Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Scary and Supernatural: My Top Picks for Halloween Reading 2014!

I don't know about you but I love diving into some darker reads during the build up to Halloween! I love lighting a fall candle and getting snuggled under my blanket with either a scary or supernatural book to celebrate the season. Today I'm sharing the books that I think would make perfect Halloween reading for anybody looking for books to add to their TBR. I'm separating my picks by genre so there's something here for everyone ranging from horror to paranormal. All books mentioned have been read and enjoyed by me.


Horror 

Red Hill by Jamie McGuire 
Red Hill was my favourite Halloween read of last year. This is a thrilling adult apocalyptic horror fest that's perfect for fans of The Walking Dead or the movie Contagion. This book balances out nail biting survival with characters you'll fall in love with which only makes the worry that they're not all going to make it escalate. I was absolutely gripped by this zombie novel with heart!

Say Her Name by James Dawson 
Say Her Name has been hailed as the creepiest YA book ever written. This is James Dawson's take on the legend of Bloody Mary and he does it so well by including everything you'd associate with horror: a creepy boarding school, graveyard, dripping taps and an asylum as well as the book taking place over the Halloween period. Say Her Name is everything you could want in a scary Halloween read.

 Adult Thriller 

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas 
Mother, Mother is a deeply unsettling read. It's not as fast paced as some thrillers out there but it's one that creeps under your skin without you realizing it. I felt so uneasy reading this story about a highly dysfunctional family and was never really sure who to trust. Is Josephine a loving and attentive mother? Or a manipulative monster ruining her children's lives? This one left me chilled. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
This book is everywhere at the minute and with the film now out (which is also excellent) there's really no better time to pick up this book if you haven't already! I read this one very recently and at first found it slow - but stick with it! Once you're about half way through you get completely sucked into the crazy and won't want to put it down. 

 YA Thriller 

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher 
This is another book that I read last Halloween. The Killing Woods has a brilliant 'whodunnit' mystery surrounding a game played by teenagers in the local woods. Lucy Christopher's gorgeous writing really brings the woods themselves to life and makes them an ominous setting thick with atmosphere. This is certainly one of the more chilling YA Thrillers I've read. 

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian 
Don't be fooled by the pretty pink cover! If you love Pretty Little Liars you are going to want to get on this series. Although lighter in tone compared to the other books on this list it still packs a punch as three girls take their lust for revenge too far. I found this book impossible to put down and can't wait to read the last book in the series Ashes to Ashes this Halloween! 

 Paranormal 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke 
This book is gothic paranormal romance at its best. Eerie and grim Tucholke spins a story of a girl who loses her heart to the worst kind of boy. Usually this kind of romance rubs me the wrong way but this one really worked for me as it matches the unsettling atmosphere of the rest of the book. Twisted and sinister is putting it lightly.

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini 
I couldn't not include this book! Although not particularly scary it puts a fresh new spin on witchcraft and Salem and is one of my favourite paranormal reads of this year. If you're looking for something really different in the paranormal genre this Halloween then I urge you to pick this one up!

I hope my picks have given you some ideas for what to read this Halloween! I'd love to know what would make your list. I just started The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey and am really enjoying it. 

 Happy Halloween!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Review for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Release: 3rd October 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, LGBT
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review




Synopsis:
"It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High.

No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist.

Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore.

Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart."

Review 
It’s 1959 and the world is changing for two teenage girls who are thrown into each other’s paths as Jefferson High introduces black students to its halls for the very first time. Lies We Tell Ourselves is told between Sarah and Linda two girls who at the start of the book appear to be very different but little do they know are actually the flip side to the same coin in the battle for civil rights.

Sarah is one of the first black girls to be integrated and right from the first chapter I was equally horrified and heartbroken for her and the abuse she had to go through. Linda is a popular white girl who’s been told all her life that black people are beneath her and so when she gets to know Sarah during a school project she’s confused and torn by what she herself is learning to be true and wanting to uphold her family’s reputation and please her father whose career is built on segregation. Both girls are equally interesting to read about as they go on a tremendous journey to figure out for themselves what’s wrong and what’s right.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is set at a point in history where people’s minds were slowly changing towards equality and so I found it really interesting that author Robin Talley decided to take a look at gay rights as well for comparison. I thought this was well explored through Linda’s best friend Judy who’s one of the only white students to accept Sarah yet sees homosexuality as sinful and wrong. It was interesting to read about how minds move and at what pace especially when it comes to equality.

There’s a lot of important messages and themes throughout Lies We Tell Ourselves but my personal favourite is one that I believe stands the test of time and is at the root of all good change and that is to do what you feel in your heart to be right rather than what you’ve been told is right. Seeing Sarah and Linda find their own way and the strength it takes to do that is an incredibly empowering thought to take away from this book.

Every now and then a Young Adult book comes along that I want to push into every readers hands both young and old and Lies We Tell Ourselves is that book for 2014.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Letterbox Love (41) They're Back!



Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey @ Narratively Speaking for UK based book bloggers to showcase the books that they’ve received each week.

I'm so happy to be bringing back book hauls to the blog this week! Back in May I explained that I wouldn't be doing them for a while whilst we were decorating and my books were everywhere and now we're all done and my books are back together again on my gorgeous new bookcases. I won't be showing everything I've got since May because that would be ridiculous so instead I'll be starting fresh with the books I've bought and received over the last two weeks.


