The Ravens Review

*A Few Spoilers*

Kappa Rho Nu isn’t your average sorority. Their parties are notorious. Their fundraisers are known for being Westerly College’s most elaborate affairs. But beneath the veil of Greek life and prestige, the sisters of Kappu Rho Nu share a secret: they’re a coven of witches.

I liked the dual perspective. We have Vivi who knows nothing about magic and witches and what the sorority is all about, young and naïve and then we have Scarlett a legacy at Kappa and a shoe in to become the next president. Vivi at the start I can totally relate to wanting to have some consistency in her life and get away from her mother and start fresh. Meanwhile Scarlett is very comfortable in her role at Kappa and is wanting to build upon her life and establish herself as the best and better and stronger than her sister and live up to her mother’s expectations.

At first I was a little salty at Scarlett for being so nasty to Vivi and being so threatened by her. I know she is under a lot of pressure from her family and her own insecurities but I don’t think that excuses you from treating someone badly. She is so set in her thoughts about what her life ‘should’ be like and she really projected that onto Mason instead of really hearing him out and sympathising with his feelings. I can see why he would end the relationship but I think it was a little shady of him to move straight onto Vivi like 5 minutes later at the homecoming dance.

Vivi really just wants to fit in and find a place where she feels wanted and accepted and she really found that with the Kappa’s the other freshman. She is very loyal very quickly to her sisters and even though I find it commendable I think putting them over her mother and not sitting down and listening to her for five minutes instead of just taking the necklace was a bit much.

The mystery surrounding Gwen was interesting but when we find out what actually happened and how Harper was killed was kind of anticlimactic for me. The magic though we do learn a lot through hell week I would of liked a more in depth run down of how the system works. I definitely found it to be quite original and exciting. Overall I am intrigued and enjoyed the story but it felt kind of more YA than what I was expecting despite the quite macabre nature of the storyline, but I am still excited to pick up the next book in this duology.

⭐️3/5 stars Witchy vibes are real!!

The Project Review

*SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS*

Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence.

I loved the format of the book, the time jumps from the past to the present. It really established depth to the story and enabled me to form a connection to both sisters. The pace was pretty consistent and there were definitely some well places twists and turns throughout to keep me engaged and wanting to read more.

I honestly wouldn’t say that either sister is particularly likeable. Since we get more from Lo’s perspective I definitely formed more of a connection to her but I can sympathise with what Bea had to go through. Both girls fall under the spell of Lev and end up both forming a relationship with him. Bea’s I can understand more because she was in a very vulnerable state when he seen her and then thinking he saved her sister from death I can see how she would be more susceptible to him. But Lo and the way she enters the Unity Project was just strange. She has spent the last 6 years campaigning against these people and trying to find her sister and then forgets all of that and sleeps with Lev? Sure when she finds out about her niece and the fact that Bea left without her would be a reason to be angry with her sister but does she forget she’s only hearing from one side and it’s the alleged cult.

Lo really goes through a journey of self discovery and realisation throughout the course of the plot but there are just so many decisions she makes that are questionable to me. And for that reason it brought me out the story a lot and made me think why… I guess it really just reinforces how influential Lev was and how all these people are tortured and emotionally manipulated by him for all these years yet still love and revere him.

This was a rollercoaster ride for sure. I had no idea how the story was going to play out but went in a very different direction than what I was predicting in my mind. So I was constantly shocked and surprised and on the edge of my seat throughout the read. The ending was a little rushed in my opinion and I felt like this final scene at the river was being built up and then is just skipped right over and we are told what is happened instead of shown. I would of liked to know for sure how Lo survived and what happened in the water but I guess it’s just not to be.

⭐️3/5 stars A fascinating read, I was just expecting something more…

Survive the Night Review

*SPOILERS BELOW*

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk.

I sympathised with Charlie throughout the course of the book. I honestly can’t imagine what she has gone through, losing her parents and then having your best friend murdered. It is just so tragic and I can see why she would choose to flee and want to go back home to recuperate, especially after we find out she tried to kill herself. She just makes a few choices in this book that just didn’t sit right with me, and I get that she couldn’t really trust her own mind but there were I feel various times when she was with Josh that she could of escaped before her epiphany in the diner.

