ARC Review | Wicked As You Wish

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names For Magic, #1)

Author: Rin Chupeco

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales, Young Adult

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends. 

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

Thank you to Sourcebook Fire and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Let me just say, I have a love for Rin Chupeco books. I remember not being able to read The Bone Witch because it was too slow and yet it ended up being one of my favorite series. 😱

So here we have Wicked As You Wish. Think magic, technology, an alternate Earth where the land of fairytales exists in our modern day world. It reminded me of the show Once Upon A Time!

Tala is half filipino, half scottish and her power? She negates magic, she can break spells, which is super useful when you are around evil magic users. The last heir of the magical kingdom of Avalon, Alex, is in hiding and his protectors are her parents who used to be warriors when Avalon was a thriving place. But with the Snow Queen after him, now Tala, her family, the new Bandersnatch warriors are on the run to get to Avalon and free it from it’s frozen prison. Will they succeed?

  • There is an intricate world being described in this book. It will confuse a lot of people because it did confuse me. Just know that it is our modern day world, but the fairy tale kingdoms of Neverland, Wonderland and Avalon exist as well. It’s real. As for the magic system, non-magic users covet spelltech, basically using magic and technology together, ex. a cell phone which can create spells! But there is older magic or powers that are passed down through bloodline as well. Tala’s power is to break up spells and hers is passed down through her mother.
  • Speaking of fairy tales, I like how portals are the rabbit hole, or magic mirrors. There are the magical items like the sword in the stone and a firebird. But I love when fairy tales and the modern world collide, I’m a sucker for it. 😍 And this book is like…chaos with a light-hearted feel to it?
  • Modern day issues arise in this book – the author talks about ICE and people being detained at the border, like our current problems in the USA today.
  • Diversity is everywhere in this book. I love that the elite guards from Avalon were these old filipino women – YES, I felt like my grandmother could have been a Katiputan guard. She could wield a machete like no other. And besides racial diversity, we have LGBTIA+ representation as well.
  • There is action and battles with ogres, ice wolves, toads, ice maidens and possessed cold zombies (is the Night King from GoT the Snow Queen’s man or what? 😅😂). It’s a wild journey to Avalon, folks!
  • Tala as a character seems as neutral as her curse/power/agimat. She’s still learning to control her power, she’s the newbie when it comes to portals, ice maidens and Avalon itself. So basically she’s us, the reader who doesn’t know much. Haha. I hope we see her power grow. She’s the main character but I think she faded when the Bandersnatch crew came along. I love the Bandersnatch crew, they are all so different and have their own strengths and weaknesses. I also see some potential love matches brewing…(I hope!).
  • This story at times is all over the place. I had to put it down to finish an arc that I had a closer publication date and I’m glad I put it down because my brain had some time to simmer with the information about I gathered in the first few chapters. There was a lot of info dump at times. For me, I didn’t mind that because I needed to understand all the workings of this magical world. There is a lot to learn. But once I picked up the book again, I finished it in a day because I was entertained.
  • Like I said it’s a wild journey from Arizona to Avalon because there are SO many characters, places and magic terms to remember. I enjoyed it, but I think a lot of people will be put off with all of it thrown at them at one time. I think the world building will confuse many readers.
  • Please give me some romance between Zoe and Cole? And what’s going to happen with Tala and Ryker? Can anything come from that? 🙁

This book was chaotic but for me in a good way. I felt like it woke me up, which was what I needed because there are a few books on my night stand I’m trying to get through and they have been putting me to sleep. 🤣 This one slapped me in the face and was like come on, pay attention and let’s take a ride! It’s not perfect by any means, it can be confusing. At times I was like…

It’s not a story for everyone, but seriously, I enjoyed this story a lot and the ending made me go… 😱. I think this book would make a great tv show because it is so visual! Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel because I need answers.

ARC Review | We Are Blood and Thunder

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: We Are Blood and Thunder

Author: Kesia Lupo

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

On the edges of a sealed-off city, a chance encounter between two girls in the misty woods is about to change the course of everything. . .

Lena is on the run from her home, the Duke’s Forest, after being convicted as a mage and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, Constance escaped the Forest years before, after her own magical powers were discovered–but now, she will do anything to get back inside and reclaim her place as the duke’s daughter. The girls cross paths for only a moment, but that’s long enough to set them down paths that will change the dukedom forever.

