Saturday, October 27, 2012

It’s almost Halloween! What should you read?

I’m sure your answer is something scary or creepy or paranormal. Books about ghost, zombies, witches, werewolves, vampire or just plain horror. I have some recommendation that totally fit with today’s theme, and will get you in the holiday spirit.
Ghost Stories: Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy by Katie Alender, Possessions by Nancy Holder, Hereafter by Tara Hudson, The Ghost Huntress series by Marley Gibson
Horror/Thrillers: Ten by Gretchen McNeil, The Turning by Francise Prose, Variant by Robinson Wells
Vampires: The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith, Evernight series by Claudia Gray
Werewolves: Unleashed by Nancy Holder, Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Witches/Magic Users: The Secret Circle series by L.J. Smith, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawthorne
Angels: Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, Fallen series by Lauren Kate
Zombies: Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry, The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan

~Haley G

Like the scary ghost/zombie images? lol

Shadows by Ilsa Bick

Series: The Ashes Trilogy (bk. 2)

Genera: Sci-fi dystopian/horror

Subjects: post-apocalyptic, zombies, survival, Michigan, U.P.,  Wisconsin, forests

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 518 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Egmont

Summary/ product description: “The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.
Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.
But she was wrong.
Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.
Welcome to Shadows, the second book in the haunting apocalyptic Ashes Trilogy: where no one is safe and humans may be the worst of the monsters.”

My Rating: êê1/2

My Review: I’m very disappointed about this sequel. I was so confused for most of the book. I didn’t know who was who, except for Alex and Tom. There were way way WAY too many character. Too many switches in perspective for a 3rd person limited book. Ashes was amazing, and this book had to many problems. If this one was all Alex’s 3rd person limited perspective, and the author actually recapped who was who, then I would have enjoyed it. I just suffered through over 500 pages or “what the heck is going on?” I had high expectation and it completely fell flat. The only good stuff were the descriptions and dialogue. The author is good at showing, but we honestly could have used more telling. Especially with characters. I’ve seen reviews by other who said the same thing. I agree completely. I’d say my favorite thing about this series is the setting. I actually went camping in this area over the summer. Rule and the forest used in here are made up, but other stuff was true. I really enjoyed the Iron Range area in the U.P. of Michigan, and also Northern Wisconsin (I have relatives near Park Falls). We camped at Porcupine Mountains State Park in Michigan, and also in Pattison State Park in Wisconsin. I told my family about Ashes and told my brother to watch out for cannibal zombies (and bears) when they went hiking. Book one was so great, and sequel fails happen pretty often, so I’m not completely surprised. The plot wasn’t bad. It’s just that I read Ashes last year after it came out, so I can’t remember who’s new, who’s old, or who’s anyone. Good luck, and review Ashes before reading Shadows.

Cover Art Review: Better than the first book’s cover. I love the effects on the title. I would love to try this in photoshop. Well done. Awesome colors. And I love the texture.


~Haley G

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Turning by Francine Prose

Genera: Horror/mystery/thriller

Subjects: ghosts, babysitting, child care, children, supernatural, islands, isolation, psychological

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 246 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Jack is babysitting for the summer on an isolated island with no Wi-Fi, no cell service, and no one else around but a housekeeper and two very peculiar children. He immediately senses something sinister-and it's not just the creepy black house he's living in. Soon he is feeling terribly isolated and alone, but then he discovers there are others. The problem is, he's the only who can see them. As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy…Or is he?
Where does reality end and insanity begin? The Turn of the Screw reinvented for modern-day teens, by National Book Award finalist Francine Prose.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: This book was definitely creepy in some parts. And it was also very different from horror stories I’ve read. First of all, it’s written in the form of letters. Not chapters, letters. It was a very fast, short read. It keeps you wondering what the heck is going on. The children Miles and Flora are just so strange, like some creepy twins from some scary movie. Jack first impression was that the island was creepy, but he got used to it.

