The Deck of Omens Review

*Beware Spoilers Below*

The Deck of Omens continues pretty much straight off where The Devouring Gray ends. Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.

I really liked that we got more perspectives from May and we learnt a lot more about the Hawthorne families dynamics and how she fits in. Her relationship with her mother is pretty toxic and I found in this book that I really can’t stand Augusta. She doesn’t really have any redeeming qualities and doesn’t do a good job explaining any of the reasons why she has run the town the way she has. May definitely had the towns’ best interests at heart but she kind of went about things in a way that wasn’t ideal. Secretly inviting her father back and welcoming him with open arms and exposing him to everything without any thought as to why he chose to stay away for so long. I just had a feeling about him and the amount of information May was sharing with him and how invested he was in this town even though he married into it. Which I guess was validated in the end.

Once again I loved the friendships between all of the characters and how much they have grown over the past couple of months, Harper and Violet especially. We see their bonds really strengthen as they try to figure out how to overcome the corruption and save Four Paths. The romances I felt weren’t really necessary per se. I feel like YA books especially like to pair up all of their main protagonists, though I appreciated that they weren’t all fairy tale endings.

There were times when they were just going back and forth throughout the novel and doing all of their investigations about what the corruption is and their theories regarding their ancestors that got a little tedious and boring. Though they made several plans and attempts to kill the beast and fix the corruption I wasn’t as invested in this story as the previous book. There weren’t as many twists action wise that kept me entertained it was more so about the past and coming to realisations about their powers and how the founders came to be. Which was interesting but again wasn’t as captivating.

I thought it was a solid duology, other than predicting who was behind it in the end every other plot point was a surprise. This was definitely original and unlike anything I have read before which was refreshing. We see growth from most of the characters and I was invested in most of their arcs, some more than others for sure.

⭐️3/5 stars A good continuation and conclusion of everything set up in the first book.

The Last Time I Lied Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I really liked this book!

The Last Time I Lied is about a woman named Emma who attended a summer camp when she was 13 and while she was there three of her bunk mates went missing and were never found. Now 15 years later Emma has been invited back to Camp Nightingale where she vows to figure out what really happened all those years ago.

Emma I really formed an attachment to right at the start. She is likeable and realistic I think and over the course of the storyline her character shifts and we find out she might not be as reliable a narrator as we might have thought. The mystery surrounding the missing girls has really taken over her life and I liked the fact that she decides to take up Franny’s offer and go back. She is definitely an enigmatic character and I was constantly being surprised by her. I really thought for a minute that she might of been capable of murdering the girls or at least knew who did it and was covering for whoever that was.

I think I would of liked and appreciated this even more if it was maybe a dual perspective with Theo. Seeing how similar his and Emma’s lives were affected after everything happens and have their perspectives interwoven would of added that extra layer of depth and doubt to the reader. I would of liked to get more of an insight from his character and how the whole situation effected his family.

The format of the story with the flashbacks kept me highly engaged and eager to find out what really happened. There are various twists and turns that occur throughout the course of the storyline that was a little predictable and then would completely take me by surprise. I was on the edge of my seat while I was reading this book.

The ending I didn’t really need. I would of liked more of an ambiguous ending where we don’t know for sure whether or not Vivian was still alive or not. The meeting between them wasn’t really necessary in my opinion though I did appreciate that Emma doesn’t let her get away with it!

⭐️4/5 stars atmospheric, thrilling, unexpected twists, highly recommend!

One to Watch Review

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television? Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love.

I loved Bea as our main protagonist. She’s witty, fun, well spoken and still is constantly making mistakes but owning them and moving forward at all times. I loved the fact that she’s such an advocate for plus sized people yet still has her own insecurities when it comes to dating and men in general, especially under the contrived circumstances of a reality dating show. I think anyone in her situation would think and react quite similarly to her and I loved how raw and accurate the depictions were.

The format of the book was fantastic and definitely kept me engaged. From the production emails to the call sheet and the messages in the fan group chats, it gave much needed depth and contrast to the book and set a fast pace as well. At first the pacing felt too fast especially when we are meeting all of the men. I couldn’t really differentiate between them all and was forgetting which was which. I kind of wanted more of a slower introduction and a more thorough background of all of them but it made sense how rushed things were in terms of the plotline.

At times I got a little bored with all of Bea’s indecisiveness. Agonising over every single detail of the dates and whether or not the men were in this for the right reasons which again is valid but it did kind of get on my nerves. She comes across as such a boss bitch from the way she dresses and how she articulates herself but the journey to the end did drag a little.

