Book Review: Easy is the Descent by Emily Heng

Author: Emily Heng

Publisher: Self

Release date: January 5, 2017

Purchase from Amazon

synopsis

Kie is no stranger to magic—not since her mother signed her life away to the world of witches and the supernatural, that is. With a contract in place binding her to their world, Kie must now escort the newly deceased souls from earth to the hereafter all while attempting to maintain some sort of normalcy in her own life.

And just when she’s beginning to get the hang of things, the first body shows up.

Witches around the city are turning up dead, and Kie is caught right in the middle of it; causing rising tensions between the two factions of witches—those born with their abilities, and those who have learned to harness them through other means—and unless Kie can prove her innocence, it can only lead to one thing: war.

NO SPOILERS LIE AHEAD. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I was instantly hooked by the beautiful cover and intriguing summary, only to be disappointed and unimpressed.

Let me begin by addressing the elements I really enjoyed in this novel like the diverse cast. Our protagonist, Kie is Korean (I believe) while the male protagonist, Grey, describes himself as “Euroasian.” The descriptions aren’t too clear, which I would have loved because I’m always so fascinated with the vast cultures of our world. I also enjoyed the magic system and the difference in old vs. new magic. Old magic comes from the earth, it is something that a person is born to while new magic is made when a deal is struck with another magical being. There are tensions between these two different kinds of magic and the tension rises when witches are being murdered.

This brings me to my third point: this is a crime mystery novel enriched with the element of magic! Kie and Grey are on a mission to solve the murder by attaining information illegally…I liked this so much because Grey proves to be resourceful! By working together, Kie and Grey form an unlikely bond of friendship, trust, and an inkling of romance. I liked this budding romance because they did not get on well at their first meeting.

The story was fast paced, while the chapters were too long. I think the chapters could have easily been split, especially when there are like 3-4 breaks within a chapter. That’s just a personally preference, though.

One of the MAJOR things that I disliked about this novel was the writing, more specifically the grammar. There were an abundance of grammatical mistakes that irked me. Simple mistakes, too. For example:

Shut up.” She said, automatic, rolling her eyes skyward.

Hey, I resent that accusation.” He said, mild.

From the glimpses she caught, nothing seemed to be amiss, but.

Her doubts from the night before still niggled at her in the cold light of day, weighed heavily at her thoughts.

As an English major, and more importantly as a writer myself, these kinds of mistakes are unacceptable. It’s easily fixable, but these were made more than once throughout the novel and it is why I knocked it down a star. I am kind of upset that I paid $3 for this when it wasn’t thoroughly edited.

The other reason for a star loss was the fact that I just wanted MORE. I wanted more magic, I wanted more relationship bonds. A possible romance was denied to me! By expanding on Kie’s magical world, this book could have been so amazing! Like I wanted to know more of the support group and each individual’s magical abilities – or maybe just more description on the magic of those she’s closest to like Petra’s and Taissa’s.

Easy is the Descent was good, but it could have been so much better if it was thoroughly edited and if there was more added magic.

addy3star

Infernal Machines Blog Tour Stop: Book Review + Giveaway!

Author: Will Millar

Publisher: Immortal Ink

Release date: December 25, 2012

Rating: 4.5 stars – I REALLY ENJOYED IT!

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

SYNOPSIS

Paulie and Stoner aren’t bad seeds; they’re just a little too smart for their own good. They stole their first car in kindergarten, and as for the homemade rocket launcher in Stoner’s garage … well, it’s best just not to ask.

With 9th grade just around the corner, Paulie and Stoner find themselves on the wrong side of some real bad kids, an older band of w​hite supremacists that go by the name of “Twisted Cross.” When a rumble at a high school keg party turns fatal, it sets off a chain of events that test the limits of Paulie and Stoner’s friendship, and their very sanity.

Welcome to Chapel Harbor, a town where everybody buries their secrets deep, and nobody is quite who they seem. A town where the ghost of a serial killer known as The Junkman is rumored to stalk the woods at night, and where an unassuming magic shop and its mysterious proprietor, Arthur Cardiff, may possess the key to an ancient and terrible evil.

Packed with hairpin turns and twists that will keep you guessing until the very last page, Infernal Machines is a blood drenched, adrenaline fueled, roller-coaster of a horror story that’s at once a paean to the Pulp Horror classics of the early 80’s and a meditation on the enduring power of friendship. — Goodreads

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS BUT LITTLE ITTY ONES THAT DON’T RUIN THE BOOK OVERALL.

I am very excited to bring you Will Millar’s debut novel, Infernal Machines. It is a highly intricate piece of fiction that left me totally unhinged. I never would have been involved with letting the world know about Miller’s work if it had not been for a tweet I saw on Twitter to sign up for his blog tour. I jumped at the chance because as an aspiring writer I know how important it is to get your work known, it’s even twice the challenge for an indie author. With that said, I love helping out indie authors any way that I can.

