Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: GHOST HOUSE by Alexandra Adornetto

Title/ Author: Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Supernatural, Romance
Rating: 3/5 stars
Synopsis: 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.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: I actually ended up liking this book more than I expected to. Every YA romance I've picked up lately has been annoying, but this one was actually enjoyable with likable characters. Plus an awesome setting always helps. I can't really hate any book set in an English manor house when ghosts are involved ;)

Cover--Yea or Nay: I do like the cover…but not the guy on it. He's just too bleh.

Characters: Chloe is actually a very likable and sympathetic character for this sort of book. She doesn't have an attitude, and when she does show a little bit of one, I can understand why she feels that way, and she has just lost her mother when the book begins. Considering what she's gone through, I think she handles herself pretty well. Plus she's sweet to her younger brother, and I always think it makes a character better if they are a good elder sibling. The only complaint I had about her character was her infatuation with Alex because it was a little too fast and without explanation for me, but besides that, I did like her. I also really liked her younger brother Rory. he was adorable and quiet and I just wanted to hug him. I liked her grandma as well, I actually would have liked to see more of her. I didn't mind Alex as such; he wasn't really dislikable, I just didn't overly care for him. He really didn't have enough character for me to give an opinion on and what you find out about his backstory, didn't make me sympathetic to him at all. Likewise with Isobel. I didn't feel sorry for her at all, she was obviously the reason this whole mess happened and Alex was just as guilty for not being a man and stepping up. If he wanted her so badly, he should have said so, not snuck around like a coward. And I really didn't see why her husband was so bad to begin with, we only ever were told he was (view spoiler) Anyway, so I couldn't really feel bad for Alex. My favorite character was Joe. He was just so sweet, and funny, and the perfect guy, really. And it goes without saying that I loved Mavis and May, the paranormal investigator sisters. They were really fun.

The Romance: It wasn't exactly terrible, but it was sort of borderline insta-love. Though to be fair, I suppose having a handsome ghost hanging around would be a little bit mind-boggling. This was also a book that had a potential for a love triangle and didn't, and, this might sound odd, but I almost wish it had. Here's why: I didn't really like Chloe and Alex together. We pretty much know it's sort of impossible, plus it just seems like he's two-timing because of Isobel. And, honestly, if he hadn't professed his feelings for Chloe that happened way too fast to be at all genuine, this whole problem never would have happened, and just like in his past, he can't be man enough to fix it. I really wish Chloe had paid more attention to Joe, I really liked them together and while there is some hints, it was obvious she still totally went for Mr. Ghosty. So yeah, that was my main issue with this book. I just couldn't understand her infatuation with Alex and even more, the fact that she never questioned his loyalty to her because of his relationships with Isobel.

Writing Style: Nothing really special, but not bad. It was first person past tense which was nice. Chloe wasn't a bad character to have as a narrator. And actually, I will say, that despite the fact this is a romance, she really didn't spend a lot of time mooning over the guys, there was a little bit of it, but I think the action and the problems with Isobel carried the book forward so that it was more than just all the blah romance stuff that gets on my nerves after a while. There were parts that were actually scary too, and I loved the overall setting. The whole thing felt like a misty moorland which is always awesome. Pretty much any time you give me a book with ghosts set in England I will at least enjoy it for that alone.

Accuracy/ Believability: Not totally applicable, but there was a nice amount of traditional folklore, what with the salt and lavender and other ghost-repelling herbs. Though it would have been easier if they had just called in the Winchesters to salt and burn ;P

Problems/What bothered me: Aside from the romantic issues that I already addressed I didn't have any other problems with this book. And I am interesting in continuing the series, even though I have a feeling it might get more into the annoying territory later on.

Conclusion: 3 stars. A quick and enjoyable read despite a couple issues I had. I'm interested to see where it goes next.

Recommended Audience: Girl read, ages 16 and up. Would probably appeal to readers who enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood though it's more romance than horror.

