9/28/12

Anna Dressed in Blood

Author: Kendare Blake
Pages: 316
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

 When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.



My Summary: Cas has ghost-hunting in his genes. The son of a Wiccan witch and a ghost-hunter, he took his father's place after his death, travelling the world and vanquishing vengeful ghosts and spirits. Cas loves what he does, and soon he's planning to avenge his father's death by vanquishing the ghost that killed him.

But first Cas is following a lead about a ghost in Thunder Bay: Anna Korlov, nicknamed 'Anna dressed in blood' by the locals. She's killed dozens of people over the years, and Cas is determined to kill her.

That is, if he doesn't fall in love with her first.

My Thoughts: I. Adored. This. Book.

Recently I've been reading a lot of horror (there's something about Fall that makes me reach for books with blood and gore). Ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, demons - bring em on. I'll curl up with them and watch Supernatural and still sleep soundly. Well, usually. This book was different. I was reading until late into the night, determined to learn the secret behind Anna's killer. I loved the group dynamic with the characters, and each individual character brought something to the table.

The romance element was great too. I started off hating Anna, but by the end of the book my heart was breaking for her and Cas. The author did an amazing job creating her characters and weaving an utterly addictive story line.

Final Thoughts: I definitely, definitely, definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good horror novel - especially fellow fans of Supernatural. This was, without a doubt, one of my favourite books of the year.

Follow Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm feeling a bit under the weather, but that means I get more time online today so here I am! 

Question: What is the biggest word you've seen used in a book lately?

I honestly can't remember! I do know it was an e-book, because I stared at the word for a few seconds before pressing the dictionary option and reading the definition. I totally forget what book it was, though. Maybe The Girl in the Clockwork Collar?

Anyways, how about you guys?

9/26/12

The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Pages: 408
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.



My Summary: Blue grew up in a very unconventional household. Raised by her psychic mother and aunts, Blue has no power of her own... but she's always known one thing about her future: she will kill her true love if she kisses him.

And when Blue sees the spirit of a boy from the local private school, she knows things are beginning to change. Blue's never seen a spirit, and according to her aunt, seeing one on St. Mark's day means you either loved the person or killed them.  

But as much as Blue tries to stay away from the Raven Boys, their lives seem to be inexplicably linked. And as the search for an ancient power takes them deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, Blue must decide: is it better to keep the truth from someone you care about? Especially when there's death in their future?

My Thoughts: I picked up a copy of The Raven Boys on its release day, not really knowing what to expect. I've been a fan of Maggie's since Shiver, so I knew the writing would be amazing no matter what. Needless to say I wasted no time, getting started as soon as I made it home from the book store.

I adored every minute of The Raven Boys. I finished it in a little over 5 hours, cursing myself for not waiting a little because the sequel won't be released for another year. I loved every single character - each had their own little quirks and personalities. Blue was an awesome main character, and I can't wait to find out more about her and the boys.

It's going to be a long year waiting for the sequel.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal YA - especially fans of books like Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Maggie's other novels. 

9/22/12

Tilt

Author: Ellen Hopkins
Pages: 604
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the lives of the teens begin to tilt…. Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year—and decides to keep the baby? Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing that his life, too, will be shortened? Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be. Love, in all its forms, has crucial consequences in this standalone novel.



My Summary: The lives of three teens are turned upside-down by love. Shane is openly gay and falling in love with his boyfriend Alex - who happens to be HIV positive. Mikayla is head over heels in love with her boyfriend Dylan, but the intense love between them may not be enough to keep him around when she gets pregnant. And Harley is just beginning her life as a teenager - she's 14, naive, and eager to please. All three will experience the ups and downs of love ... but will they be worse off for it?

What happens when love isn't enough?

My Thoughts: Yet another awesome read from Ellen Hopkins! I swear, one of these days I'm going to pick up every single one of her books from the bookstore and take a week off to read.

I loved Tilt. It wasn't as heavy as Impulse, but it was still on the edgy side of contemporary lit - exactly what I like to read. The situations Hopkins' characters experience are realistic, and their reactions are genuine. My favourite was probably Shane - if there was ever a character I wanted to hug, it's him.

As usual, Hopkins weaves an amazing story through prose. I had no idea Tilt was a companion novel to Triangles (they can be read as stand-alones, don't fret!). I love that the author is able to give both sides of the story, and you can bet I'm going to be reading Triangles soon!

Final Thoughts: I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Ellen Hopkins and contemporary lit. It's a great book for those wanting to sample Hopkins' work - I guarantee you'll be hooked after you finish.

