I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it anThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it and urging me to read it. Even though I devoured it, I felt on the fence about whether I liked the novel or not.
While well written stylistically, the content had me frowning at various points. This was definitely a strong story that was fraught with plot holes and weak character development, especially with the protagonist Mary.
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
Before I give the impression that I disliked this novel, let me make something clear: Novels with protagonists who blindly follow their own selfish desires in a world that has many greater problems, despite the characters around them, drive me insane. Sure, the concept was cool and I enjoyed the terror that the characters experienced, but it wasn't anywhere near a perfect book for me.
1. I don't mean to be fickle, but this novel needed a bit more editing. I usually don't mention editing issues if it isn't so blatant that it disturbs my reading, but this novel had it enough times to make me comment on it. I know some editing errors are little mistakes that become nearly invisible in a novel of three hundred or more pages, but yeah, these errors occurred everywhere. Grammatical errors, typos--ugh.
Another point under the whole "editing" thing: awkwardly phrased sentences. When this occurred it would disrupt my reading and I would actually try to rearrange the words until they made sense. I shouldn't have to do that with a published book!
2. I really, really disliked Mary. She was naive, selfish, immature, indecisive and annoying. What kind of person risks the lives of those she loves just so she can see the ocean? Yeah, I get that the ocean is a metaphor for hope and for faith, but come on. It was so drawn out, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Since I'm talking about Mary, why don't I bring in the other characters as well? The only character that I really cared for was the protagonist's love interest, Travis. He was, in my opinion, well developed, but his relationship with Mary fell flat. In fact, many relationships with Mary fell flat. Why? Because she was a weak protagonist. The other characters tried to be developed, but most of them failed.
3. There are so many things that left me confused at the end! Some questions were left so open-ended that it is very difficult for me to come to a conclusion. I know there is a sequel, but I don't know if I'll be reading it.
4. By the way, how can a village in the middle of ass-crack nowhere know what salt tastes like? I've always been curious about that with certain books. If you are so far away from the ocean and you have no way of going into the outside world, how can you procure salt, let alone know what it would taste or smell like?
5. The romance wasn't as strong as it could have been because of Mary's constant whining and unhappiness.
6. The beginning was slow! I was expecting some great adventure with zombies, but didn't get my wish until well into the novel.
1. Ryan's book had some creepy moments, effectively scaring me and making me curious. Ryan is also gifted at eerily describing surroundings.
2. When certain characters died I actually cried. Yes, I cried. Ryan's characters may be weak, but she has a way with words so as to rouse a reaction from her readers.
3. Let's ignore for a moment the writing and focus on what a perturbing picture this plot paints for us. We have a post-apocalyptic world where cities have fallen and zombies have devoured most of humanity. Then insert a character who's need to see the ocean is as dangerous as literally jumping into a hoard of zombies. If anything, Ryan succeeds in showing the fragility of humanity and the dangers of curiosity.
4. Let's face it, Ryan teaches us that a girl can dream. Even if there are deadly consequences.
5. Ryan is pretty good at redeeming characters when they've failed the reader's expectations. See point two in the positives to see what I mean.
6. It was pretty cool when Mary finds the old newspaper clippings and pictures. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this novel.
With so many mixed reviews, it's easy to be indecisive when it comes to deciding whether I liked or disliked the book. For me though, I'm going to remain on the fence because though I obviously disliked various parts and characters, I didn't hate the story. If Mary were more mature and less selfish, then this book would have gone down a completely different path. Instead, Ryan made her character slightly cliched and just a nuisance....more
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her ridThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid people of demonic possessions. At first I was a bit skeptic of this novel, especially since it dealt with demons, exorcisms, and religion (I laughed when I watched the exorcist, so please try to understand my skepticism). But I was pleasantly surprised.
"Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity. Rule #3: Do not engage. Rule #4: Do not let your guard down. Rule #5: They lie.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king."
McNeil's novel was a quick paced, fun read, though of course it had only a few flaws.
1. The protagonist, Bridget, was a bit stubborn and annoying. Characters would tell her that she needed to do something but she would protest instead of acting. Even near the end when she needs to pay attention, she still stubbornly fights against the facts. This annoyed me because of how naive and ignorant she was acting. This occurred several times.
2. Okay, sorry for this spoiler, but it's a pretty obvious thing: Bridget's mother and her love interest's father are in love. I'm not really disturbed with this, but others might not be so accepting of the fact that Bridget's soon-to-be boyfriend's father will be her step-father if her mother decides to marry him.
3. Though it isn't so obvious that it disrupts the story, there are some editing mishaps. Every once in a while I ran into awkward sentences that made me re-read the sentence twice to understand what was intended.
4. A bit predictable, but still a fun read.
1. The eerie tone was awesome. It was consistent and expertly done.
2. Ignoring the protagonist's annoying behavior, the other characters were intriguing.
3. The world created by McNeil is interesting because of how effectively she uses diction to create fear and intrigue for the reader.
4. McNeil's story is creepy as hell, which is incredibly hard to do effectively in a novel. But she uses a simple thing like an animal haunting a home and makes it a scary experience for the reader.
5. This isn't the first book in a series! Do you know how refreshing that is?
This was definitely one of those novels that was a surprise. If you want to get spooked, while enjoying an interesting story, then you should check this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to McNeil's work in the future....more
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took meThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took me by surprise from the beginning to the very end. I am fairly new to Kagawa's writing style and I was very pleased at the story that she created in her tome of a novel.
Kagawa manages to take the used and (sometimes) abused vampire genre and makes it her own with a quick-witted protagonist who is, for once, the vampire instead of the damsel in distress. Fast-paced and unputdownable, The Immortal Rules is a sign that there is still hope for what once made Bram Stoker so great: an unforgettable vampire story.
Despite the albeit cheesy cover, Kagawa's story is an intriguing look into the mind of a vampire that is in some parts cynical and all parts tough.
1. The only real issue I have with this one is the predictability. Then again, it is getting increasingly hard to create unpredictable pieces of literature when so much has already been done. I just wish that the protagonist's actions weren't so transparent, though I won't lie, I was still hooked.
1. The writing style, in my opinion, is superb. I am a fan of writers who choose brisk sentences, as opposed to artsy, over-dramatic sentences that explain everything in detail. Kagawa has the ability to reel her reader into the story using words to her advantage--therefore employing the tactic of saying less to show more.
2. The adventure never ebbs. When a part of the story starts to come to a conclusion, another adventure immediately takes over, pulling the reader through yet another trip through the forest in Kagawa's novel, or into dangerous territory. Each adventure is fresh and exhilarating. Best of all, not only is the action non-stop, but the story is neither messy nor choppy, it instead flows to one heart-stopping finale.
3. The pacing is quick, clean, and epic. See number 2.
4. Okay, I won't lie, Kagawa creeped me out. Especially near the beginning.
5. The characters are well developed, even the ones that don't make it through to the end. Allison, the protagonist, is a realistic blend of strong and weak, so that her humanity still shows through her obvious undead status. Not only did Kagawa manage to make a realistic protagonist, she gave Allison depth and made her relatable (except for the whole undead thing.)
6. Whereas in other books a reader is left waiting for the action to begin, in Kagawa's novel we are immediately brought into the heart of the conflict. There are monsters, there's hardly any food, people starve and die--that's life for Allison. There's no sugar coating, there's no pretending that her life is any different for the benefit of the reader. We are brought in and boom, we learn the gritty truth about life in The Immortal Rules, and all with a single, powerful scene.