It’s very hard to explain this book without giving it away. It’s apparently a retelling of some story I never heard of called “The Turn of the Screw.” I read Ten by Gretchen McNeil a few weeks ago and that was also a retelling. I think Ten was more interesting with a lot of action and slasher stuff. This has a lot of psychological stuff in it. I kept wanting to put a horror movie plot to it (plot where main character turns out to be dead or plot where character get possessed). It’s not Paranoral Ativity or Shutter Island or whatever.

All I can say is that if you’re looking for a different kind of thriller-horror YA book that you should read this. If you liked Ten, then read it.

Cover Art Review: Creepy depiction of the Dark House. Wonder if this was a photo of an actual place or if it was changed in photoshop so it looked crazy and confusing. I like how the title’s is overlayed.


~Haley G

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs

Series: Medusa Girls (bk. 2)

Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Greek mythology, Medusa, sisters, triplets, magic, supernatural, San Francisco, monsters, destiny

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 328 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Teagan

Summary/ product description: “Teen triplets Gretchen, Grace, and Greer, descendants of Medusa, continue to battle the monsters who walk the streets of San Francisco, unseen by humans, but realize they must enter the abyss if they are to protect their loved ones--and their world.

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters—after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss—but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home—like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy.”

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: I only read Sweet Venom a little over a month ago and really enjoyed it. Reading the second book I have even more to enjoy. Some of my predictions from the first book came true in the sequel. And I still think that this series is very similar to Charmed, the TV show (because of 3 sisters with powers and it’s set in San Francisco). I wanna go comparing each sister to a Charmed one. It bet the author loves Charmed. But it’s also very different because it’s Greek Mythology, not witches. My favorite of the sisters in this series is Grace. She’s the most relatable personality wise, but I’m not an eco-geek computer genius, just an art geek. And now Greer is learning to deal with all this monster stuff. She still wants to do her normal stuff. She changes a lot from the first book. I like how Nick and Gretchen are. They’re relationship is crazy funny. She always threatens him. She starts to trust him, though.

And, not to spoil anything, it was interesting what kind of creatures Gretchen found in the abyss. You’ll have to read to see it, but now she sees the reason why the door should be unsealed.  There’s 3 sides to this war, and 2 want the sisters dead. I really like how the plot’s coming along. There are still some questions not answered, so I will be eagerly anticipating Sweet Legacy. Like, who is Thane? (Is he a demi-god or something?)

If you liked the Charmed show, Percy Jackson series, or just love funny mythology stories in general, that I recommend this series. It’s both girly and tough at the same time. There’s humor, action, romance and monsters! Kick-butt triplet heroines with magic powers. Sounds awesome, right? It is. Also check out Tera Lynn Child other series: Oh.My.Gods. and Forgive My Fins.

Cover Art Review: Similar to the first, no braid, girl facing forward. Looks like Greer, while the first book looked like Gretchen. Unless it’s Grace. I still like the title type face. I wish the cover was matte/dull and not glossy and flat. The inside cover is embossed with the title.


~Haley G

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Series: Fairytale Retellings (bk. 3)

Genera: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Subjects: Mermaids, fairy tales, supernatural, love, magic, sisters

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 291 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.
Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.
When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.”

My Rating: êêêê

My Review: As with all the books in this series, to are some connections between characters. Celia is one of the Reynolds. The youngest one. Lo is related to a character in the last book, Sweetly. You can guess who for yourself. And there are werewolves again, eventually, but the main focus is the ocean girls. Celia and her triplet sisters all have special powers, and it reminds me of the characters from Tera Lynn Childs’ book Sweet Venom. I really liked Celia and Jude. Jude is a musician and he’s pretty funny and cute. And Lo remind of Luce from Lost Voices by Sarah Porter. But these girl aren’t mermaids with tails. It’s not even clear why they’re underwater. It’s pretty mysterious. The plot is mainly about Celia using her past reading powers to help Lo remember who she was before. The book switched between their perspectives, and I find Celia’s perspective easier to read. Lo’s underwater world is very strange. She talks about “becoming angels” and that she would have kill a boy who falls in love with her to get her soul back. The story is pretty interesting over all, but I’ve having a hard time reviewing it. I liked Jackson’s other books. She’s really good a write retellings that are very different from the actually fairytale. This is no ordinary mermaid tale, so I do recommend it to those looking for something unique.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover! So shiny and metallic. I like the use of an object rather than a model. And the title is nicely customized on Illustrator (but could be refined even more). The author’s name is nicely done. I love the light effects that make it look under water. The pendant makes the bottom of the mermaid’s tail fin look like angel wings.


