ARC Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Shallow Graves by Kali WallaceAuthor: Kali Wallace
Genre: Young adult, paranormal, horror
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
368 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for letting me read this!

I needed a few days after I finished this one to fully process my thoughts on it. The concept and the magic caught my attention right away, but Shallow Graves was not really what I was expecting. I didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters, even though I did think that Breezy’s situation was intriguing. But honestly, that might be the only thing I liked about her. She was just…okay. Being dead was the best thing she had going for her.

But I finished the book. I think it’s for 2 reasons. 1. Kali Wallace’s writing is easy to read, flows well, and was pretty straightforward, and 2. The beginning was SO good and I wanted to know the end. So that’s a good thing – I was interested enough in the characters and the magic to see it through to the end. I mean, the first line is “The first time I killed a man it was an accident.” And you’re immediately drawn into this story. The first bit of the book is really cool and you’re trying to figure out what happened to Breezy and what’s going to happen to her. But the middle part? I just got a bit bored. There’s eventually a conflict and she finds something to fight for, but I almost don’t understand why. No spoilers or anything but I don’t get why she had to get involved to the extent she did.

And as much as I liked the end – the end was COOL – I didn’t really feel satisfied with the answers we were given, which weren’t many.

The bottom line: Super cool concept, good writing, but overall, not a satisfying story for me. I liked it enough to continue to the end, but I feel like there’s a little something lacking here.

Rating: 5 – Take it or leave it

Waiting on Wednesday: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Shallow Graves by Kali WallacePublisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Author: Kali Wallace

Release date: January 26, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads: For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

Why I’m excited: This is the perfect one to be looking forward to during the week of Halloween, isn’t it? We really need more awesome zombie books, and this one sounds perfect. Plus – cults, monstrous humans, revenge, and something for fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma? Count me in. I’m a sucker for a good book about how horrible people can be. If that makes me weird, so be it. Bring on the creep factor.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

A Madness So Discreet by Mandy McGinnisAuthor: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: October 6, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

Why I’m excited: I’m excited because THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING. Also, this line, “Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness” just speaks to me; I don’t know why. The description sounds fascinating, and I can already feel myself drawn to Grace. Plus, LOOK AT THAT COVER. I cannot wait to read this one, and you can bet I’ll be ordering it for my library.

Audiobook Review – Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica RothAuthor: Veronica Roth

Narrator: Aaron Stanford

Audiobook length: 6 hours and 33 minutes

Genre: Young adult, dystopian, science fiction

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I finished this one early last month and have continued to forget to post a review ever since. I liked it, mostly, but it didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me. Let’s do a one or two sentence mini review for each of the four stories in Four: A Divergent Story Collection and then I’ll talk about the narrator.

The Transfer – very cool to learn about Four when he still lived in Abnegation and the process he went through in deciding to transfer to Dauntless. We learned about his home life with Marcus, and while we already knew most of what was discussed, we actually got to see why Four transferred and why he felt the way he did towards his home and Marcus. I also enjoyed being back in this world.

The Initiate – this one was probably the best of the four stories. We learn more about Four, but also about some of the secondary characters like Shauna and Zeke. I wish we’d gotten to know Amar a bit better as he was supposed to mean so much to Four, but we hardly see him and they don’t get that close. Learning more about Four BEFORE he meets Tris was why I liked this story.

The Son – this is the story in which Four begins to question Dauntless leadership. Other than that, I honestly can’t really remember what happens…seriously, I’m sitting here trying to remember and it obviously just left hardly any impression on me. :/

The Traitor – this was probably my least favorite story. It takes place during the events in Divergent and is basically that story but from Four’s perspective, which could’ve been cool if it had actually added anything to the story. Four and Tris feel like basically the same character, especially when we are reading (or in this case, listening) to scenes with both of them in it. I had to force myself to finish this one because I was bored.

In addition to these four stories, we also get three extra scenes from Four’s perspective, one of which was when Tris was the first jumper. While I didn’t really like the story when Four and Tris were already together, this scene was fun to see from Four’s perspective.

The narrator – Aaron Stanford has a REALLY monotone, even voice. When I first starting listening to Four, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish it. But then his voice started to pull me in and began to really fit Four and his personality. I ended up really liking his voice for the middle part of the audiobook. And then we got to the last story that bored me and added his monotone voice and…yeah, it was hard to get through that last story.

The bottom line: Even though the last two stories weren’t my favorite, I do think any fans of the Divergent trilogy will appreciate learning more about Four and his life before and after Tris.