I highly enjoyed Kagawa's novel. It was fun, exciting, and I don't know how I ever felt wary of reading it. The size is disconcerting, I'll be honest, but it is well worth it. ...more
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn'tFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't afraid to speak her mind. The novel opens on a very pissed off Isobel as her mother relocates her to an island where her new step-father lives before the start of her Senior year. There, she learns the importance of not caring what others think, she finds love, and has a creepy and life-threatening experience.
Full of humour, suspense, and mystery, Cook's novel is a surprisingly quick read that will pull its reader in and doesn't let him/her go until the end. There are some unanswered questions which may annoy the reader at the end, but for the most part this is a great summer read.
I have to admit that Cook's best talent is her dialogue. I couldn't stop laughing on more than one occasion as her characters' personalities flowed out through their manners of speech.
If you're looking for a fast, fun, creepy, and addicting read that's also on the romantic side, then I would recommend Unraveling Isobel--it's worth the read. ...more
Sometimes I get a strange urge to read novels that freak me out, so a good zombie novel is a plThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sometimes I get a strange urge to read novels that freak me out, so a good zombie novel is a pleasant way of sating this strange craving. Jonathan Maberry's Dead of Night is a creepy novel set in a quiet town in the United States that experiences a zombie invasion during a stormy night. Though a bit slow at the beginning, when the action begins it hits the reader like an infected bite.
I caution you, however, if you have a weak stomach then Maberry's work may not be for you.
"A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite."
Though this was a fun read that took me a bit longer to read than normal, it had some issues that bugged me at times.
1. There are some moments where more editing is needed. Words missing, awkward sentences, misspelled words, and grammatical errors appear throughout the novel. These errors distracted me because they were so obvious.
2. Some of the characters drove me nuts, like the protagonist. She was so intense at times that I wanted to slap her and tell her to stop being such a b%^&. I know she has a huge chip on her shoulder, but it still annoyed me.
3. Though relatively fast-paced, there were moments where the story just slowed down. Not just that, but there's a point where some characters find out what is actually happening and they keep asking the most obvious questions. I wanted to yell at them because Maberry was dragging on the chapter and slowing down the pace. I can't stand it when authors feel the need to over-explain something instead of trusting their readers.
1. This novel was scary as hell when it got going. It made me think there were things moving around my house at night and sometimes I had to put the book down and recollect my emotions.
2. Though this is your typical zombie novel, Maberry still explores the issues of Government and what would happen in the face of the apocalypse. I know that this is a cliche in all apocalyptic novels, but it was still powerful.
3. Though this novel was predictable, I liked the ending! It made me think, "Oh crap, they're so screwed!"
4. I did dislike the protagonist at times, but when she started fighting for her life, it was awesome! There's a cool scene with a lot of fighting and a lot of creepy zombies, where she kicks ass.
5. The reason why the zombie attack begins is proof of how curiosity and hatred can be deadly.
I liked this novel and I'll probably read more of Maberry's novels in the future. If you're going to read this, don't go in expecting something mind-blowing, but a fun ride full of spooks and nightmare worthy moments....more
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise makeMini review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise make it a favorite.
It was creepy and exciting, since it's set in a world where werewolves are a reality--which reminded me of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. I was drawn to the mystery aspect of the book and how this ghost was seemingly haunting her best friend.
What I didn't like so much:
1. The detective work isn't as prominent as the synopses hints at. 2. There is a LOVE TRIANGLE. Like, a pretty obvious one that set my nerves on edge. Just, no. 3. The protagonist is one of those plain Janes who magically has all the guys wanting her, putting her in the cliche woods.
What redeemed this for me:
1. The creepy small town 2. The surprise twists 3. The sexy male characters (ignore my age)
I have many mixed feelings regarding this one, but it was a fun read.
This was a fun read with a very fresh take on the idea of werewolves!
I wasn't too keen on the love triangle, and even though the protagonist wasn't exactly out of the cliche woods, this was still an exciting read!...more
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd was a book that both surprised me and showed me exactlShort review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd was a book that both surprised me and showed me exactly what I was expecting. I knew the language would be slightly archaic because of the period that it is set in, but I didn't know that it would freak me out as much as it did. In all, this combination resulted in me being unable to put the book down, simply because of its intriguing aspect, even though I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction.
In a way, reading this title reminds me of what Juliet, the protagonist, must have felt regarding her father. The idea of him unnerves her even though he is someone she loves, but the reality is much more frightening. Shepherd did a great job in building up the horror of the situations by playing on the readers senses (describing what the characters see/smell/hear/feel). She also creates an awesome mystery that will have you guessing until the creepy end.
The beginning was a little slow for me, but when the story picked up, it hooked me until the end!...more
Little Star is the first book I've read by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I was floored. Not by the prose--which was entertaining, but not the best I've read--but how graphic Lindqvist's writing is. Granted, I've watched the films based on his previous novel, Let the Right One In, but I was not prepared for some of the gut-clenching scenes that I was introduced to.
The story opens on a once-famous family that finds and raises a secret "daughter" that is gifted with a beautiful voice. But this anonymous baby has something wrong with her, not physically, but mentally. The reader is then taken through the years as "Little One," as she is nicknamed, grows and becomes odder and odder. We meet another girl named Teresa and that's where the novel begins to slip away from the storyline that the reader has become acquainted with.
Though disgusting, Lindqvist's descriptions of the murders that do occur in the novel are very well written. The reader is left craving the next violent scene and as a result, Lindqvist promptly opens the door for the reader to step through and enter the minds of the various murderers. I think that's one of the reasons why readers are drawn to his writing: because of his ability to make even the most psychotic characters relatable. Also, he writes on disturbing topics with such ease that I can't help but wonder if he himself has committed a few unspoken crimes.
Though addicting and a very quick read (the chapters are shorter, making you read quicker than usual), the pace lagged on various occasions. At times, I felt that little moments told to us from the point of view of other characters (the narrator is third person, omniscient) were a bit dragged out and could have been told in much shorter spans.
Another point that hit me once I was done with the novel was the unanswered questions. The fate of the girl and her closest friend, Teresa, is pretty clear, but yet, we know nothing of what happens afterwards. I don't know if this is a trend with Lindqvist, but I for one want to know what the consequences will be after the characters' actions.
If you're a fan of Lindqvist, then definitely read Little Star. I'm not familiar with his work, but I do love the occasional Swedish novel. Little Star is one of those novels that will fill your morbid curiosity, then sit there churning, while making your world more unsettling as the conclusion approaches....more
I received this novel from the publisher for review.
The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, a young adult post-apocalyptic series. I found Dashner’s latest novel to be a deliciously dark adventure that hooked my attention from the prologue to the epilogue. One of the great qualities of The Kill Order is that it can be read as a standalone novel.
Dashner’s writing is fast-paced and addicting. Mark, the protagonist, and Alec, a war-veteran who joins Mark, embark on a quest to find a cure for a mysterious disease plaguing the survivors of the nearly-destroyed Earth.
The reader is given a glimpse into Mark’s experience during the solar flares that killed a large portion of the Earth’s population and natural resources. Mark’s recounting of the events that took place a year prior to the current events of the novel, told in present-tense and introduced as recurring dreams that he suffers from, are so creepy that I can’t help but be wary of our future. By writing in present-tense, Dashner is effectively making the reader feel like s/he is there with Mark: seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels.
Dashner does not spare us the gory details in The Kill Order. His descriptions are unsettling and disturbing. I enjoyed how vivid his writing is because it shows that he isn’t afraid to be honest. Dashner’s well-placed details not only set the tone of the novel, but help the readers understand his view of what life would be like if the world was on the verge of destruction.
Dashner hints that death is inevitable for his characters. I know that these characters' purpose is to let me know how the world in the Maze Runner trilogy came to be and how the Kill Order, issued by the government, affected the survivors of Earth. Yet, I rooted for them and waited to see if they made it through to the end. This reaction is a result of wonderful character growth.
