For some reason I thought this had been likened to The Ring (originally Ringu in Japanese), and seeing as I would watch that movie over and over again around the age of 7 (my dad wasn't great with "appropriate") the fact that someone had finally written a YA book compared to it, I was ecstatic. Having re-read the blurb I now realize it was actually pitched as Dexter meets The Grudge (both of which I have seen, although I've only seen the [lame] American version of the latter) and while this is not a false description I personally would have pitched it as including The Ring. Based on the description I think I was expecting something different than what I ended up reading, and while I am slightly saddened by this fact the actual book was still a very enjoyable read. The integration of Japanese culture was fantastic and while this book was mainly about a ghost and a boy possessed by a ghost there were some pieces of it that spoke to something much deeper than that. The writing style of this book was one that in all honesty I don't think I've seen before. It was poetic and compelling, but it was also unlike any other book I have read and there is no doubt in my mind that while some people (like myself) will enjoy the style, there will be others who will not be able to stand it. The closest thing I can compare it to is perhaps the style of writing seen in Taherah Mafi's Shatter Me, but it is by no means exactly like that. The other unusual thing about this novel, which may or may not draw people to it, was the lack of a romantic subplot. That's not to say there was no love in the book, because there was, but it was mostly the love between a family and how the connection between them means that they will do anything for each other. Overall I was very pleased with this novel, and while there were some things I wish had been slightly different I was thrilled with the ending and how everything played out. Fans of the The Ring will enjoy the bits and pieces that are similar to the story-line and there is no lack of blood and terror. I loved seeing Japanese horror find its way into the YA world and I hope to read more from Chupeco in the future for she is an author to watch.
4/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.
With the movie coming out this book seems to be thrust into the spotlight more and more recently, so after having seen the trailer and met the author I decided to actually read the book in preparation for the September 19th movie release. Surprisingly in the five years that this book has been out and the three years the series has been finished I don't think I've come across any major spoilers for the series, unlike say, for The Hunger Games. While the underlying plot, a teenager in a dystopian world who becomes the catalyst for change, isn't overly original the surface plot, boys trapped in a maze full of monsters that changes every night, is wholly original. One thing that stuck me as odd was that while reading most books it takes me only a minute or so to read each page, while in this one it felt like it took me at least twice as long. I'm not sure why this is, I suppose it might be because I was attempting to solve the mystery in the book before the characters did (and if you're wondering I did not), and while it wasn't unpleasant it was slightly frustrating in the sense that it seemed to take me longer than I thought it would to read the book. Overall I was pretty happy with how the book played out, and while there were a few things I was expecting to happen because of the trailer (don't kill me for saying that) I feel like everything that Dashner did in this novel worked well. The biggest complaints I've seen for this book in particular is the lack of character development and the excessive use of slang swearwords. For me I didn't have a problem with either of those things because the book itself takes place over less than a month (and really, how much do YOU change in a month, especially if you're in a crazy high-stress environment 24-7), and if you're in said environment and are a teenage (actually any age) you would probably swear a lot, so the fact that Dashner managed to incorporate swearing into his novel without actually swearing was pretty impressive in my mind. Now that I've read the book I'm even more excited to see the movie, which I hope to do opening weekend before school starts, and now I really wish I could jump into book two instead of having to read other books that need to be reviewed before they come out. Dystopian fans are sure you enjoy this novel and as an added bonus it's a great book for males to read. Action reigns supreme and romance definitely falls to the way side, although I can see where it might come into play later on.
With a book like this there are bound to be people who won't be able to read it because of the subject matter, or who won't connect with the characters because of parts of their personalities that they don't feel are real or correct, but if you know someone with anxiety or are suffering from it yourself I think that this is a book that you should read. Wilson perfectly captures the thoughts and actions of a person dealing with an anxiety disorder. Caddie, the main character, was infuriating at times, and while most of the time I would find this something that's hard to get past in this case it wasn't because it fit the disorder so perfectly. Honestly I'm amazed at how long she managed to keep things "under control". Granted, it did appear as though no one around her really knew anything about what was happening to her, which was more maddening than Caddie herself, but it emulated real life so perfectly that despite being so angry about it I couldn't fault the author for writing it that way because so much of the world is like that. The one thing I did love was that when her friends learned the truth they didn't push her away or call her weird, they accepted her as she was and tried to do everything they could to help her. In terms of the plot I have to admit that I'm not a theater geek at all and I abhor Shakespeare, but Wilson crafted a character and a story that kept me intrigued despite those things. It's also great that while it was a huge part of the plot Caddie's anxiety disorder wasn't the entire thing, which is really important because while it shows that the disorder can be a large part of their life it's not everything. Were there little bits and pieces that I might have changed if it were me writing the story? Yes. But overall I honestly think that this was an amazing first novel and something that everyone should read, especially those mentioned above, and I can't wait to see what Wilson comes up with next.
