Tag Archive: Mystery


October 2014 Book Haul

Bookoutlet strikes again! I did make it a whole month and a half without buying any books, but I’m sure this haul made up for it. I got everything from Bookoutlet except for the last three books which I got at the book fair. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought or if you want to read any of them.

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads, and all pictures link to their respective Goodreads pages.

The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

 

Split Second – Kasie West
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

 

Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

 

The Hiding Place – David J. Bell
Genre – Mystery

Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.

Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years.

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder — who spent more than two decades in prison — really be innocent? Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth.

Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.

 

The Killing Hour – Paul Cleave
Genre – Thriller

“They come for me as I sleep. Their pale faces stare at me, their soft voices tell me to wake, to wake. They come to remind me of the night, to remind me of what I have done.”

Only Charlie doesn’t know what he has done. His shorts are covered in blood, there’s a bump on his forehead and on the news it says the two young women he was with the night before were brutally murdered. Charlie knows Cyris is the murderer – except the police don’t believe Cyris exists. Nor does Jo, Charlie’s ex-wife, to whom he goes for help. He desperately wants her to believe in him, and when she doesn’t, he knows he must force her. As Charlie goes on the run with Jo bound and gagged in the car boot, he tries to figure out whether Cyris is real or imagined, while the killing hour approaches yet again…

As gripping as his first powerful novel, THE CLEANER, this fantastic story keeps you guessing until the last page.

 

Friends with Boys – Faith Erin Hicks
Genre – Graphic Novel/Young Adult

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.

Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.

 

Don’t Turn Around – Michelle Gagnon
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

In Michelle Gagnon’s debut YA thriller, Don’t Turn Around, computer hacker Noa Torson is as smart, tough, and complex as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

The first in a trilogy, Don’t Turn Around’s intricate plot and heart-pounding action will leave readers desperate for book two.

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her hacking skills to stay anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in a warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life in no uncertain terms. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

 

Not a Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

 

The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

In this first book, readers are introduced to the unfortunate Baudelaire children — 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and their infant sister, Sunny — when they learn they’ve just been orphaned by a terrible house fire.

The executor of the Baudelaire estate — a phlegm-plagued banker named Mr. Poe – sends the children to live with a distant relative: a conniving and dastardly villain named Count Olaf, who has designs on the Baudelaire fortune. Count Olaf uses the children as slave labor, provides horrid accommodations for them, and makes them cook huge meals for him and his acting troupe, a bunch of odd-looking, renegade good-for-nothings. When the children are commandeered to appear in Count Olaf’s new play, they grow suspicious and soon learn that the play is not the innocent performance it seems but rather a scheme cooked up by Olaf to help him gain control of the children’s millions.

All this bad luck does provide for both great fun and great learning opportunities, however. Violet is a budding McGyver whose inventions help the children in their quest, Klaus possesses a great deal of book smarts, and Sunny — whose only real ability is an incredibly strong bite — provides moral support and frequent comedy relief. Then there are the many amusing word definitions, colloquialisms, clichés, hackneyed phrases, and other snippets of language provided by the narrator (a character in his own right) that can’t help but expand readers’ vocabularies. Though the Baudelaire children suffer myriad hardships and setbacks, in the end they do manage to outsmart and expose Olaf’s devious ways. But of course, with luck like theirs, it’s a given that Olaf will escape and return to torment them again some day. If only misery was always this much fun.

 

Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta
Genre – Young Adult/Contemporary

A compelling story of romance, family, and friendship with humor and heart, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Lauren Myracle.

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

 

Wildwood Dancing – Juliet Marillier
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom—an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine—tests of trust, strength, and true love.

 

The Accidental Mother – Rowan Coleman
Genre – Fiction/Chick Lit.

Sophie and Carrie were childhood best friends, but in the last few years they’ve lost touch. While Carrie chose motherhood in a small town, Sophie is powering up the London career track. She’s a corporate manager poised for her next promotion. Sure, she doesn’t have much time for men, but she has a great shoe collection and a cat who’s never going to let her down.

