Edith Warton's story 'Kerfol' is a ghostly tale of revenge and while it's not my favorite story of hers, was still a (short) pleasure to read. The end...moreEdith Warton's story 'Kerfol' is a ghostly tale of revenge and while it's not my favorite story of hers, was still a (short) pleasure to read. The ending will leave you wondering about the purpose of the story though as it's left very open-ended.(less)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars A copy of School Spirits was provided to me by Disney-Hyperion/Netgalley for review purposes.
Izzy Brannick comes from a long...moreMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars A copy of School Spirits was provided to me by Disney-Hyperion/Netgalley for review purposes.
Izzy Brannick comes from a long line of monster hunters. Her family hunts them all for the Prodigium, the council that governs them all. The council that her cousin Sophie Mercer is in charge of. Izzy hasn't been the same since her sister went missing on a job both of them were supposed to be working on. She blames herself since she was supposed to be with her but ended up letting her go off by herself. Add to that, she just screwed up her last solo job and her mom has given her a lame assignment. It involves a ghost. And a high school. Which she has to personally attend.
I was a bit undecided when I heard about this spin-off series but when I got my hands on it my love of Hex Hall that had lay dormant sudden came alive again and I had to read this immediately. And in a single day. Hex Hall fans will love this spin-off, I have no doubt.
Izzy is such a charming yet completely clueless girl when it comes to the normal lives of teenagers. She considers black a satisfactory color for her entire wardrobe and she lacks any sort of social skills considering she's never been social and has never attended public school. So when she finds out she's going to have to actually attend a high school in order to get the necessary information to bring down the ghost that's currently haunting its halls, she's at a loss on how to acclimate. She buys all the teen magazines and the goofy teen TV shows in order to 'understand' more and... suffice it to say, it's hilarious.
Despite her lack of social skills, there still manages to be a completely adorable romance. Izzy and Dex are hilarious and awkward and it was completely endearing. It totally gave the warm fuzzies, I only wish it had gone on for more pages (this was an extremely quick read!) but fortunately this is the first in a new series so I look forward to seeing more Dex and Izzy time. Dex was definitely my favorite character with his peppy one-liners, but there were tons of characters to love in these pages. Torin, the 400-year old warlock currently trapped in Izzy's bedroom mirror, was a runner-up favorite.
Despite my gushing, I wasn't completely content with the ending. It wasn't so off-putting that I won't be continuing this series, but it'll be interesting to see where the story leads.
School Spirits is a delightful paranormal series with an unforgettable set of characters. Fun and full of witty banter, this is the perfect read for anyone looking for some quick mystical entertainment.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Ter...moreMy rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can't say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.
I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren't so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn't a paranormal novel and it wasn't a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.
While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry's relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn't expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don't go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I'm not against this, this is not what I've come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.
The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read 'The Dex-Files' and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex's point of view, they weren't my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex's point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He's just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn't be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I'd like it more if it was shared with Perry's POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.
Regardless, I'm still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.
3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's...more3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's childhood and the connection between him and Perry.(less)
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars A copy of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven was provided to me by Da Capo Press for review purposes.
'Thinking back...moreMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars A copy of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven was provided to me by Da Capo Press for review purposes.
'Thinking back now, it was really just a creepy house that creaked and shuddered, but to impressionable nine-year-olds, it was the vacation spot of the devil itself.'
To give you all a proper introduction for those who are unaware, Corey Taylor is the lead singer of Slipknot and Stone Sour and the author of Seven Deadly Sins. 'A Funny Thing Happened' is a worthy follow-up novel and another tantalizing look into the mind of an incredibly interesting man.
At face value I was expecting 'A Funny Thing Happened' to be a random smattering of ghostly encounters he has had over the years, and it is, yet it's a fascinating exploration into the reasoning behind ghosts. His scientific details will definitely get you wondering because his hypotheses generated some genuinely possible answers. Surprisingly intellectual and educational, 'A Funny Thing Happened' is definitely a conduit that spurs some serious debates regarding the existence of the paranormal.
