Genre: Young Adult

Review: Digging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein

Posted November 16, 2017 by Lily B in Interview, Reviews / 10 Comments

Review:  Digging for Trouble by Linda FairsteinDigging for Trouble by Linda Fairstein
Series: Devlin Quick #2
Published by Dial Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Childrens, Mystery
Pages: 332
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie's found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn't the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers. And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan--to the Museum of Natural History--the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev's friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.

Devlin and Katie are off to Montana to help dig out some dinosaur bones. When Katie makes a huge discovery, it was suppose to be a big thing. But something isn’t right when the fossils the girls dig up gets switched up for rocks. Soon Devlin and Katie cannot help but feel that something else is going on in the Badlands, and the mystery takes the two girls back to Manhattan and the Museum of Natural History.

This was such a pleasant read. I enjoy the writing, the writing was really well done and the characters are well fleshed out and developed. Devlin is a wonderful character to follow, she is headstrong, smart, and just a charming 12-year-old girl.

I love the strong friendships in this book, especially with the positive relationship between Devlin and her mother as well as between Devlin, Booker and Katie. Devlin cares, and it is evident with the fact when she tries to get to the bottom of a mystery when she feels like her friend Katie’s discovery seems to be underplayed and possibly stolen.

The author also does a great job of incorporating some facts in her books about certain things that end up being weaved as part of the story and does not make you realize that you are in fact also learning.

Devlin Quick is a great series for both adults and children alike. Filled with interesting characters, positive relationships and a fun storyline that makes this book a true keeper.

Author Interview

Hi Linda! I’m Lily and I want to welcome you to my blog, Night Owl Book Cafe. Thank you for taking your time and answering some questions for us today.

Let’s get right to it. What is your new book, Digging For Trouble about?

DIGGING FOR TROUBLE is my second book in a new series for Young Readers (8-12 year olds) that debuted last year. The protagonist is a smart sleuth – a twelve-year old girl named Devlin Quick who lives in New York City and likes nothing better than to engage her friends in solving a mystery. This story opens in Montana, where Dev and her best friend Katie are on a dig for dinosaur bones, and then moves back to Manhattan where they are assisted by their pal Booker. They wind up in the iconic Museum of Natural History – to see whether someone tampered with Dev and Katie’s bones. – and to see whether they can make things right.

I have to admit, I love that it features dinosaur fossils. Where do you get inspiration for your books?

As a writer, I’ve long found that there is inspiration all around us, as long as we always have our eyes open. I grew up near New York City, and the first place in Manhattan that totally enchanted me was the Museum of Natural History. What kid doesn’t love dino fossils? And how those discoveries have changed over the years. Also, I spend part of every summer in Montana, which is unusually rich in fossils from the dinosaur ages, so the combination came pretty easily.

Devlin sounds like a fun character! How did you get inspired to write her character?

When I was a young reader – in exactly this age range – I became hooked on the adventures of Nancy Drew. I envied her courage and her independence – not traits you would have found in me back then – and I loved that she was a character who came back to her fans in story after story. My goal was never to imitate that great series of stories, but to write a modern day character – familiar with new forensic tools – as a tribute to the books that inspired me in so many ways.

Which character did you find the most difficult to write?

I think creating Devlin was the most difficult part of this undertaking. INTO THE LION’S DEN was the first book, and I was well aware – as a writer of a long-running series of crime novels – that if I didn’t get Dev ‘right’ from the outset, I wouldn’t capture the imagination of readers. So a lot of thought went into figuring out who Devlin Quick is before I sat down at the computer to write the first page.

Do the characters ever try to take over your writing?

Of course they do! Before I started to write, I’d listen to authors I admired when they appeared on TV talk shows or lectures, and I would roll my eyes when they would say that their characters ‘spoke’ to them and often took over the story-telling. Most days, and especially when you write a series populated by continuing characters, it’s entirely true! I hear Booker telling me not to make him ‘do’ certain things, and Devlin asking for more freedom to go rogue. It’s part of the great fun of writing these books.

