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.

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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.

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Book Highlight: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Book Highlight!

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In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Praise for Gates of Thread and Stone

“Lori M. Lee excels in building a world of intrigue, oppression, and magic amidst a Labyrinth setting as twisted and winding as the secrets hidden inside her characters’ hearts. Fans of strong heroines who don’t need a boy to hold their hands, action-packed fighting scenes, and whispers of steampunk and mythology, will find themselves wishing they, too, could manipulate the threads of time, if only to stay inside the story a little longer.”-A.G. Howard, the SPLINTERED series

“Inventive, romantic, and gripping. I was hooked from the first page!”-Amy Tintera, REBOOT and REBEL

 

About the Author

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Lori is the author of young adult fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone, coming August 5, 2014 from Skyscape. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

Links:

Preorder Links:
 

Accordance by Shelly Crane

12667194Title: Accordance

Author: Shelly Crane

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: Sept 2011

Pages: 314

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

In the sequel, Maggie learns much more about all the strange things that happened to her, and has to face new ones. She rebels against it, but ultimately, must face it for her new families sake and maybe even her life. Bish went from being her biggest supporter to her biggest pain in the butt and Kyle’s intentions to attract her interest may not be so innocent. Caleb and Maggie face many new obstacles together and fight to work through them but will one that should be a good thing be too much for Maggie to handle?

Review

I read Shelly Crane’s SIGNIFICANCE awhile ago, and couldn’t decide whether to continue the story or not. ACCORDANCE is a fun, quick read, and I recommend it if you enjoyed the first book.

This time, the book picks up exactly where book one left off (like, exactly) which is actually kind of nice. As long as you don’t need a super huge refresher on what already happened, its great to just jump right back into the story. I enjoy Caleb and Maggie, though some of the same sort of story line appears here. I like the more detailed look at Bish and his interaction. Anyone who reads this knows where the story with Bish is going. (I’m not saying more than that. Honestly, if you read the end of the first book and didn’t guess it, I’d be surprised.) there is a twist involved that I’m interested in seeing how the author deals with that.

Maggie becomes this amazing thing in the story, and it becomes integral to her life as an Ace. And while its a cool thing, it also makes it hard to believe that she’s really and truly vulnerable, outside of Caleb. She can do all these things, and while that takes time to control, she’s still really helpless at times, which drives me nuts. The way her gift affects others is, however, a really nice touch and gives the gift a “downside,” which helps even things out a bit.

Caleb is too good to be true, but you can’t help but like him. The book is pretty predictable, and the few twists that were there, you can almost guess as soon as it pops up. There are a few surprises, and they are good ones.

I don’t know if I will continue to read the rest of the series or not. I feel as indifferent as I did last time. It was enjoyable, but a bit of a fluff read for me. If you want a quick beach read, go for it!

 

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12667194-accordance?from_search=true

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NKFVJW/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B005NKFVJW&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults?store=book&pt=bk&ern=210&isbn=b005nkfvjw&r=1,%201&cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-gwez7vxblvu-_-10:1

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Til Death by Kate Evangelista

9781622662333Title: Til Death

Author: Kate Evangelista

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: March 2014

Pages: 358

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.

Review

I was really excited when I received this book in my email *cough* last night. I hadn’t intended to stay up late to read it. Nope. I had many other things to do. Instead, I had to find out what happened. So I was up a bit late. That should tell you right there that I enjoyed the book.

Selena and Dillan are interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about them. The world that Evangelista has created is smooth and believable, and you can tell she has her details worked out. The relationship between characters is good, and as someone who has lived in a small town for awhile, it was pretty accurate in its portrayal. Selena is a great character, and Penny and Kyle are great supporting acts. They’re likeable and they have their own personalities. I wish Selena’s abilities were a little more defined and “played up,” just because it sometimes seemed like it got lost. Then again, I wonder if that was done on purpose. I get the impression her abilities are something that will grow with her character in future books, and I’m interested to see where that leads.

Dillan’s character, by the end, was one I liked. But I must admit that the cocky, abrasive personality has me struggling to like him in the beginning. When you finally figure out why he’s been sent to Wyoming, it makes a little more sense. I like that Dillan has an inner struggle going on and how that affects him and the way he deals with things. I just wish he’d stop being so prickly a little faster. I like that the characters have separate “issues” going on, outside of what is happening at the moment. The author has given all her characters a story, and it shows. Most of them have hints that they might intertwine and be important later, but it isn’t distracting or frustrating. 

The relationship between Selena and Dillan I enjoyed at the end, but it was another case where the characters are at each other’s throats, insulting each other and getting angry, and then they finally realize its because they like each other. It’s a personal preference, but I don’t enjoy that – if I get that angry at someone, the last thing I’m thinking about is dating them! In this case, they do eventually tone it down, and the relationship takes a more even and enjoyable tone. (again, this is a personal preference. I’m sure some people will love the interaction!) I also like that Selena doesn’t allow Dillan (or anyone else around her) to walk all over her. She might not fully understand what’s going on, but she’s not going to let them fight her battles for her.

The ending is great, and while the villain is predicable and easily identified in both cases, I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m very interested to see where this goes, especially with Dillan’s… past issues coming back to haunt him there at the end.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal, then you’ll enjoy this. Definitely pick it up and take a read!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16129271-til-death

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Fractured-Souls-Kate-Evangelista-ebook/dp/B00EBRKW1U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Book was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blood Moon by Teri Harman

bloodmoonTitle: Blood Moon

Author: Terri Harman

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Publication Date: June 2013

Pages: 350

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

Willa dreams of true events and her best friend is a ghost. Simon can heal any wound with a touch and senses others’ emotions, intentions. All their lives they’ve felt alone in their bizarre abilities, hiding behind a facade of normalcy, wondering why and how. The night Simon walks into the Twelve Acres Diner and meets Willa face to face, in a swirl of electric heat, they are bound to one another and glimpse the magic of who they are.

