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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

to all those who celebrate it. If not, Happy Thursday!

Congrats to Nicole, winner of the $15.00 Book Depository Book Halloween Giveaway.

If you're looking for a spooky short story, head over to Books Take You Places where I shared some experiences with the alleged Ghost of Hoyt Hall (pictured above).  Check out more exciting posts from The Fortnight of Fright

Discussion: Have you ever read a book that truly frightened you? If so, what about it caused that feeling? Do you find books scarier than movies or vice versa? Or do you tend to remain unaffected either way? 

I tend to night be bothered by most horror books. Some examples of books that have disturbed me are two Stephen King novels: Salem's Lot: the image of friends and neighbors lurking outside waiting to attack you, especially that little boy vampire, freaked me out; and Pet Sematary: mostly due to how it demonstrates how suddenly tragedy can strike. 

One other example of a book that gave me the creeps: Broken Harbor by Tana French. This literary gothic/mystery is part of the Dublin Murder Squad group of books and is my favorite of that series. It's a great examination of the effect the economic downturn has on a family, ultimately ending in murder. It also features a fascinating development of a partnership between two detectives. Reading it, you will get answers to your questions but enough ambiguity is left that this novel crept into my mind insidiously. I was looking at the walls with suspicion when I finished late one night, alone in the house. 

pic name pic name pic name


As for movies, I tend to be more disturbed by images than words. I will never forget the scene in Halloween (1978) when after Laurie Strode discovers her friends' bodies, that white mask comes creeping up behind her. 

Feel free to comment about any books/movies that scared you, or what you personally find creepy. 
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #!) 
by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?



Review: Sarah Rees Brennan's romantic tale has all the trappings of a great gothic contained within a story that is both fun and suspenseful. It also gives the most honest depiction of how terrible (not romantic) having someone know your every stray thought would be. It's also very inconvenient when trying to solve a murder. Kami Glass, intrepid reporter, is one of my favorite heroines of all time. She's surrounded by several multi-faceted characters, all of whom have their own flaws and strengths. Highlights include Kami's best friend Angela, the tall, dark, and beautiful grumpy misanthrope; and Jared, the believed to be imaginary friend who is in fact an all to real emotionally damaged teen. Also notable is Kami's family: both her parents and two siblings feature in the story, and Kami's late grandmother's presence is felt. A rare thing in YA. 

The setting of Sorry-in-the-Vale itself is intriguing, classic gothic images such as the menacing house on a hill are used to great effect. I found Aurimere House's use of hands in its decor especially creepy. The isolated small town gives an impression of being a world of its own. Kami's emotional journey as she struggles with her feelings regarding Jared as her bound soulmate only add to the building plot, Kami never lets this issue get in the way of her pursuit of the truth. 


Mystery and creepiness aside, the novel is also very funny. Every character is prone to quips and jokes, Kami herself more than anyone. A sample:

"I'm still calling the article 'Return of the Lynburns,'" Kami informed him. "And we're taking a picture of you being all lord of the manor, outside on the hill. Do you own, like, an old-fashioned white shirt? Because you should wear it, and maybe it should be all wet, as if you were swimming in the lake." p.22 Hardcover edition
I enjoyed this style and found it clever, but it does lead to some lack of variation in character voices. There might be something in Sorry-in-the-Vale's water supply that makes everyone prone to cheekiness, even teachers:
"Do me a favor and go out and perform one of the activities I hear the youth enjoy this Friday, like defacing public property." p.41 Hardcover edition
If that sounds like your cup of tea and you're looking for a suspenseful read with great characters, humor, mystery, and rip-your-heart-out romance, look no further than Unspoken. 

4.5 glasses of lemonade

This book is RIPVIII approved.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where I highlight upcoming releases I'm eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection:


The Naturals By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

I've enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Barnes' other novels and this sounds similar to I Hunt Killers, a novel I also enjoyed. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)
By Jonathan Stroud
Published by Disney-Hyperion

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .


Review: Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you slowed down your reading because you didn't want it to end? That was me reading The Screaming Staircase, a book so charming and entertaining I spread my reading out in order to savor it. I'm a huge fan of Stroud's Bartimaeus series and this book is just as well written, with an alternate British setting that is just as intriguing. 



