Posted in Arc, Young Adult

When I Cast Your Shadow Book Review

When I Cast Your Shadow  by Sarah Porterwhenicastyourshadow

Published: September 12th 2017 by Tor Teen

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

NetGalley provided an eArc in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead…

Ruby. Haunted by her dead brother, unable to let him go, Ruby must figure out whether his nightly appearances in her dreams are the answer to her prayers—or a nightmare come true…

Everett. He’s always been jealous of his dashing older brother. Now Everett must do everything he can to save his twin sister Ruby from Dashiell’s clutches.

Dashiell. Charming, handsome, and manipulative, Dash has run afoul of some very powerful forces in the Land of the Dead. His only bargaining chips are Ruby and Everett. At stake is the very survival of the Bohnacker family, bodies and souls…

When I Cast Your Shadow
This story was a lot different than normal ghost stories about haunting and possessions, which is why I picked it up in the first place. Then it took me about 4 months to actually finish reading this book. It took not having TV and wifi for me to be bored enough to tackle this book.
What I thought and what we got were almost two completely different things. I thought we were going to get a very different take on a ghost story, and on that aspect I was right. What we got was a dysfunctional family who for some reason love Dashiell even with all of his faults. Honestly, I don’t know what they all see in him. Everyone and their mother seems to be in love with him, and all he did was used people and did drugs until he died and then continued to use people even in death. I couldn’t find a single trait that made me like him as a character. He was, I think 20, or so and talked to his siblings like they were 5. His siblings didn’t help their cause, because they acted like they were 5 as well.
What made this book hard to read was that I did not like any of the characters. Dashiell, I already mentioned above, but to go into further detail he was just one of those characters that you dislike in the beginning and then you were supposed to like by the end but it never happened. Everett and Ruby were not much better, like most everyone else, I had high hopes for Everett but he was on a one track mind and never really grew as a character. Actually, none of the characters actually grew. Ruby, I thought, was the most annoying character in the entire book. It seemed as if she whined over every single thing, and took everything as a personal attack against her and Dashiell. Speaking of that, they had the weirdest relationship no siblings should ever have. It almost bordered on incestuous (with a scene that was and then was never brought up again like it didn’t even happen). That right there almost made me stop reading, but I was almost to the end and I had suffered so much already I figured I might as well finish.
Ok, I think I’ll leave the characters alone now and talk about something else. The plot. This book had the potential to be very good and original, but it was seriously lacking. First, the beginning moved agonizingly slow. Then, when new characters were introduced, I had no idea how they fit in or what their role was in the overall scheme of things. Okay, he is the bad guy. Why is he the bad guy? For about 95% of the book, I never really understood Dashiell’s motivation for anything until the big scene at the end. Everything else had moved so slow, I thought the big finale would take up some time but no it seemed as if it was over in a page or two. Then it was like everything went back to normal. It was strange. Very strange.
Overall, this book was not my favorite of Porters. I loved her Vassa in the Night and the writing style was pretty much the same in both books. I think if I liked just even one character in this book I would have enjoyed it much more.

Posted in Young Adult

ARC TBR Takedown Read-A-Thon Week 6

img_1422I started Sam @RiverMoose-Reads ARC TBR Read-A-Thon reading last month, and I’m excited that it’s time for another weekly blog post!

The first week we were to do our list of ARCs we currently had and I also explained the read-a-thon a little bit more fully, you can see my original post here.

On my list of TBR Arcs are:

  1. Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
  2. Bad Blood by Dimitria Lunetta
  3. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson
  4. Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller
  5. Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce
  6. House of Ash by Hope Cooke
  7. Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
  8. Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision
  9. The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef
  10. When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter
  11. Immersed  by Jennetta Penner

So far, I still haven’t received any news on whether or not I’ve been approved for any more eARCs from NetGalley.


Week of July 6th: Explain You Review System/ Review Policy

Everyone has their own way to give star ratings, and I try to be very subjective when giving them out. I think I am very picky when giving out 5 star ratings, and I tend to give more 3 and 4 star ratings than anything else. Below I broke down my star rating system.

