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Monday, 14 September 2015

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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Title: The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Source:  The Novl Newsletter
Format: ARC


Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy - only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace...

...until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn't exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.


I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

The Dead House was intriguing, very different from what I would classify as my 'typical read' but nevertheless, I found myself enjoying it.

I liked the way in which this novel was written; interchanging between journal entries and hospital and investigation notes. It was not a completely linear story line, sometimes we perused the past, other times we rocketed to the present. It kept me on my toes and grabbed my interest.

There were also a ton of drawings, illustrations, quotes and poetry peppered throughout the novel and as a major literary nerd, I can tell you that it was thoroughly appreciated. It was so beautiful and gave the book a very musical, flowing feel. Some of my favourite quotes included in the entire novel would have to be:

Either the darkness alters-
or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And life steps almost straight

-Emily Dickison 

You are the music
While the music lasts
-T.S Eliot

Hell is empty,
All the devils are here.
- William Shakespeare,
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2
 Kaitlyn was an amazing protagonist or...antagonist? Not sure how one would class her. She was strong-willed, sarcastic and fun to read about. Reading her journals made me feel like I could relate and empathize with her. Her character made me feel really really happy and also really really weirded out and really really sad. Lots of feels.

I loved the fictional Scottish tribal/religious elements that were interwoven with the story's plot. Free from being just creepy, dark and hair-raising, these elements also gave rise to a few eccentric and notable characters such as Naida (whom I love) and Haji.

The ending, to me, was done incredibly well. It was a final but open one. We read the journal entries, the investigation reports and 'saw' the videos but it was also very mysterious. It was a conclusion that not only told you exactly what happened but left a lot of room for discussion and speculation. Was this real? Did this truly just happen?

To sum up my thoughts, I enjoyed this novel a lot. It didn't scare the crap out of me (was really creepy though) like I expected and took a little while for me to get into but it was a good read which I think a lot of people will love.

Final Sentence in the Novel

To date, she will not speak of what happened during her visit to the sight.

Dawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically 
sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, The Dead House, is forthcoming from Hachette in 2015.

By the time she was eighteen, she had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city and in the desert.

She has been lucky enough to see an elephant stampede at close range, a giraffe tongue at very close range, and she once witnessed the stealing of her (and her friends’) underwear by very large, angry baboons. (This will most definitely end up in a book . . . ) While she has quite a few tales to tell about the jumping African baboon spider, she tends to save these for Halloween!

She writes over at the YA Scream Queens, a young adult blog for all things horror and thriller, and she is a member of the YA League and Author Allsorts.

Her life reads like a YA novel.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Book Blitz: Queen of Shadow by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #4)

I am so excited that QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Sarah J. Maas, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a set of the first 3 books in the series (inpaperback format). US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title:Queen of Shadows
Author:Sarah J. Maas
Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date:September 1st 2015

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Read Chapters 1-5 of QUEEN OF SHADOWS HERE!

Sarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times, USA Today,and internationally bestselling Throne of Glass series–Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight,and Heir of Fire, and the series’ prequel,The Assassin’s Blade–as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. She wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in twenty-three languages. Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, will release worldwide on September 1st, 2015.

A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram| Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.Ends on September11th at Midnight EST!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (12): Top Ten Characters I Was NOT a Fan of

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten book characters that just didn't click with me.

Hey, guys! I have been waiting for this topic to roll around for what feels like ten years. Honestly, I've had these feelings on my chest for too long and now I need to vent! I need to SCREAM TO THE HEAVENS about how much I dislike these characters. My hate is too real so I apologize, in advance, if any of your favourite characters appear on this list because it is never my intention to offend anyone.


I like Warner but not in the way in which everyone else seems to like him. My interest in this character only piqued at the very end of Unravel Me and it had nothing to do with his "relationship" with Juliette or his "charming" (akin to a douchebag) personality traits in the first book. He can be somewhat likable at times but to be honest, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

To me, he is the poster child for the typical drop-dead-gorgeous-bad-boy-with-a-good-side love interests and when I read the very highly appraised chapter 62 in Unravel Me, I felt nothing. I don't like the romance between Warner and Juliette (or Juliette and Adam for that matter) because it really adds nothing much to the story. And in Warner's case, it makes me like him a lot less. 

9)The Darkling

I've only read the first novel in The Grisha Trilogy and I really enjoyed it! Initially, I loved the Darkling, then the story took an interesting turn and those feelings evaporated. I'm not sure what to make of him because *spoilers*.

It's just another Warner situation. I don't feel like I know the real person behind the pseudonym "The Darkling" so I have no attachments to him and he royally pisses me off.

8)Mare Barrow

If you happened to read my review of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, you'd know that I was not a fan of the protagonist, Mare. Her personality, one of many, was very vapid and interchanged a lot. I swear she had split personalities.