Of course we are immediately told to be untrusting of Josh and I for sure thought he was the killer. He really played on Charlie’s fragile state of mind in the car and really did a good job convincing her and the reader that he was the one who did it. The flashback as well I feel really reinforced the idea in my mind that he was the Campus Killer.

I know that grief takes many forms but I think that its quite despicable that Maddy’s family would blame Charlie and abuse her on the phone the way they did. Obviously given the twist where we find out who’s behind the whole hostage situation that Maddy’s family isn’t capable of making sound decisions. It was definitely surprising when we find out that Marge is in on the whole thing but then once she tells Charlie who she is I was more disgusted that she would stoop to that level. The fact that she would maim and torture a twenty year old girl in order to force her to conjure an image in her mind really displays just how far some people are willing to go to find the truth, especially when they have nothing left to lose.

The format of the book with the time being displayed as almost a countdown was a great way to keep me invested and eager to read on. There are several twists in the story that I didn’t see coming at all and happened at just the right intervals of the plot to keep the pace consistently fast. This was entertaining, gripping and had me on the edge of my seat throughout!

⭐️4/5 stars Riley Sager has done it again for me!

The Maidens Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

I felt sorry for Mariana for the majority of this book. When we learn about her life and how much death there has been in her family and how she has overcome it all only to be thrown into the midst of these tragic events would trigger anyone. I love how mostly calm and collected she is, instead of reacting she will stop and think about why she is feeling this way and what the other person has said to elicit these feeling, which as a therapist made sense. But then she sort of devolves throughout the course of the book and leans into her anger and is more prone to outbursts, like when she punched Edward in the face.

We are led to believe right from the start that Edward was the killer so naturally I didn’t believe it. I was thinking it was more along the lines of Fred being the killer simply because the way he was introduced was so random and then he was just always around. Sure he was interested in the murders and was attracted to Mariana but the whole prediction thing was a little strange. Then Morris seemed like the next likely out of the male characters to potentially be the killer, but then again it just seemed too obvious so I really had no idea.

I can definitely say I was surprised that Zoe would be able to pull it off. But then there were signs all throughout the book when Zoe would talk about Sebastien and I found it odd how almost accusatory she would speak to Mariana about it, especially when she would throw his death in her face and wish he was here instead of her. I remember thinking how weird for a niece to speak about her uncle who isn’t even her blood. I also found the fact that Zoe would just use Mariana’s first name and wouldn’t call her Aunt or Aunty, even though Mariana would call her niece often. I honestly didn’t even think they were related for the first half of the book, I just thought she was a random girl they adopted.

I liked how Alex Michaelides called back to his previous book and integrated those characters into this book. It honestly made me want to reread The Silent Patient and connect the dots once again. I liked this book, it was intriguing, mysterious and I loved the college setting. I was constantly on edge and surprised at every turn.

⭐️4/5 stars This was unpredictable, weird and pretty fast paced!

Malibu Rising Review

I am pleasantly surprised how much I loved this!

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I had a vague idea of what it was going to be about but when we get into it it just delves so much deeper into the lives of the Riva’s than what I was expecting. First I just thought it was going to just be all about Nina but then the timeline shifts to when Mick and June meet for the first time and everything comes full circle and is just beautiful to read.

I liked Nina’s character, she’s probably my second favourite of the Riva children behind Kit. I just loved seeing her character progression over the course of the story. Feeling abandoned by her dad and seeing her mum spiral out of control and having to pick up the pieces and find a way to raise the rest of her siblings and come up with the cash to pay all the bills. Then in present day having what happened to her mother happen to her when Brandon comes crawling back.

The multiple povs were a great way to highlight each of the Riva’s and we get to see how different they are from each other but also how committed to each other they are. I really feel like even though they have their differences because of what they have had to deal with growing up their bond will never be severed and that was lovely to read. Also the fact that each of them had their own issues and dramas that they were going through separately but all come together and get exposed in the end. It was just so entertaining and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading.

Overall I was highly invested in the story. The countdown to the party was a great way to build up the anticipation and keep me wanting to read on to see what was going to happen next. The journey of the Riva children was traumatic and sad yet they were able to overcome all of the adversity together and managed to excel in their lives despite not having any contact or help from their father.

⭐️5/5 stars This is the kind of historical fiction that I can get behind!!