Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

91mVuKxQdoLTitle: Fiendish

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: August 2014

Pages: 341

Genre: YA Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Clementine DeVore spent ten years trapped in a cellar, pinned down by willow roots, silenced and forgotten.

Now she’s out and determined to uncover who put her in that cellar and why.

When Clementine was a child, dangerous and inexplicable things started happening in New South Bend. The townsfolk blamed the fiendish people out in the Willows and burned their homes to the ground. But magic kept Clementine alive, walled up in the cellar for ten years, until a boy named Fisher sets her free. Back in the world, Clementine sets out to discover what happened all those years ago. But the truth gets muddled in her dangerous attraction to Fisher, the politics of New South Bend, and the Hollow, a fickle and terrifying place that seems increasingly temperamental ever since Clementine reemerged.

Review

Yovanoff’s other books have been on my to-read list for awhile. But this one appeared during a trip to B&N this weekend, and I loved the cover and was in the mood for something creepy. When the first line tells you the MC has been trapped in a cellar by roots for ten years, well, it doesn’t get much creepier and intriguing than that, right?

The book was enjoyable, and while I didn’t find it scary at all, parts of it were creepy and disturbing. At least, the beginning was. I will admit that being dropped into the middle of Clementine’s world, with mention of craft and crooked families and fiends, was jarring at first. It was explained over the course of the book, but I found myself at times wishing for some more explaination. I mean, boys found a girl pinned in a burned out cellar with her eyes sewed shut. While there was some cursing and some fear, there wasn’t nearly enough for what I would have thought. It both confused me and set things up that this place was outside of “normal” reality.

The magic in the book is also not fully explained, and I ended the novel still unclear about the star and its five points and the system itself. I wished for more, because I think it would have made the whole thing better and maybe made me love the characters a little more. For most of them, I felt like it was a love them or hate them kind of thing. I liked Clementine and Shiny. Rae and Davenport and Fisher all were a little blah for me.

I also had a hard time with Clementine. She is put in the cellar when she’s 7. She comes out 10 years later. There’s a lot of talk about how she can’t fit into her skin quite right, but she never really comes out with a seven-year-old’s mentality. I mean, she’s singing Farmer in the Dell not long before being locked up and going over her numbers, and then she comes out, thinks about things, says some vague things that sound like she was “out of body” while imprisoned, and then she’s acting like a normal seventeen year old. Especially since halfway through the book she’s got a romance going. When you forgot about the beginning and the age, it works. When you really think about it, its weird.

I have to say one thing I truly adored, and that was Yovanoff’s prose. Its beautiful. The first three pages alone I went back and reread more than once. Her words just shine. Throughout the book there were little sprinkles of fantastic lines and descriptions, and that I loved. I wish I had loved it more, but I will be going to check out her other books soon! If you enjoy dark fantasy, I’d suggest you give it a try.

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled(But four stars for the prose!)

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18667948-fiendish?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595146385/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1595146385&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fiendish-brenna-yovanoff/1117163910?ean=9781595146380&itm=1&usri=9781595146380&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by the reviewer.

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Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

19486754Title: Ghost House

Author: Alexandra Adornetto

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: August 2014

Pages: 312

Genre: YA Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own

Review

This was one of the books I’ve got on my list for my Halloween read. It is, after all, October and Fall and whenever the weather finally turns a bit cool and the leaves hint at a change, I feel the need to read more horror than normal. So when I saw this in Barnes & Noble the other day, it seemed like the perfect choice!

I enjoyed the main charater, Chloe, and the fact that while she does grow over the course of the book, she never solves all her problems or resolves everything. The changes that happen in the book, from her mother’s death to the ghosts and their drama, aren’t really things that you just bounce back quickly from. I also enjoyed the feeling of being a fish out of water that she has in the end.

The storyline with Chloe and the ghosts and her family problems are good. The backstory of Alex and Isabelle are also really well done and well thought out. The author does well at explaining why they are acting they way they are, for the most part. There are some discrepancies that I wondered at – Isabelle’s reasons for taking Benjamin, for instance, are a bit much for me. While they sort of fit in with her character, there’s something about it that also seems flimsy. I also think Chloe’s jump from liking Alex to being head over heels in love is a bit sudden. I loved Joe’s character, and wanted to see more about him and his connection to everything.

Overall, the ghost story is intriguing, and I love the tidbits you’re given – the author does a great job of feeding you just enough information to keep you guessing, but not enough to get the whole picture too early. The romance is good, but I must admit, I have no idea what will happen next. This book is the first in a series, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the others.