'Cynics will claims that my "eyewitness accounts" can easily be described as "flights of fancy," or "the trappings of an overactive imagination." [...] the one I hate even worse than those others: "You saw what you wanted to see and nothing more." Let me fucking telling you something: I did not want to see this shit, and I still do not want to see this shit.'
A Funny Thing Happened is written with a humor that is harsh and biting yet oh so entertaining. This is a man that isn't afraid to speak his mind yet is graciously considerate of others beliefs. He's mindful and respectful of others beliefs regardless of whether or not he shares them. Simply put, he is a man of many opinions and isn't afraid to share... such as it should be.
'Belief is a gift you should cherish; knowledge is a gift you should never squander.'
This book is like one big discussion, all topics are left open to interpretation, without concrete facts, just mindful musings and hypotheses. It will definitely generate antithetical opinions, however, approach this with an open mind and you may find yourself actually considering the possibilities of an alternate opinion. Or maybe you'll remain a skeptic. Either way, this book will definitely leave you something to ponder.
A copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds was provided to me by Amulet Books/Netgalley for review purposes.
'Stay still. Smile. And summon the dead.'
Mary S...moreA copy of In the Shadow of Blackbirds was provided to me by Amulet Books/Netgalley for review purposes.
'Stay still. Smile. And summon the dead.'
Mary Shelley Black is a sixteen year old girl living in a war ravaged world. After her father is arrested she is forced to flee and stays with her Aunt in San Diego. After losing her father and finding out that her childhood love, Stephen, has lost his life in the war, Mary Shelley struggles desperately to cling to a reason to continue living when she's visited by Stephen, as a spirit who is traumatized by visions of his death that he continues to re-live. Realizing that she's the only one that can see him and the only one that can help him she begins to seek out information regarding his death and what truly happened to him.
Wowsa. This book was high on my anticipating in 2013 list and I'm so very glad to say that it lived up to all the anticipation. This was a fabulous, and fresh ghost story that fans of the genre will enjoy.
'I think between the war and the flu, no one's going to escape getting haunted. We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.'
Blackbirds had an amazing story albeit based strongly on actual history. The story centers on the year 1918 when the Spanish influenza has swept through cities and World War I is ongoing. It was quite a dreary time to write about and Cat Winters didn't hold back or try and make the story any less bleak and I loved that. The black and white pictures that were included throughout the book made the perfect addition to really showcase the mood of the story.
And oh, young love. The love between Mary and Stephen was so touching and quite shocking in its fervency. It may have seemed a tad unlikely that two could love each other so much at such a young age but it was beautifully written and completely believable. Your heart will ache for them.
This could have been like any other typical war story but what really managed to make this something special and distinctive was the focus on the increased interest in a spiritual nature as mourners became willing to attempt anything to assuage the pain of losing a loved one. A truly wonderful story, Cat Winters debut is an absolute triumph. In the Shadow of Blackbirds possesses a subtle intensity that will leave you breathless.
'That I am your heart's secret fills me with song. I wish I could sing of you here in my cage. You are my heart's hidden poem. I reread you, memorize...more'That I am your heart's secret fills me with song. I wish I could sing of you here in my cage. You are my heart's hidden poem. I reread you, memorize you every moment we're apart.'
This was a real shocker for me that I enjoyed it as much as I did. For one, this has been on and off my TBR shelf several times as I would occasionally decide that this is simply not for me and I have no plans to read it. But go figure a few months later it pops up on my Goodreads timeline, I take another glance and decide it may be worth a shot. Thanks, Wendy, for giving me that final push. :)
I was actually quite touched by Helen and James' relationship/connection (at least I was once I overlooked their questionable acts). Helen had been Light (a spirit) for well over a century and not once spoke to anyone that entire time and had never quite realized how desperately she craved the company of another. Their feelings for each other were instantaneous yet it thankfully managed to not feel akin to every other insta-love situation these days in YA literature. Helen and James have their own special situation and instead of calling it insta-love I would consider it more of an extreme fascination with one another as they are the only ones of their 'species' as they called it.
