Source: Bought

Guest Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

Posted February 17, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 10 Comments

Happy Friday everyone! I got Sophia Rose on the blog tonight, mostly because I completely forgot to post this lovely review of hers earlier. I read and enjoyed this book myself. Enjoy her review, happy weekend!!

Guest Review: First & Then by Emma MillsFirst & Then by Emma Mills
Series: standalone
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on October 13th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I had heard First & Then described pithily as Pride & Prejudice Meets Friday Night Lights, but, as cool as that sounds, I think it was selling the book a little short. For one, Devon Tennyson, the heroine, is no Elizabeth Bennet even if she thinks she has everyone around her pegged particularly the school’s football god, Ezra, into the role of the prideful Mr. Darcy. Devon does have a thing for Jane Austen novels and takes a ‘what would Jane do?’ approach to things just like there is football on every page. However, this story is not about either of those things. It tackles family, friendship, relationships, self, and transitioning to adulthood.

I found this one a delightful mix of typical YA light contemporary romance with some thoughtful and deeper elements to engage me with Devon and the other characters. The story is narrated in Devon’s first person point of view. It’s not a complex piece and it has no deep conflict or action plot, but it was a heartwarming gently-paced character plot.

Many of the issues I have with YA were not present in this book. For one, I loved how the adults are portrayed. They were natural as were the teens when there is interaction between the two.

There is some angst and inner conflict for the teens in the story, but it wasn’t exaggerated. And there were a lot of wonderful and original teen characters who had their flaws, but they were real and not cookie cutters of the usual cliched high school social strata. Now Devon attempted to shove the other kids into these Jell-O molds, but she spent most of the book learning people can surprise you.

There were a few strong secondary plot threads that added a bit of mystery to the story when it comes to a few of the characters have secrets that left me curious to know what they were holding back. One of the secondary threads was Devon’s relationship with her cousin, Foster, who has come to live with them. I loved seeing that side story develop. Foster was a great character.

There is a romance, but I would say the focus of the story is Devon finding her way. For much of the story, Dev has a crush on Cas her best friend who doesn’t see her that way and has a crush of his own going. This of course blinds her to the quiet guy with the poor social skills who does have an interest if she would just pay attention.

So, this was a cute, heartwarming low-angst story that was well worth the read. I definitely want to pick up the associated book, This Adventure Ends.

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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Short and Sweet Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Posted January 29, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Short and Sweet Review: Blood Rites by Jim ButcherBlood Rites by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, #6
Published by Roc on August 3rd 2004
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 452
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

For Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Dodging flaming monkey poo, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there is something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film's producer believes he's the target of a sinister entropy curse, but it's the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.
Harry is doubly frustrated because he got involved with this bizarre mystery only as a favor to Thomas, his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can't quite figure out, until his investigation leads him straight to Thomas' oversexed vampire family. Harry is about to discover that Thomas' family tree has been hiding a shocking secret; a revelation that will change Harry's life forever.

Another brilliant installment in The Dresden Files series.

I just cannot seem to get enough of Harry or the trouble he keeps finding himself in.

Opening Sentence

The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault

This time Harry finds himself working undercover on the set of an adult film, protecting people from a deadly curse as well as trying to find the person behind such dark magic.

To top it off, another vampire of the black court has made a move into the city and is looking to kill Harry and he must find and get rid of her first before she takes any more lives.

This book was exciting. I loved the new and old characters. I loved that Thomas makes an appearance in this book and the secrets that unfold with him.

We get to learn more about Harry’s past as more characters reveal information about Harry’s mother.

I adore that Jim Butcher used the books in the past and the events that have happened not only to shape Harry’s character as he continues to develop through his experiences, but also how they effect stuff that is currently happening in the book.

I just enjoy the humor and the writing and storytelling. There is action and adventure and it just makes my day. This is one of my favorite Urban Fantasies and I cannot wait to see what happens next. I am especially excited about the changing in the dynamic of Harry and Murphy.

