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
3 Stars
The Smaller Evil
The Smaller Evil - Stephanie Kuehn

I was immediately drawn into the story. Kuehn kept me guessing right up until the final page. Arman suffers from anxiety, self loathing and a host of other issues when he meets Beau. Beau is a father figure to Arman, who offers him a chance to change and grow. To become a new person. Arman journeys with Beau, and a couple of other kids he knows from school, to a retreat in the mountains of California. Not long after they arrive, things begin to fall apart. Beau goes missing and Arman no longer knows what is real or who to trust.

Arman's character was believable. I sympathized with him and felt his pain and anxiety. Kuehn's writing was gripping. I couldn't put the book down. I just had to know how it ended. This book will definitely mess with your mind. I admit, once I finished this story I was still a bit lost. I had to go back and reread many of the passages and attempt to put the pieces together. The vague ending left me with a few questions and a lingering feeling that I may have missed something important.

I'm very curious to hear what others think of this book and the insights that they glean from it. I enjoyed Kuehn's writing style and I fully intend to check out more of her work.

Thank you Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

 

-SW

Review
3.5 Stars
The Cure For Dreaming
The Cure for Dreaming - Cat Winters

Set in Oregon in the 1900s, a young girl named Olivia Mead, lives with her controlling father who feels that her headstrong behavior needs to be snuffed out. He hires a hypnotist to put her under hypnosis and remove her rebellion, but instead, Henri gives her the gift of seeing the world as it truly is. Olivia has dreams of going to college and standing up for women's rights in a time when women were expected to be obedient, quiet little homemakers with no goals aside from finding a husband and raising children.

Henri's character was a bit mysterious and kept me guessing throughout the book. Olivia's father was infuriating. I wanted to feel sorry him, his wife left him alone to raise their daughter while she ran off to pursue her own dreams, but his attitude was so vile that I felt only contempt for the man. Olivia was strong minded and intelligent. She was a likable character, even if I didn't feel like I entirely connected with her.

There were added elements of horror when Olivia sees people's true nature as visions of beasts and vampires, but none of it was particularly terrifying. The romance in this book was sweet and didn't overpower the story. The pacing was great and I never lost interest. I think there could have been more depth to the story and the characters, but this was still an enjoyable read.

 

-SW

Review
3.5 Stars
Me Before You
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
 
I was in the middle of a book I've been dying to read, and trying desperately to finish, knowing a book I preordered and have been anticipating for years would be arriving any time. I suddenly get a ding from my library that Me Before You is available for download. Hmm
 
I really wanted to read the book before I watch the movie so I took a peek at the first couple of pages of Me Before You, trying to decide if I should set my original book aside and start this one, and before I knew it I was on the last page sobbing over my kindle asking, "How could you do this to me, Moyes? How?" 
 
 Louisa Clark is 26 years old and has just lost her job working at a cafe. She has no real hopes or dreams or ambitions in life. She finds herself working as a caregiver for a man with quadriplegia named Will. Will lived an incredible life filled with adventure prior to his tragic accident.
 
Will challenges Louisa to try new things, to take risks and get out of her comfort zone while Louisa does everything in her power to make Will smile, laugh and want to get up in the morning. This is not a sappy romance by any means. There was far less romance than I originally expected and there was certainly no love at first sight, which I thought was wonderful. 
 
I knew this was going to be a heartbreaking story but I wasn't prepared to laugh as much as I did. Louisa's quirkiness and her banter with Will made the story enjoyable and realistic. It's the kind of story that will stick with you long after you've read it.
 
I was hoping for a bittersweet story with an inspiring message. 
 
"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."
 
I didn't feel like this book achieved that for me. The story was bittersweet, the writing was beautiful, I loved the characters but the story left me feeling torn and a little disappointed.

This book deals with some controversial subject matter which I will not get into even though the movie trailer itself is fairly spoilery. Aside from that, I did enjoy this book very much. It will make you think and it will make you feel, whether you agree with the decisions that these characters make or not.
 
