A Few Thoughts & Goodreads Ratings on Books I Failed to Review

Unfortunately, time seems to be against me these past few months as I notice that I am accumulating a list of “read” titles on Goodreads that I never managed to review. So I thought I would share a few thoughts and my final Goodreads rating on them today.

the_atrocitiesThe Atrocities
By Jeremy Shipp


Final GR rating: 3/5

This was a wonderfully creepy novella that hooked me from the start. I was instantly drawn into the mystery of Isabella and the gothic setting. I appreciated the author’s ability to immediately set the stage for a mysterious and fast-paced story that managed to deliver something original. It did feel like it began to unhinge slightly toward the end, however, lowering my final score to an even 3/5. I would still easily recommend this to fans of supernatural and horror novellas.

into_the_drowning_deepInto the Drowning Deep
By Mira Grant


Final GR rating: 3/5

This is an author I am still trying to find my ground with. While I admit that I enjoyed Into the Drowning Deep much more than her Every Heart a Doorway, it was a slow start. But when I finally gained my footing I found that this was simply entertaining and for that worth my time. I love the idea of mermaids and sirens and will always appreciate any author who attempts to connect them to their darker origins (which is certainly the case here). My chief complaint would be that I found the characters less than engaging at times and the execution felt off. The pacing seemed to fluctuate a lot. I did enjoy the exploration of the creatures’ anatomy and the scientific elements incorporated throughout. Perhaps I was expecting something a little more frightening? Still, if you are into the mysterious deep dark sea and mythological creatures, you might try this on for size.

the_shape_of_waterThe Shape of Water
By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus


Final GR rating: 3/5

Okay, so here is the truth; I wanted to love this book and I did not. I loved the film, but somehow I struggled with certain aspects of this story on page. I appreciated the additional insight and backstory that are provided here though. I feel it is a wonderful addition to the film, but also one of the rare cases where I would suggest watching before reading. I think that the alternating PoVs started to weigh on me, as there were certain characters I truly disliked reading about. And at times the pacing was too slow for my taste. It just failed to move me or engage even remotely close to the way the film did. Which is something you will rarely hear me say! But then again, I hold a special affection for del Toro’s films and maybe my expectations were too high. It is still an incredibly beautiful story that as we have come to expect of his work challenges humanity and dares to question who the real monsters are.

brave_new_girlBrave New Girl
By Rachel Vincent


Final GR rating 4/5

This was an on the whim audible listen that was surprisingly perfect for me. It is a dystopian tale that follows young Dahlia 16 who is part of a series of clones bred to be anything but unique or different. Doing so means being flawed. Being flawed leads to recalls (i.e destroyed). So what happens when she starts breaking all of the rules? Ok so this one was not overly complex and is somewhat brief, but it felt like an honest start to something truly appealing. The author’s writing was fluid and the protagonist viable. All elements here just worked for me and I was hooked. Simply put, it was fun!

the_changelingThe Changeling
By Victor Lavalle


Final GR rating: 4/5

Gah! I do not even know where to start with this one. I am just going to be upfront and state that this was close to being a 5 star read until things took a detour during the last 25% or so of the story. It is beautifully written and full of the unexpected. Think modern fairy tale for adults with that added moral compass and valuable message we expect from them. It is ambitious, engaging and for the most part, wonderfully executed. Unfortunately, the final events deviated too far for me and it left me with mixed feelings.

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what were your thoughts? Which are you most likely to pick up?

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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You Choose, I Read!- Round 4

You Choose,I Read!

This one of my favorite features simply because it helps break up some of the monotony and encourages exploration. Several of you have asked about linking up and doing the same. Please do! The more the merrier. I simply ask that you link back to my most current You Choose, I Read post and credit the blog. Feel free to adjust the guidelines to meet your own needs.

Concept (for those who are new to the feature):

I am allowing you to choose one of my next reads. I will include a link with this feature to RaffleCopter where you may submit one book title (with author) and then in a week I will randomly choose a winner. The chosen entry will be my next read and the future review will feature the selected follower.

Easy But Necessary Guidelines:

  • Please do not submit non-fiction, romance, or spiritual titles.
  • All books must target a middle-grade audience or higher.
  • I do accept Manga and Graphic Novels!
  • If I choose to DNF the title, I will still provide a DNF review explaining why.
  • I must be able to actually obtain a copy of the book. If I am not, I will contact you to allow you to choose another title. I will also do this if I have already read the selected title or find a potential issue.
  • Please keep page number in mind when selecting titles, as I would like this to be a somewhat regular feature. (Maybe skip GRRM or anything heavier).

Enter Your Book!

That is it! I hope this is something everyone will enjoy. Any feedback on this is greatly appreciated. Please use the link below to enter your selection and have fun! Entries open for 1 week.

Enter Your Choice Here!


Danielle ❤

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Graphic Content In Books: Can It Add Value?

This is a difficult post for me to write. For two specific reasons; I understand why not everyone can tolerate explicit content, and I do believe it must be limited to the right place and time. With that said, I recently finished The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill and wanted to discuss why I am able to appreciate some of those heavy hitters that may leave others gritting their teeth or saying no.

Graphic Content in Books

I am one of those readers who can often be caught exploring darker titles that many I encounter have deemed too unsettling or even crude. A lot of times I will walk away from some of those books with mixed emotions. There is the side of me that easily grasps why the audience for such works as Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange or McCarthy’s The Road may be very specific and then there is that part of me that cannot help but feel they are deserving of so much more. So I am tempted to explore what it is that makes these dark and unsettling titles so powerful and effective. Why am I drawn to them? Clearly, I do not read about violence and disturbing scenes for the simple sake of doing so. It certainly is not fun.

I consider the audience.
There are limits in toleration that are more pronounced based on targeted audience. What one may find acceptable in an adult book could quite possibly become appalling in a middle grade or even YA title. Understanding the intended readers can alter the experience. If I were to pick up one of the above titles and believe the author was attempting to reach anything other than an adult audience, my moral compass would have gone haywire and I would not have completed the books. This is where YA and I walk a fine line together, however. I am still trying to understand the defining age group of today’s YA.

Then I find myself weighing in on whether it feels gratuitous.
Does that brutal scene that made your skin crawl serve a real purpose? Did the author achieve something of great significance or invoke a necessary emotion by adding that level of violence or discomfort? I constantly assess how each decision fits within the story and whether the omission of is would have resulted in a less memorable or impactful effect. Be it sexual, violent, or even graphic representation of drug abuse it must serve a true purpose in order for me to accept it.

So does graphic content add value?
In the end, if I feel it targeted an appropriate audience, carried a relevant theme and believe the author is mindful of how they chose to present the content, I have found my tolerance can be extremely high. And more often than not, some of my most rewarding encounters with books have been the more challenging ones. Life is full of hurdles, and as much as we may or may not talk about them, there are many disturbing issues that warrant discussion. I find incorporating these elements into books can bring about important discussion and raise much-needed awareness. Difficult themes are often thought-provoking and challenge us as readers and individuals. For that reason, I will always believe that there is value to be found in the addition of graphic content when utilized properly.

I hold a high level of admiration for authors who have the ability to take the edgier aspects of life and implement them successfully to give their stories that raw element of truth. But I feel it must be done so intelligently. Know your audience and prepare them.

How do you feel about graphic stories? Are you able to appreciate them or do you find that you are better off to avoid them? What are some of the limits you have set in place when reading stories with heavier themes and content?

Let’s Chat,

Danielle ❤

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