Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Told in alternating points of view we meet two girls whose only connection is a girl named Orianna and mysteries that surround them. Violet is a talented dancer from a good family who is well on her way to pursuing her dreams. Amber is a girl who has been locked away in an all girl’s correctional facility for many years despite the innocence she maintains. Amber hopes for justice and Violet hopes for nothing to get in the way of what she’s earned but is something else already set in motion?

a2WAIT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?

WhatJustHappened

a4

OKAY. So this was an interesting experience, guys! I’m LOVING LOVING LOVING the book. I’m TENSELY reading…just turning the pages as fast as my brain can keep up with because things are getting CRAAAAZY UP IN THIS BOOK. And then the ending happened. I didn’t get it. I literally did not understand what happened. So I reread the THING that happens that confused me. STILL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. So I reread again because maybe the sun from the beach I was reading on affected me. NOPE. NO COMPRENDO. MY BRAIN STILL HURTS. So I googled “PLEASE SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING OF THE WALLS AROUND US.” Google was actually real helpful. Sort of. I found two different explanations of the ending. I think the last one made more sense and I THINK is actually what happened. If what I read is what actually happened then it was an awesome ending and such a wonderfully strange & unique book!

I think the only downfall to this book is truly is that I didn’t understand what happened at the end — I don’t know if it was my brain or if the ending was legit kind of confusing. I was so amped about it from page one and then I really struggled with the ending. But before that there was a whole lot of things that were keeping me turning those pages.

I loved the writing — it was so fantastic and had this haunting and atmospheric quality to it that could cause the hair to stand on your arms. Half of the setting is in this correctional facility for girls and she just completely transported me into this place and this look into an all girls juvenile detention center and the effects of being there on the girls. It’s not a setting I think I’ve ever read so I was glued to the book in that way. I loved seeing how the inmates interacted and what life is like day to day but also this exploration of justice and freedom and how unfair sometimes the justice system is if you aren’t as privileged as someone else.

There was this underlying mystery and these undertones that constantly made you feel like something wasn’t QUITE right. It made it such a page-turner in addition to the way she completely immersed you into the setting. Twisty in all the right places, tension that feels palpable. I think a lot of this is due to the two narrators — Amber and Violet — because you aren’t quite sure if you can trust them. Are they guilty? Are they innocent? As you try to wade through the lies and the truths you get so tangled into both of their stories. But then we have this other character, Ori, who we don’t hear from but we know her as Violet’s best friend and Amber’s new roommate and slowly we get pieces as to why she ends up there.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, plot, page-turning abilities, uniqueness, setting
–  the fact I didn’t understand quite what happened at the ending at all

Re-readability: I’m tempted because I kind of like reading twisty books again after I know things
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not a favorite, probably not but I sure hope my library has a copy of it because it is FANTASTIC.

a5lots of people! Readers who are looking for something truly unique, readers who love a little mystery

a8This book truly was on a LOVE level until the ending. I’m fine with having to really think about an ending but I get really frustrated when I can’t understand what happened so it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth even after how fabulous this book had been before that. When I read someone’s explanation I was back to OH MY GOSH WOWWW but ultimately having to google to understand the ending affected my overall feelings. Still very much liked it but I have to be honest about how the ending left me.

review-on-post-itThe Walls ARound Us review

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
If you did read it (and let’s mark spoilers in the comments), PLEASE CAN WE DISCUSS!! PLEASE!!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Halloween Reading Round-Up (Mini-Reviews)

I only read 3 of the 6 Halloween-ish books I set out to read in October. That makes me 50 % successful (see — glass half full thing). Part of it is being a mood reader and also this weird thing I’m going through. I really enjoyed the books I picked so I decided to round them up in one post and, at the end, talk about if I think they were good Halloween reads.

 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

 

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

What It’s About In A Sentence: Jacob’s grandfather has always told these tales about his life growing up that were filled with strange and unusual things but, when his grandfather dies, he realizes maybe they were not tall tales and embarks on a journey to find the orphanage where his grandfather grew up.

