Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds

author : scott westerfeld

pages : [hardcover] 599

favorite character : darcy

memorable quote Hiding from the truth was worse than being lied to.

summary :

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

review :

I’ve been looking forward to reading Afterworlds ever since it was released. Because it’s a huge book (nearly 600 pages!) I thought that I would need a lot of time to set aside and fully enjoy this novel. Instead, it’s pretty easy to get through because even though it’s told in dual narration both portions of the story are interesting. I’ve never read anything like this before but knew that it had to be great. This is Scott Westerfeld; nothing he ever writes is disappointing.

I do have to admit that toward the end of the book I liked Darcy’s chapters–involving the real world and a glimpse at the inside of the publishing industry from an author’s perspective–more than I did Lizzie’s–where she’s discovering more about herself, her gifts, and the afterlife. I loved reading about Darcy attend things like Book Expo America because that’s something I can clearly picture in my mind and I loved reading her reactions to having to publicize herself. There’s so much that goes into creating excitement for a book and making it perfect before it’s released. Lizzie’s story, on the other hand . . It was gripping at the beginning. There were those first chapters that were awesome–as Darcy and her agent and editor continued to agree on. The rest, I wasn’t so sure that I would have been reading if this novel had been split in two. One for Darcy’s story, one for Lizzie’s. I began to like Lizzie’s half for the little details I could see in it, the changes that Darcy was making to her story because of the people she met in NYC as well as the suggestions others made for editing the story. The romance in it was so insta that it was nonexistent for me. I did like a few unconventional choices that Lizzie made, however, that kept it from being a typical paranormal romance.

I think this is a book that many will love. You just need to get past the intimidating look of it’s bulk. Honestly the pages fly by so quickly, it isn’t difficult to read this in a few days.

Anyone who is interested in writing or publishing will definitely get a kick out of the ways Darcy immerses herself in this world. From YA Drinks Night to having women publishing in her same year referring to themselves as ‘debut sisters’, there are hilarious moments mixed with the anxiety-inducing ones. Such as the expensive nature of living in NYC, the bated breath that comes with waiting for edits to come out, and the clinging fear that remains after finishing one book–because what if that was a fluke and it won’t happen again?

Even though I rented this one from the library, I’m going to buy myself a copy because I’ll definitely reread it in the future.

4/5 stars

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

 

Friends with Boys

author : faith erin hicks

pages : [paperback] 220

favorite character : maggie

summary :

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.

review :

This book was so much fun to read! There was a lot going on with it and none of it seemed to be directly connected but I’m hoping that there’ll be another book that explains all of the elements in this one a little further!

Maggie is such a fun character to read. She’s always been homeschooled so she has anxiety about leaving home and trying to meet new people for the first time in her life. Because I struggle with social anxiety myself, it was interesting to see how Maggie handled this new situation and gradually became more comfortable in her school.

Her brothers were so fun! I only have one brother myself but I can imagine how much worse things would be if I had to have three of them . . . and how wonderful if could be to have all of those siblings, too. Their family dynamic was beautiful and I want to see more of it! They act like a normal, realistic family, which grounds some of the more fantastical parts of the book. Like the fact that Maggie can see ghosts. More specifically one ghost who likes to hang around the graveyard and never says anything. I think that the only thing really lacking about this book is that there’s no progress with the mystery about the book. It’s the only supernatural thing in the novel . . . Will there be more? Hopefully we’ll find out.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a new read or who really enjoys graphic novels! The style of art in this is right up my alley and my library has another book by this author that I’m going to pick up ASAP so I can enjoy more of this!

4/5 stars

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

The Vanishing Season

author : jodi lynn anderson

pages : [hardcover] 256

memorable quote The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else.

favorite character : maggie

summary :

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

review :

I love Jodi Lynn Anderson. Love her writing. I’ve read her children’s books and also Tiger Lily and all of her work is written so well. The Vanishing Season is no different because it’s very gripping and enthralling. I couldn’t put this book down and liked that it was so short because I could read it all in one day, yet I also hated that because it meant I needed to leave that world sooner.

What I really looked for in this book was great characters. Maggie was amazing, flawed, and just really entertaining to follow. She felt like a real person who could have lived down the street from me, had I lived in such an isolated little town. I liked seeing her interactions with the others her age and how they dealt with the deaths that were happening so close to their home. It felt like real reactions: first indifference, then laughing speculation, then paranoia.