The three central characters are all amazingly well rounded, with strengths and weaknesses. Lucy, haunted by the trauma of a ghost hunt gone horribly wrong, finds a new friendship/family with Lockwood (an intelligent and charismatic leader who's still prone to screw-ups) and George (the hilariously acerbic researcher). Together they make an entertaining team as they work to solve a mystery, save their business, and fight some ghosts along the way. Some of the ghost sequences I found very effective in their creepiness, even for someone who loves horror novels. The mystery itself was resolved satisfactorily, but there's still plenty to learn about these characters and their world. I can't wait for the sequel.

I'll be giving this book to my nephew, who's just finished Harry Potter. I think he'll love it.

4.5 Cups of tea


This book is RIP VIII approved.

Top Ten Scary Covers:

1. Put them in the Freezer:
Couldn't pick just one.

2. Nightmare Fuel
I had this book when I was a child, I had to make sure it was face down in order to sleep at night. Seems a bit silly now. 

3. Ominous 
That's some impressive looming.

4. Unsettling
That's not responsible child care.

5. Sinister
Why is that desk graffiti so upsetting to me?

6. Creepy
Maybe she just wants a hug.

7. Hauntingly Beautiful 
This cover is gorgeous, and yes, that's blood on her dress. Makes sense.

8. An Old-Fashioned Haunted House
Death's there to remind you to wipe your feet before entering.

9. That's just not right.
Wouldn't want to meet this lady down a dark hall.

10. A scary surprise?
Those ghosts are up to something. (Yeah, this is a stretch)



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top 10 Character Names I Love:

1. Mel (Mellifluous) Duan from Team Human

2. October Daye/ May Daye from The October Daye series.

3. Charlie Manx from NOS4A2

4. Attolia (Irene) from the Queen's Thief series.

5. Pellinore Warthrop from The Monstrumologist

6. Reveka from The Princess Curse

7. Dusty Everhart from The Nightmare Affair

8. Howl Pendragon (Howell Jenkins) from Howl's Moving Castle

9. Bumbersnoot from Curtsies and Conspiracies

10. Aerin from The Hero and the Crown

A confession: I have a terrible time remembering character names, so this is mostly a list of names that I was able to remember off the top of my head. They made an impression. 
 

Friday, October 18, 2013
Feature and Follow Friday is a Blog Hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where we get to know our fellow bloggers and maybe find some new blogs to follow.

This week's question:

What are some of your favorite magazines?

I love the The New Yorker and will sometimes read the digital edition instead of a novel on my commute. I also enjoy the London Review of Books once in a while and like flipping through fashion magazines and Entertainment Weekly whenever I have an opportunity.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

This week I'm waiting on...


No One Else Can Have You
By Kathleen Hale
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Keeping with all things spooky and macabre , here's a murder mystery. I love that sweater pattern, it's so unexpectedly creepy.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013
With thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

Top 10 Books I was forced to read:

For School:


1. Read in 6th grade, the quote for the title of this blog comes from here. A favorite.

2. A love for gothic fiction is born. Good thing, I had to present for 20 minutes about it.

3. It's popular for a reason.

4. This is a beautiful collection of short stories. I was lucky enough to meet Jhumpa Lahiri as well.

5. It may not be the book I loved as much as how in depth the course was regarding the "Lost Generation"

6. Every time I read an essay that claims it's boring garbage, I have a little rage blackout. 

7. This book surprised me, it wasn't what I expected based on movies, TV, etc.

By other people:

8. My older sister bought me the third Harry Potter instead of the first by accident, but she wanted me to read them even though I felt I was "too old". I loved it, went out and bought the first two, and eagerly awaited the fourth, went to midnight movie premieres in a Quidditch jersey, etc. What a monster she created. 

9. My other sister had me read this. I was reluctant due to the cover, it looks like poster for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 film.  

