First up, I read Sleepless by Lou Morgan. This is a story about Izzy and her group of fr3.5 stars Some quite creepy and tense situations!
First up, I read Sleepless by Lou Morgan. This is a story about Izzy and her group of friends. They're all rich and pretty and they all live in or near the Barbican Centre and attend this swank private school, Clerkenwell. At Clerkenwell, exams matter. They're super important and in fact, failure is not an option.
So when Tigs gives everyone a seemingly perfect solution to their problem, Izzy and her friends all jump at the chance. Tigs has found these special pills which enhance memory and really allows for more concentration and focus during revisions and exams. And everything seems to be going so well until after the exams when creepy things start happening and Izzy and her friends start seeing and hearing things and start to question: what actually were in those pills? And the realisation that they all come to? There are worse things to happen to them besides failing an exam.
While I thought that Sleepless was a little slow to get into and I never fully connected to the majority of the central cast of characters, I also found this book to have some really creepy and tense situations and I found myself a little uncomfortable reading this book alone and in the dark. I loved that this book is set in London, specifically at the Barbican Centre where I've been quite a few times. Having a familiar setting made things more real in my head and I loved the addition of other scary places: a hospital, a building site, a meat market. Even the Barbican with its confusing stairwells and passageways was a brilliant setting choice for this story.
In terms of horror, I was pleasantly surprised by where the story went. Some of these teenagers do die and in horrific ways. But the build-up to the gruesome scenes was quite chilling in parts as well as the characters start to question their own grasp on reality and I always love to see a group of characters turn on each other as their trust and camaraderie are shaken by rather shocking events.
I quite liked this story. It did need a tighter edit, particularly in the first quarter of the book, but overall an interesting idea that certainly gave me the creeps! ...more
This book got me with the creepy porcelain dolls. Few things are more terrifying.
Next, I picked up Frozen by Alex Bell. I did initially slThis book got me with the creepy porcelain dolls. Few things are more terrifying.
Next, I picked up Frozen by Alex Bell. I did initially slightly put off reading this book because I find the very idea of haunted porcelain dolls to be super terrifying and this cover constantly looks like it's watching and following me as I was reading this book! But I did gather enough courage to read this book and I really liked it. Again, I didn't think it was overly scary but it definitely had some really unsettling and disturbing scenes within it that made me uncomfortable at times! Especially as I was mostly reading it alone and at night in my creaky house.
Frozen Charlotte is mostly set on the Scottish island, Skye, in kind of a remote old Victorian school house. As with Sleepless, I thought the setting of this book really leant itself to a horror novel. I loved the idea of this island cut off from the mainland by bad weather and cancelled ferries and also this school house converted into a family home, especially as it is littered with so much history from its days of being a school - including a large collection of porcelain dolls. Plus, together with a Ouija board, ghostly sightings, unexplained fires and accidents and you have yourself quite the creepy story.
This story revolves around our main character, Sophie, who comes to stay with her cousins over the summer. She's recently suffered a big loss with her best friend dying in an accident and she comes to stay with this family she doesn't really know very well who have also had their fair share of loss. And Sophie's relatives are a family with a complicated family dynamic! I really liked that about this book as people aren't what they seem and everyone's behaviour has changed due to the evil intentions of these supposedly haunted porcelain dolls.
Throughout most of the book Sophie is searching for answers to her best friend's death which she thinks is connected to the death of her cousin, Rebecca, a few years back. While this puts Sophie in dangerous situations at time, I felt like it fit with Sophie's character and I quite liked seeing how this mystery unravelled.
I thought Frozen Charlotte had a very cinematic feel to it. I could quite easily picture the events of this book as a horror film and towards the second half of the book, when Sophie realises the extent of one character's intentions towards her I could feel Sophie's helplessness and frustration in this situation. I thought it was really good! ...more
I was quite pleasantly surprised by Say Her Name by James Dawson. I'll admit, I did go into this book hoping that it would scare the pants off me andI was quite pleasantly surprised by Say Her Name by James Dawson. I'll admit, I did go into this book hoping that it would scare the pants off me and while it didn't quite reach that level for me, I did find Say Her Name consistently and, at times, uncomfortably creepy. I loved that there was this thread of unease that really built up throughout the story and that there felt like quite a bit of tension. Plus? I absolutely love the cover.
Say Her Name is the story of Bloody Mary and how the legend of this ghost manifests itself in the lives of a group of teenagers at a boarding school. It all starts off as a bit of a joke at a Halloween party, when our main character, Bobbie, her room mate, Naya, and a local boy, Caine, end up in front of a mirror invoking Bloody Mary's name. Nothing happens immediately however, unfortunately for the three characters in Say Her Name, that isn't where the story ends. Things start happening. Nightmares, scary reflections in mirrors ...and then more. There's a race against time for these three characters to find out what they can about Mary and this curse in order to save themselves.
I think my favourite aspect of this story is how much I came to care about the characters. Bobbie is a wonderful main character. I think she's funny and witty and has the best dialogue throughout the story. I liked her relationship with her room mate, Naya, and how they interacted with each other. And I also really liked Caine as a love interest, especially with how lacking in confidence Bobbie is to believe anything could happen. But I think the thing I loved the most is what these three characters come to find out, in their search for answers, about Mary's past and how this curse came about. I think it could have been quite easy to not give Mary a back story but I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for Mary's character and I think that made this story a lot more interesting for me.
