely confused. I had to reread this particular section multiple times trying to figure out what was really going on. I kept asking myself, "Who, and how? I think Ware got something backwards because this is not making any sense." I continued on and a chapter or two later it all finally clicked and I said, "OH! Now I understand." This one really made me think, almost a little too hard.

 

This is only my second Ware book, but I've enjoyed them both. The Lying Game was my first read and even though I really liked it, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is my favorite of the two. The characters were likable, the mystery was clever, and I loved the setting and the eerie old house.

 

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Legendary
Legendary - Stephanie Garber

I was extremely excited to read the second book in the Caraval series. I enjoyed the first book so much, but I still had a lot of unanswered questions. Who is Legend? What really happened to Scarlett and Tella's mom? What is Scarlett's ex-fiancee really like? And so many more. I was thrilled to finally, finally get all of my questions answered! I was ecstatic! Right up until I turned that last page and saw, "Epilogue," and it was about two pages long and answered NOTHING. Okay, we do find out who Legend is, but I'm still not satisfied. I need more answers!

 

Let's start at the beginning. I loved that this book was written through Tella's point of view. This time around Tella is playing the game and Scarlett is off in her room not doing much of anything (that we know of). Tella needs to win the game so that she can learn Legend's true identity and give this information to a "friend" who, in exchange, will help Tella locate her mother. The problem is, the more Tella plays the more she begins to realize this game may not be a game this time around. The stakes are much higher and things are getting real.

 

Once again, there are twists and secrets revealed. We learn a lot more about Tella's mom, but we don't get all of the information. That was my biggest disappointment. We were so close to getting answers, but the book just ends! I don't blame Garber for this at all. It was my mistake thinking this was a duology. Obviously it's not, and I will have to wait about 6 months before the final book comes out and hopefully answers all of my original questions plus all the new questions Legendary leaves us with.

 

Caraval remains my favorite book of this series so far. Legendary was really good, but it didn't feel quite as magical and awe inspiring as Caraval. There is less action, mostly due to Tella having very low stamina and being unable to really run around searching for clues. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces, and also meeting some new characters, and I love the cover art. All of the books in the series have such beautiful artwork. Overall, I love the world that Garber has created.

 

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Catwoman
Catwoman: Soulstealer - Sarah J. Maas

Selina Kyle is a very strong character, but I didn't expect her to be quite so kind and driven to help those she loves. I'd say she is a kinder softer Catwoman in this version. She is driven by her love and need to protect and care for her sister who has cystic fibrosis, which is different than the way she is normally portrayed.

 

I was also expecting a bit more of a villainous, morally grey, independent Catwoman. I was a bit surprised to see her team up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. I enjoyed the team up, especially Catwoman and Ivy's friendship. I liked Harley, but she tended to stay focused on breaking Joker out of the asylum, even hurtfully referring to him as "her man," completely oblivious to Ivy's feelings.    

 

Catwoman and Batman are usually the ones we see romantically linked, but in this book Batwing is the love interest while Batman is off on a mysterious mission. Now Batwing (Luke Fox) was an okay character with a lot of potential, a marine who suffers from PTSD and dons a suit to help fight crime and clean up Gotham's streets. I just felt like he wasn't all that much of a challenge. Catwoman frustrates, outsmarts and humiliates him a little too easily. I kind of felt bad for the guy.

 

In comics, movies and tv series, Catwoman tends to be a bit more sassy, saucy, and flirty than she is here. Selina's back story was a good deal different in this book, she grew up caring for her sister, learning to fight and winning match after match in Falcone's arena located in the sewers beneath Gotham in order to pay for food, rent and hospital bills. She is very serious and focused which is great, but I would have loved to see more of her fun, feisty side as well.

