Cathy’s Key is an awesome + romantic + paranormal mystery

3230873

Cathy’s Key

Cathy Vickers Trilogy #2
Book 1: Cathy’s Book

author : jordan weisman

illustrator : cathy brigg

pages : [hardcover] 144

favorite character : cathy

memorable quote :

summary :

Cathy’s Book was literally a word-of-mouth success story, with over 120,000 copies of the groundbreaking, interactive teen novel in print. Perhaps less noticeable was the heart of the book: a good story well told. Now fans of Cathy Vickers will return to the exciting, unpredictable world that made the first book such a success. Cathy was your average high school student-doodling in the margins of her journal, crushing on a cute boy, and hanging out with her best friend Emma. As this story begins, she’s trying to keep a job, her journal is stolen, the cute boy is not who he seems to be, and even Emma’s side project/start-up company, Doubletalk Wireless, is about to get caught up in the mystery surrounding Cathy and her search for the truth about her father. Her presumed-dead father. It’s just a simple story really: Girl loves Boy, Boy disappears, Girl discovers secret that will alter the course of humanity….

review :

I absolutely loved the first book in this series so of course I needed to continue it when I realized that there were more. Cathy and Victor, and the rest of the gang, all return. This is one of those books where you’re like yeah falling in love with an immortal sounds like a terrible idea and every character, Cathy and Victor included, agrees and tries to find a happier solution to the whole situation. Plus there is the awkward fact that Victor’s dad is either going to try to date Cathy or kill her. Plus Cathy hasn’t been a great friend to her closest confidant, Emma, so there’s drama that is a little more relatable there.

I loved this sequel. There were more twists that I couldn’t have predicted and new characters to tangle with. The conspiracy of the immortals truly is beginning to reach its peak. Just when you think that it can’t get any crazier, it does. I mean, these people have been around for hundreds of years so they’ve had plenty of time to amass great wealth and power. Add that to the fact that they know they can never be killed and Cathy has some pretty formidable enemies against her. But it was also interesting to see the odd assortment of allies that banded together to support her.

These books are so unique I feel like no review will give them justice. The story itself is fairly short, but captivating, and the inked drawings on the pages just bring the text to life. The little pocket of ‘evidence’ collected by Cathy and Co. just makes the story that much more believable (and creepier, considering the murder and intrigue going on here).

I wish that more people knew about these books. Reading Cathy’s Key just made me excited to get my hands on the third (and final!) book in this trilogy.

5/5 stars

 

Boo by Neil Smith will definitely make you cry

23012503

Boo

author : neil smith

pages : [paperback] 310

favorite character : boo

summary :

When Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a ‘gommer’, a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.

In a heartrending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be.

review :

I can’t remember when this book first landed on my TBR pile. It’s been on my list for months, at least, if not since it was first released almost exactly a year ago. Finally I was able to get my hands onto a copy of it. I checked this book out of the library but, to be honest, I wish that I’d bought it. I feel like this is one of those books I need to read again over the years.

Boo  hooked me in immediately. I don’t know why unique books about the afterlife (Everlost and Elsewhere are two that immediately come to mind) constantly fascinate me. Maybe because even though each religion has their own idea of what comes after death, even individuals within that certain religion can have wildly different conceptions of what the afterlife exactly is like. Although I really hope that Smith’s version isn’t so true, because if I’d died at thirteen and ended up stuck in a town filled with other thirteen year olds, that’d have been miserable. Middle schoolers are terrible–well, for the most part–and Boo kind of shows that, alongside showing how even thirteen year olds can be mature if they’re forced to remain thirteen for several decades.

I loved how easily I could immerse myself in the world. Boo has his quirks, so he immediately finds a group of people who are able to love him in spite of it, people who may have their own insecurities about themselves. It’s never established whether or not Boo possibly had some form of autism and I like how it is just implied that he is different, and lonely, and incredibly smart (maybe too smart, sometimes). Boo likes to look at everything from a scientific point of view, has trouble connecting socially, and struggles with emotions. But he’s a great friend, very observant, and immediately tries to understand things about the afterlife that would have remained incomprehensible to the less scientifically inclined.