One minute she was this badass pickpocket who stole to provide for her family, next she needed help doing everything! She whined so much and relied on everyone for everything. At times, I just wanted to give her a good shake and yell: YOU HAVE ELECTRIC POWERS, GOD DAMNIT!

7)Adelina Amouteru

I'm iffy about including Adelina on this list because I strongly believe that had this book been written from a perspective other than hers, I would have loved her. Getting to know her a bit more through this novel though, I think she's petty. And whiny. And relentless.

She fails to recognize that she is the evil that thwarts her friends, she is the harbinger who brings death and grief. Adelina blames everyone for her problems and hurts people, people who are not bad people!

Her POV irritated me, made me want to gouge my eyeballs out. I appreciated the difference of perspective because it is rare that we get to see things from a villain's side but no. No.

6)America Singer

*eye roll* *face palm* *aggressive sigh*

America Singer is annoying. I've only read the first book in this series and I already hate her. She's ridiculously indecisive, complains a lot and makes me wish that I could reach into the book, grab her by the neck and just slap her so hard she gains sense. 

5)Lena Haloway

Lena is the original America Singer but 20 times worse. I believe that if she even made an attempt to stand on her own two feet, she'd crumble to pieces. She can't think on her own or make decisions for herself and if you stick her in a room with any member of the teenage male species, she'll fall in love in 10 seconds and be subject to their will. 

Her mind is so subservient, she's not strong-willed and her naivety actually causes a lot of her problems. It's so frustrating!

4)Katniss Everdeen & Tris Prior

Let's be real, these two characters are the same person and my reason for disliking them both is the same. Stereotypical, mediocre, flat characters with no real personality. Yes, we know they're strong. Yes, we know they're brave and will fight to save others but what else?

They were both so uninteresting, they were nothing but mind-numbing robots and did not in any way captivate me.  I think that this whole dystopian girl-breaks-out-and-becomes-a-hero thing is getting way old with super homogeneous characters and these two are the faces of that movement. 

3)Teresa Agnes

The girl who is somehow a main character even though her personality is as shallow as a kiddie pool.

We literally know nothing about this character yet she is knee-deep in all the conflicts of the story. I can't hate her because like I said, she is an enigma to me but every time her name is mentioned, I face palm so hard and I seriously consider throwing something. Ugh, why is she portrayed as important? She's so dull!

Not to mention the fact that she confused the hell out of me in The Scorch Trials. I am unable to comprehend the reason why this depth-less character was created. Give her a personality or kill her off. Honestly.

2)Elena Gilbert

Not much of The Vampire Diaries TV Show coincides with the books but one thing is constant: I still want to kill Elena. I loathe her character. She is weak and enjoys playing the victim when she is the perpetrator. On top of that, she's controlling and puppeteers all of her friends' lives.

She causes so much pain and hurt and then goes and tries to fix it which ultimately worsens the problem and usually results in the death of one of her friends. Elena is such a selfish character, she risks so little while everyone she loves sacrifices so much for her and she clearly isn't grateful as she's content to constantly put herself in danger.

The solution to everyone's problems would've been to terminate her in season one.

1)Vasilisa Dragomir

I cannot describe my hate for Lissa from The Vampire Academy series without erupting into a series of barely understandable babbles but I'll try. For the first 2 books, I was cool. We were cool. I didn't particularly enjoy reading about Lissa but I didn't totally hate it either. 

Fast-forward to the end of the 3rd book and she's leaning more on the hate side. Jump even further along to the 5th book and I just flat-out want to stab her with a stake. She is extremely condescending, controlling and conceited. She cares for no one as long as she gets her way, through whatever means necessary. 

I'm all for compulsion and bending the will of others when you're in mortal danger but trying to use that crap on friends is crossing the moral line. She crossed the moral line. I couldn't fathom for the life of me why Rose continued to be her friend because I would have dropped her like a hot potato.

Even worse, her anger-inducing tendencies transferred over to The Bloodlines series which pissed me off even more. Two of my favourite series tainted by her. SMH

 Which characters just didn't work for you? Comment down below and tell me! Until my next blog post, I love you infinity and beyond!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Making Up For Monday #16: My Favourite Non-Bookish Hobby

Description: Each week I will have a book-related theme or game, or something fun to do that week. And you can play along! All you have to do is find the question for that week, go to your own blog, write a post that day based on that question, and link your post to this one using the link up tool at the bottom of the post.

This week's question: What is your favourite hobby (outside of reading)?

This is my second time re-writing this post because the first time I forgot to save it and my laptop screwed up and deleted my draft. I'm telling you all this so you'll know that if my writing is a bit abrupt in this post, it's because 1)I'm irritated at myself and my computer for deleting something I worked hard on and 2) I want nothing more than to crawl into a comfortable ditch and just lay there for a few hours. Other than that, enjoy!