I know that I should have been repelled by the whole concept of human's walking around 'empty' just ripe for the taking for deceased spirits. That their soul can be absent, drifted off to a new place, while their body remains living its life. It really was a creepy concept/possibility but what honestly scared me the most were Jenny's religious extremist parents. Before Helen came along, she watched Jenny for some time as she simply went through the motions of life without exuding any sort of emotion. Being so constricted by your family, being forced to obey and follow such rigid rules, and forcing their religion into every facet of your very being? Now that's scary.
This is one of those books where the writing truly took my breath away. It flowed so beautifully and was a real delight. I loved how she kept Helen's speech true to form considering she wasn't from this day and age. That type of extra little touch really helped make this a very special book.
This is a novel about love but it's mostly about learning to forgive yourself for the very reason Helen and James were still on Earth to find each other was because they hadn't relived their final moments in order to forgive themselves for the actions they made. This was a wonderful, mature, YA novel with hints of romance, paranormal, and learning to find peace.
'Your mind will never lose anything forever that's worth keeping.'(less)
A copy of An Inquiry Into Love and Death was provided to me by NAL/Edelweiss for review purposes.
When Jillian is informed that her Uncle Toby passed a...moreA copy of An Inquiry Into Love and Death was provided to me by NAL/Edelweiss for review purposes.
When Jillian is informed that her Uncle Toby passed away after committing suicide she's the only family that is willing and able to come and collect his belongings. Upon visiting the quaint seaside village of Rothewell that he was staying at, she finds quickly that there is something strange about this town. Realizing that her Uncle Toby had been staying there working as a ghost hunter she realizes that he may have been right and something is in fact haunting this village. Determined to prove that her Uncle didn't kill himself Jillian teams up with a gentleman from Scotland Yard to solve the mystery so he can rest in peace.
'What had just happened between us? He'd touched only my arm, but I'd felt the reverberations of that touch through my body like an echo. I could still feel them now.'
An Inquiry Into Love and Death is comprised of ghosts, family secrets, conspiracy and romance. The romance was the most unexpected addition and I wasn't sure it was the best addition but it was still nonetheless sweet. It felt very historical romance/bodice ripper to me though and considering I went into this expecting an intricate historical fiction/ghost story it could have been a disappointment. I think the fact that I do enjoy historical romances made this not such a downside but I can see this being a flaw as the marketing on this didn't hint at this as much as it should have.
There are many spooky moments and the writing was vivid and detailed to heighten the visualization. I found it intriguing that there are not only instances of ghosts but boggarts as well. Having not encountered any boggarts since Harry Potter I thought this was an interesting and fresh concept to the normal ghost story.
This was a well-told and entertaining story but didn't have anything exceptionally special to garner a higher rating. I think having the understand beforehand that romance plays a huge part in her stories typically will help adjust my expectations prior to starting. Definitely intrigued enough by this author to check out earlier works though.
'I'd never been as honest with anyone as I'd been with Michael.He made me feel safe, like I could be real - shattered and fragmented and wholly imperf...more'I'd never been as honest with anyone as I'd been with Michael.He made me feel safe, like I could be real - shattered and fragmented and wholly imperfect - even though he was the polar opposite. Intact, complete, fully perfect.'
And this is how she feels after a day. Uh-huh. Those types of lines was everything I found wrong with the book. A girl who sees ghosts from the past? Sign me up. Except what I got was a typical teenage girl who falls head over heels for some guy and CAN'T TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE. I was incredibly intrigued by the storyline and the initial 30 pages and I wouldn't have minded the 'love-interest' so much if it wasn't beaten into you every flipping page. The story finally got around to explaining their total attraction to one another and blamed it on some scientific reasoning that didn't do anything to justify it in my opinion.
There were other issues I had but I'm going to leave it at that and be done with it.(less)