Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Say Her Name by James Dawson

Series: N/A
Author: James Dawson
Page Count: 287
Published: June 5th, 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
  4 Stars ★★★★

It's Halloween night, and Bobbie, along with her friend Naya and hot boy Caine, decide to try the 'Bloody Mary' ritual. They laugh it all off when nothing happens....until they start experiencing strange and disturbing happenings.

Bobbie finds the words 'five days' written in the steam on the bathroom mirror the next day, and she comes to realize that 'Bloody Mary' isn't just some lame urban legend after all; it is very real and very dangerous, and if she, Naya, and Caine don't solve the mystery surrounding this legend, they may not make it through the next five days alive.

This was a YA thriller-horror novel, sprinkled with the slightest bit of romance and a whole lot of mystery. I found it played with my mind a lot and had me wondering if the characters might be hallucinating, or if they really were experiencing what the narrator said they were experiencing. At some points, I wondered if the culprit was a living person instead of a supernatural force. I was constantly guessing what the outcome would be, and I love books that do that to me!

Bobbie was a very likeable protagonist. I found her very down-to-earth, and I admired her determination. Whenever something unfortunate happened to her, I worried over what would come of the situation. I rooted for her from the start and throughout the entire book; I never really got tired of her or thought she was being stupid or over dramatic, as I feel about many other characters in YA novels.

This paragraph may contain what some consider to be spoilers, however I find mentioning these things necessary for potential readers. A few warnings; there is a student-teacher relationship, teen pregnancy, and violence against a pregnant teen. There is also a scene in a psychiatric hospital, and one character finds herself covered in cuts, which while not from self harm, are described very similarly to the way self harm cuts appear.

This book was a nice change from the usual paranormal romances that I read. It was refreshing, unique, and very creepy. The ending took me by surprise and I recommend it to YA readers who enjoy the thriller and horror genres, and who may be interested in reading a unique spin on the Bloody Mary legend.

Find Say Her Name on Goodreads 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Beautiful Cover(s) of the Day!

The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr is all about fairies, romance, and loyalty. This YA series is quite popular and has gorgeous, colourful covers sure to catch your eye.  I love the usage of blue and purple tones and I think all of the covers complement the others perfectly.

The blurb:

" Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

Find Wicked Lovely on Goodreads

Monday, 15 June 2015

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Series: Monsters in the Dark
Author: Pepper Winters
Page Count: 376
Published: August 30th, 2013
Publisher: Pepper Winters
  5 Stars ★★★★★

Tess goes on vacation with her boyfriend, Brax. He is sweet and gentle, but isn't really open to her kinky fantasies. Tess feels horrible when Brax reacts negatively to her suggestions, and decides that she will no longer bring up the subject.

While visiting a sketchy restaurant, Tess finds herself kidnapped and thrown into a room with several other women. She doesn't know if Brax is still alive, she doesn't know why she has been taken, and she is terrified of the men who stole her from the restaurant. She soon learns that she is a victim of human trafficking; she is a 'gift' to a wealthy man in France.

Q, her new master, is rich and intimidating. He isn't cruel to her, but Tess can sense something dark, and not entirely unpleasant, beneath the surface. She knows she should feel angry, afraid, and disgusted, but she finds herself intrigued by Q. She wonders if this is the universe's way of punishing her for bothering sweet, gentle Brax about her dark fantasies.

As the tension between Tess and Q increases, she finds herself torn between giving in to her feelings for Q, or fighting them on Brax's behalf. When she is given the opportunity to escape, will she take it? Or has Q mesmerized her so much that she'd give up Brax, her family and friends, and her old life to stay with him?

I absolutely love reading books about kidnapping. I find them exciting and riveting. They keep me on the edge of my seat, unable to take my eyes off of the page. I also love erotic novels, especially when the steamy scenes are balanced enough with the story that I remain invested in the characters themselves. This book was a perfect combination of the two.

This book wasn't absolutely packed full of sex. No, the author took the time to build the tension, to get the reader hooked. There certainly was quite a bit of sexual tension, but the actual lengthy and descriptive erotic scenes were a little while into the book. I really appreciated this because it gave me time to get to know the characters as people, as individuals. The author focused on every aspect of who they were, past and present, and even what they wanted for the future. It gave me time to get emotionally involved in their stories.

The characters were so complex! Nobody was one hundred percent good or bad. Even Tess, the victim, had flaws and issues and dark ideas that complemented Q, the 'villain'. As for Q himself, his 'villain' status was constantly challenged by his mysterious actions, his desires, and the plot twists throughout the novel.

This book really played with my head. There were moments when I was absolutely shocked at what was going on, the next I was relieved after understanding the outcome of the situations. I understood Tess and her confusion around her feelings for Q; I kind of wanted her to escape and be with sweet, gentle Brax again, yet I could tell that Q had an intense hold on her, and that she desired him despite her situation. The plot twists throughout absolutely messed with me, and my perceptions of the characters.

As for the writing style, I have to admit that at the beginning of the book, I found the writing to be a little dry. But as I read, it got better and better. I hope that the rest of the series follows with this pattern; that it gets better and better as it goes.

I think it's important to discuss some of the rather dark themes explored in this book, so that readers are sure they won't get into something that might upset them. As I have mentioned, this book contains themes of kidnapping and human trafficking. There is also some rough BDSM, non-consensual sexual acts, along with consensual sexual acts. If you dislike erotica, this book isn't for you. If you get upset over fictional accounts of BDSM, rough sex, and manipulation (especially mental and psychological manipulation), this book will only serve to make you uncomfortable. There is also talk of dysfunctional families and abuse. Personally, none of these things bothered me but if you find books with these themes upsetting, you should probably avoid this one.

