Mini Reviews | March 2016 Edition

Yes, I do realize that it is no longer March. But I was hoping to do some sort of round-up of all the books I didn’t get to review in March….so I’m doing mini reviews! Grab your beverages and get cozy, guys, because this is going to be a long post.


11588.jpgThe Shining by Stephen King

This book took me a while to get through, because, you know…..I’m not that experienced with Adult books. I did love it though! I had extremely high expectations for this one because Stephen King is considered to be one of the greatest writers of modern times, and I was certainly not let down. The only thing I wasn’t really expecting – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I don’t like to get too freaked out – is that it didn’t scare me as much as I expected it to. I’m not saying that I didn’t get scared at all, because I did. I’m just saying that although I was pretty scared while reading this book, it didn’t have much of an effect on me after I finished it. I think it’s just one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22205.jpg This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I had pretty mixed feelings about this one. I mean, it is Sarah Desssen, so it was extremely well-written and quite adorable. I guess I was just let down a little bit by the plot. I guess it felt a little slow to me for the first half of the book, so I didn’t get into it until much later on. Also, the main character, Remy, really bugged me with all her negativity and selfishness. The plot seemed pretty cliche with the whole “girl who doesn’t believe in love meets boy who changes her life” trope. It was a cute book, though, and while I didn’t necessarily like the characters individually, I loved them together.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


228965514.jpgNone of the Above by I. W. Gregario

None of the Above is an extremely important book, and I’m so, so glad I read it. It centers on a teenage girl, Kristin, who has to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about herself after being told she was intersex. Admittedly, this book did make me a bit uncomfortable, but not because of the subject matter at hand. The way people reacted to Kristin’s situation and completely betrayed her just broke my heart. The sad thing is that before reading this book I had no idea what it meant to be intersex – and that is one of the reasons this book is so necessary. Lovely writing, realistic and fleshed-out characters, and unique, important subject matter. Highly recommend!

Rating: 4/5 Stars


22489107.jpgFairest by Marissa Meyer

This one was okay. I mean, I guess it was kind of interesting to learn about Levana’s background and how she became so evil and everything, but for the most part, I feel like it didn’t add much to the series. Readers that actually liked Levana’s character to begin with might enjoy this book, but I personally don’t see the appeal. Some parts felt more like a chore to get through than actually reading for pleasure.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


6654313.jpg Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I actually wrote a review on this book a few weeks ago, which you can view here. Basically, while the writing was still gorgeous and the story was somewhat enjoyable, I had some issues with the plot. By that, I mean: literally nothing happens throughout the course of the entire novel. Nothing. It was also pretty predictable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the new characters that were introduced. Overall, a fast-paced, fun read, but I found it lacking in a few areas.

Rating: 3/5 Stars


12425532.jpgOf Poseidon by Anna Banks

I wasn’t a fan of this one at all! The premise sounded promising because I’ve hardly ever encountered any YA mermaid novels and I was in the mood for a good beach read, but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. The writing style is what about 80% of my ratings are based off of, and I didn’t enjoy the writing style in this one at all. The sentences felt kind of choppy and contrived and there wasn’t much sentence variety, and it felt like the book was geared towards a much younger audience than “young adults.” I also had some serious issues with the characters, starting with Emma. Emma just seemed so whiny and naive, and she bugged me so much throughout the novel! Galen just seemed way too creepy and stalkerish and possesive for my taste. Insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes, and it was painfully present in this book. I could go on with all the things I didn’t like about this novel, but it’s supposed to be a “mini review,” so I’ll just stop right here….

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


180442773.jpgThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Loved, loved, loved! The first 3/4 of the novel is really, really confusing, but the confusion is well worth it. This book centers on the lives of 3 teenage girls: Amber, Orianna, and Violet. It tells the stories of these super messed-up girls and the crimes they did or did not commit. The way Nova Ren Suma wove these stories together in such a beautiful, seamless way was honestly awe-inspiring. The lyrical writing was absolutely gorgeous – almost poetic. This book will seriously mess with your mind, and while I do admit that this book isn’t for everyone because of the dark subject matters at hand, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


 

13455498.jpgAnything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

I wrote a review on this one a few days ago, which you can view here. This book had lots of potential, but unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the execution. I suppose the first half of the book was pretty enjoyable, but there were too many aspects in the latter half that left me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw the book across the room in frustration to overlook. The writing was okay, but nothing special. The characters were boring and felt pretty unrealistic. The plot was shockingly predictable, and the ending felt really cheap and unsatisfying. A quick, fast-paced read, but I definitely had some issues with it.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars


 

16068341.jpgThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

For anyone who has ever been bullied, The Truth About Alice is an absolute must-read. This book explores the effects of an extreme case on the bullying spectrum in an incredibly honest and raw perspective. The book is in the POVs of four characters: Kelsie, Alice’s ex-best friend; Kurt, the boy next door; Elaine, who hosted the party and is the most popular girl at school; and Josh, the best friend of the boy who Alice supposedly “killed.” The writing was amazing and I loved how Mathieu used 4 unique perspectives to piece together what truly happened that night. The only issue I have with this book was the extremely stereotyped and cliche characters. These stereotypes included: “the nerd actually really likes Alice” and “the best friend betrays Alice to fit in with the popular crowd” etc., etc. This did get a bit annoying, but besides that, I didn’t have any issues.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