-SW
 
Review
3 Stars
The Shadow Queen
The Shadow Queen - C.J. Redwine

This Snow White re-telling involves a magic wielding, fugitive princess battling the evil queen with the help of seven dragons, a mind-linked bird and a mind-linked huntsman/king/dragon. It's a little different, to say the least.

 

Lorelai and her brother Leo are on the run from evil queen Irina, who killed their family and took Lorelai's throne and kingdom. Both Lorelai and Irina are mardushkas with powerful magic and we know we are going to get a big showdown between the two, but only if Lorelai can stay alive long enough to fight Irina face to face.

 

Our huntsman is a young man named Kol, who recently became king of a nearby kingdom after losing his family. Ogres are attacking his kingdom and desperate to save his people, he asks Irina for help. She agrees to use magic to take care of his ogre problem, in return, she sends him to kill Lorelai and bring back her heart. I didn't quite understand why Kol and his draconi friends couldn't take care of the ogre problem themselves considering their powerful abilities to shift into dragons. I didn't feel there was enough worldbuilding. There was so much more that I wanted to know and see and understand.

 

Lorelai's magic, and magic in general, was a bit of a mystery to me. It seemed like she didn't learn to use her magic, instead she makes up the spells as she goes along. All the years she is on the run she is careful not to use her abilities on anything Irina has touched because she is afraid that using her magic will alert Irina. This made me question how exactly she was able to train and become powerful enough to fight the queen.

 

When Lorelai uses her magic to heal a creature, she creates an unusual connection with the human or animal, allowing her to see into their minds and share her thoughts with them. She does this with her bird named Sasha and also with Kol throughout the book. The majority of her dialogue with Kol happens in their minds which must look pretty awkward to everyone else in the room. I would think people would notice and question their odd behavior. I know I would be wondering why they keep staring at each other and making random facial expressions or breaking out in laughter for no obvious reason.

 

There was plenty of action, dragons and a bit of romance. Overall, this was a good re-telling. In the future, I would like to see Redwine delve deeper and give us more details and a better understanding of the world she created.

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
Falling Kingdoms
Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes, Michelle Rowen

There is so much going on in this book! What a journey. There are three different kingdoms and four main characters that we jump back and forth between.

Kingdom of Auranos: Princess Cleo is the youngest daughter. She is spoiled, stubborn, a bit immature and engaged to a vile little drunk. While journeying through the kingdom of Paelsia, Cleo's fiance becomes the spark that ignites the war by murdering an innocent peasant. I didn't care much for Cleo at first, but she suffers and loses so much that by the end of the book I couldn't help but feel for her. She is forced to grow and find the strength to go on and I want very much to see her succeed.

Kingdom of Paelsia: The poor and desolate Paelsia is located between Auranos and Limeros. The people barely have enough to eat and survive. The neighboring kingdoms never once offered them any assistance, but when Limeros offers to join with them to bring Auranos to its knees, Paelsia is all too eager to accept. Jonas, the brother of the murdered peasant is intent on seeking vengeance. He soon finds himself fighting in the war to take down Auranos, Cleo and the man that murdered his brother.

Kingdom of Limeros: Magnus is the prince of Limeros and the son of King Gaius, the cruel and bloodthirsty king. Prince Magnus is an interesting character. He falls in love with his sister, though she's not his sister by blood, they were raised together and she does not return his feelings. His father is a tyrant and terrible all around human being. Despite being very much like his father, I think he may have some redeeming qualities. He has so much going against him, yet he still shows kindness in unexpected ways. I have a lot of mixed feelings toward Magnus. His sister, Lucia, is the princess of Limeros, a child of prophecy who may become a great sorceress. She discovers that everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie.

This story is full of action, forbidden love, betrayal, heartbreak, magic. This book made me feel so many emotions, from anger to shock to sadness, and there is no shortage of unexpected deaths. Authors like Rhodes make me very nervous because no one is off limits. There are so many characters I care about and I don't want to see die, both major and minor. This is the start of what I feel is going to be a pretty amazing series!

