On the Same Page: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

11408650Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Publishing Information:  September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, romance, mystery, supernatural

Series Information: First in the Mara Dyer series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that you can’t put down due to the wtf is happening factor and those of you who want some swoons galore.

Related Posts: Check out Amy’s review and Brittany’s post on bingeable series!

Hey there, friends! Truth be told I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer years ago, before book one and two were even published, and I remember finishing it and thinking, “what. just. happened.” When I finished it this time I immediately picked up book two and three and finished the whole series in just a few days. The series left me with an array of emotions, and so many swoons. There are great mystery aspects to these novels but I’ll be honest with you guys and admit that I kept reading for Noah and the swoons that surrounded him. So with that in mind I put together a Pinterest board with different swoony quotes from the novel and found some awesome playlists on 8tracks for your listening pleasure!

 

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LOVED this dedication so much, and here is a playlist to go with:

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Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

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Title: Beastly Bones

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 22nd 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Second in the Jackaby series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Related Posts: Check out my review of Jackaby

I am sure that you all remember me singing the praises about Jackaby last year. I went on about how much I loved the quirky and entertaining adventure between Abigail and Jackaby. I am so excited to tell you that Beastly Bones was just as fun as Jackaby, and even more endearing. Beastly Bones sends Jackaby and Abigail to a new location. They are headed out to where the now exile Charlie Cane resides, and much to Abigail’s excitement, their new case revolves around newly unearthed dinosaur bones.

One of my favorite parts of Jackaby was the mystery, and the way in which it reminded me so much of Sherlock meets Doctor Who. Beastly Bones brought me a different joy than Jackaby in that we were able to meet new characters, as well as see more of my favorite characters. We are introduced to Hank Hudson, a skilled trapper who has a long standing friendship with Jackaby, and Nellie Fuller who works hard to catch THE story of the year. These characters only add to the fun of the story and I would absolutely love to hear more about the Jackaby and Hank shenanigans from back in the day. As mentioned, Charlie is central to this novel, and he and Abigail take part in some very sweet moments. Along with many other readers, I look forward to seeing how their romance blossoms. Jackaby was especially endearing in relation to these romantic developments as he reminds me so much of my father in his, “please let’s not discuss you dating” way with Abigail, but when she really needs some encouragement, he is right there to help.

Now, the main storyline was intriguing and fun, but if I’m being completely honest, my favorite parts of the novel were the parts that centered around Jenny and the story of how she came to be a ghost. I loved the way William Ritter added the twists of her story to an already interesting plot, and the cliffhanger of the novel kept me absolutely needing more. From what I have gathered, at least one more book is coming, but no other details have been shared.

Shelf Talker: William Ritter again gave us an interesting, mysterious, and all around fun novel in Beastly Bones. Wildly entertaining, Beastly Bones is a fantastic follow up to Jackaby. This novel was full of wit, and intrigue and I loved every minute. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jackaby and company!

 

On the Same Page: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Title: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Author: Lish McBride

Publishing Information:  October 12th 2010 by Henry Holt and Company

Genre: Fantasy, paranormal, humor, horror, supernatural, magic

Series Information: First in the Necromancer series

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Was gifted a copy

Recommended For: Fans of the humorous side of horror and those who value friendships over loveships.

Related Posts: Check out Amy’s post on readalikes and Brittany’s review!

I loved Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Love it. It was full of heart, humor, and well, necromancy. What more could a gal ask for? I loved this book so much that I immediately started to read it’s sequel and friends, I just cannot get enough of Sam and his crew. The friendships in this novel were excellent, the loyalties among these friends is definitely something to be envious of. My favorite part of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was definitely the way in which it made me laugh. Sam’s personality is extremely lovable in his perfect use of wit and sarcasm. He is definitely a guy that I would was as my best friend. To better understand what I am talking about, I thought I would showcase some of the hilarious quotes found throughout the novel. Check them out, and check out Amy and Britt’s post and let us know what you think! Have you read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer? If not, have we convinced you that you should give it a go? 