Lauren’s indiscretion really got on my nerves. I feel like all the trust we built with her over the course of the storyline was shattered and I really feel like Bea should of been more hurt about it. She forgave her really quickly and given the context we receive from her earlier behaviour when she is confronted with similar situations she would of reacted differently. So that was a little weird for me as well.

Overall I highly enjoyed this book. It was really nice having some more fat representation in books and I feel like this is highly underrated!

⭐️4/5 stars endearing, funny & honest!

Home Before Dark Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

This was better than I was expecting!

Maggie returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound – and dangerous – secrets hidden within its walls?

I was definitely enthralled right from the start. From learning about Maggie and how she doesn’t remember any of the events over the 20 days her family spent in Baneberry Hall. Getting the truth from her mother that it was indeed all a lie only to go back and see that maybe what her father wrote was true.

There was a sense of eeriness and unease that wove its way throughout the course of the plot line and definitely added a bit of depth and atmosphere, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Just from reading Riley Sagar’s previous words I knew that the twist wasn’t going to be supernaturnal and their would be a solid explanation to the events that took place and I was pretty much correct.

Maggie as our main protagonist was wonderful. She had the perfect amount of drive to figure out what was really happening but also opened herself up to other explanations that added that sense of mystery. I wish we had touched a little more on the other characters in the book. Again I knew inevitably they would have more of a significance to the storyline than what we were getting at the start and I would of liked to learn more about them.

The jumps between present day and the narrative that Maggie’s father wrote was very well done and again just gave me more incentive to want to read on and figure out what was going to happen next. Riley Sagar has a way of manipulating the reading into thinking that these mysterious, otherworldly events really could of happened only to turn that on its head and have plausible explanation that was staring you right in the face.

I highly enjoyed this book. It was a little predictable at the end there but I was still surprised by a few of the twists and turns and it gave me hella spooky house vibes!

⭐️4/5 stars Definitely a page turner!

5 Books I want to Read in 2020 Update

In January I posted the 5 books I wanted to Read in 2020 and now that we are at the end of the year and I have indeed completed all 5 books I wanted to do a little wrap up and give my thoughts on each books!

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – I really loved the setting of this book, the atmosphere and the conditions of the city really added a layer of depth to the storyline and set the tone for the book. The dark, grittiness of the commons was heavily described and the almost hopelessness Sancia felt whilst living there really captured my attention. The fantastic element of the story with the scrivers was really unique and interesting. I love that its based on lore and legends and the fact that there is still so much to be discovered makes me excited for the rest of the series. ⭐️4/5 stars

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Brianna seemed very believable as a sixteen year old. A lot of times in YA the main protagonists would act a lot older than what they really were but this was very realistic. She has had to deal with a lot over the course of her life and I think that definitely came across in how she holds herself and acts around others.  These kinds of books frustrate me. I can appreciate how we see the evolution of Bri as she tries to save her family and not feel like a burden to them but at the same time watching her make all of these decisions that are questionable and all the angst involved just isn’t all that entertaining to me personally. ⭐️3/5 stars

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw – I absolutely loved the overall premise and atmosphere of this book. I think it is definitely one of Shea Ernshaw’s strengths in her writing, I felt like I was actually there on the mountain experiencing the freezing cold along with Nora. The history of the Walker women was super fascinating and I absolutely loved the fact that we got inserts from their history and their recipes they’ve come up with over the years. It added much needed depth and a sense of history that really reinforced the whimsical nature of these women and how each of their stories impacted Nora throughout the plot. ⭐️4/5 stars

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – I will say the pacing was quite fast and the countdown of the timeframe is what initially kept me invested and eager to read on. I just felt like a lot of the alchemy jargon mixed with the all of the talk about the impossible city just went right over my head. Theres a whole lot of complex language and equations and things that didn’t really make sense to me and I felt like the majority of the book I was just treading water trying to keep up with what was going on. I think overall it was just a little too repetitive for me as well. We see Roger and Dodger come together and forced apart multiple times throughout the course of the storyline and nothing was really revealed until right at the end. By that time I was just kind of reading to finish the book, I wasn’t all that invested in what what going to happen to them. ⭐️2/5 stars

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – Culture really means a lot to both Dimple and Rishi and I loved that it was explored throughout the course of the plot line. Their beliefs had an impact upon every decision that they made and we see them both reflecting a lot on what their parents would think and how they would be perceived in their community. I just thought the relationship progressed too quickly and felt a little rushed to me. I would have liked if they would have more time to cultivate their friendship before jumping straight into a quite serious relationship in the course of a month. Even though they met when they were younger it wasn’t as if they were ever friends.  Just a tad too insta-lovey for me personally! ⭐️3/5 stars