Review: The Girl From the Well

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Title: The Girl From the Well

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pages: 267

Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just killto get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

Review:

“I am where dead children go.”

Okiku isn’t like other girls. She hunts murderers: specifically, child killers. She stalks them, terrifies them, and kills them. Oh, yeah. And she’s also a 300 year old dead girl.

Ever since her own horrific death, Okiku has been haunting men like the one who killed her all those years ago. And she’s never really thought of much else outside of her mission. That is, until she meets Tark – a strange boy with tattoos with an even stranger back story. And even stranger yet: she isn’t the only spirit following him around. He is being haunted by something even more malevolent.

As she decides to help him and starts immersing herself in his world, both she and Tark are drawn down a dark and twisted path, finding themselves in the midst of eerie doll rituals and exorcisms all the way in Japan. And as they learn more about Tark’s haunting, they also learn more about his mother and her past. It seems that there’s secrets haunting their family, too.

“It is not in my nature to be interested in the living.But there are many things, I have found, that defy nature.”

The first thing you need to know about me is that I am a huge, ginormous baby about all things scary. The second thing you need to know about me is that when I was 11 years old I went to a slumber party and watched my very first scary movie – The Ring. And the third thing you need to know about me is that after watching that movie, I didn’t sleep for weeks, had to have my TV covered with a sheet when I went to sleep, and refused to answer the phone because some girl might be on the other end saying YOU WILL DIE IN 7 DAYS. (Big. Baby.)

When I first picked up The Girl from the Well, I was already shaking in my boots by the end of the first chapter. And when I started seeing definite parallels to that movie, I was even more terrified. I don’t know if it’s just me, but this is the scariest book I have ever read. I had to take a LOT of breaks so that I’d be able to sleep at night, so I read it slower than the rest of the book group. But I must be a glutton for punishment, because I finished it.

And I am so happy I did! As much as I hate being scared, this writing, and this story, was so hauntingly brilliant. Rin Chupeco has done it again – not that I’m surprised. Honestly, this lady could write the ABCs on a piece of paper and I’d probably buy it. I grew to love Okiku, and loved watching her transform to a vengeful spirit to…a vengeful spirit with something of a conscience and a protective streak. I hope you love this book as much as I did!

“I am beginning to understand that there are better things than retribution.”

 

November TBR

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but lately having a TBR hasn’t been working the best for me. I know there are books I SHOULD be reading but really I just want to mood read all the things. This will be a good month for that, because it’s Thanksgiving AND I’m going on vacation for a week. Bring on all the beach reads!

HOWEVER, duty calls, so there are a few things I HAVE to get to this month. These are the ARCs on my plate:

  • Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo: released Oct 8 (YES I KNOW I’M LATE OOPS)
  • Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan: Nov 5
  • Coral by Sara Ella: Nov 12

And while I don’t want to make a solid TBR for the rest of the month, these are some books I’m hoping I might get around to:

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  • Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What are you hoping to get to in November? Happy reading!

xoxo

Jen

Halloween Book Tag

Hey everybody, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Do you guys have any halloween traditions? We always get chinese food, pumpkin beer, and watch Hocus Pocus! I went and searched for a Halloween tag and found this one, which seemed kind of fun! Here we go!

This tag was created by Naomi The Book Lover over on YouTube.

Carving pumpkins- what book would you carve up and light on fire?

Oh boy. I’m not sure there’s a book I’ve hated THIS MUCH, although I did extremely dislike No Country for Old Men.

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Trick or treat- what character is a treat, what character is a trick?

I love characters that are BOTH! Exhibit A: Victor Vale. Exhibit B: Kaz Brekker. Exhibit C: Prince Cardan. Do I need to continue?

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Candy corn- what book is always sweet?

Harry Potter. Always and forever.

Ghosts- what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

Ooo yikes none of them. I don’t do ghosts.

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Dressing up in costume- what character would you want to be for a day?

I think I’d like to be Feyre for a day. But in ACOMAF, not in ACOTAR.

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Wizards and witches- what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

ALL OF THEM. But My favorite book was Prisoner of Azkaban, because I loved the time turner portion!

