“The Women in the Walls” Amy Lukavics | Spoiler-Free Review.

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Rating: 1/5 stars

Trigger warnings: Self-harm, suicide

Overall Summary: Compelling and refreshing paranormal horror, but lacks depth and creativity

Hello fellow blog readers – it’s been a while. Today I wanted to review a book kindly sent to  me by the beautiful people over at Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. As you can see from my rating, this wasn’t a favourite for me. However, I’d like to share the aspects that I did enjoy concerning the novel, as well as the issues that I had with the story.

“Women in the Walls” by Amy Lukavics – Synopsis (as of Goodreads):

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.  
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

So, starting off with aspects that I enjoyed about the book. I can definitely say that towards the beginning half of the book I was highly intrigued as to the progression of the plot and read on in anticipation. I found the overall premise of the story to be extremely appealing (and CREEPY), and it wasn’t until around halfway through the novel that I lost this interest. Also, this was a really quick read, so I’d definitely recommend Women in the Walls if you’re trying to fill up your readathon TBRs.

Another aspect that I admired with the book was the whole horror-esque genre. It is so very rarely that I come across YA novels that actually delve into the horror genre, and it was somewhat refreshing coming across a story that wasn’t afraid of some genuine gore. Let me give you a couple of illuminating examples:

  • People are killed and stuffed into walls
  • People are killed and served as food

Whilst I enjoyed the gore + creep factors of the story, I definitely feel as though it was far too grotesque. Perhaps some readers could like this, but personally even as a horror movie fan, the descriptions could go way overboard to the point where I felt physically sick and wondered at the sanity of the author(?)

One of the main issues that I had with Women in the Walls was its approach to self-harm and mental health as a whole. I would like to recommend that the print edition of the story should have some type of trigger warning for those initially picking up the book, as its detailing can be quite extensive and may affect some readers. As an avid reader of mental health YA, I feel the need to criticise the way in which the author approached self-harm. The protagonist’s acts of self-harm are thoroughly detailed, yet her motivations and mental struggles with the issue are never elaborated on, leaving this aspect detached from the overall arch of the story, whilst possibly offending audiences.

My primary issue with the story, however, remains the writing style. Though it was initially an aspect that I attempted to overlook, the blatant immaturity and lack of creativity in the text was cliche and made continuing with the book difficult, despite a somewhat intriguing plot-line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Thanks for the Trouble” | Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

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Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Hello Oh My Blog readers! It’s been a while. Today I have decided to post a review for Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach, which was released earlier this year and was kindly sent to me by the lovely people over at Simon & Schuster. (Thank you!) This book was really interesting in the sense that it was quite a cliche read, but it was also quite odd and quirky in a way that made it somewhat unique. Whilst it wasn’t my favorite book that I’d ever read and I did think it was quite monotone at times, there were certainly some aspects of the novel that I appreciated.

Synopsis:

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

Personally, I found this book to be quite difficult to get into, and it actually ended up taking me a month to read, though I blame that more on my eternal reading slump. When I decide to make time to read this book and push through the slump, it only took me several hours to read, so if you’re looking for a lightweight, quick read, I would definitely recommend this book. In terms of what I found most intriguing about this book, I wasn’t particularly thrilled about any certain aspect, but I did quite enjoy the end. While I personally didn’t fully feel captivated by this novel, it was certainly interesting reading a story with a very steady pace throughout, and resulted in a regulated tempo without any parts of the story flatlining.

An aspect of this story that I personally found to be quite irritating was the introduction and portrayal of the female lead, Zelda. This book quite heavily utilised the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” cliche that we see from characters like Paper Town‘s Margo Roth Spiegalman, a trope that to me has always felt very overused in Young Adult literature. While I did enjoy and was intrigued by Zelda’s bravery and how outspoken she was, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed by her obvious attitude that she as superior to others. This does actually tie in with the magical realism evident in this book, another aspect that I was somewhat curious about. I went into this book expecting a fluffy contemporary read, and I instead received a quirky teen romance with a very slight hint of fantasy (I guess??). That was definitely a pleasant surprise, even though I don’t quite understand the entire storyline, as I feel the writing was quite vague. However, I could still recognise Tommy Wallach’s unique writing style coming through from his debut novel We All Looked Up (which I LOVED by the way, my review is here: https://ohmyblogyouguys.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/we-all-looked-up-by-tommy-wallach-spoiler-free-review/), I certainly feel as if this book wasn’t as strong as his original novel.