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Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 29, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneAn Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Published by Loveswept on November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Christmas
Pages: 218
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:three-flames

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.
When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.
Lauren Layne’s USA Today bestselling Love Unexpectedly series can be read in any order
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

When a psychic tells a superstitious Kelly Byrne that she had already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with tracking him down so she isn’t alone for Christmas. Kelly makes an “Ex List” and starts contacting her old boyfriends to try and figure out which one of these guys are her true love that she has passed up on. But, Kelly never expected that this Christmas sparks might be flying with someone else.

Mark Blakely has been Kelly’s best friend forever. He has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart and isn’t really looking forward watching, or experiencing that again. Plus, Mark has been sitting on the sidelines long, and is ready to move on to something more. All he has to do is convince the woman who is looking elsewhere to see what is in front of her.

YES! This is exactly the type of romance I adore and always on the look out for. Kelly and Mark were so perfect together in this book. It’s been a while since I have enjoyed or read a romance, so when I picked this one up and was unable to put down, I knew I had a winner.

I enjoyed the humor and the romance. I totally love best friends to lovers tropes, so I was sold on this right away. Plus, Layne has a way of building up romances that are both adorable, tension filled and steamy. I really liked the build up, I loved when sparks flew between the two with both became aware of each other.

I loved that they co-own a dog and how wonderful and protective their friendship/relationship was. Turning the pages both warmed my heart and made me giggle. Layne does a great job of lacing humor into her books.

If you love Christmas, this really brings romance and holiday to the table as Kelly is a complete Christmas junky.

I did like Kelly, I liked her spunk and her personality, but her belief in the Sight and superstition turns into a gospel she lives by and feels a little crippling at times. When she was starting to discover her feelings for Mark, she never took the time to sit back and think about the woman’s words, what they meant, and that maybe, just maybe she didn’t have to live by them. It was especially exasperating when she mentions that she always wanted to feel like that about someone, as she does for Mark.

Mark totally won the story for me, I wish if she author was going to put one chapter from his POV in it that maybe there would have been more. I’d really liked to get into his head and find out his thoughts on Kelly’s process and how he felt about it, because it felt like Mark had a big role in what kept happening to Kelly and her Ex’s.

There was a bit of unnecessary drama thrown into the end, I honestly did not expect Kelly to actually get through her list and I would have been fine with that, especially with the way she felt for Mark.

But this was a totally cute, totally feel good Christmas romances that just melts your heart. I think it’s perfect for the holiday season.

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Guest Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 15, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 20 Comments

Guest Review: Stars Above by Marissa MeyerStars Above by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

The enchantment continues....
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
--The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The PrincessThe Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

Stars Above was a delight. Sheer delight. For a fan of The Lunar Chronicles who just had not gotten enough of the series whenWinter was read and done, this collection of novellas came as a delicious dessert.

Stars Above is a compilation of nine stories. All, but one are prequels of sorts. Several were already released as in-between stories setting up the reader for the newly releasing full-length novel coming behind it while perhaps six were new and never before released.

Each of the stories is a snippet into the lives of many of the characters before they became the older heroes and heroines of the full-length novels. Only two novellas fall outside that. The Littlest Android is a Little Mermaid retelling and is a standalone story parallel to the beginning of Cinder and Something Old Something New is a long epilogue- sequel to Winter.

I loved each and every story for how it enriched the series and I definitely needed that last one, Something Old Something New, because Winter ended in a way that I felt needed just a bit more. But, surprisingly, the story I loved the best was the bittersweet standalone, The Littlest Android.

For the most part, the stories are expansions on shorter references within the novels so that I was familiar with each to a certain extent. It was fascinating getting the stories from the different points of view and feeling like I was right there when it was happening rather than the shorter summaries the characters gave in the later novels.

So, this is great for a nice follow-up to the series, bringing together all the shorter stories from before and adding several new ones. Definite fan gift from the author and worth the read whether the reader reads them in release order with the bigger novels or waits to read them after the series is over.

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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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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