~Haley G

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Series: Razorland (bk. 2, sequel to Enclave)

Genera: Sci-fi/Dystopian

Subjects: Post-apocalyptic, survival, futuristic, villages, sex-roles, mutants

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 317 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Macmillan: Feiwel & Friends

Summary/ product description: “Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.
To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.
Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.”

My Rating: êê

My Review: This book is part of the Fierce Reads fall 2012 line-up by Macmillan.

I’m even less thrilled with this sequel than I was with the first book. I feel like there’s something missing. Maybe that because Deuce knows so little because of the way she was raised. The author did ingeniously well then, on character development. But that something seems to make the story fall flat. Deuce may have a bit of Katniss in her, but at least Katniss had snark. Deuce is too honest and doesn’t have a good sense of humor. Her voice seems dull. I like Fade, but everything else about the story is “blah” as far as dystopian standards go. The first book had some awesome survival parts. I liked when Deuce was kicked out of the Enclave and discovering was the world was like outside. The village Salvation just reminds me of an Amish version of the village in The Eleventh Plague or Ashes. The people in the village talk like they’re from over 100 years ago. The dialogue is so boring. I hate historical language. It’s the reason why I can’t stand steampunk. And where is Salvation? And is the ruin of Gotham actually New York city (and the somehow found a Batman comic with a city, and the call it Gotham?). Someone said Ann Aguirre’s world building is “amazing.” In her author’s note, she says she watched Life After People, but I really feel like we need more clarification. Veronica Roth clarified very well in Divergent because it’s set in a futuristic Chicago. But this book has me confused. And the zombies? The Freaks. They’re actually not zombies. They’re more like vampires, like in Andrew Fukuda’s The Hunt. Except these are ugly, smelly mutants that eat people, not just blood. And in this book Deuce find out how smart the Freaks are becoming (or were in the first place?). Yeah, read this series I you find this interesting. I’m just ranting a bit. I feel like Deuce POV is so unlike a teenager. Really. She mature and naïve at the same time, and a Huntress? Tell me was you think of this series guy! Did it click with you, out feel confusing?

Cover Art Review: Similar to the first books cover. Same hand. The texture and metallic stuff looks really cool.

~Haley G

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

Release Date: October 9

Series: Valkyrie Rising (bk. 1)

Genera: Paranormal Romance

Subjects: Norse mythology, mythology, supernatural, Norway, Valkyries, magic, warriors, love

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 345 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there.
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.”

My Rating: êêêêê

My Review: This is the best new mythology book (series) of the year for me. I loved this! There’s only a few YA paranormal romance series that feature Norse Mythology (Need series, Stork series). Also, very few with Valkyries (Need series, Mythos Academy series). This is probably the first YA book that I’ve seen with a Valkyrie as the main character. Talk about a unique story, Valkyrie Rising was amazing!!!

Ellie (Elsa) has always lived in the shadow of her athletic, over protective older brother Graham. She feels overly strained and stressed about this, so when she found out she was Valkyrie, she learned how to be strong and not get pushed around. As other reviews said, this book is about “Girl Power”! Be a strong female character, not a meek doormat.

