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Constellations of Scars

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Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. Th Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.


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Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. Th Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.

30 review for Constellations of Scars

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Amelia is a young girl with a strange and unique affliction. Once a month, pearls grow (and then shed) out from under her skin. It started when she was twelve years old, monthly, and has littered her body with constellations of scars. However, her mother views this as a money making scheme and harvests these pearls from her daughter for profit. She keeps Amelia locked in an attic room, isolated from the world. According to her mother this is to “keep her safe.” Naturally, Amelia feels trapped and Amelia is a young girl with a strange and unique affliction. Once a month, pearls grow (and then shed) out from under her skin. It started when she was twelve years old, monthly, and has littered her body with constellations of scars. However, her mother views this as a money making scheme and harvests these pearls from her daughter for profit. She keeps Amelia locked in an attic room, isolated from the world. According to her mother this is to “keep her safe.” Naturally, Amelia feels trapped and the story begins with her plotting her escape. She manages to stash a few pearls away from each shedding, as the number varies each time so she could do this without her Mother noticing. Once enough of the pearls have been collected to sell on for enough money, and with a bag packed, Amelia sets off to the city of Portland alone and determined. She is set on creating a new, more independent, life for herself. A chance encounter with a young man called Peter when she arrives in Portland changes Amelia’s direction - to the coastal town, aptly named, Seaside. This is where Peter and his father run a museum where Amelia’s pearls could come in useful for their mermaid exhibit. But can she keep the secret of where these pearls are actually obtained from? Constellations Of Scars initially grabbed me with its hauntingly beautiful cover, and it pleased me that the story inside was so gripping. I felt on edge wanting to know what happened to Amelia next with every turn of the page. This story begins quite dark and has many shocking moments throughout, especially a huge twist that almost feels as though it winds you as a reader. 4.5 Stars, rounded down to 4. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ARC copy in exchange for a review!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Midnight Tide Publishing). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Original idea 🆗 Character 🆗 Pace 🆗❌ Plot ❌ Insta-trust ❌ Ending?! (WTF?) 2.5 stars Amelia is a young girl with a strange affliction: once a month, pearls grow out from under her skin. Her mother views this as an easy way to make money since the pearls are all perfect and of very good quality. She controls every single aspect of Amelia's life and even keeps her locked in the at I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Midnight Tide Publishing). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Original idea 🆗 Character 🆗 Pace 🆗❌ Plot ❌ Insta-trust ❌ Ending?! (WTF?) 2.5 stars Amelia is a young girl with a strange affliction: once a month, pearls grow out from under her skin. Her mother views this as an easy way to make money since the pearls are all perfect and of very good quality. She controls every single aspect of Amelia's life and even keeps her locked in the attic when she leaves the house. But according to her mother, it's only because she wants Amelia to be safe from the dangerous and cruel world outside. Of course, Amelia feels trapped and the story begins with her plotting her escape. She manages to hide a few pearls every month and leaves as soon as she has enough to be able to survive on her own. We follow Amelia as she is set on starting a new life, far away from her controlling mother. We can see that she is set on creating a new life, becoming more independent and that she slowly learns how to trust other people. The "human oyster" concept is quite original, but I feel that the author could have developed it more, I feel there is more potential there than simply having Amelia hiding her condition until she can trust people enough to let them know and then no one talks about it anymore. Amelia is a nice character, I like that she is brave enough to leave her mother behind and not look back. We can clearly see that she has been sheltered her whole life, and does not know much about social interactions. Still, I found it weird that she trusted Peter immediately after bought some of her pearls and offered her to travel with him. I get that he seems very nice and trustworthy, but for someone who has been away from other humans for most of her life, she was a little naive at times. Overall, there is room for more character development for every character in this book. My main issue with this book, however, is how easily all of Amelia's problems get resolved. She struggles for a few days when she leaves, then she meets nice people, finds a job, and a place to stay in the same day. Near the end of the book, she realizes that she should not have trusted one of her new friends, but we saw it coming because of hints that were dropped in the previous chapters ("If only I'd knew what I was getting into", "Looking back now, I was so stupid to trust him", etc.) so it wasn't even a real plot twist. Even so, she gets in big trouble for trusting the wrong person, but she manages to escape almost easily, and she remains calm and collected even after having to fight for her life. The dialogues and events near the end were not as well written and developed as the rest of the book. Constellations of Scars is a story about survival, trust, and finding a place to belong. I have to say though that I am not sure what kind of book this is supposed to be, it's about survival and resiliency, yet there is a darker twist near the end with a sprinkle of serial killer and mental illness... It just felt all over the place. The pace and tone are also not consistent throughout the story. The last 20% felt rushed and weak, and it's what made me give this book such a low rating because the first part was worth 3.5 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shannara

