Monday, January 23, 2017

The Dead House:Naida: A Companion Novella by Dawn Kurtagich

Age Group: YA
Pages: 80
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: October 11 2016
Price: $1.99  

A digital short story from The Dead House author Dawn Kurtagich
There is a box. A box that should never have been discovered. And a warning beneath the lid.
This was for Kaitlyn. It was a mistake. Forget this box and leave the Isle. Don't look any further.
I'm begging you. N.C.D. 2005
After the inferno that swept through Elmbride High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear, Naida Chounan-Dupre was locked away for the good of society.
But that wasn't the end of the story.
Because you can't play with the devil and not pay the price.
The chilling, psychological horror of The Dead House returns with never-before-seen footage of the Naida tapes.

                This novella takes place after the events of the Dead House, and now is centered around Naida rather than Kaitlyn.  In particular, the story line comes from Naida’s diaries and video transcripts; it is through Naida’s eyes that both stories truly come to fruition.
               The Dead House, was a novel that was part psychological thriller part supernatural suspense. It was the kind of story that keeps people on their toes, but what it didn’t have was a concrete ending. For a reader like me, that is beyond irritating.  I want an ending that does not leave me guessing.  The Dead House did not give me that, and that is where this novella comes in.  It gives the reader that solid ending that many readers crave. 
 The story, though short, is very captivating, and well-paced.  The author managed to create a full plot in less than one hundred pages.  That, itself is no easy feat, but then add the unique and suspenseful writing style of the author, and you get a one of a kind novella.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Age Group: YA
Pages: 448
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date:  September 15 2015

Welcome to the Dead House.


Three students: dead.

Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere."

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.


               I just happened to pick up this novel on a whim during a visit to my local Barnes and Nobel, and I have to say it is probably one of my better picks.  I originally pick the book because of its unconventional formatting.  That is, that this story is told completely from diary entries, doctors transcripts, and video transcripts.  This type of layout was not something I had really seen before; I was intrigued by how such a novel would read: would there be gaps in the story, how would it flow between each section, how would the video transcripts translate into the story, etcetera. 
I was pleased to find that the book transitions very well from section to section, it never felt choppy or disjointed, and when there was a gap in the story it was purposefully placed to add to the aura of suspense. This layout also lends to a very well-paced read, and one that would be suitable novel for those who may not be avid readers. I say this because the constant changes from diary entries to doctor’s transcripts, to interrogation transcripts, and then to video transcripts keep the reader from feeling like they are reading a traditional book. 
The formatting is not the only strong point this book has.  In fact, the strongest point would have to be the story its self.  This novel has an amazing plot line. The diary entry and transcripts format allows the reader to vividly see the heroine’s descent into madness in a way that would have been difficult to achieve in any other way.  This is perfect for the person who likes the book that will keep you guessing.  It has the best of both worlds, part psychological thriller, part supernatural mystery. 

Over all this book is great for those who may not be the biggest fans of reading, it would also be good for those who love suspenseful novels. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Slayed by Amanda Marrone

Age Group Tween/YA 
Pages: 240 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: 05 October 2016 

The Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires for over one hundred years, but sixteen-year-old Daphne wishes her parents would take up an occupation that doesn’t involve decapitating vamps for cash. All Daphne wants is to settle down in one place, attend an actual school, and finally find a BFF to go to the mall with. Instead, Daphne has resigned herself to a life of fast food, cheap motels and buying garlic in bulk. 
But when the Van Helsings are called to a coastal town in Maine, Daphne’s world is turned upside down. Not only do the Van Helsings find themselves hunting a terrifying new kind of vampire (one without fangs but with a taste for kindergarten cuisine), Daphne meets her first potential BF! The hitch? Her new crush is none other than Tyler Harker, AKA, the son of the rival slayer family. 
What's a teen vampire slayer to do?


This is one of those novels have I have had sat on my bookshelf for god only knows how long.  It was one of those novels that never really called to me, so I when I reached for a new book I would just pass over it.  Having been very busy with College classes recently, I have been turning more toward standalone novels.   This book just happened to fit the bill.  I did not find it a particularly amazing book, but nor was it a complete bore. 
This book would be good for someone, like myself, who is looking for a quick and easy read.  It is not the type of book that requires critical thinking nor does it require much forethought. The vampires are pretty standard, and the characters are the descendants from pretty commonly known characters from Dracula.  This, the fact that it is a stand-alone novel, and its short length make it the perfect read if someone wants a one or two sitting book. 
The other person that I think this book would be well suited for would be a tween or newly young adult reader.  The book was not too sexual in nature.  There was references to sex and hookups, but they were never too graphic; deeming this book appropriate for most young teens.  This book also works well for young teens because of the narration style of the book.  The main character is only seventeen, however, I often felt like the narration would have been that of someone even younger. The character and tone of the novel feel very youthful and slightly melodramatic.  Which would probably appeal to a younger crowd. 

