Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

Watch Over Me is about a girl named Mila who has just aged out of the foster care system. She has been offered a job on a remote farm tutoring young foster kids who live there.  She loves it there but is haunted by the past traumas that threaten to overwhelm her life.

 This is not what I was expecting at all. I thought this was going to be a young adult thriller/horror novel where kids keep disappearing or found murdered on this farm, but really it was a contemporary with a speculative twist.

I think this book was structured perfectly. From the present timeline where Mila is being introduced to life on the farm and finding her place within this already established family. To the flashbacks of Mila’s time with her mother and Blake giving us much needed context and displaying how these events still have an affect on Mila all these years later.

The ghosts added the perfect touch of edginess to this otherwise quite rudimentary storyline. Had they not been there and having the mystery surrounding why they are haunting this farm I think I would of otherwise been a little bored with this book.

Mila is an endearing character. I found the relationship she developed with Lee to be touching and I feel she may have using him as a surrogate for her younger self and how she wished she would have been treated by her mother. We are only given a glimpse of what she had to endure in her past and we definitely see how some of the decision she made back then have just compounded on her conscious and are brought to the forefront for her to deal with.

This was a touching story about guilt and remorse and how someone who has been dealt a tough life is still able to move on and gain a family and a place to feel welcome and comforted.

⭐️3/5 stars haunting, poignant & moving

The Devouring Gray Review

*Spoilers Ahead*

44564202._SY475_The Devouring Gray is about a town called Four Paths where there are four founding families who protect the town from an ancient monster that lurks in the forest surrounding the towns.

I was very much invested right from the start of this book. There is a little bit of an info dump and it took me a second to get all the characters and their names down but around the 50-100 page mark I was definitely settled into the story and wanted to know more!

I found both Justin and May to have a bit of a superiority complex, their mum as well. I thought the fact that he has deceived the whole town for so long and still revelled in their admiration for him to be a little problematic. I did appreciate how he did see the error of his ways and apologised to Harper but like she said I think it’s too little too late, especially when she found out how much of a hypocrite he is. He came across quite douchey and I couldn’t really warm up to him for the majority of the book.

Violet was an interesting character. I liked the fact that she did whatever it took to find out the truth and got every side of the story before she made a decision on who she was siding with. Finding out the history of her family was fascinating and seeing how she struggled with her sister’s death whilst in the middle of this chaos was admirable.

I really enjoyed Harper’s tenacity and determination. It’s quite heartbreaking to learn about her history with Justin and the way he ostracised her when she needed him most. I thought her anger was very much justified and I almost wish she would have made him grovel more.

Isaac was one of my favourite characters. His broodiness and staunch loyalty to Justin fascinated me and I very much wanted to find out more about him and his family and why they left. Hopefully what really happened at the time of his trial is revealed in the coming book, it was alluded to but not directly specified so I want to know more about that for sure. I thought his friendship with Violet was cute and I was thinking they were developing feelings for each other, but when he dropped that bombshell at the end of the book I wasn’t so sure.

Like a lot of people have been saying this is like an episode of Riverdale mixed with the Raven Boys and Stranger Things. The whimsical setting, the family lore and history of the town, the impending doom, the bi rep throughout, all solid plot devices that had me engaged and eager to read on!

⭐️4/5 stars I’m invested!!

The Crown’s Fate Review

27211901._SY475_Vika is still coming to terms with her new position as the Imperial Enchanter and what that role now entails, Nikolai though he has escaped death is trapped in his dream world as a shadow and is trying to find a way back to reality and Pasha is struggling with the decisions he has made that has led them all to this moment.

Once again I found Pasha to be totally out of touch. He wallows in self pity after forcing the end of the game thus resulting in Nikolai’s death. He knew one of them wouldn’t survive and now he wants to mourn Nik but still try and pursue Vika after everything that happened. He repeatedly blows off all his responsibilities to go and get drunk and his sister has to step up and make all the decisions. I never really trusted Yuliana, for some reason I thought she would end up backstabbing Pasha and would try to take the crown for herself. I like that she proved me wrong and supported and maintained her loyalty to her brother.

Vika really showed her tenacity in this book with her refusal to fully comply with Pasha and Yuliana’s orders. The gold cuff that enforces her oath was a surprising obstacle that forced Vika to really think outside of the box to try and circumvent some of the more terrible orders Yuliana metes out. Though she always maintains her loyalty to the crown I appreciated how much she does to try and save Nikolai and doesn’t dismiss their history.