How did it feel when you published your first book?

All my young life – in school yearbooks and such – I always said that I wanted to be a writer. My father, who was terrifically loving and supportive, encouraged me to go to law school so that I would always have a career and a way to take care of myself in case the writing didn’t work. In the middle of a very rewarding career in the law, I wrote a non-fiction book called SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Our War Against Rape, which was published in 1993. One can talk about dreams coming true, but it’s all an understatement. The day I went to the post office and opened the package with the first bound copy in my hands, well, it’s one of the most memorable moments of my life.

What is it that you find about writing children’s book most rewarding?

I was a voracious reader as a kid, and it’s a trait that has served me well all my life. I love books, libraries, bookstores and people who love to read as much as I do. The stories I connected with as a child were such an influence on the rest of my life that it is a real joy to think I might be able to return that kind of pleasure by giving kids a new and entertaining experience with a good book.

What is it that you want young readers, diving into your book, to walk away with?

I want my readers to be entertained, of course. I want them to have fun with Devlin and Katie and Booker, and to want to see them back in book after book. But I also want them to be a bit smarter at the end of the pages. There’s information about forensics in each book, and in this one, there is a lot to learn about dinosaurs. Entertain and inform each reader, which I think is a good combination.

Do you mind sharing what’s next for Devlin?

Devlin’s next caper is entitled SECRETS OF THE DEEP. She and Booker are ending their summer vacation at his grandmother’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. Dev is supposed to be working on a science project, when they make some very unexpected discoveries. That should hook my young readers, I hope.

Final question before you go. Thank you for sharing everything with us. I do have to ask. What would you say your favorite food or dish is?

Hands down, from childhood to right now, if I could have one thing to eat if shipwrecked on a deserted island, it would be a supply of chocolate ice cream. Thanks for inviting me into the NIGHT OWL BOOK CAFÉ!

Thank you Linda 🙂

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Review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 8, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Just a quick note today to let you know that Sophia Rose will be on the blog today with her lovely new review <33

Review:  Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa MeyerFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Scholastic on January 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Mirror, mirror on the wall,Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Sometimes the villains are more fascinating than the heroes. Queen Levana has been the boogie-woman in the dark with nearly ultimate power since the beginning of The Lunar Chronicles series and she has not been afraid to wield the power to get what she wants. I was all on board for this book that takes a dip into her dark and shadowy past to see what came before and get a glimpse inside the mind of such a calculating woman.

Fairest falls between Cress and Winter in the series. I think it was a good place for the series to stop and pull over for this chronological prequel that makes sense to read it after learning the circumstances in the current situation and getting who all the players are before going back to see how it was all set in motion and then going on to get the last chapter in the story. I do not recommend reading it at the opening of the series because there is a feeling that though further back in time, that the reader has a good grasp on the world building. Plus, it’s a series spoiler in ways if read first.

So, Fairest, Queen Levana’s story and a loose retelling of the Wicked Queen and stepmother of the Snow White tale. It begins when Levana is fifteen, her parents have just died, and her sister is taking the throne. It stays with Levana as the narrator through the whole story.

I felt a certain sympathy for her. She never really stood a chance between a lack of nurture and her own nature. The story focuses on her quest to have something she can’t understand or truly grasp- love, being loved, having a feeling of belonging and family, but she snatches for it anyway. She both breaks the beauty of what she had and discovers that it was an illusion all along because she wants two very different things constantly and those things are at cross purposes and can’t exist at the same time the way she wants them.

It’s a sad story, but the author did a fine job painting Levana as she is under her glamour. I had the joy of seeing how things in the series were set in motion and the significance of the players and their roles. This is a great lead in to the final book, Winter, especially now that I know better the heroine Winter’s backstory from this book.

