Tag Archives: Ghosts

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer – Katie Alender

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer – Katie AlenderTitle: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Book Trade
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: May 26, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.

bookreview1** This review will contain spoilers **

This book was actually more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The concept was a bit silly (murderous ghost of Marie Antionette) so I thought the book was going to be a lot more juvenile, but it actually read okay for me, which is a good sign considering I’ve been having issues with a lot of YA lately and feeling like it’s been reading really young. The story was easy to follow and surprisingly didn’t go too over the top. The ending as far as romance goes, I enjoyed. The ending as far as the mystery went, a little cheesy and predictable but also wrapped up well.

Throughout most of the book, despite the fact that people were legit seeing ghosts, I was still expecting the Marie Antionette character to be a real person and not a spirit. Turns out, she was just a ghost, so that was a tad cheesy but hey, the book did fully advertise that. I was just thinking we’d have a Scooby Doo moment where the fantastical bad guy turned out to be a normal human with malicious intentions but alas, it was really a ghost.

There wasn’t anything that really turned me off to knock down ratings and I’m actually surprised with my level of enjoyment but it’s still not super outstanding for me so my feelings lie somewhere in the middle of the rating spectrum. There were still a lot of typical YA things with family and relationships but it also broke out of the mold enough that it was enjoyable enough.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Books I wouldn’t think I would enjoy. I picked this one up to go through the older books on my TBR and older ARCs and I really wasn’t expecting it enjoy it at all. I’m glad it went well enough!
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I did find the ghost concept cheesy and kept hoping it would sweep over to the serious side.

Addiction Rating
Think about it

It was an okay read for me but I still wouldn’t really recommend it. It was fine but I think there are plenty of other things on your TBR that might be more worthwhile.

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BOOKS LIKE MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER

              

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) – Adriana MatherTitle: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: October 3, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 16, 2017
Related Posts: How to Hang a Witch

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous "ship of dreams"--a story made all the more fascinating because the author's own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family's connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she'd find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she's been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam's waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

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I really, really enjoyed HOW TO HANG A WITCH from Adriana Mather last year so I was so ready to pick up HAUNTING THE DEEP when I heard of its release! I started reading it close to Halloween, being that HOW TO HANG A WITCH was the perfect Halloween read. HAUNTING THE DEEP didn’t quite have the same vibe for me and it was still enjoyable, but I also felt like it was lacking quite a bit.

I felt like all of the work to incorporate the witch story line was kind of lost. There was still magic involved but HAUNTING THE DEEP was focused more on a ghostly plane versus a ghost being involved in a witchy story. Sam’s interactions with the Titanic and its passengers stretched the imagination a little bit more and moved from what I guess I’d call “believable magic” to a point where it was a bit too far-fetched for me. I also wasn’t as big of a fan of the Titanic concept as I was the connection to the Salem Witch trials.

What is very cool is that Adriana Mather writes these books in connection to her own family  history. Her relatives have some serious American historical roots and their actual involvement in the Salem Witch Trials and the Titanic inspired her writing for these books! It’s really neat to know that she has a personal connection to the stories.

The long triangle from the first book really kind of bothered me but I’m not feeling as bothered by it anymore. I’m still team Human versus team Ghost (the ghost thing is… weird?) but I guess we’ll see where things go! I like the connection but I wish it wasn’t like, a full-on romance thing here.

When it comes down to it, I just really missed the witchiness of the first book and especially reading it around Halloween, that’s just what I really wanted. I’m definitely going to read more from Adriana Mather because I can’t wait to see what else she’s writing about (she has a LOT of sweet family history) and I love the personal author’s notes at the end of these books to explain a lot of that too! I didn’t really connect with HAUNTING THE DEEP like I had hoped but I’m definitely in for the long haul with these books! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: The Titanic. I hadn’t really given much thought to the Titanic outside of the movie, but it was actually really neat to get some more history about it in this book!
Left Me Wanting More: Witches. I just looooved that Craft meets Hocus Pocus vibe from the first book and it was really missing here, being about something totally different haha! It was just so much fun, though.

Addiction Rating
Check it out

Lots of fans of HOW TO HANG A WITCH seemed to enjoy this one and even reviewed that they enjoyed it better than the first, with improvements in writing and plot. For me, I was totally hung up on my witchy vibes. It was still enjoyable but I just wasn’t connected. I think totally worth checking out if you read the first (please read the first book first)!