jedi of hot chocolate

“Despite her obvious stress, my mom still managed to pour the hot chocolate into mugs, cover them with whipped cream and a pinch of cayenne, and add a cinnamon stick to them. She was like the Jedi master of hot chocolate.”

in peace

“Can you just tell them we don’t need Jesus, Girl Scout cookies, or whatever the Mormons worship, and let me lie here in peace?”

mustang

“Mrs. Winalski owned a candy-apple-red 1965 Mustang GT convertible, and she drove it like she could die at any minute and needed to get five things done before that happened.”

no no cha cha

“So you’re the guy who did the no-no cha-cha with my baby sister.”

Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Title: The Uninvited

Author: Cat Winters

Publishing Information:  August 11, 2015 by William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction with paranormal elements, strong heroines, and those of you looking for some swoony feels

Related Reviews: Review of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

We follow Ivy as she leaves her childhood home behind. She does her best to move on from the violence and guilt that her family brings. As Ivy leaves home, she walks by the store in which her father and brother committed a horrible act of violence and finds Daniel Schendel down on the floor, doing his best to remove the blood from his floorboards. Ivy does her best to push into Daniel’s life and provide him with some sort of solace to replace the guilt that she feels from her family’s crime. Over time, the two are able to build something beautiful despite the horror that is right outside their door.

“I know he’s in mourning and a tragic figure, which I’m sure melts your poetry-loving heart.”

This novel broke my heart in the very best way. Like other novels by Cat Winters, Ivy is living in a rather difficult time for women. Therefore the growth of her character was truly amazing to watch. Her strength shone through the terror and ugliness of the time in which she is living, I especially liked her role in driving an ambulance for the Red Cross. Daniel grows in his own way as well, and learns to trust that not everyone is as hateful and close-minded as those he had come in contact with prior to meeting Ivy. The secondary characters have their own layered and interesting personalities and I found that I really cared about each one.
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Fortnight of Fright (4)

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Wow. We are back here for a FOURTH year for Fortnight of Fright and I can hardly believe it!! As many of you know, September – January is my very favorite time of year and Halloween is my one true love! Therefore, it is no question that Fortnight of Fright is something that I love hosting along with Brittany (The Book Addicts Guide) and Amy (Tripping Over Books)!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to fall and Halloween! We work with you guys and some amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/9-9/20 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/12 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/19-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Also don’t forget about All Hallow’s Read and the giving of books in lieu of candy!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

On the Same Page: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Midwinterblood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Publishing Information:  October 6, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that make you think, and love that moves beyond time.

Related Reviews: Amy’s post on the many moons of Midwinterblood, and Brittany’s review

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

“It’s not even as if she is beautiful, not in the way people usually mean. She’s more than pretty, that’s what he can say, but it’s not that that has caught him. It is simply her face, her eyes. The moment he saw them something clicked. He suddenly realized what it was. He recognized her face. As if seeing an old friend, long forgotten…”

Okay, so you read the blurb right? You get the gist? Two people are slain and it echoes multiple lives they have lived together, moments where they keep finding and losing one another as time passes…deep stuff. This was a hard book for me to read for many reasons, almost all of them personal, but I read it and honestly am not sure that I can put into words how deeply it affected me. As you know we Gals on the Same Page write non-traditional reviews for this feature, but what I am going to do is try and put into words why this book affected me on such a personal level. We are about to get a little personal!