And then Sophie is told that Carrie has died, with nobody left to care for her two daughters, Bella and Izzy, aged six and three. Their father, who left before Carrie’s death, is nowhere to be found; their grandmother is moving into assisted living. Sophie once promised Carrie she would take care of her children if the worst ever happened…and now that day has come.

Witty, wise, and filled with genuinely powerful emotion, The Accidental Mother is the heartwarming, heartbreaking story of a woman who is woefully under-equipped to be suddenly thrown into motherhood, but who through the eyes of two little girls learns more about loss, commitment, and true love than she had ever realized existed.

 

Danse Macabre – Stephen King
Genre – Horror/Non-Fiction

Stephen King explores the phenomenon of horror in a century of film, television, radio, and literature. Who better than King to investigate what terrifies his fans?

“One of the best books on American popular culture in the late 20th century.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

 

 

 

Pretties – Scott Westerfeld
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

 

Vampires: Back in Time to the First Darkness – The Original Stories – Watkins Publishing
Genre – Paranormal/Short Stories

Here come the creatures of the night, in eight timeless tales of horror that have terrified generations and inspired the recent flowering of vampire literature. Discover classics of the genre, such as John Polidori’s The Vampyre (written by Lord Byron’s physician) and Carmilla, the novella that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula and provoked a scandal with its lesbian undercurrent. This fascinating collection also features Johann Ludwig Tieck, Sheridan LeFanu, Guy de Maupssant, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and his beloved detective, Sherlock Holmes), E.F. Benson, and Stoker himself, with “Dracula’s Guest”–believed to be the original first chapter of his novel, excised by the publisher.

 

Dragon’s Keep – Janet Lee Carey
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Far away on Wilde Island, Princess Rosalind is born with a dragon claw where her ring finger should be. To hide this secret, the queen forces her to wear gloves at all times until a cure can be found, and Rosalind can fulfill the prophecy that will restore her family to its rightful throne. But Rosalind’s flaw cannot be separated from her fate. When she is carried off by the dragon, everything she thought she knew falls apart. . . .

 

 

Montmorency’s Revenge – Eleanor Updale
Genre – Young Adult/Historical Fiction

A dark tale of vengeance and madness takes Montmorency on his next crusade….

As Queen Victoria lies dying, Montmorency and his friends are already in mourning, and determined to track down the killers who have wrecked their lives. It’s personal obsession, but Montmorency has public duties too, and when the two collide, he must decide which comes first.
Can he stop Doctor Farcett’s slide into insanity? And how can he teach a new generation to forgive when the lust for revenge is eating away at his own soul?

The fourth Montmorency adventure takes him on a race across the globe with a mission of revenge for the death of his dearest friend Lord George Fox Selwyn.

 

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses – Ron Koertge
Genre – Young Adult/Poetry

Yes it’s blue and Yes it tickles and Yes
he’s had a lot of wives
and nobody knows what happened to them

but he’s fun at the party and omigod
that castle!

Once upon a time, a strung-out match girl sold CDs to stoners. Twelve impetuous sisters escaped Daddy’s clutches to jiggle and cavort and wear out their shoes. Bluebeard’s latest wife discovered she’d married a serial killer. And Little Red Riding Hood confessed that she kind of wanted to know what it’s like to be swallowed whole.

You see, Ron Koertge knows what really happened to all those wolves and maidens, ogres and orphans, kings and piglets of fairy tales, and he knows about the Ever After. So come closer–he wants to whisper in your ear.

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is books that are character driven. These are books that rely heavily on the characters to tell the story. Everyone’s interpretation of that may be different. These books are ones I felt best fit that description. They’re listed in no particular order. If you’ve done this Top Ten Tuesday, feel free to link your post in the comments, so I can check it out. 🙂

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – This book really stands out because of the characters. Each of them are essential, and I mean what’s not to love about anti-heroes and superpowers. Vicious is a new favorite of mine, and I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to read it.

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks – While the story is high fantasy, it’s driven by the characters. There are so many of them, but they each stand out. The characters and how they interact are some of the most memorable parts. The plot is great but watching the characters grow and develop is what really makes the story compelling.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This is one book where the characters make it or break it for some readers. They’re realistic in the sense that they’re all flawed in their own way. The choices they make and how they handle themselves are the main focus of the novel.

