Author: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 29, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.
This is the perfect scary book! This is the second time I’ve read Daughters Unto Devils and it was even better this time. Lukavics writes some of the best creepy reads I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. The Women in the Walls scared the crap out of me last year. I was looking for something easy and interesting to help finish the year so I went with the scary. And it was AWESOME!
The chills started from the beginning. Amanda is haunted by the past winter and all I get is some vague ideas about what had happened so, naturally, my imagination went nuts. Throw in a deaf and blind baby who screams constantly, and you have the makings of a fascinating story. The abandoned cabin that they move into sets the mood perfectly. I can’t really say anymore because it just has to be read and felt . . . y’all are in for such a macabre treat!! There are some adult situations so I would save this for older teens. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a eerie read!
Author: Nadine Brandes
Published: May 7, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
This is the second book of Brandes that I’ve attempted and the first that I’ve read all the way through. The problem that I had in Fawkes came out a little in Romanov but thankfully not enough for me to DNF it. It’s honestly my only real criticism. Brandes has a habit of writing books that need a prerequisite. She throws in details about magic and culture that have no context and I automatically felt like I was missing something important. As I said, I felt that a little in Romanov but not as bad. I’ve also studied the last Romanovs so I understood the historical context. Brandes seemed to try to stick as close to history as possible and I liked that a lot.
The unfortunate side effect was that the Romanovs’ boring lives in Ekaterinburg and Tobolsk bled through into the story and there were times that I wanted things to move a bit faster. However, I liked her portrayal of the family and of the Bolsheviks. I believed every word and action and I would be the least bit surprised if it all happened exactly like in the book. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction. It’s also safe for teens to read, but due to the slow pacing, I’d save it for older teens.
Author: Ruta Sepetys
To Be Published: October 1, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera.
Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Ok so first off, I love Sepetys’ books. They’re amazing and she’s one the authors that I will pick up no matter what the book is about. But I’m gonna start with my one criticism that applies to multiple books. The endings frustrate the crap outta me! I’m learning to accept open endings that could go in any direction and could be interpreted and imagined in a myriad of ways. However, with Sepetys’ stories, I want to know more! She always seems to completely draw me into the stories and the characters’ lives and I get so involved and want to know as much as possible, but then she just cuts the story off. It feels like there’s so much more of the story, but she just refuses to give us the info. That is honestly my only criticism and I’ll admit it’s a big one.
However, up until the endings, the stories are all fantastic. This book is no different. The setting is stunning and I now officially want to go to Spain and explore as much as possible. She captures the fear and tension of Franco’s Spain and shows what true fascism looks like. She didn’t pull any punches and I appreciated the history. The characters were all likable and the twists scattered throughout were believable and realistic. I’ll admit that I found this book weeks before the release date at a bookstore and I’m so glad I did! It’s a beautiful book and I recommend it to pretty much everybody!