First, it is imperative to let you know that a few years ago someone close to me was murdered. As you can imagine this sort of thing affects you for the rest of your life, it is something that absolutely changes the way you view the world and there isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t affect me in some way. Second, I should explain to you that I am not a religious person. This is an understatement, believe me, but I believe “to each their own,” and therefore won’t get into my reasons or debates. Well it is no question that when my friend was killed I quickly spiraled down into a very dark place, I obsessed over the trial and hate and pain consumed me and I found it hard to even be around other people. One day I was at work making a cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop thinking about the trial and about my friend. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened at work but my co-worker came into the break room, looked up at me and said, “Alyssa, Matt wants you to stop reading the articles, you are going to be stuck in the dark.” I felt like the world came crashing down in the at moment all over again. I just started sobbing and somehow managed to ask her “how” and “why” she was doing this to me. To make a long story short, this woman was a Psychic Medium who specialized in past life experiences. I know some of you are probably going to stop reading here due to disbelief and bias, and that is totally fine, this is a no judgment zone. I am not going to get into details about what this woman told me, except that I will tell you that she said we have traveled many lifetimes together, each time missing the mark where we can be together, each time he was lost to tragedy in order to move us forward toward an unknown goal. I am not going to explain to you how she helped me bridge a gap that I so desperately needed and how she gave me something to believe in again. I am just going to tell you that it forever changed me, and though I may not believe 100% in anything, I believe that anything is possible and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Continue reading

Guest Post: Cat Winters on A Vampire Novel That Isn’t a Vampire Novel

Hello friends!! I am insanely excited to share a guest post with you by one of my favorite authors, Cat Winters!! I am sure that you all remember how much I loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds. You will also be lucky enough to read my rave review of The Cure for Dreaming tomorrow! For now, take a glimpse at Cat’s musings on how The Cure for Dreaming came about, and what it was like for her to write a vampire novel that wasn’t really a vampire novel.

 

A Vampire Novel That Isn’t a Vampire Novel

by Cat Winters

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Back in 2007, I signed with my current literary agent because of a manuscript I wrote called The Vampire’s Wife, a suburban satire/love story for adult readers. Twilight was a brand-new book at the time, but I hadn’t yet heard of it. My kids were both under ten and a long way off from reading YA, and my attention was directed toward reading and writing adult fiction.

As most readers know, an epic vampire craze quickly took off around that same time, especially once the Twilight movie debuted in 2008. My vampire novel was making the rounds to publishers during all of the hubbub, but it was a book that fell somewhere in the middle of literary fiction and chick lit, so no one knew quite what to do with it. Despite the thirst for vampire entertainment, the novel, sadly, never found a publisher.

By the time I started writing my first YA novel (and ultimately my first published novel), In the Shadow of Blackbirds, the vampire fiction market was already becoming oversaturated. Readers tired of their fanged heroes and heroines, and I put the idea of ever writing another vampire novel aside. My focus became my shiny new WWI-era ghost story.

However, the Twilight craze, with all of its Team Edward/Team Jacob merchandise, the fan fiction, and even the astounding number of Twi-Rock bands, still intrigued me. I tucked an idea into the back of my head: Wouldn’t it be interesting to one day write a novel about Victorian teens who fall in love with Bram Stoker’s newly published novel, Dracula? How would young women at the turn of the twentieth century have reacted to that classic, sensuous tale of a seductive “gentleman” vampire? What would the boys think when reading about a man who overcomes women by biting into their bare necks and sucking the life straight out of them? Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Asylum Review by Sarah (Friends with Characters)

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Heyy friends!! Carrying on with the reviews of creepy books, we have Sarah from Friends With Characters reviewing Asylum by Madeline Roux, a book that sounds like it would be right up my alley! Take it away, Sarah!

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. It’s so much fun dressing up and I love scary stories. I read Asylum by Madeleine Roux and it definitely is a creepy story perfect for Halloween.

Asylum (Asylum #1)

by Madeleine Roux 

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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.

My Review:

Dan is an extremely awkward person. He goes to the New Hampshire College Prep program to meet people with interests similar to his. At the NHCP he meets Abby, an artistic girl, and Jordan, a math genius. Dan and his new friends find some creepy pictures at their dorm rooms. The dorm room used to be an asylum for the criminally insane. It looks like the criminally insane haven’t exactly left.

Asylum was a creepy book. The scenes describing the old asylum were very realistic. I think that Madeleine Roux did her research. I bet the second book will be even better. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Review The Book of Bad Things by Dan Poblocki

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Hi friends! Welcome to week two of Fortnight of Fright! This week we will be sharing a few reviews of creeptastic books with you, and a guest post by Cat Winters!! Make sure you check out what we had last week, A guest post by Dan Poblocki, Eldritch Black, some awesome bloggers AND a giveaway! Also don’t forgot to check out what Amy and Brittany have for you on their blogs!

Title: The Book of Bad Things

Author: Dan Poblocki

Publishing Information:  August 26, 2014 by Scholastic Press

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 256 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a horror novel that is just the right amount of horrific, fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and Cat Winters

Related Posts: The Ghost of Graylock Review and The Bad Place Guest Post by Dan Poblocki

One kid’s trash is another kid’s terror in this spooky supernatural mystery.

When Cassidy Bean leaves New York to spend the summer upstate, she’s disappointed to find that Whitechapel is not the quiet, pleasant suburb she remembers. Ursula Chambers, the strange old hermit at the end of the cul-de-sac, has passed away under mysterious circumstances. And the townspeople are shocked to discover that Ursula was a hoarder: Her farmhouse is teeming with stacks of newspapers, piles of furniture, mounds of antique dolls and taxidermy animals.

Cassidy watches as the people of Whitechapel descend upon Ursula’s farmhouse, claiming her abandoned treasures for their own. She listens as rumors spread that Ursula’s vengeful ghost is stalking the town with a warning from beyond the grave. And when Cassidy resolves to uncover the truth behind the strangeness, she learns there are more bad things in the world than she ever suspected. . . .

Cassidy was a wonderful main character, it was easy to love her and I can’t tell you how much I adore how real Dan Poblocki’s characters feel. Cassidy certainly doesn’t have it easy in New York, and I really felt for her and the way that she needs this escape to Joey’s house and family. Joey is dealing with some issues of his own, most importantly the loss of his dog, and the belief that his neighbor Ursula Chambers isn’t all that she seems. Joey’s next door neighbor, Ping, was incredibly refreshing and fun, I loved the way these three interacted with one another and stood together to face down the “bad things” in the neighborhood. Probably my favorite part of the novel was the addition of Hal and his antics, I enjoyed his character thoroughly. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: The Bad Place by Dan Poblocki

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You guys may remember me reviewing The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki last year – you guys might not know that after finishing it I pretty much bought every title written by Dan and fangirled at him at the Children’s Author Carnival in May this year. To be frank, Dan Poblocki is fantastic. He is an impeccable writer, and an all around nice guy. Therefore, when I asked him to join us for Fortnight of Fright I had high hopes, and basically squealed in delight when he agreed. Read on to hear about some of Dan’s inspirations for The Book of Bad Things – which I will be reviewing during Fornight of Fright, and let us all simultaneously pray to the horror gods that he decides to write us some creepy adult novels very soon!

The Bad Place

Dan Poblocki

I once heard film-director Guillermo Del Toro say in an interview that there are three horror-story tropes that are continuously retold: stories in which our homes are being attacked, stories in which our bodies are being invaded, and stories about bad places. When I think of horror classics, they pretty much all fit. Some work in more than one category. Dracula is a perfect example – the castle in Transylvania is a bad place, and later, the vampire invades characters’ homes and infect their bodies. More typically, certain subsets within the horror genre fill the tropes in more specific ways. Slasher or serial killer tales are about home invasion. Alien, zombie, and monster myths often explore body horror. Finally, haunted house and ghost stories are perfect examples of bad places.

When I consider my own work, I find that of these ideas, the one I’ve explored the most is this last one.

What exactly is a bad place? I believe it can be anywhere that fills you with an unexplainable feeling of dread. A house, an apartment, a hotel, a forest trail, a field, a park, a room, a closet! It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a typically scary spot; maybe it’s a landscape drenched in sunshine or a room filled with toys. The thing about the archetypal bad place is that it leaves you with a feeling that you’re trespassing, that something doesn’t want you there, or maybe it does want you there but for a terrible reason. Continue reading