    I need a day to process my feelings here. Good book, but dang!! I’ll dig in to this tomorrow. Okay, I’ve processed this book and I’m ready to share my thoughts!! First of all, this pearl thing had me interested from the start!!! I may be a weirdo but I seriously would love to see how that works!!!! Ahhhhh!! Second, Amelia was such a cutie! I really liked her sweet, people pleaser personality. (view spoiler)[. I also love Gabe!!! How adorable was he!!! I love how he clearly loves Amelia!!! I am ho I need a day to process my feelings here. Good book, but dang!! I’ll dig in to this tomorrow. Okay, I’ve processed this book and I’m ready to share my thoughts!! First of all, this pearl thing had me interested from the start!!! I may be a weirdo but I seriously would love to see how that works!!!! Ahhhhh!! Second, Amelia was such a cutie! I really liked her sweet, people pleaser personality. (view spoiler)[. I also love Gabe!!! How adorable was he!!! I love how he clearly loves Amelia!!! I am hoping there’s a sequel just so I can see them come together. It would really be great!!! There was something off about Peter from the beginning. But for a while, I thought maybe he was just a jerk. (hide spoiler)] Anyway, my point is, the characters really add to the story. Third, that plot was soooo intriguing!! For a while it was like watching a car accident unfold. Can’t seem to look away!! Then it went at breakneck speed to the end. The whole book was smooth and easy to read. And that ending!!!!! Ahhhh!!!! I also like the nod to There are so many questions that I have about the ending, which is why I chose four stars instead of five. But if there’s a sequel to add to this, I might just have to change my rating to five stars!! I guess we’ll see. I recommend this to YA lovers. And to those who love oddities. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Midnight Tide Publishing for allowing me to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion. Check out this post and others on my blog @ https://shannarareads.com/?p=505 Thanks!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Constellations of Scars gave me some Rapunzel (aka Tangled) meets The Greatest Showman vibes. Which, if I'm being completely honest - I'm not mad about. Instead of having glowing hair that can heal, Amelia can shed pearls once a month. Sounds gross and trust me - it was. I was very glad that I was eating anything when that was first happening. Just like Mother Gothel, she keeps her in the house and makes sure she is there f I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Constellations of Scars gave me some Rapunzel (aka Tangled) meets The Greatest Showman vibes. Which, if I'm being completely honest - I'm not mad about. Instead of having glowing hair that can heal, Amelia can shed pearls once a month. Sounds gross and trust me - it was. I was very glad that I was eating anything when that was first happening. Just like Mother Gothel, she keeps her in the house and makes sure she is there for every shedding. At first, Amelia didn't seem to care that she was hovering over her.. but when was getting older she didn't like it anymore. She just wanted to be alone while it was happening because it was very personal and she was always uncomfortable. Yet, mother dearest didn't care about that. She cared about her precious pearls. Now you are probably wondering why I got the greatest showman vibes. Well, have no fear. Amelia finally went on her adventure after she gladly left her tower/Mother Gothel. She winds up at a museum full of some amazing characters that don't hide their true selves. The bearded lady sings and falls in love. Wolf boy is a sweet heart. Oh, and there's a murderer amongst the crew. Details. Details. Just know that this was so hard to put down and very addicting. I loved the little twists towards the end. Even though I did predict some of what actually went down throughout this. Overall, loved the vibes and now I need to watch some movies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Amelia narrates what feels like a memoir, and due to that format I felt safe to assume that she would be ok (or at least alive) in the end. She never knew her father, and her mother refuses to speak about him. Other than that, she had a relatively normal childhood until puberty brought with it a strange affliction that made her feel like a human oyster. In addition to the monthly agony of shedding pearls that burst from her skin in a bloody mess, there was the constant pain of loneliness and a l Amelia narrates what feels like a memoir, and due to that format I felt safe to assume that she would be ok (or at least alive) in the end. She never knew her father, and her mother refuses to speak about him. Other than that, she had a relatively normal childhood until puberty brought with it a strange affliction that made her feel like a human oyster. In addition to the monthly agony of shedding pearls that burst from her skin in a bloody mess, there was the constant pain of loneliness and a longing to be like other girls, with friends, slumber parties, and boyfriends. Amelia's mother won't even let her sit outside, never mind have any human interaction or go to school. She is kept in the house at all times, and when her mother goes out Amelia is locked in the attic. As she grows older she comes to realize that her mother's protection is more from greed than love and that is when she flees the confines of her mother's home. With no real knowledge of how the world works or how to interact with people other than what she learned from books, she makes her escape with the hope of building a life for herself. Constellations of Scars lands somewhere between the borders of Grimm's fairy tale, and body horror. It is a unique coming of age story with a fast pace that kept me turning the pages. I received a complimentary copy for review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 3 Stars This book is definitely unlike most books that I read, but the blurb sounded so interesting that I decided to pick it up. I originally thought that it might be a fantasy, but it’s set in the real world and while the pearl aspect is abnormal it isn’t a fantasy novel. The premise for the book was so intriguing that I picked it up the second that I got a review copy. Constellations of Scars was a really quick You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 3 Stars This book is definitely unlike most books that I read, but the blurb sounded so interesting that I decided to pick it up. I originally thought that it might be a fantasy, but it’s set in the real world and while the pearl aspect is abnormal it isn’t a fantasy novel. The premise for the book was so intriguing that I picked it up the second that I got a review copy. Constellations of Scars was a really quick read that I finished in less than a day. I found myself captivated by the story and I found it hard to tear myself away because I needed to know what happened next. Constellations of Scars had a fascinating premise and plot. I really enjoyed following Amelia’s story as she ran away from her abusive mother and tried to make a life for herself. The plot was full of twists and turns and I never knew what was going to happen next. The pacing was pretty fast and there were very few dull moments. It was a really interesting story with themes of abuse, independence and humanity. I feel like the plot was excellent and compelling, which really helped make up for some of the book’s flaws. While the story itself was really good, the writing was not. I felt like the entire book lacked emotion. It’s told in first person from Amelia’s point of view as if she is telling us events that happened n the past. At times it felt like reading someone’s diary as mundane day to day events were explained. The author told us things rather than showing them through her writing which kept me from really connecting to the story and the characters. While the characters had interesting back stories the character development was really weak. The themes of abuse and independence could have made this a much more emotional read, but instead it felt a bit clinical. I also felt like the ending was a bit out there. I don’t want to give spoilers, but it just felt like the book suddenly went in a very different direction and while it was kind of cool, it just didn’t fit the story. Constellations of Scars is a really intriguing story with poor writing and character development. But the premise of the book and its plot were so well done that I didn’t want to set it down. While this book didn’t have me emotionally invested I still really enjoyed reading it. If you’re looking for a unique book that you can finish pretty quickly then I would recommend Constellations of Scars even though the writing wasn’t great.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Conscellations of Scars initially attracted me because of the gorgeous cover - I have a thing for skulls and flowers, to that was right up my alley! And the story made good on the promise of the cover art: starting out as a survivor-story of a young woman escaping from her overbearing mother, who keeps her as some sort of money-making slav I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Conscellations of Scars initially attracted me because of the gorgeous cover - I have a thing for skulls and flowers, to that was right up my alley! And the story made good on the promise of the cover art: starting out as a survivor-story of a young woman escaping from her overbearing mother, who keeps her as some sort of money-making slave, it quickly twists into a suspenseful thriller with horror elements, as Amelia has to learn that the true monsters aren't those that look gruesome, but instead can have the handsomest of faces. The writing flowed easily and effortlessly, and it was a pleasure to breeze through this book - if I had to criticise anything, I would say that I might have wished for it to be a little longer, to give some of the elements of the story a little bit more space to be expanded on; but saying of a book that it's too short is really not a criticism, is it? I would absolutely recommend this for fans of YA fantasy with a darker/horror twist.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for granting me access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Whenever I review a book that I personally don't like, I always make sure to find at least one point of recommendation for people. I know that everyone has different tastes, and what may not be for me could be someone else's favorite, or vice versa. However, I truly could not find anything about this book that I would use to persuade someone to read it. I'm going to write this review a b Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for granting me access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Whenever I review a book that I personally don't like, I always make sure to find at least one point of recommendation for people. I know that everyone has different tastes, and what may not be for me could be someone else's favorite, or vice versa. However, I truly could not find anything about this book that I would use to persuade someone to read it. I'm going to write this review a bit different than how I normally write reviews, and I will not be placing it on my blog or sharing it via Twitter (I will be sharing it on Goodreads, though, as an explanation for my star-rating). I know that the author, editors, and publishers all took a lot of time and energy to produce this book, and I don't want to dwell on each piece of negative criticism for too long. So, instead of hashing out my thoughts in essay format, I'm going to just do bullet-points. - The writing and pacing were very poor. Everything was told instead of shown to the point where it felt like the author was just listing off things that happened instead of painting a scene, and we never spent a lot of time developing any one point of the story, even in the beginning with the mother. This also made for a severe lack of emotional involvement from the reader's side of things. - The dialogue was stale and stilted. It either felt too formal or too awkward, and most characters were just vague impressions instead of fully fleshed out. - The last 30% of the book didn't fit with the first 70% at all. It made the whole ordeal with the troupe of performers feel unnecessary. - The emotional reactions from various characters at the end didn't make any sense. All of the characters seemed either robotic and devoid of actual emotion, or they were completely fine after two pages. It made everything completely unrealistic and unbelievable. - There was a particularly sensitive topic that became an important part of the end of the story, and I completely disagree with it being involved in this story. It was written poorly in various different ways, and it ended up being used more as a shock factor than actually contributing to the plot, deeming it completely unnecessary and distasteful. TW: (view spoiler)[ miscarriage (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Crystal ✿ - PEACE ☮ LOVE ♥ BOOKS