 

The bittersweet, emotional turn the book takes toward the end certainly took me by surprise. It was a very pleasant surprise. I enjoyed this version of Selina and I would recommend it to others, but I wouldn't recommend it to die hard fans of the comics because Maas does take quite a few liberties with the characters and doesn't stay entirely true to their original versions. I myself enjoy seeing different takes on my favorite characters. They don't always work, but in this case, it wasn't purr-fect, but I think Maas did a nice job.

 

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Bring Me Back
Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

 I was so excited when I finally received a ding from my library saying my copy was available! Just as I did with the last two Paris books I flew through this one. Once again, it was incredibly entertaining even though it is completely unrealistic.

 

This story is told through different points of view. Some chapters Finn is speaking to his girlfriend, Layla, who went missing years ago when they were on a skiing vacation in France. It jumps back and forth between now and 'before" giving us the details of how they met and fell in love, right up until their fateful stop at a rest area to use the restroom where Layla disappears. 

 

Twelve years later Layla's body has never been found, Finn has moved on with his life, fallen in love with her sister, Ellen, and made a home with her. They are engaged to be married when suddenly little Russian dolls begin appearing along with strange emails and sightings of Layla suggesting she is still alive.

 

Finn has never stopped loving Layla and holds on to the hope that just maybe she is still out there. As much as he cares for and appreciates Ellen, she just isn't the love of his life. The emails become more intense and Finn is convinced someone is playing sick mind games with him. He doesn't know who to trust and he's determined to get to the bottom of things.

 

I felt like I had things all figured out fairly early on as I did with the Breakdown, and once again, Paris had a few surprises in store that I did not see coming. I do love little surprises, especially when I'm pretty convinced I know exactly where things are going and the author says, "Ha! You didn't see that one, did you?" 

 

As I have come to expect, though, you will have to keep an open mind and not try to think too hard on the "hows" and "whys" or you may drive yourself crazy. How do they not know what is going on? Why haven't they figured it out? It's frustrating and fun at the same time. Behind Closed Doors is still my favorite Paris book, but Bring Me Back was quite the fun page turner.

 

 

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Unbury Carol
Unbury Carol: A Novel - Josh Malerman

The premise of this book sounded horrifying and I knew I just had to read it. A woman with a rare condition falls into a deathlike coma, her husband attempts to have her buried alive, but the only other person who knows about her condition is the outlaw, James Moxie. Moxie has to race against time to get to Carol before she is buried alive while staying one step ahead of the man hired to kill him.

 

I did have some questions regarding this woman's choice to only tell one or two people of her condition. What if something happened to the only person who knows? I would be absolutely terrified of waking up in a coffin and make certain enough people knew. I would take every precaution I could! Inside the coma Carol is completely aware of all that is going on around her. She can hear every word her creep of a husband says. She knows if she doesn't wake up soon, she will wake inside a pitch black coffin with no way out.

 

This book was very unsettling for a variety of reasons. Moxie is haunted by a faceless man determined to keep him from going back to Carol, continually playing on his guilt and shame for leaving her all those years ago. Smoke, the legless man for hire tracking Moxie is seeking revenge and wreaking havoc along the way. He is a nasty little man with unconventional methods and an obsession with watching things burn.

 

This is definitely not your usual western, or horror, or fantasy. I'm not even sure how to describe a book like this. I was intrigued and had to keep reading, I needed to know how this one would end. I did enjoy the end, but I can't say all my questions were answered to satisfaction. For example, you get the general idea of how Moxie pulled off the "magic trick" that made him a legend (shooting a man without ever pulling the trigger), but you don't really get the full details and you are left attempting to fill in the blanks. Not a big deal, I just prefer to have the details.

 

If you're looking for something outside the box, this is it. This book is definitely in a class all its own.

 

 

 

-SW

Review
5 Stars
Obsidio
Obsidio - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

“Live a life worth dying for.”

 

This series went out with a bang! I loved Illuminae, I really liked Gemina, but Obsidio was amazing. All of the original characters are back and play a huge role. We get some new characters, one of which is Kady Grant's cousin, Asha. The action is non stop. The stakes are extremely high. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. 