 

-SW

Review
5 Stars
Henrietta the Dragon Slayer
Henrietta the Dragon Slayer - Beth Barany
Henrietta has done much in her short 17 years. She has been in the army and earned her reputation as a dragon slayer. Now she is done with the killing and just wants to live a quiet life on her own. That is, until fate steps in and sends Henrietta on a quest. She learns that her old mentor, Master Chen, is dying and the only way to save him is to kill the dragon Mimoto and retrieve the Dracontias, a magical stone with the power to heal him. 
 
Henrietta is the kind of badass heroine I love to read about. She's stubborn, irritable, and sarcastic but deep down she has a good heart. Despite her complaints, she gains a few travelling companions along the way. Jaxter the Jester was the comic relief. I think other than Henrietta he is my favorite. She is also joined by a witch in training, Paulette and Franc the Knight. For me, these characters made the story!
 
This was such an engaging and fantastic read! The whole story was so well paced and full of action and twists. There wasn't a single dull moment.  Can't wait to get started on the next book, Henrietta and The Dragon Stone. Consider me a new fan of Beth Barany!
 
-BW
Review
5 Stars
A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas
I love fairy tale re-tellings and when I heard this story was a Beauty and the Beast re-telling with faeries I had to give it a try. As much as I hate to admit this, my first experience with Sarah J. Maas' work ended in a dnf. I heard so many good things about her writing and it upset me that I just wasn't able to get into her Throne of Glass series but once I started A Court of Thorns and Roses, I couldn't stop. I finished it in about two days. I am such a fan of her writing now that I  plan to go back to Throne of Glass and give it another try. 
 
Feyre lives with her father and two sisters in a run down cottage with barely enough money or food to survive so she hunts to feed her, often times, ungrateful family. When she kills a faerie in wolf form in the woods a terrifying beast appears and takes her to the fae world in exchange for the life she took.

I loved this version of Beauty and the Beast because it was similar enough to be recognizable but unique in so many different ways. The characters were fantastic. Feyre's sisters made me so angry that I couldn't wait for her to be taken from them. Let them fend for themselves and see how well they do without their sister doing everything for them! I loved where the story took their relationships. I didn't expect to be as moved as I was. Maas is truly a gifted writer. I don't know what I was thinking ever doubting her.

The beast, Tamlin, is fascinating and the romance is steamy but I gotta admit, I found several other characters to be just as fascinating, if not more so. Rhysand captured my attention from the moment he appeared on the scene and I am incredibly excited to see more of his intriguing character in the next book. 

There is just so much to love about this book. The beautiful and terrifying fae world, the vile and cruel villain, the wonderfully strong and selfless main characters. I'm definitely adding this one to my favorites list. 
 
-SW
Review
4 Stars
In the Time of Dragon Moon
In the Time of Dragon Moon - Janet Lee Carey
This is the third book in the Wilde Island Chronicles but it can be read as a standalone. Uma is the daughter of a highly respected Euit healer and an English midwife. In Uma's tribe only the men are allowed to become healers. Uma does her best to hide her feminine traits in the hopes that she will be allowed to continue to learn alongside her father and possibly become her tribe's first female healer. 
 
When Uma and her father are taken by the English queen and their home is surrounded, they are forced to attempt to cure the queen who suffers from bouts of madness and barrenness. Uma's father passes away before he can complete the treatments, leaving Uma alone to finish the job. If she fails to cure the queen before time runs out, she will be burned at the stake. 
 
I love Uma's character. She is brave and strong willed as well as caring, intelligent, and eager to learn. She spent so much of her time hiding her femininity and becoming the boy her father never had, when she meets Jackrun she finally begins to realize that she can be a healer and be herself, even if she isn't entirely sure who that is. Jackrun is part human, fey and dragon, making him a very unique character.
 
