Book Review – The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

It’s another one I picked for the cover!

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Mattie Hathaway has been able to see ghosts since she was five years old. It’s not a secret she ever wanted to share, until she meets Officer Dan, who is in charge of the investigation into her foster sister’s disappearance. And a bit of a honey (in my head at least).

The Ghost Files is the first book in the Ghost Files series by Apryl Baker. Written in sassy first person, the storyline follows Mattie’s descent into the supernatural, and her dangerous attempt to figure out what happened to her sister.

Mattie is a stong, feisty lead, and you can’t help but warm to her. She is sarcastic and has some anger management issues, but underneath she is vulnerable and desperate to have someone she can rely on. Enter Jake. The gorgeous AND ridiculously thoughtful boyfriend who helps to soften Mattie’s hard edges. Just one of four potential suitors… Really? Does one girl need so many?
I’ll leave that to you to decide!

I really enjoyed this book, even though it committed one of my biggest bugbears – “could of” instead of “could have”.  Grrr. The storyline is fast paced and although it’s quite a casual style of writing you definitely feel the sinister undertones. The first time she meets Mirror Boy is truly chilling.

There was something not 100% perfect about it, but I’m not 100% sure exactly what made me feel like that. There was a lot of teenage angst and relationship woes (I think I am getting old), and I think the ending was a little rushed, but then it is only book 1 of a series, so I’m sure the story develops further in book 2. Which I bought immediately after finishing the last page!

I highly recommend The Ghost Files – it’s a YA that will give you the creeps and have you looking sideways in the mirror long after you’ve finished reading it.

4 Stars * * * *

Goodreads – The Ghost Files

Twitter – @AprylBaker

Book Review – Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Author Yasmin  

 

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‘Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real……’

 

Despite the title of the book this story really has no connection with Alice in Wonderland. It’s a story all of its own. The Alice in this story has lived a very sheltered life at home with her mum, dad and sister. A lot of people, including Alice, think her father is slightly crazy and because of this Alice doesn’t have many friends and spends most of her time after school at home. Alice’s father believes there are monsters roaming the streets so he teaches Alice basic self-defense moves to protect herself with if she’s ever caught on her own outside the house, which doesn’t happen often as her dad keeps them all indoors. Until one night they’re all out for a birthday treat and on the way home Alice see’s these monsters for the first time after their car crashes. In one night Alice loses everything and finally believes her father, though it’s to late to tell him.

Alice then moves in with her grandparents and starts a new school, and this is where she meets bad boy Cole and his friends. The first time these two lock eyes they find themselves sharing a vision, and straightaway Alice knows something is different about Cole and his gang and she’s determined to figure it out. Alice also starts seeing the zombies a lot more often and realises they’re not your “typical” type of zombie.  These zombies are more like evil spirits that most humans can’t see.

This book is also your normal Young Adult with drama, romance and betrayal all throughout. So after some drama and an attack of zombies that Cole saves Alice from she learns that he and his gang are some of the few humans fighting against the monsters. But it’s not easy, not only does Alice have to learn to fight better and with weapons, she has to train her spirit to leave her body so she can fight the zombies as it’s the only way to kill them. But she’ll do anything to better herself so she can get her revenge for her family and help protect those around her.

I’m not always the biggest fan of YA but this book was an easy, fun read filled with bits of gore, fighting, romance and bad boy hotness. So it may not be a scary book but it’s definitely entertaining with some creepy moments, bloody fights and people kicking zombie ass!

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Book review – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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Author-Hazel

‘Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.’

So as you can see, the synopsis of this book doesn’t really give much away. I loved going in to this story, not knowing loads about the plot, sometimes that spoils the story. This synopsis and the cover art gave the book an eerie quality which I thought would be perfect for a spooky Halloween read. I was not wrong.

As you may have guessed, Mara Dyer is the female protagonist in this story. Her feelings and emotions felt muted in the story but I think that reflects the mental struggle she is dealing with.