 

I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting something a little different. The formatting is unique. The artwork is fun. It has just the right amount of romance and enough shocking moments to make me consider flinging the books across the room on multiple occasions. Thankfully I didn't, I would really hate to ruin that cover art. I'm sad to see this series come to an end, but it was an incredible journey!

 

 

 

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors - B.A. Paris
I could hardly put this book down. I think I finished it faster than I did the Breakdown. I even enjoyed this one more than the Breakdown. This was a pretty fast paced story and it held a lot more suspense. A lot more!
 
I'm not sure how to even review this without spoiling anything. You learn right away what's actually going on so there really isn't any big mystery to be had and if you read the blurb you will already have a pretty good idea, however, I'll just say what I did and didn't love about this book and leave it at that.
 
First, Paris can really write a villain you can hate. I wanted to see this character ripped apart by wolves, poisoned, beaten, humiliated and overall just die a slow, miserable death. Second, I loved Millie! She is Grace's younger sister with special needs. She is funny, smart and absolutely hates George Clooney. She gave me quite of few chuckles in between all the fear and worry I had for her safety. 
 
I loved the ending, but at the same time I kept thinking, there is no way. Absolutely no way. There are so many situations that didn't make sense throughout the book because in reality, those situations just wouldn't happen, but that's OK. I read to escape reality and this book definitely did the job. I'm looking forward to reading Bring Me Back just as soon as my library has it available, in about 98 days or so. *sigh*
 
 
-Shey
Review
4 Stars
The Breakdown
The Breakdown - B. A. Paris
This book was recommended to me by a Barnes & Noble employee who found me wandering aimlessly through the aisles, as I often do when I have far too many books on my tbr shelf, but can't pass a bookstore without popping in for a minute or an hour or so. I didn't catch your name, wonderful employee lady, but thanks for placing this in my hands!
 
 I love when a book gets straight to it! I was immediately caught up in the story. Paris had me invested from chapter one. Thank goodness for rainy, dreary days, because I had zero reason to put the book down and adult.

On a stormy night, Cass heads home down a treacherous short cut, despite her husband telling her not to take that dangerous route. She sees a woman in a car and stops to see if she's broken down and in need of help. The woman doesn't get out of the car and Cass fears it might be a trap, so she leaves. The next morning she discovers the woman she saw was murdered and now Cass is wracked with guilt.

I wouldn't call this a super scary, edge of your seat thriller. It mainly keeps you wondering whether Cass is imagining she is being stalked by the murderer or if it's all in her head. She begins receiving phone calls and believes they're from the murderer, but no one actually says anything when she picks up. In addition, she begins forgetting things quite often. Lunches with friends, things she's ordered, signing a contract to have an alarm installed, the list goes on. She fears that she may end up like her mom who was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

I was able to sympathize with Cass and her fears. I help care for my elderly grandmother who has a tendency of forgetting everything. She forgets where she left her shopping list, her mail, her money, her phone, repeating conversations 3 and 4 times and I often worry, I might follow in her footsteps. That's a scary thought!

It wasn't too difficult to figure out the whodunit portion of the story. In fact, I had most of it figured out from pretty early on, but the ending did have a few surprises that I enjoyed and it was quite a satisfying ending. I enjoyed her writing so much I've already gotten about halfway through Behind Closed Doors. Since the Breakdown was the first book I read by Paris I decided to jump straight into her debut novel and I'm looking forward to tackling her newest release.
 
 
-Shey
Review
3.5 Stars
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss

This book throws a mixture of literary classics at you with quite the unusual twist. We go on a murder mystery adventure with Sherlock Holmes, Watson (which sold me on this book right from the start), and Dr. Jekyll's daughter Mary, who stumbles upon Diana the daughter of Hyde, who may or may not be her sister. We are eventually introduced to a slew of monstrous women who are linked to the likes of Frankenstein, Rappaccini and Moreau.