Us by David Nicholls (For Review)
One Day is one of my all time favourite books and I've been waiting and waiting for another David Nicholls book for years. The wait is finally over and I was thrilled to find that the publisher had sent me a signed copy!
Talon by Julie Kagawa (ARC, Borrowed)
I'm borrowing this one from my lovely friend Jasprit which reminds me that I really need to get to it soon as Rach is waiting to borrow it next! Kagawa's books tend to be hit or miss with me but this one has DRAGONS so we'll see how I get on with it.
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins (For Review)
Our gorgeous UK cover, Christmas and several of my favourite authors. I'm freaking excited you guys! I'm waiting until November before making a start on this one.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman (Proof, For Review)
When this dropped through my letterbox earlier today I got some very worried looks from my family because I was squawking and flapping my arms about like a seagull. This is one of my most anticipated 2015 releases and I'm so made up to have a proof copy! I don't think I'll be able to wait long before starting this.


Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Bought)
I have wanted to read one of Sanderson's books since forever and I've almost bought one so many times. I believe this is a new YA series from him and so I decided to finally, finally give him a go.
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (For Review)
This is another book where my inner seagull was out in full force! I love this series and am so excited to see how everything ends. I'll be reading this one very soon.
Sublime by Christina Lauren (For Review)
I hadn't originally heard of this book until the publisher emailed me about it and based on the synopsis alone I decided to give it a go! Although I have to say after some research I much prefer the US cover.


This Autumn I have been on such a thriller kick and it all started when I read Gone Girl last month. Since then I've been straying away from my review pile once a week and diving into a thriller. I've got a little pile that I've been working my way through which has made for perfect October reading. I'm currently reading and enjoying Before I Go To Sleep and if you have any recommendations for what I should pick up after I've finished these three I'd love to know!
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Bought)
The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey (Bought)
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Bought)

 As always thank you to the lovely publishing folk for the review copies. If you decided to do a Letterbox Love, Book Haul, IMM, Showcase Sunday, Mailbox Monday or whatever else featuring the books you got this week leave me a link as I’d love to check out your books too! ^_^ 

 Happy reading till next time!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Review for Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Rooms by Lauren Oliver 
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release: 25th September 2014
Genre: Fiction, Ghosts
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review




Synopsis:
"Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family-bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna-have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself-in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide-with cataclysmic results."

Review 
Rooms is Lauren Oliver’s first venture into Adult Fiction and is a book I’ve been looking forward to all year. From our creepy UK cover to the promise of a ghost story I was really looking forward to diving into this one this Halloween season. Turns out that Rooms isn’t your typical ghost story. It’s not the spooky read I was anticipating and at first I was a little disappointed about that but before long I started to appreciate this book for what it is: a sombre and thought provoking look at the pasts that haunt all of us and keep us from moving on.

Rooms has a large cast of characters both living and dead. With so many characters and short chapters flitting from person to person it did take me a while to settle into the story and get a feel for the characters.

What really impressed me with Rooms was Lauren Oliver’s unique take on ghosts. From the way the old house would become the physical body for the spirits to inhabit to the way their conversations would translate to the living as a creak of a floorboard or the opening of a door. As with her YA books Lauren Oliver’s writing creates the perfect atmosphere for her story, this time she takes on a moody literary voice that will echo through your mind long after the final sentence providing a ghostly encore to Rooms itself.

At the beginning of the book it appears that the connections between the characters are down to the big old house and their individual unhappiness but as the story unfolds one layer at a time you see how expertly Lauren Oliver has crafted her story with one thread overlapping with another to create an entangled web of loss, secrets and bitterness. By the end of the book the whole story has come together. My only complaint is that I felt some characters got a more satisfactory ending than others and I would have liked more closure regarding some things.

Although Rooms wasn’t the ghost story I was expecting it was one I appreciated for its originality and thought provoking look at the things that truly haunt us.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Maze Runner Blog Tour: 5 Days to Go and a Special Giveaway!

It's only 5 days to go until The Maze Runner hits cinemas on the 10th October and I'm so excited to go and see it! I first read The Maze Runner way back when I first started blogging in 2010 (you can check out my rather poor attempt at a review here, do try not to laugh, I was only a newbie!) and it's one of the first books I recommend to fans of The Hunger Games who are looking for something similar. If you can't wait to see Mockingjay and need your adrenaline fix I'd recommend checking this film out. In case it's been totally off your radar until now here's your chance to check out the epic trailer!

   

I don't know about you but I prefer to read the book before I go and see the movie adaptation and so I'm giving one lucky UK reader the chance to win a copy of The Maze Runner signed by the author James Dashner. Simply read the rules and fill in the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck!


Giveaway Rules 
 To enter you have to fill in the Rafflecopter
 Open to UK residents only 
 End date: Sunday 12th October 2014 
 The winner will be drawn and contacted by email with 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected 
 Make sure you complete what the form asks of you - I do check! Any winner who has not completed an option will be disqualified 


Stop by The Overflowing Library tomorrow for the next stop on the tour 
The Maze Runner is out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House)
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