This won’t be for everyone and it is cleverly written so a reader can choose to read it or skip it. Worth reading it though.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Posted November 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

MARY: The Summoning by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: ,
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

This book follows a girl named Shauna and her best friends, Jess, Kitty and Anna. Jess develops this obsession in summoning Bloody Mary and says she actually knows the correct way, all the girls have to do is follow the rules and not let go of each others hands.

Well, Jess becomes overly aggressive about her obsession over Bloody Mary and ends up holding back a few things she refused to tell the girls. One of the summonings gets out of hand and they bring Bloody Mary into their world through the mirror. Mary tags Shauna and when the spell goes wrong, Mary does not return to her world and ends up haunting Shauna through the mirrors and anything “shiny”

Now Shauna is mad at Jess for being so careless and lying, but also enlists her in the help of finding a way of getting Mary off her.

This was a quick read and it was okay. It was most definitely creepy and as I was reading this during Halloween, it definitely bought out all the freaky parts.

Some parts and descriptions, particularly of Mary, made my stomach turn.

Like the other girls, I found myself frustrated and angry with Jess because of what she had done. I found her to be a horrible friend.

Overall, like I said, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough, I got the creepy and the freaky out of it, but also some frustration as well. Not sure if it will hurry me to pick up book two anytime soon though.

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Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Posted November 3, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review:  A Line in the Dark by Malinda LoA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Series: standalone
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Glbt, Mystery, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.
Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.
As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.
When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.
“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”
A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.

A Line in the Dark is a book that came highly recommended to me, and since I was already eyeballing it in the store, I felt like this would be perfect for a November read.

I was right, because I truly enjoyed this book.

The book follows a teenage girl named Jess, who is extremely passionate about drawing. Jess has a best friend named Angie and the two have been thick as thieves for a really long time, until Jess notices a girl approach Angie at the Creamery where she works and it kind of puts a wedge between them.

Margot is gorgeous and has her eye out on Angie, which makes Jess extremely uncomfortable and jealous because of her own feelings towards her best friend that she is unable to express or too scared to. The two start dating and Angie and Jess end up in a fight because Angie notices that Jess doesn’t seem to like Margot but at the same time Angie isn’t aware of Jess’ feelings towards her.

Jess attends an art program at the school that Margot goes to (a boarding school for the wealthy) and that causes her to stumble onto some deep secrets that Margot and her best friend Ryan are hiding.

Well, this secret leads to Ryan’s death after a Christmas party and these kids end up being investigated because they are the last to see Ryan alive.

This book is done in two parts. The beginning throws you into what happened, but the first part is before the incident and the second part is the investigation following the incident. I thought this book was really well done, I really enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot was interesting. It had diversity, but it also had a plot.

This is not a book that is meant to be spooky, and I know some people felt that way when they saw the cover. This is actually a contemporary young adult with a mystery and a twist. It’s about a girl, who is trying to sort of find herself as well as try to deal with the fact that the girl she is in love with, she cannot have.

This book, I am warning now, does not come with a happy ending. It is not a romance, even if it features a romance.

It also reads as an older Young Adult, it is sex positive, but no there are no explicit sex scenes in it. It does have drinking and some cursing.

I did have a hard time putting this down, I was completely invested in the plot line and the characters and I really wanted to know what happened. The ending threw a real curve ball and it was, I did not expect that but it explained some things.

The only issue I think I have is that, the beginning was not how the rest of the book completely unfolded and I felt that the killer should probably have been more affected maybe by what happened? But all in all, I really enjoyed this, it was an interesting read and I always appreciate a book with diversity and a good, engrossing plot line.

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Halloween and Book Reviews

Posted October 31, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Happy Halloween everyone! If you are into the spooky fun, I hope you have a good day today. It’s exciting for us because we get to take our little man around for a short trick-or-treat so it should be exciting for the whole family. At the moment, I have reviews two spooky reads for you today, enjoy! Let me know what you will be doing tonight!