5 Stars – LOVED IT!  Would recommend the book to others.

4 Stars – Enjoyable and a great read.

3 Stars – An okay read – did not love it but liked it.

2 Stars – It was okay.

1 Star – Did not like it – was not enjoyable and lost interest in it.

Typically, for eARCs on NetGalley I only request the ones I have an interest in, so I never have a problem with deciding if I want to read the ARC or not. When a publisher or author asks me to review their book, I typically want to know what genre their book is in and the blurb. That way I can also look up what else the author has written and decide if it is something that I am interested in. I also take into account how many ARCs I already have, and if I have any deadlines coming up whether its for reviews or in my personal life. After accepting an ARC, I keep my reviews pretty unbiased and stick to just what I liked and didn’t like about the book. If an author/publisher requests a review, but asks that I contact them first if I am going to give anything less than 4 stars, I typically go ahead and pass on those books. I don’t like being told that in order to read a book and leave a review I have to follow certain guidelines and potentially skew my review just to fit their criteria. I like giving 100% honest reviews, and there are other books out there that I could read that lets me do that.

How do you  review books? What is your star rating breakdown?

Posted in Young Adult

ARC TBR Takedown Read-A-Thon Week 5

img_1351I started Sam @RiverMoose-Reads ARC TBR Read-A-Thon reading challenge earlier this month, and I’m excited that it’s time for another weekly blog post!

The first week we were to do our list of ARCs we currently had and I also explained the read-a-thon a little bit more fully, you can see my original post here.

On my list of TBR Arcs are:

  1. Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
  2. Bad Blood by Dimitria Lunetta
  3. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson
  4. Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller
  5. Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce
  6. House of Ash by Hope Cooke
  7. Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
  8. Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision
  9. The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef

So far, I still haven’t received any news on whether or not I’ve been approved for any more eARCs from NetGalley.


Week of June 29th: When/Why Do You Request Arcs

I normally only request ARCs if the premise intrigues me. To me if it has a good one, then I’ll just go ahead and request it regardless of who the author is or where it’s being published. I would rather read a good book by a new up and coming author, than a book that might just be okay by a well established author.

I typically only request ARCs if I don’t have any pending reviews in my NetGalley account, or if I am just looking for a new book in general. Since NetGalley can sometimes take a few days or longer to approve or deny, I try to anticipate my reading needs and my availability to read them. Although, my physical TBR shelves are overflowing, I like to read at least one ARC in between my other books. Sometimes, I just also read a bunch of eARCS back to back because they are on my Kindle and I tend to do a lot of reading at night before bed.

When do you typically request ARCS?

Posted in Arc, Young Adult

House of Ash Book Review

House of Ash by Hope Cookhouseofash

Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Amulet Books

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

eArc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.

But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.

House of Ash

I wasn’t expecting much when I started reading this book, mainly because I have never heard of the author or book but the premise sounded very interesting. It gave me a Dawn Kurtagich kind of vibe, so I figured if anything it would be enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised that the book had me hooked basically at the very beginning.

This book is told in two POV’s Mila back in the 1890’s and Curtis from present day. I wasn’t sure how the two POV’s will be connected or if they will in any way, but I really liked how the author utilized them. I personally liked Milas’ part of the story a whole lot more, mainly because that was the part that most of the supernatural stuff was happening. Curtis’ POV was more him trying not to let people think he was beginning to have a mental illness like his father. The way that the author started to weave their two stories together though was very interesting and made the story more enjoyable.

The authors writing style reminded me a little bit of Dawn Kurtagich’s style, especially when the story centered around Mila and the supernatural. It was a little bit gothic in the sense that the author made the setting seem super dark and creepy when the story was being centered around Gravenhearst. The author also included illustrations at the end of some chapters. They weren’t needed but they helped add a little extra to what you were currently reading. Especially when it dealt with anything about Mila and Gravenhearst.

Character wise the only ones that stood out were Mila and Curtis. The supporting characters, while they played a big role in helping the plot advance, didn’t seem to be as fleshed out as the two main ones. Some of the characters seemed to just be placed in the scene for convenience than an actual purpose. Overall, it didn’t bother me too much because I liked the plot and how quickly it was advancing.

