Archive of ‘Paranormal’ category

Review: The Walls Around Us

From Goodreads: On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

Erin’s Thoughts: Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! This book completely wowed me! I should start by saying that the unreliable narrator is easily my favorite literary trope. I love the mystery of trying to figure out who and what to believe…what’s reality and what’s not. The Walls Around Us sings with unreliability in the best way. Nova Ren Suma has done a wonderful job of creating dual storylines, linked together, each with a distinct air or unreliability, all while keeping the plot moving. It’s truly an impressive piece of writing, and I’m eager to read more from her.

This is part ghost story and part murder mystery with a cast of creepy, detached characters to guide you through the book. I think it’s important to go into this book realizing that you will likely be confused.  Things will be unclear. That’s part of the fun of reading this. I found myself constantly trying to suss out what was what, even while I wasn’t reading. I very much anticipate this being a top book of 2016 for me!

A Reading Funk

I could feel it coming. I would binge a few great books and then stare at my library pile with apathy. Indecision meant starting multiple books before setting them aside.

I was in a Reading Funk.

The fact that reading keeps me sane means a reading funk is no good. I picked up a few quicker romance reads and that kept me going for a few more weeks.

But then I was back to aimlessly staring at covers, my fingers slipping over the spines but ending up empty handed. It was time of the big guns.

The only thing that can save me from this situation is a good old fashioned reread.

Sometimes it only takes one more trip to Paris with Anna and Etienne to pull me out of my funk, but this time it felt bigger than that. I needed a series reread, but Anna wasn’t calling to me.

Sookie Stackhouse was calling to me instead. In the past few days I’ve read the first and second, and am starting on the third. I needed something fast, dramatic, and familiar, and this series gives me exactly that. I don’t know if I’ll reread the entire series (though that would surely help me recover from my lackluster beginning of the month) but I figure I’ll reread until I see an unread book on my shelves that jumps into my waiting hand.

What do you do when you hit a reading funk/slump? Power through? Take a break? Reread?

Review: The Library at Mount Char

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

From Goodreads: Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She’s sure of it. What she doesn’t realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price—because in becoming a God, she’s forgotten a great deal about being human.

Jennie’s Thoughts: That is the longest GR summary I have ever seen, but I had no clue how to manage it in my own words. So, if you’re still reading after all that, here are my thoughts.

This book is gory and sickening and twisted and weird and suspenseful and intriguing and crazy. (See this is why I didn’t attempt to rewrite that GR summary shorter…) But, I highly recommend it, which maybe makes me as twisted as some of the characters in the book, but oh well.

I picked this up because Julie at Book Hooked Blog informed me that I had to read it. And when Julie says something is a must read, I obey. And she’s rarely (if ever, honestly!) lead me astray. This book was NOTHING like I’ve ever read before, and even when things got gross (my stomach LITERALLY hurt at parts) it was still something I could not put down.

But, a word of wisdom, do NOT read this alone at night unless you’re braver than I am. It was a bit unsettling to leave this world between the closed book and try to go to sleep without jumping at every little sound.

Andrea’s first quarter 2015 wrap up

Recap: my list of reading goals included

Reading more physical books, non-fiction, the Dark Tower and Narnia series… etc etc. for a total of 52 books (including the 26 book challenge for Bringing Up Burns)

So…

How did I do through March 31?

So far I’ve read 14 books in 2015, so I’m 2 ahead of schedule per Goodreads.! This does include a re-read of The Sea of Tranquility, but I don’t even care. If you’ve never read that, stop what you’re doing and READ.IT.NOW. If you HAVE read it, you know what I’m talking about and you’ve already abandoned this post in favor of rereading it.

Five of the 14 have been ebooks, and four have been “real” books.  That means I’ve only listened to 5 audio books so far this year.

I’m currently listening to Wolves of the Calla, so I’m on book 5 of 7 of the Dark Tower series. The narrator on the audio is different beginning with book 5, but it’s still enjoyable. Basically it’s like going from Brad Pitt to…Leo? vice versa? Equally good but no reason to change in the first place.