10. This was chosen for a short-lived book club and it's amazing, I highly recommend it.

While you're here, check out my giveaway!
Sunday, October 13, 2013


  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 21, when I fell asleep. Or hours 15-18 when I stopped reading because of surprise company. 
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Graphic novels, like Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, or some manga. Shorter novels.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope, I was happy with the experience
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The website was updated frequently, I enjoyed the little videos posted and was directed to the mini challenges.
  5. How many books did you read? 2 1/2 books, 1 Graphic novel.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Final Descent, A Spark Unseen, Preludes and Nocturnes, and The Year of Shadows
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? A Spark Unseen
  8. Which did you enjoy least? The Final Descent, it was a good book but tragic, and not in the way I expected.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely participate in the spring if I'm free. I'd like to sign up to be a cheerleader. 
Book Jenga!



Friday, October 11, 2013

My Saturday plans were canceled, I'll be house sitting, and it's going to be dark and stormy. The perfect atmosphere for  Dewey's 24 Hour Read-athon. I'll be updating this post sporadically with progress, challenges, etc. I've got no specific goals, just a TBR pile to choose from with some graphic novels thrown in:


A thank you to Dewey, for starting it all.


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
New York


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Shadows by Robin McKinley, I'm going to save it for towards the end though, hopefully it'll help keep me awake.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I baked some chocolate chip cookies, so definitely those.


4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I love audiobooks but can only focus on narrative non-fiction. I tried listening to novels but my mind wanders and I miss things. Luckily I have some Mary Roach books on the ipod for times when I'm cleaning/cooking.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

It's my first read-a-thon. I'm looking forward to finishing some books from the TBR pile :)

For the first challenge I chose "Monster" by Imagine Dragons. Very appropriate for The Final Descent.

Lisa's World of Books Mini Challenge: Best of the Year

Best Non-Fiction: In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood
Best YA: In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Best Fantasy Book : The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Best Book of My Reading Year : Artful by Ali Smith


Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? 
Getting a little tired. It'll be coffee time soon
2) What have you finished reading? 
2 books: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron & The Final Descent by Rick Yancey
3) What is your favorite read so far? 
Probably The Final Descent, it gave me a lot of feelings, though I'm a bit wrung out from it as well.
4) What about your favorite snacks? 
Popcorn, though I have to be careful not to get my book greasy
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
I have a book choosing dilemma: I need something that will keep me awake. I'm eyeing Code Name Verity but that may be too intense, feelings-wise. Maybe Vampire Academy? Or The Twistrose Key. 



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week, it's surprise feature of your favorite book blogs. Here's a small selection of blogs I definitely recommend you check out:

Thoughts and Pens - great reviews, great discussions
A GREAT read - awesome reviews
Diamonds and Coal Book Reviews - fabulous reviews, check out the Halloween read-along
The Nerd Herd Reads - great reviews, update often
Backchatting Books - great reviews, all your romance/urban fantasy needs
Notes from a Readerholic - great taste in urban fantasy
Books I done read - I wish I could write reviews as clever and hilarious
The Book Smugglers - I agree with Thea and Ana's judgements more often than not.
Love is not a triangle - very similar taste in YA, interesting reviews

So many great blogs out there, this is only a tiny fraction of the awesome blogs I follow. 

Halloween Giveaway! 

As October is my favorite month, as you may have noticed, I decided to have a giveaway to celebrate. It's open internationally and will run until October 31st. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Night Film by Marisha Pessl

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.


Review: Night Film is a fantastic read for all those who love the horror genre, either written or on screen. As the reader journeys down the rabbit hole with Scott and his two sidekicks, many horror conventions and settings are touched upon. Nods to the horror staples: witches, secret societies, conspiracies, asylums, creepy dolls, all these are included and more. The best part of the reading experience for me was that I genuinely was not certain where it was all leading, a novelty for someone who reads a lot of mystery genre fiction that adheres to convention to the point where it can get predictable. The various items from other media included with the text added to the immersive feel of the novel and felt like the literary equivalent of found footage horror. 

As far as the characters go, Scott is an interesting and flawed protagonist. Immersed in his persona of the jaded investigative journalist, he far to often relies on stereotypes to judge people and therefore is frequently wrong. His accomplice, Nora the down on her luck orphan, adds a touch of humor and lightness to the otherwise grim proceedings. Rounding out the cast is Hopper, a drug dealer with his own personal connection to the late Ashley Cordova. Ashley Cordova herself is a presence throughout the story, as is her potentially malevolent filmmaker father. 