To be honest, I have always been wary of Dashner’s writing because his character development tends to feel stilted. Imagine my surprise when I found myself connecting with Mark and the other characters. Dashner elegantly shows the reader Mark’s slow descent into madness, while still managing to portray his various emotions. I was impressed to note that Mark accepts his fate. As a result, I found the last few sentences before the epilogue to be some of the most powerful lines in the book, simply because Mark has successfully grown as a character.
I will be so bold as to state that The Kill Order is perhaps one of Dashner’s best novels yet. I would recommend The Kill Order to those who want a different take on how a disease can ravage the world, and to readers who are seeking an addicting story of a teenager and his will to survive....more
First thoughts when I finished reading Blood HeavyReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received this novel from the author for review.
First thoughts when I finished reading Blood Heavy by S.L.J. Shortt: This story isn't complete.
Blood Heavy has so much potential. It has a strong storyline, witty dialogue, and sexy characters, but it has one major flaw: horrible editing.
The characters themselves help carry the story. The author's inspiration is Eric Kripke's Supernatural and I definitely noted that before it was mentioned at the end of the novel, but I can't look past the editing.
Another issue I have with this novel is how unorganized it is. Though the storyline is promising and intriguing, the plot is all over the place. I would stop reading just to understand what was happening during certain moments in the book.
Also, the protagonist has two names because his first given name is apparently too common in the world that Shortt has created, but no other characters are introduced with that particular name. As a result, there are moments where the narrator refers to the protagonist one way, while the other characters call him by a different name.
As it is, I don't know if I could recommend this book to future readers. I don't think it is complete. Blood Heavy needs extensive editing and I find the lack of editing very distracting and annoying.
I'm not giving Blood Heavy one star out of five because the storyline is strong and promising, but instead two stars because it is incomplete....more
Bleed by young author Nusrat Sultana is an ambitious novel that offers an original perspective of the vampire genre. Sultana’s debut is impressive, since she manages to draw the reader in and keep his/her attention throughout the 264 pages. Though her technique is a bit archaic, Sultana is an author to watch for in the future.
Bleed is a novel revolving around Amaryliss, a young girl on the verge of changing into something from a horror book. Not only does she receive news that will aid in re-shaping her outlook of the world around her, but she starts to experience odd events that make her question her sanity. Then she meets Austin, the strange and always cool boy by the graveyard. But Amaryliss knows her parents are keeping secrets, and she's confused by Austin’s sudden appearance. As a result, she spends the greater part of the novel questioning nearly everything she sees as she learns about her seemingly new world.
Sultana’s ability to write in an omniscient, third person voice is seamless. The reader will barely notice when she changes from one character’s point of view to another. Another aspect of writing that Sultana appears to have a strong understanding of is how to show the reader what is happening, rather than telling him/her what s/he should be experiencing. Sultana shows the reader Amaryliss’s fear through slightly archaic diction, regardless of how old-fashioned the writing appears.
However, one of the downfalls of Bleed is how cliched some of Amaryliss’s characteristics are. It feels like Sultana uses every negative feature from a past heroine when it comes to describing her own character. Amaryliss’s frailty is reminiscent of the past gender-degrading state of various heroines, and her naiveté over the situations surrounding her is an over-used tactic to create angst in novels. One other cliche is Austin’s ability to always appear when Amaryliss needs him. Does anyone remember a certain sparkly creature waiting on the sidelines?
Of course, even with all these cliches, the reader must admit that Sultana’s Bleed is a fun and highly addicting novel. Though at times the dialogue is contrived and the pacing is a bit slow, Bleed will grab the attention of nearly any eager reader.
Bleed is recommended for readers who want a different take on the vampire genre, and a plot that grows beautifully as the story progresses. Sultana sets the stage for a new generation of writers who promise to take the future of literature by storm....more
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel tReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel that follows fourteen, soon-to-be fifteen, year-old Matt as he navigates a supernatural world full of monsters and a mysterious life-altering prophecy. With a hint of teenaged angst towards young love, and spine-tingling descriptions, Highley's novel is a book that will make the reader both giggle with anticipation, and squirm with what Matt encounters.
I loved the characters of Will, Matt's best friend, and Matt because they help each other navigate the difficulties of growing up. Will's wit matches well with Matt's increasing strength as the protagonist. Will is the sidekick to the still growing and learning hero, and he fits the description of best friend, confidante, and unrelenting support throughout the whole novel.
When I first started reading Highley's novel, I wrongly assumed that since Matt was only fourteen at the start this would be a naive and slightly adorable story. Let me warn you, however, if you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should steer clear of this one. The story gets increasingly harder to stomach as Matt progresses deeper into his monster hunt, but it is well worth it. Highley doesn't save us from any of the disturbing descriptions and I applaud her for that. Her novel has a certain originality thanks to her fearless attempt at creating a successful horror story for the young adult audience.
Highley also has a great sense of pacing in her novel. Very rarely is there a lull in the story. The only instance where the reader might pause is during the explanation of why the monsters exist and the part Matt plays in the hunt for evil. The rush of information is a bit overwhelming, but is useful for later on in the story. Highley weaves a story that is easy to follow and is hard to put down.
If you're looking for an exciting book with tons of action and a slightly original monster story, then you might like this one. Highley offers the reader an insight into an imperfect protagonist that is growing as the story progresses, metaphorically and physically. He is also someone who isn't emotionally impervious to his surroundings, which makes him very relatable and realistic, despite the fictional situation....more
Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule is the first installment in the SpellReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule is the first installment in the Spellbound Series. The surprisingly dark story follows the quirky sixteen year-old witchy protagonist, Shiloh, as she sleuths around a dangerously haunted mansion in her quiet, but eerie Californian small town. Full of creepy moments and dark entities, Soule's book was a great read for the month of October.
I am a huge believer of the supernatural, so to have Soule give voice to a paranormal entity, let alone a demon, freaked me out a little. The descriptions were great and they placed me directly into Shiloh's world, having me see the darkness around her through her eyes. It was also neat how Soule offered the readers a few surprises as the story developed, even if one or two were a bit expected.
The one aspect of Soule's novel that had me on the fence was Shiloh. The sixteen year-old character can be viewed in so many ways. On one hand, she may be seen as an annoying and sometimes ridiculously naive character. But on the other hand, she can be taken simply as a young girl trying to deal with an absurd and decidedly adult situation. I'm on the fence because I understand that Shiloh's story is definitely beyond anything a teenager should ever have to go through, but she really drove me nuts at times.
Going off that though, let me just say that she did make me laugh, even at the worst of times. Shiloh could be facing her eminent death, but still be witty and quirky. Rumors circulate around Whispering Pines, the small town, of Shiloh's weirdness, but I like to define it more as quirkiness that jumps off the pages.
The romance, though sweet at times, was a bit off-kilter. Shiloh's quasi-relationship with Trent was, at times, hard to follow. It made me slightly uncomfortable too, not because of his actions, but because of how undefined their romance was. Trent is broken and he shows this through his unsettling actions, but in my honest opinion, he acts more like a trouble seventeen year-old than most troubled teenaged boys I've encountered in recent reads.
Soule's book was entertaining, funny, scary, and addicting until the very end. My fingers itched to reach the last page, simply because I wanted to know all the secrets being kept from Shiloh. Also, the concluding sentences have me eagerly anticipating the sequel.
