Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby


29241322A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

Published September 27, 2016, by Scholastic Press.

YA > Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal

ADD IT ON GOODREADS!

Fear the living more than the dead.

It’s London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain.

When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares.

Continue reading “Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby”

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Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller!

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

my rambles

Special thanks to Little, Brown BYR for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!
*Note: The Dead House is a book that is told in a unique way, through the incorporation of photos, and other types of media. Because I was given an ARC, there were many images that were left out, possibly taking away from the story. Please take that into consideration when reading my review.

When I first got The Dead House in the mail and opened it up, I was really surprised. I hadn’t known that this book would be designed and written the way it was. But when I finally opened to the first page to start reading, I found it to be an incredibly awesome way to format the book and tell this story. Throughout The Dead House you’ll encounter newspaper articles, journal entries, video and audio transcription, post-it notes, images, and more. How cool is that? Add to that that almost everything is dated (which will help you a lot because the book skips around in time), and an unreliable narrator, and The Dead House will blow your mind!

The Dead House is a compilation of all the evidence that the police have found, put in chronological order. Think of it like a notebook filled with outside pages being stapled and taped in, etc. This was awesome because while you read the journal entries from Kaitlyn’s point of view and get to know her, you also get to put the pieces of the puzzle together slowly when you read the transcriptions of the audio and video. It’s a weird feeling, seeing two sides of the same story at once, without having a second narrator.

I’m not sure how to approach talking about the characters, but this is definitely a character-driven story. Kaitlyn is the driving force from the beginning, but I loved getting to see glimpses of Carly and their relationship. It made their story really believable (Hence, unreliable narrator, maybe? I still don’t know. The ending tells you nothing, but I’ll get to that later…). The side characters also had their own interesting things to them — Brett, John, and Ari, in particular. All of them get close to Kaitlyn, which makes their roles pretty interesting

I wasn’t expecting a psychological thriller out of The Dead House, based on the cover and the little that I knew about it, but I loved how it all worked out! It’s a stretch to call it horror, I’d say it’s more eerie and unnerving to think about kinds of people like Kaitlyn and Carly.

As for that ending, as I said before, don’t expect answers and everything to be all cleaned up for you. That’s the exact opposite of what happens! But I loved how it all worked into the story — it was like a real life police investigation that was never solved. And after you read it, you’ll be like all those other conspiracy theorists trying to figure out your own theory about what happened!

All in all, The Dead House is a great choice if you’re looking for a story told in an unconventional way, with amazing characters and an extremely interesting storyline. It’s fast paced and exciting, and the ending will leave you speechless!

8

xo

Review: Portraits of Celina by Sue Whiting

Publisher: Switch Press
Release Date: April 1st, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Horror, Mystery, Paranormal
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Make him pay, Bayley. Make him pay.

“It’s as if the wooden chest is luring me, urging me to open it – daring me almost. Open me up. Look inside. Come on, just for a second; it won’t hurt.”

Celina O’Malley was sixteen years old when she disappeared. Now, almost forty years later, Bayley is sleeping in Celina’s room, wearing her clothes, hearing her voice. What does Celina want? And who will suffer because of it?

A ghost story. A love story. A story of revenge.

my rambles

Special thanks to Switch Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book for review!

I went into Portraits of Celina looking for a book that would thrill and chill me. Although that wasn’t exactly what I got, I still really enjoyed this book.

The only real problems I had with the book were: a) the pacing of the beginning of the book, and b) the main character and her mom. The first 150-ish pages moved slow for me, and I found them to be a bit boring. But, they do set up the story’s paranormal aspects well. The main character Bayley was my biggest problem. She was a little…eccentric. That’s totally fine, but I was a little weirded our by her obsession to wear Celina’s clothes. Being obsessed with Celina for some unknown reason though? THAT made the story creepy! Also, she randomly changed moods and had very public outbursts that made me cringe when she was talking to Oliver, the love interest. Lastly her mother annoyed me a bit. An event in the book that happens early on (and should have totally freaked her mom out for Bayley’s safety) didn’t even phase her. Her mom is unstable but her actions throughout the book bugged me.