What I Thought: This book was delightfully strange & wonderful. The cover made me think it was going to be kind of scary but in fact, honestly, the bottom of my purse right now is probably scarier — this is more of a fantasy/supernatural-y kind of story. I really enjoyed this one and really marveled at the brilliant writing and storytelling and it’s a book I would hand to people who think that YA isn’t well written. Despite the fact this book wasn’t scary like I thought it would be, it still had a perfect Halloween vibe. The photographs that are scattered about the book really added to the story,  the depth of the characters and the general feel of this extraordinary adventure. There’s magic, strange happenings and this mystery that is just woven so carefully and so smoothly that you can’t help but find yourself mesmerized. I didn’t know what to expect at first and was curious about these tall tales that Jacob’s grandfather seemed to tell and then when Jacob starts questioning if they are made up stories I was just absolutely enchanted by this life he lived. I cannot wait to see what the sequel holds in this incredibly unique series.

 

RATING:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

What It’s About In A Sentence: Madeline’s family, The Ushers, are cursed — they are plagued with strange illnesses, are not able to leave the house that seems to haunt them and watch their every move and nobody knows how to free them from it.

What I Thought: This one was creepy but not scary! It’s inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher and I was a little familiar with it but not enough to really know what was going to happen. The writing was fantastic and I was drawn in immediately to this sinister house and its history though there were points that were kind of slow for me..like really slow. If I’m honest I’m still a little confused as to what happened at the end for sure and also I THINK I get what was behind everything but also maybe not? As far as atmosphere goes, this book had it. PERFECT book to curl up with on a cool Fall day and just get lost in the life of a girl who lives in this house where strange things happen and whose family has this mysterious illness that eventually kills them. The house became its own character really. I will say that sometimes, while interesting, the storytelling — the chapters alternate from Madeline at different ages — was hard to keep track of and I’d have to flip back to double check what age we were at. This book would definitely be a great movie and when I kept reading I was visualizing so many scenes and the setting of everyone room and of the exterior of the house and outside of the house. Very creepy and I’m glad I read it around this time!

 

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

Rooms by  Lauren Oliver

Rooms by Lauren Oliver:

What It’s About In A Sentence: A family comes together to clean out the house of estranged patriarch and secrets and the past hurts come unearthed as the ghosts of the house, wrought with their own secrets, watch on.

I really liked this one! Lauren Oliver is such a great writer and I think her adult debut was very solid. It’s definitely different than her YA and I think those looking for exactly THAT could be disappointed as this is definitely more character driven and more of a slow paced story but it really worked for me. It was NOT scary at all if that matters to you. There are ghosts but it didn’t feel like a typical ghost story and definitely explored some emotional things. The family dynamics were fascinating — a family comes together to clean out the house of house of their ex-husband/estranged father. All 3 of them are carrying their own burden and secrets and then the other two perspectives we get are the two ghosts that inhabit the house who have their own secrets they can’t let go of.  The multi-POV’s can seem daunting at first but I really enjoyed the perspectives from the family members and also the ghosts because ALL of their threads in the story were SO fascinating to me and I got swept up in them and the ever so slightly unraveling mystery. Lauren’s writing is just so haunting and beautiful and so full of depth.

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

Overall Scare Factor Of My Halloween TBR reading:

So none of the books I read were super scary. The Fall definitely was creepy and atmospheric but not scary — definitely takes the cake for “scariest” out of these . Rooms wasn’t at all creepy or scary and the ghost element wasn’t of the scare variety. Miss Peregrine’s was delightfully strange and all the magic and supernatural elements made it a great Halloween read. They all, though The Fall & Miss Peregrine’s more strongly than Rooms, had that FEEL of a good Halloween read.

