Review: The Dead House

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published: September 15th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:
Three students: dead. 
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace. 

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere.

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Review:
They think I don't exist... I'm a symptom. They think I'm a disease I'm infecting Carly.
After a month of not reading because of school, The Dead House was the perfect book to get me back into my mojo. I was extremely sad that I could not read any spooky books during October, so when I finally had a chance to read I jumped at the opportunity to read this one. The Dead House pulled me in with its haunting cover and I could not stop thinking about it throughout October when I was deprived of books.

What stood out to me the most when I started reading was the weird relationship between Carly and Kaitlyn. I was really confused at who Kaitlyn is because the summary did not give me any clues. I assumed that Kaitlyn is the evil twin. However, the more I read the more I could tell that something was wrong between these two girls. They are not twins. After their parents die in an accident, Carly and Kaitlyn are brought to a mental institute and diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Carly and Kaitlyn are one person.

The unique feature about their case is that the alter egos have regular, timed intervals of consciousness. Carly is the girl in the morning; she is bubbly, quirky, and the representation of the light. In contrast, Kaitlyn is violent and rebellious. She is the personification of the night. Kaitlyn has really dark thoughts but I still rooted for her because I understood why her behavior is harsh. She has never felt the warmth of the sun and has to find her own definition of what 'life' is when she is always alone and in the dark. Kaitlyn craves attention and secretly jealous of Carly's experiences during the day that she takes for granted.

The book is told through newspaper clippings, videos, interviews, and mainly journal entries. I was wary of the format in the beginning because I thought there would be a disconnection between the reader and the characters. While it was hard to sympathize with side characters, I had no trouble connecting with Carly and Kaitlyn because a majority of the book is told through Kaitlyn's journal entries. The entries were raw with emotion and realistically showed their descent into madness.

Without revealing too much, because my most favorite part of the book is how it catches you off guard, The Dead House slowly creeps up on you. It is absolutely crazy. Some parts of the book is predicable but the way the author intertwines horror and psychology makes the story super interesting. I do not get scared from books easily, but I honestly felt like someone was breathing down my neck during this book. This book has made me afraid of mirrors and phone calls (this one scene when Kaitlyn was on the phone *shudders*).

Overall, I think this book is amazing. It is really hard to come across quality horror books that actually scare the readers. Even if you are not a fan of horror books, I still would recommend this book because of it's unique plot. Get ready for a story that goes in strange directions and jump-scares!

It's been too long...


HELLO FRIENDS! IT'S BEEN TOO LONG.

YES. I'M ALIVE. I am so sorry for not posting anything for a month. I keep using the excuse of school but I have to admit that sometimes I sit down to blog and end up getting distracted by Netflix or other random things. Other times I start books but wouldn't be attached enough to finish. I probably read the first ten pages of six books last month with no success. The problem there was because I knew deep down I did not have enough time to finish the books so I dropped them. I will try to reread those books again soon (Because I know The Weight of Feathers is a good book and yet...).

SO. What have I been doing this past month? Well... school *insert tears* It's not like I hate my classes but sometimes they are a lot of work. My most favorite class is Introduction to Criminal Law. SUPER COOL STUFF. I feel like I'm in How To Get Away With Murder. My roommate's name is Caroline and she's also a YA reader! Her favorite author is Jenny Han :) It's been a busy month trying to fight off the freshman fifteen and other zombie students who feel as dead as me but it's also super fun. I love being able to meet so many new people and those random free dance workshops that are around my campus. I live in a very small dorm which kinda sucks, however, a perk is that everyone in the dorm knows each other! It's hard to believe how much I've settled in college without my parents and home, but I'm still alive so I can't be doing too bad :)

Do you ever have those periods where you don't read and when you finally do you're like, "OMG. THIS IS AMAZING. WHY IN THE WORLD DID I STOP??" Yeah. That's me right now. I just finished The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich and the review will be going up VERY SOON. Hopefully, now I that I am more used to my schedule I'll be able to read more and write more reviews too!

You will be seeing more from me soon, I promise!! This adventure isn't over.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things Couples in Books Need to "Quit" Doing and Just Kiss


This week's theme is: Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit. Since I didn't like the idea of listing books that I quit reading because it felt like an insult, I decided to stick with the "quit" theme and list Ten Things Couples in Books Need to Quit Doing and Just Kiss. And let me clarify, by quit I mean don't quit because I love reading each situation but it just drives me crazy while I'm reading it. Do you ever just want to shake the shoulders of a ship and scream, "STOP BEING IDIOTS AND GET TOGETHER." Me too. And this is the list of ten things I can't stop reading but gives me pain.

