Category Archives: Delacorte Press

Book Review: When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

Delacorte Press
March 10th, 2020
400 Pages

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now, Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex–best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding new friendships with other classmates—and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom—Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.- Goodreads

This book was written fantastically. However, HOWEVER, it needs to be known that Cleo is not exactly the victim. Here is why.

She is a terrible friend. Layla meet new people (who weren’t that great but that is not the point) because Cleo left her alone at a party. When Layla begins connecting with these people Cleo gets extremely jealous and begins saying hurtful things to Layla, privately and publicly. She expected Layla to see that she was jealous despite these horrible things and act like nothing happen.

It didn’t work that way and through out the entire novel, Cleo repeatedly makes it seem as if it is Layla’s fault for wanting new friends. Cleo is selfish from the beginning to the novel to the end. The people that she surrounds herself with only encourage that mindset.

It is extremely possible that their friendship would have just faded out on good terms or Layla would have seen what type of friends her new friends were and just stayed isolated with Cleo but Cleo screwed up on multiple times and tried to ruin peoples’ lives.

This is not to say that Layla was the perfect angel. She didn’t give her friendship with Cleo the time it deserved and although she tried to include Cleo in her new friendship, Layla didn’t take Cleo’s word when she noticed certain things and that could be since she knew Cleo didn’t like her being with new people. Did Layla do something messed up? Yeah (ish) She did something out of her character, but I do not feel that it was THAT messed up.

As much as I hated the fact that this book glorified a selfish, entitled, vindictive girl and made her seem as if this break up was not her fault, I loved the fact that it pulled emotions from me and kept me reading. It took some time for the book to get going but once it did, it was great.

I would have loved or love to see Layla’s viewpoint. But then again, I don’t see that happening specifically if this book is based on some truth.

Overall,

4 Pickles

Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Delacorte Press
TBP: Sept. 11, 2018
416 Pages

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos. -Goodreads

Amazing Cover? 

Vampires? Witches? Devil? 

Romance? 

Save the World from complete doom? 

This book has some promising points and it starts off really well; especially around chapter 3. But what started going down hill for me was when Ember started talking. Not only was her voice extremely annoying but she asked the wrong questions all the time.

She was a newbie witch that was pretty much self-taught but you won’t think that when she meets Jack, she would try to learn. But nope. It also bugged me out how, Jack protected her and watched her for years but she still felt that he shouldn’t have been completely trusted. I was a bit weary of that and that is mostly because he never gave her the impression that he was lying. Granted he had a kind of mysterious vibe but she trusted people that she has known less than 5 minutes. So I was bugged out about that.

But beyond Ember, I felt that the book wasn’t as creepy as thought it would be. I mean given the cover, the nightmare references as well as the setting in the Otherworld, I wanted to be shook to some degree, especially when there are Sleepy Hollow and Hades and Persephone references. I don’t feel that the book delivered in this aspect.

However, the overall plot was strong. There is a lot of detail in the setting and the pace. You fall in love with the surround characters and even though Ember becomes less annoying I personally still did not like her and fell more for everyone else.

Ember’s and Jack’s romance wasn’t too bad if you get past the fact that Jack has been watching her since she was 12 (I believe) and he is old. I thought it was cute and fitting as it was Jack’s first time actually wanting someone and something more than just his job. He became something better and more honest going through the emotions for Ember.

I thought this was a good standalone (yes it is not a series). It has some strong foundations but I wanted more from horror aspect of it and the mythology could have been upped more as well.

Overall,

3 Pickles

Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Delacorte Press
Published Oct. 10, 2017
272 Pages

Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.- Goodreads

It has been some time since I read a book that emotionally damaged me to the point that once I finished it, I sat in silence. This book has triggers. It has things in here that some women have experienced. If you are a sensitive reader, this book is not for you.

I am not a sensitive reader but this book definitely made me rethink that for a moment.

Bethan is attacked and in the worst way possible. Not only does the boy who tries to protect her gets hurt, she is hurt on a physical, spiritual and emotional level. I am hurt on that level for her. The author doesn’t shy away from what happens. You know what happens, you see what happens and man do you feel so horrible about it. But what I appreciate what the author did about making that the focus was she didn’t create Bethan to submit.

