Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara’s morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.
But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.
Thank you YA Bound Book Tours for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Resurrection Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
what is it about?
Resurrection Girls started three years after Olivia Foster’s little brother, Robby, drowned in the pool in their backyard. Broken and crushed, her mother was consuming pills to escape the grief and her father wasn’t around that much, arriving home during late hours and avoiding conversation or any sort of social interaction with the remains of his family. When three generations of women moving into a house across the street, Olivia didn’t realize that her lonesome journey will take turns. The Hallas women are intoxicating and mysterious, and soon Olivia made friends with Kara, who’s full of confidence, odd, and seems to know a lot about Olivia ever since their very first encounter.
what do I think about it?
The first thing that strikes my mind about this book is that it was far from what I was expected. Looking at the cover, reading the synopsis, checking the genres’ list, I was expecting this book will be heavier on the fantasy, magical, and witchy elements. But in reality, this is a story of grieving, losing your loved ones, dealing with unavoidable emptiness, and healing. Although I’m not complaning, because Morgyn did an awesome job for delivering this story with her haunting and poetic narratives.
I had a great time with this book, especially diving in its odd plot and exploring its quirky characters. The originality of Resurrection Girls was outstanding and it was bizarre when I first read about Olivia and Kara’s correspondences with the prisoned criminals, but it was so bizarre that it actually attracted me to keep reading. Their friendship also dynamic and always interesting to be followed, as I keep wondering what’s the next thing that they were gonna do after I finished each chapter.
Unfortunately, there were other things that prevent me from having that extraordinary, one of a kind reading experience. The inconsistentency of the plot was my first issue, and I’ve been thinking about it since the earlier chapters, especially because things are slow during those earlier chapters and I didn’t feel that many of those scenes contributed big impact on the bigger picture of the story, yet it took a fast route every since Olivia met Kara. I also couldn’t fully engaged and resonated with the rest of Olivia’s family. And I had so many questions that bugging me throughout the story, especially towards the Hallas. What’s their history? How exactly are their “magic” works? Are they naturally born with their charms to manipulate people or is it a work of magic? Why there were no men in their family tree? Where was Kara’s father? Why was Kara grow an interest to penpal prisoned criminals? I wish there’d be more explanation about all of these since the Hallas was the reason why this story happening in the first place.
Overall, Resurrection Girls is a poignant debut that explores loss, grieving, and healing with such graceful way. The little incorporation of magical realism in this contemporary might be a hit or a miss, which all depends on your reading preference.
The Good Luck Girls follows the story of five girls and their escape journey to find freedom in the brutal land of Arketta. With a hope to get rid of their cursed markings, they will have to face a long trip full of demonic creatures, ruthless monsters, and not to mention the forces that chase them for a murder that one of them accidentally committed.
Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.
Aster, the protector Violet, the favorite Tansy, the medic Mallow, the fighter Clementine, the catalyst
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Thank you The Nerd Daily, Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Good Luck Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
what is it about?
The story started in a brothel called Welcome House, where the five girls lived and tried their best to survive after being sold by their family to get money for a living, pay debts, or simply because it was seen as the better way because the brothel offered food and roof to stay. It was the sixteenth birthday of one of the girls, Clementine, and it marked her transformation from being a daybreak girl where she’d need to do daily chores, into a sundown girl where she’d started to accompany clients at nights, commonly called as brags. It was supposed to be her Lucky Night, until she accidentally killed her very first client. Her older sister, Aster, who’s already experienced the ugly side of being a sundown girl, realized that there was no way for them to get out of this unfortunate event without getting punish unless they run away and leave the brothel. With the other three girls, Mallow, Tansy, and Violet, Aster lead the escape journey not to just physically get out of the brothel, but also to get rid of the tattoos that marked them as good luck girls. Girls that are forced into sex slavery in Welcome House , girls that are forced to praise every brag that they encountered, girls that need to swallow drugs in order to escape their traumas, girls that are sold by their own family. Maybe, they were not so lucky after all.
what do I think about it?
Ever since its first page, The Good Luck Girls was nothing but continuous intensity, dynamic storyline, full-force action packs, excellent inclusivity and representation of multiple mental illnesses (anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction), and delivery of well-researched topics including sex trafficking, sex slavery, social inequality, and oppression. It was raw and raging. Davis delivered a story which set in fantasy land but with issues that sadly still happened in our reality.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire aspect of The Good Luck Girls. As much as being entertained by the magical universe that Davis created, I was also learning about multiple important issues that I’ve never aware of before. Yes, this story feels like a furious shout over devastating issues that still happening at this very moment, and I applaud Davis for sharing her awareness and knowledge, not just by simply writing this story but also for spending enormous efforts and time to deliver facts and truths by conducting researches (in case you want to see more behind the story about this and the book references that Davis used, check out the acknowledgment part).