As Lena reaches a safe haven where she can study and develop her powers alongside handsome but mysterious mage Emris, Constance maneuvers her way back into the home she left behind, unsure whether she trust the people she once considered her family and friends. All the while, the girls are connected by the dark, terrifying storm clouds that hang over the land and devastate everything in their wakes. 

Only Lena and Constance hold the keys to dispelling the storm and keeping their home safe–if they can uncover who cast the spell that generated the clouds to begin with. But the truth is far more sinister than anyone could imagine, and it could mean that one of the girls will lose everything.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

We are Blood and Thunder follows two main female characters, Lena, who has a mark on her face, no family and was raised as a cryptling in Duke’s Forest. She was assistant to the city mortician. Then there is Constance, a mage who comes back home to Duke’s Forest to help get rid of the toxic storm cloud that has been circling above Duke’s Forest for years.

Nothing is what it seems with either women. We follow their journeys and find out if the storm cloud can be defeated at all.

  • The world building is fascinating with different mage factions. We only get a glimpse of a few of them but I think there is so much potential to learn more about this fantasy world. The people in Duke’s Forest don’t use magic, they worship their Ancestors – the dead that are buried below their city in crypts. Their way of life is to serve them. Outside of Duke’s Forest is where magic thrives.
  • Lena interested me more than Constance. Lena is an orphan raised as a cryptling, assisting the city’s mortician. She is without family, raised basically with dead bodies but then things start happening to her, she has power. More power than she ever had in her life.
  • Emris, a huntsman mage, is Lena’s introduction into life outside of Duke’s Forest. He teaches her about her magic and power. Theirs is a friendship that grows and I was glad Lena had someone.
  • This story was gory and dark at times! There was dark magic, necromancy and dead bodies coming to life. I thought that was fun, haha, morbid yes but I liked that it went there.
  • I needed MORE from this story – I felt like there was so much potential with the world building and I didn’t get enough. Also I felt like the characters, or maybe mostly Constance, was superficial. Even her supposed romance with Xander was so quick and strange, I was like…??…am I supposed to feel something about these two? Because I feel…nothing.
  • I didn’t vibe with Constance but by the end, my feeling about her was right. So maybe there was a reason why something about felt off! There were some parts of this book that felt a bit melodramatic and it was mostly to do with Constance. 🤨
  • The story did drag a bit, especially with this problem of this toxic storm cloud hovering over Duke’s Forest. Like…what is it? Why is it there? Why Duke’s Forest? It ties in all at the end, but it took awhile to get there – to the point I didn’t know why Constance’s story mattered. It matters…but in the beginning I wanted to skip her parts to read about Lena.
  • The twist at the end was surprising but, Constance again, to me…ruined it. I just did not like her!
  • Triggers: death, being around dead bodies

I enjoyed the world building, Lena and the necromancy in this book but I really needed more. Overall, this book fell short for me in so many areas, but it did keep my interest enough to want to know what was the whole deal with the toxic storm cloud! It was just an okay read for me.

ARC Review | Ink in the Blood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Ink in the Blood

Author: Kim Smejkal

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 448

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

Thank you to HMH Books For Young Readers and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Ink in the Blood caught my eye on NetGalley because of the cover and the concept of magic tattoos. What I got as I started reading was a story about religion and a theater troupe! Celia and Anya are “inklings” – unfortunately every time I read the word “inkling” it reminded me of the video game Splatoon 2. 😂🤦🏻‍♀️ Maybe that’s why my reading experience of this book felt strange. Anyway, inklings have the gift of creating tattoos for people through their religion Profeta. But Celia and Anya, realize as they grow older they are trapped in servitude in their roles as inklings and want to escape. They find a way to join the Rabble Mob, a performance troupe and they think they have escaped Profeta but they learn in a sinister way, they haven’t left it behind.