(Read this review with spoilers on Goodreads)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: ACCELERATION by Graham McNamee

Title/ Author: Acceleration by Graham McNamee
Genre: YA, thriller, mystery, suspense
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis:It’s a hot, hot summer, and in the depths of the Toronto Transit Authority’s Lost and Found, 17-year-old Duncan is cataloging lost things and sifting through accumulated junk. And between Jacob, the cranky old man who runs the place, and the endless dusty boxes overflowing with stuff no one will ever claim, Duncan’s just about had enough. Then he finds a little leather book. It’s a diary filled with the dark and dirty secrets of a twisted mind, a serial killer stalking his prey in the subway. And Duncan can’t make himself stop reading.

What would you do with a book like that? How far would you go to catch a madman?

And what if time was running out. . . .


Thoughts on the Overall Book: Thrillers involving serial killers are always fun (if you want to call them that), this one was no exception. My second book by Graham McNamee and I enjoyed this one even more than the last.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes, the cover is really creepy and cool.

Characters: I really liked Duncan as a character. He was a good hero, a little angsty and was also not a typical jerky teen boy even if he had been a bit of a delinquent when he was younger. I really loved the dynamics between him and his two friends, Vinny and Wayne, Vinny being the sort of quieter, 'smarter' friend and Wayne the more wild and troublemaking one. I really loved the story about Duncan and Wayne stealing toilets when they were thirteen. It made me laugh. Like with Bonechiller I think Graham McNamee did a great job portraying likable and realistic teen characters that I enjoyed reading about. The supporting cast was also likable.

The Romance: No romance to report, aside from a few mentions of Duncan's ex-girlfriend.

Writing Style: Pretty much the same as Bonechiller nothing super special, but entertaining and perfect for the kind of book it is. It was fast-paced, and action-packed without being too movie-ish and gave time for character development and everything as well. Duncan's narration is also pretty funny with some dry humor and I really liked being in his head and hearing how he describes his friends. The serial killer is super creepy too even though, SPOILER! you only get to meet him a little bit in the book. The journal entries are frightening and accurate. I was not disappointed.

Accuracy/ Believability: From my own research into behavioral analysis and criminal profiling (and yes, it does actually go beyond simply binge-watching Criminal Minds) the descriptions in this book and the research the boys do is pretty accurate. This book isn't as realistic or descriptive as books like I Hunt Killers but for younger readers it's still frightening.

Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really bothered me, I just enjoyed the book.

Conclusion: 4/5 stars. The ending actually did surprise me but it wasn't unsatisfying either. I actually ended up reading this book pretty much in one sitting (or at least in one night). It's a short quick read that for if you just want something entertaining and thriller-y.

Recommended Audience: Guy read, but girls can enjoy too. If you want creepy serial killer thrillers that aren't super gory or whatever, then check this out. ages 16 and up.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: BONECHILLER by Graham McNamee

Title/ Author: Bonechiller by Graham McNamee
Genre: YA, horror, supernatural
Rating: 3/5 stars
Danny is sick of running. Harvest Cove is the latest nowhere place he's drifted through with his dad. In summer, people come to stay in cottages on the vast lake. In winter, Harvest Cove is a ghost town hidden away in Canada's Big Empty. Danny's been running forever, but Harvest Cove might be his last stop. The place has a way of making people disappear.

As the cold sets in, Danny and his new friends stumble on a centuries-old nightmare. They start seeing things. Impossible things. And in winter, there's no escape from Harvest Cove.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: This was a fun fast-paced scary adventure story. More folklorish than actually horror in my opinion, but nothing wrong with that!

Cover--Yea or Nay: I do like the cover, I love creepy forests :)

Characters: Danny is pretty much a typical hero, but not the kind of guy protags who are jerky and arrogant, thus I liked him. In fact, I was actually surprised how much I liked the characters in this book, usually these kinds of books give you cookie-cutter characters who you don't really care for but the cast here had good characteristics that made you care for them. Aside from Danny, you have Ash, who is a little bit of a stereotypical 'tough girl' but she didn't have an attitude that got on my nerves either, she was really just a tom boy. And then there's Pike and Howie the brothers--Pike being the typical crazy friend and Howie his quiet, scholarly younger brother. They were both fun, though, and I loved their relationship, how Pike was really protective of his bro. I also liked Danny's relationship with his dad, again, you usually expect it to be rougher, but they had a good relationship which made me happy. I also liked Ash's relationship with her dad. I guess mainly because it cuts out a lot of the teen angst that could have been there. In any case, the cast was enjoyable.