Alright, so I’m rambling here. On to the review!

*cue in ultra cool whooshing sound affect*

The prologue to the Infernal Machines left me curious as we are introduced to the cryptic signs of a murder. It made excited, haunted, and thoroughly intrigued to read more. Miller’s writing style is different from what I normally read and can be compared to the subtle horror that is true to 80’s horror films. I really liked the ambiguity that Miller gives us at the beginning, and in turn sets a grounding foundation for the premise of the novel.

The following first few chapters were a little hard to get through. We are introduce to several pivotal characters, switching p.o.v’s from each one. I like exposition – don’t get me wrong – but I found some parts boring. This was my initial thought. I’m glad that I kept reading because the flushing out of characters becomes very important for the novel. It was the bases while Miller constructs the world without it being too much that you just groan and want to give up.

My favorite characters were definitely Paulie and Stoner.I’m not a boy nor have their kind of mindset but I wanted to be their friend.  I wanted to go on their exhilarating adventures of investigations with them. I wanted to be that girl who wanted to always tag along because of how awesome it would be! Also, let’s not forget Dee, which is totally awesome! I just loved how she was a little sassy and very strong. People picked on her but she fought right back. This kind of connection between a character and the reader is what I always enjoy. It’s the sign of a great and talented writer.

For the horror aspect of the story, it’s more suspense and the acts of human monsters (serial killers, white supremacists) and inhuman behavior. The legend of the Junkman was really creepy and when I read about him and what he did….well my heart felt like it was going to fall out of my chest. I don’t read horror often, but I was completely enthralled by the subtle detail Millar describes for a scene or the sinister expression on one of the characters faces. It made my skin crawl. This is another sign of how phenomenal of a writer Miller is.

One last thing that I absolutely enjoyed was how the story takes place within a few years. I liked this idea very much as it wasn’t constrained to a day or a week. The effects that the past had caused the events of present and future. This was a brilliant added detail to the story and I give a gazillion brownie points to Millar for this aspect.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to everyone who is looking for a new suspense YA horror novel without the cliches. Will Millar’s Infernal Machines is purely brilliant, unique, and creative. It’s a great coming of age story filled with mystery, suspense, and twists and turns that will have you completely and utterly wanting more. Nothing is what it seems. Millar just throws a curve ball that is just….well, I guess you’ll just have to find out!

I’m definitely a fan of his work now and can’t wait to see what else he comes up with! 🙂

PLACES TO STALK WILL

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Book Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Publisher: Simon Teen

Release date: October 23, 2012

Rating: 5 stars – LOVED IT TO PIECES!

Purchase from Simon & Schuster | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Synopsis

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

There are so many things that I could say about the second installment to Michelle Hodkin’s, Mara Dyer series. It was AMAZING. BREATHTAKING. CAPTIVATING. From the very first page, Hodkin’s left me utterly breathless. I wanted more. And in wanting more I was never for a second disappointed. I devoured the book in four sittings – mainly because of school and work. If it weren’t for those two things then I most likely would have finished in a day. It was that ENTICING – not letting you go for a moment. Every chapter adds on to the mystery of who is Mara Dyer, which is the impending question that arises in BOTH books.

We last left Mara with a startling revelation in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Her ex-boyfriend, Jude, is alive, which we all – including Mara – thought died in the collapse of the asylum. Oh, boy. Is he more alive than EVER. He terrorizes Mara, haunting her life in every way possible. Every one around her believes she’s becoming unhinged, which is true, but it’s not because she’s psychotic – like she’s diagnosed. This is where Hodkin’s brings in elements of PTSD – very much like TUoMD – mixing it with an air of supernatural suspense.

From terrifying hand-made dolls, strange dreams, hidden secrets, and mental hospitals, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is nothing short of startling and riveting, completely gnawing at your brain, trying to make sense of it all. It has a definite CREEP factor, but balancing the dark air of the story is light humor and the blossoming romance between Mara and Noah. Even Hodkin’s secondary characters (Jamie, Daniel, Joseph, Stella, ect.) frame the story. No character goes to waste and it’s definitely something that I thoroughly enjoy and love about Hodkin’s writing.

As the story progresses, so does your heart rate. There were more times than not that I was completely caught off guard and freaking out because of what was happening. The ending left me unraveled. There’s no other word for how my thoughts and feelings; they were all over the place. Kid you not. My thoughts were all jumbled and muddled and well, I was off the rails. Even as I write this, I’m still blown away by the level of intrigue and impending danger Hodkin’s weaved into the last few chapters. All I could think of was – WHAT?! IT CANNOT END LIKE THAT! NOOOOO.

Yeah. It made me absolutely crazy.

I have very high hopes for the final installment titled, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, hitting shelves Fall 2013. For fans of the first novel, you will completely fall in love once again with Hodkin’s enticing story; for non-fans, you will more than likely love it too!