I will say next year I’m hoping to add an actual SCARY book into my reading experience (hit me with recs in the comments!!) but I’m really pleased with the books I chose for my Halloween reads! So if you want solid, non-scary books but still have that FEEL for your Halloween reading I’d check all of these out!

 

What books have you read so far in your Halloween/October reading? Any REALLY scary books to recommend to me for next year (or just good recs in general)?

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff| Book Review

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff| Book ReviewPicture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis “Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best. ”

good books to readI liked Picture Me Gone when I read it but unfortunately I felt like I had nothing to really say about it and found that after I had read 2 books or so I kind of forgot about it altogether? It felt special when I read it but overall it just didn’t linger and was kind of forgettable which was interesting considering, while I was reading it, it stood out to me because it felt pretty unique.

Picture Me Gone was a quiet, thought-provoking type of novel. I thought it was going to be more of mystery than it really was and that aspect really was sort of underwhelming but I was okay with that because of Mila’s narrative and all the things she was observing and learning along the way. As Mila journeys with her dad to find his best friend, who has disappeared and left behind a wife and a child, she observes some of the details that could help her solve the mystery that others may have missed. It was a pretty slow going novel, especially because I thought it was going to be MORE of a mystery than it was, but I didn’t mind being in Mila’s brain and listen to her very thoughtful observations about Matthew’s potential motives, her theories and just about all the parties involved. I rather liked watching everything unfold from her perspective.

I really liked her Mila’s POV. She’s 12 but very wise beyond her years and mature. I think, in some ways, I kept forgetting that she was 12 because her thought seemed quite a bit older and that was a bit problematic because it wasn’t convincing as a reader that she was actually 12 but I enjoyed her nonetheless. She’s precocious and observant and in some ways her narrative reminded me a little of The Curious Incident of Dog In The Night Time. She was just different and I liked it. So much wisdom came from her watching the mystery of her dad’s friend slowly become solved but there was also this sense of her eyes being open to the complexities of adulthood and I think she really sees adults, even parents, in a different light as this trip progresses.

I really, really enjoyed the writing — it was beautiful and always seemed to contain some nugget of truth. It was a bit confusing at first, though, with the dialogue because there are no quotation marks so it took some time to get used to but other than that the writing was a really big standout for me with this one.

“I wonder at what point a child becomes a person. Does it happen all at once, or slowly, in stages? Is there an age, a week, a moment, at which all the secrets of the universe are revealed and adulthood descends on a cloud from heaven, altering the brain forever? Will the child-me slink off one day, never to return?”

book reviewsI really felt like Picture Me Gone was a unique read when I read it but honestly when I put some distance between it it became kind of forgettable which was sad. I don’t want to take that away from how much I liked it when I was reading it but I feel like that’s relevant to my overall, longstanding feelings of it. I loved the writing and how unique it was because I do love a bit of a slow, thoughtful read that makes me think and leaves me with so many quotes I dogeared. I really did love Mila’s POV but there is no way she felt 12 to me — or else I just don’t know any 12 years quite like her — but she brought something fresh to my reading experience. ALSO, the summary makes this seem more of a mystery, and while there’s this underlying “what happened to Mathew?” it’s not really a mystery.

short book reviewpicture-me-gone-meg-rosoff

 

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

three-stars

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book Review

Find Me by Romily Bernard | Book ReviewFind Me by Romily Bernard
Published by HarperTeen on September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Mystery, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

After their mother committed suicide and their criminal father fled to allude the police, Wick and her younger sister Lily have been placed in foster care and are trying to leave their life behind. The only thing is that it keeps catching up with them and Wick’s hacking skills don’t help keeping them out of danger. She tries to lay low with it until she receives the diary of a former childhood friend on her doorstep and then she finds out at school that Tessa is dead — a suicide. The Post It with the diary says “Find Me” but Wick doesn’t want to get involved until she finds out something that threatens someone she loves and knows she has to do whatever it takes.