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BOOKS LIKE HAUNTING THE DEEP

          

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) – Kendare BlakeTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: October 17, 2011 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Ghosts, Horror, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 30, 2017
Related Posts: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1), Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

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I actually tried to read this book, oh about four or five years ago, and decided it was too scary because I hate reading ghost stories but so many people had talked about the book that I had wanted to give it a try. I figured now that I’m braver and decided to read it NOT in the dark, NOT home alone, and NOT in a very old apartment that it would take away some of the fear factor and really… it’s not a scary book at all. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD has some gory and creepy moments but it’s more about the story of Anna and how she came to be, Cas and his family, and the friendships that form, rather than the fear.

The book was fun but it didn’t really pull me in. I liked Cas and enjoyed his point of view but the plot just didn’t quite work for me, which seems to be kind of a pattern with Kendare Blake’s books for me. I didn’t really care about the ending and didn’t really like where the story went. I felt like it would have been a better stand-alone, making this more about Cas and Anna’s story rather than Cas’s family and his history (for once I don’t want character backstory!). Even though there were a lot of things leading up to the conclusion, it still seemed to veer off in a different direction and just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book.

It was a fun read but I don’t think I’ll pick up the second book. I’m glad I “faced my fears” and tried it again because it really wasn’t scary at all! I had just put myself in a spooky place when I first tried to read it and barely made it anywhere because I freaked myself out with a spooky setting, so I’m really glad I attempted this book again. I feel silly for being scared before but I guess I concocted the perfect storm for a fear factor the first time around!

The audiobook narrator was also very meh. He had breaths and pauses in weird places (the middle of sentences) and didn’t have very good accents at all. Anna’s Finnish accent was more Russian and no one had a Canadian accent or even a hint of one despite the fact that the book took place in Canada. I mean, all Canadians don’t have to have a strong, pronounced accent but I do notice the vowel changes a lot with my own Canadian friends so I guess I expected the same here. His voices for the other guys were like, no one’s voice ever in real life, and the girls were overdone and stereotypical, so that didn’t enhance my reading experience like some audiobook narrators can do.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Ghost stories?! I can handle ghosts in books as long as it’s not in a scary capacity. I tend to freak myself out when reading scary ghost books but I’ve read quite a few books where ghosts appear in a less threatening capacity. Anna got a little creepy in this book but Cas’s interaction with her calmed it down.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. I felt like the focus strayed, which is silly considering that was the end point all along… So I guess I was looking for the “twist” of the end to play a bigger role in the rest of the book so it didn’t feel like we were talking about two different things.

Addiction Rating
Consider it

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD was a quick and fun Halloween-time read. It didn’t impress me a lot but I had a good time reading it and while it was middle-of-the-road for me, I’m still glad I read it. I probably won’t read the second book, especially the way that it ended, so I can’t really recommend it but others enjoyed it a lot!

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BOOKS LIKE ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD

          

How to Hang a Witch – Adriana Mather

How to Hang a Witch – Adriana MatherTitle: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group, Listening Library
Source: ALAMW16
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 2, 2016
Related Posts: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

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** This is a spoiler-free review EXCEPT for the last paragraph about the romance in the book. It’s a very minor spoiler (and some may not even consider it a spoiler) BUT if you don’t wish to know any details, avert your eyes at the end! ** 

I first heard of HOW TO HANG A WITCH at ALA this past January and was instantly attracted to the “Mean Girls meets Salem Witch Trials” pitch. When I saw an audio review copy from Listening Library, I knew I wanted to read it soon and I quickly dove into the audiobook. I was surprised to find out that the author, Adriana Mather, narrates it herself! It was such a fun experience overall and I really enjoyed the entire vibe of the book.

The “Mean Girls meets Salem Witch Trials” pitch is pretty spot on. I was actually reminded a lot of The Craft as far as the Mean Girls aspect went with Sam having several conflicts with The Descendants, a group of classmates who are actual descendants of the families involved in the Salem Witch trials and who may or may not dabble in actual witchcraft. They dress in all black and are generally surly bunch and this totally reminded me of the movie The Craft! (And I loved it.) I also totally picked up a Hocus Pocus vibe with Sam moving to Salem from the city and being the new kid in school. She meets a boy, has a crush, communicates with spirits, and gets involved with witches. Not to mention the whole thing takes place during the fall and I was just totally pining for autumn and Halloweentime! My only regret about reading this book when I did is that it wasn’t fall already! I absolutely loved the overall feel of the book — movie vibes included — and really enjoyed how it was a contemporary take on the witches without being historical fiction or total fantasy world. It had that perfect modern feel that fit so well with the book’s overall tone.

