Review of The Graces by Laure Eve

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By: Laure Eve
Release Date: September 6th 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

My Thoughts:
Wow, this is going to be a difficult review to write because I’m not totally certain of how I feel about this book. Upon first starting it I got a very strong Twilight vibe- girl in new school enthralled with a family of beautiful, mysterious siblings that everyone admires and fears. It all felt a bit familiar but it was pretty clear from the start that the main character was no Bella.

Our MC had malicious intent…or so I felt from the start. I never once trusted her narrative or felt any semblance of positive regard for her. For some reason her thoughts and motivations seemed so ick to me. She seemed only out to befriend the Graces to help further her own self interests along. I typically prefer to enjoy and connect to the main character. I understand that not every book has this and I don’t count (or try not to) it against the book or my reading experience. But, I’ll admit, it does make the getting into the book a tad harder.

A little ways in though I became captivated by watching this train wreck of a book. I could feel things building up and I couldn’t imagine the outcome would be pretty. There were moments of friendship and lighthearted movie nights but always underneath I felt trepidation as to what was around the next page.

The further I read the more and more certain I became that there wouldn’t be a happy ending. I had some suspicions and was pretty pleased with myself that I called it all fairly accurately. This book was very readable to me and I had no problems breezing through it in a day. Though it was a fast read there were some sluggish moments and overall it was not a feel good read. I felt the book cast a pall over me- my mood somewhat changed and a bit clouded over.

I’ll give it to the author- her writing was obviously strong to be able to have an emotional impact on my mood. As far as the story went-things were not overly predictable and I felt that it moved at a steady pace though the very ending was a tad disappointing. I can’t go deeper into it due to spoilers but one character didn’t really get what, I thought, they deserved…but I think we’ll get more in the sequel.

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Final Thoughts:
The Graces played on some typical young adult tropes but the author put her own original spin on things and I felt overall this was a unique read. I found it to be captivating though it wasn’t a feel good read and not one I’ll be rereading any time soon. The way things left off there will be a sequel and I will be curious as to how the story will continue.

Thank you Jon at Bookish Antics for the lovely conversation we had after I finished reading this one. That is one of my favorite aspects of reading a book- discussing it after with a friend.

Review of How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Math_9780553539479_jkt_all_r1.inddHow to Hang a Witch
By: Adriana Mather
Release Date: July 26th 2016
Publisher: Knopf/Random House
Format: Print ARC
Source: Convention

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials.

Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history is about to repeat itself.

My Thoughts:
I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I started reading this book. I didn’t notice at first the author’s last name and that she shared it with her main character. Upon realizing that I had to flip to the back and make sure there was an author’s note (which there was). Knowing that the author was a Mather herself really added credibility to the story for me.

This story takes place in Salem present day but the main character has ties to the past- and not in a very popular way. I was really impressed with how the author handled Sam’s disconnect to those around her and the progression of bullying she faced in the town and school. It was hard to read at times but really tied together the past with present and the importance of not standing by while others are mistreated. I found the message to be very powerful and enjoyed that aspect of the book a good amount.

The town of Salem as well as the history of the Witch Trials was really interesting. I loved the little historical tid-bits and found the descriptions to be very vivid and clear. The author obviously knows this time period and history well and she incorporated it very well into her storyline.

Where things went a bit off for me was the romance in the novel. I never really felt anything towards the two and yes…there’s a slight triangle. I’m really not sure if everyone would consider it that but the main character does sort of feel things for two different people View Spoiler » I felt that the main romantic element was rushed and I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters.

Another thing that fell a bit flat to me was the big reveal. I felt it was pretty easy to predict and though it was dramatic I never really felt the tension I’d expect. I wasn’t all that invested in the secondary cast so I didn’t have the emotional attachment I’d have liked.

Final Thoughts:
Regardless of the issues I had with How to Hang a Witch I did find it to be an enjoyable read and well worth the time. I thought the author did an excellent job adding in historical details. I loved that the author has an actual past with her story and used that to help develop and write this book. I think that aspect really added to the book.