The story is told in their own words, each of the women attempt to write their own parts of the story, which we are constantly reminded by their sporadic, humorous dialog throughout the book. Mostly arguing over inaccuracies and veering completely off topic at times.

This was a fun book and I loved the friendship and the family dynamic between the "monstrous" women. I did however have a few issues with it. Holmes didn't quite feel authentically Sherlock to me. Only once did he wow with his skills of deduction and it was to get a boat ride and not to solve any mysteries.

The story is a bit slow with all the action happening toward the end. The grand climax has them solving the case, however, I was disappointed to finish the book and not have my questions answered. After the grand climax the story continues on, but it's mostly just to set up the next book. Mary even has the opportunity to find out what really happened to her father in the past, but instead she decides she's just not in the mood and will find out later. She lets the opportunity slip away because later doesn't come, at least not in this book!

Despite my frustrations, I did mostly enjoy the book. This is the first of 3 books (I believe) so I'm sure all the answers will come eventually. The girls are off to rescue the daughter of Van Helsing in book 2, but if Mary keeps bringing home every stray monstrosity she can find, she's going to need a bigger house soon!

 

 

-Shey

Review
4 Stars
Gemina
Gemina (The Illuminae Files) - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

I am so happy to finally have the chance to finish this one! I have heard so many wonderful things about Obsidio book #3, and really wanted to get to it to see how this series ends.

 

For me Gemina was almost as good as Illuminae. I didn't love the new characters as much as I did the previous characters, Kady, Ezra and AIDAN. AIDAN being my favorite. It's not that the old characters were excluded from this story, they all pop up in Gemina, but we see a whole lot less of them. Gemina revolves around new characters, Hanna and Nik.  

 

Hanna eventually grew on me (much like Kady did). She was pampered and a tad too over confident and I just didn't care too much for her through most of the book. I found Nik to be mostly likeable. Ella the hacker is a great character and probably my favorite of the new cast.

 

At one point I felt that my emotions were once again being manipulated in a similar fashion as in Illuminae, but this time around I didn't panic. I had a feeling the authors were toying with my feelings again and, thankfully, they were. Repeatedly. Such cruelty.

 

There was a ton of action, enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and plenty of twists and turns. One of my favorite things about this series is the format. You have so many interesting illustrations, reports, messaging conversations, video footage and the like. It's never repetitive and keeps you turning the pages.

 

 

I will avoid discussing the plot because it's too easy to spoil so I will just say, this series has to be one of the most unique I have ever read. I was not ready for that ending! Obsidio has a lot of explaining to do.

 

 

-Shey

Review
5 Stars
Hunting Prince Dracula
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco

“Bone white, blood red. Along this path you'll soon be dead.”

 

I really enjoyed the setting of this book and the creepy old Romanian Bran Castle, with its hidden rooms and secret passageways, dark spider filled corridors leading to hidden rooms and bloodless corpses. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are now attending the academy of forensic medicine, which takes place in Bran Castle. Just as they arrive a series of murders happen, all pointing to the old legends leading people to fear Vlad the Impaler has risen from the dead.

 

After the events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose is still attempting to come to terms with everything they endured. I was a fan of the first book, but I believe I liked this one even more. Despite her anxieties and fears Audrey becomes a stronger character. She pushes past her insecurities and tries her hardest to focus, to solve the mystery and move on with her life. She is the only female student in the academy and has to work twice as hard to prove that she is worthy of being there.

 

Cresswell remains as charming and flirtatious as ever. His humor is ever present, breaking the tension even in the most suspenseful of scenes. There is a slew of new characters, including fellow students, odd and intimidating professors, we even meet Cresswell's sister.

 

This time around I did not figure out who the killer was as I did with Stalking Jack the Ripper. Maniscalco kept me guessing and I loved it! Her writing seems to get better and better. The next book in the series is called Escaping from Houdini and the cover art is beautiful. I can't wait to add it to its predecessors currently decorating my bookshelf!