  • Diversity abounds in this book, there is queer romance everywhere and I like that it’s a normal part of this dark fantasy world. It isn’t questioned or explained, it just IS.
  • The world building is interesting – the religion Profeta has these inklings conjuring up tattoos to guide the masses, but through Celia and Anya’s memories of their childhood, they are tortured a lot by their superiors. It was almost like a mixture of Catholicism and Hinduism (with the statue of the Divine and Diavala peeking out beneath and 6 eyes). There is an order to Profeta with the mistico being the holiest and the inklings being the lowest level on the pyramid. Celia and Anya escape and join a theater troupe called the Rabble Mob. The setting reminded me of Venice with the masks, gondolas and houses on stilts.
  • I enjoyed Celia and Anya’s relationship, they had each other’s back to the surprising and bittersweet end. They balanced each other out and went through so much together from their childhood as inklings to running away and becoming part of the theater troupe.
  • Celia and Griffin’s relationship was what kept me interested in this book because there was amazing tension between them. Now this is a slow burn…there is a lot of distrust, and hiding behind masks and innuendos. But they were my favorite part of the book.
  • There was something about the story that just kept me unengaged. I felt like the explanation of the religion and magic in the beginning was confusing to me. Maybe my reality wasn’t suspended enough for me to be immersed in this world of the Divine and Diavala the trickster god.
  • Because the story didn’t engage me right away, it took me awhile to get into this story. I put this aside for two months! I picked it up again because I know it’s being published soon. But I did find the second half of the book moved much faster t
  • The tattoo magic wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was kind of weak because it was like painting a tattoo on a body part and transferring it through magic. I guess I wanted more blood and needles involved. 😅 The tattoos were the only magic in the book.
  • Triggers: physical abuse, torture

This was an okay read for me. I think the world building with the religious aspects and the tattoos was interesting but something was missing for me in the story. My favorite parts were between Celia and Griffin who brought the tension and intensity that stood out in this book. I think many people who enjoyed books like Caraval will enjoy Ink in the Blood.

Book Review | Winterwood

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Winterwood

Author: Shea Ernshaw

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 323

Categories: Witches, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

I am a fan of Shea Ernshaw’s books. This is now the second book I’ve read from her and I have to say I love how she writes these witchy stories. By coincidence I always start reading them near a full moon and not even by choice…it just happens that way! If that isn’t magical, I don’t know what is.

Nora Walker is a “Walker”, she is descended from witches. She lives in the town of Fir Haven which is surrounded by woods. There is a boys camp, called the Camp for Wayward boys near her home and a boy went missing in a snowstorm. Nora finds the boy in the woods and she learns how he came to be lost, but it’s not what she expected at all.

  • The author has a distinct style to her writing. Once I read the first sentence, my world disappears and I’m in the world she has created. I love that both books I’ve read now have been about witches, she’s very good at it. Her writing is atmospheric. I felt the creepiness of the Wicker Woods especially when Nora explains things about the woods like how you can only take things from the woods during a full moon when the trees don’t see you do it! 😳 The trees are watching. This story is told like a magical, haunting, supernatural, eerie, fairy tale.
  • I love the setting of the story: a town that is alive in the summer because of lake life, and dead in the winter because the cold is fierce. Nora lives for the winters and the isolation it brings and when I say she is alone, she is ALONE. Her mom left the town, and her grandmother has died. I can’t even imagine living in a place like that all by myself. But just the vibe of the story comes through in the writing: the eerie town, the scary woods, the isolated feeling Nora experiences and a sinister event taking place at the boy’s camp was a recipe for making my spine tingle.
  • I kind of had an idea where the story was headed with Oliver and the dead boy at camp. There is a mystery that Nora is trying to uncover. I liked that this mystery was tied to these boys at camp and it brought the feeling of danger to the story, at least danger around Nora. I enjoyed trying to guess at what happened.
  • Nora is a Walker and all Walker women are witches. I absolutely adored the black pages dedicated to a Walker woman between some chapters. I thought it was done beautifully because it was a family tree and spell book at the same time. And we get to see Nora’s entry. 😍
  • That ending with Oliver and Nora. ❤️
  • Also I have to mention the book cover is beautiful (I have the white OwlCrate version), the naked cover is gorgeous, the pages that are black with the branches…I love all the little details. 😍
  • Some things were a bit repetitive, like Nora saying there was a dead boy. Also she said she was a Walker, a lot. Haha…we know Nora! You Walker women are pretty amazing.
  • The romance is a slow burn almost to the point it felt a little forced to me when they let their attraction take over. But it still made me enjoy the twist at the end – actually that twist made my heart just thump a bit harder.
  • Triggers: drowning

I’m in love with Shea Ernshaw’s writing. She just knows how to set the mood perfectly for a full moon, witchy, reading night and what a coincidence that I’ve read her books on these nights! Winterwood is haunting and it wove its spell around me. I look forward to reading more books from this author!

Book Review | Blood Heir

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy, #1)

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 464

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls. 

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 

The last book I read in 2019 was Blood Heir, but I didn’t write the review in 2019. 😅 I was getting ready to ring in the New Year! Haha – but I digress.

