Currently Reading: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

18044277.jpgThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

So, you may have remembered how in an earlier post I mentioned how I have not yet read a single 5-star book in 2016.

Yup, you heard me right.

I have not read a single 5-star – or even 4.5 star – book in 2016.

In fact, the last 5-star book I read would have to be Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, which was way back in November.

Why haven’t I been reading any 5-star books lately? There are plenty of possible explanations for this, but that’s another topic for another time.

My point is, I think this book might be my breakthrough. It’s one of those books that I knew I was going to fall in love with just based off of the title, cover, and Goodreads synopsis. But for some strange reason, I didn’t end up reading it until now.

This book sucked me in from the first sentence. I mean, come on. There’s no way I couldn’t be instantly captivated by a book with an opening paragraph like this:

We went wild that hot night. We howled, we raged, we screamed. We were girls – some of us fourteen and fifteen; some sixteen, seventeen – but when the locks came undone, the doors of our cells gaping open and no one to shove us back in, we made the noise of savage animals, of men.

Sounds intriguing, no??

I honestly don’t know what genre this book is, and I’m not going to look it up, either, because that might be a spoiler. It’s giving me a kind of psychological-thriller feel, but I’m sensing that there may be some paranormal elements involved as well….I really don’t know. The Goodreads synopsis is pretty vague, so I went into this book knowing pretty much nothing. Which is definitely part of the reason why this book has kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time – because I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

The writing is absolutely gorgeous as well. The prose flows so well that it almost seems poetic in some parts.

We were alive. I remember it that way. We were still alive, and we couldn’t see how close we were to the end.

Even now, my hands are literally itching to get my hands back on this novel. I’m definitely looking forward to (hopefully) having some of my many questions answered and reading the rest of Nova Ren Suma’s works!


So tell me: have you read The Walls Around Us? What did you think? Have you read any of Nova Ren Suma’s other books? What are you currently 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: More Than This by Patrick Ness

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

Published by Walker Books Ltd on May 1th 2014

Pages: 480

Genre(s): YA Science Fiction, Dystopia, Mystery

Rating: 5 stars!

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

-Goodreads.com description

Oh my goodness gracious. I don’t even know where to begin.

This was one of the best books I’ve read in long time, and that’s seriously saying something, because I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately.

“Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing,’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions.” -John Green

I get you, John Green. I get you.

So basically: if you want to be completely mind-blown, confused out of your mind, horrified, creeped out, enlightened, and utterly heartbroken, read this book. Right. Now.

The Characters: Ness created freakishly realistic characters, all unique and flawed in their own way. Some people may argue that the characters were a little “too unique” to be realistic, and maybe this is true, but for me, the characters’ weird personality quirks and thoughts made the book so much more interesting and relatable.

The characters definitely made some mistakes and bad moves throughout the story, but that made me love them even more, if that makes any sense. The character development was incredible, and I loved watching them learn and grow throughout the story.

The Plot: More Than This is one of those books that have you on the edge of your seat the whole time, turning the pages as fast as you possibly can. This book is about existentialism, and explores the questions, “What is the meaning of life? What is reality? And, of course, is there more than this?” Ness offers such a unique perspective on this idea, and it made me stop and think, “Wait. What if this really is real? What if Ness was right and there really is more than this?” And I love books like that. Books that make you think, books that make you relate, books that offer a unique perspective on something that you had always thought about, but you never thought anyone else thought about. And that concept, in my eyes, is truly mind-boggling.

Simply put, this book is quite terrifying. Not in the way you’re thinking, with monsters or zombie apocalypses or whatnot. It makes you question the laws of humanity. Of reality. And that, on its own, is completely terrifying to me.

The Writing Style: I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Ness’s writing is. His ability to describe characters’ thoughts and emotions with so much accuracy is seriously amazing. Writing realistic and relatable characters is a huge talent, and Ness definitely has it. The characters’ thoughts, emotions, and actions are described exactly how you would picture yourself reacting to that specific event in the story, if that makes any sense. His capability to put anyone’s basic thoughts and feelings into words is truly astounding.

Quotes:

“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”

***

“Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”

***

“We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we’d go crazy.”

***

“You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know.”

***

“Haven’t you ever felt like there had to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it?”

Final Thought: I loved this book soooo much. It’s the kind of book that everyone can relate to one way or another, and that is truly amazing. It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2015! Also, if you’re still not sure about reading this book, I recommend you check out an excerpt of the first few chapters to give you a feel for the book. John Green says it best in the blurb: “Just read it.”

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

22465597 Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Published by HarperCollins on March 10th 2015

Pages: 357

Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

-Goodreads.com description

The Characters: I LOVE sister relationships in books. It’s something that I don’t think YA has enough of. It’s also by Lauren Oliver, who I love, so I was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that I was going to love this book. Which I did.

Dara and Nick are two sisters (and the main characters) in Vanishing Girls. I absolutely loved their relationship, and how they each grew and matured in their own way. I liked how Oliver portrayed all the intricate layers of love and jealousy that the sisters had for each other in a very believable way. Dara is bold and intense, while Nick is quiet and intelligent.

The Plot: A lot of people say that Vanishing Girls was to predictable, or that they saw the ending coming from miles away. However, I didn’t see it coming at all, and I was completely shocked and confused. The last few chapters were so intense! It took me a while to process the conclusion.

Basically, the story reads as a pretty slow-moving contemporary. It describes the sisters’ relationship before the accident, and how they drifted apart over the years. I can see how some people would find the ending predictable, because there are some reoccurring themes in YA psychological thrillers, but I guess I just didn’t realize that when I was reading it.

One problem I had with the plot was that while the synopsis makes it seem that Dara’s disappearance came early in the book, the “disappearance” didn’t actually come until I was about 3/4 of the way through. By this time I had almost lost interest.

The Writing Style: I love Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and Before I Fall. Her writing is so beautiful and realistic. The book is told in Dara and Nick’s POVs before and after the accident. Each of the characters felt so genuine and authentic, and I related to them so much over the course of the novel.

Quotes:

“Sometimes people stop loving you. And that’s the kind of darkness that never gets fixed, no matter how many moons rise again, filling the sky with a weak approximation of light.”

***

“That’s what life is, pretty much: full of holes and tangles and ways to get stuck. Uncomfortable and itchy. A present you never asked for, never wanted, never chose. A present you’re supposed to be excited to wear, day after day, even when you’d rather stay in bed and do nothing.”

***

“You broke my heart.
I fell for you and you broke my heart.
Period, done, end of story.”

***

“This is it: somehow, in these pictures, the mystery of the accident is contained, and the explanation for Dara’s subsequent behavior, for the silences and disappearances. Don’t ask me how. I just do. If you don’t understand that, I guess you’ve never had a sister.”

***

“And for a split second I find her, silhouetted by the sky, arms outstretched like she’s making snow angels in the air or simply laughing, turning in place; for a split second, she comes to me as the clouds, the sun, the wind touching my face and telling me that somehow, someday, it will be okay.”

Final Thought: Overall, I really enjoyed reading Vanishing Girls. I did find that the first half of the story was really slow-moving and dragged on and on, but the ending seemed to make up for that. I loved the writing style and the depth and complexity of each character, as well as the shocking conclusion. I would recommend to anyone who liked We Were Liars or Before I Fall.

Happy reading!

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!