(POTENTIAL/VAGUE  SPOILERS? Personally something I don’t consider significant enough to be a spoiler, but it’s certainly up to your discretion) Something I found really interesting about this book was the fact that it was written in the style of a college application essay, which wasn’t really revealed until the end of the story. I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever, and it certainly helped me to understand the manner in which the book was written – this book’s writing style was unlike anything I’d ever read before, and though I wasn’t necessarily a massive fan of it, it was definitely an interesting read. I really admire the author’s bravery in choosing such an uncommon and unheard of way in which to create a YA novel, and I really admire reading something a little different.

All in all, I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for something quick and a little out-there, but still enjoyable. I personally would rate this book a 2.5/5 stars, but I’m sure there are many of you that would enjoy this novel! And definitely don’t forget to check out Tommy Wallach’s debut We All Looked Up, which I was a massive fan of 🙂

Get the book here: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Thanks-for-the-Trouble/Tommy-Wallach/9781481418805

 

“Shadowhunters” TV Show | Casting Decisions!

Kat McNamara as Clary Fray

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Dominic Sherwood as Jace Wayland

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Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood

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Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle Lightwood

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Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis

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Harry Shum Jr. as Magnus Bane

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Isaiah Mustafa as Luke Garroway

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Alan Van Sprang as Valentine Morgenstern

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Maxim Roy as Jocelyn Fairchild

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David Castro as Raphael Santiago

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Jon Cor as Hodge Starkweather

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Kaitlyn Leeb as Camille Belcourt

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Cassandra Clare & Holly Black To Visit Australia!

Stuck in Australia where authors never come? It seems the Fates have taken pity on us and led bestselling authors Cassandra Clare and Holly Black towards the land down under. The authors will be visiting both Brisbane and Sydney around the August-September time period, as they promote their Magisterium series.

Brisbane

Clare and Black will both be guests at the Brisbane Writers Festival on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September 2015, in a fun informative writing panel. Afterwards, there will be book signing opportunities, where people are allowed to meet the authors and get their books signed! The tickets for this event are quickly selling out, so if you live in the area and are interested make sure to grab your tickets over on the BWF website – http://bwf.org.au

Sydney

Recently, the authors also confirmed that they will be visiting Sydney, specifically the Kinokuniya Bookstore on the 15th of August 2015. The bestselling international authors will be discussing the next book in their Magisterium series (The Copper Gauntlet). Unfortunately, tickets for this event are sold out, however Kinokuniya is hosting a special giveaway in which 2 lucky winners could win tickets to the event. To find out more about the event, head over to http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2f59ed5da3b76af8285b113f3&id=7746a82935

“We All Looked Up” by Tommy Wallach | Spoiler-Free Review!

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Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Hello readers of Oh My Blog! Today I am going to be doing a review of “We All Looked Up” by Tommy Wallach – a book that I received a few months ago in the form of an ARC! This story follows a group of teenagers, and the book is told in each of their perspectives. It was one of those great books where the characters are all interconnected in some way or another, and in the end they all come together through these connections. In contemporary America, a large asteroid is seen orbiting up in space, and suddenly it’s slowly but steadily heading towards the planet of Earth. People start becoming the literal representations of YOLO, participating in things they would never usually do and putting their life on the line in ways they’d always been too afraid to do, as you do when you find out the world is going to end. I love the synopsis so much that I just need to have it written here because it’s so good.

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:

The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed. 

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Basically, I just really frickin liked this book and I think you should definitely pick up a copy! It was heart-wrenching, kinda terrifying and beautiful.

Personally, I feel like it gave off a real Perks of Being a Wallflower feel, with real, honest characters and an engaging and unique story. Going into this book I was wary, thinking that it might implement a lot of the classic “end of the world” clichés. Yes, this book did have certain clichés, but rather than lowering the book’s originality, the author used them to his advantage to make the book even better. Who knew clichés could actually be good?

The characters in this novel were very well written. After a couple of chapters in which I became familiar with the characters, I really connected to them. They were all just so realistic and believable, and even though I couldn’t directly link to some of the character’s stories or traits, I just really liked them. For example, though Andy was a pot-smoking, bad-behaved skater dude, he was possibly my favorite character. Side-note: Did anyone else picture him as Jesse from Breaking Bad? No? Just me? Not only that, but it was nice to see some nice, solid character development from nearly all of the characters. Character development in this type of teenage setting concerning is very crucial to constructing a believable Young Adult story.