The plot kept me hooked and entertained from start to finish. There were a lot of interesting twists and like your average book, some were predictable and some totally weren’t. I liked that the past played a really strong part in the present and there are so many ways that Sam’s current situation is intertwined with the actual history of the Salem Witch trials. Some twists really surprised me and I had a long-standing theory for a couple things that were happening that turned out to be incorrect, which I actually love because I think it’s great when an author can surprise or mislead me to keep a big reveal for the ending! There were a couple spots that got a little confusing or convoluted with some extra details that didn’t end up playing a part in the book but those details also kept me on the trail of something that turned out to be a red herring and maintained the element of surprise, so I guess that was good in one way!

The really, really neat thing about HOW TO HANG A WITCH is Adriana Mather’s actual, real-life relation to the Mather family of the Salem Witch Trials. She really is a direct descendant and there’s a neat author’s note that I listened to at the end explaining a long and rather important family history in which her ancestors played big roles in some major historical events. I thought it was really neat how she used her own family connection to create this story! Obviously some historical elements were changed to tweaked to accommodate a young adult novel as well as creating into a modern work of fiction, but there are a lot of general concepts and even some specific facts relating to the Salem Witch Trials and the Mather family specifically that are totally true! With Adriana Mather’s narration of the audiobook as well, it was just really neat to see so many specific elements of involvement in the production of her book and it felt like such a personal touch and connection.

(Possible spoiler paragraph) The one thing about the book that I really had a hang-up with was the romance. I was really accepting of everything — witches, ghosts, paranormal activity, a gang of descendants — up until this romance thing took a turn. It started out sweet with Sam and neighbor boy Jaxon slowly starting to develop a little bit of a romance but then Sam’s involvement with Elijah, the ghost that follows her around, starts to become romantic. And then you lost me. I can handle fond feelings for the ghost-boy but Sam wanted to actually start like… dating him. Sweetie. You realize he’s a ghost, right? Sam has the ability to physically interact with him and it’s pretty consistent  but things get weird when you start kissing ghosts of boys who have been dead for hundreds of years. Thankfully, that resolved itself but why throw in a love triangle angle with a ghost? That was my one big turn-off.

HOW TO HANG A WITCH was an overall fun and enjoyable read! I just really dug the whole vibe of the book, from The Craft and Hocus Pocus feel to the contemporary take to the sarcasm and snark, the book really just fit with me! Some readers will probably be anticipating a little more depth because for all of its history, it did still feel on the lighter side but I personally really liked that about it. I really enjoyed the levity while still digging into actual history (with a little bit of creative licensing) and having a book that was easy to breeze through and kept me entertained! I think this is a really fun fall read and should definitely be on your reading lists this autumn if you love reading spooky or seasonal reads before/around Halloween!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Yes, I used a gif in my status update. Look at those skills! (ha) 

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Sam // Character obsessions: Her father’s health, being a loner, solving mysteries.
Sam was a fun character for me! I loved her sass and snark and with Adriana Mather’s voice narrating the audiobook, she kind of reminded me of the middle sister Mandy in Last Man Standing… Except not dumb haha. (That’s what her voice reminded me of!) I liked how she grew Elijah // Character obsessions: Protecting, watching, seriousness.
I had kind of a love-hate relationship with Elijah. I kind of liked his presence but I also got annoyed by it. I enjoyed how he interacted with Sam but I also really disliked it at times. I’m still on the fence about him but I’m glad things wrapped up the way that they did at the end of the book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Modern History. I really liked that the history was so involved in a contemporary setting. It was fun to see witches but in a contemporary fashion and still have that Salem Witch Trials connection!
Left Me Wanting More: Platonic relationships. The romance aspects of the book felt a little forced. I think this is a book that could have done really well with little or zero romance at all! Instead there was a little too much and things got a bit carried away.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was just a really fun book from start to finish. If you’re into The Craft or Hocus Pocus, I totally recommend it because I had friends who picked up on those vibes as well! It’s a fun fall read and one I’ll be recommending come Halloweentime!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE HOW TO HANG A WITCH

(Click the cover to see my review!)

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Fortnight of Fright 2014: Guest Post from Author Bethany Griffin!