What I hadn’t expected to love so much about the novel were the little interludes in between some chapters where the ‘ghost’ of the book would speak. You spend much of the book trying to figure out who this presence was while they were alive, how long they’ve been dead and hanging around this house on Water Street. Eventually I thought that I had the answer, only to have another twist happen that proved me completely wrong. I’m not sure if others would be able to predict it but there are several other twists in the story, so you’ll always be guessing even if you think you’ve figured out what will happen next.

I’d recommend this book to anyone. I got it from the library and I’m going to buy myself a copy so that I can read it again. This book is well-written and has memorable characters. It’s purely a beautiful, touching story that needs to be shared with more people!

5/5 stars

Giveaway + Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well

release date : August 5

author : rin chupeco

about the author Rin Chupeco: Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.

pages : [hardcover] 272

favorite character : okiku

summary :

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

review :

I have a love/hate relationship with scary stories. I’m absolutely captivated by them during the day, when I’m reading them. Then at night I’m haunted by what I’ve read and the creatures that I can conjure up in my mind. That’s part of what made The Girl from the Well so terrifying for me; every portion of this horror story is so well-told that I could perfectly picture the spirits as well as the gruesome acts that occur within these pages. This book is not for the faint of heart; it isn’t like a horror movie where you can look away when things escalate. No, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the page once the truly creepy events of the book start.

From the very beginning I wasn’t sure of what to think of Okiku. We’ve all been taught by books and horror movies that terrifying-looking ghosts are out to get you, but what if there was one that was only out to avenge those who, like her, had been murdered? I’ve never read a story where the ghost is portrayed as a kind of murderous heroine. I loved reading on to find out more about the ghost’s past, especially because as a reader we witness firsthand her vengeance. Even knowing that it is a child killer being hunted doesn’t make the entire experience less shocking.

What I also found interesting was that a select few people in the world had the ability to see beings like Okiku. Depending on how old they are or where they originated, these people have different reactions to her. Through these encounters we also get to learn more about our narrator. Although she speaks in first person, she doesn’t willingly say much about herself and has been dead for so long that it’s obvious she’s lost a lot of what had made her human. She hardly understands people anymore and it’s worse because her appearance frightens those who can see her, even if she is not hunting them.

Even if this book did scare me and maybe kept me up for a few nights, I’ll forgive it because it had such an interesting storytelling structure, great characters, and I absolutely loved the ending. Sometimes when it comes to horror stories I feel like the end can only go one of two ways and The Girl from the Well chose neither option. The ending really surprised me but left me satisfied. That’s something that I tend to worry about when it comes to horror but my worries didn’t come true!

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a frightening story to keep them up at night.

4/5 stars

This book was amazing, so don’t you want a copy of your own? Enter to win a finished copy of The Girl from the Well! Click the Rafflecopter link below. US & Canada only.

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Did Not Finish: The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine

 

The Lost Boys

author : lilian carmine

pages : [paperback] 522

summary :

An intensely addictive romance novel about girls, ghosts, and forbidden love, ideal for fans of Stephenie Meyer
Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart? Having moved to a strange town, 17-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home. But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard. Perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate, The Lost Boys is a magical, romantic tale of girl meets ghost.

review :

**I was less than a hundred pages into this when I decided The Lost Boys wasn’t worth my time anymore, thus this will end up being less of a proper review and more an explanation of why I couldn’t put up with the rest of this.**

I rarely mark my books as DNF, especially one like this where I was very happy that my request for this on Netgalley was honored. But perhaps the comparisons to Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate should have warned me away. I did enjoy Meyer’s books, more so The Host than anything else, but Lauren Kate wrote Fallen, which was another book I couldn’t get through. Anyway, I usually ignore comparisons to other books and authors because it’s hard to compare these things.

First of all, I was attracted to that gorgeous cover and ended up hoping the title was going to be a Peter Pan reference. No such luck for me but the summary seemed promising, anyway. The problem started with the prose! Every other sentence was an exclamation! I couldn’t tell if Joey was always shouting! Or if she was that enthusiastic! I could get over the quirk of her name, even though everyone in the book needs to comment on it and Joey makes a big deal out of it. But she doesn’t act like a senior in high school. We’re reading this from her perspective and while the exclamation points don’t help, there are also the phrases she uses that seem out of place. Her actions, as well as those of all of the other characters, don’t make any sense.