Because it was just so interesting to see his world, I read this book in about a day and a half. I just couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen next. There was so much mystery surrounding Boo’s and Johnny’s deaths, because most of the afterlife’s residents don’t remember much about how they died in order to protect their own happiness. I won’t go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil it, but throughout the book you’ll definitely cry. But it is so worth it.

I’m definitely going to be recommending this book. I’ll probably be buying a copy for myself, eventually. It was so amazing, lasting, and touching that I just can’t resist.

5/5 stars

 

Servants of the Storm blew me away

19695718

Servants of the Storm

author : delilah s. dawson

pages : [hardcover] 376

memorable quote:

I miss the days when I could wake up from a nightmare and call out, and someone would hold me close, make me feel warm and safe.

favorite character : baker

summary :

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite café. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

review :

I went into this book basically knowing nothing about what might happen and think that I liked it more from not having any expectations, from wondering alongside Dovey what could be true or hallucinations. So, if you’re interested in reading this book, I’d say dive right into it without too much reading from summaries/reviews.

When I started Servants of the Storm, I expected a mystery with a little intrigue. I expected everyone to think that Dovey was crazy and to spend the entire novel trying to figure out whether or not she really should go back to taking her medication. Somehow I missed the big old ‘horror’ sticker stuck to the copy of my book, when I took out a few novels that have been on my TBR list for ages (so long that I don’t even remember where I got the recommendations from in the first place!).

If you’re into paranormal, demonic, mysteries, this is the one for you. It creeped me out to the core. It really is like reading a horror movie, once you get about 50 pages into the book, and I never saw it coming. The things that the demons in Savannah like to do are horrifying, yet oddly fascinating, and you just can’t look away. I really like the world that Dawson constructed in her book because all of the rules about demons, their servants, and everything in between was easy enough to understand. I’m not learned enough in more demon novels to know if this is typically how they’re dealt with, but it was enough to give me shivers at night. I don’t mind things that can hurt you, even kill you–but once some creature starts messing with immortal souls? Nuh-uh. Goodbye.

Still, as much as it horrified me, I loved it for what it was. Except for the ending. Um, this book was published two years ago, ends like it’s setting itself up for a sequel, and then . . nothing. No sign of a sequel that’s even being written, let alone set to be published. Which is incredibly frustrating!

4/5 stars

 

Cathy’s Book = one of my favorite books of all time

856969

Cathy’s Book

Cathy Vickers Trilogy #1

author : jordan weisman, sean stewart, cathy brigg

pages : [hardcover] 143

memorable quote :

If this were a war year, if this were 1918 or 1944, I wouldn’t be the only girl whose dad was never coming home.

favorite character : cathy

summary :

Things weren’t so peachy in Cathy’s life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she’s failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor’s co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy’s arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?Through Cathy’s unique and irresistible voice-and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher-readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren’t how they appear. Two-color illustrations plus supplemental material.

review :

I first read this book about a year or two after it came out. Cathy’s Book was first published in 2006 and has been extremely underrated ever since then. Maybe partly because of that, it took me an absurd amount of time to realize that this was actually part of a trilogy. Now that I have my hands on the other books, I decided to read the first to remind myself of the characters, plot, and setting. Honestly, I feel like I love the books even more now that I’m older.

What’s so incredible and unique about these books is what is done to make the mystery of it all seem real. Any phone number or website mentioned can be called or accessed. You can listen to the voice messages Cathy finds, and it’s just like you’re discovering the clues alongside her as she tries to find out why her boyfriend is being so mysterious and what his secret could be. There’s a nice blend of contemporary paranormal mystery going on here.