FoF2014

Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today, I am SO excited to welcome author Bethany Griffin to the blog! I asked her to participate in A Fortnight of Fright and she graciously accepted, offering up a guest post for all the readers today! I read her most recent book, THE FALL, as one of my Halloween reads this year so I’m especially excited to read more about it in today’s guest post!


How Setting is Like a Character in THE FALL

I’m going to begin by saying that I hope that most (all?) of my settings are developed enough to be characters within the stories, but in The Fall since the setting is a haunted house, it’s a little easier to consider it a character, and even to give it some personality and a will of its own.

I tend to layer my stories in that I lay out the bare bones of plot and dialogue first, and then add in details and description, and then delete what isn’t necessary, layer in more, delete, etc. until I’m happy with what’s on the page, so I’d say in the Fall, about 25-30% of what’s on the page was original to the story, and the rest was added as I worked back through the story over multiple drafts.

So, in The Fall, the house has intent—it wants the Usher line to continue, though it eventually drives every Usher mad. It wants to control Madeline. At times we believe it enjoys her adoration, at times it seems directly antagonistic towards her, particularly when she doesn’t do as it wants. The house is more parent to Madeline than both of her actual parents combined.

The following scene is from Madeline’s 15th year, when she’s starting to investigate everything, furtively looking for ways to subvert the will of the house.

My feet make no sound as I slip from my bedroom into the corridor. Cassandra follows. I thought I heard Roderick in the corridor, but he is very obviously in his room. Even from here, I can hear the sounds of his breathing. Roderick’s door isn’t fully closed. Though he ignores the power of the house, he knows instinctively not to be trapped inside any of the rooms. I brush my hand against his door as I pass, pulling away quickly so the house can’t urge me to go in.
 The moon shines through the window at the end of the hallway, nebulous and green. Forgetting to be watchful, forgetting fear, I approach…
A black curtain billows in my face. Silk slides against steel as the curtain unravels from the rod, pushing me to the thick carpet that muffled my footsteps moments ago. The cloth molds to my face, pressing into my mouth as I gasp, trying to draw enough air to scream.

 We see the house through Madeline’s eyes, so the reader should get her sense of the house as an entity, and though they may question Madeline’s perceptions, it’s impossible not to see the house as a sort of looming presence.


Another BIG thank you to Bethany Griffin for that great guest post! One of my favorite things about the book was how much the house was really a part of it so it was so great to get a bit more insight on that too! I highly recommend THE FALL for one of your creepy Halloween reads this year too!

If you want to check out my review for THE FALL, you can do that here!
Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Recommendations (Ellen from Quest Reviews)

FoF2014

Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today, Ellen from Quest Reviews has a book recommendation for us — Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. Take it away, Ellen!


Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Recommendations (Ellen from Quest Reviews)Title: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Publishing Info: August 30, 2011 by Macmillan
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: N/A
Related Posts: Antigoddess (Antigoddess #1), Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1), Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

    But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

If you’re a fan of YA fiction and of spooky stories, chances are very high that you’ll like Anna Dressed In Blood.  And, if you also happen to like the CW’s Supernatural, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll enjoy the book.  Cas could appear on an episode of the series without anything seeming amiss.

I read the book a little over a year ago and was delighted by its spine-tingling thrills.  The plot follows Cas, a teenage ghost-hunter, who travels from town to town with his Wiccan mother, targeting ghosts for elimination purposes.  When the book opens, Cas is preparing to move to Thunder Bay, where a tip has informed him that a ghost — Anna Dressed In Blood — violently haunts the house where she lived in the 50’s.

I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she’ll try. I wonder if she’ll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream? How will she try to kill me?

Isn’t that creepy? *shivers*

We see right away that this particular ghost hunt will be a different sort of case for Cas.  He loathes ghosts, because a spirit killed his father, but from the get-go Cas is intrigued by Anna’s story.  As a reader, I was too, to say the least.  Anna was on her way to a school dance when someone attacked her, spilling so much blood, that her garments were soaked with the stuff.  I know, I know — very gruesome.  Since then, Anna’s spirit has lived on, and she has a serious chip on her shoulder. (Understandable.) Finding himself more sympathetic to a ghost’s plight than ever before, Cas seeks to uncover he true story of what happened to Anna, instead of merely trying to exterminate her spirit.

