The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimand : A Review

The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Publisher: Disney Book Group

Publish Date: June 13, 2017

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Pre-Order: Book Depository

“It’s dark magic brings him back.” 
Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. 
Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel. 
As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.

*TRIGGER WARNING* Graphic description of Self-Harm

Musings: 

Ohh My Gosh This Book is Fantastic!! Diversity alert!!! LGBT representation as well as the heartbreaking representation of self-harm. I love reading a diverse book without knowing it at first, it’s such a pleasant surprise. 

The writing was my favorite part of the whole story and that’s not something I get to say very often. The way Elle describes even the most mundane of things is absolute magic! 

I will give a little taste: 

Her mother’s wedding band was too loose around her finger since her father’s funeral. She fiddled with it absently, scrutinizing Tori. Her ratty smock hung slack around her too. It was splattered and smeared from work, a brightly colored palette that didn’t entirely manage to hide the hopelessness underneath. 

Something about these lines make me want to read them over and over again and I do! I eat it all up and it is glorious. 

On a darker note, this book deals with a very difficult subject that I didn’t realize was going to be a part of the book before I started reading it, cutting and self-harm. Early on in the book when the first instance of cutting occurs I was shocked and surprised, it was grotesquely described and was hard for me to read but I couldn’t look away from the page once the scene began. 

Cutting is a theme that is deeply woven into this text and for so many people that sort of thing is very triggering and although it does not detract from the novel in any way it is well worth noting here. 

Back to the brighter side, I completely and utterly enjoyed every second I lived inside these pages. All the characters were all so real to me, both those in the past and those in present day. 

I loved the twists of this novel, both the expected and the unexpected. There were so many moments to love and I am so happy that a lot of them were living in the past. Nathaniel’s past is so painful and raw, but what I loved most was that he never let those moments change the man he is and it made him become such a likeable character for me. Nathaniel is so loveable and protective and in a way that makes me want to protect him and save him from all that happens to him. 

Tori constantly breaks my heart in this novel. The way she is hurting and the way she deals with it shows a very broken soul, and there is something in me that makes me want to hold my hand out to her and just be there in hopes to ease some of the pain. All I really want for her is to smile and swim and have fun in life, the things that come her way are insane and I commend her for being able to deal with those things and to deal with them so well. 

I also loved the impact her Father had on this story while being dead. Tori’s father was woven so carefully into the pages of this novel and his love felt so strong to me despite his physical absence. Every place in this novel that meantioned Tori’s father either made me want to cry or made me smile or both. 

The magic that drove so much of the plot of this novel was also so intriguing to me, and I’m so sad that I feel like I can’t talk much about it here in fear of ruining the experience of it for yourself and so I will leave it alone by saying it was truly mystifying. 

This book will engage, haunt, and mystify readers with its very soul. This novel can’t help but prick you at your very core. Imagery, sadness, and the chains of slavery mix to create a dark swirl of a novel that tears at your heart, right to the very end. 

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what you think of The Suffering Tree. This novel is one that you must experience for yourself. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

-Till next time!



Tricks by Ellen Hopkins: A Review 

Tricks By Ellen Hopkins
Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Published: August 25, 2009

Received: Thrift store find

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival. Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching . . . for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words, I love you, are said for all the wrong reasons. These are five moving stories that remain separate at first, then weave together to tell a larger, more powerful story a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. And figuring out what sex and love are all about. TRICKS is informed and inspired by living near Las Vegas a big teen prostitution scene and by the fact that teen prostitution is not exclusively the result of kids running away from abuse. Kids from better families are selling themselves for hefty sums in order to finance addictions or even just to buy jewelry or clothing. In some cases, parents prostitute their children for the same reason. So what happens to the kids who are asking themselves, and asking us, Can I ever feel OK about myself? Highly charged, TRICKS is a gripping experience that turns you on and repels you at the same time.”

Musings: 

This book broke my heart. It took me almost a full week to get through because of how hard-hitting it was. It was almost crushing. 

As with all Ellen Hopkins books it was beautifully written, but for this one in particular I would also say jarringly written. 

Important note (trigger warning for rape, sexual violence, prostitution, drugs, drug abuse, depression, and overall emotional pain) 

The themes in this book were handled in such a way that they are impossible not to think about. Not a single person gets a reprieve from their own harsh realities and it was so easy to feel how broken down everything gets, especially toward the end. 

The only reason this book was not a 5 star read for me was because of how worn down I felt while reading it. Whatever joy there was, was fleeting and almost immediately deviant. Any hope I would wish for would be denied and I came out of it utterly sad. (I definitely need a light happy read after this one) 

If you can handle and appreciate the sadness and the darkness of this topic, I would 100% reccomend this book. It is not easy to read emotionally, but it is an important book no matter how much it has made me sad. 

The characters are very real and you will feel for there lives. Bad choices mixed with circumstance and a lot of loss lead to a whole lot of sin and regrets. Tricks is a book that grabs you for better or for worse. 
Thank you for reading. I kept this review short and sweet. Speaking about the subjects and other details surrounding this book is really hard for me. I’m a bit of an empath (especially in books) so this story kind of sucked the life out of me (not really in a bad way the book is incredible). I hope you enjoyed. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it have you read any of Ellen Hopkins other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

-Till next time! 

Dorothy Must Die: Stories Review

I have had this book amongst my book shelf since Chritmas of last year. I kept putting off reading it over and over because I have always been a bit wary of novellas, especially in other characters point of views, because they always tend to be a hit or miss for me, but I was so so wrong about waiting to read this book. I almost wish that I had read these before “Dorothy Must Die”. They were wonderful! 

