Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Review

Welcome to my first post of April. Today, I’m going to be reviewing Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Vicious is a part sci-fi, part paranormal, part fantasy story with an amazing anti-hero and a great plot.

Book: Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

__


Minor spoilers possibly ahead: Read at your own risk!


___

Quote: “Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

*Plot. I loved the scientific theories and aspects to the story. The possibility of humans becoming superheroes by surviving near death experiences was very interesting. Even though it can’t happen in real life, it was fun to see how it could turn out in this book.

To help with understanding this, I’m going to give a brief explanation of how EO’s, or ExtraOrdinary, humans work. After surviving a near death experience, a person would wake up with super powers. For example, after electrocuting himself, Victor was able to turn pain on and off for himself and others. Eli, after freezing himself to the very brink of death, could heal himself after getting hurt.

*Characters. Victor is a villain, but a good one. His supposed best friend, Eli, turned him in after Victor accidentally killed Eli’s girlfriend Angie. After Victor breaks out of prison ten years later, he is determined to destroy Eli however he possibly can. I was cheering for Victor the whole time because as the story progresses, you realize how evil Eli really is, and you also grow to feel somewhat sympathetic for Victor. There are two other characters that make up Victor’s team: Mitch, a huge and imposing tattoo-covered hacker, and Sydney, a tough young girl who is also an EO. Her power is to bring back the dead. I loved the relationship between the three of them, and Sydney was one of my favorite characters because of how young, sweet, and innocent she was.

*Timeline. I liked how the story flipped back and forth between the present, 10 years before, and also between the several different characters. It was nice to see everyone’s perspective of what happened and what was happening.

*The Ending. I was very satisfied with the ending, and I’m very curious to see what will happen in the next book.


Quote: “When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”

*Star-minus. This was great, and I really liked it, but I don’t really feel that ‘five star’ feeling with this book. I wasn’t overly attached to the characters or the story. However, that shouldn’t deter you from trying this out!


Quote: “The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequences.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this, but it wasn’t a five star for me. However, I would still recommend it and I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

One sentence summary: An interesting read with great characters, and an amazing plot!

Overall, 4 stars.

★★★★☆

Have you read Vicious? What did you think? Do you have any other suggestions for books such as this? Let’s chat in the comments!

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – Review

Welcome back to the review of the sequel to Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. The Vanishing Stair was an amazing sequel and a definite four star read for me. The mystery was explored some more, new secrets were revealed and the cliffhanger ending was amazing.

This review may contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Book: The Vanishing Stair

Author: Maureen Johnson

Series: Truly Devious

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

Quote: “All the money, all the power—none of it compares to a good book.”

The Good:

*Mystery. In this book, the Ellingham mystery takes center stage and I really like that because that’s the main reason why I picked up the first book to start with. I was also eager to find out what happened to Ellie and what her secret was. Solving two mysteries at the same time was a little mind-exhausting, but still so much fun.

*Characters. I liked Stevie much more in this book. She didn’t sound so whiny, and she seemed much more mature. Nate was always my favorite, but I loved him even more in this book. His reluctant but fierce loyalty to Stevie and always helping her when it is against his better instincts is very touching. My favorite quote by him: “Why. Do. People. Do. Stupid. Things.” (Stevie answers: “Because we’re stupid.”)

*Ending. Chaima’s review of The Vanishing Year conveyed my thoughts on that ending so well. That cliffhanger is probably the best I’ve ever read and it’s making me crave the third book so much! So many questions were answered, but at the same time, they opened doors for even more theories. I’m pretty sure I’ve solved it, but there are still several unanswered questions and it ended on such a tense note and I really really need the third book.

(As you can see, there is a reason why I usually read series when all the books in it are out, instead of waiting a WHOLE YEAR for the next one.)

Quote: “The real magic rocks are the friends we make along the way.”

The Bad:

*David. What. Is. His. Deal. He totally went off in this book and seems to have no regard for his or anyone else’s future. I understand that Stevie might have broken his heart, but he shouldn’t just throw his life away just for the fun of it.

*Riddle. There’s a crucial riddle in this book and it’s solution wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought that the answer was something no ordinary person would think to do. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not good at solving riddles/thinking outside the box?

Quote: “Detection has many methods, many pathways, narrow and subtle.”

The Wrap:

All in all, I REALLY liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

One sentence summary: A great sequel with an intriguing mystery, amazing cliffhanger, and lovable characters.