After ‘the accident’, Mara and her family move away for a fresh start in the hope this may help her. It’s in her new school, that she meets Noah Shaw. I love Noah. He is mysterious, funny, tough and gorgeous. But not your typical bad boy. The relationship between Noah and Mara grew throughout the story, (no ‘insta-love’ here) which I think felt realistic.

 

‘”Where are you going?”

“My God, you’re like the plague.”

“A masterfully crafted, powerfully understated, and epic parable of timeless moral resonance? Why, thank you. That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me,” he said.

“The disease, Noah. Not the book.”

“I’m ignoring that qualification.”‘

The story is full of plot twists, there is never a dull moment. What I found most refreshing about this story, is there is no ‘clear-cut’ bad guy or enemy. This left me not having the slightest clue where the story was going.

The writing style is fun, easy and quick paced, which I love.

Overall, I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. The plot is mysterious and intriguing. The characters are all unique, well fleshed out and individually written. The romance is sizzling with tension and the ending just left me wanting to read the next book straight away.

I recommend this book to those of you that only enjoy YA but also mystery stories with romance, paranormal and thriller elements weaved in. It’s a great Halloween read.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the first in a trilogy.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer is out now and The Retribution of Mara Dyer is out in early November 2014.

 

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Book Review – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Author – Kiera

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea starts out at an old and run down mansion called Citizen Kane. This is where we meet Violet and her twin brother Luke, who live in the mansion. Their parents are artists and go where ever they feel most inspired, leaving the twins to look after themselves and the mansion. Soon enough they find themselves in desperate need of money, so Violet decides to rent out Citizen’s guest house as a form of income.  This is where we meet River.

River shows up to rent the guest house, and is charming, graceful and sophisticated with his expensive clothes and fancy car. He seems to say and do all the right things, but Violet quickly notices that everything is not as it seems. River is a liar, which probably the only thing he doesn’t lie about. He seems to have a strange influence over everyone, but Violet is drawn to him anyway.

After River’s arrival strange things start to happen in Echo – children with stakes hunting the devil in graveyards, and a crazed man kidnapping children and keeping them in an abandoned tunnel. Violet decides she needs to figure out what is going on, but all the clues leading back to one person. Or do they?

The characters in this book are all very different and each brought something to the story. Violet is a bookworm (we like her automatically ;)) and she doesn’t sugar coat her opinions, which is so refreshing! Luke is a typical pain in the butt brother, but it’s obvious that despite their turbulent relationship, he really loves his sister. River, oh River. He is mysterious, charming, gorgeous and clearly up to no good.

 

‘You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.’

I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. It is dark yet poetic, and very sensory. Each little detail adds up to a lucid mental picture, and fills everything with such atmosphere that is both beautiful and scary. I love the fact that you were kept off balance for most of the story. The way River behaves I should have hated his character, and maybe part of me did, but on the whole I think I fell for him just like Violet did. That is such a difficult thing to achieve as normally characters are there to be loved or hated, not both. It also helped give a building sense of foreboding with each turn of the page. You know something is going on, and you think you’ve got it all figured out but then suddenly you’re not so sure anymore.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is creepy and haunting and will stay with you for a while after you read it. If you’re looking for a Gothic Horror this Halloween then I would recommend this book to you!

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Also, I am in love with this cover!

Book Review – Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Author – Kiera

‘Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen—literally, ouch!—both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom…’

 

Of Poseidon is told from the alternating perspectives of Emma and Galen, the story is so well-written and funny (I laughed out loud, a lot!) you will be instantly absorbed and will lose hours without even realizing. Emma is quick witted, sarcastic, snarky and a strong female lead. I loved her character. She reacted to the discovery of Merpeople with disbelief and apprehension, just how you would expect someone to react! I often find in paranormal books people are so accepting of these situations and they don’t freak out at all, and while a small minority might behave like that, I think most of us would take slightly longer to get our heads round information like that. Galen is gorgeous, funny, kind and all the things you want in a love interest. He acts as the ambassador between humans and the Syrena, getting information to keep his people safe as technology advances and it becomes more likely that humans will find out about them. It is while he is on land doing exactly that that he meets Emma.