One minor nitpick some may have is the use of italics throughout the novel. I was not too fond of this myself, italics for emphasis should be used sparingly or else it becomes tedious. I found this was most noticeable near the beginning of the novel but either the italics weren't as prevalent further in or I had made the mental adjustment to ignore them; they did not significantly detract from my enjoyment of the book. 

Aside from twists the narrative took keeping my interest, I also enjoyed the fact that the story both provided explanations for the mysterious goings on yet maintained its ambiguity. The ending walks the tightrope of being both mysterious and satisfying: avoiding the inevitable disappointment when the shadowy curtain is pulled back to reveal the mundane while at the same time not being vague enough to be frustrating. A great creepy reading experience
perfect for RIP VIII.

4.5 Stars.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we highlight upcoming titles we're looking forward to. This week I'm excited about:


Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.

I really enjoyed the first novel, and can hardly wait to see how Jacob and his friends navigate the past. I'm sure there will be plenty of creepy photographs included. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

With thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

While constructing this list, I came to the realization that while I'm a serial series starter, I fail at commitment. 


Here are some favorites:


1. Of course. The camping trip went on a little long, but this book made me cry on three separate occasions. 

2. Forever a favorite.

3. Not what I expected, but extremely appropriate for the series.

4. Exactly what I wanted. A villain/anti-hero finds redemption.

5. The best relationships are only subtly hinted at in previous books.

6. Brb crying forever.

If I truly hated a series ending, I must've blocked it from my memory. Here are a couple I have mixed feelings about:

7. This left me mildly frustrated.

8. I read this when I was 8, and it messed me up. 

Bonus: This book will never be published and I will never have closure for the 9 books preceding  it:
I preordered this in 1998. *plays world's smallest violin*
Here's the original cover:
The '90's was a strange time.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Misc. & Discussion

Happy Halloween!

to all those who celebrate it. If not, Happy Thursday!

Congrats to Nicole, winner of the $15.00 Book Depository Book Halloween Giveaway.

If you're looking for a spooky short story, head over to Books Take You Places where I shared some experiences with the alleged Ghost of Hoyt Hall (pictured above).  Check out more exciting posts from The Fortnight of Fright

Discussion: Have you ever read a book that truly frightened you? If so, what about it caused that feeling? Do you find books scarier than movies or vice versa? Or do you tend to remain unaffected either way? 

I tend to night be bothered by most horror books. Some examples of books that have disturbed me are two Stephen King novels: Salem's Lot: the image of friends and neighbors lurking outside waiting to attack you, especially that little boy vampire, freaked me out; and Pet Sematary: mostly due to how it demonstrates how suddenly tragedy can strike. 

One other example of a book that gave me the creeps: Broken Harbor by Tana French. This literary gothic/mystery is part of the Dublin Murder Squad group of books and is my favorite of that series. It's a great examination of the effect the economic downturn has on a family, ultimately ending in murder. It also features a fascinating development of a partnership between two detectives. Reading it, you will get answers to your questions but enough ambiguity is left that this novel crept into my mind insidiously. I was looking at the walls with suspicion when I finished late one night, alone in the house. 

pic name pic name pic name


As for movies, I tend to be more disturbed by images than words. I will never forget the scene in Halloween (1978) when after Laurie Strode discovers her friends' bodies, that white mask comes creeping up behind her. 

Feel free to comment about any books/movies that scared you, or what you personally find creepy. 

Review: Unspoken

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #!) 
by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?



Review: Sarah Rees Brennan's romantic tale has all the trappings of a great gothic contained within a story that is both fun and suspenseful. It also gives the most honest depiction of how terrible (not romantic) having someone know your every stray thought would be. It's also very inconvenient when trying to solve a murder. Kami Glass, intrepid reporter, is one of my favorite heroines of all time. She's surrounded by several multi-faceted characters, all of whom have their own flaws and strengths. Highlights include Kami's best friend Angela, the tall, dark, and beautiful grumpy misanthrope; and Jared, the believed to be imaginary friend who is in fact an all to real emotionally damaged teen. Also notable is Kami's family: both her parents and two siblings feature in the story, and Kami's late grandmother's presence is felt. A rare thing in YA. 

