Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra #psychologicalthriller #suspense

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic Lands Touring Company, she’s worked as a tour guide ever since with a team of fellow Wildbloods who take turns using their magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle teeming with ghostly monsters.

When the boss denies Victoria an earned promotion to team leader in favor of Dean, her backstabbing ex, she’s determined to prove herself. Her magic may be the most powerful on the team, but she’s not the image the boss wants to send their new client, Thorn, a renowned goldminer determined to reach an untouched gold supply deep in the jungle.

Thorn is everything Victoria isn’t – confident, impossibly kind, and so handsome he leaves her speechless. And when he entrusts the mission to her, kindness turns to mutual respect, turns to affection, turns to love. But the jungle is treacherous, and between hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and her ex out for revenge, Victoria has to decide – is promotion at a corrupt company really what she wants? 

A jungle tour guide, magic used to protect travelers, ghostly monsters – I was ready for an adventurous read.

Victoria is an easy character to like. She’s dealt with a lot of trauma in her life, more than anyone her age should have to face, but she’s strong. She’s very protective of Bunny, a fourteen-year-old fellow guide who she loves like a brother, as well as Sam, another close guide friend. As much as I liked Victoria, it was the jungle and everything within it that engaged me. It’s atmospheric, dangerous, haunted – really more like a character than a setting. It also protects Victoria and exacts revenge on interlopers who don’t show respect for their surroundings.

Wildbloods can use their own blood or that of someone else to craft their magic to create weapons or kill their enemies. It’s a fascinating concept, but I didn’t completely understand it or why Victoria is the most powerful Wildblood. I’d hoped for more of an adventure tale, but after Thorn is introduced this story focuses primarily on the romance/insta-love between him and Victoria. It overshadows everything else. But I did feel like the ending was the right choice for the characters.

I’m a fan of this author’s writing style, but her first book, Within These Wicked Walls, is still my favorite of the two. Blackwood remains on my authors to watch list, and I’m excited to see what she does next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

It was the last message Holly received from her brother, Dane, before he was found cleaved open in his fiancée’s lavish Savannah townhouse. Police ruled his death a suicide sparked by psychosis, but Holly can’t shake the idea that something else must have happened… Something involving another message he sent that night, the one that mentioned a “game” his fiancée, Maura, wanted to play…

Determined to discover the truth, Holly begins to stalk Maura—a magnetic, black-eyed florist with a penchant for carnivorous plants. But what begins as an investigation quickly veers into a darker fixation, one that lures Holly into the depths of Maura’s world: Savannah high society, eerie black roses, and a whisper of something more sinister. Soon, Holly is feeling a dark attraction to the one woman she shouldn’t trust. As Holly falls deeper for Maura and her secrets, she’s left with only one choice: find out what happened to Dane… before she meets the same fate.

A woman investigating her brother’s apparent suicide finds herself falling for her prime suspect—his darkly mysterious girlfriend—in this edgy Southern gothic thriller.

This book is …. bizarre. I like dark psychological thrillers, and this certainly falls into that category. It’s unlike anything I’ve come across.

Holly’s brother Dane moved in with his girlfriend after only knowing her a couple months. When he commits suicide after struggling with mental health issues, Holly is convinced there’s more to the story based on text messages her brother sent, and she’s determined to discover what really happened.

She may have good intentions, but when Holly is in a position to uncover information about Dane’s death, it quickly becomes evident she doesn’t have a plan. Numerous opportunities are wasted, and she ambles about and spends more time fawning and obsessing over Maura, Dane’s fiance. I also didn’t get a good feel for Holly’s character other than her occupation, information about her family, and her living arrangements.

Savannah is arguably the most haunted city in America, and I’d hoped it would figure more prominently in the story. A couple areas are mentioned, but that’s as deep as it goes. With Maura being a florist, it’s clear the author did extensive research on flowers and toxins. I was fascinated by it.

This novel ventures into some dark, disturbing places, so I’d advise checking trigger warnings before reading it. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of the MC, I wouldn’t hesitate to read future novels by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

19 thoughts on “Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra #psychologicalthriller #suspense

  1. Two interesting reviews, Teri. I don’t think either book is for me though they seem to have lots of strengths. I’d heard wonderful things about the jungle in Wildblood, but the insta-love/romance angle doesn’t work for me. Bummer. Thanks for the thoughtful reviews, and Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.