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel – Told mostly through testimonies of the villagers, The Murder Farm relies entirely on it’s characters to tell the story. All the voices are unique and new characters are constantly introduced to propel the plot. Full Review

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt – The story is told through first-person, but Nell (the protagonist) speaks directly to the reader as if she is talking to her sister Layla. The relationship between the sisters is what drives the story and draws the reader in. Full Review

Overnight by Adele Griffin – A group of friends have a sleepover and one of them disappears. Everything that follows gets told through the alternating perspectives of several of the girls. Each of them are unique even if a bit cliche at times, but it’s how they each deal with the situation and how they react that tells the story.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – The main character in this story deals with very serious issues, and it does get emotional. The focus of the story is on Conor and how he deals with everything happening in his life. He’s relatable in the sense that you can understand what he is going through and the emotions he’s feeling. Full Review

Black Box by Julie Schumacher – This story deals with a family struggling to help a member who is suffering from severe depression. The family has to learn how to understand what Dora is thinking and feeling, and at times, they find it very difficult. What makes this story stand out is that instead of the main character being the one who is suffering, it’s her sister. This allows the reader to see a side of the situation that isn’t usually shown. Full Review

Easy by Tammara Webber – A cute story about a girl and boy who fall in love while in college. They each have their own past to deal with before they can officially move on. The characters are believable, and they deal with some major issues over the course of the novel.

Shayla’s Double Brown Baby Blues by Lori Aurelia Williams – While there are a lot of sub-plots, all of them are character driven and focus on a certain aspect of each of the characters’ lives. Some of them are relatable, though others are not. They are all well-developed and make the story more believable. Full Review

October TBR

I normally don’t pick books for a full month because I know I change my mind so frequently, but for October I want to have a theme for the entire month. Of course that theme will be horror, and I’m going to have some thrillers and mysteries as well. I’m hoping this will get me out of the reading slump I’ve been in for almost the entire month of September. It’s been awful.

I started off the month strong, but sadly, I wasn’t able to finish Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I wanted to like the book, but I decided to DNF it at 32%. It actually ended up putting me in the reading slump, and I haven’t been able to finish Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, even though I’m really enjoying it. I’ll have it read before the end of September though. I did end up reading Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol and The Surprise Party by R. L. Stine, and I really liked them. They would be a good additions to an October TBR, especially if you want something scary but not too scary.

I’m hoping this theme will help me get out of my reading slump. My TBR could change, depending on how I feel about the books. I mean I might get so scared, I have to sit in a corner and read a happy unicorn book. I’m a pretty big chicken when it comes to horror movies, so let’s see how I do with some horror books. I’ve been wanting to read these books for a while though, so I figure this is a perfect time to do it. Let me know what you’re going to read for October. Anything scary?

*Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

The Shining – Stephen King
Genre – Horror/Thriller

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

 

It – Stephen King
Genre – Horror/Thriller

The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.

 

 

Intensity – Dean Koontz
Genre – Suspense/Thriller

Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse or limits, to live with “intensity.” Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.

Chyna is a survivor, toughened by a lifelong struggle for safety and self-respect. Now she will be tested as never before. At first her sole aim is to get out alive–until, by chance, she learns the identity of Vess’s next intended victim, a faraway innocent only she can save. Driven by a newly discovered thirst for meaning beyond mere self-preservation, Chyna musters every inner resource she has to save an endangered girl…as moment by moment, the terrifying threat of Edgler Foreman Vess intensifies.

 

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
Genre – Horror

There’s a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who’s trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he’s willing to put a brave face on – if it will help him escape.

 

 

 

 

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone – Stefan Kiesbye
Genre – Horror/Short Stories

The village of Hemmersmoor is a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition: There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age—in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village’s darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, evocative of Stephen King’s classic short story “Children of the Corn” and infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm.

 

Spirits of the Noh – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Kara Foster is finally starting to fit in at her boarding school in Japan-after all, nothing bonds you with your classmates like having an ancient demon put a curse on you. Hoping life can go back to normal now that the monster has been laid to rest, Kara joins her friends Sakura and Miho in putting on a play for the Noh drama club. It’s the story of the Hannya, a snake demon who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman. When a few members of the Noh club go missing, Kara fears that the real Hannya has been awakened by the curse. Then Miho is abducted, and Kara must find her before the Hannya exacts her terrible revenge. But the demon is wily and may be hidden in the last place anyone would think to look.