I recommend Beautifully Broken to those who love a fun, but spooky and witchy tale of a teenager coming of age, even if in an undesirable atmosphere. If you like characters who have spunk and don't care about how the world perceives him/her, then this might be a book for you to check out....more
I received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West is a creepy young adult novel that follows a protagonist trying to understand what happened to her older sister. Tough characters, a touch of romance, and a deadly mystery make up the bulk of this suspenseful debut. Also, I'm a huge fan of supernatural novels that focus on demons and ghostly entities, so this was a bit of a treat.
Okay, so The Murmurings isn't just creepy--it's disturbing. Take a mental hospital more corrupt than any you've ever had nightmares of, demons that mimic those from The Grudge and The Ring, and that all-too-familiar sensation of being watched or hearing whispers, and you've got The Murmurings.
The strongest aspect of Anne West's debut is the writing and build-up of the suspense. The mystery behind the murmurings and the strange suicides keeps the reader intrigued, while the descriptive writing of the horrific creatures plaguing the characters is wonderfully detailed and delicious (especially if you're a horror addict).
I wasn't a big fan of the protagonist, Sophie. I know she is recovering from her sister's suicide, dealing with a horrible home life, and is ostracized by her peers, so I understand her need to wear her metaphorical cloak of darkness. What I didn't like so much was how difficult it was to like her.
Though Sophie acts like a brave character, she is incredibly gullible and naive. I have no idea how many times I yelled at her for doing EXACTLY what the other characters warned her against.
Okay, some may find her naive nature as a trait that makes her character unique, but I just found it frustrating. On one hand, you have a wicked storyline that could easily keep a reader up at night. But on the other hand, you've got this protagonist who is just a little too weak to be narrating such an intense novel.
At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the romantic story that is interlaced with the main story. At first I thought it was random and unnecessary, but then I realized that Sophie's romantic life is her chance to hope for something better than what life has dealt her. In a way, her romance with her love interest saves her--in more ways than one. It also acts as an opportunity for Sophie to trust again, and I applaud Anne West for finding ways to redeem her character.
The pacing is great as we're led from one situation to another. The storyline is slightly predictable, but this is mostly due to Sophie's stubbornness.
It would have been cool to meet Nell, Sophie's sister, beyond the journal entries we're shown. Though the conclusion of the novel implies that Sophie is stronger than Nell, I like to think that Nell was the stronger sister.
I recommend The Murmurings to readers of the horror genre in the Y/A age group. If you enjoy suspenseful ghost stories, this novel will keep you entertained....more
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines areReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are.
She has these immense ideas that, if put successfully onto paper, will steal the reader's attention for hours. The difference between Moonlight Mayhem and Beautifully Broken is extreme.
Beautifully Broken, the first in the Spellbound series, has a protagonist, Shiloh, that was a bit too emotionally unattached. In Moonlight Mayhem, the sequel, Shiloh is too emotionally attached to her father's death, but barely mentions her other friends.
Moonlight Mayhem will make an entertaining read for readers. However, my focus was occasionally stolen by misused words. I did enjoy, however, how the characters surpassed the high school cliches to work together on the problem at hand.
Seeing as this is a sequel, there's not much I can say without causing huge spoilers. So, read at your own risk.
(view spoiler)[What irked me was Shiloh's lack of mention or emotional response to the deaths of her friends in Beautifully Broken. It was like they had never even existed. I tried very hard to get past these issues and focus on the plot, which was quite good.
The mystery is exciting and, like her previous book, creepy as hell. I could relate to Shiloh's pain over losing her father, so that was a nice little moment. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend this book? Sure. The action is fast-paced and the emotional connection that Shiloh shares with her (still alive) best friend, Ari, is realistic. The story is riddled with creepiness and Soule strives to go beyond the cliches of the supernatural. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Abigail Gibbs’s young adult novel Dinner With a Vampire, the first installment in The Dark Heroine series, is another addition to the popular vampire genre. Full of romance and beautiful prose, Gibbs offers the reader a more creative, better detailed, and slightly less naive version of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. It is inevitable that the two are compared, since they both touch on the romanticization of vampires.
I admit that this is a guilty pleasure book, especially because of how it treats its female counterparts. I did my best to read straight through the disempowerment of female characters and the cliches that sprinkled the pages. For the most part, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the gothic romance and sexy male protagonist.
The unappealing aspect of Gibbs’s novel is how female characters are portrayed. This vampiric world introduces hierarchies full of men, as well as passing comments of female vampires hoping to one day have an equal say. The female protagonist, Violet, for a good portion of the story, is treated like an object, rather than a person, which unfortunately mimics the disempowerment of females in young adult novels.
What the reader will like about this story, however, is Gibbs's awareness of how weak Violet is in the novel. She points out flaws by having other characters comment on them, which is superb. This realization and commentary gives the novel comedic relief, whether intended or not, because Gibbs is showing her readers that her story takes place in a world aware of Violet’s frivolities.
Considering Gibbs is 18, most likely younger when she first wrote Dinner With a Vampire, this novel is a very impressive piece. The prose is nearly effortless, the diction well beyond expectation, and the pacing is quick, but not distractingly so. The story reads like a Jane Austen novel full of vampires and risque moments.
Gibbs also has a way of building anticipation for the reader. Certain scenes are very well crafted, luring the reader into the moment, rather than just telling him/her what happens next. In a way, Gibbs is seducing the reader with her prose, much like Kaspar, the male protagonist, is seducing Violet.
Dinner With a Vampire is a must-read for fans of vampires in young adult novels. Though sexy enough to be inappropriate for readers younger than fourteen, it is a quick and tasty treat for readers craving a romantic paranormal novel....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn is a unique and creepy young adult novel that follows the protagonist, Annaliese, after a year-long absence. Though the novel is rife with mystery, hints of the paranormal, and has a disturbing conclusion that leaves the reader asking more questions, I found that this one might be more geared towards a specific group of readers. As the first paragraph in the synopses states, "The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King," I would probably guess that this is more of the audience in mind for Quinn's debut.
The writing is intriguing, but very confusing. The plot tends to jump from one place to another, sometimes making the hints the author gives her readers about the horrors in Annaliese's world a little too subtle. Don't get me wrong, I love a good horror novel that slowly builds up the anticipation, but I felt like this story was both slow and confusing and a little too secretive.
The pacing was another issue I had with Another Little Piece. I'm fine with a book that decides to give us small fragments of the bigger mystery throughout the novel, as long as the pacing is flowing well enough to keep me hooked. I was, however, more bored than I'd like to admit and I did skip ahead on several occasions. I have a heavy reading list and felt like this one really slowed me down. But then again, thinking back, the resemblance to Stephen King makes more sense too, since the storyline really tends to drag (ever read King's work and think, man, when are things going to start happening?).
I did like the rawness of Quinn's novel, though. Her unflinching descriptions of blood, gore, and Annaliese's parents' experience while searching for their daughter were, perhaps, the most entertaining aspects of the novel. I'm not stating this because I like the macabre, I say it because they were well described and bone chilling, probably the best parts of this novel.
I also enjoyed how everything came together at the conclusion. After a novel full of confusing twist and turns, it was nice seeing a conclusion that not only tied together the loose strings of why things happened and why some of the characters were connected, but also left you with the horrifying sensation that though this story is over for Annaliese, someone else may be living it over and over again in another part of Quinn's fictional world. The conclusion is also a false sense of security, since really, it makes you ask, is the horror that is Annaliese's life really over? Is this really a happy ever-after ending?
Though I did not entirely enjoy it, I know that there are some horror buffs who will enjoy this. There's gore, crisscrossing plot lines, the dangers of dark magic (or what alludes to it), and the slow build-up of a mystery that is both dark and very disturbing....more
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Davonna Juroe’s Scarlette is a young adult gothic romance novel that follows a naive protagonist in a dark and distressing world. Through a strikingly described setting, an eerie plot, and characters befitting the novel’s genre, Juroe creates a nail-biting adaptation of Charles Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood.