Find Me by Romily Bernard was quite the page-turning thriller and I think that was the type of read I needed to get me out of my weird reading slump I mentioned I was in where I was putting down all sorts of books after 1 or 2 pages.  But here’s the thing, the strong start that kept me panicky and flying through it slowly dissipated for me a little more than the halfway mark. I was feeling super bummed and kept me at a point where I couldn’t say this was the phenomenal read I saw it shaping up to me — just a good one. Still positive feelings toward it — I liked it– but I became a little disappointed by the end.

Find Me opened up real strong for me and really progressed at a rapid pace. We learn about her past and find out along with Wick about the suicide of her old friend, Tessa, along with diary that finds its way to Wick. As the contents inside are revealed I couldn’t stop turning the pages and HAD to know what happened to Tessa and who the older creeper was she had a relationship with that made her commit suicide — especially when we find out who his next target is. I was ready for Wick, who is pretty kickass & a hacker, to start using those skills and find this mega creep. I was ready to get my Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars on with her!

I was flying through this book and it had that perfect amount of mystery to keep you going and thinking up all sorts of theories. But then about half way (or a little more than halfway) it became really obvious where this was heading to me as I started to eliminate people logically and think about certain things. What I was really hoping was that I was WRONG about who it was or that some new suspects would be introduced or a twist or something to at least trick me a little bit or make me doubt myself. Instead, it played out exactly how I thought it would so when the big reveal happened it was a bit luckluster for me and so the pursuit and resolution weren’t as “OMG AH WHAT IS GOING ON??” for me. I just needed a little bit more I think — there was only a certain amount of people and connections that could possibly be introduced. There was nothing too shocking for me. But that’s my dilemma when it comes to these types of books. I AM good at guessing so was it really just the book and the way it was plotted or should I be pursing a career in detective work instead??

Despite the way I thought the story went, I still liked other aspects of it. I really loved Wick and Lily and loved the strong sense of family loyalty between them and how each girl felt about their new family with their past still lingering. There was also an interesting thread in the story that had to do with Wick and Lily’s real dad and showed a lot of their past and you could just see how this transition into a new life would be hard. Wick was a great character and definitely not cookie cutter for me. She was quite sassy sometimes, loved her sister fiercely and was a hacker! I will say, I’m probably in the minority, but I didn’t LOVE the romance in this one but did appreciate that she didn’t become some weak and feeble girl when a boy came in the picture.

Find Me by Romily Bernard definitely was the page-turner I needed to snap me out of my reading slump because it immediately had this MUST FIND OUT mystery element to it. However, it became really predictable in the way it was plotted out, for me, so then the big reveal seemed lackluster because I had ruled out the other possibilities pretty easily. No doubt I enjoyed most of the book but for me to be anywhere other than “just liked it” it would have had to deliver something else that blew my mind. Luckily there were great characters and some familial threads that gave some more meat to this story as well.

Recommendation: If you are one who has read a lot of thrillers, you might end up predicting it early on like I did because there wasn’t much else that made sense and no other possible twists thrown out. If you don’t really pick up thrillers often, I absolutely recommend this because it’s such a page-turner and maybe you won’t read it the same way I did!

Find Me by Romily Bernard review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it more/less than I did? Did you guess who it was?? Or am I just the boring person who apparently guesses everything all the time?? GRR. On that note, does your ability to predict a book effect your enjoyment of a book? I definitely still enjoyed this but the fact it didn’t surprise me at all made it on an OMG MUST READ. But is that MY great guessing skills or the book’s fault? SIGH. What are some thrillers that kept YOU guessing?

three-stars

Golden by Jessi Kirby | Book Review

Golden by Jessi KirbyBook Title/Author: Golden by Jessi Kirby
Publisher/Year
: Simon  & Schuster May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: Moonglass, In Honor

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher  in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

ALSO, read the very personal post I wrote inspired by this book!