Bethan doesn’t fully allow her anger to take over. As angry as she is, she doesn’t try to let things get too far. She is fairly rational with her punishment. I call it punishment because its not revenge. Bethan seeks not only justice but to right a wrong to something done to someone trying to save her.

Beyond all of this, the author added a twist to the story, which was unexpected and well placed. However, it doesn’t really change the story or even the flow. It was a filler. A good one but a filler none the less. If the author did not add it in there, it would not have been missed.

The story moved along very well and although this was my first read by this author, the talent was there. To take a very sensitive topic and give readers the whirlwind emotions in a emotional and deep reading, is impressive.

The only fault or issue, I had with this read, is I was desperate for an affectionate relationship. Bethan has a relationship with her grandmother but I didn’t feel love between them. I felt that it was more of a obligation. I wanted there to be love and its kind of put in there but it isn’t there enough for me.

Overall, I was surprised about this read. I liked it but as previously mentioned it is not for sensitive readers.

4 Pickles. 

Book Review: The Door That Lead to Where by Sally Gardner

Delacorte Press To Be Published Nov. 8, 2016 288 Pages
Delacorte Press
To Be Published Nov. 8, 2016
288 Pages

AJ Flynn has just failed all of his exams but one. Considered a failure by his mother and at 17 years old, he believes there is no hope for him. When he receives a job as a junior clerk at a law firm, he believes there is a future for him.

While working, he finds a key with his name on it and that key leads to 1830. With the help of his two best friends, AJ goes to explore and realize the year may have changed but love and hardship has not. When they discover a crime, only they can solve, the three embark on an adventure not like anything they would have imagine.  

Let me start off by saying that I loved this cover. The book was originally published last year and the cover wasn’t that exciting but this was.

I loved the premise of this book, which is why I picked it up. However, this was a difficult read. It was long and it was slow. There was also something about AJ that didn’t seem real. His tone of voice was indifferent for too long in the book.  There wasn’t a display of huge emotions and that bothered me. It made the book harder to continue. But I kept reading because the author did a really good job of not answering a question and giving me the burning need to find the answer.  I love when authors do that. It is a skill not everyone has perfected.

The same goes for the lack of predictability. There is always a hint at the future of certain characters or an ending. The trick is to not make it so obvious that the reader will see it. Unfortunately, because I saw it, the ending did nothing for me. Beyond that the ending overall was a weak attempt to lead into a second book.

The pace was very slow. I can see the attempts to pick up the story but it didn’t exactly work out. AJ as well as his two best friends, weren’t the most interesting characters. I did, appreciate their differences and their similarities. It made sense that there were friends.

I wanted so much more from this book. It really could have been, easily, a five pickles book but it wasn’t there.

2 Pickles

Book Review: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey

Delacorte Press Published April 28, 2015 357 Pages
Delacorte Press
Published April 28, 2015
357 Pages

Little to people’s knowledge there is an ancient race called the Avicen that live under the streets of New York City. With feathers for hair and magic at their finger tips humans are nothing compared to them.

17 year old Echo, knows about the Avicen.  . .they are the only family she knows despite the fact that she has made a life of pick-pocketing.

When she is asked to follow up on the legend of the firebird, a mythical beast that has power not one has ever dreamed of, Echo doesn’t know that she is stepping into a centuries old war and that her part in this maybe bigger than what she planned.

Let’s get right into this.

For at least half the book this was a hard read. Oddly enough it wasn’t a character issue but it was just really really slow. I would say that around the 200 mark which is a little past half is when the book got good.

Echo is an unapologetic smart ass who is just perfect. I like her because she is loyal without being naive about it. She is fierce and a really good protagonist. All of the characters were perfect because they all balanced each other out. Even though Echo was the main connection to everyone in the book, each character had their own sub story which was cool. At first I thought it was too much going on and a part of me still feels that way but I don’t think this would have been a better book without it.

Another thing I enjoyed about this read was the fact that there were clear roads I thought the author was going to take and it didn’t turn out that way. Was there complete unpredictability  in this book? No because once you saw the route the author was going you saw how things were going to pan out. But again I am not even upset about that.

The book got knocked down in points because it took too long to get into. The build up was too slow for my taste.

Overall, I look forward to book two.

Kudos, Ms. Grey. This wasn’t a book I was expecting to fall for.

3.5 Pickles