Scarlette, the protagonist, suffers at the hands of her abusive mother, yet she is still a character who does not shy away from the idea of love. She is immature at times, but gothic romance fiction features naive girls ready to faint at the sight of spooky shadows and mysterious noises.
There are various male characters vying for Scarlette's attention, which plays well with the double meaning of her name. Scarlette suggests fiery passion, lust, and power. Scarlette embodies all of these associations with her name by striving to find the truth, following her flawed heart, and disregarding her effect on others around her.
Scarlette is set apart from other werewolf novels, mainly thanks to the historical facts that Juroe includes in her novel. What makes Scarlette even more fascinating is that it is set in an era when witchcraft is abhorred, and the supernatural is thought to be more than just a myth.
The writing is beautiful. Description splashes the pages with color, and the slow budding romance between different characters adds a sigh-worthy zest to the story.
Scarlette's pace does slow down at times, but Juroe manages to capture her reader’s fading interest with the sublime. The paranoia of small villages, the grandeur of balls and ball gowns, and the dangers of love, all inhabit Juroe’s novel.
Juroe’s skill is evident in her writing, since the reader may often feel like s/he is reading a classic gothic romance novel, rather than something created for the modern teenaged audience.
Scarlette is a dark novel and is recommended for historical romance lovers, as well as readers interested in stories about werewolves. Also, fans of gothic romance fiction will most likely devour Juroe’s novel.
Scarlette will infect the reader with its dark plot and deadly mystery, making him/her eager and ready to follow Scarlette on her quest to discover the truth....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Josin L. McQuein's Arclight is a crReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Josin L. McQuein's Arclight is a creepy, but very cool young adult novel. McQuein's debut is teeming with individual stories begging to be told, as well as a mystery that pulses with a life of its own. Basically, who is Marina? We are plagued with this question for the majority of the novel as we follow Marina, the protagonist, and the other characters on her quest to self-discovery.
But the creepy tone of the novel is what will surely capture the reader's attention. McQuein takes the common fear of the dark and twists it into her own horrifying perfection. She does not simply create monsters who lurk in the dark, she creates creatures who are made of the dark and so much more--giving them the disturbing ability to blend in with nearly anything.
The pacing is great. The story begins in the heart of a crises, giving us a chance to see which characters will stand out in the novel, and what side they will sit on (either they are bad guys, or good guys). The introduction also works for me because I am not left wondering why Marina isn't popular, and why the people living in the Arclight are so scared of the dark.
Having complimented the pacing, I think it's important to state that the storyline (and rising action) can be described as a very action-filled read--never a dull moment. We are continuously led from one terrifying moment, to another.
There is romance, as there usually is in post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels. The affairs between these young characters add not only blush-worthy story lines, but also hope to the bleak setting. The romance between Marina and her love interest makes you hope for the best for them, even as the dark encroaches on their world.
The complexity of the novel is brought up a notch as we learn more about the Fade, the creatures that live beyond the light barrier. McQuein somehow makes a terrifying creature into a thing of beauty by using poetic prose in her descriptions. She touches on the power of nature in a world seemingly bereft of life, she explores familial connections, and how trust can be more powerful than fear.
The one thing I am not a huge fan of is how stubborn Marina is. I also find her behavior near the end to be slightly hypocritical. Here's a girl who's been shunned by those around her because she's different, yet she cannot offer the same compassion to others in similar situations. Her attitude mimics that of the people who mistreat her, which completely baffles me. While I like the other characters, like the thoughtful and hopeful Tobin, or even the chatty Anne-Marie, Marina acts just like the other ignorant people in the Arclight--even though she was not born there.
Which adds to the fact that, no matter if the subject is human or not, prejudices run deep in this one.
At first, I was extremely happy to have found a post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel that was a standalone, but then I found out that Arclight is simply the beginning of a series. I have mixed feelings about this because while I would like to know what happens to the characters beyond Marina's story, I'm going to need a heck of a new mystery and discovery for the sequel to intrigue me. Arclight's mystery explains and disproves so many of the prejudices and fears in the novel, that a sequel feels a little dangerous.
I recommend Arclight to readers of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. If you like novels that play with the dark, offer fearful situations that have more depth than simply being terrifying, and like complex mysteries, then you might want to check this one out.
This year is looking good for dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels, and Arclight is a nice addition to the already impressive collection. ...more
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion is the Romeo and Juliet of the zombie world. Told in unexpectedly beautReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion is the Romeo and Juliet of the zombie world. Told in unexpectedly beautiful prose, Marion's protagonist, R, challenges his undead life and manages to push the existential questions on his readers. His exploration of the confusing and dangerous world that spawned him make for a heavy read, which leads to a powerful conclusion.
R personifies what I've always wondered about zombies. He gives the reader an all-access pass to the possible thoughts of a zombie. I mean, sure, we all know zombies love blood, guts, and brains, but what exactly goes on in their heads? Is a zombie an empty vessel that simply feeds, or does the essence of what s/he once was still linger within the confines of the rotting corpse?
Though Marion's story is a different and original one, he still serves us the brutality of the zombie lifestyle. It is even more disconcerting watching R devour his victims, yet be completely conscious of his actions. The mix of originality and the cult classic ideas of zombies make Marion's novel exciting, but thought provoking--which I never thought could be possible with a zombie novel. Sure, various novels with the undead give the readers a cryptic message of how humanity's actions have led to its fall, but none have ever really questioned it any further.
No other novel has ever truly redeemed zombies quite like Warm Bodies.
Though the prose is incredible, the pacing could have been much better. I found myself wondering if the story would pick up at certain points, but I also learned that perhaps this is the trick to Marion's novel: the reader, much like R, has to be patient. R's world is expanding with every new question he asks; with every new word he utters. Since the narrative of the novel is in limited first person, the reader is much like R--a zombie learning to live again.
Dark and imperfect, Julie, R's love interest, gives the reader the human perspective in the story. She is the one character that fully serves the purpose of showing the reader that yes, humans are flawed and at times broken, but that perhaps they need redemption nearly as much as zombies. She is in fact the human equivalent of R, since she is also navigating the complexities of life.
Death and life are not biased when it comes to characters in Warm Bodies, so the reader sure as hell can't be biased.
I recommend Warm Bodies to fans of zombie fiction. From the dangers in R and Julie's world, both alive and dead, to the journey they take towards self-discovery and redemption, Marion's novel overflows with originality and a great new take on a topic we thought we knew so well....more
Zom-B by Darren Shan is not the kind of book I anticipated it to be. In fact, it deals more with theReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Zom-B by Darren Shan is not the kind of book I anticipated it to be. In fact, it deals more with the cruel reality of racism, abuse, and dysfunctional youth, than zombies. I personally love a good zombie novel now and again, but this one left me wondering when the zombie snacking would begin. One cool aspect, however, was Shan's ability to make the protagonist an androgynous character and keep it a mystery until the very end.
For a long time I wanted SOMETHING to happen. I kept expecting the zombies to barge into the storyline, teeth chomping away at the characters and stomachs growling for a slice of brain, but when does this happen? About three quarters of the way into the novel. And okay, the prologue and pictures were pretty awesome, but the story just fell a little short for me.
Granted, Zom-B is the first book in a series, so I can sort of understand Shan's careful pace for his zombie series.
The writing, despite the pacing, was good. It gave me an insight into B's world and how s/he interacts with everything around him/her. It was fun catching a glimpse of the dialect and his/her way of life. Shan's talent at making the reader feel like s/he is beside B was what made his book interesting. He is also has the odd talent of making the most mundane things (like babies) appear absolutely terrifying.