    **ARC provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review** This book took me completely by surprise. The blurb had me intrigued from the start and the intrigue continued throughout the book. For a young woman who can grow and expel pearls from her skin I had no idea what to expect or where the author would take such a story. It was all very complex and fascinating, I couldn't look away. (view spoiler)[I never saw her dating a serial killer, becoming pregnant, joining up with a modern day freak show or ev **ARC provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review** This book took me completely by surprise. The blurb had me intrigued from the start and the intrigue continued throughout the book. For a young woman who can grow and expel pearls from her skin I had no idea what to expect or where the author would take such a story. It was all very complex and fascinating, I couldn't look away. (view spoiler)[I never saw her dating a serial killer, becoming pregnant, joining up with a modern day freak show or even being chained and locked up for days in a dank dark cabin basement that's for sure. I think her 'affliction' also is not as much of the story as I'd have liked. We never learn any reason behind it or if in the end she even regenerated them again. It's been such a part of her life I wanted to know more about it. (hide spoiler)] I love that the author incorporated so much and so many different topics within the story because I was definitely on edge throughout. My biggest complaint is the abrupt end. It feels as if it was left far too open for me. Even without an epilogue with a HEA there were so many threads left dangling and I have so many questions. It does end on a good note but I'm a girl who lives for an epilogue, & so for this book to not have one and also leave me hanging it takes some of the thrill away. I’d say this would work best for mature YA readers. The heroine has lived a sheltered life and is in her early twenties but does date near the end of the book, there’s nothing explicit but keep that in mind. Overall I think this was a truly unique and fun read, I certainly enjoyed it from start to finish and now I'm left hoping the author left it open for another book down the road. Then again this is an ARC so maybe the final copy will have a more expanded end. Either way it was a great read and I'd def recommend checking it out upon it's release :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Every month since she was twelve years old, Amelia has grown a series of lumps on her back and shed perfect pearls instead of having a menstrual cycle.  Amelia's mother sees the peculiar gift as a reason to lock Amelia away for fear of anyone else finding out.  However, her mother also closely monitors Amelia's pearls and sells them for her own gain.  Homeschooled and not allowed to leave her house since she was twelve, the now 21 year old Amelia is plotting an escape.  Saving just a few pearls Every month since she was twelve years old, Amelia has grown a series of lumps on her back and shed perfect pearls instead of having a menstrual cycle.  Amelia's mother sees the peculiar gift as a reason to lock Amelia away for fear of anyone else finding out.  However, her mother also closely monitors Amelia's pearls and sells them for her own gain.  Homeschooled and not allowed to leave her house since she was twelve, the now 21 year old Amelia is plotting an escape.  Saving just a few pearls each month, Amelia decides she has enough for a bus ticket and picks her way out of the locked attic when her mother is gone.  Amelia finds herself in Portland, but without any skills, she is a fish out of water.  When trying to sell her pearls, Amelia meets Peter who is opening a museum of human oddities.  Without disclosing her secret, Amelia fits right in.  However, Amelia's trusting nature lands her right back into another prison.  Constellations of Scars is a New Adult fantasy with a very intriguing plot.  I loved the idea of a monthly shedding of pearls, like a human oyster.  Amelia's mother gave off a Gothel vibe, saying she kept Amelia locked away for her own good.  Amelia's character was very interesting and the story is told from her point of view.  I do wish that she dove deeper into her feelings about the pearls, accepting herself, and learning how to be a person in the world.  It seems that everything just happens to her, rather easily, without much emotional connection. I was also very interested in all of the people at the museum and would have liked to know more about their backstories as well.  The pacing of the story seemed a little too fast for me, quickly jumping from one stage in Amelia's journey to the next without allowing time for Amelia to learn and grow.  The ending was especially fast.  The last part of the book abruptly changed to an engaging and heart-pounding thriller that could have been deeply explored and rounded out Amelia, Peter and Gabriel's characters even more.  Overall, a unique story of perseverance, acceptance and hope.   This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashmita

    Not for me at all. 😞 Really had high hopes for this one. Especially with the tangled vibes and a "found-family trope" with performers at a museum of human oddities. But this was really meh. Not for me 🙁 Not for me at all. 😞 Really had high hopes for this one. Especially with the tangled vibes and a "found-family trope" with performers at a museum of human oddities. But this was really meh. Not for me 🙁

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin Arkin

    This is the first book I've read by Melissa Eskue Ousley but I hope it won't be the last. Constellations of Scars was definitely unique - it's about a girl, Amelia, who when she turns 12, she starts to grow pearls out of her back. After finding this out, her mother basically makes her a prisoner in her home. When Amelia decides she isn't ok with how her mother is treating her, she starts to plan a way to escape and when she finally does, things change quickly for her. Amelia has led a sheltered This is the first book I've read by Melissa Eskue Ousley but I hope it won't be the last. Constellations of Scars was definitely unique - it's about a girl, Amelia, who when she turns 12, she starts to grow pearls out of her back. After finding this out, her mother basically makes her a prisoner in her home. When Amelia decides she isn't ok with how her mother is treating her, she starts to plan a way to escape and when she finally does, things change quickly for her. Amelia has led a sheltered life so now that she is out in the world, she has to learn quickly how to survive. When she meets a new family and becomes intertwined in their lives, she truly finds out just how dangerous things can get. Overall, this was an interesting book. I can't quite compare it to anything I've read mostly because it is so out there in terms of Amelia's history and what happens to her but if you're looking for a book with a unique story, consider picking this one up. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by Midnight Tide Publishing, Melissa Eskue Ousley, and Xpresso Book Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 06-11: 'Constellations of Scars' by Melissa Eskue Ousley had such an unusual premise, I just couldn't pass it up. The story follows Amelia, a girl in her early twenties with one incredibly unique attribute. Her body grows pearls. Every month, a crop of valuable pearls breaks through the skin along her back. Her mothe ARC provided by Midnight Tide Publishing, Melissa Eskue Ousley, and Xpresso Book Tours. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub 06-11: 'Constellations of Scars' by Melissa Eskue Ousley had such an unusual premise, I just couldn't pass it up. The story follows Amelia, a girl in her early twenties with one incredibly unique attribute. Her body grows pearls. Every month, a crop of valuable pearls breaks through the skin along her back. Her mother considers it a blessing, but to Amelia it's the opposite. It's painful and humiliating. Each harvest offers a brief respite from the agony of the crop, but the scars left behind are almost as embarrassing as the cause. Kept hidden, home-schooled, and even locked away at times in the attic to 'keep her safe,' Amelia just dreams of freedom. Having been told since the pearls began growing that if anyone finds out about her gift, she'll be held captive out of greed, she soon realizes she's already in that situation at home. This is such a strange little story and I mean that in the nicest way. Amelia is not a weak girl, she really suffers with the crops of pearls and she has been through an awful experience with her mother. She's been isolated and controlled for almost half her life, stripped of any semblance of privacy, berated and abused. Determined to achieve a better existence for herself, she sets goals and pushes hard toward them. She doesn't give up at the first sign of difficulty. Amelia is probably one of the strongest female protagonists I've ever read, without becoming overbearing or being turned into a tough stereotype. She shows moments of vulnerability, but perseveres.. even in the worst of moments. Along the way, she finds a new family.. a group of human oddities that help run a museum on the coast. While she discovers what it's like to be on her own, experiences a lot of firsts, and even begins to form deep, long-lasting relationships.. not everything is sunny in the beachside town. There are dangers lurking that she isn't equipped to recognize. While I did see part of the twist coming, it still went a completely different direction than I expected and I really enjoyed that. The supporting cast is a bit stereotyped, but they were lovely characters.. especially Gabriel. If you're looking for something a bit strange, this one is a quick read. There is quite a bit of darkness here, but that just added to the atmosphere. It's not complex storytelling, but I think you'll find it's so intriguing that you won't mind. PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSAMILLION | INDIEBOUND | INDIGO | KOBO | WATERSTONES

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Belmont

    Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley was a hard to put down, addicting read that was fast paced and thoroughly entertaining. It’s a bit of a fairytale and a horror story, which was a really intriguing mix of genres. The cover is what drew me to reading this story and thankfully, I judged a book by its cover this time. What was inside the pages was excellent. I loved the writing. It kept me engaged from page one. The characters are excellent as well. I felt like I was able to connect to Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley was a hard to put down, addicting read that was fast paced and thoroughly entertaining. It’s a bit of a fairytale and a horror story, which was a really intriguing mix of genres. The cover is what drew me to reading this story and thankfully, I judged a book by its cover this time. What was inside the pages was excellent. I loved the writing. It kept me engaged from page one. The characters are excellent as well. I felt like I was able to connect to them, easily. The only downside was, I wish it was longer! Otherwise, I loved it. Definitely recommend giving it a read! Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy and opportunity to honestly review on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    I just finished this book and my mouth is hanging open in shock. It starts out as a coming-of-age story, with a woman plotting to leave her abusive mother. Then, out of nowhere, it became a high-stakes thriller. So good. Don’t snooze on this book. Amelia was a relatable character and I genuinely cared about what happened to her. The author did a fantastic job of keeping me turning pages. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    A mixed horror and fantasy book based on the tales of Bluebeard and Rapunzel. Interesting start but then it became a bit predictable. The characters fall a bit flat, it was difficult to connect with them and in the end you did not care for any of them. ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shaylee (Bookswithshayydeniece_)