I also love Tucker. This is 2nd Tucker YA character that I fell in love with (The one in Unearthly is a hot and sexy cowboy). Tucker is funny. He and Ellie bicker in the cutest most ridiculous way. I can’t help loving their relationship. And he takes he being a Valkyrie so well. He’s awesome, and not pushy as her brother. He’s a great guy.

Some other characters I want to mention. Hilda, Ellie’s grandmother, so is one tough lady! She’s also a Valkyrie and she is no old, feeble lady. Loki is probably my favorite good-but-bad character. He’s not like Loki from the Thor movie. This Loki is a shape shifter and he’s pretty funny. He’s also manipulative, but seems to be helping Ellie (for his own gain). Kjell is an okay character. You may think he’s the love interest, but he kind of get kidnapped by Valkyries, as well as Graham, and a ton of other boys 18 and up. This main plot is about saving the kidnapped boys, and I won’t spoil anything else.

My other favorite thing about this book is the setting. I’ve never been to Norway (or out of the USA) and never thought about going there because it’s just so far up north and cold. But after reading this book it may have made my list of countries I’d love to visit. This author did a guest blog post on and talked about the setting with pictures of places you should see should you ever visit Norway. She also said that Skavopoll is based off of Maloy and she had to change the name last minute because Maloy is apparently more populated and developed now than it was when she visited. I GoogleEarth-ed this area and looked at pictures as I was reading. I found Selje too and the fjords are amazing and beautiful!

I recommend this if you liked: Need by Carrie Jones, Stork by Wendy Delsol, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Sirens by Tricia Rayburn, Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, and Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.

Cover Art Review: Love the landscape and fog. The creepy guy. The sparkly top makes the model looks like Taylor Swift, but a more Scandinavian Taylor Swift. (Is Taylor of Scandinavian descent? She is tall and blond….) Not sure how I feel about the bevel emboss on the title. It looks more German than Norwegian, but what do I know? The red swirls are pretty, and the border.

 And checkout the exclusive prequel to this book that was posted on the blog
 Valkyrie Symptoms by Ingrid Paulson

~Haley G

Friday, October 5, 2012

In My Mailbox 10/5

1: Valkyrie Rising ARC that I won at the Epic Reads live stream chat. Check it out on twitter Wednesday at 2:45 central time, you might win something.
2 and 3: Books that I bought recently.
4: More library book...I have 14 checked out right now, I think.
5 & 6: Tite bag that I got when I went to the Jessica Shirvington book signing at Andersons. She's the author of Embrace and Entice. Love the angel feather!
~Haley G

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Genera: Horror/Thriller/Mystery

Subjects: Murder, seclusion, survival

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 294 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer and Bray

Summary/ product description: “And their doom comes swiftly.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”
(This is a standalone novel)
My Rating: êêêê1/2

My Review: This book was similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which was my favorite book that I read in 8th grade. But even better because it’s YA. I love horror movies, and reading this book was like seeing a really good teen horror movie. I wouldn’t call it cliché, because the character pointed out the horror movie clichés and tried to go against them.

I think Gretchen did a really good job on the horror and mystery stuff. I read her 1st book, Possess, and it was awesome. She makes 3rd person limited perspective interesting.

If you’re looking for a scary Halloween read, I do recommend this. This book will have you checking behind your back to make sure no one with a knife is there. It will keep you up all night wondering who’s going to die next. The characters are all so very different, and somehow connected. They’re not all from the same school, and everyone becomes a suspect. I don’t want to spoil it, by my first gut instinct about who the killer was, was correct, though I changed my mind a few times because of misleading clues. And then there’s the whole “red herring” thing. Or maybe I should say scape goat? The only thing I can say for sure is that Meg is not the killer. She does get blamed a few times though.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I dad. Best non-paranormal/sci-fi book I’ve read in a long time. There needs to be more books like this. New Teen Horror Stories!!! BRING ON THE SCARY!!! Happy October everyone!

Cover Art Review: It’s creepy, but not creepy enough. That island’s just too small. There should be a house on it.

~Haley G