Overall, 4 shinning stars

Have you read The Vanishing Stair? What did you think? Did that ending make you crave more of the Truly Devious series? Do you think you’ve solved it? Let’s chat in the comments!

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus – Review

Well hello! Hope you are all having a fantastic day. Today, I’ll be reviewing Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. This was a four star book. The two main characters were relate-able, the plot was full of slowly built-up suspense, and the ending was a huge shock to me.

Book: Two Can Keep a Secret

Author: Karen M. McManus

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

Quote: “Why do you look like you just swallowed a grenade?”

The Good:

*Plot. I loved all the secrets, the mystery of the missing girls, and the family drama that was going on. I tried so hard to connect the dots and I still couldn’t guess the ending.

*Characters. Malcolm quickly became my favorite character because I love championing people who are wrongfully accused. And reading his point of view was really interesting. Ellery was also a wonderful character since she is a crime addict like me and seriously obsessed with solving all the mysteries thrown at her like me, including her mother’s sisters’ disappearance, the homecoming threats, Brooke’s disappearance, Declan and Daisy’s mysterious return to Echo Ridge, and everything else that she stumbles upon. Mia is so stubborn and kick-ass and I really really want to have as much confidence as she has! It would be lovely to have a book in which she’s the main character.

*The twins. The twins, Ellery and Ezra, are so sweet together. They know each other inside out, they support each other, and the story probably wouldn’t have been the same without the two of them. I wish Ezra got more attention in this book, though.

*Diversity. There were Asian characters, Ellery and Ezra are supposed to be part Latino, and some of the characters were gay/bisexual.

Quote: “I wish I had, because I’ll spend the rest of my life hoping he never repeats the words he thought I’d take to my grave.”

The Bad:

*Pace. The first half/two thirds was pretty slow. It wasn’t until the last third (or about that) that things got hot and stuff was happening pretty fast.

*Questions. The ending left me with some questions that didn’t get answered, but I’m not going to spoil anything!

Quote: “If I believed in omens, this would be a bad one.”

The Wrap:

I really enjoyed it, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

One sentence summary: A suspenseful thriller with great characters and an amazing twist/plot.

Overall, 4 beautiful stars!

 Have you read Two Can Keep a Secret? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti – Review

Hi guys! How are you doing today? I’m fine, in case you asked. Today’s review is of The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti. I gave this four stars because the end surprised me even though I was pretty sure I knew who villain was.

Book: The Vanishing Year

Author: Kate Moretti

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Quote: “There is endless psychological research on evil people. But in my experience the average sociopath has no idea they are wrong. They’re born this way, not made.”

The Good:

*Secrets. This is kind of like a typical story of a wife keeping secrets about her past from her husband and vice versa, and then it all explodes in everybody’s face. The MC, Zoe Whittaker has just hosted a successful dinner for a charity when she gets a blast from the past. Her roommate happened to be at the dinner and she recognizes Zoe’s past self, formerly named Hilary Lawlor. Everything goes from bad to worse from then on.

*Characters. Zoe’s former best friend, Lydia, is somebody I kind of want for a friend too. She’s understanding, sarcastic (I imagine her to be), and this amazing force that you can’t tame. She’s so wild and it’s pretty sad that she doesn’t get much attention in this book. Zoe herself is okay. I understood the mess in her life, and I sympathized with her a lot. Cash was meh at best. I didn’t really like him, but I didn’t hate him either. Henry is subtly overprotective. Zoe doesn’t do anything that she actually wants to do because she always worries, what will Henry think?

*The end. Even though at around the 70 to 80% mark I was pretty sure I knew who the bad guy was, I didn’t know how, or why. So I felt really sick when I found out. The ending was full of so much tension, I felt so much for Zoe, and good job Ms. Moretti for making it good even though I thought it would be meh at best.

Quote: “The greatest risk is not taking one.” 

The Bad:

*Dates. The days didn’t jump around much, but when they did, I was left confused because, let’s be honest here: how many of you read the date that is posted under the chapter heading? Especially when it’s just listing the days like, Monday 26, Monday 27, Monday 28, etc…? I don’t, so when the story jumps back a few years, I have to go back to find out what exactly is going on.

Quote: “Illusions are dangerous . . . Ideas are infallible, people are not. Don’t confuse the two.” 

The Wrap:

I loved it, I’d recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

One sentence summary: A slow suspense novel with a wonderful thriller ending.

Overall, 4.5 shining stars!

That’s it for this book review! Have you read The Vanishing Year? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments below!