    Ending is rushed. Conflict isn't fleshed out much and is resolved almost instantly but a fun quick read! Ending is rushed. Conflict isn't fleshed out much and is resolved almost instantly but a fun quick read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Abery

    I definitely read this book for the cover, but the story was great too! the ending was a little too quick for my liking but i would still recommend any readers to give this a try.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    Thank you to Midnight Tide Publishing for the ARC of this book! 2.5 Stars First I want to comment on how beautiful the cover of this book is!! It’s what initially drew me in and the synopsis definitely kept me intrigued. The idea was quite unlike anything I’ve read before. A girl that grows pearls out of her back and has to run from a controlling mother, sounds extremely unique. And this book definitely was! The pacing was quick but done well for the majority of the book. It hooked me immediately Thank you to Midnight Tide Publishing for the ARC of this book! 2.5 Stars First I want to comment on how beautiful the cover of this book is!! It’s what initially drew me in and the synopsis definitely kept me intrigued. The idea was quite unlike anything I’ve read before. A girl that grows pearls out of her back and has to run from a controlling mother, sounds extremely unique. And this book definitely was! The pacing was quick but done well for the majority of the book. It hooked me immediately and kept me interested the entire time. The only pacing issue I found was when the book abruptly ended. Like everything was going well and I turned the page and it said “Acknowledgements.” To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Not that it was a terrible ending necessarily, and there were no loose ends or anything. It just made the book seem a bit pointless. I’m not sure what the true purpose of this book was. We follow Amelia on her journey away from her controlling mother, through homelessness to finding a family she feels she can almost be herself around. But when someone she starts to trust betrays her she has to reopen up and learn to retreat her found family. And that’s kind of all there was to this book. The part that’s really bugging me aside from the abrupt ending was the betrayal part. It was completely unrelated to her pearls as you would possibly expect. The pearls which were the main focus most of the book, just completely got disregarded and were never talked about again. The whole pearl thing was really interesting until it just was never discussed again. I think the idea on this one was great, but the execution could’ve been a bit better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Poptart19 (ren)

    3 stars A tender story of survival, trust, finding a place to belong, & standing up for yourself. This starts off as a coming of age story with a teensy hint of fantasy-lite, then veers into crime fiction near the end. The pacing & tone of the story aren’t consistent, & there isn’t anything particularly unique about this book, but I did enjoy it & the narration is nice. [What I liked:] •Nothing particularly groundbreaking or insightful here, but I did appreciate & relate to Mia’s descriptions of li 3 stars A tender story of survival, trust, finding a place to belong, & standing up for yourself. This starts off as a coming of age story with a teensy hint of fantasy-lite, then veers into crime fiction near the end. The pacing & tone of the story aren’t consistent, & there isn’t anything particularly unique about this book, but I did enjoy it & the narration is nice. [What I liked:] •Nothing particularly groundbreaking or insightful here, but I did appreciate & relate to Mia’s descriptions of living with a chronic health condition & how it becomes “normal” in the sense that’s all you know, & the difficulties of having people complain or act controlling about your body. •I liked Amelia’s 1st person narration. While I dislike how much she tells the reader instead of showing & her sometimes heavy-handed philosophizing, her character voice is smooth & believable for a young woman. [What I didn’t like as much:] •I’m not sure what genre this is meant to be. The themes are consistent: gaining confidence & independence, & finding a place to belong. Everything else meanders: plot, pace, genre, tone. •The “human oyster” concept was interesting, but I feel like more could have been done with it. She presumably loses the “curse”/“gift” by the end of the story, but we don’t learn how she feels about that. All the other characters’ unique features are explained with medical diagnoses, & since there are zero other supernatural elements I’m assuming the pearls are meant to be as well. It’s just that the synopsis teased me with magical realism & there really isn’t any. •There was room for a lot more character development for Gabe, Vincent, & Peter. Especially more depth could have been added for Mia’s relationships with both brothers. Mia just tells us how things were or how people felt, & it doesn’t leave as much space for demonstrating them through character interactions. •The story is fine, but it’s similar in plot to other books I’ve read (like the second half of Middlesex). I don’t mean that this book is a copycat, but I have read similar stories that were done better, & in comparison I’m not sure this book will be memorable for me. CW: child exploitation, murder, assault, infidelity, miscarriage [I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Welch

    This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Liked: ✅original idea/ rapunzel retelling/ greatest showman vibes ✅Gabriel was an amazing character Disliked: ❌Pacing-felt rushed ❌Instant trust- after never being around people? Uh no! ❌Nice neat bows wrapped around conflict- every struggle was instantly fixed ❌Ending- she kills him, has baby, boom done Amelia is a 21 year old girl with a strange affliction: once a month, pearls grow out from under her skin. Her moth This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Liked: ✅original idea/ rapunzel retelling/ greatest showman vibes ✅Gabriel was an amazing character Disliked: ❌Pacing-felt rushed ❌Instant trust- after never being around people? Uh no! ❌Nice neat bows wrapped around conflict- every struggle was instantly fixed ❌Ending- she kills him, has baby, boom done Amelia is a 21 year old girl with a strange affliction: once a month, pearls grow out from under her skin. Her mother uses this as an easy and quick way to make money since the pearls are the perfect size, shape and luster. Amelia’s mother seems to controls every single aspect of her life and keeps her locked in the attic and isn’t even able to go in her backyard. She had no outside interaction at all. Her mother claims it's because she wants Amelia to be safe from people who would use her for her “gift”. Amelia feels trapped and begins plotting her escape by hiding a few pearls every month and leaves as soon as she has enough to be able to survive on her own. The premise behind this book is what drew me in, it sounded unique and after seeing it pitched as a Rapunzel retelling mixed with The Greatest Showman, uh yes please, I’m so here for it. I wanted to like this book I really did. I truly loved Gabriel as a character, I though he was sweet, and rugged and broody but soft with Amelia. However, there were many things I disliked about this book. First off, the pacing. The first half of this book was fine, I was here for it, although everything was a little too neat for my liking. Other than that, everything was rushed. BAM, she escapes and gets to Portland, BAM, she is mugged as soon as she gets there, BAM, she finds a super nice guy who shows up and makes all her problems go away! Like she instantly trusted Peter, and for why, because he was handsome and made her feel fuzzy? No girl, like you just got mugged, you your head. I feel like if this book was just a hundred pages longer it would have made a world of difference! I hated that we were just thrust Amelia’s disorder but not really told much other than she births pearls every month when she has her period. I don’t know, I liked the story well enough but I just feel there was so much the author could have done.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Midu Hadi