The book is part action/adventure, part mystery — a combination that is successful.  The mood is, for the most part, sombre and serious, except for when high school dynamics get involved.  I found this aspect to be the weakness of the book.  The intended comic relief of the cast of teenage characters took away something from the story, making the book more ordinary — garden-variety YA.  For this reason, I don’t count Anna Dressed In Blood as a particularly favorite read. However, it’s a fantastic, breezy book for those looking for a spooky book to read for Halloween.


Thanks, Ellen! Great review and a perfect suggestion for Halloween! It’s one I still need to read myself! You can also see the full review on Ellen’s blog at Quest Reviews!

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Recommendations + Quiz (Caroline from The Attic)

FoF2014

Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today we have Caroline from The Attic bringing you some Halloween book recommendations, but not just any old recs! Find the best Halloween read for you with her awesome quiz! Don’t delay — check out the graphic below!!


Having trouble figuring out what to read for Halloween? No worries! This handy-dandy quiz should help you out!

halloween quiz

The books:

Sadly, I could not fit every book into the quiz. But if you want even more Halloween bookish recommendations, check out this infographic from Epic Reads. Some books were on the quiz, some just missed the cut, and some are brand new!

What is your All Hallows Read?


A big thanks to Caroline for these fantastic Halloween recommendations! I just love the infographic/quiz (you know I do) and it’s just the thing to help people choose their next spooky read!

My Last Kiss Blog Tour: Chatting with Author Bethany Neal!

MLKblogtour

Welcome to the blog tour for
MY LAST KISS by BETHANY NEAL!

I am positively THRILLED to be on the blog tour for Bethany Neal’s debut novel, MY LAST KISS! A big thanks to Bethany Neal, The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and Macmillan Teen for arranging and hosting the blog tour!

If you’re not familiar with MY LAST KISS, it is being released on JUNE 10th, people! Very exciting stuff! It’s a great mix between contemporary, mystery, and paranormal and it definitely had a Before I Fall type of feel for those of you who were fans of Lauren Oliver’s book!

My Last KissPublishing Info: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult (Mystery/Contemporary/Paranormal)
POV: First Person (Cassidy)
Find It Online:  Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

   “What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart
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” — From Goodreads

Author Bio:
Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar. MY LAST KISS is her first novel. // WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter

“OPEN INTERVIEW” WITH AUTHOR BETHANY NEAL!

For my part of the blog tour, I got to interview author Bethany Neal in what we call an “open interview”. So what does that mean? Just that instead of formal Q&A, we actually set up a time to chat about all kinds of things (but of course the book too!) Check out our Q&A below!