Out September 2, 2014
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Harper Teen for providing me with an ARC in return for an honest review.
Summer is coming to an end, so to celebrate (I really don't like the heat) I've decided a giveaway is in order. In a little under a month I'll be going to two signings in two days and both have some pretty big names is YA attending, so it only seems fair that I share it with you. Unfortunately I'm a broke collage student so I only have the money for one extra book, which means you will have to decide carefully as to which one you would like to win. What books can you win though? I'm glad you asked.
Below are all of the books you can choose from, and below that is the rafflecopter form to enter. Make sure to read the rules at the bottom of the post!
One (1) winner will win their choice of one (1) book from the selection above to be signed and personalized by the author.
Entries from all countries are welcome but please know that if you live in another country (outside of Canada) it might take some time for me to send your prize out because of extremely high postal rates. Please make sure that any name you want in the personalization has been checked and double checked. I will be picking the winners right before I head to the first signing so it's important that you get the name right seeing as I'm not responsible for any mistakes you make. Once I get home from the event (or the following day) I will email the winners and ask for a confirmation of address. The address you provided is for the off chance you don't respond, so PLEASE fill it out and DOUBLE CHECK before you submit it! I promise not to use the information for anything else and once the contest is over it will never be looked at again.
If I get a large number of entries I may chose to pick two winners!
To be completely honest the main reason I picked up this book it was because of the word "flesh-eater" in the description. Pretty much any book/movie/tv show with cannibals is something that I will be spending time reading/watching, so those words, they made this book a must read for me. That being said the plot of this novel was fresh and unlike anything I had read before. The idea of an RPG where the characters were actually live people being unknowingly forced to play a game in a wasteland that is life-or-death is something that I had never heard before, and if you think about it it's actually kind of horrific. What if the avatars that we created to play those horrible video games were actually self-aware? While this makes an excellent idea for a novel I'm not entirely sure how the world in the book came to be so messed up that this was actually allowed to happen, so while other dystopian novels have causes for their societies that make perfect sense this one was a little shaky, but not so much that I didn't believe it could NEVER happen. The main character reminded me a lot of the famous dystopian heroines, Katniss and Tris being the two big ones, in the sense that they were forced to do things that were horrible to survive, and they ended up involved in something that was much bigger than themselves, but this main character had the added problem of not remembering anything before she wound up as a character in the game. She was strong and determined, but also had a conscience, which is something seen often in literature, but it's a good thing to see and personally I don't mind seeing it over and over again. Overall this was an interesting novel that was slightly predictable in the sense that I guessed the big secrets before they were revealed and if you put too much thought into it might end up having some plot holes, but was a fun read. Gamers especially will enjoy this book, and it might even make you pause the next time you pick up your controller. Or it will make you wish for the game-play in it. I know that I've already recommended this to both of my best friends, and despite not being a hard-core gamer myself I will probably end up taking a look at the sequel.
Out August 26, 2014
4/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
For the past hour I've been staring at my computer screen going over this book again and again in my head trying to decide what to say about it and I've come up with nothing. Actually that's not true, I've come up with so much but none of it seems to fit together in a way that I think would create a coherent review so, because to stay on schedule with my reading I have to read 60 more pages of a completely different book, I've decided to just write what I have down regardless of how much sense it makes and call it my review.