 

Parker is coming closer to her high school graduation and everything is on track for that next stage in her life. She’s valedictorian, always listens to her mom, is driven but, as her best friend always points out, she rarely takes chances or does the unexpected — despite her best friend’s urging and influence. Her life is shaken when she takes a chance and peers into the personal life that unexpectedly sheds some light on a town legend and tragedy. Everybody knows the tragic love story of Julianna Fernetti and Shane Cruz. Ten years they were the golden couple of the high school and town and ten years ago when a tragic accident on an icy road sent them plunging into the river from which their bodies were never found. The golden couple has been romanticized but Parker finds that things aren’t always as they seem as she reads a sealed class assignment that Julianna wrote 10 years ago and begins to question what really happened the night of their fateful accident.

Honestly, of Jessi Kirby’s 3 novels so far, Golden is undoubtedly my favorite. She’s become an author I don’t hesitate to recommend if you like contemporary YA and placed on my auto-buy list and reading Golden confirmed all these things even  more. Golden is a stunning book with incredible depth, a skillfully unraveled mystery and characters that I really loved. One of those books that absorbs you completely and you find yourself done in a flash and your emotions are all scattered over the place. I was equally enthralled with both the mystery element to this novel as well as the character development and growth of Parker — I really could root for and relate to her.

I really loved how Parker’s story and the mystery of Julianna’s tragic accident were woven together. I felt like I got to know Parker so much through her reactions to reading Julianna’s journal and my heart was in my throat reading Julianna’s tragic story as it was so perfectly revealed. It was one of those tragic stories where your heart just ached and I could feel the intensity and weight that Parker felt for uncovering it all as she read the journal that had been sealed away for 10 years shining a whole new light on a town legend. I loved the adventure that Julianna’s story took Parker and her friends on and how it challenged her with things in her life that she had always struggled with — getting out of her comfort zone, living the life SHE wants etc. It was just a perfect blend of mystery, character growth and one of those books that makes you think and examine your own life. I thought about so many things — how things aren’t always as they seem to be and how they are romanticized sometimes and just how sometimes we get stuck in trap of trying to figure OUT our life rather than living it. I journalled a lot after reading this one.

The mystery thread was SO interesting how it was revealed and kept me on the edge of my seat but not in that thriller kind of way. I kept guessing and speculating. I DID end up making a good prediction and read at a dizzying pace to see if my little hunch was right and it WAS. I love that. Jessi Kirby cleverly unravels things so that you can’t help but start thinking things and questioning things along with Parker. I was reading with a friend and it was hilarious the different predictions we made!

It’s hard to explain, without giving it all away, what is so special about this novel but it’s the whole package — fully developed, interesting characters and dynamics, beautiful writing, thought-provoking and a refreshingly executed plot that practically glues your eyeballs to the pages. I could start spouting off fancy adjectives but you should just probably read the book.

 

Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LOVED IT. I have this desire to reread it already. It was refreshing and one of those books that just is all consuming in the best possible way. I couldn’t stop reading as Parker read the journal of a girl who was the center of a tragic accident and finds her life become intertwined with this mystery — all while watching Parker’s growth. It’s my favorite novel thus far from Jessi Kirby and solidifies her as a go-to author in the contemporary YA genre. Don’t miss this one, friends!

 

Golden by Jessi Kirby

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Did you guess the mystery or a piece of it??

 

 

four-half-stars

Before I Blogged I Read: Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

Love Is A Mix Tape

Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: September 21, 2008

1. It’s a memoir written by Rob Sheffield who writes for Rolling Stone magazine and tells the story of his love story and his loss when his wife suddenly passed away after only 5 years of being married.

2. Music plays a huge part in this book — he talks about his discovery of music, how music brought he and his wife together, their shared love of music and how music helped him through it. Their is a mix tape at the beginning of each chapter and, as someone who appreciates the power of a mix tape and music in general, I loved this. If you know the power of a song or a good mix, you’ll really love this.

3. I cried like a baby for him and thought about my own loss in my life with my mom and how music played such a powerful role be it in memories of certain songs, words that spoke to my soul and how, in my life, music has carried me through the good and the bad.

