*Book Review* Sorority- Genevieve Sly Crane

36374015. sy475 Sisterhood is forever…whether you like it or not.

Prep meets Girls in White Dresses in Genevieve Sly Crane’s deliciously addictive, voyeuristic exploration of female friendship and coming of age that will appeal to anyone who has ever been curious about what happens in a sorority house.

Twinsets and pearls, secrets and kinship, rituals that hold sisters together in a sacred bond of everlasting trust. Certain chaste images spring to mind when one thinks of sororities. But make no mistake: these women are not braiding each other’s hair and having pillow fights—not by a long shot.

What Genevieve Sly Crane has conjured in these pages is a blunt, in your face look behind the closed doors of a house full of contemporary women—and there are no holds barred. These women have issues: self-inflicted, family inflicted, sister-to-sister inflicted—and it is all on the page. At the center of this swirl is Margot: the sister who died in the house, and each chapter is told from the points of view of the women who orbit her death and have their own reactions to it.

With a keen sense of character and elegant, observant prose, Crane details the undercurrents of tension in a world where perfection comes at a cost and the best things in life are painful—if not impossible—to acquire: Beauty. A mother’s love. And friendship… or at least the appearance of it. Woven throughout are glimmers of the classical myths that undercut the lives of women in Greek life. After all, the Greek goddesses did cause their fair share of destruction.

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My Review:

“Men will kill you with their idiocy but women will kill you with their brilliance.”

DNF @ 73%

The synopsis of this book made this sound amazing. It made it sound like something more than it actually was. I was so close to finishing this but I couldn’t torture myself anymore. I’m shocked that I made it that far in this snoozefest.

With this, we’re promised a sorority sister’s death and an intimate look at the highs and lows of being in a sorority. What we got was a very boring and non-shocking look at the boring lives of valley girls with issues.

It started off slow and got even slower. I didn’t even know that was possible but this broke all the rules of mediocrity. What I wanted was a drama-filled dumpster fire while being surprised by the recklessness of joining a sorority because my life is an inferno in a dumpster. I’m not sure what this is but I know it needs to be erased from my memory.

Sorority wasn’t worth my time and I’ll probably never read anything else this author writes. My dog, Louie, could bark a better book than this.

stacy

The Mall- Megan McCafferty

50148657. sy475 New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

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“Mooooooiiiiiiiiiiiisssssst!
Sam shivered. I threw back my head and cackled.
Moist panties would make a great band name. I loved their debut single. I consulted the worst words list and put two of the grossest together. Fetal smear.”

Ahhh! The nineties where scrunchies, Urkel, sexy sax solos, and MC Hammer was too legit to quit reigned supreme. It was simpler times and I want to go back in time to experience it all over again. This book is seriously the next best thing.

In 1991, I was five years old and living in Philly. This book hits close to home because it takes place in Jersey (which is our next-door neighbor) and during the best decade (fight me). It was the blast from the past that was so desperately needed.

Cassie has her life all planned out. She just graduated high school and got a summer job working at the mall with her boyfriend, Troy. Once fall hits, Cassie and her boyfriend will be attending college in New York.

It was the perfect plan for her perfect life until she got mononucleosis. It incapacitated her for an entire six weeks. Who knew six weeks could change her life forever?

In just a short period of time, she lost her boyfriend, her job, and her mind. She thought finding a job at the peak of summer was hopeless until an old friends Mom makes her an offer that she couldn’t refuse.

Working at Bellarosa Boutique isn’t what she had planned but she needed the money. What made her apprehensive was working side by side with her old best friend, Drea. They were the best of friends as soon as Drea moved to town but stopped when Drea thought Cassie wasn’t up to her level.

Things are tense at first but as the summer progresses, Cassie and Drea gravitate towards one another. Drea helps Cassie overcome her sadness of all she’s lost and Cassie helps Drea on a Cabbage Patch scavenger hunt.

Can Cassie find true happiness before she heads to New York? Or will she let the disastrous start to summer predict her future?

This was a rad read. It was fun to read once but it’s not something I would revisit. It was so much more than just a breakup book but I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. The only character that stood out was “Sam”. He had a decent part but it wasn’t enough.

The Mall was a laugh-out-loud blast from the past that perked my mood right up. Even the music choices were boss. Just remember that anything is possible if you use enough hairspray.

stacy

*Arc Review* Catherine House- Elisabeth Thomas

51934838A seductive, gothic-infused tale of literary suspense—the debut of a spectacular new voice —about a dangerously curious young undergraduate whose rebelliousness leads her to discover a shocking secret involving an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school’s promise of prestige.

You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you . . .

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises its graduates a future of sublime power and prestige, and that they can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, pills, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. The school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves and their place within the formidable black iron gates of Catherine.

For Ines, Catherine is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had, and her serious, timid roommate, Baby, soon becomes an unlikely friend. Yet the House’s strange protocols make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when Baby’s obsessive desire for acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda that is connected to a secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.

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My Review

“We know not to fear death. Because even in death, there is life. Death is not the black night, but its white moon. The honeyed egg of rebirth.”

This was one of those debut novels that I knew that I needed to read sooner rather than later. I’ve tried my damndest to get my hands on an early copy and I finally succeeded.

From the first couple of lines you know that you have something special and by a couple of pages I knew that I was hooked. This is one of my favorite books this year!

Elisabeth starts off and makes you feel comfortable. Then when you think everything is okay, she turns the tables and makes you question everything. You’ll start to feel haunted by this captivating tale. It’s one of those books that creeps up your spine and engulfs you wholly. You’ll never be the same again.

Catherine House is the gothic mystery of literary fiction that will unsettle you. I loved the way the book was written and how it made me feel/think as I was reading. My brain is still swirling after I finished it.

This is a story that Jordan Peele wishes he would have written.

*Review* The Price Guide to the Occult- Leslye Walton

35879387   From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

My Review:

“Nor’s little room was lit by a solitary candle. Nor licked her finger and passed it over the flame. The flame danced. It was beautiful; so beautiful it was easy to forget that it could be dangerous as well. Or perhaps it seemed beautiful because it was dangerous. Just like the storm that raged outside her room. Just like her mother.”

The words were so beautifully written and flowed like a classic novel. The cover and red pages are creepy yet alluring. And the Witches story in between clawed their way into your brain and made you think twice about who to trust.

I wanted to be terrified with this story and fuel the fire that is my love for Witches but it was kind of a letdown. It started off very good and creepy but it lost me when Fern popped back up into town. And the end of the last chapter before the epilogue had me shrugging and screaming, that’s it? That end was the worst part of all. But the end of the epilogue put a tad bit more faith into this book.

I really hope there is a second book to this one because Nor’s story is far from over.

I would recommend this book, given its flaws. The atmospheric presence is definitely worth it.

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stacy