1) Too Good For Me
The whole "You're too good for me so I can't date you. I don't want to hurt you." thing angers me so much.
Book example (according to my roommate): The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

2) Operation Jealousy
When the couple fights over the boyfriend or the girlfriend's ex causing a big argument that takes up the entire book. I think couples need to have more faith in each other.
Book example: Dimitri and Rose over Tasha in Vampire Academy seies by Richelle Mead. I think the jealousy game got so big that someone framed someone for murder.

3) I... You Too
STOP BEING A BUTT AND ADMIT I LOVE YOU ALREADY.
Book example: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

4) Break Her Heart to Save Her
When those ancient rules get in the way of a couple. *big sigh of anger*
Book example: Velvet by Temple West

5) Too Independent
I understand the whole "I don't want a boy to own me thing." I support it too. But do you ever ship a couple so much that you pout because the girl is resisting the relationship.
Book example: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

6) Dancing Around Each Other
That feeling you get when none of the characters in a ship will make a move but IT'S SO OBVIOUS.
Book example: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

7) Number One in His Life
Okay this is the one thing I DO NOT support. When the girlfriend expects to be #1 in the boyfriend's life OVER HIS FAMILY.
Book example: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

8) The Love Triangle
Aw man. I dislike when there's a love triangle and the MC starts two timing because s/he can't decide on one person.
Book example: Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi.

9) Mistaken for Cheating
MISCOMMUNICATION PROBLEMS. Sometimes couples are really bad at talking to each other. Would save 100+ pages if they just talked it out thoroughly! (Then again I enjoy the drama.)
Book example: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

10) Love Makes You Crazy
Laying down your life for your lover. This makes me sad :(
Book example: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

And there you go! What couple problems in books hurt your heart?


ARC Book Review: Wendy Darling: Stars

Wendy Darling: Stars by Colleen Oakes
Published: October 13th 2015 by SparkPress
Source: NetGalley
Format: eBook
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:
From the Best-Selling Author of Queen of Hearts comes a dark and mesmerizing twist on the beloved Children's Classic, Peter Pan.

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, a intoxicating island of feral freedom.

As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her—have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.

Review:
I love Peter Pan. When I was a child (not that long ago, I'm 18), I had an embarrassing crush on him which is why I am totally obsessed with the idea of a Peter Pan story told through the eyes of Wendy. I want to fall in love with Peter all over again and see the magical Neverland. Let's just say, I got everything I wanted AND SO MUCH MORE. Wendy Darling: Stars is a dark retelling of Peter Pan that will surprise everyone.
If the stars above saw what I felt for you, they would pour out their wonders...
Peter Pan. Oh Peter. You beautiful, cruel boy. Wendy is drawn to Peter. His wicked smile promises adventure and freedom that she's missing from her life. Peter has a God complex because of the Lost Boys. They praise him for allowing them to stay in his kingdom of endless fun. Slowly Wendy realizes that Neverland isn't as perfect as it seems. It is violent and dark. Twelve year old boys kill pirates for a drink of alcohol. I found myself slowly falling into Peter Pan's trap along with Wendy throughout the book. He is charming and mysterious. I was so caught up in the feels for Peter that I never expected the game he played with everyone's mind. When I reached the dark twist of the book, my jaw dropped because I GOT PLAYED. Peter Pan is a convincing manipulative character. His love is addicting but dangerous and predatory. I was able to see the horrifying reality of Neverland that I was naive to believe in my entire life.
I knew I was bound for something different. Something better. I was meant to rule the stars, not gaze at them from under our poverty.
Details of every scene. I feel like a good portion of the book is descriptions of the setting and every action that happens. Usually I hate books that have too much description because I want to get straight to the story but it's different here. The author fed the readers' childhood desires of going to Neverland. I was able to perfectly imagine what Neverland looked and felt like from the details. It made everything more realistic and filled me with more passion in every scene because I felt like I was Wendy. I felt the luring of the mermaids' songs and felt the heart racing excitement of fighting pirates. I just want to applaud the author because the book is beautifully written and utilizes imagery to the max. If I could describe Wendy Darling in one word it would be: Wanderlust.
Even the light here was different, she marveled— it was as if every particle of light had been brushed with gold, giving a hazy glow to everything it touched.
Tinkerbell. There's no Peter Pan without Tinkerbell. I think everyone can agree that Tink and Peter have an intense relationship. Tinkerbell is one of the darkest parts of the book. She's the last fairy of Neverland and is totally devoted to Peter. You can imagine how she feels when Wendy comes in and disrupts her haven. This obsessive love turns the fairy crazed and violent.
He is the sun and the moon and everything in between.
SO MUCH ENERGY. I have never read a book with as much energy as this one. The energy just kept building with every page turn. My breath was stuck in my throat and I spent the last half of the book constantly dropping my jaw. The ending left me in terror. I also let out a scream at that cliffhanger. I am so excited for to learn more about the character at the end in the next sequel!!
I promise you energy and passion from this book. However, I admit the heart pumping energy doesn't exactly start until 50% into the book. The beginning is basically hyping up the crowd with the magic and beauty in Neverland. I still enjoyed it a lot because I'm all for swooning after Peter Pan and wanted to explore Neverland. But the dark portion of the book that I know most people are looking forward to doesn't start until halfway into the book. IT'S STILL A REALLY GOOD BOOK THOUGH. I know you will love it. It's worth it.