    What I Liked The cover is simply beautiful. It was one of the main reasons I decided to take a chance on a YA novel. The other was the uniqueness of the premise. Who wouldn’t want to read about a human oyster? The author’s description of what life’s like for someone who has a chronic health condition rings true. Other people’s attitudes towards the said person and how the debilitating condition creates a new normal were both done very well. The writing flows smoothly, which made it easier for me to What I Liked The cover is simply beautiful. It was one of the main reasons I decided to take a chance on a YA novel. The other was the uniqueness of the premise. Who wouldn’t want to read about a human oyster? The author’s description of what life’s like for someone who has a chronic health condition rings true. Other people’s attitudes towards the said person and how the debilitating condition creates a new normal were both done very well. The writing flows smoothly, which made it easier for me to slip into Amelia’s world. What I Didn’t Like While the premise was original, it wasn’t the highlight of the book. Nowhere is the reason for Amelia’s condition explained the way. For instance, Gabe’s hirsute appearance is related to hypertrichosis. So, if those other circus characters had nothing supernatural about them, why not explain Amelia’s? In addition, maybe if she had sought out her dad — the guy walked out on her mom — we could have known more. So, we end up with a story that would remain pretty much the same if we took the pearls out of the equation. Not so special anymore? Secondly, we do see Amelia struggle a bit in the beginning when she runs away from home. But all her problems are magically solved very quickly. Didn’t seem very real to me. Amelia knew Peter had a temper and that there was something off about him. Yet, she reaches for him and not the not-so-good-looking Gabe. That was vain for a girl who should know better than to judge people over their looks. And when she and Gabe get together at the end, it made me feel like he was a consolation prize. Like Peter’s dad accepting his son, the way most characters act was a serial killer right off the bat and then being okay with the girl who killed him made the reaction very unrealistic. Why was miscarriage even a part of the story when it wasn’t going to have any impact on it? This is a sensitive topic that shouldn’t have been used for shock value. All in all, if you asked me to summarize this book in a line, I’d say that it was based on an original concept that wasn’t treated as well as it should have been.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hélène Louise

    I have mixed feelings about this read and feel a little bit uncomfortable reviewing it. On the good side it was an easy read, quite a page-turner - and I easily get bored with books I don't really really like. I loved the beginning, the way the author expose the heroine, living with her malediction, a horrible thing, like a fairy tale turned wrong. A mixed between the tale about pearls and toads and Rapunzel. The writer never forget once that Amelia has to live with her "illness" and organise all I have mixed feelings about this read and feel a little bit uncomfortable reviewing it. On the good side it was an easy read, quite a page-turner - and I easily get bored with books I don't really really like. I loved the beginning, the way the author expose the heroine, living with her malediction, a horrible thing, like a fairy tale turned wrong. A mixed between the tale about pearls and toads and Rapunzel. The writer never forget once that Amelia has to live with her "illness" and organise all her life around it. That part was awesome. I loved it. Alas, the first part of the book was clearly my favourite. The second part was good to begin with, original and lively, then a bit rushed; the turn it took surprised me, not in a good way: I was hoping for something different, more subtile, less showy. Especially as, if the author took pain to work on the heroine behavior and feelings in such dramatic events, the whole was she recovered from it way to fast, she could never have been okay so quickly after such traumatising events. The manner she had, too, to deal with her abusive mother, was very appropriate and healthy, but she could never have achieve such a elevated state of mind without years of therapy. It's a shame as the beginning of the book was precisely realistic and credible. The very end was also to quick for my taste, and weird, as I was waiting for something else! Readers will understand what I mean :) All in all a good read, but a heterogeneous text, which seemed to have been made by assembling various ideas and different parts, some worked in details, as the beginning, and some much less well-made, as the end and the choice to mix some themes (young adult and modern fairy tale was a hit for me, but the next part of the plot was over the top... overkill, even ^-^). Still a lot of qualities, I'll be happy to read another book wrote by the author! 3, 5 stars, rounded up to 4 for personality and reading enjoyment. (I thank Netgalley and Midnight Tide Publishing for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. Once a month, Amelia grows glistening pearls beneath her skin. Shedding them is painful and bloody – her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed; Ameilia is not so sure. Denise sells the pearls to put food on their table but Amelia feels stiffled by her limited life, shut away in the attic. Taking her chances in the world, Amelia runs away to begin her own chance at independence and freedom. A chance encounter with Peter at a jewellery stor Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse. Once a month, Amelia grows glistening pearls beneath her skin. Shedding them is painful and bloody – her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed; Ameilia is not so sure. Denise sells the pearls to put food on their table but Amelia feels stiffled by her limited life, shut away in the attic. Taking her chances in the world, Amelia runs away to begin her own chance at independence and freedom. A chance encounter with Peter at a jewellery store takes her down south to the seaside and Peter’s museum of human oddities. Amelia soon discovers that the world is much more dangerous than her mother first feared… This story has an incredibly unique premise. Amelia’s pearls enable her to literally grow money to sustain herself but they also make her a target if people discovered her secret. Amelia feels safe when she finds herself in Peter’s troupe of human oddities. Peter’s museum and human counterparts, feel very much heavily influenced by The Greatest Showman. As this is one of my favourite movies, I didn’t mind so much and the twists and turns of Amelia’s journey with the troupe, takes a darker, sinister turn in comparison. Amelia soon takes up her place as the troupe’s human mermaid. She must swim around in a ten foot tank, collecting numbered oysters that audience members pick with the chance that one of them may contain a pearl – one of her pearls. No one in the troupe knows her secret about where the pearls come from – can she keep her gory secret hidden forever? The first half of the book feels like a bildungsroman, with Amelia finding her way and displaying her naivety, thinking she can survive on her own. However, the second half of the novel ramps up the pace into a thriller style spin-off which was sudden and unexpected. As Amelia draws closer to Peter, the story takes a dark and dramatic twist (no spoilers here) that was predictable to an extent but still riveting to read through. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Bush