 

The Night She Disappeared – April Henry
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

The Murder Farm Review

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Goodreads Synopsis:

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Murder Farm (also known as Tannöd) by Andrea Maria Schenkel has such an interesting way of telling a story. Various villagers recall to the narrator the events leading up to the family’s murder. While the villagers never find out what happened to the Danners, the reader is able to see who murdered the family and the motivation behind the act.

I’ve never read a book that told the story this way, but it works well. Having the story told through so many perspectives creates a different experience for this mystery. With most of the characters only receiving one chapter, it makes the reading go quickly. You don’t have to worry about any dull spots because you know the next chapter will be with another character. Unfortunately that also means that if you like a character, you know your time with them is limited.

However, I really like that every character is unique and seems like a real person. Each one has a distinct voice which sets them apart from everyone else. Each of the characters interact with the family in different ways and due to that you get to see how the family is viewed by the town and learn a little more about them. During the third-person passages, the reader sees the family and how they live prior to their deaths. Unfortunately, since you don’t get to spend much time with them, you don’t get very attached. It’s not as powerful as it could be when they die. If those passages had been longer or more frequent, I really think the story would have benefited significantly from it.

While I like short novels, this book seems a bit too short. It’s easy to fly through the chapters because they are only a few pages long, but the story doesn’t benefit from it. There is plenty of room for more detail, and I would have liked to have more time with each character and especially the family. The characters could have been more complex if the chapters were a bit longer. At the end when you find out who the murderer is, it seems rather crammed in. There’s too much going on and not enough pages to give it the detail that it deserves.

The Murder Farm is unique and enjoyable. It’s a mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the page. While we don’t get to know the characters that well, I feel they all have distinct voices and are interesting enough to keep the story going. The story is told in a very uncommon way, but it works for the plot. If you’re looking for a short mystery, you should definitely give this book a chance.

My Rating: ★★★½

I bought all of these at the end of August, but since the haul is going up on September 1st, I’m just going to consider it a September haul. I got most of these books at my local book fair, but I did end up getting one bargain book at Books-A-Million because they were having a sale. Chad and I bought most of the movies from one of our local pawn shops. I’m all about bargains and sales. It’s a bit of an obsession, but I love getting cheap books and movies. Anyway, here are the books and movies:

*All descriptions for books taken from Goodreads and all descriptions for movies taken from IMDb.

Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

 

Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

 

The Book of Spells – Kate Brian
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

The year is 1915 when sixteen-year-old Eliza Williams arrives at the Billings School for Girls in Easton, Connecticut. Her parents expect her to learn the qualities of a graceful, dutiful wife. But Eliza and her housemates have a dangerous secret: They’re witches. After finding a dusty, leather bound spell book, the Billings Girls form a secret coven. Bonded in sisterhood, they cast spells–cursing their headmistress with laryngitis, brewing potions to bolster their courage before dances, and conjuring beautiful dresses out of old rags. The girls taste freedom and power for the first time, but what starts out as innocent fun turns sinister when one of the spells has an unexpected-and deadly-consequence. Magic could bring Eliza everything she’s ever wanted…but it could also destroy everything she holds dear.

 

Red Glove – Holly Black
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life.

That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.

Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….

 

Minders – Michele Jaffe
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

A high concept, cinematic read with a surprising twist, MINDERS asks the question: who is really watching whom?

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?

Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She’s been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?

Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?

Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford’s life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.

 

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

 

21 Jump Street
Rating – R

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Michael Bacall (screenplay), Michael Bacall (story)

Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

 

 

Killers
Rating – PG-13

A vacationing woman meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple.

Director: Robert Luketic

Writers: Bob DeRosa (screenplay), Ted Griffin (screenplay)

Stars: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck

 

 

Resident Evil: Degeneration
Rating – R

A warrior seeking revenge unleashes a deadly virus in Harvardville. Responding to the threat are former special forces members Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, who look to bring down a mutated monster before history repeats itself.