Over all, an exciting, intriguing, sexy read. I recommend this to fans of erotica, and to those who enjoy books containing kidnapping, BDSM, and complex characters. If you like plot twists and emotional novels, this book is for you.

Find Tears of Tess on Goodreads

Friday, 12 June 2015

Beautiful Bloggers Award

Hello everyone. I am pleased to say that I was nominated for the beautiful bloggers award! 

Click here to view aeriko001's blog (The Reading Armchair)!
Thank you for the nomination.

Rules (as listed on aeriko001's blog post):

Link to the blogger who nominated you.

List seven random facts about yourself.

Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers.

Nominate the people you nominated.

Seven Random Facts About Me:

1) I am a huge fan of Black Veil Brides. (Saw them in concert in February of this year, it was awesome)

2) I hope to become a famous author someday.

3) I received the 'Principal's Academic Award' at my grade eight graduation.

4) The Phantom of the Opera is my favourite musical.

5) I am Canadian.

6) I believe that magic is very, very real.

7) I would like to travel to Europe someday.

My Nominations:

1) AJ Colher @ ClairBooks

2) Ellie @ Elles Belles Bookshelf

3) Melissa @ Around The World In Books

4) Laura @ New Age Mama

5) Becky @ The Bookette

6) Ashley @ Book Nerd Paradise

7) Ariana @ Reading After Midnight 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim

Series: Twilight: The Graphic Novel
Author: Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim
Page Count: 224
Published: March 16th, 2010
Publisher: Yen Press
  5 Stars ★★★★★

This is the first book in a series of graphic novels portraying the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. The story of Twilight is widely known: Bella moves to Forks and is drawn to Edward. She becomes suspicious of him and investigates, only to find that he matches the description of a vampire. Their love blooms after Edward admits his true identity, yet they face obstacles which may cost them their lives.

Young Kim, the illustrator, did a fantastic job of bringing Twilight to life. Her drawings were detailed and very close to how I imagined the characters and situations while I was reading the original novel. Through gorgeous black and white illustrations, I found myself reliving one of my favourite vampire love stories.

This book stays quite true to the original story. There appeared to be a few minor differences, but nothing that affected the quality of this fantastic, artistic retelling.

I recommend this to Twilight fans and to those who enjoy graphic novels. If you're fond of beautiful illustrations and compelling romances, this book is for you.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Series: The Ghost and the Goth
Author: Stacey Kade
Page Count: 281
Published: June 29th, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books
  4 Stars ★★★★

Alona Dare is one of the most popular girls in school, excited to graduate at the end of the year. But then she gets hit by a bus and dies. Her soul doesn't leave Earth yet, though,  and the only living person who can see her is Will Killian.

Everyone thinks that Will is crazy. He can see and speak with spirits, but nobody believes him. To make it worse, the school principal is constantly picking on him and he hates his doctor. When Alona dies, they form an unlikely friendship, and together they face a malevolent entity with unknown motives.

I had been wanting to get my hands on this for a while when I noticed that it went on sale. I immediately rushed to purchase it, and I finally got to reading it several months later. I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book, as it isn't very similar to the other, more serious paranormal stories that I usually read.

I think the first thing I need to mention are the characters. As I started reading, Alona Dare seemed very much an incarnation of the high school cheerleader stereotype. She seemed careless and vain, even cold at times. As the story moved along, I felt like the author was trying to show me the deeper, more serious parts of Alona's life and experiences. The author seemed to want to make Alona grow as a person throughout the book, to change for the better. While this did occur, I felt like it wasn't nearly enough to redeem her character. Sure, she may have changed her views when it came to Will, eventually falling in love with the boy she previously referred to as a 'freak', but I felt like overall her development as a person was superficial. Did I absolutely loathe her character? No, she did have some likeable qualities. But I found myself unable to connect with her.

I found Will to be the best character in this book. Unlike Alona, I was able to connect with him and I cared about his life and story. I didn't find him at all superficial or stereotypical. He was a very complicated character with a troubled past and an uncertain future. He was what really kept me interested in the story. 

The story itself was a humorous paranormal romance, with elements of mystery. As I mentioned, I usually read more serious paranormal stories, so this was a change for me. I appreciated the author's use of humor, however there were times when I felt the humor to be too stereotypical, or that it was in scenes where I felt it didn't make sense to include humor. I'd like to note that not EVERY scene contains humor, but sometimes I felt like one scene needed it more than another. 

I recommend this book to YA readers fond of humor mixed with romance. If you'd like a light ghost story, this novel is for you.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid by Jan Harold Brunvand

Series: N/A
Author: Jan Harold Brunvand
Page Count: 256
Published: October 15th, 2004
Publisher:W.W Norton & Company
5 Stars ★★★★★

This book is a compilation of urban legends both new and old. It contains multiple versions of many urban legends and compares older stories with their modern incarnations. 

From the classic scary story 'Bloody Mary' to chain emails warning of the newest dangers, this book is sure to have something for everyone. 

I found myself revisiting many of the scary stories I had shared with my friends as a child as I read this book, and I appreciated that the author included the sources of the stories and that he compared and contrasted different retellings. 

Amongst these older and more familiar urban legends were newer ones, stories that I hadn't heard before. I was disturbed by many of them; rats disguised as dogs, venomous snakes hiding inside bed sheets and children's clothing. I enjoy being unnerved and as a result this book was perfect for me.

Deliciously disturbing and perfectly eerie, this compilation of urban legends is not for the faint of heart or the easily upset. I'd like to mention that it contains stories which include emotional deaths and child neglect. As these are themes which some may be sensitive to I feel it is an important courtesy to give potential readers a heads up

I recommend this book to those who love creepy stories and urban legends, and to those interested in learning about different versions of popular and sinister stories. If you love horror-esque tales, this is definitely for you.