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Blood and gore- what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco. OR anything true crime – I’ll be Gone in the Dark or American Predator.

Now I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! And:

Lilly @ Lair of Dreams | Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills |  Kaleena @ Reader Voracious | Tammy @ Books, Bones, & Buffy | Kayla @ Books and Blends |Mel @ Meltotheany

October Wrap Up

The good news: my reading slump seems to be over! The bad news: I ONLY want to mood read and anything that I’m SUPPOSED to be reading sounds super unappealing. I have managed to review less than half them OOPS. But that’s a problem for another day.

Here are the books I managed to read this month:

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  1. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X R Pan (audio, backlist read, BOTM): 
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (audio, backlist read): 
  3. American Predator by Maureen Callahan (FridayFrightAthon): 
  4. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (ARC): 
  5. The Whisper Man by Alex North (FFAT, BOTM): ★.5
  6. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (audio): 
  7. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (FFAT): 
  8. The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (Dragons and Tea Bookclub pick): 
  9. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (FFAT): TBD
  10. Well Met by Jen DeLuca (BOTM, audio): TBD

How many books did you read in October? Were any of them super spooky??? If you participated in FridayFrightAThon with us, THANK YOU! We had so much fun.

xoxo

Jen

October Haul

October flew by faster than I could blink, although I feel like I say that every month. And I know I said I was hoping to use this month to get my blogging and reading back on track, but I really only managed to accomplish one of those things. My blogging (and reviewing) was still positively abysmal, and I apologize for that! BUT I did read a bunch – which you’ll see tomorrow on my wrap up post!

THIS post is about my haul, and I’ve been doing a decent job of keeping these pretty under control the past few months.

Here are the books I hauled in October:

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  1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  2. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  3. The Power by Naomi Alderman (gift from my best friend!)
  4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  5. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Barnes and Noble edition)

How many books did you haul this month??

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Escape Room

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Title: The Escape Room

Author: Megan Goldin

Pages:

Rating:

Book 3 for 2019 FridayFrightAThon! Hosted by myself, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, Melanie @ Meltotheany, and Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads Synopsis:

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game.
They’re fighting for their lives.

Review:

“If we all knew the truth, it would bring out our worst, most primitive instincts. We’d turn into feral animals. We’d consume one another.”

The Escape Roomwas the third book for our Friday Fright A Thon picks this year! An escape room in an elevator gone wrong? Sign me up. The premise of this book sounded so incredible! I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Vincent has hand-picked his very own team working on Wall Street – Jules, Sylvie, and Sam. Everything at this level is high adrenaline, high risk, and high reward. But sometimes, with bigger risks comes bigger secrets, and everyone on his team seems to have one. And while the perks of the job may be great, the hours are long and when the company beckons, everyone jumps to obey.

“If truth be told, I think that most of us would have killed for Stanhope.”

One night, the entire team is called to participate in a team-building exercise: an escape room. Only this escape room is located in an elevator inside an empty building. It doesn’t take long for the team to realize something’s gone wrong: their elevator is locked, the clues don’t make sense, and nobody is coming to let them out after an hour. And as tension rises, secrets start to bubble to the surface. This escape room has higher stakes than any deal they’ve ever made.

“Death, after all, was the ultimate equalizer.”

Like I said above, the premise of this book was really exciting to me and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Unfortunately, as I got further into the book I became a little disappointed. But let’s start what I did like first!

This book bounced back and forth between two points of view: That of the team inside the elevator, and that of Sara Hall, a former member of their team providing flashes of the past. I can’t say that I liked any POV better than the other – I enjoyed them both, and I really liked how the past and present seemed to blend together and provide clues along the way.

I think the biggest problem is that this story started off with a bang – trapped in an escape room with nowhere to go. It sounds absolutely terrifying! But then the story kind of stuttered to a halt. But the bigger problem was the characters. While I liked Sara and another character named Lucy, I despised everyone in the elevator, and over time even came to dislike Sara. They weren’t very redeemable characters, and I found that I didn’t really care what happened to them at the end of the story. I also HATED the ending, which was a big bummer.