Nikolai’s character definitely experiences a monumental character shift. I was so glad that he didn’t die and I thought it was interesting how he became a shadow and the use of energy to bring him back to the world. I thought it was a nice tie back to his mother and the way she was able to escape death as well. I can’t say I enjoyed this new side of Nikolai after his is given his mother’s energy however; it was entertaining as it made him quite unpredictable.

The tone of the book was definitely a lot darker that the previous book which I appreciated. It showed a progression of the characters and added a layer of urgency to the plot. There is something about Russian settings and the atmosphere that just seem so magical and the traditional lore that makes an appearance raises the level of authenticity. The pacing increased progressively which kept me highly engaged throughout the course of the storyline and the ending even though it was a little anticlimactic gave me all the feels!

⭐️4/5 stars Magical, surprising & highly entertaining!

Paper Towns Review

6442769Paper Towns is a YA Contemporary following Quentin Jacobson a high school senior living in Florida and his neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman whom he has had a crush on his entire life. Margo enlists Quentin’s help in a series of late night pranks and when she goes missing the following day Quentin finds clues he thinks Margo has left him to find her whereabouts.

Quentin’s character at times felt a little unrealistic to me. His obsession for Margo and figuring out her clues just seemed a little improbable. He seemed like the kind of student who would not let anything get in the way of his studies and school and a few times over the course of the storyline we see him missing school and even skipping his graduation ceremony in order to find Margo.

I just thought what did Margo really do to deserve this kind of spotlight? I kind of found her to be a little spiteful and vindictive right from the get go and she seemed the kind of person who would manipulate people in order to get what she wants. I think maybe Quentin is seeing her with some rose coloured glasses and is projecting his own feelings onto her personality. Even at the end when they travel all that way because they were so worried she may have killed herself only for her to tell them to wait a sec. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

I liked the pacing of the book, it did keep me entertained and I was invested in figuring out the clues alongside Quentin. I found the characters to be quite distinct and diverse and they all complimented each other well.

It wasn’t a favourite of mine but there really wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the story either. I just found at times I was thinking what the purpose of this book is, was it about Quentin’s growth over the course of the story or the fact that sometimes his expectations don’t match the outcome?

⭐️3/5 a little unremarkable

Aurora Rising Review

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

9781760295738This was amazing!

Tyler is the best cadet at the Aurora Academy and he is about to recruit the best squad the academy has ever seen. That is until an incident occurs that forces him to miss the draft and he ends up with the dregs that nobody wanted.

I liked that the story was told in multiple perspectives; it really gave me the chance to get to know each of these highly distinctive characters individually. Granted at times I was a little confused as to whose perspective I was reading from but as I got a feel for each of the characters that went away pretty quickly.

I really enjoyed the whole premise and concept of the story, it felt really unique and original. I had qualms before reading this that it would remind me a lot of the Illuminae Files but I really didn’t get that at all. This is a completely fresh and creative plot that had me highly engaged throughout.

Aurora felt a little soft spoken and passive at the start of the book, but granted she had just woken out of being in cryo for 200 years in the fold so I wasn’t expecting her to come out guns blazing. I could really feel how lost and lonely she was, and how she was trying to come to terms with the fact that everyone she has ever known is dead basically. I like how she almost subtly evolves over the course of the story and she starts to get a feel for who she truly is.

Also the fact that even though Tyler is the one that saves Aurora they aren’t going to end up together. I thought for sure that these two are going to fall in love as they are the main male and female protagonists, but I don’t think that is going to happen, which was a nice twist I didn’t see coming. I like that the history between Tyler and Cat is valued and isn’t immediately dismissed because Aurora came into the picture.

I liked learning about the different species of Aliens and how they each have their own look and customs. I really took a shine to Kal; his broodiness and angst really captured my attention.  I am a sucker for a bad boy! Finding out about his history and the different clans of the Syldrathi and how their whole species was nearly eradicated and how he bonded with Aurora was touching!

I for some reason didn’t think I was going to like this book. I thought maybe since Illuminae was so good they wouldn’t be able to top it, but I love me a ragtag group of misfits who somehow fit together and have to save the world. The whole dynamic between Tyler and Scarlett and how everyone else seems to fit in so well despite being so different really pulls me in and has me wanting to see them succeed!

⭐️5/5 stars blew me away!!!