Everyone deserved to be free, though. Everyone deserved to feel this.
The universe of The Good Luck Girls was exceptional. It was built on such detailed narratives that leave me craving for more. Davis was truly incredible in describing this magical world of hers, everything from the scab, the underworld, to the animal and other magical creatures that lived in it was delivered in such cinematic writing. Everything was vivid and authentic.
And clearly, this is neither a plot-driven or a character-driven story. Because it is both! There was always something happening that moved the characters forward. I’m not the biggest fan when this method used in a story because oftentimes, they feel forced and unnatural. But in The Good Luck Girls, it flows smoothly and although I’m tensed and scared for these characters’ life, I couldn’t wait for more twists and unfortunate events. (No offense, Aster. Your gang will be always in my pray)
In conclusion, I’m glad to pick this book as one of my most anticipated debut titles for this month, because it truly lives to my expectations! The ending was not a ‘happily ever after’, indeed, but it left many unanswered questions that hopefully will be revealed in the next book.
what’s the verdict?
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What’s your most anticipated debut for this month? Are you thinking about adding The Good Luck Girls to your next reading list?
After gaining a major success as a creator of the award-winning podcast, The Bright Sessions, Lauren Shippen is ready to bring you back the thrilling story and twisted universe featuring your favorite Atypicals through her debut novel, The Infinite Noise.
Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”
Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.
Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.
Thank you Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Infinite Noise will be published on September 24, 2019 and will be available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
The Infinite Noise follows the story of Caleb Michaels, who had a pretty normal life as a high school footballer, until one day he discovered himself as an empath, an Atypical who could sense people’s feelings, and suddenly, life was not so normal anymore. Enter Adam Hayes, the bright yet quiet classmate of Caleb, who’s feeling was too big and deep, making Caleb overwhelmed as he found himself helplessly drowning in it. This is a story of self-discovery, a coming-of-age love journey, and maybe, one or two sessions of superhero-only therapy.
I discovered the glorious universe of The Bright Sessions last month, right after reading the synopsis of Shippen’s debut. Looking at all of the exciting commentaries about this upcoming release which coming from fans of the original podcats, of course, I started listening to the first episode right that second. I’m glad to tell you that surprisingly, although it was my very first storytelling podcast, I truly had a great time. My initial intention was to listen to the whole podcast before I jump into this book, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it in time. So, I ended up in the middle of season three when I started reading this book and here how it goes…
Obviously, after listening to the podcast and memorize the voice of the characters by heart now, reading them on paper was so much easier and exciting. The book was following the exact plotline of the podcast, but don’t let this intimidate you, because you totally don’t have to listen to the podcast to enjoy this story! However, I’d say listening to the podcast will help you to dissolve quicker in these characters’ inner monologues and struggles.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the podcast, I couldn’t get the same feeling from this book. Don’t get me wrong. Caleb and Adam were my favorite characters in the podcast and it was exciting to be able to read more of their thoughts in this story, something that does not exist in the podcast.
During the first encounters of both of their point-of-view, it was thrilling. For Caleb, I enjoyed how he grows into his superpower. His narrative was fun to read, especially the way he used visualization to make more sense of how his power works. Meanwhile, for Adam, I’m grateful to see more of his personality through the reflection of his struggles and thoughts. But after the endless back and forth POV’s changes between these two, they started to sound almost similar and even the pace started to feel dragging, especially from the middle towards the end. It was understandable that since both of them are still teenagers and they were having difficulties to communicate with each other, they will need some time to figure things out. Yet, I personally found that it took too long for them to resolve their issues and the sole reason for their conflict was because Caleb keeps shutting his mouth in the middle of a sentence to keep his secret and Adam keep asking stubborn oblivious series of questions that stressing out Caleb.
And remember when I said that the pace started to feel dragging? It was especially because from the beginning until around 80% of the story, it only focused on three main characters (aside from family members and other classmates), and suddenly, it delivers other ‘important’ characters out of nowhere, that also brings other crucial plots along with their appearance. Which of course, will not be a big problem if you’re listening to the podcast already, but even as the podcast listener, I found this addition as too rushed and sudden. It was as if Shippen didn’t consider that there are readers who’re not aware of the podcast and just delivered chunk on important information without a proper warm-up.