Basically, Shan's book is wonderfully written and a disturbingly honest representation of racism and abuse in countries that appear to be accepting more and more multiculturalism, but it is slow going and may make the reader a teeny bit impatient--especially if s/he is a zombie enthusiast.
I would recommend Zom-B to readers of horror fiction that have tough protagonists and unexpected conclusions. I would advice, however, to be patient. I, for one, am hoping that the second installment makes up for Zom-B's lackluster premise.
By the way, when the zombie action picks up it really picks up. The gore that the previous chapters missed out on are splattered on the last few chapters for the reader's twisted enjoyment....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The beginning of May is riddled witReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The beginning of May is riddled with a few zombie novels that have opened up the world of zombies for us beyond the usual shambling and insatiable creatures that haunt our dreams. T. Michael Martin's young adult debut, The End Games, plays perfectly into this genre-changing month with its unique take on the undead, and its very emotionally stimulating and raw internal struggle. Brimming with stories untold and an extremely successful use of third person narrative, The End Games is a must-read for any young adult zombie enthusiast.
I've mentioned in various other reviews that I am not a fan of third person narrative, whether it is omniscient or limited. But I will have to put that dislike to the side for this one. I was wary at first, since third person usually feels disconnected and unreliable, but wow, Martin sure knows how to cross the disconnected barrier. Though the narrative is obviously third person, the writing feels so personal and unique, that it made me want more and more.
Michael, our seventeen-year-old protagonist, paints a distressing picture of a past that actually acts as a good opponent against his current predicament. Zombies, or as he and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, call them, Bellows (ingenius, since these creatures repeat whatever they hear), have taken over the world as we know it. They struck, ironically enough, on Halloween and offered both a purpose and salvation for the two lone brothers.
We are pushed from liking Michael, to pitying him, hating him, then finally, having the hope that he is too afraid to have. He is only human and though he acts as more than that for his brother's sake, we are reminded many times of how insecure he is about his decisions. As we continue reading his story, we begin to find it difficult to discern the difference between his fearful reality and what is blissfully imagined.
In fact, the internal struggle Michael experiences (occasionally written in spurts of stream of consciousness) is so powerful that we are often drawn to the darkness of his past, rather than the dangers of his present. And while he creates a somewhat safe world for his emotionally unstable little brother, we forget that Michael himself is a child who also needs to believe in something; who also needs protection from the past the two brothers are running from.
While Patrick's inability to accept his surroundings as something more than just a game may infuriate me, I also understand that he is just a kid stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with only his brother.
Martin starts off the novel with a hook that is electrifying and immediately intriguing. Right off the bat, we want to know: What game is this? Who are these players? What are bellows? Who is this game master?
Of course, aspects of religion are tossed in, as they usually are with post-apocalyptic novels, but I like how they are hinted at and occasionally used, but not to the extent where it is everything the protagonist thinks about. Sure you have your biblical lunatics here and there in The End Games, but let's be honest: aren't they, or any approximations of this genre cliche, in every post-apocalyptic novel?
The tone and prose go hand in hand. Whereas one expects the prose to make up the tone (words, phrases, etc), Martin uses the (extremely cool) technique of letting the prose highlight the tone. Sometimes the text breaks up, or repeats itself, just to create a hyper awareness of Michael's surroundings, or his thoughts and memories. This also plays into making the whole third person narrative aspect of this novel unique. We aren't simply being told what is up, we are being shown how to feel what we are being told.
One last note, and probably one of the more important ones when it comes to books like this one: The End Games is CREEPY. Very extremely, can't look away, block your eyes, look out your window to make sure there are no bellows out there, creepy. Gory, exciting, bloody, frustrating (thanks to humanity's occasional ignorance), and heart-warming (Patrick and Michael are the cutest siblings ever!), The End Games is a must-read.
The End Games baited me with a very original and intelligent concept, hooked me with its twist just after we are introduced to the characters, and reeled me in with the fantastic storytelling. I await Martin's next book eagerly! ...more
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Zombie Apocalypse 2012: A PoliticaReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Zombie Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story by Ian McClellan is a very clever adult fiction novel that satirizes the current issues found in the U.S. government. Witty, intelligent, and all around entertaining, this zombie read is a great commentary on today’s society, plus, it has zombies—which is awesome.
Lance, the protagonist, isn’t your typical hero. He’s imperfect, has an annoying wife, and unwillingly becomes this stories potential saviour. What I found interesting about Lance was how detached he was from his world and how his wife was the complete opposite. She has radical ideas of the government that aren’t exactly pleasant—which reminded me of the super anti-government citizens that are often mentioned in the news, while Lance is indifferent. I found that Lance grew in his political views as the story progressed because when the world is threatened, does it really matter who is in charge or not? McClellan shows the absurdity of the government by placing it in the most extreme situation, so that their usual ideas, responses, and actions look completely ludicrous.
The satire was so blatantly obvious that it was hilarious. It also made the story flow well and since it was entertaining, the pages flew by. I’ve never read a zombie novel like this one, where the result of the zombie plague is explored from both a political and survival point of view. The humour comes from the ridiculous comments made by characters who focus more on the government’s potential involvement with the end of the world, than the fact that their world is ending.
McClellan creates a post-apocalyptic world that is more accurate than other zombie worlds I’ve read about. For example, the fact that there should be a lot of flies to swarm over the dead and the overpowering stench of decay are often ignored in horror novels. The effect is both realistic and traumatizing because it takes away the romantic notion of what the end of the world could represent for us.
I recommend this one to readers who like witty novels set in a less than desirable environment. If you like satirical horror stories full of social commentary and a less than typical protagonist, then you’ll like this one! ...more
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Sick by Tom Leveen is an unconventioReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Sick by Tom Leveen is an unconventional zombie read that is getting some backlash on Goodreads for a few of the characters’ comments and behaviors. I’m going to state this from the get-go, just so my opinion is clear: I do not think Leveen’s intent was to be unknowingly racist or for his writing to be portrayed as one of a bigot. His book’s “heroes” are in fact anti-heroes, which aren’t your conventional heroes that shine like the sun and crap rainbows. They are imperfect characters (teenagers, which is even more important to note) that grow throughout the novel. They are offered the ultimate redemption as the apocalypse strips more and more of life’s normality from them. Also, they’re kids in an affluent community with a sudden influx of lower class students. Come on.
And I will mention this as well: Protagonists aren’t always made for a reader to love them—this notion is both incorrect and highly naïve.
Not every hero is perfect, so to expect as such in a character is ridiculous. Authors don’t write a hero for your benefit, but for the benefit of the story. If the story begs for a character to be redeemed, then it will happen, but the character will not be a white-toothed perfect citizen to begin with. And if people looked beyond the so-called racism that allowed for this fun book to be rated lower (all due respect to people and their opinions), they would see that these horrendous characters were either redeemed or were given a heavy dose of humanity when the time called for it. Also, may I mention that there are instances where these “bigoted” characters showcased their change in attitude? These changes are visible in the small moments of interactions between these kids. As for the whole The Breakfast Club relation, it is like the film because it showcases kids from different social statuses coming together as one to solve one common problem: how to escape. It doesn’t have to be exactly like the iconic 1980s film for it to share several aspects.
It’s so easy to classify a book one way or another from the first glimpse, from the first racial or sexual orientation-related slur, but if given the chance, books like Sick can offer so much insight into humanity, especially when it is at an imminent end. The pacing in this book is quick, the action addicting, and the friendships are touching. The kids are realistic because they are imperfect. There is a glimpse at the possibility of romance, and there is a heck of a lot of redemption. Leveen is actually pretty genius for including so many different kinds of kids (who by the way, face exactly what normal teenagers face in high school).