Across town a witch is held prisoner in the derelict basement of an old Victorian house. One night as it rains, she dares to reach her filthy, scarred hand out the window. Willa, walking home from work, recognizes the pathetic hand from a recent, terrible dream.

After a daring rescue of the witch, Willa and Simon are catapulted into the alluring but dangerous world of witchcraft and the magic of The Six Gifts. Answers to all their questions are within reach, but they’ve stepped into the middle of a deadly fight for the Powers of the Earth. Do they stay, risk their lives on the promise of power, or walk away?

Review

Blood Moon by Terri Harman is a great read, especially considering the season! I enjoyed Simon and Willa’s story, and the take on witches that Harman has used. Her research and world building is really well done, and you are told the facts as you need them, letting you accumulate the information at the same time (or a bit before) the two main characters. The book does have some flashbacks, which were a little hard at first for me personally, but after the first couple you get into the rhythm of the book and they don’t distract from the story. Instead, they provide information by showing you rather than just info-dumping on the page.

The romance is well done too. It is insta-love, which I’m not always a fan of, but I really, really enjoyed the fact that there was no love triangle here. The characters meet, recognize that they are Soul Mates, and they spend the rest of the story together. There is no third person trying to butt in. And you know, they manage to find enough drama that you don’t need it. They have questions about themselves and each other, and they have to work through things that they didn’t even know existed before the beginning of the book.

The Six Gifts are explained well, and the dark versus light in the book makes for an interesting read. Their battle is far from over, and the ending – while stopping at a point that doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out – is a cliff hanger. You know more is coming, and you aren’t sure what kind of form it will take.

Overall, this is a great YA fantasy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment. If you’re a fan of witches/paranormal romance, check it out!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16104353-blood-moon

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1939967007?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1939967007&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-moon-teri-harman/1114940694?ean=9781939967008&itm=1&usri=9781939967008

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

6068551Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: August 2009

Pages: 392

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Book Summary (from back cover)

Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

Sam has lived two lives. as a wold, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.

For Grace and Same, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human – and Grace must fight to keep him – even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Review

Every so often, a book surprises you, and at the same time makes the author in me want to curl up and die because I will never, NEVER, be able to write prose like this. SHIVER was one such book. I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry.

I love Grace and Sam and their story. I love the way Maggie Stiefvater uses words to draw you in. She sprinkles poetry throughout the book, but her prose sparkles just as much as the poetry. It sparkles, and describes, and make you see the characters inside and out. They grow, and change, and their interactions and connection are believable and connect with you.

I know most of the world has probably already read this. I’m so, so sorry I missed out on it when it first started, but I can promise I will read all her books soon. I hadn’t read this sooner because all I heard was werewolf, and had read several werewolf stories that just didn’t do it for me. So I passed. But this is a whole other category. Her take on the wolves and why they change and how is fresh and unique and heartbreaking. Sam is a tragic character, and yet you never pity him, because he never pities himself. Grace is also a broken character, in a different way, and yet together they make a whole picture.

The characters in the novel are all separate, distinct people who have their own growth patterns. I enjoyed that while Isabel is still the snotty rich kid, you see that there’s probably a reason, and that she has hidden depths as well. Grace is not perfect. She’s too ananlytical sometimes, but she knows it, and she doesn’t try to change it. The characters are self-aware because they’ve had to be, and they don’t change themselves for the sake of romance or what they think they want. The change and grow with their circumstances, but still stay true to who they are.

There are some twists, but they help to make the whole picture better, and give it even more depth than before.

And did I mention that the prose is amazing. Her descriptions are perfect, and I just want to highlight the whole book over and over while lamenting that my writing will never be up to par.

I love these books. I don’t care if you hate paranormal and magic and fantasy. Go read them. The characters will curl in your chest and then make you cry. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I got this one from the library. I’ll be ordering the whole set tonight on Amazon.

An amazing book, which (if you can’t tell) I loved.

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6068551-shiver?from_search=true

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0545123267?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0545123267&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shiver-maggie-stiefvater/1100178177?ean=9780545123266&itm=1&usri=9780545123266

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

obsidianTitle: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: March 2012

Pages: 335

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Review

First of all, as a native West Virginian, I loved that this is a WV author, who actually uses one of my favorite places, Seneca Rocks, in the book. I love it when I can connect with a specific place in a story. Double bonus because its WV.

This is a great read. I’m not the biggest fan of aliens. But this one, like I am Number Four, surprised me. I read it because I’d seen all the hype and then picked it up and realized it was set in Seneca. I was sold on that alone. But I really enjoyed the backstory and history she’s given the aliens (there are two kinds) and the reasoning for why they are where they are. The characters are well done, though I must admit that I got very tired of hearing how hot Daemon was. After the first few times, I skimmed those parts. I also wished that Daemon and Katy were a little less antagonistic. I enjoyed both of them, and when they weren’t being overly ridiculous, I enjoyed their interplay. I even liked the snarkiness between them in the beginning. But at the end, the angry banter did get to me. Whether or not it was meant to be that way, it seemed like their banter was more petty arguing over little things. It got old. I find the idea of being attracted to someone so you make them angry and pick at you to be a huge turn off, so that part was hard to get past.

Overall, it was a great, quick read that kept me turning the pages. I’m definitely going to check out the other books to see where it ends up. If you like paranormal/scifi, then you should definitely pick this up!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12578077-obsidian

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1620610078?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1620610078&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/obsidian-jennifer-l-armentrout/1105621066?ean=9781620610077&itm=1&usri=9781620610077

Book was purchased by reviewer.