I enjoyed this book overall, but I wish that it had a stronger ending. It seemed as if the big climax happened and then everything was kind of loosely tied up in the end. My biggest question is what is going to happen to Curtis and his sister now? I have some other questions, but I don’t want to say anything because that would spoil some major parts of the book.


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Side note: This little guy is 7 years old today!! I can’t believe he has been in my life for that long and can’t wait to see what the next 7 years brings us!

Posted in Young Adult

Arc TBR Takedown Read-A-Thon Week 4

I started Sam @RiverMoose-Reads Arc TBR Read-A-Thon reading challenge last week, and I have finally caught up!

The first week we were to do our list of Arcs we currently had and I explained the read-a-thon a little bit more fully, you can see my original post here. On my list of TBR Arcs are:

  1. Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
  2. Bad Blood by Dimitria Lunetta
  3. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson
  4. Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller
  5. Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce
  6. House of Ash by Hope Cooke
  7. Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
  8. Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision
  9. The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef

So far, I still haven’t received any news on whether or not I’ve been approved for any more eArcs from NetGalley.


Week 4: Let’s Talk NetGalley

I really love NetGalley and have been using it for almost two years now. For those of you who don’t know what NetGalley is it’s a website that allows you to potentially read, review, and recommend books that are either recently published or about to be published. It’s a great place to try to get eArcs from authors/publishers. It’s broken down by genre, and then that specific genre is broken down into available for request, read now (no waiting required), most requested, and previously on NetGalley. I honestly only look at the available for request section since eventually all the books end up in one of the other subcategories. The best part about this site is that it’s free! I’ve tried doing other sites that are similar, but I was never approved and it was a lot more complicated to request a book than it is with NetGalley. They have this figured out. They only request that you keep your review response to at least 80% or above. Which isn’t hard to do if you remember to review all the books you receive from them, and typically most people leave reviews on their own blog or Goodreads anyway so all you have to do is copy and paste it into the NetGalley review box. Easy Peasy.

Sometimes, I do wish that they had more “popular” authors, or maybe I’m just a little bit disappointed that I never seem to be approved for their books. For an up and coming author, it seems as if I am always approved. I’ve currently been approved for about 50ish books, and been denied about 25ish times. So my ratio is pretty good, and most times it’s because the publishers already had enough reviews of the book.

Do you use NetGalley? What do you think of it? Do you use another website that allows you to read eArcs?

 

 

Posted in Young Adult

Arc TBR Takedown Read-A-Thon Week 3

IMG_3145I started Sam @RiverMoose-Reads Arc TBR Read-A-Thon reading challenge this week, so I am still playing catch up on the weekly blogging posts (luckily I was only 3 behind so after this one I am all caught up).

The first week we were to do our list of Arcs we currently had and I explained the read-a-thon a little bit more fully, you can see my original post here. On my list of TBR Arcs are:

  1. Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
  2. Bad Blood by Dimitria Lunetta
  3. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson
  4. Fallen Flame by J.M. Miller
  5. Dragon Redeemer by Amy Bearce
  6. House of Ash by Hope Cooke
  7. Fall of Thrones and Thorns by Jennifer Ellision
  8. Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision
  9. The Ghost King by Jeff Altabef

So far, I still haven’t received any news on whether or not I’ve been approved for any more eArcs from NetGalley.


Week 3 (June 15th): Most disappointing Denials

For me, I don’t really get disappointed in being denied. I kind of just shrug it off and say better luck next time. It seems as if I am normally denied on NetGalley from very popular/famous authors, and I am always approved for indie authors. So, if it’s an author  I know that I have very little chance of getting approved of, I don’t put much hope into actually getting it. But who knows, maybe one day I’ll get lucky and get approved for one of those most anticipated books!

I’ve only been using NetGalley for almost 2 years now and I have only been denied 26 times and approved for 52 titles. So, as you can see I am active, but not as much as I would like to be. Maybe that has some impact on whether or not I am approved for certain books.

Some books I was denied that were disappointing to me even though I try not to be were:

  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
  • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (I am in the middle of reading this now, and I am really enjoying it)
  • Missing by Kelley Armstrong (one of my favorite authors!)
  • And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

How do you handle denials from NetGalley or any other similar eArc website? What books have you been denied that was really disappointing?