    This book sucked me in with the cover and this super interesting character named Amelia who once a month, has pearls erupt from under her skin.. I went into this thinking we were getting some magical reason for what happens to Amelia, but its never really discussed beyond the the fact that this weird thing happens to her every month. Something that has made her mother rich, made her mother home school her, and keep her locked up in the house in secret. While I did really enjoy alot of the story, This book sucked me in with the cover and this super interesting character named Amelia who once a month, has pearls erupt from under her skin.. I went into this thinking we were getting some magical reason for what happens to Amelia, but its never really discussed beyond the the fact that this weird thing happens to her every month. Something that has made her mother rich, made her mother home school her, and keep her locked up in the house in secret. While I did really enjoy alot of the story, we see Amelia escaping her situation and finding a new family that while at first doesn't know about her pearl problem excepts her for who she is.. I really liked Gabe he seemed like a great guy doing his best to live with his problems. He and Amelia just kind of end up as friends and he isn't really mentioned again until the very end. Everything just seemed to move really fast. One minute Amelia is sleeping in a shelter, the next night she is staying in a new town with the family of her new friend. Then she has a job, a boyfriend, and feels like shes home.. The couple of tense moments like when her mother eventually finds her, comes and goes so fast it felt a bit like it didn't need to be included at all.. While we did get some glimpses that a certain character has some probable psychological issues they are only mentioned in passing. Even if Amelia comments on it, she just brushes it off. The ending twist was definitely one that I didn't see coming, but that coulld be because there was no build up at all.. So if felt like it came out of no where.. While I did go into this story thinking it was going to something completely different than it turned out to be, I did overall enjoy it. I think if we could have gotten more build up to the important events, and more of the actual story I could have liked it even more..

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    **This is an honest review in return for receiving a NetGalley ARC** Amelia has lived a sheltered life, constantly living under the protection of her controlling mother in fear of revealing her deepest secret: a mutation that could be exploited by society. In attempt to hide her, Amelia becomes a prisoner in her own home with no free will. Finally, she breaks free of this captivity to find a new life: an escape to a seaside circus, of sorts. Will she find peace with a self-built family? Or wil **This is an honest review in return for receiving a NetGalley ARC** Amelia has lived a sheltered life, constantly living under the protection of her controlling mother in fear of revealing her deepest secret: a mutation that could be exploited by society. In attempt to hide her, Amelia becomes a prisoner in her own home with no free will. Finally, she breaks free of this captivity to find a new life: an escape to a seaside circus, of sorts. Will she find peace with a self-built family? Or will her past and mutations continue to haunt her? This book is a happy mix of Grimm Fairy Tales and the Barnum & Bailey Circus. There are constant themes similar to Rapunzel, intertwined with new-found family tropes and a twist in the middle. This book was a pleasure to read. The prose was easy, and I read it quickly, nestled between daily tasks and expectations at work. Though some of the plot was predictable, I still found an escape in the pages, even experiencing some heart-racing moments that pushed me forward. I enjoyed the setting in the Pacific Northwest, as I hail from West Coast Canada - the scenery set a sense of mysticism that was appropriate for the enigma surrounding Amelia's condition. I will admit, however, that the crisis point in the book hit me a little different. It disoriented me slightly to the story that had been established and drew me out of the events that were happening. The quick flip from re-imagined fairy tale to a dark and insidious plot threw me for a loop that I wasn't necessarily ready for. This shift caused the end of the book to feel rushed - I think it would've benefitted with a longer ending and better conclusion to some events. All in all, a very good read. I'd be interested to see what other books Melissa has written, as her writing style is enjoyable for a leisurely read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan Dailey

    This book is stunning, inside and out. The beautiful cover implies exactly the mood of the story: pretty, but equally haunting. Amelia is blessed with the ability to grow pearls from her skin. Once a month, tens of perfect round pearls burst from her back, beautiful and valuable, but also painful. Her mother takes over selling the pearls and keeps Amelia hidden from the world--for her own safety, or so she claims. When Amelia decides she'd prefer freedom to her mother's "safety" she escapes and t This book is stunning, inside and out. The beautiful cover implies exactly the mood of the story: pretty, but equally haunting. Amelia is blessed with the ability to grow pearls from her skin. Once a month, tens of perfect round pearls burst from her back, beautiful and valuable, but also painful. Her mother takes over selling the pearls and keeps Amelia hidden from the world--for her own safety, or so she claims. When Amelia decides she'd prefer freedom to her mother's "safety" she escapes and tries to make her own way in the world. And of course, just when she thinks she's got it all figured out, she spirals into dangers even her mother couldn't have warned her about. I was hooked from page one, following along as Amelia tells us about her past and her (admittedly unsure) plans for the future. It's an adventure all the way through, though there's a turning point in the story, artfully done, that had me holding my breath for every word thereafter until the very end! This story does not shy away from the bloodier aspects of the world, both magical and mundane. While the magic is lovely and heartbreaking, it is the cause of some true cruelty for more than one of the characters, and even the mundane world is not always kind. This story also reminds us that the true monsters are much better at hiding than we think and are all the more terrifying for it. I am a little sad we didn't get more time with the other members of the museum or a true resolution with Amelia's mother, but given the rest of this amazing story and the themes it focused on, this was still a fantastic read! Many thanks also to the author for not making this a 400-page book. While I'd have been happy to read an expanded version of this story, my poor TBR simply couldn't take it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca June