Carey's writing style is enchanting and her dragons come alive. They were one of my favorite things about this book. I kept hoping that Uma would get her very own dragon or at least be allowed to fly on one. 
 
I enjoyed reading about the Euit's customs and traditions. All of the characters were interesting and the story line was captivating. The romance was sweet and the story itself was very different compared to the books I've been reading lately. It was exactly what I was looking for.  
 
-SW 
Review
4 Stars
Helper 12 Review
HELPER12 - Jack Blaine
In this dystopian novel people are labeled and tattooed as infants for what occupation they will hold. Breeders, Helpers, Laborers, Artists, etc. It's all decided for them by what the population will need in the future. Only the rich society members choose how they wish to live.
 
Benna, Helper12, is a baby helper. She cares for the infants in the Pre-ward until they are sent off to be labeled. Until one day a society couple come in to her ward. They are illegally adopting one of the babies, a boy that Benna has become attached to and calls Jobee. Mr. and Mrs. Sloane also buy Benna as a live in nanny for the baby. Shortly after arriving at the Sloane's house Benna realizes that they are not as perfect as they seem. 

Benna begins developing a friendship that eventually turns into a romance with the Sloanes biological son, Thomas. Thomas is not like his parents or other Society members. He sees the flaws in this world and even though he can't change them, he doesn't want to be suppressed by them. 
 
Benna becomes worried when Mrs. Sloane starts to regret her impulse baby buying. Thomas comes up with a plan to get her and Jobee out but will she go along with it? Does she even have a choice? 
 
I really enjoyed this book! I loved Benna and especially Thomas. The only issue I have is that there isn't enough world building. I would have liked to go deeper into how this society works. It is a short book, but worth the read! Fast paced and exciting. The ending was perfect!
 
-BW
Review
4 Stars
Snow Like Ashes
Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch
When Meira was just a baby her Kingdom of Winter was overthrown by the evil King of Spring, Angra. Now she is one of only 8 survivors. Her group has spent the past 16 years searching for the two halves of a conduit which could restore magic to Winter. They are constantly on the move, avoiding capture by the Spring army. When they hear word of the location of  one half of the conduit Meira demands to be given the chance to prove herself and retrieve it. And she does exactly that!
 
Meira was a fantastic heroine! She's strong, smart, intuitive and pretty badass with a chakram! While I was reading this story I kept wondering why she was treated differently. It was just little things here and there but it bugged me. And it most definitely bugged Meira. There is a huge twist towards the end and I found out exactly why! I did not see that one coming! 
 
Mather is the Prince of Winter and one of the love interests for Meira. He was an interesting character for sure. Even though he was the Prince he felt no attachment to his Kingdom and that becomes a bit of a problem for him. I adored his relationship with Meira, even when things got complicated. 
 
Theron is sort of forced into Meira's life. She wants to hate him but it's just so hard to when he is so  sweet and understands her in a way that no one else does. Not to mention he is distractingly attractive. I admit, I was rooting for Theron from the moment he was introduced. 
 
The story started a bit slow for me. I actually put the book down for a while. About 1/3 of the way into the book it really started to pick up. Once things got going I couldn't put it down. All the characters were so well developed and the world building was excellent! Everything was described so vividly that I could picture every detail. 
 
Snow Like Ashes is a stunning, magical adventure that you won't want to miss!
 
-BW
Review
5 Stars
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls - Clara Emily Carpenter

This book gripped me from the very first page and didn't let go until I devoured every last word. Althea's story was captivating, heartbreaking and full of mystery. She's turning 30 and knows that if she doesn't uncover the clues to her family's secrets, she will suffer a similar fate as her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, each one suffering a mental breakdown and passing away by their 30th birthdays.

 

With nothing but a cigar box of small mementos from her family's past given to her by her mother right before she passed, along with an urgent message, "Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She'll find you, I think, but if she doesn't, you find her." Althea, fresh out of rehab, is determined to find answers before her birthday.