18806240.jpgBone Gap by Laura Ruby

This one was probably my favorite read of the month! I mean, I wasn’t MIND-BLOWN or anything, but I’m really, really glad I read it. The concept is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it kept me on the edge my seat the whole time. I’ve read an embarrassingly small number of magical realism books, but of the ones I’ve read, this one certainly takes the cake. Oh, did I mention how incredibly unique and quirky and WEIRD the characters are?! I completely fell in love with all of them within the first few chapters. Also, the writing style is quite gorgeous.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


Gosh darn it, that took a long time to write. Still no 5-star reads for me this year, but I have had some solid 4-stars. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed! 🙂

Let’s chat: Which of the books on this list have you read? What did you think? What was your favorite book you read in March?

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Currently Reading: The Shining by Stephen King

11588.jpgI’ve seen these types of posts on a few other blogs I follow, and I thought it would be a fun idea. Basically, posts like this will be (hopefully) about every book I read that I don’t plan on writing a review on. This will give you guys some insight on my thoughts about everything I am reading and what I think about it, because I know I often don’t let you guys know!

So, I’ve followed (some of) your guys’s advice and decided to start reading The Shining! This was a book I’ve kind of always wanted to read ever since hearing my mom tell me it was one of the scariest things she had ever experienced.

I went into this novel knowing that I was going to be terrified. I mean, how couldn’t I? Stephen King is known all throughout the world as being one of the best – or maybe even the best – horror writers of all time. And I’ve never even read one adult horror book, so I wouldn’t call myself too experienced in that genre. 😉

Anyway, I’ve been reading and loving this novel for the past few days. I actually haven’t gotten anywhere near as scared as I thought I would get, but believe me – I’m betting that will change soon. I’m only about 3/4 of the way through, anyway. That certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not scaring me at all, because it definitely is. I have a rule that I can’t read it after 7 at night, because I’ll get scared shitless if I do.

It’s really no wonder that Stephen King is such as well-known and renowned author. I went into this novel not expecting very much for some reason, but it has honestly blown me away. The writing style is amazing, the characters are realistic and fleshed out, and the circumstances he puts the reader through are simply terrifying. I’m hoping to read some of his other works in the future, if I ever do manage to make it through this one without terrifying myself too much.

SO! Have you read The Shining? What did you think about it? What other King books would you recommend?

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

9378297Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Published by Tom Doherty October 17th 2011

Pages: 316

Genre(s): Horror, Romance, Paranormal

Source: Purchased

Rating: 4.5 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.

-Goodreads.com description

I KNOW, GUYS. I KNOW. This is my first review in…..such a embarrassingly long time that I’m not even going to tell you. Since I haven’t written a review in a while, I might be a little rusty, but please bear with me!

If you’re looking for an amazing YA horror novel, look no further. Anna Dressed In Blood has it all: the spookiness, the romance, the terrifyingly-descriptive writing style. And it’s perfect for Halloween!

The Characters: The protagonist of this book is Cas, an incredibly brave and loyal, but still realistic, character. What makes Cas so special? He has inherited a unique ability: he kills the dead. Just like his father did before him, before he was found brutally murdered.

Alright, on to Anna, the other main character. Yes, the girl on the terrifying cover with blood dripping down her beautiful white dress, AKA “Anna Dressed In Blood.” Anna is dangerous, powerful, and ultimately deadly. She’s full of vengeful fury, and she won’t stop until she gets what she wants. Even if it means killing anyone who gets in her way. Especially if it means killing anyone that gets in her way, for that matter. Until, for some reason, she doesn’t kill Cas. Though Cas is a truly wonderful and relatable character, it’s really Anna who takes the center stage.

The Plot: Terrifying. Seriously, truly terrifying. Anna Dressed In Blood had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and it’s full of vivid and gory imagery. I actually had to take breaks in between chapters because it got too intense for me, and I never read it before bedtime because I was scared of having nightmares. So, basically: this book was awesome!

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy as much was the romance. It felt really insta-lovey and forced, and I didn’t really see the characters gradually get to know each other like I wanted them to. In fact, I didn’t even know the characters actually liked each other until they were suddenly kissing each other – Wait, what?!! However, I don’t think that took away much from the novel since I loved it so much as a whole.

The Writing Style: Kendare Blake is an amazing novelist, and she’s certainly not afraid to write some extremely disturbing or gory scenes. Her writing is vivid, descriptive, and flows perfectly. Cas’s voice sounded authentic and realistic, and was actually really funny in some parts, which helped lighten up the dark mood.

Quotes:

“She’s my purpose and we’re going to save each other. We’re going to save everyone. And then I’m going to convince her that she’s supposed to stay here. With me.”