In total, this novel isn’t no hidden gem, but it is a fun and rather lighthearted read considering it is a paranormal novel.  It would be great for those who are looking for a quick one-sit-down read, or those who are younger and want to read an age appropriate paranormal novel.  This is no best-seller but it a cute age appropriate novel.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Nelumbo Nucifera
Cristina Slough
Publication date: January 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller

On the surface, Gaby Parker has it all; however, behind closed doors, is a woman who lives in constant fear of the man who was supposed to love her: her husband, Kyle. Beaten, desperate, and broken, Gaby realizes the only way to escape from her violent husband is to kill herself — on paper. Gaby is dead, and Riley Locklin is born, residing in the tranquil coastal town of Chesswick Bay Montauk where she hopes to start over and meets a man who shows her bruises aren’t kisses.

Meanwhile, back home, Kyle is doing everything in his power to prove Gaby isn’t dead.

But…police find her burnt-out car and remains?

Kyle isn’t buying it; he knows she’s still alive. He launches his own full investigation to find his wife — and he’ll stop at nothing to claim her back. A female Detective assigned to his wife’s case doesn’t like him very much after discovering a domestic violence report – scorned by the history of her mother’s domestic abuse, she’s determined to send Kyle down for his wife’s murder.

And then he finds her. Will Gaby finally take a stand?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Author Bio:

Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of:

Nelumbo Nucifera and Till Death Us Do Part.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

Although Cristina loves pink and fluffy, her writing isn’t. She loves to focus on raw human emotion and gritty story lines; she’s very fond of messing with her readers heads by weaving twists into her books.

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, and several spoiled pets. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


XBTBa
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Untethered by Katie Hayoz

Untethered by Katie Hayoz
Age Group: Pre-teen/YA
Pages: 352
Publication Date: May 14, 2015

Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. But if there is one thing she’s sure of, it’s her love for Kevin Phillips. She’s willing to stake everything on it –her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.

Sixteen-year-old Sylvie has been best friends with Cassie forever. But everything is turned around when the boy Sylvie’s loved since fifth grade falls for Cassie. Devastated, Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible, even if it involves treachery, deceit, and the dark side of astral projection. She is positive her plans will give her what she wants, but she doesn’t count on it all spiraling out of control.

I was drawn to this book because of the uniqueness of the plot.  It seems that most young adult fiction lately is about paranormal creatures, dystopian worlds, or high school drama, so the fact that it was about something as unique as astral projecting made me excited to read the novel. The book itself is an easy read, even at three hundred and fifty pages I never felt that I was forcing myself to continue.  The book had an easy reading level that I think preteen and teens can enjoy.  

That being said, those who do not have the patients to read from a young teen girls point of view may get easily annoyed with the character.  Sylvie, as a character, can be self-centered and obnoxious at times.  She is often preoccupied and
obsessed with things that are very trivial, which some readers could find frustrating.  For me, however, I felt that Sylvie was a typical teenaged girl (give or take a few bad choices).  I think the author did a great job of portraying teen girls as they really are; dramatic, preoccupied with trivial things, and sometimes short-sighted.

Overall, I think that the author did a great job of creating a story that many ages can read and enjoy.  The book has such a unique plot that I would definitely recommend giving  the book a chance even if it is not your normal genre of book.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Below by Jason Chabot


Below by Jason Chabot
Age Group: YA
Pages: 312
Publisher: Turner Publishing company
Publication Date: July 6, 2016

No one but the dead dare venture Below . . .

The first volume in this thrilling trilogy opens on the barren plains of Below, where Hokk and his fox sidekick, Nym, live in exile amid the remnants of our modern age.

Overhead, on the floating islands of Above, Elia is trapped in a life of endless toil and drudgery as a laundress for the Mirrored Palace. To Elia, the islands’ edges are borders that no one dares cross until the ancient ritual that delivers the dead to Below. But a series of natural disasters rumbling through Above sends Elia’s world crashing into Hokk’s—and she falls Below.