The Romance: There is some romance between Danny and Ash, but it really wasn't bad either. There's plenty of action to keep it from being annoying.

Writing Style: Nothing really special, but it's definitely fast-paced and easy reading, good for this type of book. It's pretty geared as a guy read, and for that, it's actually paced and written really well, not just like an action-packed movie script, there is character development among the action scenes. It wasn't as scary as I was hoping, actually, but I don't scare easy either and I don't think anything would be totally scary after finishing 172 Hours on the Moon. It did have a cool folklore vibe and kind of read like an episode of Supernatural and that's a good thing. The suspense was built well and it had a good and satisfying ending and there were parts that were scary too. The monster was actually really cool as well (and I don't mean that as a pun lol).

Accuracy/ Believability: Not really applicable.

Problems/What bothered me: The only real complaint I have is that I wish we had had more info on the monster itself. (view spoiler)

Conclusion: 3.5/5 stars. An entertaining read and good one for being alone on a rainy night. Also a nice refreshment for the summer heat!

Recommended Audience: This is a great guy read but of course girls can read it too. ages 16 and up. Fans of mild folklorish horror would enjoy this. If you liked it read The Secret Journeys of Jack London by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon.

(Read this review with spoilers on Goodreads)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: 172 HOURS ON THE MOON by Johan Harstad

Title/ Author: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Genre: YA, Horror
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis: It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever. Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.


Thoughts on the Overall Book: Not my normal sort of read, but this was recommended to me by a friend and I am glad she did because I was not disappointed. This was one of the creepiest books I have read in a long time.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Love the cover, it's so creepy and makes you wonder what's what. I also love how it's in black and white. For some reason I pictured most of the book in Black and white while I was reading it.

Characters: This is the kind of book where it's not necessary to like the characters, it's more plot driven. I didn't hate any of the characters, but I didn't really form any attachments to them either. Mia was probably the one I liked most, though I didn't mind Midori either. Antoine, I was indifferent about. The character I felt most sorry for probably was Dr. Coleman, he just seemed like a sort of tragic character to me. I actually did really like Mia's little brother though, and the homeless man, Murray, that she met in Central Park. Overall, the cast served their purpose, which is how these kinds of books usually are.

The Romance: There is a little romance between Mia and Antoine, but it really doesn't have anything to do with the plot and it's hardly there anyway.

Writing Style: This is the selling point for the book. I know it's translated, but I think the translator did a really good job doing it. Obviously, I didn't read the original, but just the way the prose holds onto the creepy feel, that's actually rather understated (which in my opinion only makes it more creepy) and the suspense of the horror makes me believe this is how the author originally wrote it. It's a very fast read, and it is genuinely creepy. I was surprised, actually, because I don't scare easily, though because I actually personally hate the thought of being stuck in space, I did know this was probably going to creep me out. But I loved how the monster was actually genuinely frightening and threatening. There was no lame reveal at the end, this book was scary all the way through, with a sort of Twilight Zone feel to it. I can't really say that much for fear of spoiling it, but the suspense the the foreshadowing worked really well together, and the descriptions are very vivid and only add to the chills.

Accuracy/ Believability: Not really applicable. Thank heavens!

Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really to report here.

Conclusion: 4 stars. This book was creepy, enough said. I loved it. The end will make you scream, but it's also really awesome. You just end up with a really sort of creeped out feel and I love that in this sort of book. It's actually just as much a psychological thriller as a horror.

Recommended Audience: If you like psychological horror this will fit the bill. Definitely horror, not sic-fi, as the setting would lead you to believe. Girl or guy read ages 17 and up.