Halloween and Book ReviewsNightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Series: standalone
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 346
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

Marin lives on a Northern island where there is 14 years of light and 14 years of night. Every 14 years the people who live on the Island during the day must get on ships that come to pick them up and travel away from the Island, leaving their homes in the dark. Before they leave, they must clean the houses from top to bottom, leaving it spotless and just the way it was when they first arrived on the island.

When the boats arrive to pick people up, Marin realizes that her best friend Line is missing and with the help of her twin brother Kana, Marin hopes to find Line before the boats leave them behind.

But what happens when the worst comes to life?

This was such an interesting read.

I liked the setting, it seemed very creative and unique. 14 years of light, 14 years of darkness? I found myself really hooked wondering what exactly was going on, on the island when the darkness set. That alone had me flipping through the pages to get to the bottom of it.

Kana, Line and Marin were enjoyable enough characters to follow. I had to remember at times that they were pretty young.

That being said, I should also mention that this book is mostly a survival book. Because these three kids basically get left behind, by accident, they have to find their way off the island and avoid this thing that is suddenly hunting them. On top of it, Line is injured and something is going on with Kana that the other two don’t realize for a while. Add it together and it was pretty fast paced, I get through it quickly enough and I found that I was really enjoying it.

Of course, this isn’t without gripes. I wanted more world building, I did not think we got the whole background of the island clear enough. I also failed to understand why there was like 14 years of light/dark and the place they were going be on has like 3 days light/dark, that seems geographically impossible? Or is it just me, thinking the way planets would spin?

Also, it was a little weird how quickly these kids came into doing something violent to survive without like freezing. I guess it’s because you have to do what you got to do in the moment of danger or fear, but I pictured myself in that moment and I honestly felt like I’d just freeze up. My survival instinct isn’t all that great heh.

There was also this background with Kana I did not understand how he came to be because of how the creatures of the island interact, but I can’t get into much of this due to spoilers.

Overall though I am not going to complain too much, I did really enjoy this. It’s a quick paced read and I am looking forward to picking up other books by these authors.

I rounded the rating from 3.75 to 4 because I was in a good mood today.

Halloween and Book ReviewsThe House Next Door: A Ghost Story by Darcy Coates
Series: standalone
Published by Black Owl Books PTY LTD on March 15th 2017
Genres: Horror, Ghosts
Pages: 282
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I live next to a haunted house.

I began to suspect something was wrong with the gothic building when its family fled in the middle of the night, the children screaming, the mother crying. They never came back to pack up their furniture.

No family stays long. Animals avoid the place. Once, I thought I saw a woman’s silhouette pacing through the upstairs room… but that seems impossible; no one was living there at the time.

A new occupant, Anna, has just moved in. I paid her a visit to warn her about the building. I didn’t expect us to become friends, but we did. And now that Marwick House is waking up, she’s asked me to stay with her.

I never intended to become involved with the building or its vengeful, dead inhabitant. But now I have to save Anna… before it’s too late for the both of us.

Jo lives home next to a haunted house. For years she has seen families move in next door and leave in the hurry in the middle of the night shortly after the movie. The entire neighborhood avoids it, including Jo’s own cats. The lights turn on randomly at night, the doors slam on their own, and birds keep flying into it and breaking their neck.

Now a desperate young woman moves in and Jo cannot help but feel protective of her. There is something Anna isn’t telling her about her own past, that she wants to avoid, and the house is the only sanctuary she can afford. Anna is sweet, timid and remakes dolls, a perfect soul for the ghost to cling onto.

This was an interesting read. It was definitely a creepy ghost story, very chilling, very atmospheric, with a few scenes that made my stomach turn. It does have scenes with animals getting hurt in it, and those animals are usually birds that fly into the house. If that disturbs you, just be aware.

I only read this book once in the night and decided not to do that again. It most definitely gave me a nightmare.

