Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Mayhem

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

Pre-order your copy on Amazon or visit Goodreads to learn more.

Hey all, another ARC review for my little challenge to reach an 80% reviewed ratio on NetGalley.

Mayhem is a book about the struggles and heroics and magic of the Brayburn family, who, for generations, have been tasked with protecting their city by a mysterious curse/magical water (it never really gets explained beyond this). Mayhem, our protagonist, and her mother, Roxy, have finally left Roxy’s abusive husband after years of marriage and returned to Roxy’s childhood home in Santa Maria. There, Mayhem begins uncovering the truth behind her biological father’s death and the strange force that drove her mother to leave all of those years ago.

Mayhem talks of magic and deep family roots, but the atmosphere that Laure created felt flat to me. I can’t really describe it in any other way–it’s almost as if this world was a 2D painting that Laure was trying to convey as a sculpture. I feel extremely harsh putting it this way, but I can’t tell you that it was something that it’s not. The characters also felt a bit static to me. They were archetypes of the usual YA personalities, and though there was some attempt at character development, it was pretty shallow and didn’t feel organic.

I should address the fact that this book includes some serious topics, namely rape, murder, domestic violence, and drug addiction/abuse. I really appreciate the way Laure handled these topics, and from her foreword, I know that this book was her way of addressing her personal relationship with them. While these topics did drive some aspects of the story, they weren’t particularly descriptive so it would be manageable for a more mature young adult audience.

This review is going to stay pretty short since I really don’t have much to say. Unfortunately, this is another book that fell a little flat for me. I think the concept itself was strong and exciting, but Laure didn’t execute it to its full potential. All in all, I’m not sure I would recommend this. It was kind of all over the place in terms of themes, dialogue, setting, and pacing. The storyline didn’t flow super well and was also pretty anticlimactic. It was entertaining, at best. The cover is also pretty.

Happy reading (but maybe not this book)

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Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

 

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Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

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I received a copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading Update

Hello everyone! I’ve been settled at school for about a month now so I figured that it was time to post a little update.

Living in Boston definitely has its perks for finding books. I recently got a library card at the Boston Public Library, which is not only aesthetically beautiful but has hundreds and hundreds more books than my library back in Vegas. I’ve recently checked out Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, and Twisted Palace by Erin Watt.

PictureI also went to the Boston Teen Author Festival (BTAF) where I may have *accidentally* spent like $80 on books. Oops. I got to see some great authors like Heidi Hielig, Mary Pearson, Sasha Alsberg, S. Jae-Jones, Holly Black (!!!) and a lot of other cool people that I don’t have room to name. Unfortunately I had to leave before the signing, but I did get to see some pretty interesting panels.

So, what have I finished this month? Well I am kind of ashamed to say that I hardcore binged the Paper Princess series by Erin Watt. For those of you who don’t know, Erin Watt is the pen name of two erotica authors. Let’s just say this series is as cheesy as Riverdale and as explicit as Game of Thrones, which makes for some super-addicting soap-opera-esque trashy fiction. I highly recommend for anyone who’s looking for something with high entertainment value at the cost of style, and realism, and subtlety, and brain cells…

29283884I’ve also read Year One by Nora Roberts (4 stars, but huge cliffhanger) and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (3.5 stars, also huge cliffhanger). I might be reviewing these in the future. I listened to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (4 stars), and am currently listening to Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker through Kobo Books. Right now I’m reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but so far it isn’t living up to the hype. Reagan at Peruse Project highly recommended it, so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt even though I’m almost done.

That’s it for now! In October I plan to attend another book festival. I’m also going to NYC with my roomie, and I’m incredibly excited to visit the Strand while I’m there.

ALSO. OCTOBER IS THE HEART OF BOOK RELEASE SEASON. WE’RE GETTING A MUSE OF NIGHTMARES AND KINGDOM OF ASH THIS MONTH. PREPARE YOURSELVES!!!

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

  • 34802290My rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • Genre: Young adult contemporary
  • Publisher: KCP Loft
  • 320 pages
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world — the best friend in the whole world — has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.

And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?

In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.

This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?

Read below for my spoiler-free review. (I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Continue reading “The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young”