4. It was a beautifully sad, yet hopeful, true story to read and I really connected to how he spoke of love and loss and music. There were so many lines that I remember writing down in my quote notebook.

5. I also got to meet him and we talked about our own losses and I told him how I can never listen to Meatloaf without immediately thinking of my mom and he wrote me an incredibly awesome message in my book because of that that will always be special to me. He’s honestly a fabulous person and that made me feel so much more of a connection to his story getting the chance to have talked to him after I read it.

DSCN2338

Favorite Quotes:

“The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with — nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.”

 

“Tonight, I feel like my whole body is made out of memories. I’m a mix-tape, a cassette that’s been rewound so many times you can hear the fingerprints smudged on the tape.”

 

“Our lives were just beginning, our favorite moment was right now, our favorite songs were unwritten.”

 

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Can you recommend any other memoirs  or great books for music lovers?

five-stars

Before I Blogged I Read: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things.

40440

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads

1. It’s an adult book — general fiction, I guess you would say, but definitely leans towards a mystery. The main character receives a letter from a very famous author in England. She’s a secretive recluse who always tells tall tales to journalists who want to write about her and she’s asked the main character, who owns a book store and writes amateur biographies,  to write her biography. She agrees to, after being intrigued by one of her novels she has at her shop, and spends her days with the eccentric author and learns some very dark things of her past. Very twisty and turny!

2. I remember really enjoying it and, though it started slow, the suspense started to build and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I had so many different ideas in my head for how it was going to end but TOTALLY not what I thought. I also recall it being rather dark!

3. It has a very Gothic feel to it and was very atmospheric in that way.  Definitely recommend for fans of Bronte and Austen!

4. Definitely one of those books about people who love books as the main character is a bibliophile.

I definitely am now in the mood to re-read it because I can’t remember specific details and it’s killing me! haha

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Can you recommend any other really great Gothic feeling literature that I might also like? Let me know if you like this new series or not!

three-half-stars

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Book Title/Author: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Horror
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: Possess

Amazon| Goodreads |Gretchen McNeil’s Website

I received this for review from the publisher. This did not sway my opinions in any way.

 

Best friends Meg & Minnie are invited to the super exclusive weekend house party thrown by one of the most popular girls at school. As they arrive at the party at her vacation home on Henry Island, they are immediately whisked into the fun by Meg’s crush TJ — a boy she has a secret history with & that Minnie has been in love with — and Ben — a hot friend of the hostess who Minnie clings to right away. As the party gets started and the friends start having fun, it takes a turn to the sinister upon discovering a creepy video that threatens the ten party-goers. When the body count starts climbing and they find themselves with no electricity or way of getting off the island, everyone is on edge with the video’s threats in mind and starts turning on each other. Can Meg figure out the killer before it’s too late? Is it someone they know or is it somebody else that wasn’t at the party?


Please understand that all I read during my middle school years was RL Stine and Christopher Pike along with some other horror books. I love the horror genre but have really neglected it these days. Ten by Gretchen McNeil excites me in the same way that those books did. I love a good scary slasher-y story where I’m changing my mind every couple of pages of who the killer is and the big twisted WHY. It was everything I loved about those books and movies like Scream & I Know What You Did Last Summer — which every teen in the 90’s loved despite wanting to pee their pants and learned that you ALWAYS, ALWAYYYYS MAKE SURE THE BADDIE IS DEAD LEST THEY REACH OUT AND TRY TO GRAB YOU AGAIN!