 

 

 

-Shey

 

 

Review
3 Stars
The Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden - Dot Hutchison

A serial killer called the Gardener captures young women, tattoos intricately detailed butterfly wings on their backs, gives them new names, keeps them in a secluded, secured location with a lovely garden and their own personal rooms. He clothes them, feeds them, rapes them and on their 21st birthdays, does something completely horrific to them.

 

The only other person who knows of this place of horrors is his son, Avery. Avery is allowed access to the girls and may come and go as he pleases. He is not kind to the girls at all, and enjoys causing pain and torturing them. This is a disturbing story told from the point of view of one of the surviving girls as she reveals to two FBI agents all that happened from beginning to end. Maya's depictions are not overly graphic despite all she had to endure, but explained in a matter of fact manner.

 

The biggest issue that I had with this book was being unable to understand why none of the girls attempted to escape. Not a real attempt outside of trying to peek at the door's security code. It is explained that they were afraid that if they failed and were caught, the Gardener would murder them sooner. Each of the girls seemed to be resigned to their fates, and even when they were taken off to be killed, they were terrified, but never put up much of a struggle.

 

I cannot imagine knowing that a psychotic man was taking me off to end my life and not fight tooth and nail! Not once did he use any sort of weapon. If they were going to die anyway, why not die fighting? Not only did the Gardener come to the garden alone, he was an older man and grossly outnumbered by the girls. I felt that the girls had so so many options and opportunities, but didn't even try.

 

They had a cave they could talk privately and devise a plan of action, they had access to the kitchen, they had trinkets and things given to them by the Gardener, surely they could have used something as a weapon. One girl was even granted a pair of scissors which had only been used for embroidery and to cut the hair off another woman for the sake of revenge.

 

There was a woman who had gained the Gardener's trust to the point where he did not kill her, instead he stopped visiting her bed, and even allowed her to come and go as she pleased. This woman was loyal to the Gardener and not once so much as considered going to the police to save the rest of the girls! In fact, she envied the girls and wanted the Gardener to love her.

 

The book, for me, had a satisfying ending. The twists and turns were interesting and despite the frustration of all the wasted opportunities to escape (many of which I am not even discussing in this review due to spoilers), kept me invested. Due to the subject matter, I would not recommend this book to everyone. It is a story that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it.

 

 

-Shey

Review
5 Stars
Grace and Fury
Grace and Fury - Tracy Banghart

Many thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as well as the author, Tracy Banghart, for the opportunity to read an advanced copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Serina was raised to become a Grace. She has trained her entire life to be lovely, compliant, follow all the rules, and please the heir with the hope that he will choose her to be, not only a Grace, but head Grace, giving her the opportunity to produce his first heir. She is eager and confident with her role and believes that if she succeeds, her and her sister, who has trained to become her handmaiden, will have comfortable lives.

 

Nomi is a rebel, she refuses to follow the rules, she is daring, smart and headstrong. She wants nothing to do with the heir, so when she dares look him in the eye and speak her mind, she inadvertently catches his attention, and he chooses her to be one of three Graces instead of her sister, Serina.

 

When I first read the synopsis of this book I somehow managed to confuse the two sisters, so I wasn't expecting the author to change things up in such a fascinating manner. Nomi, the headstrong sister is forced to become the one thing she hates. A Grace. She has to dress in gowns, wear makeup, please the heir, constantly follow all the rules. She is determined to stay strong and find a way to free Serina who took the fall for Nomi when her secret was discovered.

 

Serina is sent to Mount Ruin, a harsh and terrible women's prison where they are forced to fight to the death in order to survive. The living conditions are abysmal, there is danger everywhere, and if Serina is forced to fight, she is sure she will die. Each sister is thrown into a terrible situation, neither feels equipped to survive.