But as for the overall plot and story, I really liked it! It was somewhat predictable, and not very scary — more of a mystery I’d say. For someone that doesn’t like TOO scary, this book was perfect to get my fix. I liked the paranormal relationship between Celina and Bayley, and loved the ending scenes. The story really comes to a wonderful climax toward the end of the book.

All in all, there were a few little things that bugged me, but they didn’t hurt my overall enjoyment of the book as a whole much. Portraits of Celina is a great story to ease into the horror or mystery genre, or for younger YA readers!

3.5 hearts  

Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Pages: 583
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Series: The Diviners, #1
Genre(s): Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Horror
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurled in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened….
Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray opens a brand-new historical series with The Diviners, where the glittering surface of the Roaring Twenties hides a mystical horror creeping across the country. 

my ramblesWhat do you get when you add a group of wild, paranormal teens and a psycho-ghost killer in the roaring 20s? That would be The Diviners! The perfect twist of history, paranormal, and horror, The Diviners delivers a thrillingly creepy story that will haunt you long after the final page is read.

I must admit that both the size and the content of the story was very intimidating to me before I started. A 500+ page horror book? Not normally something I would be jumping out of my seat to read. But, this Halloween, I decided to go for it because I have yet to read a negative review for this one, and I’m so glad I did!

Due to the length, the story isn’t extremely fast-paced. In fact, things are pretty slow moving straight up until the very end. BUT, the way that this book is written doesn’t leave us wanting anything more than what we’re given from the story at the time. Told from multiple perspectives, we get to see the story come together from all angles. Reading from Naughty John’s POV was quite disturbing, and creepy in all senses of the word, but extremely fascinating nonetheless. And all of the other characters were so unique to each other, with such detailed and developed backstories! When there are so many characters in a book some of them tend to get left out, but not in The Diviners, which I really loved.

Not only did the format of the book offset it’s length, but also the writing style. This is the first book that I’ve read of Libba Bray’s, but I absolutely loved her rich style and how well it portrayed the time period. I learned lots of new 20s slang, which I was pos-i-tutely jake with!

All in all, The Diviners was everything that I was hoping for and definitely lived up to all of the marvellous reviews that made me want to read it in the first place! The ending was satisfying, but left me eager to know what is next for these characters in book #2, Lair of Dreams!

Recommendations

If you want more… PARANORMAL & HORROR: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
If you want more… ROARING 20S: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

xo

Trick or Treat…or Read?

why i can't wait (2)

Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday. I barely ever went trick-or-treating for fear that the houses would have scary decorations, which in my neighborhood, they do. I still don’t even answer the door until one of my parents tell me it’s only a group of little kids in non-scary costumes. So naturally, scary books haven’t been my thing. But every now and then a book will come around that I know will most definitely leave me with nightmares but I pick up anyway. Halloween is that time for me, so here are the books that I’m feeling brave enough to read for this year’s Halloween season!


   

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I’ve been meaning to read this book for such a long, long time because the story sounds really creepy and mysterious and I know I won’t be able to guess the murderer. I love stories that blow my mind and IT’S AGATHA CHRISTIE! It HAS to be good!

2. Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

I read Asylum last year and I really enjoyed it for a horror book, with pictures no less. It didn’t scare me, but I considered that a good thing. No nightmares = Emily’s approval of horror book. I’m really intrigued to see how the story continues and what happens next. Dun, dun, DUN.

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

Not the stereotypical “horror” book, but I couldn’t even get through the book trailer. I love the 1920s, and I’ve heard this book is CREEPY and WILL give me nightmares, unlike with Asylum. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, and I think I’ve decided this is the time to just go for it!

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I’ve heard amazing things about this series, and I know it has a huge fanbase. I can’t wait to dive into this twisty story that I know I’ll love!

Do you read scary books? What are some of your favorites? What are you planning on reading this Halloween?

xo