    This review was originally posted on my blog, June Reads Books. Thank you to Ousley, Midnight Tide Publishing, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. Let me tell you: what a unique storyline! Amelia found out when she was 12-years-old that she was much different than the other kids her age. She was essentially a human oyster. Her mom quickly withdrew her from school and sheltered her at home for her own protection. She warned Amelia of the dangers of letting anyone el This review was originally posted on my blog, June Reads Books. Thank you to Ousley, Midnight Tide Publishing, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. Let me tell you: what a unique storyline! Amelia found out when she was 12-years-old that she was much different than the other kids her age. She was essentially a human oyster. Her mom quickly withdrew her from school and sheltered her at home for her own protection. She warned Amelia of the dangers of letting anyone else know about her gift. As Amelia grows up, never being allowed to leave the house, she realizes that her mom's motivations seem to stem more from control than from protection, so she starts planning her getaway. Her grand plans are off to a bumpy start when she reaches the city and is immediately turned around and mugged. However, fortune seems to smile on her when she meets a young man who's willing to buy her pearls--even offering her a job in a quaint beach town at his father's museum of oddities. Amelia gets swept up into a new-found family and thoroughly is enjoying the life she's built for herself. Unfortunately, she learns too late that not everyone is trust worthy.  A truly unique story about finding yourself and where you fit in, and about the people we choose as family. I really enjoyed watching Amelia grow into herself as she discovers she's surrounded by a team of people like her. I was hoping for more romance with a particular character whom Ousley was building a lot of sexual tension with, but was a little disappointed that it didn't play out how I wanted it to. However, Ousley is definitely skilled at bringing the plot to unexpected places. This book definitely has a thriller aspect and I didn't expect it to the extent it played out, even though Ousley is a little in your face with foreshadowing. The ending was rushed, and I felt like there were so many loose ends. I also was a little confused how Amelia doesn't seem to show any kind of trauma from any of the emotion abuse, etc, she encounters in her life. 

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Melissa Eskue Ousley's latest novel, Constellation of Scars, is a novel with one of the most unique premises I have ever read. Amelia is what her mother calls blessed, while she considers herself cursed. You see, every month, pearls sprout from her back. Given that her family needs the money, her mother is happy to collect the pearls and sell them. Amelia would prefer they never come back, as each time they do, they cause nothing but pain – literally. Even their removal doesn't ease her pain muc Melissa Eskue Ousley's latest novel, Constellation of Scars, is a novel with one of the most unique premises I have ever read. Amelia is what her mother calls blessed, while she considers herself cursed. You see, every month, pearls sprout from her back. Given that her family needs the money, her mother is happy to collect the pearls and sell them. Amelia would prefer they never come back, as each time they do, they cause nothing but pain – literally. Even their removal doesn't ease her pain much, as they leave behind nothing but scars. Worse, she lives in constant fear of somebody wanting her as their golden goose. Only to realize that she has already become exactly that. Constellation of Scars is without a doubt one of the most chilling novels I've read in quite a long time. Amelia's story, while it sounds extraordinary, is actually terrifying. Imagine how it must feel to have something so beautiful yet painful stem from your skin. And worse, to then be held captive because of it. It hits hard, and it gets worse the more you think about it. There's no escaping her reality, especially as Melissa Eskue Ousley did such a fantastic job of setting the scene. Almost too well, in some instances. Knowing the truth of what is happening here makes the title extremely evocative. And okay, it also ups the terrifying level a bit, at least for me. That, combined with the unique idea, left me completely engrossed in this tale right up to the end. Thanks to Midnight Tide Publishing and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Read more reviews at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  30. 4 out of 5

    ScavengedReads

    Constellation of Scars starts with gripping introduction of Amelia planning to escape her mother who has been holding her captive for the past 9 years in order to use Amelia for the pearls she grows. At this point I'm thinking we're getting a Rapunzel retelling!!! The Pearl plot seemed to be the main driver of the story, which is what made the story so enticing and unique (so excited for a Rapunzel retelling), but oddly the Pearls do not end up playing a role in the rest of the story. They could Constellation of Scars starts with gripping introduction of Amelia planning to escape her mother who has been holding her captive for the past 9 years in order to use Amelia for the pearls she grows. At this point I'm thinking we're getting a Rapunzel retelling!!! The Pearl plot seemed to be the main driver of the story, which is what made the story so enticing and unique (so excited for a Rapunzel retelling), but oddly the Pearls do not end up playing a role in the rest of the story. They could very easily be written out and nothing would change. "Young girl of controlling/abusive mother escapes and runs away to the big city, meets a man who offers. her a job" rest of the story would continue the exact same. After the dark introduction of Amelia's life so far with her mother, the tension builds as she escapes and naively trusts people, as I am fully of dread and foreboding the story completes changes into a cheerful story of Amelia's daily life with found family absent of any conflict causing me to wonder where the plot went for the next 100 pages. There does end up being a conclusion to what would have been a great mystery had that been the plot rather than the pearls. Unfortunately since the mystery is only introduced 3/4 into the book I cannot hint at it without revealing any spoilers. Overall this was a fun quick read, it does drag in the middle, but considering I read it in 2 hours the slow parts are over quickly. I do wish I could give spoilers because I think this would appeal to many non-fantasy thriller readers, whereas the synopsis makes it seem more of a true fantasy than is accurate.

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