Narnia has been on hold for some time, so maybe I’ll pick it back up with Megan; maybe I won’t this year. We’ve read Book 1 in the past, and she is only 5 and missing some of the context, so I’m not holding myself to this particular goal. (even though I’d *like* to meet it)

As far as the 26 book challenge goes…I’m obviously on track with it but haven’t really assigned any titles to specific categories since January. I’d like to do that soon, but it takes more energy than this momma has at the eleventh hour.

How are your reading goals progressing? Any titles I just have to read?

Review: Burnt Mountain

Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons

From Goodreads:

Growing up, the only place tomboy Thayer Wentworth felt at home was at her summer camp – Camp Sherwood Forest in the North Carolina Mountains. It was there that she came alive and where she met Nick Abrams, her first love…and first heartbreak.

Years later, Thayer marries Aengus, an Irish professor, and they move into her deceased grandmother’s house in Atlanta, only miles from Camp Edgewood on Burnt Mountain where her father died years ago in a car accident. There, Aengus and Thayer lead quiet and happy lives until Aengus is invited up to the camp to tell old Irish tales to the campers. As Aengus spends less time at home and becomes more distant, Thayer must confront dark secrets-about her mother, her first love, and, most devastating of all, her husband.

Andrea’s Review: I really liked this book- gave it three stars on Goodreads- but I’ll be honest. I felt like the ending had little to nothing to do with 80% of the book. I mean, the characters and story lines tied in, but around the last chapter or two the story took a sharp detour into Side-EyeVille.  I’m not going to post spoilers or anything, of course, but it definitely had me scratching my head. Maybe it would’ve been easier to follow in hard copy instead of audio; I dunno. But, I still gave it three stars for merit. All in all? Meh.

Review: Throne of Glass series

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – Well, through Heir of Fire which is the most recently pubbed book in the series. There are still three more to come I think!

From Goodreads: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Jennie’s Thoughts: I read a lot of paranormal books when the genre dominated the book world, but I had never gotten too deep into full-on fantasy books. Had I known what I was missing, I would’ve jumped on board sooner!

Celaena is one bad-ass, ass-kicking, girl with a heart. I love her. No, seriously, I’m totally girl crushing all over her. And Captain Westfall. And another character that I can not name because they appear in the third book.

I started with the first book in the series and then put all the rest on hold at the library. The short story collection was the first to come available and I devoured it. WOW. It was such a great way to get inside Celaena prior to the first book. And then I used a B&N gift card to buy the rest of the series, I couldn’t wait for the library.

If you’re looking for a series (I LOVE series, the following of characters over time, swoon!) that features a girl who can hold her own but still has emotion, this book is written for you. I love the writing and the plot, even when it blossomed fully into the fantasy world. LOVED IT ALL.

So, read this! And then we can discuss! :)

Review: The Supernatural Enhancements

From Goodreads:  When twentysomething A., the unexpected European relative of the Wells family, and his companion, Niamh, a mute teenage girl with shockingly dyed hair, inherit the beautiful but eerie estate of Axton House, deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never even knew he had a “second cousin, twice removed” in America, much less that the eccentric gentleman had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .

Together, A. and Niamh quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and a cushy lifestyle. Axton House is haunted, they know it, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the secrets they slowly but surely uncover. Why all the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze and what does the basement vault keep? And what of the rumors in town about a mysterious gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?

Erin’s Thoughts: Siiiiiiiiigh.  This book was fantastic!  It’s a mysterious, spooky, delicious read.  The Supernatural Enhancements is written in the form of letters, journal entries, notes from the mute Niamh, and video recordings.  I’m not always a fan of epistolary books because it can be tricky to follow, and I constantly feel like I’m missing something.  This book is so well done.  The letters and transcripts give enough action to keep you in the loop, but still leave enough of the mystery to make it eerily fun.  If you like mysteries, code, and curious ghost stories, this is the book for you.  If you are looking for a book with those classic horror elements that are just creepy enough to give you the chills, this is the book for you.  If you just want to read an awesome book, this is the book for you!

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