Simply the way that the story was structured reminds me of how young writers, maybe teenagers, often start out, with simplistic prose and unnatural dialogue and actions. These are the things that are supposed to be improved upon to be made into a publishable book. Not this. I can’t believe that this is an actual book and I can’t believe that it’s supposed to be made into a trilogy. I do not recommend you try out The Lost Boys.

1/5 stars

Twilight by Meg Cabot

 

Twilight

The Mediator #6

Book 1: Shadowland
Book 2: Ninth Key
Book 3: Reunion
Book 4: Darkest Hour
Book 5: Haunted

author : meg cabot

pages : [paperback] 336

memorable quote Oh, that’s just great. I come all the way back here, risking major brain cell burnout, and you don’t even believe me?

favorite characters : suze & jesse

summary :

Suze has gotten used to ghosts. She’s a mediator, after all, and communicating with the dead is all in a day’s work. So she certainly never expected to fall in love with one: Jesse, a nineteenth- century hottie. But when she discovers that she has the power to determine who becomes a ghost in the first place, Suze begins to freak. It means she can alter the course of history … and prevent Jesse’s murder, keeping him from ever becoming a ghost — and from ever meeting Suze.

Will Jesse choose to live without her, or die to love her?

review :

**This is a review written after rereading the book**

I’m so sad to see this series go! Suze and Jesse are two of my favorite characters of all time and I always find myself wishing there were more stories about their ghostly adventures together. These books are packed with funny lines, great action, and a whole lot of suspense. Not only that, I can remember reading this conclusion for the first time and not at all expecting the finale that happened.

Suze is such a great character. She has lots of witty things to say, even in the face of danger. She has great fashion sense. But she also follows her heart, protects the people she loves, and she isn’t afraid to kick some ghostly butt.

This book really took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions because I never wanted it to end but was enjoying it so much that I finished it in a day. There were times I held my breath, when I burst out laughing, and I have to admit that the ending never fails to make me a teary emotional wreck. I think Meg Cabot did a fantastic job crafting these books and leading up to this finale. These are books I can easily see myself rereading over and over again . . even more than I’ve done in the past. I just wish more people could read and love them as well!

If you like paranormal books, romance, suspense, and a quick, great read, this is the book for you! If you haven’t started this series, you need to immediately.

5/5 stars

Haunted by Meg Cabot

Haunted

The Mediator #5
Book 1: Shadowland
Book 2: Ninth Key
Book 3: Reunion
Book 4: Darkest Hour

author : meg cabot

pages : [paperback] 263

memorable quote : Unrequited love is all right in books and things, but in real life, it completely sucks.

favorite characters : suze & jesse

summary :

Is it possible to be haunted by someone who isn’t even dead?

Suze is used to trouble, but this time she’s in deep: Ghostly Jesse has her heart, but Paul Slater, a real flesh-and-blood guy, is warm for her form. And mediator Paul knows how to send Jesse to the Great Beyond. For good.

Paul claims he won’t do anything to Jesse as long as Suze will go out with him. Fearing she’ll lose Jesse forever, Suze agrees. But even if Suze can get Jesse to admit his true feelings for her, what kind of future can she have with a guy who’s already dead?

review:

*This is a review written after rereading the book*

Do I love this series too much? Maybe. Every book is such a quick read that I always want to reread these and haven’t had the chance for the past few years. I started up the series again during the summer and now I’ve just finished the fifth and second to last book, Haunted. It’s just as awesome this time around as it was the first time I read it. Suze is a mediator, which means she can see the ghosts of people who haven’t finished their business in this world and don’t know how to get to the next on their own. Jesse is a ghost, living in her bedroom, and is extremely hot, extremely polite, extremely everything I want in a book boyfriend. And he speaks Spanish, which I don’t, but it just sounds perfect. Whenever he speaks it. In the book.

I feel like I could gush about this book and the characters in it all day long. Suze is a kickass heroine who would also kill for a great sale on designer shoes. She defends her family but also has to deal with the three stepbrothers she recently acquired. And it seems like she can always hold her own, except when it comes to weakness in her heart.

In this book there wasn’t too much by way of suspense, just a giant push forward in character development and buildup to the conclusion. Even though I’ve already read through this series and know what’s going to happen, yet again I’m not ready for it to be over. I don’t want to say goodbye to Suze and Jesse. Reading these books is just too entertaining and I love them too much.

The ending of this book was just . . . ooooo.

If you haven’t read this series yet, seriously, what are you waiting for? Every book is a quick read and you’ll be through them all in less than a week because you won’t be able to put them down. Trust me.

5/5 stars