Author: M.A. Bennett
Published: August 10, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.
It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.
But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school…
I’m not sure what is going on with my summer reading! I don’t go searching out controversial fiction . . . in fact, I try to avoid it! But no, summer 2018, Kim unknowingly picks all the political fiction! How many times have I said that I don’t want politics, no matter how subtle, in my fiction. I just want to escape and immerse myself into another world and leave the problems of reality behind! If I wanted to be guilt tripped about my race or economic status, then I’d just turn on CNN!
S.T.A.G.S. started out great. I really liked it and I was whippin’ thru it fast! Sure, I rolled my eyes at some of the “woke” undertones, but I liked Greer, the protagonist, and was enjoying the story, so I kept going. Hey, authors are allowed to have opinions too! But then, I made the mistake of looking at the Acknowledgements, and it was all downhill from there. Someone who has to point out that she’s half Venetian, went to Oxford and the University of Venice, and got married on the Grand Canal, and then starts going after others for having privilege?? The hypocrisy makes all that condemnation, however subtle, ring very hollow. The sad thing is that I was really enjoying the story! I would have even finished it with mild annoyance with the pandering “diversity” talk . . . but the hypocrisy! It ruined it!
And I know, this review is based on my own opinions and political affiliation and my low threshold of annoyance. Someone else can read this book and think it’s awesome . . . I envy that person. But alas, I am not that mature nor patient. Hence, I must stay true to myself and I’ve given it 3 stars. May my next book be filled with innocent whimsy and light-heartedness!
P.S. She specialized in using Shakespeare’s plays as a historical source . . . My heart just died, and not in a good way!
Author: Marisha Pessl
Published: June 5, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Enter a realm where fears are physical and memories come alive in this absorbing psychological suspense thriller with a sci-fi twist.
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim–their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend–changed everything.
One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft–the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world–hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.
Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.
Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers . . . and at life.
And so begins the Neverworld Wake.
This cover drew me in. It’s so gorgeous and makes me want to stare at it forever. The description was just vague enough to make me want to read it to find out what’s going on. I will say that it is a pretty unique story.
This is actually going to be a short review, because I don’t want to give too much away. There have been several books that I’ve reviewed that I didn’t say much about because those books are best read without too much prior info. I will just say that there was some repetition that got a little tiring, and that’s the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.
I really enjoyed the story and the mystery was very well done. The ending surprised me a lot! The characters were all likeable, if slightly annoying since they are teens. It was nice to read something different and I really have very little critique to give. This is absolutely worth the read. There is some language and sexual content, but not too bad; just enough to keep it for older teens. A really great book that I liked a lot!