I've taken part in a variety of hobbies over the years, inclusive of lawn tennis, table tennis, Anime club, volleyball, karate etc. but none of them have held my interest for very long. I think I just grew out of them and I keep kicking myself to try out some new things but outside of blogging and reading, there really is little or no time leftover for anything else.

I was tempted to list 'Marathoning TV series' as a hobby because I am obsessed with binge-watching anything and everything. Instead, I decided to choose something a bit more practical: learning new languages.

I love language, every aspect of it and I've become more serious in learning them. Currently, I'm studying both Spanish and Portuguese and I love them both. Spanish I've been learning for 5 years and Portuguese I started literally a week ago. It makes me super happy to learn about the cultures of other people and I hope to become fluent in both languages one day.

What is your favourite hobby? Comment, comment, comment! Until my next blog post, I love you guys to...infinity and beyond!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu (The Young Elites #1)

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Title:The Young Elites
Author:Marie Lu
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date:October 7th 2014


Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.


I was not a fan of this novel which is suckish because The Legend trilogy is one of my favourites. It did not "wow" and I had more issues with it than likes.

The premise of the novel is one that is overdone in YA literature, yes, but there was so much potential for growth and individuality and it did not live up to it in my opinion. It blended into the background AND also possessed one of the most cringeworthy aspects that I personally think a YA book can possess: energy. Any talk about energy, labeling it as a very physical thing and the root determinant of the supernatural turns me off.

I don't think that it can be done well. I'm not arguing the possibility of it being done well because everything is possible and if you've read a book in which "energy" as a very physical life force excels, then please drop me a line because I'm actually curious. I don't like this "book trope" all.

I enjoyed the succession of events in the story but none of the POVs through which they were seen except Enzo's. That's unfortunate because his POV made up only about 10 percent of the novel. The other times, it interchanged among Adelina, Raffaele and Teren, with Adelina being in the majority. Her POV was confusing and bothersome. She's a villain, I know she is.

Adelina delights in hurting people and it was different to read things from her perspective but again, not done well. Sometimes, I empathized with her because she truly needed it and I thought she was just misunderstood but I came to a realization that she's just a psychopath. Because of her botched POV, I saw other characters whom I don't believe to be terrible as terrible. All her enemies A.K.A the good guys who are not enemies of the reader or the general public were displayed as menaces for distancing themselves from her and her powers.

I didn't connect with most of the characters on a deep, emotional level and the one character that I truly loved *blank* because *blank blank blank*

Besides that, this novel was...okay. It was a quick read filled with lots of action and a crazy suspense-ridden ending but it fell way short for me. Despite all my disappointment though, I still plan on reading the sequel, if only to see what happens next and satisfy my need to complete things. Plus, I love Marie Lu's writing, even if I wasn't too fond of this particular book.

Final Sentence in the Novel

"Come," she says. "I need to pay Kenettra a visit."

I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (11): Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the top ten authors I've read the most books from.

10)Mitch Albom

I've only read one of Mitch Albom's novels, The Timekeeper, and while it didn't blow me away, I did quite enjoy it and have been searching for more of his books to buy because his other titles seem really interesting.

9)J.K. Rowling

 Besides The Harry Potter series , I have yet to read any other J.K Rowling books but she's definitely an author whose books I will reach for at the bookstore without actually reading their synopses.

7)Carolyn Keene

The Nancy Drew series is one of my favourite series and a defining factor in why I read today. I'm slowly trying to collect physical copies of the books and will buy any one of them at a mere glance of the pseudonym.

7)Roald Dahl 

I have the same reasoning for Roald Dahl being on this list as I do for Carolyn Keene. His books were a major part of my childhood and I am trying to collect them all.

6)Stephenie Meyer

I feel like I identify with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, honestly and no surprise here, I will buy any and all of her books. 

5)John Green

I have loved every John Green book that I've read so far and yes, he is on this list. I love John Green, not just his writing but also his personality and his YouTube videos.

4)Marie Lu

I loved the Legend trilogy and though I wasn't a huge fan of The Young Elites, I'm still going to run, limbs flailing, to the bookstore when The Rose Society or any other Marie Lu book is released 

3)Cassandra Clare

I adore Cassandra Clare's writing so I'm gonna just casually buy all of her books. :)

2)Rick Riordan


1)Richelle Mead

Are you surprised that Richelle Mead is my top auto-buy author? Because I'm not. I auto-buy her books all the time and honestly, I can't see myself stopping. I have a problem. 

 Which authors made your list? Comment down below and tell me! Until my next blog post, I love you infinity and beyond!