 

Some of Althea's poor and very dangerous decisions were at times frustrating. She reminded me very much of someone close to me in a similar situation who has been in and out of rehab, battling drug addiction, depression and has lied and stolen from family countless times. Althea's character was well written and she felt very real. I wanted to see her succeed, discover the truth and overcome her demons.


Althea's journey to uncovering the mysteries and dark secrets of her family's past kept me glued to the pages. I loved how the story alternated between her and her great-grandmother, Jinn. In the story, Jinn made and sold her own honeysuckle wine. I love a good book and a glass of wine so I needed to pair this beautiful book, just look at that stunning cover, with a honeysuckle wine. The problem is, no one makes anything close to Jinn's top secret recipe in my neck of the woods, so I had to improvise.

 

Carpenter's writing kept me guessing through all the twists and turns right up until the incredibly satisfying ending. I would recommend this book to anyone in the mood for a good mystery and if you are a wine lover like me, pairing this book with a delicious Moscato or Riesling infused with aromas of honeysuckle may help transport you back in time to the 1930s in Alabama where Jinn's tragic story begins.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

-SW

Review
4 Stars
The Hired Girl
The Hired Girl - Laura Amy Schlitz

This charming story is set in 1911. Joan Scraggs is 14 years old when her father pulls her out of school and forces her to work like a mule at home on their Pennsylvania farm. Her teacher gives her a diary which Joan writes in every day and the story is told through her diary entries.

After her miserable father burns her beloved books, Joan cannot take another minute under his roof. She runs away to Baltimore to start a new life for herself as a hired girl making $6 a week cooking and cleaning for a Jewish family. She is a Catholic girl and knows nothing about their religion or traditions and manages to continually say and do the wrong things. She always means well and wants desperately to fit in and be useful.

Joan reminded me so much of Anne Shirley. She loves to read and write and she's always getting herself into awkward and humiliating situations. Her story is inspiring and funny and so many times I found myself embarrassed for her. Every time she would end a diary entry with zest and excitement and begin the very next entry as if the world were coming to an end, I found myself laughing and cringing at the same time. What have you gotten yourself into this time, Joan?

We are continually reminded of how young and naive she truly is. From setting her hair, and nearly the entire house, on fire by attempting to read in bed by candlelight to falling head over heels for an older man and obsessing to the point of believing she was practically engaged after he had merely kissed her for the first time, you can't help but feel for her. Joan is a lovable, frustrating, wonderful character and I enjoyed her story immensely.  

Review
5 Stars
Reborn
Reborn (Born Trilogy) - Tara Brown

This is the final book in the Born Trilogy. Emma and crew are back in action with a plan to kill her father. They learn of an EMP that will be detonated and cut off all power. The world will have a chance to start over. Emma decides not to kill her father and instead let him die in this harsh world she has had to endure because of him. But her father isn't done with her yet. 

 

Everyone has started to rebuild. Bernie's mansion has been turned into a camp. With all of the new people it becomes a bit much for a pregnant Anna and everyone decides to go back to the old farmhouse. Joined by a few older ladies from the other camp they decide to make it into a working farm once again. Just when things are starting to settle down, Star shows up and tells them that the mansion has been attacked and taken over by their father, Michael. This man will stop at nothing. Emma and Star decide that they must go back and end this.

 

The whole book was just a huge roller coaster of emotions for me. Emma has become one of my favorite heroines. I loved seeing her development and growing relationships. Despite everything, this was my favorite in the series. It was raw and emotional but a fitting conclusion. This was an amazing series!
 
-BW
!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
Born to Fight
Born to Fight: 2 (The Born Trilogy) - Tara Brown

This is the second book in the Born Trilogy. It picks up right where the first book ended. Emma has found out that she is different than other people. She was genetically created to be stronger, faster and able to heal more quickly than other people. She is also immune to the zombie virus. As it turns out, her father is the one behind all of the breeder farms and playing God with genetics. The man who she thought was her father, Lenny, is actually her uncle.  Her actions are the effect of being a GEN kid, the irrational behavior and rage. It makes them more unstable. Their emotions are heightened. Everything is bigger and faster.