The setting of Sorry-in-the-Vale itself is intriguing, classic gothic images such as the menacing house on a hill are used to great effect. I found Aurimere House's use of hands in its decor especially creepy. The isolated small town gives an impression of being a world of its own. Kami's emotional journey as she struggles with her feelings regarding Jared as her bound soulmate only add to the building plot, Kami never lets this issue get in the way of her pursuit of the truth. 


Mystery and creepiness aside, the novel is also very funny. Every character is prone to quips and jokes, Kami herself more than anyone. A sample:

"I'm still calling the article 'Return of the Lynburns,'" Kami informed him. "And we're taking a picture of you being all lord of the manor, outside on the hill. Do you own, like, an old-fashioned white shirt? Because you should wear it, and maybe it should be all wet, as if you were swimming in the lake." p.22 Hardcover edition
I enjoyed this style and found it clever, but it does lead to some lack of variation in character voices. There might be something in Sorry-in-the-Vale's water supply that makes everyone prone to cheekiness, even teachers:
"Do me a favor and go out and perform one of the activities I hear the youth enjoy this Friday, like defacing public property." p.41 Hardcover edition
If that sounds like your cup of tea and you're looking for a suspenseful read with great characters, humor, mystery, and rip-your-heart-out romance, look no further than Unspoken. 

4.5 glasses of lemonade

This book is RIPVIII approved.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on The Naturals

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where I highlight upcoming releases I'm eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection:


The Naturals By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

I've enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Barnes' other novels and this sounds similar to I Hunt Killers, a novel I also enjoyed. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockhart & Co. #1)

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)
By Jonathan Stroud
Published by Disney-Hyperion

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .


Review: Have you ever enjoyed a book so much that you slowed down your reading because you didn't want it to end? That was me reading The Screaming Staircase, a book so charming and entertaining I spread my reading out in order to savor it. I'm a huge fan of Stroud's Bartimaeus series and this book is just as well written, with an alternate British setting that is just as intriguing. 



The three central characters are all amazingly well rounded, with strengths and weaknesses. Lucy, haunted by the trauma of a ghost hunt gone horribly wrong, finds a new friendship/family with Lockwood (an intelligent and charismatic leader who's still prone to screw-ups) and George (the hilariously acerbic researcher). Together they make an entertaining team as they work to solve a mystery, save their business, and fight some ghosts along the way. Some of the ghost sequences I found very effective in their creepiness, even for someone who loves horror novels. The mystery itself was resolved satisfactorily, but there's still plenty to learn about these characters and their world. I can't wait for the sequel.

I'll be giving this book to my nephew, who's just finished Harry Potter. I think he'll love it.

4.5 Cups of tea


This book is RIP VIII approved.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Scary Covers


Top Ten Scary Covers:

1. Put them in the Freezer:
Couldn't pick just one.

2. Nightmare Fuel
I had this book when I was a child, I had to make sure it was face down in order to sleep at night. Seems a bit silly now. 

3. Ominous 
That's some impressive looming.

4. Unsettling
That's not responsible child care.

5. Sinister
Why is that desk graffiti so upsetting to me?

6. Creepy
Maybe she just wants a hug.

7. Hauntingly Beautiful 
This cover is gorgeous, and yes, that's blood on her dress. Makes sense.

8. An Old-Fashioned Haunted House
Death's there to remind you to wipe your feet before entering.

9. That's just not right.
Wouldn't want to meet this lady down a dark hall.

10. A scary surprise?
Those ghosts are up to something. (Yeah, this is a stretch)



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Character Names I Love

Top 10 Character Names I Love:

1. Mel (Mellifluous) Duan from Team Human

2. October Daye/ May Daye from The October Daye series.

3. Charlie Manx from NOS4A2

4. Attolia (Irene) from the Queen's Thief series.

5. Pellinore Warthrop from The Monstrumologist

6. Reveka from The Princess Curse

7. Dusty Everhart from The Nightmare Affair

8. Howl Pendragon (Howell Jenkins) from Howl's Moving Castle

9. Bumbersnoot from Curtsies and Conspiracies

10. Aerin from The Hero and the Crown

A confession: I have a terrible time remembering character names, so this is mostly a list of names that I was able to remember off the top of my head. They made an impression. 
 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday! Favorite magazines

Feature and Follow Friday is a Blog Hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where we get to know our fellow bloggers and maybe find some new blogs to follow.

