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Friday, January 18, 2019

Prep School Confidential | Book Review

Prep School Confidential

Written by: Kara Taylor
Number of Pages: 310

Average Rating: 3.97 / 5 stars
My Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars

Published in July 2013
Read in January 2019

Summary According to Goodreads

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side - that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read - even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder. 

My Thoughts

I have been holding onto this novel for far too long, and actually own all three books of the trilogy. In 2018 I put this novel on my “Read or Unhaul” list but I never got around to it. This is the first book that I have read in 2019, and I am disappointed that it took me over two weeks to read. 

I am a huge fan of thrillers and murder mysteries, and had heard good things about this story from my friend Geraldine. The plot started out engaging, but slowly got slower, and slower paced. At no point while reading this was I sitting on the edge of my seat, and instead found it easy to put down and move on to other things. 

What hurt this novel the most for me were the weak characters thrown into such an atmospheric setting. Our main character Anne was complex, but displayed too much entitlement and recklessness for my taste. Her friends were flat minions that seemed to have no storyline outside of Anne, even though she’d only been at that school for a couple of weeks. The tip of the iceberg where I knew I couldn’t rate this novel high was the unnecessary love triangle. In this kind of mystery/thriller, it was a waste to throw in two guys for Anne who already had enough going on. This triangle just added too much angst in my opinion and took away from the true point of the novel. 

Overall, I was quite disappointed with the pacing of this novel, and how many cliches it ended up hitting. As I said, I own the other two books in the series but I will likely end up unhauling them and giving them to someone that will enjoy them. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Witchborn | Book Review | Guest Reviewer


Written by: Nicholas Bowling
Number of Pages: 368

Average Rating: 3.40 / 5 stars
Rhonda’s Rating: 1 / 5 stars

Published September 25, 2018
Read in December 2018

Summary According to Goodreads

Alyce’s mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch’s mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she’s been sealed off from - a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she’ll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother’s past. 

But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody’s motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secrets, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know. 

Rhonda’s Thoughts

Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling intrigued me immediately upon reading the synopsis. The year was 1577 and it started with a woman being accused of practising witchcraft while she tried to keep her daughter Alyce safe. By page eight I found myself to be totally intrigued, but by page 90 I felt that there was still no plot developed. Leading up to this point there had been plot points and hints suggesting something big, but the actual climax of the story was not coming to life for me. 

The author used very descriptive vocabulary throughout the entire story, which brought the scenery to life and made it worth reading for me. Many new characters where being introduced but only one, Solomon, seemed of any relevance, and the rest were just to take up space. When the author finally revealed the plot I did not like that he used real characters including Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary of Scots, and wrote them as witches.  I am usually a fan of historical fiction novels, but using these non-fictional characters actually made me stop reading the book. I needed to take some time to decide if I wanted to continue with the story because knowing these characters true stores, it pulled me out to the world that he had so beautifully created. 

I hate giving novels such negative reviews, and I can only hope that the more he writes the stronger he will get since this was only his first published work. The story idea was good, the descriptive writing was fantastic but the characters and their purpose in the story never really came together for a good novel. 

Check out Rhonda’s GoodReads page: