Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #69: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young


Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:



Hotel Ruby
by Suzanne Young
Publication Date: November 6, 2015
Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.
I've only read The Program by Suzanne Young, but I really enjoyed it! This book sounds SO good! I love horror and this one sounds super creepy. I can't wait!


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine.
Read more »

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #63: If you liked ACOTAR...


Today's Topic: 
Ten Books To Read If You Liked ACOTAR


This topic was harder than the usual ones... I had to actually think about it! (the horror!) I decided that if you like ACOTAR then you're a fan of fantasy and/or retellings, so here's a mix of both!


        

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


        

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Read more »

Monday, September 28, 2015

Audiobook Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan


Title: Daughter of Deep Silence
Author: Carrie Ryan
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers 

Add to Goodreads

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

There's a certain connection I think I have with authors I've loved previously that makes me assume I'll love them forever and always and everything they write will be gold. Because of this I've found myself more than a little disappointed with a few books this year alone. Some examples that come immediately to mind are The Cage by Megan Shepherd and Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre. Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth was one of the first YA books I read when I really started getting into the genre. I was blown away by the entire series and fell in love with her as a writer. So when I saw this book for the first time I had no doubt that I would love it just as much. But it wasn't meant to be.

Immediately I was sold on the synopsis for this book. I can definitely get on board with a good revenge plot, even in a contemporary setting. Frances sounded like a total badass and I was really excited to get to know her! Maybe my expectations were just too high for this book. I expected Emily Thorne but I got a whiney 18 year old with a crush.

Let me tell you about Frances (a.k.a. Libby) and why I didn't buy her character. From the very beginning of this book all she tells us is that she's angry and wants revenge and has this big, amazing plan laid out to make everyone PAY. But that's all she does. She tells us. In reality, she forgets all of her "plans" from the moment she sees Gray, the guy who she (apparently) fell in love with four years ago, when she was 14 and knew him for a couple days on a cruise. Maybe I was just way behind all the other 14 year olds, but I never fell in love. I literally saved gum wrappers from when my crush gave me some gum at church. I wish I was kidding. But I wasn't falling in love and I surely was not making it to whatever base Frances and Gray got to in their make out sessions. What I'm trying to say is, the romance is totally unbelievable.

In case you haven't caught on, this is a romance novel, not a revenge novel. Every single thing that happens in Frances' "revenge plot" is totally by chance. Literally the wrong person showing up at the right time. I also didn't understand how she intended to pull off this supposed plot. On the one hand, Emily Thorne spent YEARS of her life training with a revenge -master- to avenge her father. On the other hand, Frances spent four years in boarding school and is supposed to be some kind of master of deception. Yeah, okay.

There were just SO many things in this story that I just couldn't buy. I understand that there's a level of suspension of disbelief that has to happen when reading fiction, but this just went above and beyond.

Frances is not a badass and she has no skills. She's 18. She's a rich, spoiled, boarding school kid who is in love with her sworn enemy (or so she says). Sure, Emily Thorne pretends to be in love with Daniel Grayson (is it a coincidence that the love interest in this novel is named Gray?), but it's just pretend and it's all part of her plan.

Spoilery problems I have with the plot of this book:

  1. The reason behind the attack on the Persephone is ridiculous. I'm supposed to believe that an entire cruise ship of people was slaughtered to kill off a few people in an environmentalist group? Give me a break. 
  2. If Tom wanted Frances dead, she would have been dead. He literally had her throat against a stair cutting off her air. He could have snapped her neck without any effort. He could have choked her to death with no effort. He was a trained assassin. She was literally defenseless. The fact that she didn't die is deus ex machina at its finest. 
  3. The cop. Oh my god, the cop. First of all, if Frances was going to spill every single thing that happened, why the heck didn't she do it from the beginning?? And even more importantly, NO cop in the world (or at least no good one, which we're supposed to believe this one is) would go along with letting a guy go to jail for a crime he didn't commit, even if he was a scumbag. 
  4. Gray. Frances supposedly pulls off her master plan and escapes to her new life with no strings attached. WHY would she then sabotage the whole thing by sending Gray tons of evidence against her along with her address? I mean, really?? 

This book is Revenge for young adults, but where Revenge is amazing in almost every way, Daughter of Deep Silence falls apart. Perhaps this is where the fact that I am -not- a young adult really comes through? I am a YA junkie, but I think that maybe someone younger would be able to forgive all these faults or overlook them altogether. I enjoyed the survival aspects of the book, and some of the minor characters were really well-done. There was also enough mystery to keep me coming back. It just wasn't enough. I wanted to love this so freaking much, but I just can't get past the ridiculousness of the plot and the main character.



°o°  Notes on the Audiobook  °o°
Karissa Vacker was a fantastic narrator and probably the reason I stuck through to the ending of this one! She did a great job of distinguishing between the different characters and making their emotions believable. I'd definitely pick up another book by her! 

Read more »

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekly Recap: 9/20 - 9/26



My Super Exciting Life 

This week has been insane. INSANE.

It began as most other weeks do, with a whole lot of nothing. But then things just went crazy. I found out my husband would be coming home sometime soon after 100 days at sea, although there was no guaranteed date. Because of this, I cancelled my wisdom teeth removal because, you know, mouth surgery. My mom planned to come stay with me on Thursday and Friday nights anyway, but we found out late Thursday night that my husband would be home on Friday at 5pm (yay!!). Then the real madness began.

My mom and I spent Friday morning and afternoon just hanging out. We went to the gym and got pizza for lunch. Then around 2:30, my mom became very suddenly very sick. I had no idea what was happening, but something was obviously wrong. I called my dad (who was at work an hour away) and he immediately started driving towards my house, but then my mom told me to call the ambulance. So 10 paramedics crammed into my living room before taking my mom to the emergency room, with my dad showing up about an hour later. We spent the next several hours there waiting to hear something. My brother ended up picking my husband up from the airport and meeting us at the hospital too. She was discharged and is feeling much better now, but... wow. Crazy night.

Yesterday I finally saw The Scorch Trials and I have a lot more to say about that later this week...


New Books

Purchased:

      


From the library:



For review:




In Case You Missed It

Monday audiobook review of Crown of Midnight
The topic was my fall TBR list for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured Wendy Darling for Waiting on Wednesday
On Thursday I posted my Horror Reading Challenge update
I also participated in the book tour for The Ark on Thursday
Friday book review of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
On Saturday I posted my Dystopia Reading Challenge update



This Week I Read

The one thing I did start and finish this week was an AMAZING fanfiction. I'm not big on fanfiction, but I was looking for more Captain Hook retellings after finishing Never Never. This fanfic is called Entrancing Wendy absolutely blew my mind! It's written by Laurielove, also known as Demelza Hart in the publishing world. It is most definitely an adult retelling. I repeat: this is an ADULT retelling! But it is an amazing one. 

Entrancing Wendy is longer than some of the YA books I read regularly and has an incredibly well crafted story with amazing characters and world building. Definitely check this one out if you're comfortable with adult content and love a great retelling!




Upcoming Reviews

  

Read more »

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dystopia Reading Challenge: Third Quarter Update


Welcome to the third quarter update for the Dystopia Reading Challenge!! This is actually the first update to be posted here since the challenge moved to Cornerfolds, although the challenge started on January 1st. Which means... we're three quarters of the way through the year and the challenge!! Make sure to link up all of your reviews! Here is what I've read this year (click for review):


4.5 - 5 Star Books

        
    


3.5 - 4 Star Books

      


2.5 - 3 Star Books

    
    


1.5 - 2 Star Books

  


My challenge goal was the top level of Leader (19+ book) and I have far surpassed that! I guess this must mean dystopia is my favorite genre... How's everyone else doing so far?! 


If you're interested in checking out my other challenge, head over to the 2015 Horror Reading Challenge page!



Link Your Update Post!
Read more »

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender


Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Point
Pages: 336

Add to Goodreads

In this asylum, your mind plays tricks on you all the time…

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. Long ago, it was the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females—an insane asylum nicknamed “Hysteria Hall.” However, many of the inmates were not insane, just defiant and strong willed. Kind of like Delia herself.

But the house still wants to keep “troubled” girls locked away. So, in the most horrifying way, Delia gets trapped.

And that’s when she learns that the house is also haunted.

Ghost girls wander the halls in their old-fashioned nightgowns. A handsome ghost boy named Theo roams the grounds. Delia finds that all the spirits are unsettled and full of dark secrets. The house, as well, harbors shocking truths within its walls—truths that only Delia can uncover, and that may set her free.

But she’ll need to act quickly, before the house’s power overtakes everything she loves.

From master of suspense Katie Alender comes a riveting tale of twisted memories and betrayals, and the meaning of madness.

As you may know, I am always on the hunt for my next favorite horror novel - I'm a horror junkie, after all. I'll admit I was a little bit skeptical of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, just because I didn't know quite what to expect from the description. Still, ghosts and asylums... yes, please! Know this: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is not really horror. At least, it isn't scary. It's a little creepy, yes, but I never found myself actually scared. That isn't to say it wasn't a good story, because it totally was!

The heroine of this story is Delia, the proud new owner of an insane asylum. She's pretty much your average teenager with her own little bit of angst, which is to be expected in a YA novel. I liked her character a lot because she seemed real. She wasn't one of those annoying protagonists who isn't afraid of anything and walks into danger just because she's such a total badass. Instead, Delia spends a lot of the book totally confused and occasionally terrified (as she should be). I also really enjoyed several of the other ghost girls! They each had distinct traits and were able to reveal information without being info dumpy.

One thing I feel is slightly misleading about the description is the inclusion of Theo. From the synopsis on the cover, I got the impression that there would be a romantic aspect to this story, but there really isn't. Theo is still an interesting character who adds another level of mystery, but he's certainly not the romantic interest I was anticipating.

The story itself was pretty interesting. Honesty, it's more mystery than horror. I liked the unique elements that Katie Alender added to the classic ghost descriptions. For example, the way time moves is different for the ghosts of Hysteria Hall. Ultimately, I felt like I was left with some unanswered questions and there were a few contradictions throughout the course of the book that I had a hard time overlooking.

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is a good, mysterious ghost story with some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. While I had a few problems with it, they weren't enough to detract from the fact that I did enjoy this book. I'd definitely recommend this one to those who are looking for a lighter horror novel!

Read more »