Second Look: Danielle Vega’s THE MERCILESS

Katie read Danielle Vega’s THE MERCILESS a while ago.  And while she raved about it, I never really thought of picking it up for myself.

That is…until I found out Danielle Vega is going to be at #YAFest2017!

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So, like every year of a Fest, I make it my personal mission to read at least one book by each attending author.  (Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t happen.)

I picked up Danielle Vega’s MERCILESS (and MERCILESS II) from the library and finally made myself stop procrastinating and read.

And oh boy, was I in for a treat!

It’s coined as “Mean Girls meets The Exorcist“.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Psst.  Don’t let the cover fool you.

Danielle Vega’s THE MERCILESS
Deckle Edge, 2014

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Second Look: Amy Lukavics’s THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS

As you may remember, I had mixed feelings about Amy Lukavic’s debut novel, DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS.  That, of course, didn’t stop me from wanting to read her second YA horror, THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS.

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Release Date: September 27, 2016

Amy Lukavics’s THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS
Harlequin Teen, 2016

What It’s About:

Think of Margaret and Lucy as a very secluded version of Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen.  Then, you’ll get their personalities and the weird dynamic of their friendship.

Now, moving on…

Lucy (our protagonist) lives in a huge estate (unnamed) with her father, Felix, aunt Penelope, and cousin Margaret.  And their cook.  (But, the novel starts off with Lucy finding the cook, Walter, dead by suicide.)

When Penelope walks into the woods surrounding the estate one afternoon and doesn’t return, Lucy fears the worst.  And as the search team stops looking for her, she becomes angry.  Her father refuses to bring in the authorities (i.e. police), but won’t tell Lucy why.  She’s left trying to figure out things on her own.

Then, Margaret, whom she was once very close to, starts hearing her mother’s (Penelope’s) voice in the walls, talking to her.  Margaret has always been jealous of Lucy’s relationship with Penelope, so she clings to this newfound closeness.  When she tries to tell Lucy, though, Lucy thinks she’s going crazy (and rightly so!)

The basic plot is this (with no spoilers!): Lucy is trying to figure out what happened to Margaret that made her go crazy; at the same time, she doesn’t understand why her father is so obsessed with The Club and he continues to let the Club rule his life, instead of paying attention to his own daughter.  Then, when Lucy finds out that her aunt may have been a witch, she’s more confused then ever.

And all she wants to do is escape…

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Second Look: ONE WAS LOST by Natalie D. Richards

A pre-release review!  So, disclaimer: I read this back in June and while I did write it back in June, if you ask me any questions, I may not remember.

Natalie D. Richards is the author of Six Months Later, which I enjoyed (but never finished…Ssh.)

Before I do the review, so this doesn’t get lost under the cut, I’m going to say this: If you liked Kieran Scott’s What Waits in the Woods (which I apparently did not review.  But let me tell you, it scared the bejesus out of me.), you’ll like this.  Let me just say, I’m never going camping in the woods again.

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So, without further ado,

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Releases October 4, 2016

Natalie D. Richard’s One Was Lost
Sourcebooks Fire, 2016

What It’s About:

Sera and five other high school students head to the middle of nowhere for a 5-day hike through the woods for a school “project.”  (By “project” I mean it’s a service assignment every student has to do.  There were a few different ones to pick.  Sera got stuck with this one.)  Not everything’s great about the trip by Day 2.  You see, the boy Sera kissed but has been avoiding like the Black Plague for two months is also on the trip.  Tension, anyone?

What seems like a boring, but harmless, hike turns deadly — literally.  When the group is separated by a flooded river, they begin to encounter weird things.  Like, they were all mysteriously drugged.  Someone tore up their camp while they were sleeping, stealing food and water.  Their teacher, Mr. Walker, has been really drugged and he’s of no use to them.

So, Sera, along with Lucas (The Boy), Jude, and Emily — let me remind you, neither of these four are actually friends — have to learn how to survive and get help.

Oh, yeah — to make matters worse, they think the rest of their group (that got stuck on the other side of the river) is dead.  And not just because of natural causes.  Because someone killed them.

So, there’s that.

Wanna go camping, yet?

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The main premise is that Sera seems to be the one the murderer is targeting.  Lucas decides he’s not going to let anything happen to Sera, despite how she’s treated him.  There are plenty of twists and turns and unexpected things that happen that make you hold onto your seat a little too white-knuckled.

Want more?  Skip below the break.

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Second Look: Dawn Kurtagich’s AND THE TREES CREPT IN

A while back, I announced that I won Dawn Kurtagich’s giveaway.  It included an ARC of her newest novel, AND THE TREES CREPT IN.  To say I was excited would be an understatement because I freaking loved THE DEAD HOUSE (which I apparently neglected to write a review for…).

Anyway, while on vacation, after finishing HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, I dove into this super creepy novel.

After a few distractions (like finishing Preston’s THE CABIN), I finally finished it.  And boy, was it a doozy!

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September 6, 2016

Dawn Kurtagich’s AND THE TREES CREPT IN
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016

What It’s About:

To escape their abusive father, Silla takes her little sister, Nori, with her to La Baume, the house her mother grew up in.  Her mother’s older sister, Cathy, still lives there.  And while Silla has never met Cathy, she knows that escaping to her mother’s childhood home has to be better than staying with her father…

Or is it?

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(Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Anyway…

When Silla and Nori arrive, everything is wonderful.  Cathy is like a mother they always wished they had.  Until…things change.

Two years after their arrival, (crazy) Cathy disappears to the attic and refuses to come down, leaving Silla to care for Nori herself.  Food is diminishing in the house, and the garden has gone barren.  With the threat of World War III on the verge, everyone in the nearby town has disappeared.

But then, things start getting worse.

The trees are, literally, moving closer to the house and begin to engulf it.  And the Creeper Man, a demon that Cathy and her sisters created when they were younger, has come for Nori.

With the help of a mysterious boy, Gowan, can Silla save her sister…and herself?

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Second Look: ESCAPE FROM ASYLUM by Madeleine Roux

If you’re unaware, we here at AtLP absolutely LOVE Madeleine Roux’s Asylum series. Haunted asylums, ghosts and spooky visions around every corner, crazy doctors, adorable and dramatic characters… what’s not to love!

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So after waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for this prequel to come out, how did the newest release in the series, Escape from Asylum, stack up?

What’s it about

27064441The year is 1969, and Ricky has been admitted to Brookline by his parents for aggressive and “deviant” behavior. Unfortunately for Ricky, he soon becomes the pet project for the sadistic and insane Warden Crawford, who wants to live forever (figuratively) through his scientific discoveries. Ricky’s well being (not to mention the well being of anyone else in Brookline) is not a concern to the nutjob warden, so it’s up to the patients to save themselves before it’s too late.

What I thought

I’m so sad to say I was underwhelmed by Escape from Asylum.

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I didn’t like the storyline as much as other books in the series and I didn’t have as much of an emotional connection to the characters. I only had about 70 pages left, and I just felt so done with it. It went on too long and didn’t really have any major revelations that gave us more insight into the events of the first three books. We learned more about the warden and his cray cray motives, but that was about it. Honestly, I feel like there wasn’t enough meat to this story for it to be a full book, and probably could’ve been condensed into a really awesome novella.

My rating: 6/10

*I should note that Ashley had somewhat different feelings, and that she liked it a bit more than I did. So take that into consideration if you’re on the fence about whether or not to read it. Different reviewers, different opinions :)

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