Brittany: My Last Kiss was your debut novel. What was the biggest inspiration for you to finally pick up the pen (so to speak) and write Cassidy’s story?
Bethany Neal: Well, MLK is technically my second novel. I landed my agent with a different YA mystery/thriller love story that didn’t end up selling. But the inspiration for Cassidy’s story came from a number of things. My initial idea was that she was alive and Ethan (then named Evan) had died in a car accident and it was her fault.
Brittany: Aww man!!  I am always interested in YA mystery/thrillers!! Shame it didn’t sell… I’d definitely hope to read that someday!
Beth: Thanks. I hope you do too! I still love those characters so much–especially the dreamy love interest.
Beth: Anyway, Cassidy’s so was ironically way too woe is me with her alive. So with some inspiration from the Metric song ‘Help, I’m Alive’ I decided she wasn’t…alive. And the story took off from there.
Brittany: Oooooh I love that song. I can totally see that!
Beth: You know Metric?!
Brittany: I don’t know a lot of Metric but I do know that song a love it! (I am in no way a real writer but feel the need to share that it inspired an idea for me as well — one that I never started working on, but the idea was there! I literally have a single page haha)
Beth: No way! That song is MAGICAL!
Brittany: I definitely felt like My Last Kiss was a combination of several different types of “ghost stories” all rolled into one. Do you have a preference between contemporary and mystery and horror or a little bit of everything all rolled into one?
Beth: I’m a huge fan of shades of gray (but not the 50 kind!). Stories that blend elements of the supernatural while still keeping the characters and plot grounded in some kind of reality are my favorites. Although I do prefer anything with a dark side.
Beth: Ghosts have always fascinated me. Their mere existence is just so bittersweet. They’re here, but not here. Being able to see but not touch–it’s heartbreaking.
Brittany: Gonna throw it out there… Patrick Swayze in Ghost? Totally a vibe I got in MLK! (So, you know, I hope you liked that movie haha)
Beth: GAH I LOVE SWAYZE!!!!!
Brittany: OH PHEW!!!
Beth: I mean, come on. He’s basically the perfect man. He can dance. He can rip out a bad dude’s throat (in Road House). And he’s BUFF!
Brittany: Haha he really can do it all!!!
Brittany: Aside from the “unfinished business” of solving her own death, do you think Cassidy came back to tie up other loose ends of her life before it was her time to move on?
Beth: I think Cassidy’s staying in the living plain depended on her resolving the horrible way in which she died, but the reason she was brought back was Ethan. Love conquers all…even death and all that.
Brittany: I love that.
Brittany: “Death cannot stop true love”
Brittany: (Sorry, HUGE Princess Bride fan over here)
Beth: Oh, don’t get me start on Wesley. Only man alive that could make me approve of a male ponytail.
Brittany: YES. I think that is the only male ponytail I have even been attracted to
Beth: I know, right! Maybe it’s the way it compliments the pirate mask.
Brittany: True.. I just seems to fit well together. And sword fighting
Brittany: [Comments about staying on track… The Princess Bride easily distracts people] So Cassidy has to relive her memories in order to put together the pieces of the mystery of her last days/hours. Do you have any specific memories you would relive if given the chance?
Beth: Oh so many. That’s part of why I write YA. It’s an opportunity to relive a little and redo things the way you wish you’d done them the first time.  I think I’d go back to all the bonfire parties my high school best friend used to throw on weekends. Those were the days…
Brittany: Ohhh, those were the days indeed. We had quite a few bonfires as well!
Beth: I’d also tell my younger self to stop being so darn shy!
Brittany: Perfect transition into… Cassidy died before she was able to set the wrongs in her life right. If you were given the opportunity, would you ever go back in time to change anything in your life or a you a believer in “everything happens for a reason”/“you learn from your mistakes”?
Beth: I do believe everything happens for a reason, but I would totally go back and try to change certain things. For instance, I would apply to film school after I graduated high school. Mostly, I’d be more brave the second time around.
Beth: I like the ends of my life, just not necessarily the means. If that makes sense.
Brittany: It definitely does! I feel like I would have changed a few things here and there BUT I always wonder (oh, parallel universes) if that would change where I ended up and I would never want to change the end result!
Beth: I’ve seen enough time travel movies to know it doesn’t end well, but I don’t think I could resist the urge.
Brittany: Haha always my worry But I know I’d end up changing SOMETHING if given the opportunity! It’s too good of an offer to pass up
Beth: And if you hold on to the everything happens for a reason fate thing, you will end up where you are now anyway, it’ll just be by a different path. No alternate universes allowed!
Brittany: Very true!!
Beth: That got unintentionally philosophical…
Brittany: Never a problem! I always enjoy a good philosophical discussion that includes parallel universes too haha!
Beth: Girl after my own heart
Brittany: MLK revolves around the events that transpired Cassidy’s birthday party (which IF I remember correctly was dangerously close to mine) — did you include the birthday aspect in the story intentionally? (A sort of reminder of how young these characters really were and how it was much too soon for Cassidy?)
Beth: Oh, how creepy for you! Should I say sorry or you’re welcome??
Brittany: Haha it’s a good kind of creepy, no worries! I actually really enjoy making that connection!!
Beth: Oh good! Now back to your question…
Beth: The birthday party scene was one of the first I wrote. I usually don’t outline before I start writing, so it came to me very organically. The party atmosphere and interactions are very much familiar from snapshots of my teen years. Though my main goal was to have a ton going on with very few answers offered to the reader so they’d be placed in the chaotic state of mind Cassidy’s  that night. I didn’t make a conscious effort to address Cassidy’s youth by having her die at her 17th birthday party.
Beth: I think subconsciously I may have though.
Brittany: Ooh very awesome! A lot of that reminded me of my teenage/younger years as well! Organic is the perfect description. It all just felt so natural and real.
Beth: My subconscious works overtime when I write.
Brittany: haha it’s funny how that works!
Beth: Good! It was important to me that even though Cassidy was a ghost the story felt real.
Brittany: Absolutely! Even the setting felt incredibly vivid. Did you have any real life inspirations for the locations? (I’m eyeing that bridge…)
mlkbridgeBeth: I did have a real life location in mind while I was writing about the bridge/river. My hometown is in a river valley and there’s a rail bridge near my boyfriend’s parents’ house that I mentally spruced up to make it more visually interesting. I even have pictures for you on this one! Here’s the rail bridge that I changed into a covered bridge in the book.
Brittany: I definitely felt like I had a good picture of the bridge so I loved how easy it was to picture!
mlkriverBeth: And here’s a picture of the river taken last year on the exact day Cassidy died. Creepy-awesome or what?
Beth: So happy the bridge came alive for you while you read
Brittany: Ooooooh creepy-awesome for sure!
Brittany: That pretty much covers my big burning questions! (Unless there’s anything else you’d like to add!)
Brittany: Thank you SO much for letting me interview you! I had a blast with the open interview format and so happy we got to chat!!!
Beth: Mind if I ask you a question?
Brittany: Ask away!
Beth: Which character did you just adore and which character did you want to punch off the page?
Brittany: Oooh awesome question
Brittany: I loved Ethan from the beginning but towards the end I really grew a respect for Aimee! As for punching people (lol) hmm. In the beginning…. I actually don’t think I felt strong negative feelings for anyone. Maybe a little bit for Cassidy, actually, because we find out that she may have cheated on Ethan. I didn’t feel  angry enough to punch her though! Towards the end, I was really upset with [possible spoilers redacted!] I also surprisingly liked Caleb. A lot. I had a guy best friend growing up so I really appreciated both his friendly affections for Cassidy and his deeper feelings
Beth: This is so interesting and fun to hear!
Brittany: Great question! I bet it’s incredibly interesting to hear how people react to the characters — both as they read and also how personal connections affect that perception
Beth: It so is. This is officially my favorite part of being an author.