All of the other evidence in the case is conveniently located in a plastic pouch glued to the inside flap of the book. Cathy collected it all for her best friend Emma to read and, luckily, decided to share it with all of the other readers as well. IT’S SO COOL. Little things like business cards and fortunes that play such a small role in the book are gathered right there for you to actually see and feel for yourself. When I was younger, it freaked me out a little bit, as I wondered if this actually could be happening. That’s how convincing it was to me.

I don’t want to give too much about the book away, because it’s fairly short (less than 200 pages!) so it dives right into the mystery practically on page 1. Cathy is determined to get to the bottom of Victor’s sudden and mysterious break-up with her and subsequent disappearance. Cathy and Emma exchange notes in the margins of the notes (which are basically like a diary for Cathy, so she does not hold back at all) and I could ramble on and on about how I love this book for days. It’s so underrated! So go find a copy and READ.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

13639182

Beware the Wild 

Beware the Wild #1

author : natalie c. parker

pages : [hardcover] 327

memorable quote :

Secrets are never so dangerous as when they’ve been forgotten.

favorite characters : lenora may

summary :

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

review :

I checked this book out of the library because I’ve been trying to methodically cut down on my TBR. To be honest, I’m not sure how long this one has been sitting patiently waiting for me to finally track it down and read it. I’m glad that I didn’t let it disappear in a sea of good intentions for reading because Beware the Wild is a 5 star book.

The mystery. The paranormal elements. The horror. It all blended together perfectly in a story that captivated just as much as it rattled me. The swamp that borders Sterling’s home has always held its secrets and she’s been content to keep away from it, until the day her brother runs into the swamp and Lenora May runs out . . to take his place. Things only grow stranger from there, as Sterling realizes she may be completely alone in unraveling this mystery before it is too late and she loses her brother to the swamp, forever.

I think it’s interesting, in stories like these, when nature itself seems to be a predator to humanity. The people in town like to pretend that the ‘swamp stories’ (their personal ghost stories) are all myth, though on the side they do as much as possible to superstitiously protect themselves from the swamp. There’s always the thought that maybe the swamp is nothing but normal . . . But I’ll pray for the evil to stay inside of it where it belongs, just in case. As the mysteries deepen and more questions arise, it becomes even more difficult to discern what is real and what is myth.

The characters were amazing, especially Lenora May. As soon as she emerged from the swamp I knew that I was going to be intrigued by her. Sterling was fascinating, too, because she needs to learn to come into her own to save her brother, after he’s basically saved her throughout her entire life. I also found this book interesting because Sterling has an eating disorder but this isn’t a book about eating disorders. It’s about the mysteries of the swamp. I loved how it was just one aspect of her character and how it was handled throughout the story, though I’d have liked to see more of what happened with that aspect after the paranormal excitement died down.

This book was amazing–and it turns out that there’s a sequel? If I’d known that before reading, I may have been disappointed, but because this book was so surprising and hooked me in, I definitely need to get my hands on book two.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Did Not Finish: Sublime by Christina Lauren

Sublime

author : christina lauren

pages : [ebook] 336

summary :

True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors ofBeautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read”.

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

review :

I think that there’s a good chance I was tricked by the lovely cover, when I came to Sublime. I read about half of this book, wasn’t hooked, and needed to call it quits so that I could move onto other books that I might like more. Unfortunately, I do feel like other people may like this book more than I did. It simply wasn’t for me.

The characters were rather dry and felt like ones that I’d read about a bunch of times before, in young adult books. There was ultimately nothing unique or powerful about them; honestly, I forgot a lot about them until I went back to read the summary of the book. I think it was their instant love that really killed it for me, especially because she’s this mysterious girl/creature and he doesn’t even wonder about that so much as he’s fascinated with the idea of being with her. When they don’t even really know each other.

The writing wasn’t that great, either. It was pretty bland. There was no special oomph–because sometimes I’ll read books that aren’t so interesting just because they have fantastic writing. Sublime had no great plot and no real writing style to distract me from that fact. When it was losing on all corners, I had to let it go.

Maybe someone will come out loving this novel; I’d honestly like to hear another perspective on it. But I won’t be recommending it to anyone I know.

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