Saturday, December 21, 2019

Review: Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

Title: Now Entering Addamsville
Author: Francesca Zappia
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (October 2019)

Zora Novak has been framed. 
When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught. 
Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself. 

Eliza and her Monsters is one of my favorite reads of the past few years. I was really excited for this one, as I also love a good spooky read and expected the author to deliver with a fun story and quirky characters.

Alas, Now Entering Addamsville was a bit of a letdown for me. The story had so much potential, but I wonder if Zappia was rushed to produce this in time for Halloween release, as the story felt rushed and half-formed.

What should have been a creepy mystery felt like a bunch of scenes thrown together in which we get told how much the town hates Zora and the injustice of it all. There was not much plot to hold this up and, while I liked the supporting cast of characters, felt very little for Zora herself.

I guess if you are looking for a read like this, you would be better off with The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

I have not written this author off and will definitely check out her next book, but this time with fewer expectations.

Review: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Title: Serpent and Dove (Book 1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 2019)

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. 
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony. 
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. 
And love makes fools of us all.

I am back and have been reading up a storm!

The first of this batch of reviews is the much-hyped Serpent and Dove, a book that sold me on the cover alone.

This is a hard review for me to articulate because I really did love this book, but it has massive flaws that bothered me throughout the narrative.

Lou, our protagonist, reminds me a little too much of Celaena Sardothien with her badassery and sass, however all it did was make me want to return to the Throne of Glass universe (which I will do when my books arrive from South Africa in the next week or two). But, she at least isn't a complete carbon-copy and carries her story well.

The story is well-paced and told from alternating points-of-view which suits the duality of this story. We need both sides as these are very different characters from different worlds and seeing their opinions of the other side is imperative to the plot. This is, at the core, a romantic fantasy and it makes for fun reading.

I did also have a problem with the romance and the building of sexual attraction between the two leads. There were times where their interactions felt a little forced and this is perhaps due to this being the author's debut novel. I just wasn't rooting for the couple as hard as I have other fictional couples and don't feel the need to look up fanart or any of that fun stuff to fill the void left until the next book releases.

***Also going to make a note that there is pretty descriptive sex in this for a book aimed at teens. There is no "fade to black" here kids, so be aware if you are getting this for a younger teen.***

But if you like YA fantasy and hate-to-love romance tropes, this is worth picking up.