This book had some controversy, but the author made some changes and released the book at a later date. Since I didn’t read the arc, I don’t know what changes have been made but let’s dig into my review.

Princess Anastacya’s parents are dead and her brother is now on the throne. As a young girl, she was framed for the murder of her father and fled the palace, ending up on the run searching for a criminal who could help her find her father’s true murderer.

On this quest to find the culprit, she learns a few truths about the empire she loved. Her father’s empire had a dirty secret, one deep in the practice of human trafficking. With eyes wide open she plans to catch her father’s murderer and change the empire’s ways – but another secret threatens to bring all her plans down.

  • The cover of this book drew me in right away. I mean that girl on the cover looks fierce!
  • This story has Anastasia Romanov vibes, set in a place similar to Russia when describing the landscape and the use of the language, not that I can speak Russian. And the princess’ name is Anastacya! Similar, no? The world building is lush, I was drawn into this cold landscape of the Cyrilian Empire.
  • The beginning of this book is awesome, there is danger, suspense and so much action! Loved meeting Ransom who is this notorious underground criminal with connections everywhere. He has a shady past, a shadier present and so much charm! I think Ransom and Ana’s relationship was great with their rough beginning and then later on relying on each other. But Ransom’s charm was infectious and Ana needed that in her life.
  • The subject of human trafficking is heavy but very relatable to this day and age. There are some truly sad parts especially when it comes to Ana and her bond with a young girl,May, who was once trafficked. Ana sees more living outside of the palace which is a good thing – it makes her want to change things for people who are oppressed.
  • The magic in the book is one that people are born with and they are called Affinites. Affinites have an affinity – such as Ana is a Blood Affinite, she can control blood in people! There are so many different types: flesh, earth, wind, and more. Affinites are looked down upon in the Cyrilian Empire and are enslaved, trafficked and treated poorly.
  • I enjoyed the twist in the story – I didn’t see that coming.
  • The beginning was so good but I think I had some trouble with the pacing. I thought from the beginning I was going to read the book in one sitting. I finished it in three days. Ransom and Ana had chemistry in the beginning…then I don’t know where it went. Talk about a slow burn!
  • As much as I adore a story set in a place similar to Russia and it’s history, I feel like after Grisha-verse, it’s starting to become over done. I just can’t help comparing. Totally different stories, but the setting, the language. Just all so similar. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Triggers: blood, violence, human trafficking, death

I was really sucked into this world of Affinites, especially in the beginning of the book but my interest waned a little in the middle of the story. There is a twist in the latter half of the story which I did enjoy. I like how Princess Ana sees the truth about the human trafficking in her empire and tries her best to change things around. It was the silver lining to her fleeing the palace, she got to experience life outside of it and see how the real people lived. The ending isn’t a happy one, it’s a trilogy so the fight for what’s right will continue in book two and three. Blood Heir is a strong debut, but I will definitely have to be in the mood though to pick up the sequel.

Book Review | The Relic Spell

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Relic Spell (The Phyrian War Chronicles Book 1)

Author: Jimena L. Novaro

Format: eBook (provided by author for review)

Pages: 346

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Magic rolls through Orion Tamura’s history classroom like a tidal wave of golden light that only he can see. The spell is deadly, and Orion has no idea who cast it or what they want.

Answers are scarce—all of Port Monica’s sorcerers vanished fourteen years before, including Orion’s father. Armed with his limited knowledge of magic, Orion is the only one left in the city who is strong enough to investigate the origins of the spell.

But the city’s leaders will stop at nothing to censor and sabotage anyone who gets close to the truth. Invisible otherworlders watch every move Orion and his friends make, and a mysterious sorcerer who knows the answers haunts Orion’s dreams.

Thank you to author, Jimena I. Novaro, for providing me a copy of this book for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Orion Tamura is Port Monica’s most powerful sorcerer since all the other ones vanished during the Phyrian War. But Orion is also just a teenager with big responsibilities on his shoulders. He is protecting a town from evil and trying to help keep his family afloat and that is a lot for one kid to take on. He has his best friend Max who is a warrior in his own right and he makes other friends along the way as they try to get to the bottom of who sent out a huge, deadly spell throughout the town. Can Orion be everywhere at once and make sure everyone he cares about is protected or will he fail?