This week's question:

What are some of your favorite magazines?

I love the The New Yorker and will sometimes read the digital edition instead of a novel on my commute. I also enjoy the London Review of Books once in a while and like flipping through fashion magazines and Entertainment Weekly whenever I have an opportunity.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday : Waiting on.. No One Else Can Have You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

This week I'm waiting on...


No One Else Can Have You
By Kathleen Hale
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Keeping with all things spooky and macabre , here's a murder mystery. I love that sweater pattern, it's so unexpectedly creepy.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I was "forced" to read

With thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

Top 10 Books I was forced to read:

For School:


1. Read in 6th grade, the quote for the title of this blog comes from here. A favorite.

2. A love for gothic fiction is born. Good thing, I had to present for 20 minutes about it.

3. It's popular for a reason.

4. This is a beautiful collection of short stories. I was lucky enough to meet Jhumpa Lahiri as well.

5. It may not be the book I loved as much as how in depth the course was regarding the "Lost Generation"

6. Every time I read an essay that claims it's boring garbage, I have a little rage blackout. 

7. This book surprised me, it wasn't what I expected based on movies, TV, etc.

By other people:

8. My older sister bought me the third Harry Potter instead of the first by accident, but she wanted me to read them even though I felt I was "too old". I loved it, went out and bought the first two, and eagerly awaited the fourth, went to midnight movie premieres in a Quidditch jersey, etc. What a monster she created. 

9. My other sister had me read this. I was reluctant due to the cover, it looks like poster for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 film.  

10. This was chosen for a short-lived book club and it's amazing, I highly recommend it.

While you're here, check out my giveaway!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-thom Wrap Up Post



  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 21, when I fell asleep. Or hours 15-18 when I stopped reading because of surprise company. 
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Graphic novels, like Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, or some manga. Shorter novels.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope, I was happy with the experience
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The website was updated frequently, I enjoyed the little videos posted and was directed to the mini challenges.
  5. How many books did you read? 2 1/2 books, 1 Graphic novel.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Final Descent, A Spark Unseen, Preludes and Nocturnes, and The Year of Shadows
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? A Spark Unseen
  8. Which did you enjoy least? The Final Descent, it was a good book but tragic, and not in the way I expected.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely participate in the spring if I'm free. I'd like to sign up to be a cheerleader. 
Book Jenga!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon


My Saturday plans were canceled, I'll be house sitting, and it's going to be dark and stormy. The perfect atmosphere for  Dewey's 24 Hour Read-athon. I'll be updating this post sporadically with progress, challenges, etc. I've got no specific goals, just a TBR pile to choose from with some graphic novels thrown in:


A thank you to Dewey, for starting it all.


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
New York


2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Shadows by Robin McKinley, I'm going to save it for towards the end though, hopefully it'll help keep me awake.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I baked some chocolate chip cookies, so definitely those.


4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I love audiobooks but can only focus on narrative non-fiction. I tried listening to novels but my mind wanders and I miss things. Luckily I have some Mary Roach books on the ipod for times when I'm cleaning/cooking.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

It's my first read-a-thon. I'm looking forward to finishing some books from the TBR pile :)

For the first challenge I chose "Monster" by Imagine Dragons. Very appropriate for The Final Descent.

Lisa's World of Books Mini Challenge: Best of the Year

Best Non-Fiction: In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood
Best YA: In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Best Fantasy Book : The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Best Book of My Reading Year : Artful by Ali Smith


Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? 
Getting a little tired. It'll be coffee time soon
2) What have you finished reading? 
2 books: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron & The Final Descent by Rick Yancey
3) What is your favorite read so far? 
Probably The Final Descent, it gave me a lot of feelings, though I'm a bit wrung out from it as well.
4) What about your favorite snacks? 
Popcorn, though I have to be careful not to get my book greasy
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
I have a book choosing dilemma: I need something that will keep me awake. I'm eyeing Code Name Verity but that may be too intense, feelings-wise. Maybe Vampire Academy? Or The Twistrose Key. 