***

“I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth,
the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes
blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.”

***

“I can feel that photo of Anna staring at me from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.”

Final Thought: Basically, if you want an amazing YA horror novel perfect for Halloween, read this RIGHT NOW. I promise, you won’t regret it. Unless you do, which would make me really sad. XD I loved this book, and definitely won’t be forgetting about this one for a long, long time.

Bonus: I just found out that Anna Dressed In Blood is going to be a movie! Stephanie Meyer (yes, that Stephanie Meyer) is going to be producing it, which I’m not too happy about, but it’s still going to be amazing! Find more information about the movie here.

Happy reading! 🙂

October TBR List | My Plans to Scare My Socks Off This Halloween

So, it’s October, and you all know what that means: Halloween! And like I said in my Monthly Recap, my goal this month is to read scary books, eat lots of candy, and dress up as a book character that none of my friends have ever heard of. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

So, in order to get in the Halloween spirit, I compiled a list to show you which books I’m dying to read this October.

12810834172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad- This book is of the horror genre, but it’s set in space. How cool is that? I’ve heard many good things about it, and it’s supposed to be terrifying.

Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2.

-Goodreads.com description

19732381Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas- I read Dangerous Girls and loved it, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy of this book ever since. It’s more of a thriller than horror, but I’ve heard that it’s still really scary and suspenseful, which is exactly what I’m in the mood for!

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

-Goodreads.com description

16299 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie- Once again, this isn’t really a horror book, it’s more like a mystery or thriller, but I’ve heard that it’s supposed to be spine-chilling. It’s not Young Adult, either; it’s an Adult novel but it was described as being appropriate for younger readers.

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

-Goodreads.com description

24396858 The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich- I’ve been seeing this book all over lately, and it seems exactly like the kind of book that I would like.

Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

-Goodreads.com description

764347 Unwind by Neal Shusterman- I haven’t read anything by Neal Shusterman, but this trilogy sounds like a good place to start. The cover and synopsis both sound terrifying, and I’ve had it recommended to me countless times.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

-Goodreads.com description

9378297 Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake- I purchased this from the bookstore yesterday, so I’m definitely reading this soon.

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.

-Goodreads.com description

23014725Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn- I also bought this one yesterday, and I’m super excited to read it!

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.

-Goodreads.com description

7728889The Diviners by Libba Bray- I read this book a few years ago and loved it, and I think it’s time for a reread before I read the second book in this series, Lair of Dreams.

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

-Goodreads.com description

16060716Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray- I loved The Diviners so much, and it was the perfect Halloween read. Hopefully this one will be just as good!

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning andNew York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

-Goodreads.com description

So…those were the books I’d love to read this October! I’m probably going to end up reading only two or three of these, but a girl can dream, can’t she? What are you planning to read this month? Any spooky recommendations that I should add to this list? OH, and most importantly, what are you dressing up as for Halloween? I’m planning on being some kind of book character, but I don’t know who! Any ideas? 

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

9460487Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Published by Quirk Books on June 7th 2011

Pages: 352

Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal

Rating: 5 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.

-Goodreads.com description

Okay, before I start my review I just want you to know: I NEVER give books 5 stars. Like, maybe 10 times per year AT MOST. Even 4.5-star books are pretty rare for me. 5-star books are the ones that keep you up at night thinking about them, the ones where you refuse to read anything else for days after finishing it because NO BOOK WILL EVER BE AS AMAZING  AS THE ONE YOU JUST READ. EVER. Until, guess what? Soon enough, you find another book that might be just as good, *gasp* or, dare I say it, maybe even better.

So, by now you probably get the point. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was good. Like, spine-tingling, hair-raising, PURE AWESOMENESS. But why? you may ask. Why would the oh-so-hard-to-please-Paige treasure this book so much? 

The Characters: Jacob, the 16 year-old main character, journeys to an island off the coast of Wales after a horrible family accident occurs, and discovers the ruins of the orphanage his grandpa lived in, who always told fascinating but impossible tales about the “peculiar” children who lived there. I loved Jacob. I loved his never-ending curiosity, how he was brave and loyal enough to his grandfather to make his discoveries, and his humorous, adventurous personality.

I also liked the supporting characters. I won’t give away the names, because that would spoil it the story, but they were all so sweet and original.

The Plot: I’m in complete awe of how the author managed to come up with a world so complex and unique. I won’t say much about the plot, because again, that would spoil it, but you just need to know that it’s a fast-paced and captivating story.

I also really enjoyed seeing all the creepy black-and-white photographs throughout the book. They helped you get an idea of the appearance of the world that the author had created, and they aired just the right amount of spookiness.

The Writing Style: AMAZING. Writing good horror stories is a talent, and Ransom Riggs definitely has it.

Quotes:

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

***

“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”

***

“Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.”

Final Thought: This is a must-read for anyone who likes mysteries, horror, or fantasy. A 5-star book! And, bonus: it’s a trilogy! And, double bonus: it’s going to be a movie! I’m so excited to read the rest of the trilogy!

Happy reading!