If you enjoy ghost stories, this is a good one to pick!

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486754-ghost-house

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373211309/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0373211309&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-house-alexandra-adornetto/1117716181?ean=9780373211302&itm=1&usri=9780373211302&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by the reviewer.

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

13260536Title: The Murmurings

Author: Carly Anne West

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: March 2013

Pages: 384

Genre: YA Paranormal

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

Review

I’ve said it before – I frequently judge books by their covers. Especially horror novels – if it doesn’t look creepy enough, I’m not as likely to pick it up. That being said, the cover was the main reason I picked this up in the bookstore. It was staring at me from the shelf and screamed “I”m creepy! Read me!”

I want to tell you that it was a fright-inducing read and I couldn’t sleep without a light on at night. That wasn’t quite how things worked out. The book starts out with Sophie mourning her sister’s death, and wondering about the circumstances that caused it. You know that her sister had been in a mental institution, and you know that there’s a lot of guilt in Sophie about it. You begin to understand why when it comes out that Nell saw and heard things and Sophie might have the same ability, though she doesn’t want to admit it. The potential creep factor was there. It had all the earmarks for some really weird and frightening things to go on. Without giving too much away, Sophie finds out that her abilities make her able to see Takers, and that’s not a good thing. But for me, the brief glimpses we get at first of the Takers – in mirrors or reflections of Sophie – are more scary than the actual Takers. When one finally comes out, they’re just…  meh.

I really enjoyed the mystery portion of the whole thing and the way that West has plotted out the details. There were times when the book dragged for me, and Sophie visited the hospital far too many times before being held there for my taste. I like the way that West makes us question the motives of those around Sophie, just as Sophie does.

The ending was a bit anti-climatic for me, and I still don’t fully understand exactly why things worked out they way they did. I would have liked more of an explanaition for that, because I was left with more questions than anything about the Takers and Sophie and how it was going to affect her life. But if you enjoy mildly creepy books and don’t mind a bit of slow movement in the middle, the book isn’t too bad.

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13260536-the-murmurings?ac=1

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1442441798/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1442441798&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-murmurings-carly-anne-west/1107394057?ean=9781442441798&itm=1&usri=9781442441798&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by the reviewer.

A Midsummer Night’s Scream by R.L. Stine

16075935Title: A Midsummer Night’s Scream

Author: R. L. Stine

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: July 2013

Pages: 250

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Oh, what fools these actors be!

it was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later, new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to revive their failing studio, Claire’s dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

At first, Claire laughs at Jake’s talk of ghosts and curses. He’s been too busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut, Annalee, to notice that she’s practically been throwing herself at him. What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth…

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror, R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.(

Review

Oh, R.L. Stine….

I bought this because it had a reference to Shakespeare and because it was Stine. I saw him speak a few years ago at a conference and he was AMAZING. I knew what to expect. We all read Goosebumps in our youth. (even if we don’t want to admit it) I was expecting a YA version of his campy horror. Entertaining, if not great literature. (Like those stupid Syfy movies that suck you in on late nights….)

I didn’t even get that. It is very rare that I can’t finish a book. Even rarer –  I can’t remember ever doing this – that I don’t make it past the first five chapters.

The book is awful. Not even in a fun way. I read through the beginning and kept waiting for the “Gotcha!” moment so we could all laugh and move on with the story. But there wasn’t one.

If I could give less than a star, I would. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. I’ve held onto it for three months, hoping I could give it another try, but I just can’t.

Rating: starcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16075935-a-midsummer-night-s-scream?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/125002434X?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=125002434X&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

tenTitle: Ten

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: Sept 2012

Pages: 296

Genre: Young Adult Thriller

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Review

This is an awesome thriller. I initally wondered how she would be able to stage a murder mystery on an island in the era of cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter. But the scenario is plausible and authentic, and provides just the right atmosphere for a murder mystery. To be honest, I didn’t realize this was a retelling of Agatha Christie. Halfway through I kept stopping and thinking that there was something really familiar about the general outline of the story. Then it hit me, and I went and broke down, cheated, and looked it up online and figured it out. That being said, it does NOT detract from the book at all. The characters are likable, though I must admit I wasn’t terribly sad to see at least one character bite it. I don’t want to say who for fear of spoiling something.

The murders are well done, without being shocking and overly gory. The interaction between the different characters is pretty true to life, and the paranoia that sets in is well done. I liked the main character, and the responsibility she feels toward her friend helps to make you feel both sorry and outraged for her. The ending worked well, and while I suspected the culprit, I had long sense written them off for someone else, so it was a surprise. The reasoning was also good, though I kind of wished for more conflict when there were some facts revealed at the end. The murderer brushed them off and I wanted to see a little more reaction.