No Place Like Oz

There’s a new wicked witch in Oz—and her name is Dorothy. This 125-page digital novella is a fresh and edgy sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and the prequel to the sassy new epic adventure Dorothy Must Die. No Place Like Oz, by debut author Danielle Paige, is a compellingly original reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.
Dorothy clicked her heels three times and returned to Kansas. The end . . . or was it? Although she’s happy to be home with Aunt Em, Dorothy has regretted her decision to leave Oz ever since. So when a mysterious gift arrives at her doorstep on her sixteenth birthday, Dorothy jumps at the chance to return to the glittering city that made her a star.
Setting off for the Emerald City, Dorothy is eager to be reunited with her friends: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. But she soon discovers that in the time she’s been gone, Oz has changed—and Dorothy has, too. This time, the yellow brick road leads her down a very different path. And before her journey is through, Dorothy will find that the line between wicked and good has become so blurred she’s not sure which side of it she’s on.

This first novella was the one I was most afraid for, yet the one I was most intrigued to read the most. In “Dorothy Must Die” Dorothy was portrayed as the biggest b**** this side of the emerald city. I was not sure how I would feel reading through her point of view when I hate her so much. 

I was not disappointed with this novella. I continued however, to hate Dorothy. There were so many moments where I wanted to shake Dorothy and ask her why? The way she treats people is awful. I wanted to see just a speck of good. 
The Witch Must Burn

There’s a new Wicked Witch in Oz—and her name is Dorothy. This digital original novella is the second installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and exciting New York Times bestseller Dorothy Must Die.
Dorothy Gale is back . . . and she’s not the sweet little heroine of Oz anymore. She’s power-hungry and vicious, and she leaves a trail of destruction beneath her spike-heeled, magical shoes. But behind the scenes, there’s someone else pulling the strings. Someone who doesn’t want fame or glory—just control.
Glinda of the North brought Dorothy back to Oz for a reason. And in The Witch Must Burn, a young maid is about to discover that a witch who says she’s Good might be the most dangerous kind of Wicked.
The Witch Must Burn, by debut author Danielle Paige, is a dark and compelling reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

I loved this novella! Jellia is such a sweet person that does everything she can to help others out. As Dorothy’s head maid she takes a lot of crap. Yet Jellia does everything she can to survive and make life for everyone just a little bit better. 

When she goes to Glinda the good witch’s palace I was devestated. Glinda is even more wicked than what I remembered her being in “Dorthy Must Die” 

I was so happy to get more insight to what happened before Amy in this lovely novella. 
The Wizard Returns 

The Wizard left Oz in a hot air balloon—or did he? This digital original novella is the third installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and exciting New York Times bestseller Dorothy Must Die.
Dorothy Gale is back . . . and she’s not the sweet little heroine of Oz anymore. She’s power-hungry and vicious, and she leaves a trail of destruction beneath her spike-heeled, magical shoes. But she wasn’t always in charge. There used to be a different ruler of Oz. Someone who also came from the Other Place, and who stole power for himself. They called him the Wizard.
The story goes that when a young Dorothy revealed the Wizard as a fraud, the man behind the curtain fled Oz in his hot air balloon. But in The Wizard Returns, he wakes in a field of poppies to find out that not only had he never left, but that he has no memory of who—or where—he is. As he undergoes a series of tests to uncover his memories, he finds that the very girl who threw him from the Emerald Palace is in control. And that Oz may be his destiny after all.
The Wizard Returns by Danielle Paige is a dark and compelling reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

In “Dorthy Must Die” The Wizard is an enigma, no one knows or says all that much about who he is or what he is like, but with a taste of his voice in “The Wizard Returns” the curtains get pulled back to the wayside. 

I didn’t think much about what kind of person The Wizard was before this story and now, I don’t know if I like him or if the games he plays are too awful for him to be redeemed. 

He is selfish, cowardly, yet he has fears that make his cowardice make sense. He has the ability to care, but I think his pride causes him to push others away. One things for sure, the man loves power. I want to know more. 

What do you think about novellas? Do you read them often? What are some of your favorite retellings? 

-Till Next Time

Red Queen: A Grand and Bloody Beast 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard- 4 stars


I have so many things to say, but I am not sure if I have the mental strength to say all that needs to be said. 

This book was created to mess with you. It gives you hope and takes it away, over, and over, and over again. It gives you so many situations where you question motives and the fine line between right and wrong. 

I am still crying for the Reds. Their situation, their reality, their fight, stricks deep into my heart. The fact that they are treated as pawns in game only the winners wish to play is sickening. 

I have never had so many conflicting feelings about characters in a novel ever in my life. 

Let’s just say, I have significantly grown my list of characters I love to hate. 

I am so happy though, that this book was written with evil characters that you actually care about. That have some sense of humanity, even if it doesn’t justify the horrible things they do. 

For a majority of the novel I was also glad that the romance that was there was as minimal as it was. It had its importance, but it didn’t distract from the main goal: finding a way to save the Reds. It leaves room for romantic development in later books, but I wouldn’t mind if one never developed at all. 

One of my favorite parts of the book is that Victoria does not hold back in her writing. If there is something gruesome she lets it play out. There are no pulled punches in this book. 

I hunger for more from this series. I can’t wait to see how things play out. I have no clue about what will happen next, but I can’t wait to see where this story goes.

Overall, I loved this book even though it caused me so much anxiety and pain. Glass Sword here I come!

————- 

Have you read Red Queen? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

-Till next time!