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday!


Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week, it's surprise feature of your favorite book blogs. Here's a small selection of blogs I definitely recommend you check out:

Thoughts and Pens - great reviews, great discussions
A GREAT read - awesome reviews
Diamonds and Coal Book Reviews - fabulous reviews, check out the Halloween read-along
The Nerd Herd Reads - great reviews, update often
Backchatting Books - great reviews, all your romance/urban fantasy needs
Notes from a Readerholic - great taste in urban fantasy
Books I done read - I wish I could write reviews as clever and hilarious
The Book Smugglers - I agree with Thea and Ana's judgements more often than not.
Love is not a triangle - very similar taste in YA, interesting reviews

So many great blogs out there, this is only a tiny fraction of the awesome blogs I follow. 

Halloween Giveaway! 

As October is my favorite month, as you may have noticed, I decided to have a giveaway to celebrate. It's open internationally and will run until October 31st. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Night Film

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.


Review: Night Film is a fantastic read for all those who love the horror genre, either written or on screen. As the reader journeys down the rabbit hole with Scott and his two sidekicks, many horror conventions and settings are touched upon. Nods to the horror staples: witches, secret societies, conspiracies, asylums, creepy dolls, all these are included and more. The best part of the reading experience for me was that I genuinely was not certain where it was all leading, a novelty for someone who reads a lot of mystery genre fiction that adheres to convention to the point where it can get predictable. The various items from other media included with the text added to the immersive feel of the novel and felt like the literary equivalent of found footage horror. 

As far as the characters go, Scott is an interesting and flawed protagonist. Immersed in his persona of the jaded investigative journalist, he far to often relies on stereotypes to judge people and therefore is frequently wrong. His accomplice, Nora the down on her luck orphan, adds a touch of humor and lightness to the otherwise grim proceedings. Rounding out the cast is Hopper, a drug dealer with his own personal connection to the late Ashley Cordova. Ashley Cordova herself is a presence throughout the story, as is her potentially malevolent filmmaker father. 

One minor nitpick some may have is the use of italics throughout the novel. I was not too fond of this myself, italics for emphasis should be used sparingly or else it becomes tedious. I found this was most noticeable near the beginning of the novel but either the italics weren't as prevalent further in or I had made the mental adjustment to ignore them; they did not significantly detract from my enjoyment of the book. 

Aside from twists the narrative took keeping my interest, I also enjoyed the fact that the story both provided explanations for the mysterious goings on yet maintained its ambiguity. The ending walks the tightrope of being both mysterious and satisfying: avoiding the inevitable disappointment when the shadowy curtain is pulled back to reveal the mundane while at the same time not being vague enough to be frustrating. A great creepy reading experience
perfect for RIP VIII.

4.5 Stars.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on Hollow City

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we highlight upcoming titles we're looking forward to. This week I'm excited about:


Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.

I really enjoyed the first novel, and can hardly wait to see how Jacob and his friends navigate the past. I'm sure there will be plenty of creepy photographs included. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series Endings

With thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

While constructing this list, I came to the realization that while I'm a serial series starter, I fail at commitment. 


Here are some favorites:


1. Of course. The camping trip went on a little long, but this book made me cry on three separate occasions. 

2. Forever a favorite.

3. Not what I expected, but extremely appropriate for the series.

4. Exactly what I wanted. A villain/anti-hero finds redemption.

5. The best relationships are only subtly hinted at in previous books.

6. Brb crying forever.

If I truly hated a series ending, I must've blocked it from my memory. Here are a couple I have mixed feelings about:

7. This left me mildly frustrated.

8. I read this when I was 8, and it messed me up. 

Bonus: This book will never be published and I will never have closure for the 9 books preceding  it:
I preordered this in 1998. *plays world's smallest violin*
Here's the original cover:
The '90's was a strange time.