The romance part is well done, and I like that it wasn’t an insta-love situation. I like that it was something that’s been brewing awhile and the main character has some questions and some reservations. The end result is a fantastic thriller! If you like whodunnits and murder and mayhem and a little creepy, then this is definitely a book you should pick up!

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11958033-ten

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062118781?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0062118781&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ten-gretchen-mcneil/1108621183?ean=9780062118783&itm=1&usri=9780062118783

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Dead River by Cyn Balog

deadriverTitle: Dead River

Author: Cyn Balog

Publisher: Delacorte

Publication Date: April 2013

Pages: 242

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

My friends and I are spending prom weekend at a remote wooded cabin on the Dead. The Dead River.

I thought it was going to be just us.

I was wrong.

Review

I picked this up, thinking it would be a horror novel. And in some ways it was. The creepy imagery is great (Pink dress girl is my favorite), and I loved the fear of the water in the main character, and the reasons for it. Balog’s descriptions are fantastic and really draw you in. It was descriptive without being too wordy and giving too much. It is horror, but the paranormal aspect, for me, took some of the bite out of the horror. Which I actually liked. I enjoy goosebump horror better than shock and jump horror.

It did not, however, end up where I thought it might. The twist was interesting, and it worked. I do wish there had been more explanation of some things, though. The mythology is left open to reader interpretation, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I wish we’d been given a little more. Also, I loved Trey, and the growth he makes over the course of the book. I like that you aren’t always sure of him, just like the MC.

Definitely liked the characters, and enjoyed the story. A great read, and if you enjoy creepy things, definitely pick it up!

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9774362-dead-river

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385741588?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0385741588&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-river-cyn-balog/1112126037?ean=9780385741583&itm=1&usri=9780385741583

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

13597728Title: Asylum

Author: Madeleine Roux

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: August 2013

Pages: 310

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Book Summary (from back cover)

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

 

Review

I picked this book up, mainly because of the cover. I will admit it. I judge books by the cover quite frequently. This one was creepy and looked like it might deliver some good horror.  So I bought it. ASYLUM was not a bad book. It did intrigue me enough to make me want to get to the end and see what happened. My biggest problem is that all of the twists I guessed almost before they were introduced.

Its very easy to read, although its almost a little more like a middle grade than a young adult. Not a bad thing, just something I found interesting. The main character, Dan, is a likeable kid, overall. But he doesn’t do much growing before the end of the book, and his “disability” is hinted at through the first 2/3 but not revealed until almost the end. I feel like it was meant to throw off the reader, but might have been more successful if it were played up more.

There is a little romance with Abby, but it doesn’t really go anywhere and fizzles before it ever really starts. The relationships are done pretty well – they match the weird pattern of summer camp friends (I used to work in summer camp administration) but they leave some things unresolved, and they aren’t “finished.” The characters make up a little too well and too quickly, considering everything that happened.

The creep factor was there, but it wasn’t as big as I’d hoped. An asylum that’s still got some of the old sections left could be more scary than this was. The serial killer factor involved also distracted me, mainly because there are several cop shows that have done a similar killer, and that’s all I could see in my head. I guessed the identity of the murderer by the second chapter, and the other twists were easily figured out. Despite this, the book does keep you interested and you want to know what happens and how its all happened.

If I had to have a gripe, it would be the photos and the ending. They were trying to go for something like the photos included in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and it fell short. Some of the ones included here were creepy. Most were pretty obviously staged, and really only served to pull me out of the story. My imagination came up with far scarier things in the photos described in the text, than what was shown. The ending, I found a bit confusing. I think I understand what the author was trying to do. If you want a spoiler, highlight the lines between the asterisks. *How could the professor leave notes in the Warden’s handwriting, if Dan has been writing them himself all along? That would imply the warden is possessing anyone, not just someone specific. I found this a confusing contradiction, and the questions it brings up aren’t scary or creepy, they’re just confusing and make the loose ends more annoying than anything else.*

Overall, I think the book could have been stronger. Characters could have been fleshed out more, some characters that seemed unimportant and became more important could have been emphasized, and the horror could have been played up far more than it was. If you are looking for something interesting and mildly creepy, this is it. If you want real scares and goosebumps, this is not the book for you.

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

 

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13597728-asylum

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062220969?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0062220969&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/asylum-madeleine-roux/1113200651?ean=9780062220967&itm=1&usri=9780062220967

 

Book was purchased by reviewer.