 

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The lore of the Syrena is so interesting yet it’s simple and easy to follow. The Syrena are descendants of Triton and Poseidon, and there is quite a lot of mythology that goes along with it. Sometimes the mythology can get a bit tedious or weight the story down, but  I was genuinely interested to learn all about it! Hopefully it will continue it the second book.
All the characters in this book were fun to read about. They were all very different, but fit together well, each bringing something to the story.

The story itself is full of mystery and secrets, none of which I figured out until the last minute. The romance is sweet and I quite liked the tension between the two because they are both so feisty. It didn’t get boring.

This is a amusing, lively and enjoyable read. Perfect to pick up on a rainy day or take on holiday – preferably the beach 😉

Friday Favourites – Book Covers!

Author – Laura

It’s a terrible thing to admit, but I quite often buy a book based entirely on the cover. Sometimes I don’t even read the blurb! It’s like a compulsion. Some people buy pretty jewellery – I buy pretty books. And because I’ve already written about The Night Circus and Good Omens in a previous Friday Favourites post I really had to think about this one!

I thought so long and hard that I came up with a huge list. So I had to narrow it down again, which was difficult as they are all so beautiful.

The Dark Heroine - Abigail Gibbs    Angelfall - Penryn and the End of Days – Susan Ee     The Green Rider – Kristen Britain     The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M Valente    The Supernatural Enhancements – Edgar Cantero

The Dark Heroine series – Abigail Gibbs
These are really inviting – I noticed them straight away in the library. The covers are dark and whimsical – the font is soft and I love the muted colours. The story is pretty good too. It centres around the Prophecy of the Heroines, with each book featuring a new potential female who could be a Heroine.

Angelfall – Penryn and the End of Days – Susan Ee
Probably one of my favourite books – it would have been number 6 on my Top 5 Books post a couple of weeks ago! The cover is just gorgeous, and in the flesh the contrast between the dark and light is even more dramatic. As the title suggests, this book is about angels, but the colours give it a real feeling of darkness – the gold is splattered rather than delicately painted, which could be a reflection of the chaos in Penryn’s world. Or it could have just been a spilled paint pot…

The Green Rider – Kristen Britain
I chose this cover just because I think it’s a beautiful illustration – the artist sells the book with the picture, rather than using jazzy fonts or a weird arrangement of images. The book is the first in a series that follows Karigan G’Ladheon on an unexpected adventure when she decides to help a dying Green Rider. I’m still not sure if Horse is actually the true hero… It’s an exciting read for anyone who likes pure Fantasy.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M Valente
This cover makes me feel like I’d be going on a magical adventure if I read the story. It’s really bold and the main graphic is super stylish – like an old school fairy tale with a modern twist. This is Book 1 of 5 in a series based on a 12 year old girl called September, who escapes her boring life in Nebraska and starts an unforgettable journey through Fairyland.
I’m excited to get my hands on this one; it’s been on my ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads for a while now. I feel a little treat coming on…

The Supernatural Enhancements – Edgar Cantero
How fabulous is this cover? It really reminds me of old horror movies. The clean lines and precise illustrations make it really eye-catching. The tale itself begins like a traditional ghost story, but is told in a series of letters, diary entries, dream journals and interviews, which should make for a quirky and unusual read. I haven’t had the chance to bury myself in this one yet, but I have already bought it, based 100% on the cover. It just so happens that the plot sounds fantastic too!

 

Book Review – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Author – Laura

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As a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s work I was expecting to love this. And it really didn’t disappoint.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane reads like a dark fairytale, but you don’t get that feeling straight away. It starts with a sad but nostalgic trip down memory lane, or in this case the lane that goes past Caraway Farm, through the Hempstock land and down to the duckpond. Or was it the sea? Who can remember…

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.” 