Overall, I love Wendy Darling: Stars and it is a new favorite. I will definitely buy this book when it COMES OUT ON OCTOBER 13, 2015. I recommend this book to everyone. It will cause you emotional pain and also an adrenaline rush. Prepare yourselves because you will be visiting Neverland and all its terrifying yet exciting promises in this book.

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Published:  May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary:
One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Review:
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you and say that I do not know how to review The Wrath and the Dawn. This book blew me away so much that I didn’t even notice where it took me until I reached the end and realized that my life will never be the same. A whole new standard has been made. Nothing short of throwing the book in your face and screaming “READ THIS” will do The Wrath and the Dawn justice. Or maybe I’ll throw it softly at your face, letting you catch it and feel satisfied, before I punch you in the face BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I FELT HAPPEN TO ME. It started as a soft blow that suddenly tore up my heart with its lyrical writing.

The thing is Khalid probably feels the same way I do. The only way to describe Shahrzad is that she’s a force. She’s unlike any other female character I’ve ever read. There’s so many powerful female protagonist out there but Shahrzad stands out. She’s unique.  She’s insecure yet confident. She’s all these things that you can’t quite know her exactly; which is what drew Khalid to her. He can’t explain why but he knows he wants her. He knows she must be in his life. This tortured soul wants to have a touch of light in his life even though he doesn’t deserve it. And before he knew it, he was invested in this plague of a girl.
For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.
I’ve read so many books with cold-hearted turned good guys. And I admit, I have a type. I enjoy those kind of boy characters, it’s enjoyable. I was expecting Khalid to be this kind of boy but I was wrong. Khalid is so different. I don't even think he turned totally good at the end. He's a man of many faults but becomes better because of Shahrzad. This relationship didn’t go from hatred to love in a few pages. Khalid was uneasy to put himself fully into the relationship. I’m so obsessed with the dialogue. His lines starts off subtle as he tries to sort out his feelings, to sweet and heartbreaking. They didn’t come off as cheesy or eye-roll worthy. It was natural. I wish I could write the entire book in my quote notebook.
“And how will you know when you’ve found this elusive someone?” Shahrzad retorted.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
Even with the book's magical writing, I admit it was hard to connect to. I remember reading the first half and thinking, “I know this is a good book, it’s easy to read and flows well, but for some reason I can’t get a feel for it. I can’t decide if I like it.” I kept thinking I can’t decide until I reached about the last 100 pages of the book. This part shines out to me the most and is what made me love it. It pulled the whole book together. The story got exciting and felt like a fire was lit inside me. I got emotionally involved and made me confident to ship Khalid and Shahrzad.

I am so excited for the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger. I can’t wait to see where the relationship goes. There’s (unfortunately? I can’t decide.) a love triangle with a childhood friend named Tariq. But I can’t decide how I feel about him. I liked him in the beginning but started get annoyed at the end, however, that might have been because I started to like Khalid A LOT and didn’t like that Tariq was getting in the way. I am looking forward to learning more about Tariq so that I can make a more firm decision. Though I doubt I can ship Tariq after THE ENDING. It broke my heart. The book leaves off on one of the best cliffhangers EVER. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!!
Sorry that there hasn't been much going on on my blog! If you didn't know, I started college on Thursday and am scrambling to find time to write reviews. For those of you who are in school or have a job, how do you put aside time to write reviews?
I WILL be trying to post more reviews soon. I just finished Wendy Darling: Stars and I LOVE IT. I am looking forward to writing that review and can't wait for you to read it! Hopefully it will be posted soon. :) You can always find me on Twitter (@booknadventure) to find out what I'm doing and probably my struggles in college. See you soon!


Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.
 
This week's theme: Ten books on my fall to-be-read list. Honestly I could go easy and name all the books on my bookshelf that I haven't read (basically 60% of the shelf) BUT I WON'T OF COURSE. I'm actually really bad at planning what books to read ahead of time. I figure out what book I'm going to read next after I finish the current one. And it happens based on whether I want to touch a book on my shelf, if I get lazy to move and decide to read on my phone via online library, or if I read a really good review and the title sticks in my head. So here's a list of books I'd like to read soon but there's no promise that I will.


1. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Why: A love story told in 14 different point of views from other people watching the potential couple and fangirling about how cute they could be TOGETHER. I think one of the POVs is a squirrel.
2. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Why: I recently bought the book and basically everyone's been telling me to read it.
3. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Why: BECAUSE JENNY HAN
4. Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons
Why: I love all things Alice in Wonderland. It's always been an extremely interesting story to me. Also Ranu's review over at The Araliya Bookshelf totally sold the book to me! Coming out September 28, 2015.
5. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Why: I bought the book when there was a 99 cent deal on Kindle. The author has promised me feels!
6. Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
Why: Her problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS BOOK PROMISES ME. FIRST ROMANCE. THEN SIBLING FEELS. I'M ALL ABOUT THOSE FAMILY FEELS. Coming out October 20, 2015.
7. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
Why: First, the cover is beautiful. Second, it's a fairy tale retelling. AND A CINDERELLA ONE TOO!! (My favorite classic princess. Though my all time favorite is Tiana in Princess and the Frog.)
8. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Why: A beautifully written historical fiction story during WW2. It's an adult book but I've been looking forward to this book for a long time.
9. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Why: I'M SO EXCITED. I've heard such good things.
10. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Why: A cutthroat ballet story.

There! I will try to keep to this list but I know I'm going to miss some because I start college on Thursday and don't know if I'll be able to read as much *cries* BUT I HAVE PLANS. And I intend to read a good amount.

Book Review: Beastkeeper

I present to you for this week's Middle Grade Monday: Beastkeeper, a Beauty and the Beast retelling in which the Beast is the girl and fairytale rules are broken. I bolded the line in the summary that won me over. I was second guessing the book before but I was intrigued by that line. 

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Published: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Rating: 4 out of 5


Summary:
Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever. 

Review:
Sarah's life is good. Her parents love each other and they absolutely adore her. She likes that her parents are different. They aren't tied down by money and see no reason to buy fancy cars or big houses. She's been moving around all her life for a reason she doesn't necessarily understand but has accepted. Sarah's gotten used to moving and can even predict the exact day her parents will pack up from the geometry of dandelion seeds' flight in the air. Everything is good. Until the day her mom walks out. The shock is so big that the only reason Sarah can come up with is: the cold. Her dad becomes depressed. He stops talking, stop taking care of Sarah, and forgets to eat. This is where the beauty starts. The magic of the book is tied with the dark elements. 
She lost her mother to the cold and the winds, and now her father was also lost, lost to some strange sickness that ate away the inside of his head until he wasn't anything like her father at all, just a beast wearing his skin like a coat.
The writing is gorgeous. I loved how the author presented real problems as magic. Depression being her father's transformation and the cold as a symbol of a relationship without love. This book is dark. It's about unhappily ever afters. It tells the story of how jealousy turns into a big game of revenge that got so passionate it became impossible to end. Beastkeeper shows the realistic side of fairy tales. Where people's dreams are the worst thing that could happen to them. Where people fall in love with the image of true love but not with the actual person. It's about the dark side of human nature. The author calls out these conditions and intertwines it with magic. THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE PART.
It was a jolt.
A strange moment when the world stayed exactly the same, and changed forever.
It felt like an invisible firework.
And Sarah's bones shifted just the slightest bit under her skin.
Since this is a middle grade book there's no big emphasis on romance for the protagonist. But the summary obviously promises you something, I mean that's the big part of the story. This curse looms over Sarah's head. If I could describe this book in one word, it would be bittersweet. Sarah sees the ugliness of humans and deals with it like a brave little girl. It is amazing and SO BEAUTIFUL. I can't emphasize how beautiful this book is!

This is a book about the cruelty of loyalty, love, and forgiveness. I highly recommend this to everyone. It's NOT your usual happily ever all but has the satisfaction of fairy tales and retellings.
If you did/do read this amaaaazing book but get a little confused at the curse (which no shame, because I was too), the author wrote a short prequel online HERE.
It's about the story of Igna and Freya falling in love and how everything went downhill.