This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more so while I wanted to consume it entirely in one sitting I also didn't want to read any of it because once I started it was the beginning of the end. In all honesty I wasn't sure about Josh as a love interest because his character in Anna was one that, while enjoyable, didn't overly appeal to me, but somehow Perkins worked her magic, like she always does, and I am in love with him like I am in love with all of her boys. I didn't even realize until I started it but I was slightly worried that this book would just be a repeat of either Anna or Lola, but that wasn't the case. There were moments when the plot had similarities between other YA contemp novels out there, but Perkins was, like always, able to create a story that was uniquely her own. Again we got to go back to Paris, to where the whole thing started, and just like the first time Paris itself was almost a main character in the book. The other characters were so whole. Sometimes Isla drove me mad but the more I read the more I saw myself in her. She also included a character that was on the autism spectrum, and while he was neither the love interest nor the main character to me this is just SO important and I love that she did it. And the reappearance of the main characters from both Anna and Lola pushed this book from amazing to AMAZING. The one little thing I wish would have been different was that while all of the main characters got their happy endings we see a side character form one of the previous books that I think also should have gotten one but, to my knowledge, didn't. Although the fact that there's one story left open-ended in this world gives me hope that maybe one day Perkins will come back to it and write that character the ending that I think they deserve, and in the mean time I'm happy to read anything else that Perkins writes because in my mind she can do no wrong.
Last year I participated in a blog tour for a little-known book called Dangerous Girls and I found that I really enjoyed it, so when I heard the author had another book coming out I knew I had to read it. With the end of Dangerous Girls being like a punch to the gut I was expecting something along those lines for this book too, but while I was pleased with it I did guess how things were going to play out very early on (although that could very well be because of my own personal knowledge). The story itself was expertly plotted and each of the characters were written in such a sense that despite not exactly connecting with them you were still interested enough in their story that you kept flipping pages, and with a book like this I think that's the point. While there were a few pieces of the book that did make me let out a frustrated sigh, mainly because of the main character and some of her choices, for the sake of the plot they made sense and were believable when it came to her personality and background. Despite that small irritation there were two things that I absolutely loved about this book, and those were the writing and the philosophical questions the book posed when I stopped to think about them. Honestly I wish that more books were like this one and if I ever manage to get the novel that I'm working on finished I hope it will be something like this one. Overall I enjoyed this novel a great deal and despite guessing what was going to happen very early on I still felt compelled to turn the pages and read the rest of the book to find out all of the little details, which is really all you can ask for in a book like this. Hopefully the author will write more novels like this one and it will be picked up despite the fact that Dangerous Girls didn't do well enough to have them pick up this one. If you read Haas' first novel I would suggest you seek this one out (it will be available in the US via kindle), and if you like a good suspense/thriller novel this, and the first book she wrote, are ones that you should definitely try.
Out August 14, 2014
4/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to the author for providing me with an early e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I don't usually read books or watch movies about possessions, evil entities, or the like mainly because I think the whole concept is a little...fake, but when I heard that this book was loosely based on the events of the Amityville Horror (which I've not yet watched but hope to soon) I decided to give this book a shot. Years before I had actually picked up another of Ostow's novels, Family, loosely based on Charles Manson and the cult following he gathered, but never read it, so when I decided to read this novel I wasn't entirely sure what to expect because Family was told in verse. This novel, although not told in verse, had a certain flow to it that reminded me slight of Shatter Me (although the plot is VASTLY different). Personally I like books like that and wish that I could write with that kind of beauty but I do know that they're not everyone's favorite, so if prose like that isn't your thing I would recommend at least reading a few chapters of this book to get a feel for the writing style. On the back of the book it also said that this book would "satisfy even the most demanding horror fans", which I think is true. Depending on how easily you scare this novel might or might not give you the heebie-jeebies, and while I fall into the "might not" category just because of how often I watch/read things like this I was very pleased with how deliciously twisted it was. I was also greatly amused with the way the story was told; a male and female POV, one in the past and one in the present, was expertly woven together in such a way that, despite being two separate story lines, came together to create a nice parallel between the stories and enhanced the overall plot. For me this whole book was a quick, enjoyable read and the only problem I had with it was some slight confusion here and there which could have been because I was reading an ARC or just something that I was missing for some reason. Overall I was just thrilled with this entire book and I can't wait to have a finished copy on my shelf. Fans of creepy stories should read a few chapters and then, if they find it to their liking, pick it up and read it, because it's a YA novel that could fall into the horror genre, and in my mind there aren't enough of those so when you find one you have to snatch it up ASAP, and because of this novel I hope to read Ostow's Family sooner rather than later, although who knows if that will really happen.
Out August 26, 2014
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to The University Bookstore kids department for letting me borrow this ARC and thanks to Egmont for providing them with it in return for an honest review.