At first, I was going to talk about how fun the story was and how I love unique zombie novels, but then I saw the rating on popular pages like Goodreads and the reviews this book was receiving and felt myself getting angry. I agree that everyone has their own opinion and I DO respect those opinions, but this reminds me so much of what happened to September Girls by Bennett Madison that I decided to comment directly on the negative comments circulating about this novel.
I’m not telling you to go out and buy this book and read it—all I’m asking is that you give it a glimpse yourself before basing your entire choice on whether you want to read this book or not by reading the reviews on pages like Goodreads. Sometimes the author’s intention for a novel is lost in the background noise of society’s obsession with calling everything or everyone a racist or a bigot. It’s like what happened to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Such a classic story had the “N” word in the text as a way of showcasing the racism of the time, yet instead of looking beyond that, people naturally assumed the worst and censored it. It’s scary to think that we live in a society where literature is either getting censored for something that adds to the story, or getting put aside because of a character’s characteristics that actually give the character a reason to better him/herself later on in the story. Might as well ban almost every book—since they all touch on the topic of race, sexuality, and abuse in one way or another.
But I digress. I enjoyed Sick for what it was and while a couple of the characters’ actions and words were a bit shocking, it didn’t give me a reason to throw the book away with anger and misplaced self-entitlement.
If you like young adult zombie stories full of imperfect characters who DO change as the story progresses, then check this one out. ...more
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review for a book tour hosted by XpressoReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review for a book tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours
Let me start by stating that Undying by Valerie Grosjean is one creepy read. Sure, the romance featured is pretty sweet (from the protagonist’s perspective), but let’s be clear here: the sweetness is over-shadowed by the pure awesome force of Grosjean’s ability to create fear in the reader. By introducing zombies to her “isn’t that sweet” story of our protagonist’s upcoming lunch with his best friend, who also happens to be the object of his affection, Grosjean is taking your typical could-be love story to a whole other level. But hey, if the horror doesn’t intrigue you, then maybe the quickly paced storyline, engrossing descriptions of the apocalypse, and the protagonist’s will to find and protect those he loves will keep you entertained.
Christian is the protagonist of this bloody tale and he’s on a mission to find the girl he loves, his family, and safety. Before I get into the exciting aspect of this novel, I’m just going to comment on Christian’s love interest. Iris is a high school student who finds herself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but we don’t get to see the world through her eyes, since this story is told from Christian’s perspective, so the mystery of whether she’s alive or not is unknown until we know the outcome.
What frustrated me about the romantic aspect of this novel was how Christian is so completely in love with a girl who is the least bit likeable. I’m going to stop here before I give too much away, but the few times that Christian does talk to her on the phone before the apocalypse happens doesn’t exactly paint her as a saint who will reciprocate Christian’s love.
Now onto the zombie bit (pun intended). There is one particular scene that I’m recalling at this very moment that I think will haunt me for a while. You know those horror films when someone you believe to be dead rises and is suddenly completely focused on you? Now imagine that said undead thing wants to chomp on you—cue the shivers.
Grosjean’s novel may be short, but it does not cheapen the horror and terror of her version of the zombie apocalypse. The mixture of the two fear-inducing techniques of horror and terror make for a creepy read that will have you waking up in the middle of the night wondering if today will be the day that the world ends.
I’m a fan of zombie tales, even if they terrify me, so I obviously enjoyed this very much (ignoring the love story, which I honestly thought was a bit forced, especially considering that Christian’s road trip could have been taken simply to see if his family was ok.) The catchphrase on the cover of the book, “A story of love…and zombies,” is both genius (because it undermines our immediate reaction to the mention of a romantic tale) and a bit counterproductive (because the zombie aspect could have survived perfectly well without the romance, though it seems that the “love” aspect was just introduced to gain the attention of romantic lovers seeking a story of hero worshipping…but I digress.)
This was a good, quick read. If you like gory and bloody zombie tales, then you’ll enjoy this one. I’m looking forward to the sequel, especially after the intense conclusion! ...more
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Feral by Holly Schindler was oShort review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Feral by Holly Schindler was one of those reads that left you wondering what the hell you just read. While I somewhat enjoyed this one, I was still a bit overwhelmed with the whole premise and wasn't too surprised by the conclusion.
Claire, the protagonist, is a girl who recently survived a brutal attack back in Chicago, prompting a move that will not only change her life, but start the weird events that will haunt the novel. Peculiar, Missouri is not only a very small place with a very weird name, but it is also a place overrun by feral cats. From the moment those cats are mentioned, the story takes on a very creepy tone.
The prose of the novel is beautiful, but the story itself is so weird and random that I found myself struggling to hang on. I gave Feral a three out of five because of this prose and because of the way everything wraps up at the end, but it doesn't mean that I wasn't constantly thinking about this book's strangeness.
One of the things that Schindler did right was making the story as overwhelming for the reader as it was for Claire. We got to see what she went through, while her world started to blend with the world of the dead that she was surrounding herself with.
Though the novel was a bit long-winded and more than a bit strange, I still did enjoy it. Feral is definitely a different kind of book that will challenge you to see what is real and what is imagined. Plus, the cats. Man, if you weren't freaked out by cats before, this novel might just do it for you.
I recommend Feral to readers who enjoy a bit of a psychological thriller. Also, to readers who find fun in weird books full of weird instances. Also, if you like or hate cats, this might appeal to you!...more
Well, for starters, it is indeed very VERY creepy. The characters are almost all anti-heroes with a false sense ofWhat can I say about The Merciless?
Well, for starters, it is indeed very VERY creepy. The characters are almost all anti-heroes with a false sense of purpose. While there may or may not be paranormal forces in this novel (must...not...spoil...this...book), the fact that HUMANS are capable of such horrendous things, is terrifying in itself. We're constantly asking which character is the bad guy and if they're all bad guys in their own twisted way.
The pacing is very quick once it gets into the heart of the novel (young girl, tied up, and covered in blood--it's in the synopsis!), and it's very hard to put it down.
The concept is terrifying because it plays on such a huge societal (and controversial) theme: religion. I'm not much of a religious person, but even I can see how terrifying the quote on the back of the novel is: "Forgive us, Father, for WE have sinned." It forces the reader to question if humans are as bad as demons, or if demons are a creation of negative human mentality. When all else fails in our world, why not say that the person we see as slighting us is possessed? Atheists may have a field day with this one, while other religious readers might feel terrified because of the idea that the very thing they fear may be coming to life within these pages.
The ending is definitely one of those endings that doesn't sugarcoat everything, which is perfect. If the rest of the novel is a dark and chaotic tale of sins and damnation, why does the ending have to be happy and peaceful?
While I wouldn't exactly call this a horror novel, I would definitely label it as a psychological thriller, or suspense. This is only horror to those who allow it to be terrifying, and this is suspenseful for those who see that humanity might just be as dark as demons.
The minor issues I had with this were editing, some small issues with continuity, and missed opportunities with some of the characters. At the beginning of the novel, it felt like things were being rushed, just so we could get through the whole introductory part of the novel. If the characters were drawn out a bit more, then this story could have been truly horrifying.
I recommend this to anyone who's into young adult novels with a darker theme. If you're looking for that next gory, heart-pounding, stomach turning story you've been craving, then check this one out.
The bad news is that it psychologically screwed withReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The good news is that I'm done reading this book.
The bad news is that it psychologically screwed with my head.