Another HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Bethany Neal! We had such a blast chatting and I really loved the open interview format. I had such a great time talking with Bethany Neal about My Last Kiss (and of course, Patrick Swayze and bonfire memories and The Princess Bride).

Want to connect with Bethany Neal? (I’m sure you do after that amazing Q&A!) Check out her links below!

Bethany’s Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram

And be sure to check out the stops on the MY LAST KISS blog tour too! They have some other amazing features for this fantastic book!
MY LAST KISS BLOG TOUR

GIVEAWAY!

There’s also a fabulous giveaway and prizes for one lucky winner! Please see all of the details below before entering. Good luck!!!

DETAILS:
Win (1) signed hardback of My Last Kiss + a Swag Pack ( MLK Button, MLK Notebook, & Cassidy’s watermelon lip gloss)
SPECIFICS:
– US/CAN Only
– Must be 13 or older to enter
– Giveaway starts MAY 26th until JUNE 11th
– A false entry will be consider as cheating, so this person will be disqualified.
– Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
– Your personal information won’t be used or be seen unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it nor use it in a bad way.

 

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A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) – Susan Dennard

A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) – Susan DennardTitle: A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 8, 2013
Related Posts: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2), Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3), Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

    Daniel Sheridan is an engineer’s apprentice on a haunted Mississippi steamer known as the Sadie Queen. His best friend–the apprentice pilot, Cassidy Cochran–also happens to be the girl he’s pining for … and the captain’s daughter. But when it looks like the Sadie Queen might get taken off the river, Daniel and Cassidy have to do whatever they can to stop the ghosts that plague the ship.
    Fortunately, there happens to be a Creole gentleman on board by the name of Joseph Boyer–and he just might be able to help them …

bookreview1

I was actually really surprised with the content of A DAWN MOST WICKED. I feel like a lot of times these novellas/extras that accompany the full length novels don’t usually include so much plot and explanation, but A DAWN MOST WICKED takes us back to three years before SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY begins with Daniel Sheridan and the story of his first love as well as how the gang of Spirit-Hunters came into being.

I’m so, so glad that this novella was from Daniel’s POV and that we got to know so much more about him because if there was one thing I was missing in SSaD, it was that connection to Daniel and that “oomph” in the romance between him & Eleanor. I felt his passion in A DAWN MOST WICKED and this novella also helped me understand his hesitance and his hard shell towards Eleanor.

What I was most surprised about was the story development involved in A DAWN MOST WICKED. So many novellas are just little bonuses, but there was an actual plot twist here by which I was surprised and then impressed because after it happened, I said, “Ohhhh that makes sense!” It was incredibly creative and intriguing and a major point that wasn’t revealed in SSaD. It’s also the biggest piece to the puzzle as to how Joseph, Jie, and Daniel all ended up working together.