The writing was good. It was my first Coates reads and it won’t be my last.

There were a few things that I had a gripe with and one of that was the fact that when Jo googled the house online, she couldn’t find anything about it. When she spoke to her neighbor, the neighbor told Jo that when the store broke it’s all the news spoke about on the TV, so I would have thought something would have been found online.

Second, there was a scene with Anna’s ex, who does not have proof that Anna lives in the house but goes through her trash one night and finds something in it and assumptions fly and the girls end up in danger. The whole thing was just weird for me.

Overall though, if you like ghost stories, this was a very creepy but interesting read.

 

 

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2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted October 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

Cas Lowood has an unusual vocation, he kills the dead. Something he inherited from his father and his father’s father before him, a sort of family business that he feels only they can do.

Cas kills ghosts using an athame knife that he believes only he can really kill with. A knife, he inherited upon his father’s death/murder in order to train and continue the family line of work. Protecting people from ghosts who get stuck in a killer loop and hurt innocent people.

One day he gets a tip from a person online and Cas sets out to a town where the ghost of Anna Korlov viciously murdered many people that have dared to set foot into her house.

In order to find out more about this dangerous ghost Cas accidentally befriends a boy named Thomas and a girl named Carmel who, after an unfortunate line of events end up helping Cas discovered the truth behind Anna and why she is the way she is – something that Cas has never seen before.

This started out strong. I was really enjoying this. Anna Dressed in Blood was EXACTLY what I wanted when it came to chilling, creepy ghost stories right before Halloween.

Unfortunately, what started out strong, creepy, and exciting fell a bit flat in the end for me.

First, the book feels like the author combined the two books into one. There was suddenly a different storyline thrown into the mix upon the group solving the Anna situation. I felt like that could have been a whole different book, but I guess the author needed this in order to set up book two.

The book reads as a mature young adult, I wouldn’t recommend this for younger audience due to some of the violent and even some graphic scenes in this book that even made me squirm. This book has a few gory scenes in it.

I really wanted to love this more and I was almost ready to give this 4 stars, but than this unnecessary thing happens in the end with the cat and it totally killed the mood I was rolling with. I was like, what, why… Let’s just say I was not expecting unnecessary violence towards animals in YA, so not only did that throw me off it kind of killed it for me.

I know a lot people love this book, it is definitely creepy, atmospheric, even scary at times. It reads a lot like a movie and you could almost picture the book as a movie, but again, it had certain parts that just did not work for me.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Published by Quirk on June 7th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

After his grandfather’s death, sixteen-year-old Jacob manages to convince his father to take him to a remote island off the coast of Whales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of an abandoned orphanage and suddenly maybe his grandfather’s stories weren’t just made up. Maybe he told the truth.

As Jacob explores the ruins he comes across an abandoned chest, where he discovers more pictures of the children that his grandfather told stories about and when a group of that children cross his path – Jacob is stunned that they are still alive.

This was… Interesting. It’s hard to give a blurb for the book without making a mess of it. I don’t like the blurb from goodreads, not sure that works for it either.

I got the wrong impression of the book coming into it, not only from the blurb on Goodreads, but also probably from the people who pushed this as a spooky read. Yes, it’s a bit atmospheric, but it’s strongly character driven, and I did not find most of this book spooky.

Jacob was a hard character to like. I found him boring and extremely one dimensional, lacking depth and emotion.

The romance in this book was really weird and if you think about it, really awkward.

Yes the book became a bit more spine tingling in the back, but it was short lived.

In the end, I think the book lived up to the wrong kind of standard. I might have enjoyed it more, but I found the book hard to enjoy from the MC perspective. I enjoyed some of the ending, but by that point I just felt like I wanted to get through it. Besides all of this, I think this is a case of more me than the book and I still recommend it for the people who enjoy Young Adult and Paranormal, because it is definitely original.