I loved the entire concept of this story. Asteroid coming towards Earth and everyone goes kind of insane and acts like they’d never usually act? Count me in. Though this story was predictable reading the blurb, the actual book had so much more depth than I originally thought it would have, particularly in terms of the characters and some of the major plot events towards the end of the novel. Though I was expecting a great book, so much of this story I just wasn’t anticipating and it was very refreshing in a YA novel. I honestly feel like this book would be great as a movie adaptation – I’m already visualising some kind of Perks and Easy A hybrid.

BASICALLY? I LOVED IT. YOU’LL LOVE IT.

“The Remedy” by Suzanne Young | Spoiler-Free Review!

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Rating: 5/5 stars

I recently finished reading “The Remedy” by Suzanne Young, a prequel to “The Program”. “The Program” is one of my favorites, but I personally think this book was even better. The novel follows a teenage closer named Quinlan. In this only slightly futuristic world  very similar to our own, closers are employed to help assist with grief. When certain families are having difficulty dealing with the loss of a loved one, a closer will step in to aid them. Closers skillfully imitate the person who passed away, by mimicking their voices, and wearing wigs and contacts. The closer then stays with the family for a few days, taking on the role of their lost relative. This process is designed to give the family closure over their lost loved one, and to minimise the levels of depression. In “The Program”, depression is known as an international epidemic. However, in this prequel, this is only hinted at in foreshadowing. One day, Quinlan receives an unusual mission – she must stay with a family particularly struggling with grief for two weeks, which is longer than any closer should be in character. Quinlan takes on the task, but soon struggles to differentiate between her and the character she plays. In this thrilling tale, Quinlan must soothe the family’s grief, and hide her impending panic when she realises that the character she plays mysteriously committed suicide, a fact covered up by the government. I absolutely adored this story – I’d give it a 5 out of 5 stars and honestly, I had no issues with the novel. None at all; something incredibly rare for an honest reviewer. I was already loving the story on its own but then plot twist after PLOT TWIST hit me, making the story even more flawless. I definitely recommend “The Remedy”, whether you want to read it before or after “The Program”. Though there is slight foreshadowing, I don’t think it’s really necessary to read the other book before reading this one. If you want mind-blowing plot twists and a crazy cliffhanger, all wrapped up in an electrifying dystopian, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s like this book has a flawlessness checklist – and hell yeah it ticked all the boxes.

1. Characterisation – Quinlan is such a realistic and relatable character, so relatable that it felt like I was feeling all of the pain that she was feeling! So yeah – basically a lot of feels.

2.The Creep Factor – So I’m not sure if you got it from that synopsis, but the idea of closers is weird. Like really weird. You want someone to dress up as your dead child? Apparently the government has it covered. Not only is that weird,  but when Quinlan starts discovering things about the suicide victim she is playing, the book gets kind of dark and disturbing. In a good way.

3.Writing – Suzanne Young wrote this book flawlessly. While I had some issues with “The Program“, within this novel I found none. Her writing immediately drew us to care about Quinlan’s welfare, and soon it was as if I was the closer, having to differentiate between the character and myself.

4.Romance – The romance in this book was so frustrating…in a good way. On one side, Quinlan has her gorgeous moody ex, but they have a history. On the other side, Quinlan’s character had a boyfriend whom she encounters. Seeing his dead girlfriend in the form of a closer definitely triggers some of his emotions. So there was a kind-of love triangle, but not really. Either way, I loved it.

I could continue on with the checklist, but it’s not necessary – Suzanne Young did it all. I could write some sentence with a lot of pretty adjectives, but instead I’ll just say this:

READ IT.

“Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale” by Donna Jo Napoli | Spoiler-Free Review!

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Rating: 4/5 stars

Hello readers of Oh My Blog! Today I have another spoiler-free review for you all, this time on Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale” by Donna Jo Napoli. The novel is an enthralling, realistic historical fiction piece set in the Viking Age of Europe, somewhere around 900 A.D. The story begins in Ireland, following the story of Melkorka – an Irish princess of a wealthy kingdom. However, due to negative negotiations with Viking raiders, Melkorka is forced to leave her home for a short amount of time in her parents’ attempt to keep her safe. Unfortunately, on the road to the place in which she would reside, she is taken captive on a nearby marauding ship, and is soon forced into an unfamiliar world of cruelty and slavery. In order to hide her Gaelic voice, Melkorka decides to become mute, quickly becoming of interest to her captors. This spellbinding novel follows her captivating and shockingly honest tale in a story of struggle, pain and desperation.