The story centers around our narrator, who discovers a dead man in a car. This gruesome discovery begins a chain of extraordinary, and sometimes terrible, events that pull you in, make you feel safe, then chew up your insides and spit you back out again.

Whatever’s happening,” she said, eventually, “it can all be sorted out.” She saw the expression on my face then, worried. Scared even.
And she said, “After pancakes.”

Its hard to get across how this book made me feel, especially without dropping a clanger of a spoiler 😯. I just loved it. It’s written from a young boy’s perspective but doesn’t feel childish. There is darkness and creepiness – the stuff of your worst childhood nightmares; but with the inclusion of characters like the Hempstocks you are reminded that there is still warmth and hope in the world, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The story is short (232 pages) but any more might have felt like padding. I think this is a beautiful read for a quiet afternoon when you can really give it your full attention. Because it totally deserves it.

5/5 ✴✴✴✴✴

Friday Favourites – Book Covers!

Author – Kiera

We’re back to Friday Favourites! Hopefully you’re as excited as we are 😉

 

So this week I’m doing favourite book covers. Five in total; three I’ve read and two I haven’t. I don’t know about you, but I’m a real sucker for a pretty book cover.  It will make me pick up a book that I may not have considered, having just read the blurb or some information about it online. I’m like a book cover magpie. At the same time, I’m not put off by covers, and will still read a book even if I don’t like the cover.

Anyway, let’s get started!

 

1. Lady of Devices – Magnificent Devices Series by Shelley Adina

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I’ve only read the first book in this series so far, but I really enjoyed it and intend to read the rest! Lady of Devices is a Steampunk novel following the story of Claire Trevelyan. As a young lady in Victorian London Claire is expected to meet a certain set of standards which, quite frankly, aren’t the standards she wants to live her life by. This was a fun and quirky read, and a great introduction into Steampunk if you’re looking for one.

There is just something about these covers. They are even more beautiful in person and the colours are gorgeous.

 

2. Blood Rights – House of Comarré by Kristen Painter

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The first book in this series was one of Yasmin’s picks for book club. I enjoyed it so much I have carried on reading them! Blood Rights is a very different take on Vampires, Shape Shifters, Ghosts and Magic. We follow the main character Chrysabelle, who was born a Comarré, a breed of human born to serve the noble vampires with their rich and powerful blood. With golden symbols across her body that identify her as Comarré, Chrysabelle is now on the run, wanted for murder of her patron. She finds herself in the mortal world, where she meets Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks. Far from ideal, but he’s probably the only vampire who would be willing to help. Everything is not as it appears though when those who are after Chrysabelle are seeking more then her death.  So the pair have to work together, and if they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Look at those covers! Stunning. Every time I look at them I see a new intricate detail I hadn’t noticed before.

 

3. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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This book is about the history of the Roux family. As families go they are particularly unlucky, and that luck doesn’t seem to have changed with the birth of Ava and her twin brother, as Ava is born with wings.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.’

I’ve used a part of the blurb here because I don’t think I could explain it better. Leslye Walton’s writing is the lyrical prose it promises to be giving us an original story and some very memorable characters.

I love the simplicity of this cover, and how effective it is. Even more so when you have read it.

 

4. Deep Blue – Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly

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‘The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.’

 

So this is one that I haven’t read yet. I’m patiently waiting (not really very patiently…) to read it because it is the start of a four part series, and I know once I read it I will want to read the next one, RIGHT NOW.

There is something about the cover that draws me in! The alluring mermaid at the front and the city in flames in the background is such a contrast. Looking forward to diving (oh the puns!) head first into this book!

 

5. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.’

 

Another book I am so looking forward to reading! I think we all need to take a minute and just look at this cover…..

I love it, and not just because it has a tea cup on the front! It is striking, the colours are lovely and I really want the ring she is wearing.

 

So, what book covers are your favourites? Have you ever read a book purely because you were attracted to it by the cover, and if so which ones?