 

 

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Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Sanctum by Madeleine RouxSanctum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #2
Published by HarperCollins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Sanctum opens up shortly following the events of book one. Dan is having nightmare’s and he isn’t sure how to stop them. Getting away from the Asylum, he assumed that his problems would be fixed – but they are not. It doesn’t help that his friends Abby and Jordan seem to be ignoring him, and someone is sending them weird vintage carnival pictures. When a letter shows up from his ex-roommate’s mother, asking Dan to visit her son, all clues start to point for the trio to go back to New Hampshire College.

Guys, I am just adoring this series.  I think a large part of it is due to the fact that the book is mixed media, I love asylums and old creepy vintage carnivals and atmospheric books and this had all of it mixed into one. Once I picked this one up I had a hard time putting it down, I completely devoured it, and loved falling back into this series.

A large part of me wishes there were more books out there like this. I truly believe it adds to the reading experiences and the photos were creeptastic and perfect for this time of year.

Also, this entire book takes place close to Halloween time. So when Dan, Jordan and Abby go back to the college, there is a bunch of secrets that they are still trying to uncover. Including the fact that there seems to be a secret society that is linked to Daniel Crawford and the society seems to be after the trio.

This book isn’t without issues and I acknowledge that. I still feel like there is a bunch of holes that the author needs to fill and I hope everything wraps up in the final book. I don’t think everyone would love this book as much as I do. Because at times Dan and his friends have quiet a bit of drama going on, but they are pretty normal teenagers, so I can see how that would definitely play the part in the book, even if it is probably one of the few realistic parts of this book.

But, I still love it. It’s on an atmospheric side. It’s great for Halloween or fall. It’s creepy, and I am totally hooked. Plus there is a creepy carnival – I’m sold. Also, ghosts, yes?

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Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 23, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review:  Asylum by Madeleine RouxAsylum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #1
Published by HarperTeen on August 20th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 317
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Asylum follows a sixteen year old boy named Dan Crawford, who is somewhat an outcast in his high school and doesn’t really have any friends. When he arrives at New Hampshire College for Prep, it is more than just a summer program to him, it is everything. He meets a girl named Abby who is an artist and a boy named Jordan who is extremely smart and loves math. It isn’t long into their stay when Dan discovers that the building in the summer program is stationed is an old Asylum, one that was used as the last resort for the criminally insane. Soon the trio is found sneaking away and looking into the dark secrets of their temporary summer home, but soon find more than they bargained for.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I love mixed media type of books, so the fact that the author incorporated pictures into it made me so giddy with excitement. It was wonderful enough that I felt like the book itself was atmospheric, but the pictures added to it, just bought everything together for me and it was everything I could ever ask for.

Does this book have creepy? Oh yes it does. I loved following Dan and his group of friends as they dug deep into the underbelly of what had transpired at the Asylum when it was open and all its dark and creepy secrets. Secrets that might be linked to them. They also start having these creepy dreams and there is a bit of a drama with the group because they don’t seem to want to admit that the Asylum is effecting them. Then they find there is a killer on the loose and someone is trying to contact Dan, and they are trying to link the killer and what had happened in the past, because the two might be connected.

Despite the fact that this book takes place during summer. This is a perfect read for this time of years because of its creepy atmosphere and the dark mystery.

So why not a higher rating if I enjoyed it so much? There was a lot of build up, this book had me flipping through the pages and before long I devoured it. I didn’t rate it higher because of the ending. I feel like things escalated so much but the ending was quiet a bit quick and the resolution left me wanting more. I soon discovered that the ending sets up book two wonderfully though, despite the fact that I felt it all wrapped up a bit too quickly.

Overall I am loving this series so much that if you are looking for something interesting to try this Halloween that also has creepy pictures to guide your curiosity, I definitely recommend giving this book a shot.