Director: Makoto Kamiya

Writer: Shotaro Suga (screenplay)

Stars: Paul Mercier, Alyson Court, Laura Bailey

 

The Great Gatsby
Rating – PG-13

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Writers: Baz Luhrmann (screenplay), Craig Pearce (screenplay)

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton

 

 

 

The Fever Review

Genre: Young Adult

*I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The Fever by Megan Abbott is a mystery novel about an unknown illness that strikes a community. Young girls are getting sick and no one is sure what is causing the sickness in these teens or why it only seems to be affecting girls.

The story is told through three points of view of the Nash family: Tom (father), Eli (son), and Deenie (daughter). Everything in the community seems fine until Deenie’s best friend has a seizure in class. Since the cause of the seizure is unexplained, rumors begin to spread about a dangerous outbreak that is spreading through the school and community. As people begin to panic, secrets are revealed that finally give answers to this mysterious illness.

While the synopsis for this story sounded really intriguing and made me want to know what caused this outbreak, I found myself very disappointed with The Fever. The characters were boring, and they did and thought some annoying/odd things. Deenie is incredibly impulsive. When she is told repeatedly not to see her friend in the hospital, she, of course, must find a way into the hospital. I understand worrying about a friend, but Deenie is constantly trying to see her friend, even after Deenie sees her once. Tom and Eli are sometimes unintentionally creepy with the way they think about Deenie and her friends. Tom will think about Deenie’s friend in a bathing suit and blush or Eli will be worried about how sexual Deenie is becoming. It wasn’t meant to be disturbing, but it came across that way.

There seemed to be more teen drama than there was a mystery aspect. It was mostly teens talking about others and spreading rumors than finding out why the girls were getting sick. It seemed that all of the action happened during the beginning with Deenie’s friend having the seizure and the rumors spreading about an illness only affecting teen girls. The middle of the book was boring and seemed to drag while leading you on a wild goose chase. However, I didn’t mind the red herrings throughout the story. I thought they were pretty good distractions, but once the actual cause of the outbreak was revealed, it made me want at least one of the red herrings to be true instead.

*Spoilers*

I really wanted the lake to be the cause of the outbreak. I was hoping for aliens or some kind of disease from the algae or water, but of course, it had to be some boy obsessed teen poisoning her friend. Some friend. Even the HPV vaccine would have been an interesting cause for the illness. I mean that would have scared me enough. The idea that a vaccine could be the reason for girls having seizure, throwing up, and becoming unconscious is pretty terrifying to me.

Also, why are people swimming in that lake? From the description, it sounded absolutely horrible and gross. Don’t swim in a slimy lake, people!

*End Spoilers*

The ending was unsatisfying. While it was unexpected, it almost seemed as though it came from nowhere. I just kept reading, thinking it was some sort of joke, but it wasn’t. I felt there could have been some great commentary on health or vaccines or something. There isn’t much closure for the characters or the reader. After the community finds out what made the girls sick, the reason just disappears, and everyone goes about their day. It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for or expecting.

The Fever wasn’t a great mystery. Even though the red herrings were plausible and made sense, the true reason for the outbreak seemed silly. The characters were dull and at times had some inappropriate thoughts about other characters. Overall, it was an okay book, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

My Rating: ★★

The TBR posts are back! After my long break and the read-a-thons, I thought I would go ahead and share what I’ll be reading next. I did finish reading The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, and I enjoyed it. I’ll have a short review of it on my August Wrap-Up. I’m still reading The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma. Since it’s 609 pages, I won’t pressure myself to read it in a week. I’ll read it throughout the week when I have time. Here are the two books I will definitely try to finish during this week.

Dreams of the Dead – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

 

The Murder Farm – Andrea Maria Schenkel (Also known as Tannöd)
Genre – Mystery

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

 

*Descriptions taken from Goodreads.

I’m in the mood for some horror and mystery books. Dreams of the Dead sounds really interesting, and I don’t think I’ve read any books set in Japan. I’m excited to find out what happened to the girl and what is happening to all of the students. I’m hoping it’s an entertaining and scary read. I requested The Murder Farm off of Netgalley and was approved, so I thought this would be a good time to read it. I like the idea that the story is told through testaments and third-person narrative pieces because I haven’t read any mysteries told this way. It sounds like a great mystery.