The thing I loved most about Ten by Gretchen McNeil is how she kept me guessing the whole way through. I had so many theories swirling about my head and pointed the guilty finger at just about every character at the party and invented scenarios in which it could be someone outside of the party. I seriously had a BALL trying to figure out who the killer was and WHY they did it. But you know what, I did NOT guess that ending nor who it was…though I initially had my suspicions of who it was but they were fleeting so SHOCKER. I went back and read the part where I suspected that person and MAN, I was SO CLOSE. Because of this crazy guessing game I devoured this like a hungry animal but it also helped that Gretchen McNeil created some really gruesome (albeit not graphic) death scenes and crazy tension-filled situations where you just didn’t know what to expect. Props to her writing for setting the scene of the creepy house & creepy island!

I think that, while it satiated my love for a quick horror story, that it really just stayed on par with the 100’s of teen horror novels I read in the 90’s…it never rose above those. What I mean is that I enjoyed it but it wasn’t ground-breaking to the genre; almost stayed true to the “formula”. There were a lot of times where it clung very close to the cliched tropes in teen slasher type horror and, like those books for me, I really never thought the characterization wasn’t that great — seriously, lots of cliches and unlikeable characters who you never end up caring about (some because they just die so soon naturally). They are books that I really enjoy and devour quickly but most of them blend in. I think they are great for quick, fun (?) reads that give you a little bit of a fright but that’s where it stayed. Also, I have to say I thought sometimes the reactions of the characters and the things they were thinking of and talking about in the midst of a big slaying of their friends were just so strange to me. Rather than being worried about a boy I’d be worried about not DYING so maybe I could like enjoy a boy again. JUST SAYING.

I also hear that this was based on an Agatha Christie novel (And Then There Were None) and that if you LOVED that novel you might have a hard time with this one. I can’t compare Ten to that since never having read And Then There Were None so that wasn’t a problem for me.

If you loved books from RL Stine & Christopher Pike or movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer when you were a teen, then I think you’ll enjoy Ten by Gretchen McNeil. It’s got all the riveting action and pulse-racing tension with a body count and the ability to keep you guessing until the very end. It was a good read but not stand-out in the genre for me. It wasn’t honestly that scary; more mysterious than anything. It was a perfect start to my Halloween reading binge nonetheless and begged to be compulsively read for the action & the mystery of WHO the killer was and WHY he or she was after them.

 

For Fans Of: YA horror, slasher films like Scream & I Know What You Did Last Summer, Christopher Pike & RL Stine books from the 90’s

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Were you able to guess the killer? What other horror novels do you recommend? And I HAVE TO KNOW…were you huge Christopher Pike or RL Stine fans like me??

three-stars

Review Of The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

Book Cover Of The Last Echo Kimberly DertingBook/Author: The Last Echo: A Body Finder Novel by Kimberly Derting
Part Of A Series: Yes – The Body Finder (Bk 1) & Desires Of The Dead (Bk 2)
Genre: YA mystery (supernatural elements but  it’s not paranormal)
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen – April 17, 2012
I received this from the publisher for an honest review & it did not sway my opinions on this book or series.
Buy It Here | Goodreads

 

The Last Echo, the third installment of The Body Finders series by Kimberly Derting was by far the CREEPIEST & most thrilling (and my personal fave) of the three books. In the first two books, Violet has used her ability to hear echos from the dead to solve murders on her own. But in this book, she’s working with a team – an underground government agency if you will – with special abilities similar to her own that we were introduced to at the end of Desires of the Dead. Working on these cases with this group seem to get her into even more trouble!

As in The Body Finder & Desires of the Dead, every few chapters we get inside the head of who Violet is tracking down. This time around was THE creepiest ever. I honestly kept shuddering while reading the killer’s perspective in this one because it was just psycho killer movie type creepy to me as he hunts down girls from a local college. I wasn’t frightened but I definitely got the heebie jeebies for sure by being in his delusional mind. Though I thought one of the big things that happened to Violet was a little predictable (but then again I’m always guessing what’s going to happen in movies and tv shows), I compulsively had to read to figure out how this killer would be caught. I felt like a crazed detective that can’t eat or sleep until the case is cracked.

