L-L-L-Little Reviews #7: 3 YA ARCs

Posted December 31, 2018 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

Other than an audiobook that I finished yesterday, and an e-galley that I’m part of a tour to review on Thursday, I’ll be complete with all my reviews of 2018 reads after this post. 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White:

Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Genre:  YA Retelling

Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Source:  Received ARC from publisher at ALA convention which did not effect my opinion 
My rating:  4 stars

I didn’t get this read when I wanted to, too many blog tour review books to get done.  I got this from ALA last summer, and it was one of my unicorn ARCs.  I loved The Conqueror’s Saga by this author, her retelling of Vlad the Impaler, and so I had high hopes for this retelling of the Frankenstein story.   I wasn’t disappointed.  Once I got the chance to pick it up, I was hooked, and loved trying to fit what I remembered of the original story in with how the author was retelling it.  It was a great account at looking how Victor wasn’t really just a good guy gone bad, how he was a bad guy in this one.  On a side note, I loved that one of the character’s last names was my mother’s maiden name, even if it is probably more common in Europe.  Great retelling, and I’m reading another good one by the author right now, Slayer, and enjoying it as well.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.  

The Similars by Rebecca Hanover:

Release Date: January 1st, 2019
Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Source:  Received ARC from publisher which did not effect my opinion 
My rating:  5 stars

This one grabbed me from the start, and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved the idea behind these clones, and so much about them fit in with how the world is today with other types of discrimination.  But when I would think one thing, something happened and it went another way, and I loved all the twists and turns that kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat.  Even though I wanted to be done with it by the weekend before Christmas, I also had wished I’d been on Christmas break already so that I could have stayed up and finished it one night, it was that good.  I’m happy to see that it is supposed to be a series, or at least have a sequel, because the ending left it so that we need to know more!  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney:

Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Genre:  YA Fantasy/paranormal

Publisher:  Imprint Reads/Macmillan
Source:  Borrowed ARC from a student 
My rating:  3.5 stars

So, while this one had a really good story, I had a few issues with it.  I loved so much of the Buffy aspects of the story.  I loved the Alice in Wonderland aspects as well.  However, there was just so much to read. So many details and so much that I actually skipped over to just get the story.  The author did a lot of great descriptions and great back story, but I am a little embarrassed to admit that I may have skimmed a lot of it, just because I was more about getting the main story and not worrying as much about all the extra.  As I said first though, the story was really good, and I’m definitely going to need a sequel to find out what happens next.  There was a lot of tragedy, just like in the BTVS series, and also humor, just like the series.  

A kind of neat note about this book, the author graduated from the high school where I am a librarian.  A little bit before my time, but still, very exciting!  Hoping to get her to come and talk to the students about writing.  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.   

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8 responses to “L-L-L-Little Reviews #7: 3 YA ARCs

  1. I wasn't really too much of a fan of A Blade so Black and my rating is close to yours. I feel like it was a nice enough idea and plot, but it needed more… something. Unsure of exactly what but it failed to really engage me or make me commit to the book as a reader. I really want to read The Dark Descent, especially as Frankenstein is one of my favourite classics <3 Great mini reviews x

    My recent post: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/12/19-goals-for-2019/

    • I loved the idea and story, but like you, it just wasn't perfect for me. I was a little disappointed. I did like The Dark Descent, but Kiersten White is becoming a favorite author of mine! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. After reading reviews including yours of The Similars, I know I will love, love this book too. books that have twists, and keep me turning pages and not wanting to stop reading are the best and why I love to read.

  3. Danielle Hammelef

    A Blade so Black sounds okay. I haven’t read it yet, but have read other reviews that are similar to yours. That’s really cool about the author’s alma mater!!!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It is very cool that she’s a graduate from the school where I work. I love being able to brag about our awesome students! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. John Smith

    “A Blade So Black” sounds like it offers some fun with the BTVS and AIW aspects, even if it might require some skimming!

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