Although it was an enjoyable ride, The Infinite Noise was a high-anticipated debut that doesn’t really meet its expectations. Aside from its extraordinary superhero concept and detailed worldbuilding, the character development and their genuine relationship captivated me to keep reading this story until the very last page.
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Do you listen to The Bright Sessions? Are you thinking about adding The Infinite Noise to your next reading list?
Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.
Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.
And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.
Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?
The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”
Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
Thank you Kate, Delacorte Press, and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Babysitters Coven waspublished on September 17, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
In my blog stop today, I’m glad to bring you the excerpts of this exciting debut! The excerpts below are taken from Pengun Random House Canada. Click here to read the excerpts on the Penguin’s site or read more below.
read the excerpts!
The devil was an artist. Her medium varied, from crayons to Magic Markers to finger paints, and she had coloring books, construction paper, giant pads of newsprint on a tiny plastic easel. But today she’d ignored it all, in favor of the hallway and a marker. Previously pristine white, the wall was now permanently adorned with black squiggles, dots, shapes, and lines, all drawn at eye level. Well, her eye level–a little less than three feet off the ground.
How did I know this art was permanent and not the water-soluble kind? Because Baby Satan–known by some as Kaitlyn–was still holding the Sharpie in her hand. As I surveyed her work–which was impressive in its own way, because she’d done all of this damage in only the time it had taken me to pee–she smiled sweetly up at me, topless underneath a pair of very dirty OshKosh overalls. She held the Sharpie up to her nose and inhaled deeply, a look of intense contentment on her face. “Give me that,” I said, grabbing it from her. Two years old, and already into graffiti and huffing.
She was on one tonight. It had started with dinner, which was dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and bunny-shaped mac-n-cheese. She wouldn’t eat any of it, not even when I insisted that the nuggets were actually made from real triceratops. When I got up to go get a paper towel, she managed to transfer most of the mac-n-cheese to her seat and sit on it.
She thought this was hilarious and wiggled around, etching orange cheese stains that would probably never come out into the butt of her overalls. “Squishy!” she squealed with delight, and I was sorry that I’d taught her that word last week. After dinner, we played with blocks, which mainly consisted of me building the tallest stack I could and then cheering as she ran at them, full speed, from across the room to knock them down. It was right after this that I made that fateful decision to use the bathroom. I should have known better.
Now I placed the cap back on the Sharpie and put it on the kitchen counter, far back against the wall and safely out of her reach. “All right!” I said. “It’s bedtime.”
Bedtime started with a bath, complete with fizzy dye pods–two blue and one yellow–to make turquoise “mermaid water.” She drank some of it. Teeth were brushed, sorta, and pajamas were donned. I usually allotted the devil three bedtime stories, which was enough to have her nodding off, her chin coming down to her chest, but tonight her blue eyes were still wide open and alert. Each time I’d finish a story, she’d climb out of bed, run across the room, and come back with a new stack. “More!” she’d scream, slamming them into my lap with a surprising, and almost impressive, violence.
In this moment, I saw my future stretching out before me.
Kaitlyn never goes to sleep.
Her mom never comes home.
I read bedtime stories until the world ends.
It was times like these that I wished I could tap out and have another babysitter come in and take over. Baby Satan had a million stuffed animals, and my eyes settled on a floppy dog that was nearly life-sized. Couldn’t he read a story for once?
His ears twitched, as if he were responding to my mental plea.
I blinked and rubbed my eyes.
Babysitting was making me hallucinate.
I sighed. Kaitlyn was still wide-awake. Not a hint of sleepiness anywhere on her admittedly cute face.
I picked up another book. “Okay,” I said. “This one’s about a bunny who runs away. It’s called The Runaway Bunny.” She smiled, all cherub cheeks and dimples, and something in me softened. “See what they did with the title there?” I said. “The people who wrote this book must be pretty clever, huh? I bet they were geniuses.”
“Smart bunny,” she said.
I nodded, reaching over to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “A very smart bunny. You ready?”
It took seven stories before she finally fell asleep, her blankie pressed against her cheek. I gave the wall a few half-hearted scrubs, but the thing about permanent markers is that they’re permanent, so I admitted defeat and went into the kitchen. After everything I’d had to endure tonight, I deserved a snack. I mean, the number one perk of babysitting is OPP–other people’s pantries.