Horns by Joe Hill is a very messed up dark tale of a young man wrongly accused of murdering his long-time girlfriend. Ig (even his name is just abnormal), the protagonist, is the kind of character that you hate to love--not just because of his slightly dull personality and how he is unable to say, "I didn't do it!" every time someone accuses him of murder, but because of the devil he becomes.
In some ways, reading this book is like watching the defragmentation of a story. Rather than tell you a linear set of events, Hill weaves a tale that gives you all angles of the crime that was committed before the story began, especially since, at the heart of the novel, Merrin's murder is the catalyst for everything.
Hill introduces us to all of the major players, then slowly lets us into their minds. The effect of getting to know all of these people is twisted, since they completely overshadow what you previously thought of them. For example, there are characters that have disturbingly dark secrets/lives that you would never have been able to guess at face value, while others' sins contain dark secrets that make even the reader cringe--after all, sin makes devils of us all, right? But for this, there was a great quote, "It was, perhaps, the devil's oldest precept, that sin could always be trusted to reveal what was most human in a person" (Hill 300).
Kind of makes you think about the people around you and what they truly think of you and others.
The psychological trauma comes from a) being inside a killers mind and seeing both how methodical s/he is (NO SPOILERS!!!), and b) seeing all of these sins come to bloody life. There is a scene that involves a snake that just had me gagging. Also, this could be traumatizing for anyone who is very sensitive about the topic of religion, since this book shows neither a penchant for atheism, nor Catholicism/Christianity--it critics religion in a way that is meant for the reader to draw back, or for the reader to see that even the greatest of light has a corner of darkness. Horns basically makes you question whether this is a book about the devil and his effects, or if this is about humanity and how savage we all truly are when driven to our worst.
Despite its shock value, Horns was kind of a great story that not only showed that there were two sides to the same coin, but also the depravity of humanity. Basically, these sins that Ig brings forth from others are a comment on how everyone, even the people you would never suspect, have a basic instinct to commit something horrendous. Those voices that sometimes whisper out horrible things to you are shown in this novel as metaphorical (and literal) representations of our basic humanity. If that even makes any sense.
Ig's town also introduces the idea that no one is purely good. Everyone has a dark side to him/her. Neither the protagonist, nor the victim are purely good people, which simply makes Hill's novel more authentic and terrifying. Rather than haloing any particular character, Hill simply shows us the truth: no one is truly good. The conclusion is pretty much a great example of this, I guess. If you like protagonists who crap rainbows and sing metaphors of enlightenment, you won't find them in this book--though Ig DOES make some good points.
I recommend this novel for anyone who's interested in a dark tale that messes with your head and your stomach. Though there are instances where the story drags a bit, I love the fact that my hatred for some characters was constant. I ached for some form of conclusion to not only Ig's suffering, but his downward spiral.
Famous Last Words by Katie Alender is one terrifying and addicting ride. It's nothing extremely uniquReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Famous Last Words by Katie Alender is one terrifying and addicting ride. It's nothing extremely unique or artsy, it's just a good and dark fun time. It's got a great mystery that may not be entirely opaque, but will still have you guessing. The characters aren't your typical dense, "let's be best friends/let's date" type of characters that frequent many books nowadays--they have depth and grow and are imperfect, and it's okay.
Willa, the protagonist, has a bit of a problem. Recently relocated to Hollywood with her mom and new stepfather, the last thing Willa needs is to live in a potentially haunted house. Not only is there a serial killer on the loose, but Willa has to also contend with the possibility that something is stalking her at home. When the first event takes place (which is hinted at on the back of my hardcover copy of this book), it's the beginning of what is going to be a very creepy ride.
What I loved the most about this book is that Alender doesn't mince words. Every short description describing Willa's potential fall into insanity, or a nightmare is exact and powerful because she somehow knows how to get the reader's heart pounding. I read this at night (for a good chunk of it) and found myself looking around my dark room as a result. I loved it. I love the feeling of thinking that what I'm reading can directly affect my immediate surroundings (within reason, of course.)
The pacing was awesome and very rarely where we ahead of Willa in her attempt to solve the mystery. It was like we were her silent accomplices, waiting to see what she would do next. Though there were instances where I wanted to tell her to keep quiet, or to act a bit more spontaneously, I also understand that that would have gone against her character--but the fact that I felt involved enough to be afraid for her is a huge plus with this book.
Wyatt and Reed, the two main potential love interests, are both intriguing in their own way, making you want to know more. Her friendships are imperfect and rather than dwell on the drama of it all, she instead continues to investigate what's important. Despite her past and her tight hold on her emotions, Willa is a pretty sensible and intelligent character. Also, there's her own character growth that not only allows for her to accept who she is, but what has happened in her past.
Very rarely does a book have me guessing so much, especially when it's trying to scare the crap out of me at the same time. The characters were great and seeing them through Willa's mistrusting perspective was a great way to make everyone look suspicious. While the haunting was probably one of the things I loved the most about this book, I also enjoyed the interactions between the characters and how everything kind of connected at the end.
I was also really excited when I finished this book because I can finally recommend a book to someone who loved Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Dark mysteries in Young Adult literature are a bit harder to find, so whenever I find them it's like a little piece of happiness in the palms of my hands.
I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy a darker and creepy mystery full of twists and spooky noises in the night. I hope to see more stories like this from Katie Alender in the future!
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix is one of those books that starts out innocent and promising, then BOOM, the scary crap comes out.
I think that Hendrix diHorrorstor by Grady Hendrix is one of those books that starts out innocent and promising, then BOOM, the scary crap comes out.
I think that Hendrix did a wonderful job of messing with my senses and pushing the fear index to something more than just a spooky situation, or a terrifying adventure that can be summed up to pure imagination (by the characters) at the end of the novel. He takes realistic characters, with realistic insecurities/imperfections, and puts them into a situation that is freaky as crap.
I kind of regret not reading this before Halloween because it would have made a perfect companion. The horror is sometimes subtle, like the hint of a haunting, or obvious, like the stare of a dead, blacked out face. The combination of subtleness at the beginning and the fearless way of describing truly horrifying scenes from the middle of the book and up until the conclusion makes for a very nerve wracking experience. The reader is kind of lulled into a false sense of security because s/he thinks that the story will be of the tame scary variety (since the minor hints of a haunting barely warrant a case of the shivers.) The result of this is fantastic because when the big, scary events start to take place, the reader then realizes his/her mistake and it quickly becomes time to read with the lights on.
The conclusion was great in its cheesiness. It kind of goes with the whole desperadoes aspect of the storyline, which I like to think is the "all or nothing," theme--i.e. (view spoiler)[the seance--like really, who the hell ever thinks that THAT'S a good idea, anyway? (hide spoiler)] If that makes any sense (it makes sense in my head!)
The design and concept of the novel is brilliant and unique. I can definitely see where the satirical aspect of this novel comes from. The names of the furniture, the title headings, (view spoiler)[the way torture devices are described and made to sound fashionable (hide spoiler)], and the mottos all play into this world that not-so-subtly mocks our consumerist society. Hendrix not only takes what is familiar to us and molds it into a farce, but he literally makes it into a horror novel (with the occasionally witty remark on something that only Ikea, or ORSK, shoppers would know--special Ikea tool, anyone?)
And okay, this is a horror novel about hauntings and ghosts and all kinds of dark things, but I think what comes close to stealing the show in this novel is how Hendrix kind of takes back the power from Ikea and puts the ridiculous furniture names into perspective. I mean, how awkward is it to own a sofa that isn't called a sofa, but some obscure word with accents a lot of us have never had to pronounce before?
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to anything like this in the future. Would I recommend this? YES. It's terrifying, but so entertaining! If you like novels that make you quiver with both laughter and horror, then you might like this one!