 

After Anna, Jake, and Will, help Emma escape from her father they head back to the camp. Once there, everyone learns what Emma is and they all fear her. She can't take the looks and threats so she leaves, taking her friends with her. Will takes them to Star's brother's mansion. He is a genius and works in the city. While at the mansion they are attacked by the infected. Anna gets hurt and becomes sick. With Bernard's help Emma and Will go into the city to retrieve the vaccine that will cure Anna. While they are there they also find out that Star is a GEN baby too and that makes her Emma's half sister! 

 

The make it back to the mansion and give Anna the vaccine. But it isn't working. They decide to take her to the city so Michael (Emma's real father) can heal her, he is the only one that can do it. After several days and no word from Bernard, they go in to save her themselves. Everyone's lives are changed and affected by the outcome. As soon as they solve a problem, more arise. This second book does not disappoint. Its just as exciting as the first. My emotions were all over the place and I was freaking out right along with the characters.

-BW

Review
5 Stars
Born
Born - Tara Brown
It has been 10 years since the bombs destroyed the world. Since the infection has spread among those who were left. Emma has been on her own all these years along with her companion, a wolf named Leo. Until one night there is a knock on her door. Anna and her brother Jake have been following Emma and now need her help. She takes them in and suddenly her world is turned up side down. 
 
She slowly starts to open up to Jake and Anna and they become the family she never knew she wanted. I loved all the people that came into Emma's life. She forms a special bond with Anna, who is as loyal and brave as she is. Jake... I really don't know how Jake has survived this long. He's loud and clumsy and distracted. But he's also sweet and charming. Emma falls for him before she can even stop herself. And of course there's the other love interest, Will. Will is a hard, no-nonsense kind of guy, he and Emma have a lot in common. And I can't forget Leo. Her bond with the wolf is so unique and extraordinary. Next to Emma, he is my favorite character,
 
At times I wondered about Emma's behavior, why she lashes out and reacts the way she does. It is explained later! And it totally blew my mind. This realization leads to an even bigger conspiracy. 
 
This book is so action packed! I was on the edge of my seat from the very first chapter. Emma is constantly in a fight for her life. And now that fight extends to her newly formed family. 
 
This ended on a cliffhanger and I immediately purchased the next book, Born to Fight, and began reading! 
 
-BW
Review
3 Stars
Vanishing Girls
Vanishing Girls - Lauren Oliver

This is a story of two sisters who find themselves at odds with each other after a car accident. Nick wants to mend fences but Dara, scarred and angry, refuses to speak to her. We hear about a child who has gone missing, and when Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick is convinced the girl's disappearances are related. Nick is determined to discover what happened and rescue her sister.

The story jumps back and forth between, before the accident and after. Some of Dara's diary entrees are also woven into the story as well as news articles about the missing girl. I found myself flipping back to check if I was reading before or after the accident. I didn't want to get confused and miss something important.

In the first half we learn a lot about the sister's relationship which was filled with love, competition, jealousy and some sweet moments. I didn't care for the love triangle between Nick, the boy next door and Dara. Dara is the younger sister who grew up a little too fast. She always has to be the center of attention and it seemed that hooking up with Parker was just a way for Dara to compete with Nick. I can't imagine wanting to be with someone that my sibling already dated. It's just a little too weird for me.

I like mysteries and thrillers but I haven't read many lately, so I wasn't overburdened by the feeling that I've read this all before. I suspected what the twist might be but I can't say I had it all figured out. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it hadn't been quite so slow in building up to the disappearance and if I had felt like Dara was in serious danger.

 

Initially it seems like Dara hops on a bus and leaves the night of her birthday dinner in a desperate plea for attention. I was well past the middle of the book before I even started worrying that Dara actually was in trouble. Overall, I do love Oliver's writing style and I felt she did a nice job keeping me guessing throughout the book.

 

-SW