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Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Posted October 20, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 5 Comments

Review:  The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. SheinmelThe Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Series: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1
Published by Hachette Books on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother, Kat, move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. From the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. Something about their new house is just…creepy.
In the days that follow, Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. As the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

We follow a sixteenth year old girl named Sunshine Griffith as she and her mom make a move from Austin, Texas to Ridgemont Washington. From the moment the two arrive in their new home, Sunshine cannot shake off the creepy feeling that seems to follow her through the house.

It doesn’t take long for Sunshine to realize what is happening. The house feels cold, there are footsteps of a little girl in the middle of the night, sobbing, bedroom door slamming shut, and her stuff gets thrown all over the floor.

It’s not until one night where the experience what happened to the little girl that turns Sunshine’s whole world upside down. Both her and her mother Kat witness something evil that has happened in the house, but her mother does not remember what happened the next day. Now her mother is acting strange and not at all like the loving woman that Sunshine is familiar with.

This book was interesting. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started reading it, but I found myself enjoying it.

Sunshine starts a new school and is drawn to a boy named Nolan, who becomes her really good friend. Nolan is incredibly smart and really adored his grandfather who had recently passed away. The loss had hit him hard, but Nolan holds on and believes in his grandfather’s ghost stories so he and Sunshine become really close when Nolan ends up the only person who does not look at her as if she had gone insane.

There is also a strange art teacher that is really into weird and creepy.

Together Nolan and Sunshine must find out what Sunshine really is and save her mother before time runs out.

Outside of the special snowflake alert, I found myself kind of liking Sunshine. She loves film photography – a girl after my own heart. She is very loyal to the people she really cares about and very modest. She just wants to feel like a sixteen year old girl, but she experiences things that no one else can.

The book was pretty character driven and some parts were really spooky. I was kind of hoping the rainy eeriness setting of Ridgemont, Washington would add to the atmosphere, but that part I found a bit lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed it and cannot wait to see what happens next.

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2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted September 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 30 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsThe Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #1
Published by HarperCollins on July 1st 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House... before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

I am still having trouble believing that I have not read all of Armstrong books, none of the ones that I have picked up have disappointed me and every time I open the cover I know I am going to be pulled into the story.

The Summoning delivered just that on top of some nights of lost sleep.

The book follows Chloe Saunders, and how her life changes when she finally hits puberty and all the sudden she starts to see ghosts. She ends up in a house for troubled children and is told she has a medical condition and needs to be treated. When her secret comes out a few of the teens in the house come forward and Chloe starts to realize maybe it’s not a house for children with a medical condition and maybe not everything is as clean cut as it seems.

This was wonderful. I enjoyed Chloe and the other “troubled teens” I loved the writing. Yes, it felt a bit slow initially but it did pick up for me. Still, I cannot complain, I savor Armstrongs writing, it’s just so amazing, I really need to read all of her books.

If you are looking for a series to start this fall, enjoy books about ghosts and teenagers with special abilities in the supernatural I highly recommend this book. There even seems to be a slow burn romance. There were parts in here that I would not recommend reading in the dark if you are easily scared.

Already waiting for book 2.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by Harper Teen on July 24th 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Steampunk
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.
Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:
The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Oops, I am a little behind on this author. I own her Truthwitch series book, but I decided to pick up this one due to the fact that I love a good paranormal during this time of year.

Something Strange and Deadly did not disappoint. It gripped me and threw me into the world from chapter 1 and I found it hard to put it down.

This follows a young girl named Eleanor fit and her brother is missing, her mother wants to marry her off because they are running out of money, and a necromancer has raised the dead that come out and attack the public once in a while.

Eleanor does not believe that her brother would abandon them so she sets out to find him and get’s involved with the spirit-hunters because she feels that the necromancer has her brother.

Overall, this was a great read, perfect for the season and even a bit atmospheric. It is also quiet character driven and you really had to like Eleanor. There is also a slow burn romance.

I did like Eleanor but I also found her reckless at times. I understand why she did the things she did, but yeah. Interesting series. Will be looking forward to book two.

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