I opened the pantry to what could have stocked a vending machine: potato chips, Chex Mix, Cheez-Its (Kaitlyn’s mom, Sharon, had even started buying the white cheddar ones, just for me), pretzels, Doritos, jumbo-sized bags of M&M’s, Twizzlers, gummy bears, you name it. None of this had anything to do with the fact that it was almost Halloween–this was just what Sharon ate all year round.
I grabbed what I wanted, found a big bowl, and poured in a layer of Frosted Flakes. I smashed up a few pretzels and added them, then a handful of Corn Chex, some potato chips, and a generous layer of M&M’s. Then I sprinkled the whole thing with sugar, poured some milk on it, and stood back to admire my specialty: Babysitter’s Crunch, the perfect mixture of salty and sweet. Kellogg’s should market this stuff.
It looked so pretty and delicious that I thought for a second about posting it, then remembered that would just announce to the world (or at least my 398 followers) that I was spending yet another night with Tony the Tiger and a human who thought “potty” was a dirty word. I’m not ashamed of babysitting, but I know it’s not what most people think of as a “cool job.”
I took my crunch and sank into the couch in front of the TV. OPTVs are also serious babysitting perkage, and Sharon had every channel and subscription imaginable. I finally settled on a reality show where a girl with breast implants, hair extensions, acrylic nails, and a spray tan cried to the camera about how she couldn’t stand fake people.
about the author
I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.
I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.
The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.
Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.
There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.
She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.
Trigger warnings: Blood magic, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), mind manipulation, parental abuse, an act of a sexual nature that occurs when a character tricks another character while disguising their appearance, and violence.
I’m not being overdramatic when I said this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. I’ve been mentioning this book on my two previous posts because I’m that excited. Ever since I read the premise and knowing the fact that it’s an #OwnVoices debut book, I know I need to read it immediately. But, from the trigger warnings above, it’s obvious that Kingdom of Souls is not going to be an easy read.
This aspect is the most amazing part in Kingdom of Souls. I’m always a sucker when it comes to not just a new universe, but also a detailed, magical, and very-well explained one. It was without a doubt that Barron poured her heart and Ka (tribal common tongue for “soul.”) within this universe and I’m completely blown away by how everything works. If you’re like me and you’re reading the ARC of this book, I’d suggest you to go to the book’s website to gaze over the beautiful world of the kingdom. I’m pretty sure the map will be included in the finished copy, so don’t worry!
Some people can pull magic from the fabric of the world. Some can coax magic to come with rituals and spells. Many can’t call magic at all.
Being the opposite of its extraordinary worldbuilding, the plot in Kingdom of Souls could be better. During the earlier chapters, the pace was incredibly dynamic and I feel as if everything happened so fast, in a good way that I found myself to enjoyed every second of it. But then it got slower. Too slow that I found it shocking. I’m not a fan of this atmosphere’s turnover and I keep flipping the page while whispering to myself, “Okay, interesting backstory of too many forgettable side characters… but what it’s gotta do with Arrah?”.
Don’t get caught in the shadows, for a demon waits to steal your soul. The younger the soul, the sweeter the feast.
As a character-oriented reader, I don’t mind with five to ten characters. The thing with big group of characters is… it’s either a hit or a miss. I’m afraid to say that Kingdom of Souls is leaning more toward the latter. I only engaged with a few characters and although I wanted to, I simply don’t care for the rest because I couldn’t relate to them. I also often forgot their names because there were too many of them. Hopefully, a characters list will be included in the final copy of this book, but since I only read the unfinished copy, that’s how I felt about it.
And as for the relationships among the characters, my favorite one is between Arrah and her father. It was genuine and pure. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way with Arrah’s romantic relationship with one of the characters in this book. Although it took quite a big appearance within the story, I just couldn’t sense their chemistry, and at the end, it just felt unsettling.
But one thing for sure, I loved the diversity in this story. There was diversity within the diversity and I applauded Barron for that. Often times, a book considered as diverse when it featured one African or one Asian character. But the truth is, no one is just African or Asian. There are many sub-countries and sub-cultures within these countries that people often missed.
I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.
Although I enjoyed this debut, I’m not going to lie that it felt overwheming at times. The intricate universe was definitely not easy to digest in instance. I’m thinking about picking up this book again in the future because I know there was many potential in it.
Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
about the author
Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventuresparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, shegraduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all thingsscience fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimedspace nerd. Whenshe’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Followher at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.
Rena prefers not to be tagged in reviews to save her sanity.
She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.