Breed

Author: Chase Novak
Pages: 320
Publisher: Mulholland
Format: Hardcover (ARC)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Alex and Leslie Twisden lead charmed lives-fabulous jobs, a luxurious town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a passionate marriage. What they don’t have is a child, and as they try one infertility treatment after the next, yearning turns into obsession. As a last-ditch attempt to make their dream of parenthood come true, Alex and Leslie travel deep into Slovenia, where they submit to a painful and terrifying procedure that finally gives them what they so fervently desire . . . but with awful consequences.

Ten years later, cosseted and adored but living in a house of secrets, the twins Adam and Alice find themselves locked into their rooms every night, with sounds coming from their parents’ bedroom getting progressively louder, more violent, and more disturbing.

Driven to a desperate search for answers, Adam and Alice set out on a quest to learn the true nature of the man and woman who raised them. Their discovery will upend everything they thought they knew about their parents and will reveal a threat so horrible that it must be escaped, at any cost.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Alex and Leslie's relationship was always strong. They were happily married for years, and even the age difference couldn't make a dent in their blissfully happy lives.

That is, until the couple began wishing for a child. After years of trying with no success, Alex and Leslie begin to look into unorthodox methods, with disastrous results.

Ten years later, the Twisdens have everything they could ever have wanted: a pair of lovely twins, perfect in every way. But something is not quite right in the Twisden house, and the twin fleeing sparks a string of events that will call into question everything - especially how far people are willing to go for a child of their own.

My Thoughts: Wow. Just... wow. I was struck speechless at the end of this novel, unable to put my thoughts into words for quite some time. Going into Breed, I had no idea what to expect. I've always been an avid fan of sci-fi, but this didn't seem like your run-of-the-mill sci-fi novel. Regardless, I dove in head-first.

And I loved every minute of it.

I devoured (ha!) every page, staying up well into the night to squeeze in any extra pages. Novak's style of narration was perfect for this eerie novel, revealing little tidbits of information at the perfect moments. I loved the dark, creepy atmosphere. Actually, I loved the whole book.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys darker, creepier novels. Chase Novak has found a fan in me - I can't wait until his next novel is released. Seriously. I'm expecting nothing short of perfection!

9/15/12

Pushing the Limits


Author: Katie McGarry
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.



My Summary: Echo used to have the perfect life: she was popular, making straight-A's, and had everything going for her. But one month before the end of sophomore year, Echo disappears.

When she returns, Echo's a completely different person. No longer the outgoing, chatty popular girl she used to be, Echo covers up her scars with long sleeves and gloves and spends all her time alone in the library. Abandoned by most of her friends, Echo's forced into tutoring by her guidance counselor. But Noah Hutchins isn't what he seems, and soon she finds herself breaking all the rules she set for herself since her accident. 


My Thoughts: After seeing 100 000 reviews about this novel floating around, I figured it would probably be a good idea to pick it up and figure out what all the hype was about. And I am so glad I did. I've always been a huge fan of contemporary lit, and this one was a little edgier than what's usually available in the YA section. I loved that the author didn't shy away from difficult situations, and that Noah and Echo complimented each other so well.

Final Thoughts
: I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a solid contemporary lit read.   

9/7/12

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar


Author: Kady Cross
Pages: 416
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous. 

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. 

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.



My Summary
: A few days after their friend Jasper is dragged out of Griffin's house by American cops, Finley Jayne and her gang are on their way to New York. Sam, Emily, Griffin, and Finley are determined to rescue their friend and clear his name - no matter how far outside their element they may be.

But upon their arrival, the group discover something shocking: Jasper isn't being held in custody by the police at all. Instead, he's being blackmailed into working for his ex-boss: Dalton, the leader of a notorious gang. And Dalton has Jasper right where he wants him - he's placed a collar on the neck of the woman Jasper loves, and if Jasper doesn't follow orders the collar tightens until it kills her.

It seems as if Finley and her friends can do nothing to help Jasper...

If you can't beat em, join em.

My Thoughts: Another masterpiece by Kady Cross! The moment I saw that it had been returned to the library, I grabbed it off the shelf and sprinted for the check-out line. Go ahead and judge me all you want, but after the end of the last book I couldn't wait to find out what happened to poor ol' Jas.

There was a lot more romance in this installment, but I didn't mind at all. Nope, not me. The Sam and Emily moments made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while Finley... well, let's just take a look at my favourite line, shall we?

"It was a terrible time to realize you were falling in love with someone - when you were kissing another bloke."

I'll just leave that there for those of you who haven't read this book yet to agonize over.

Once again, the author's effortless world-building and pacing were spot-on. This book was another one of the author's that I couldn't stand to put down until I was finished.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a little romance, steampunk, and fantasy with their YA. You'll definitely enjoy it if you're a fan of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series!