 

Initially I was drawn to Nomi, to her intelligence, nerve and risk taking nature. I originally thought she would be the sister to end up in prison. Silly me. As the story progressed, Serina's chapters became more and more engaging. The character building was amazing. The sisters are forced to grow and find strengths they never knew they possessed.

 

I felt that this book was beautifully written, and I absolutely loved the cliffhanger ending. That is not something I normally say. Cliffhangers tend to drive me crazy when we are left hanging at the most inopportune time, but this cliffhanger succeeded in leaving me super excited and happy to see where the next book will take us.

 

 

-Shey

Review
4 Stars
Unearthed
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

This was such a fun read! I'm not normally a fan of books set in space (aside from Illuminae), but when I discovered that this story was written along the lines of Indiana Jones in space exploring temples, solving puzzles, running from villains, attempting to save the world, I knew I had to give it a try. I'm already a fan of Amie Kaufman and I very much enjoyed Meagan Spooner's Hunted, so I was pretty sure I was going to like this one.

 

Two teens find a way onto the planet Gaia where an extinct alien race called the Undying left behind secrets and tech in their vast temples surrounded by puzzles and traps. Jules is a scholar and wants only to learn more about the Undying, uncover their secrets and discover exactly what was left behind. Mia is intent on scavenging whatever tech the Undying left behind to sell in hopes of raising enough money to buy her sister's freedom.

 

The unlikely pair agrees to a tentative partnership when they realize they need each other to find their way through the temple traps. The story alternates POVs so we always know what each character's intentions are and their reasons for being distrustful of each other. The characters were great. Jules is lovable and brainy while Mia is street smart and resourceful. They each have very different goals, but have to find a way to work together to reach them. Even the villains were interesting characters.

 

This unfortunately is a duology.  I say "unfortunately" because I was not expecting that ending. Such a cliffhanger! Thanks a lot ladies. You knew exactly what torture you would be putting us through. A quote from the acknowledgements reads, "Sorry about that. (Well, not really. We're pretty unapologetic.)" You are both evil geniuses and I hope you're pleased with yourselves. January 2019 is far too long of a wait for book 2!

 

 

-Shey

Review
0 Stars
The Hidden Prince
The Hidden Prince: An Orphan Queen Novella (HarperTeen Impulse) - Jodi Meadows

Since I enjoyed The Orphan Queen books so much I knew I had to read this novella as well. The Hidden Prince is told from Prince Tobias's perspective and is a sort of origin story for the vigilante Black Knife. We get an insight into Tobias's early life.

 

After being kidnapped Tobias is forced to live a pretty sheltered life by his father. He is struggling with being who he wants to be and who he is expected to be. 

We also get to see a bit of Lady Chey and Meredith and, of course, his cousin James. It was great to see James again and his relationship with Tobias before becoming his bodyguard.

 

I highly recommend this to be read after The Orphan Queen. There is also a 2 chapter excerpt for the next (and final) book, The Mirror King.  

 

 

-Bobbie

Review
5 Stars
Wires and Nerve Vol. 2
Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue - Marissa Meyer, Douglas Holgate, Stephen Gilpin

I loved this graphic novel! There was more action, a bit of romance, and of course, Meyer's fantastic humor. All the characters from the original Lunar Chronicles series are once again back battling a rogue band of hybrid wolf soldiers. 

 

At one point my heart stopped while reading this book. I was definitely on the edge of my seat with some of the twists and turns. If you enjoyed volume 1 you will really enjoy volume 2. The conclusion was satisfying and I was happy to see that this book was 86 pages longer than the last. I still had no problem reading the book in one sitting, but the bigger the book the happier I am.

 

I hope Meyer plans to create more graphic novels in the future. I had her newest book, Renegades all set to read next. I've been looking forward to it for quite some time, but I made the mistake of wandering into a bookstore, and two Meyer books later here we are. Not that I'm complaining! I am more than happy to have multiple Meyer books to read back to back. 

 

-Shey