Book Review | Gilt Hollow

Gilt Hollow
Lorie Langdon

Willow Lamott’s best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.

{The Basics}
Mystery thriller!!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book--could hardly put it down!  It's definitely a mystery and one that will keep you on your toes.  However, it's not entirely labeled as "Christian" (which, by the way, there's nothing wrong with that, except. . .), and has a good bit of language, slang, and sensual content.  Other than all that, of course, I loved this novel.  

Willow Lamott's life for the past four years has been, needless to say, difficult.  And that may be quite an undermining statement.  Why?  Because she's the best friend of a killer.  Or, at least, her best friend--Ashton Keller--whom she grew up with, was convicted of killing a classmate.  And sentenced to juvie for four years.  He's released on early parole, and it seems her world sinks all over again.  He's definitely not much of the Ashton she remembers, but could he be innocent?  Should she risk everything to find out?

Willow loves her family.  You can see that in how she plays with her younger brother, how she wants to protect him, and the relationship she has with her mother.  Her father died from cancer before Ashton was convicted, and it seems the little family held together.

For nearly four years, Willow has clammed up and drawn into herself, but now with her senior year looming full ahead, and a new friend found in a girl named Lisa--who's willing to dig into her defenses and help her have fun--Willow begins to open up again. 

Someone plays several dirty pranks, one of which involves a boy's jersey that was stolen, urinated on, and nailed to the school's gym door.  And, of course, EVERYONE turns accusatory eyes on Ashton, who is fresh from juvie, when you just know it wasn't him.

Family members lie constantly, whether unintentionally or seriously trying to protect those they love.

An angry girlfriend threatens to cut off a guy's--er, "part"-- a character almost says the word.  There's mention of some college event, and a description of one of the participees as a guy wearing make-up and who's hair is an aqua mohawk. . .

There's a Halloween/Masquerade Ball, where students and adults alike dress in absolutely WHATEVER.  There's an alien mask, with human fingers for teeth.  A demented clown.  Fairies (which are nowhere near as bad as those others, in my opinion. . .). And so on.

There's a psychotic killer.  Can't say much more. . .

Four years before, a boy is pushed from the waterfall and dies.  We "see" flashbacks of blood and the boy's body.

In juvinile jail, stronger prisoners prey on the weaker.  (While some stand up for them.)

A car intentionally causes a motorcycle driver to wreck.  The guy is injured, but survives.

A teen and a little boy fall from a mansion's rooftop ([SPOILER] With only a concussion to the teen, they both survive.)

{Spiritual Content}
The Lamott family goes to church.  And volunteer when they can at the soup kitchen, which is hosted at the church.  Later on, we discover that the bachelor pastor is interested in Willow's widowed mother.  (It's kinda sweet) :]

At one point, Willow finds herself at the cemetery where her dad is buried.  There, she "talks" to him when she needs a bit of relief and can't find someone to trust.  (Personally, this should've been where she prays to the God who listens to all of our burdens. . . But I suppose, someone may find comfort in telling their deceased family member what's going on.  No offense meant, whatsoever.)

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
One mention of "dang." "Sexy" is used once, in referrence to a red, halter dress.  "Ballsy" is also mentioned in regards to. . . bravery, or courage, of sorts.  Two uses of "d---."  There's quite a bit of school slang, as I like to call it.  One use of "piss"-- FORGIVE ME!  But I wish my readers to be aware--regarding the ruined jersey.  "Freaking" is used many times.  (Part of the school slang.)

It's obvious very early on that Ashton and Willow are attracted to each other.  There's much ado with boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. . . Lots of kissing, making out, scantily clad girls, revealing outfits, etc.

Ashton and Willow share a couple "electrical" kisses.  And you kinda stumble into the whole cliche of "they definitely have chemistry."

In conclusion, again, I enjoyed this story.  However, I would most definitely caution younger readers due to some of the content, and recommend this for ages 16 and up--at least.  With all of the above said, it was a wonderful story of friendship, loyalty, and justice--with some romance thrown in there to boot.  :]

Recommended ages:  16-18+

I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.


Book Review | The Goblin Crown

Hello, lovelies!  Just now attempting to get back into the swing of things here in the blog world.
I've a review for you, but alas, none of my photos would upload, so it's rather boring.  Still, I've left a link if you wish to see the cover and description on Goodreads.

Thanks!  And be watching for wedding photos!!

The Goblin Crown
Billy Smith & the Goblins
Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Billy Smith is having a rough first day of high school. The new kid at exclusive Francis Drake Prep, Billy embarrasses himself in front of fiery, beautiful Lexi Aquino. He makes an instant enemy in Kurt Novac, the school's surly star quarterback. 
          Then suddenly Billy, Lexi, and Kurt are mysteriously transported to an underworld teeming with goblins, strange animal hybrids, and powerful magic the fact that they re stuck there is probably Billy s fault, too. With help from an unlikely goblin leader named Hop, the teens soon discover that goblins can be both fierce and friendly, with their own rich language, culture, and history a history that foretells of a human arriving to claim the Goblin Crown and lead them to victory against the deadly, invading Hanorians. 
          Could Billy anxious, awkward Billy be the mythical Goblin King? Could saving the goblin race be his destiny and the key to getting him, Lexi, and Kurt back home?


[The Basics]
Billy is a freshman in high school, and he is accustomed to being an outcast.  So, it's no surprise when he fumbles at school and makes a fool of himself in front of cute Lexi and the entirety of the cafeteria.

With his dad suffering from cancer, his mum working hard to pay the bills, and Billy enduring long days at school and bullies from the start, one would think he would wish to magically be transported to another world.  At one point, during what he believes is a panic attack, that's exactly what happens.  And Billy the Nobody is given a chance to be a true hero.

Billy is compassionate in a way.  He looks out for the weaker ones, stands up to the bullies, even when he's knock-kneed himself, and has a big heart. 

Bullying.  Language.  

There are a couple surprisingly descriptive battles.  I was admittedly a little surprised at the gore, simply because I assumed this novel was meant for pre-teen/teen readers.

Lots of blood and corpses.  Wasting diseases.  Burned villages.  Wounded and dying men and goblins.  Pincushioned corpse with dozens of arrows sticking from his back.  

Cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, bodies burnt to ash, others frozen, arrow wounds, swords, etc. 

A sweet, goblin girl is killed, with her head smashed in from debris.  A bad guy's head is carried away on a spike and paraded through a crowd.  

It's joked that at goblin funerals, they used to chop up the dead and use them for fertilizer in crops and gardens, while some used to eat a bit of their own relatives. . . (Wasn't very humorous to me. . .)

[Spiritual Content]
There are wizards and magic.  Goblin monks and Templars worship a Night Goddess, while the Hanorian Celestials (humans that are outcasts from other humans) referred to Father Day and Mother Night.  Basically, they sound like hippies.  ;D

[Language, Alcohol & Drugs]
Three uses of "d---."  One use of "Oh, h--- no," and another of "Oh God," and "Oh my God."

Beer and ale.  

Billy likes Lexi, who is fiery and possesses quite a bit of spunk.  He finds her "cute" and adorable.  No kissy-smooches, though! You're safe!

Overall, I liked this intriguing tale.  But, due to the language and content, I was rather disappointed.  Because of that, I would most likely not recommend for younger readers under 16 years of age--at least.

Still, it was a thrilling story with goblin language and culture, wizards and magic, and much action.


Recommended ages:  16+
3.5-4 out of 5 stars