I loved learning more about Rafe and Sara and the rest of the gang. Although, my biggest issue with how this storyline was done  is that I wish we could have learned more about them and their abilities but hopefully we’ll get to learn more in the next book. I thought this storyline was interesting and made for some ultra tense moments that were eluded to at the end of Desires of The Dead… although I was a little distraught at the lack of Jay in parts of the book. I LOVE ME SOME JAY! But the parts he was in were worth it..especially a sexy little scene.

Let me just say the ending – SHOCKING. Cannot wait for the next book to see how THAT all plays out!

The Final Thought: If you want thrilling mysteries that involve supernatural elements & a tinge of romance, this is a great YA series for that! These books are always very quick reads and always keep my attention. The Last Echo did NOT disappoint for me as it upped the thrills and creepiness factor. I flew through it and couldn’t put it down until the very end…which left me with my mouth open and anxiously awaiting book 4! My crime drama show loving heart can’t help but love this series because they are a cross between Criminal Minds, Medium & a dash of Veronica Mars for good measure.

You Might Also Like: Clarity by Kim Harrington

 Review On A Post-It

PS. I’m looking to find even more YA mysteries that are either contemporary or have some supernatural elements (I already know a ton of paranormal mysteries). Recommendations??

four-stars

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
two-half-stars

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Simon & Schuster – March 2011
Adult Fiction

A young girl disappears from a rural town in upstate New York and, when the body turns up five months later, new-in-town reporter Stacy Flynn thinks this story will be the break she’s been looking for and a much needed shift from the story about the environmental impact of the dairy farms that are the bread and butter of this town that she was previously working on. Stacy becomes even more of an outsider when she suspects that it could be someone that lives in the town rather than a drifter like everyone else seems to think. Affected by the death of a peer, Alice Piper, a very smart and unique girl whose family is seen as outsiders for being a bit eccentric, starts trying to come to her own conclusions about who Wendy’s murderer is. Alice must decide if she should get involved to make things right or should she just go about her business like everybody else?


On one hand, this was one of the most psychologically thrilling and suspenseful books I’ve read in a while. And on the other hand, I could not get through this novel. It just took me so long and I found myself not really dying to pick it up. I know this sounds weird but that was the way my experience was.



Firstly, the premise was interesting from the beginning to me. Immediately in the beginning of the story it points to something Alice did in the course of this novel and wanting to know what this big thing she did WAS really propelled me throughout this story. I also, from the get-go, obviously wanted to know who the killer was and what this town was hiding. Those things kept me going and the whole story that unraveled was honestly just a crazy suspenseful ride! The whole ending with Alice was insane and I just could not brace myself during the reading of the last part of the book!


But on the other hand, what kept me from truly getting into this novel was the fact of how confusing it all was. I don’t mind novels from multiple perspectives or that switch back and forth in time (The Time Traveler’s Wife) but this one seemed super disjointed and confusing to me especially in the beginning. It was all over the place…from this character to that character to a character from when she was 5 to now and back again. I seriously could have gotten some whiplash from all the changing perspectives and time periods. I kept getting confused of who characters were and where we were in the story and it was annoying because I felt like I kept having to go back and figure out things that I was reading. For whatever reason, this novel just slowed me down with the style…which is unfortunate because typically this does not happen with multiple narrators or switching back and forth. 


I thought the moral and social issues that arose in this book were fascinating and unsettling. The story truly felt like something that could have been taken from your nightly news which is probably why I found it so disturbing..albeit there was much more drama in this book. I found it to be of much more substance than other crime thrillers that I’ve read and much more “literary” but unfortunately the style really just put a damper on my overall enjoyment. I honestly pushed myself to read through it just so I could find out what the heck happened! Was it worth it? In some ways but I’m not sure I would feel bad if someone would have just told me the ending. Ultimately, it packed quite a punch that I wouldn’t have gotten from someone just telling me what happened.  

 

 



* This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Question: Has the style of a book ever ruined a perfectly good story for you?

two-half-stars
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...