Due to the trade of slaves, Melkorka is introduced to many different companions in this story. Despite occasional confusion, I really enjoyed the wide selection of characters available in the novel. I really admire stories with lots of different characters, whether that be The Simpsons or Harry Potter. In terms of the main character, I loved Melkorka as the protagonist. At first, she irritated me as she was basically the generic “princess type”…haughtiness and prejudice included. However, throughout the course of the story, she shows extensive character development and transforms from a spoiled princess into a hardworking protagonist, determined to survive. I ended up strongly admiring her character and became really invested in her welfare, as you do in an intense story of adventure and survival. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books with protagonists in which I simply can’t connect with, so it was refreshing to have Melkorka as a model leading character.

I throughly enjoyed the context and setting of this novel. The wonderful thing about historical fiction is subconsciously learning new things about past time periods. Going into this story, I really didn’t have any knowledge of the time period featuring the barbarous Vikings – other than the first episode of the TV series Vikings – and I found it interesting learning about this certain area of European history. I even ended up researching a bit about the Viking Age after reading this novel and experiencing the Vikings’ raids on Ireland through an Irish person’s perspective. The writing in Hush flawlessly introduced all of these new things to me, leaving me intrigued for more tales from this bloodthirsty and gory time period.

In terms of the layout, I really enjoyed the writing in this story. To be honest, it took a few chapters for me to get used to the author’s writing – it’s quite different to most Young Adult novels. However, I have read stories with similar writing styles before, such as Wise Child and Juniper by Monica Furlong, and I soon found myself slipping back into familiarity. I must say it isn’t my favourite style of writing, but I felt it was appropriate for the story at-hand. The telling of the story could easily be ruined by over dramatising certain scenes, but the author carefully kept the story emotional enough for the audience to feel fear and anticipation, but not too sappy that we became irritated with the characters or storyline.

Despite the constant changing setting in this novel, I think it’s fair to say that not much happened plot-wise. I never felt as if the story was dull or slow, but I feel like the novel had such potential to bring in stronger themes of adventure and mystery, and other classic survival aspects. But man, did this book give me a giant whack in the feels. The narration removes all chance of hope or happiness, and literally only leaves a strong feeling of desperation and sadness. Though this story may follow a princess, this book is no fairy tale – there’s no prince or a classic happily ever after. This princess goes through harsh brutality that is rare in a Young Adult book, which is very enticing.

All in all, I thought it was a very good book which expressed the harsh realities and outcomes of  a slave in a context which heavily focuses on Vikings and their effect on European history, and was beautifully conveyed through honest writing that did not exclude the brutality of the protagonist’s story. Despite the lack of a detailed plot, I still really enjoyed the novel and would give it a 4 star rating. I would definitely recommend it to all who enjoy adventure and historical fiction, though it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted or those in need of a happy ending.

 

Awesome April YA Releases!

I haven’t done this since December, and I’m really sorry guys! But here I have listed some awesome Young Adult books releasing this month 🙂

Miss Mayhem – rachel hawkins

> Sequel to “Rebel Belle”

> Releases 7th April

simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda – becky albertalli

> Stand alone novel

> Releases 7th April

The queen of bright and shiny things – ann AGUIRRE

> Stand alone novel

> Releases 7th April

THE PRETTY APP – KATIE SISE

> Book #2 of the App series

> Releases 14th April

THE TRUTH COMMISSION – SUSAN JUBY

> Stand alone contemporary

> Releases 14th April

THE REVELATION OF LOUISA MAY – MICHAELA MACCOLL

> Stand alone  thriller/mystery

> Releases 14th April

Steven Moffat Speaks on Sherlock/Doctor Who Crossover

Executive producer of Doctor Who and Sherlock Steven Moffat, this week expressed his thoughts on the possibility of producing a Sherlock and Doctor Who crossover.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Moffat stated:

‘if people want to, we should give it to them’.

In the past, Moffat has made his dislike for the crossover quite clear, believing that it would not clash well. However, he believes to think differently now. Moffat continued,

“I got persuaded by Mark [Gatiss], Benedict [Cumberbatch], [executive producer Sue Vertue] and Martin [Freeman] saying, ‘Look, it will never be as good as they think it’s going to be’”.

What do you Doctor Who or Sherlock fans think of this? Would it be an awesome thing where the Doctor travels to the world of Sherlock? Or is it perhaps better left to fan fiction? Let me know in the comments!