Overall, I have to say this book was decidedly average, and I hope you like it more than I did! I will say that I did like the writing and the way the book was set up, and I would try out another book by Megan Goldin again! Hopefully I enjoy the next one more.

 

ARC Review: The Grace Year

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Title: The Grace Year

Author: Kim Liggett

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 416

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Speaking of the grace year is forbidden, but it hasn’t stopped me from searching for clues.”

Imagine living in a world where girls have so much power that they can lure men from their wives and their families. That their very essence and womanhood holds a magic that, if allowed to survive inside their skin, could drive the whole county into madness.

In Garner County, they’ve found a solution to this danger. In their sixteenth year, girls are banished into the wilderness. There, they can release their magic safely and return pure and ready to begin their lives with whichever man chose them prior to leaving – if they survive the year. This is called the Grace Year.

Speaking of the grace year is forbidden, but that hasn’t stopped Tierney James from digging with her friend Michael. She dreams of a world where she doesn’t have to belong to a man to find a place in society, and when the veiling ceremony comes the day before she leaves for her own grace year, she is confident that she is safe knowing no one would possibly choose her to be their wife upon her return. All of her plans are changed, however, when she ischosen, and by someone she never expected.

“Veiled or not, depraved or saints, we’re all equals in death.”

Still reeling from watching her future dissolve into something she never imagined before her very eyes, Tierney leaves for her grace year with the other girls. Before they even arrive at the camp, danger lurks in every corner. Poachers trail the girls, waiting for them to wander off the path to gather their skin and blood to sell on the black market. But even more than that, Tierney realizes that their biggest danger, and the biggest threat for the year to come…is each other.

You guys, I absolutely loved this book. This may be one of the best 2019 releases I’ve read thus far. This book is a little bit Handmaid’s Tale, a little bit Lord of the Flies, and a little bit Hunger Games. The writing was gripping and fast-paced – I didn’t want to put this one down. I stayed up way to late reading it, and even downloaded the audio book so I didn’t have to stop reading when I was cleaning/walking/driving. Basically, I had my nose in this book from the time I opened up the first page.

I loved Tierney with my whole heart. It’s obvious that she’s your typical 16-year-old girl just trying to find her way in the world. Can we just pause and appreciate that for a minute? I love that this book highlighted how much one ordinary girl can change things. No special powers, no hidden talents, no high station. Just a girl following her heart and using her brain, and showing kindness where others wouldn’t. And it was so relatable watching her try and navigate the relationships between other girls her age as they are all just trying to grow up the best they can. I felt like I was back in the lunchroom at school: you had your popular/mean girls and your loner girls, and that one girl that everyone whispered about and avoided. Watching these power struggles occur, even so far from civilization, and then spiral out of control as the girls realized just how alone they really were, was honestly terrifying.

“I know what I saw. I know what I felt. They can call it magic. I can call it madness. But one thing is certain. There is no grace here.”

This book brought so many important issues up: how important it is for women to support women, and that we remain stronger united than we are divided. How one helping hand, one moment of kindness, can change an entire outcome for the better. How true love knows no reason. And how one person, one action, can change the world for the better. This book makes you take a hard look at who you really are: what would you do if there were no consequences for your actions, and no one to hold you accountable? Would you help others up? Or would you crawl over them as the fell to reach the top?

This book made me feel so many raw, brutal emotions. I laughed, I cried, I raged. I grieved for the brutality of people left unchecked, and I marveled at the hopefulness felt at the female camaraderie shown at the end. There was no happy ending, but there was a hopeful ending. And maybe that’s the best we can ask for. There were some truly horrific things that happened in this book, so I urge you to go in with caution. But if you can weather the storm and make it to the end, I promise that you’ll be left with such a bright feeling of hope and strength that you won’t regret the journey.

“The things we do to girls. Whether we put them on pedestals only to tear them down, or use them for parts and holes, we’re all complicit in this. But everything touches everything else and I have to believe that some good will come out of all this destruction. The men will never end the grace year. But maybe we can.”

All quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

The Grace Year released on Oct 8, 2019.