Their journey together will propel them across endless plains and through shattered cities in a centuries-old battle for the very earth and sky around them . . .


I absolutely loved this novel. This was exactly the kind of novel that I find myself unable to put down.  From the setting, to the characterization and the plot, I loved every minute of it.  The author, Jason Chabot, created a beautiful debut novel that has left me wanting more. 

The world that Jason Chabot creates in complex, unique, and fantastical. The author has a way of giving the reader just enough information about this futuristic world to keep them hooked and wanting more.   I found myself often comparing the setting of this novel to the real world.  Many of the modifications that he describes are very possible, some on the other hand are not, but it all comes together into an intriguing futuristic world. 

The plot of the novel was as unique as the world he created.  Every page was filled with trials and tribulations for both of the characters, that the reader is immediately drawn in.  I found myself waiting patiently as I read trying to put pieces of the puzzle together and figure out what was going to happen, each time I failed to anticipate the authors next move.  I am still waiting to try and piece together some of the mysteries surrounding the characters and the world they live in. 

By far my favorite part of the entire novel is the characters themselves.  They both come from such strikingly different environments, but both face very difficult lives.  I found them both to be very interesting and complex characters.  Elia seems very quiet and mousy at first, but as the reader continues into the novel they learn just what strength she truly possesses.  With Hokk, we start off with a very stoic warrior architype, but the reader soon learns there is far more to him that what meets the eye.  The two could not be more different, but they complement each other beautifully.

Chabot’s novel is written from both Elia and Hokk’s points of view.  In so doing we get to see two very different angles for the story.  Both of the characters have different motives, different mind sets, and different reactions to everything.  This technique really allows the reader to see both sides of the world, and gives them more perspective than if the book was just written from one perspective.  I tend not to like novels that have multiple perspectives, but in this case Chabot pulled it off beautifully. 


In total Chabot created a novel with an amazing story line, great characters, and a very imaginative setting.  The book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I am absolutely hooked; I cannot wait for the next book.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

It Started With a Whisper Tour

It Started with a Whisper by Shannon McCrimmon
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: June 1st 2016
 Summary: Five simple words: That's all it takes to change the course of 18-year-old Josie Graham's life inthe summer of 1989. Josie is a musical prodigy: She can sing, play guitar and is a natural on the piano. Instead ofspending her last summer before college traveling the country with her rock star father, she's made a last minute decision to spend it working at her Aunt Bernie's inn, in Ambler's Fork, North Carolina. But what could have turned her life-long passion for music into a hatred for an industry she's worked so hard to get into? Her aunt's inn seems like the perfect place to escape, to clear her head and figure things out, but on her first day there, she almost drowns before Chic Hobbs saves her. Chic wants nothing more in life than to leave Ambler's Fork and his sordid past behind—at least not until that day Josie Graham swims into his life. The problem is, Chic's got a secret. It's a secret he's keeping from Josie, and he's worried ifit gets out, it'll ruin everything, and she'll judge him for his past mistakes the way everyone else in town has. Josie is carrying a burden of her own. One that made her run to Ambler's Fork - away from her family and everything she's ever known. Chic saved Josie once. Can he save her again? Or will Josie rescue him this time?Add to GoodreadsBuy Links:Amazon It Started with a Whisper video: About the AuthorShannon McCrimmon was born and raised in Central Florida. She attended Rollins College and earned a Master's Degree in Counseling. In 2008, she moved to the upstate of South Carolina. Itwas the move that inspired her to write her first novel. She currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and toy poodle. She'd love to hear from you! Connect with her atshannonmccrimmon.comAuthor Links: Website│Twitter│Facebook│Goodreads│PinterestGIVEAWAY: a Rafflecopter giveaway Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours


 Excerpt 1:           I feel like I'm in a prison cell. Iron bars cover the door and windows. There's a putrid, moldy scent, like dirty socks and a boy's sweaty locker room. The overweight, hairy Sasquatch working behind the counter looks like the type my mother warned me about. Yet here I am, standing inside Donny's Pawn Shop, handing over my precious guitar Dad gifted me years ago.            Part of me wants to snatch it back from him. Tell him I'm not selling it after all. Getting rid of it this way feels wrong somehow, like I'm cutting ties with a former part of myself. Still, I don't think I can ever allow myself to play it again. Not now anyway.