I actually quite loved this novella and I think it’s a must-read for fans of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. There’s a lot of story here and if you’re still missing a little something from Daniel like I was, this will help you make that connection. If you already loved him, you’ll probably just love him more! I know that I can’t wait to get my hands on A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY now though…

character_breakdown1

Daniel: Hurrah! I made a connection with Daniel!!! I mean, I had in SSaD but not quite as much as I wanted to. I loved his spirit in this book and it was nice to see his first love in action here.
Cassidy: Cassidy is the captain’s daughter and the object of Daniel’s affection. Cassidy seems very much like Eleanor (which explains why he falls for Eleanor in the first place) and I kind of loved her! I love that she wasn’t some prissy girl and was totally badass on the Mississippi.

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Read it!

This novella was so much fun. I loved getting to know more about Daniel and I think it’s an excellent read for anyone who’s a fan of the series!

book_recommendations1

     Reboot         The Madman's Daughter

Life After Theft – Aprilynne Pike

Life After Theft – Aprilynne PikeTitle: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Publishing Info: April 30, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 4, 2013

    Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.
No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

bookreview1

So, LIFE AFTER THEFT is a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I was kind of surprised to hear! Then again, I don’t really know much of anything about The Scarlet Pimpernel so I’m not really sure why I was so surprised… I guess just because it seems like an uncommon choice.

My first reaction after finishing was 1) that I really liked seeing a male POV and 2) it was a quick read and an interesting story. Did it wow me? Did it knock me off my feet? Meh… No. But LIFE AFTER THEFT was still enjoyable the whole way through and it was a quick and easy read.

One thing I love about male POVs in YA (especially when it’s a female author writing a male POV, in my opinion) is that they always seem to be so snarky and witty — maybe it’s so they have that edge that a female MC might not? Personally, I love that snark and that was kind of how LIFE AFTER THEFT started off. Throughout the whole book, though, I think I was just hoping for more. Our main character Jeff was actually a nice guy (that was kind of the purpose of the whole book) so what started off as snarky and sarcastic didn’t really carry through the whole book like I wanted it to!

I enjoyed the characters but didn’t end up falling in love with any of them. Jeff is a good guy in a tough situation (I do NOT envy his ability to see a ghost), Kimberlee is stuck between two worlds, Sera has a past, and Khail does as well… They were all perfectly good characters but no one really stuck out for me to say, “YES, I really liked Character X.”

There are a lot of really nice “life lesson” situations in this book and we see a lot of coming-of-age experiences and life-changing situations (divorce, moving, death, love, drugs, alcohol, sex). Besides the life lessons at the end of the book (of course we know they’re going to learn something from all of this!), the life-changings situations didn’t take over the whole book, which I was happy for. There were plenty of serious topics being addressed and floating around this whole ghost situation, but I still felt like the book had an overall happy & light feel. The only thing that bothered me really was 1) an instance of…. I wouldn’t call it insta-love because it wasn’t. More like “We’ve-known-each-other-for-a-month-love” which is still too insta-lovey for me!

  

      (Actually, I could totally see Jeff being a Ted Mosby-type character…)

character_breakdown1

Jeff: Jeff is a good guy. No, really. He’s a truly good person! His decision to help out Kimberlee’s ghost really is the entire book, so go, Jeff for being so nice! I was actually hoping for a tiny bit more sarcasm & snark and less “good guy” from him (just since that was the immediate feeling I got from the first few pages), but turns out he’s kind of a Ted Mosby. Not a bad thing, but just not what I was expecting/hoping for! He was extremely noble and that was really admirable to see! Kimberlee: Kimberlee (NOT Kim) is a totally different story. She…. had some issues when she was alive. Mainly legit kleptomania and not just stealing for kicks. She was NOT a nice person when she was alive and she spends a lot of her… haunting time trying to figure out how to redeem herself so she can move on. Sera: Sera was okay for me. I know we were really supposed to like her in the end but I was just always kind of lukewarm towards her. Maybe I should blame Kimberlee for that! Khail: For some reason he just felt forced into the book for me, which really doesn’t make sense because he actually becomes a big part of the plot. I just never fell into step with his character and he never felt natural for me.

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Borrow it

LIFE AFTER THEFT was really cute and very entertaining but it wasn’t something I might go out of my way for again. I wouldn’t say pass it up but didn’t quite bump it up on my TBR either.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE LIFE AFTER THEFT

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