It also had lots of elements of scariness and horror. I did read parts of this book late at night, in bed, alone and I found myself succumbing to some of the creepiness, especially with the elements of water and reflections. My only complaint with the book is that I would have liked the ending to have gone in a different direction. I felt like the conclusion of the book took something away from what the author did with the Mary's back story and motivation. ...more
Zom-B by Darren Shan was a quick, surprising read for me. Based on the cover and my veryThis review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
Zom-B by Darren Shan was a quick, surprising read for me. Based on the cover and my very limited knowledge of the horror books that Darren Shan writes for teenagers, I really expected one thing from this book. Really, several things: blood and gore and severed body parts. And while I may have thought there'd be more of that in this book, I think Shan did a nice job of spreading the horror out in this book. Giving us a good bit of gore at the beginning, several tantalising tastes of it in the middle and a great big whopping scene of zombies and death galore to round out the ending.
And while I do enjoy a good dose of horror, in between all of what accompanies a zombie apocalypse, we have a very interesting novel that made me think. I love how unexpected that is. This book could easily have been nothing but mindless entertainment as the reader watches the main character's world fall apart by the living undead. But there's more to this book than just that in the shape of B, our main character and narrator.
I found B to be hugely unlikeable at the start. I didn't like B's attitude, as B seems to be copying the thoughts and actions of B's very racist and abusive father. B is a bit of a bully and I wasn't thrilled at the start. But things begin to change. When the character finally starts questioning the thoughts of those around and also begins to think of B's father critically instead of that of a emotionally-needy child, I really begin to cheer. I love that Darren Shan included these thought-provoking topics on racism, bullying and people with power. I would have enjoyed this book without it with just the zombies and the gore, but with it, I found myself loving it.
The book I read from is an ARC version which didn't include the final illustrations included with the text and I'm quite curious now to see a finished copy to see how they work together with the text. I loved the short chapters and how the pace never drops. There was a dream sequence towards the beginning-middle which had me quite creeped out reading it in the dark at night! This book contains plenty of death, so be warned. There's also two very surprising twists that happen towards the end that make this a book you really need to check out! Zom-B is a really fun zombie book with some hidden depths, a book that I recommend. ...more
I read Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth last year and really loved it. So much so that IReview originally posted at Fluttering Butterflies
I read Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth last year and really loved it. So much so that I immediately picked up this hardback copy of The Dead-Tossed Waves. Unfortunately, it set on my shelf for far longer than it should have. I think what intimidated me about this book is that it isn't a straight sequel to the previous book. As a 'companion' novel, The Dead-Tossed Waves is told from an entirely new perspective and I worried that it would take me awhile to sink into a new point of view, when all I really wanted was to know what happened to Mary after she made it to the ocean.
I really shouldn't have worried. Once I began, I found Gabry's story to be just as interesting and easy to follow as I did Mary's in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Gabry has lived her entire life in this village by the ocean, living in the lighthouse with her mother and being afraid of the Mudo that surround her, that wash up from the ocean.
But despite Gabry's fear, when her friends decide to climb the village barriers one night in a celebratory rebellion, Gabry is convinced to go along with them. That night ends in huge tragedy as half the group are killed and turned by Mudo and the other half are caught by the authorities and punished. Following the orders of Catcher, her best friend's brother and her long-term crush, Gabry manages to escape and feels endlessly guilty and ashamed that her own fear made her abandon her friends and run for safety. And this guilt and shame propels Gabry to take further risks for her own safety to follow a friend into the forest even though she knows he's been infected by the Mudo.
There are many things I love about Carrie Ryan - I love the beautiful way in which she writes. I love how sweet and romantic her relationships are. But what I especially love about Carrie Ryan is that even though she writes about zombies, there is so much more about humanity in her books. The Dead-Tossed Waves is a really wonderful and emotional book about growing up and making hard choices and confronting your fears and who you are and what you want.
Right from the very first page, my heart went out to Gabry, especially in the difficult situations she finds herself in. I love her struggles with her own identity as well as this difficult love triangle she finds herself in - choosing between her childhood crush and a mysterious stranger. This book is so highly readable and exciting and heart-wrenching that I must urge you all to read both The Forest of Hands and Teeth and then this book. And now excuse me while I go hunting frantically for a copy of the third and final book in the series, The Dark and Hollow Places.
I don't read much YA horror books, but I really should. And I think that I will very soon, as The Dead is the first in a new series of books by DavidI don't read much YA horror books, but I really should. And I think that I will very soon, as The Dead is the first in a new series of books by David Gatward.
It follows Lazarus Stone, nearly 16, as he learns some very surprising things one night as this really creepy and horrific thing appears in his house and tells Lazarus that unless something happens very quickly, a torrent of angry demons will start ripping through the veil that separates Lazarus's normal life from The Dead. Didn't you just get chills just reading that synopsis? I did.
The book is quite short, but action-packed. Lazarus and his best mate, Craig are on a mission to find some answers. Specifically to find out about these demon-visits and the dead, but also, what has happened to Lazarus's dad?! What I loved about The Dead is that it isn't all one big gore-fest. Yes, it is gorey and some gruesome things do happen, but it also seemed to really concentrate on this idea that Lazarus has no idea who his father is. It's so easy to scratch our parents off as being nothing but parents and Lazarus really has his eyes opened to the fact that his father in particular is very a different person to who he thought he was. Maybe all of our parents are.
The horror aspects of the book were done well. I was sufficiently creeped out and I really would not recommend reading this book late at night, or on your own. There's a scene in a hospital that I would like removed from my brain because everytime I think of it, I am a little bit afraid. ...more