Let me know what you’re currently reading or what you just finished reading.

August 2014 Book Haul

I will probably have to take a break from buying books. I seem to have run out of room on my shelves. Of course, I could get another bookshelf . . . no, no, I will behave and not buy any books. For now. Let me know if you have read any of these books and what you thought or if you want to read any of them.

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente
Genre – Young Adult/Middle Grade/Fantasy

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

 

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M. Valente
Genre – Young Adult/Middle Grade/Fantasy

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

 

Dreams of the Dead – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Kara’s afraid to go to sleep—until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . .

Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?

 

Spirits of the Noh – Thomas Randall
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

Kara Foster is finally starting to fit in at her boarding school in Japan-after all, nothing bonds you with your classmates like having an ancient demon put a curse on you. Hoping life can go back to normal now that the monster has been laid to rest, Kara joins her friends Sakura and Miho in putting on a play for the Noh drama club. It’s the story of the Hannya, a snake demon who inhabits the body of a beautiful woman. When a few members of the Noh club go missing, Kara fears that the real Hannya has been awakened by the curse. Then Miho is abducted, and Kara must find her before the Hannya exacts her terrible revenge. But the demon is wily and may be hidden in the last place anyone would think to look.

 

Path of Fate – Diana Pharaoh Francis
Genre – Fantasy

In the land of Kodu Riik, it is an honor to be selected by the Lady to become an ahalad-kaaslane-to have your soul bonded with one of Her blessed animals, and roam the land serving Her will. But Riesil refuses to bow to fate-a decision that may have repercussions across the realm…

 

 

 

 

The Shining – Stephen King
Genre – Horror

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…

 

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
Genre – Horror/Science Fiction

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

How long can one man survive like this?

 

 

Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
Genre – Mystery/Thriller

The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new ­partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple-murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades—with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is remotely what it seems.

 

The East End Murders: A Family Affair / End of the Line – Anne Cassidy
Genre – Mystery

A bind up of two stories: The body of a young kidnap victim is found lying soaked in petrol in a derelict London house. And Patsy Kelly can’t help feeling it’s partly her fault: and the police have just caught the Railway Killer when his last victim is found. Five girls all strangled.

 

 

 

 

Breathe – Sarah Crossan
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

 

Breed – Chase Novak
Genre – Horror

Alex and Leslie Twisden told each other they would do anything to have children. The price didn’t matter. But the experimental procedure they found had costs they couldn’t foresee.

Adam and Alice Twisden’s lives seem perfectly normal. Except that, every night, without fail, their parents lock them into their rooms.

And the twins know that the sounds they can hear are not just their imagination. They’re real. And they’re getting louder…

From a new name in horror, Breed is a stunning thriller in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby, brilliantly written, daring, and unforgettable.

 

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone – Stefan Kiesbye
Genre – Horror/Short Stories

The village of Hemmersmoor is a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition: There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age—in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village’s darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, evocative of Stephen King’s classic short story “Children of the Corn” and infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm.

 

The Night She Disappeared – April Henry
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night. Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is.

July 2014 Book Haul

Finally, I’m slowly getting back on track with my posts. I’m still working on the monthly wrap-ups, but I should have them all up next month if I’m lucky and don’t procrastinate. I’ll have some reviews up too. Probably after the Under-Hyped Readathon when I don’t have to focus on reading as much. Plus, I have a book giveaway that I’m planning to do. So much to do, so little time. I’ll keep you updated as I go. So while we all wait for me to get my stuff in order, here is a book haul to ease me back into the motions of blogging.

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. . . .  Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life–she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad . . . and it’s about to rip her new life apart. A gripping and emotionally searing novel by accomplished British author Anne Cassidy, Looking for JJ infuses a terrifying subject with humanity and hope.

 

Black City – Elizabeth Richards
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 

Charm & Strange – Stephanie Kuehn
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

 

Into the Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes
Genre – Thriller

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . . .

 

Wereling – Steve Feasey
Genre – Young Adult/Fantasy

Fourteen-year-old Trey Laporte is not a kid anymore. Not after the day he wakes up in agony—retina-splitting, vomit-inducing agony. His clothes are torn. His room is trashed.

Enter Lucien Charron, the mysterious, long-lost “uncle” with freakish fire-flecked eyes and skin that blisters in the sun. Suddenly, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse at the heart of a strange and sinister empire built on the powers of the Netherworld—vampires, demons, sorcerers, and djinn.

And there is a girl—Alexa Charron—who is half vampire, half human, and insanely pretty, with powers all of her own. Trey is falling for her.

Trey is training night and day to control the newly discovered power lurking inside him. Now, demons are closing in on every side, and the most psychopathic bloodsucker to rock the Netherworld wants to destroy him. Above all, he must face one terrifying question:

Is he a boy . . . or is he a beast?

What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

 

Dangerous Girls – Abigail Haas
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…

 

The End Games – T. Michael Martin
Genre – Young Adult/Horror

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

 

Wolves – Shaun Ellis
Genre – Non-Fiction/Animals

This book offers a tantalizing glimpse into the private life of the wolf, a symbol of the spirit of wildness that is now in such short supply in our modern world.

More than 200 stunning and inspirational photographs of wolves, coupled with detailed observations of their behavior, dispel many of the myths that surround these powerful animals and form an impression of the true nature of the wolf.

Written and illustrated by two wolf experts who have spent hours tracking and watching wolves, Wolves portrays the complexities and wonders of wolf society and inspires a deep respect for an animal that has long held a fascination for humans.

All the Truth That’s in Me – Julie Berry
Genre – Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

 

Room – Emma Donoghue
Genre – Contemporary

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Choker Review

Genre: Young Adult

Choker by Elizabeth Woods is a mystery novel that revolves around a sixteen-year-old girl named Cara. Since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago, Cara has been a loner. She’s ignored by her classmates, and when she’s not ignored, she’s picked on by the popular kids. One day, when Cara comes home from school, she finds Zoe waiting in her room. As the story progresses, the reader learns how far one friend is willing to go for the other.

Even though Cara sits with the other girls on the track team, she doesn’t consider them true friends, and to make the situation even worse she is known as “Choker” because of an incident in the cafeteria. When Zoe comes back into Cara’s life, Cara is thrilled. She learns that Zoe ran away from problems at home, and Zoe wants to hide out with Cara for a while. Cara agrees and enjoys having her best friend back in her life. It seems Cara’s life has changed for the better, but it starts to collapse when a girl in town goes missing. Matters only get worse when Zoe begins to act strangely. Cara begins to wonder what Zoe does all day long while Cara is at school, and Cara starts to question who her friend has become.

Choker is a quick read and an interesting mystery. While there is a large focus on the mysterious aspect of the novel, there is more to the story to keep the reader engaged. There is a lot of focus on the relationship between Cara and Zoe. The characterization is well-done because the characters had very distinct personalities, and it’s easy to see why the two were friends. Zoe is the bold and outgoing one while Cara is more reserved and introverted. Since they were little, Cara has always been the follower while Zoe has been the leader. I enjoyed seeing the interaction between the two friends, and it does seem plausible. The character development is a bit intriguing when it comes to Cara. Even if there isn’t a great deal of development, the ending explains exactly why Cara didn’t particularly evolve in this story. 

While there is some great characterization and character development, the story can be predictable, and it’s easy to tell where it’s headed most of the time. Once the girl goes missing in town, it’s clear who did it and why. Although the twists and turns are expected, the ending will shock a lot of readers. The conclusion is a pretty big surprise, and it’s fun to go back through the story to find the clues that led up to the final confrontation. I have to say that I loved the ending. I did know what would be happening towards the end, but that’s mostly because I’ve seen a lot of mystery/thriller movies, shows, and books with this ending, and I enjoy it each time. It’s fun to see how each director and author will handle it. I feel that Woods handled this ending well.

The story is a fun read and will keep the reader entertained. There may be quite a few predictable plot points, but there are entertaining characters that keep the book interesting. I would recommend this novel to anyone wanting a fast and enjoyable story.

My Rating: ★★★★