Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, Part IV // Back to Southern Gothic Plantation, Murderous Prairie, and The Kardashians in Greek Mythology

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Persuasion

by Martina Boone

ebook, 464 pages

Published October 27th 2015 by Simon Pulse

✰✰✰

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe.


Let me start by saying that I really really miss Watson’s landing. Reading the story is almost like getting back to Hogwarts (yes, I’m making the comparison). I just really love the historical and magical feeling the plantation has, as well as the presence of Pru in the story!

Sadly, Persuasion definitely suffers from middle book syndrome. After what happened in the first book, there are still mysteries to solve about the Fire Carrier and the curses. Seems like a lot of mystery to solve, yet the plot never really picked up until the last 10%. I like the hints weaved throughout the story though, of what happened in the present might echoes the present, but it’s not enough to carry the story.

In the meanwhile, we are told of Watson’s landing plans to open a dining experience, of Seven and Pru’s will they won’t they, as well as Barrie and Eight’s kiss and made up. I mean, I love both Seven and Pru and Barie and Eight, but especially for the latter, it’s frustrating because they lack communication and keeps fighting because of it. Not to mention the characters weren’t as endearing as I remembered them: Barrie is too naive and gullible, Seven and Eight are too controlling. Don’t get me started on Obadiah; he’s made to be this ominous figure but honestly, it felt very cliche and childish.

At least Pru is still as amazing and resillient as I remembered her.

Part of the problem might be because I didn’t really remembered what happened in the first book. I mean, I remember the plot and what happened, but not really on the mythology surrounding the curse. It’s a struggle because this book focuses on the echoes of the past and there were many old (and new) characters involved.

While I didn’t love Persuasion as much as I love Compulsion, I’m still glad I read it! I got to get back and explore more of the Watson’s Island and its history. We got to dig a little bit deeper on what happened centuries ago. And I got to meet Pru again! I don’t know when I’ll be able to read Illusion, but I’m excited to see how the story will ends.

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Daughters Unto Devils

by Amy Lukavics

Hardcover, 266 pages

Published September 29th 2015 by Harlequin Teen

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When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.


This book is pretty popular within YA community due to its creepy cover and blurb, and I was really looking forward to read this! And while I always try to save the creepy books for the colder weather, this summer I was really in the mood to read dark and creepy books.

I think the strength of this book lies on the atmosphere. Even before the family moved, it was obvious that there was something wrong with the family. It was like there was something that was haunting the family from the events of the previous winter. Not to mention, the fact that they live on the very top of the mountain, far from any neighbors and towns. This pattern of isolation follows to when they moved to the cabin, with them being the only resident throughout the prairie.

Our main character, Amanda, is an unreliable narrator due to the fact that she doesn’t know what was real and not real. Her family is deeply religious, so this also adds to the confusion and suspense. Is it real? Or is it the trick of her mind? Or is the evil is actually inside her?

I couldn’t comment on the rest of the characters as we didn’t find enough time to get to know them (the book was pretty short). But I’ve got to say this book has a lot of creepy moments with voices and insects, the latter being one of my biggest scares. So it was a fun and creepy ride for me, and I can’t wait to read more of the author’s books!

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Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters

by Emily Roberson

e-book, 352 pages

Expected publication: October 22nd 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

✰✰✰.5

Sixteen-year-old Ariadne’s whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family’s entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won.

When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn’t just endanger her family’s empire―the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving.

Ariadne’s every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?


I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss.Plus in exchange for an honest review. 

Look, I hate drama. I might be the only person in the world that hates it, but I found it really tedious and messy. That doesn’t mean I hate reality shows though, sometimes they are just fun to watch as mindless entertainment and their antics can be ridiculously crazy 😜 And I also love greek mythology, so what could go wrong here??

Many people pitched Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters as Keeping Up With the Kardashians meets greek mythology, and I couldn’t find a more perfect description. The story closely follows the original source mythology of Ariadne and Jason, but it was merged seamlessly with modern reality show format that it feels interesting and refreshing. The author knows exactly which aspect of the story will make a story line worthy of a reality show, as well as how to make it interesting. Not only the fun though, this book also discusses the workings behind reality shows, such as the pressure to keep up appearances and the sacrifice for privacy.

Now, for the plot itself. If you’re familiar with the mythology, you know it’s just a plain tragedy, from the birth of minotaur to Ariadne’s ending. Oh, and also a strong case of insta-love, so be prepared for that. While most of the plot is definitely a tragedy, I love how they change the ending of the story and gives Ariadne’s characterization a different meaning. Instead of being dependent and love-sick girl, she became an independent girl that made her own decision. I never really liked Jason, but I do respect his reasonings in this book. I just didn’t think his way of getting it is justified though, because he felt very pushy at Ariadne.

While I largely enjoyed this book, the reason why I couldn’t give this book a 5 stars is because there’s just something lacking. It was fun yes, but it didn’t really pull me in. I never felt the urgency to finish it because I’m sure the ending will be the same as the mythology and none of the characters really clicked with me. It’s still an enjoyable book, I was just expecting more from it.

What have you been reading lately?

tasya


5 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Recent Reads, Part IV // Back to Southern Gothic Plantation, Murderous Prairie, and The Kardashians in Greek Mythology

  1. Oh no, I’m sorry you didn’t love Persuasion! I really want to continue that series soon, but at least I’ll know to go in with lower expectations. I recently finished Daughters Unto Devils also but didn’t love it as much as you, unfortunately. I agree the atmosphere was great though!

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    1. I’m curious how the story will be resolved in Illusion, but from the reviews I’ve read, it doesn’t seem promising either 😦 Despite loving Daughters Unto Devils, I don’t think I’ll be reading the authors other books as I wasn’t drawn to any premise and the reviews were pretty lukewarm too. So yeah, I don’t think you missed much 😅

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  2. I really loved Daughters Unto Devils, so I’m glad you enjoyed it, too. I agree, it was its atmosphere that captured my attention at first, and it just got better as the family moved to the prairie. I loved that it got quite dark for a YA, and that ending was brilliant; it gave me chills. I’ve been thinking of reading Heirs of Watson Island, but I’ve heard some mixed things, and I’m not happy about the middle book syndrome you mentioned. 😦 Either way, great reviews!

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