  • The world building in this story is really well done! We have some history about a Phyrian War which was a big event that involved sorcery, magic, demons and then some. Not many who lived through it want to remember it though. There are all types of demons and other creatures with magic. As for Orion, his dad, Daisuke, was well known in the community as a powerful sorcerer but there is bad history there and he’s been gone for as long as Orion can remember.
  • Speaking of Orion’s missing dad – Orion’s character is dealing with a lot on his plate. He’s a sorcery and feels obligated to keep the town safe, well obviously because a safe town means his family stays safe. His mom is trying to move on without his dad, his younger sister and brother are going through some things too and Orion’s trying to be there for everyone but burning his candle on both ends. On top of that he’s dealing with feelings for his best friend Max and trying to find out who released this dangerous spell in their town. Orion makes mistakes but the best thing about him is he keeps trying to do what he can with what power he has.
  • Two characters that I thought are interesting were Briar and Elsa – maybe because I just gravitate more towards strong females but Briar’s demon lineage is fascinating. I loved that Elsa was always kicking butt too! 💪🏾 Orion was pretty lucky to have her watching his back even though she had her own mission to accomplish.
  • There is a lot of racial and sexual diversity represented in this book, which is always refreshing.
  • This story keeps moving, meaning there is a lot of action! From the get go Orion and Max are involved with fighting a creature and it doesn’t stop there. There is downtime here and there in the story but it has a lot of action to keep one entertained.
  • Orion at times didn’t come off as a physically strong character. Like Max, his best friend was definitely more of the warrior, but at times Orion couldn’t meet his eyes. I know it was due to personal/longing stuff but I just wished at times he could assert more of his power when it was needed. But maybe that’s just a personality thing.

Some things in the story isn’t resolved by the end which makes sense since this is going to be a series. I look forward to reading book two and finding out what happened with Briar and her demon family. This is an urban fantasy story with a wholly constructed magic system and detailed world building. If you like fantasy, then The Relic Spell would interest you!

Book Review | Rules For Vanishing

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Rules For Vanishing

Author: Kate Alice Marshall

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 416

Categories: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult, Supernatural, Horror

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

I finally got my hands on this book and it totally reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, which I saw on opening back in…1999. 🤭

So there is an urban legend about Lucy Gallows who went into the woods and never came out. When Sara’s sister Becca goes on this search to find Lucy, she goes missing as well. One year later, text messages are sent, to play the game to find Lucy Gallows. Sara wants to do it so she can find her sister and her old friends join her.

This was definitely like The Blair Witch Project, but with cell phones and them seeing actual ghosts! Because we all know there was like nothing to see in BWP. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • I like the urban legend of Lucy Gallows – I get a kick out of stories like that. I love the ghost hunting and I’m glad the kids thought to capture video of their journey on the road because hello yes, in this day and age we need video evidence!
  • The road was very fascinating. I thought the gates were interesting and for the horror fans there are a lot of gruesome descriptions of people who tried to walk the road and…never made it off the road basically. 👀
  • The story is told in alternating between interviews with Sara (after the events of the road) and during the trip on the road. I thought it helped build up the suspense and at some points I wondered if this was all some psychological twist in Sara’s mind. It also included text messages between the group of friends and video evidence. I just like how the author used a whole mix of things to tell the story.
  • My favorite scene is when all of the characters are lost in a house, which s still part of the road. But it gets kind of crazy in there and that’s the part where I felt was the most creepiest in the book.
  • I connected to no character. ☹️ How is that possible? Maybe too many characters? And some characters going missing and honestly…at some points I didn’t remember who was supposed to be on this Lucy Gallows search party. There was a Miranda and Mel (Melanie) and I kept confusing the two. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Without spoiling – and it’s hard…there is something other than Lucy Gallows that haunts the road and it’s a big part of the story but it emerges in the middle of the story. It took me too long to hook me, plus with the confusing ending I had to process this book for a minute – okay it took me all weekend because my my brain burned out due to catching the flu. Anyway I googled this legend of Dahut and Ys and it exists! Okay why didn’t the legend just start with that instead? I guess it added layers to the story but I think at times it threw me off, maybe that was the purpose but it made me impatient.
  • The ending was abrupt and confusing.

I found Rules for Vanishing entertaining until the ending which confused me. It was fun following this group of teens walking down this mysterious road that shows up but the ending left me underwhelmed. On a scary scale, and I usually can’t tolerate a whole lot of scary…this one did not scare me at all. It did have the creepy factor so I’m glad about that.