Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

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Title: Mary Hades
Author: Sarah Dalton
E-book: 286 Pages
Published: April 2014

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single ‘My Daylight Monsters’. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.

With some scenes of horror and some strong language, this book is best suited for readers aged fifteen and up.

My Thoughts:

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is about a teenage girl named Mary Hades who has the ability to see ghosts and her best friend happens to be one of them. It takes place in England where Mary’s parents decide to take her on holiday after she has been released from a psychiatric hospital. During her holiday she meets a boy, Seth, and strange things begin to happen wherever she goes.  Death seems to follow Mary despite her best efforts to avoid it.

I found this book to be beautifully written. Having never read anything by Sarah Dalton before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The synopsis itself sounded appealing enough and it certainly lived up to my expectations; maybe even slightly surpassing them. It was nice to see Mary grow as a character and I really enjoyed the connection that was developed between her and Seth.  Seeing Mary develop friendships that she never thought were possible was also a great addition to the story. I’ll admit, there was a lot more death than I expected but this book would not have become as good as it is without it (That sounds a bit morbid). Dalton’s descriptive nature in her writing definitely shined in this book. I will admit that I was a bit spooked by some of the scenes that played out.

Now to explain my rating. I decided to give this book 4 stars due to the fact that when I started reading the book, I was unaware of the prequel novella, My Daylight Monsters (#0.5), that explains Mary’s past. While reading Mary Hades, I sometimes found myself to be a little lost when there were references to things that happened to her while she was in the psychiatric hospital. We don’t get a whole of detail about it, but enough to kind of develop your own ideas as to what happened, generally speaking. I would have liked to have had a little bit more insight into Mary’s past without actually having to read the novella, mainly because I wasn’t aware of the novella until I was almost done reading this book. I don’t really see a reason to go back and read the prequel novella just because I’m way past that point now and I don’t feel it necessary to learn more about what happened to her, but that’s just my own opinion.  I do, however, hope to continue on with the next book in this series as soon as possible.

Favorite Quotes:

“Death seems to trail me like the train of a wedding dress. I am the corpse bride and my loyal funeral procession nips at my ankles.”

“I wish I could ignore the worst things humans do to each other. But if we all ignored them, the victims would never have anyone to hear them.”

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Everlost by Neal Shusterman

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Title: Everlost
Author: Neal Shusterman
Paperback: 384 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1416997498
Publisher: Simon Pulse

My Rating: ★★★ (3 1/2 Stars)

Synopsis:

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he’s found a home. But Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

My Thoughts:

I have read other books by Neal Shusterman before and I noticed a big difference in his writing style in this book. At least, it seemed that way to me. While I believe that this book is categorized as a young adult book, it read like a middle grade book. Despite that, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a fast read, and that probably had a lot to do with the simplicity in the writing. The story in and of itself was very original in my opinion. I don’t think that I have ever read anything quite like this before.

This story is about a girl named Allie and a boy named Nick who are unfortunately in a car accident that takes both of their lives. They end up in a type of “limbo” known as Everlost.  We follow both of these characters on their journeys: Allie’s, to find her family. Nick’s journey takes an interesting turn that I will not mention due to spoilers. I found both of these characters to be very heartwarming and I grew to absolutely love them throughout the book. Other characters that were introduced in the book, especially Lief, became some of my favorite characters because of their amazing uniqueness.

I think that this book is intended for a much younger audience, but I still found it be a very enjoyable, fast paced read. If you like middle grade books, no matter your age, I highly recommend this book. I do plan to continue on with the trilogy so that I can follow the stories of the characters that I grew to love so much in this book.

Ascend by Amanda Hocking

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Title: Ascend
Author:
Amanda Hocking
Paperback: 326 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, Reprint Edition (Apr. 24, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1250006332
Reading Level: YA (12 – 17 Years)

My Rating: ★★

Synopsis:

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself.  If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe.  But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?

The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end.

Everything has been leading to this moment.  The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.

My Thoughts:
***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

          I prefer the first two books in this series to the last one. There was all of this built up anticipation for the so-called “war” that was supposed to happen and it ended so abruptly that I was left, mouth agape, trying to figure out why I read over 250 pages to get to, “I swung the sword down, slicing through his neck. I turned away so I didn’t have to see it, but I heard his head fall to the floor.” It was like I was on a rollercoaster looking forward to the huge drop in front of me, but instead the ride completely stopped. There was no excitement in that “war,” and I was disappointed. Where did the Amanda Hocking that I love go?

         There were a few other quotes that stuck out to me as being poorly written and left me screaming, “WHAT?!” in my head. For example, “”I don’t know Wendy.” Tove shook his head. “I don’t want you to die, but I don’t know what else to tell you.”” Huh? That lacks so much compassion that I literally wanted to punch Tove in the face. Who cares if he’s gay? I still think he should have been more upset about the fact that Wendy, at that point in the story, was most likely facing death. Don’t get me wrong, I do recommend this series and I do plan on reading more of her books but this one was just a letdown in more ways than one and to me it seems that Hocking may have rushed the ending to this series without putting as much thought into it as she did the first two books.

So many books, so little time!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by books? Almost to the point where you don’t even know what book to pick up? I feel like this a lot because of the amount of books that I purchase, books that are sent to me for review, books that are gifted to me, books that I check out of the library, etc. Sometimes it can feel like your whole entire world is surrounded by books and there is so much pressure to read them in an allotted amount of time.

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Right now, I think I’m reading about three, maybe four, different books and I’m not even close to finishing any of them. And yet I find myself searching my libraries website for ebooks to check out. And I can’t seem to get off of Barnes & Noble’s website. Randomly, while I should be doing college classwork, I somehow end up browsing BookOutlet.com.

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So, is there such a thing as being a book “addict?” I find myself wondering this quite often because my office/library seems to be proof of it. However, the mind works in mysterious ways. For instance, I look at my shelves and almost have a panic attack, but when I enter a bookstore, I can’t hesitate to buy a book despite the knowledge of my overflowing shelves and lack of shelf space, because there is just some satisfaction in purchasing a book and knowing that it’s mine. That I can read it, cherish it, and give it a good home (as if it were a living, breathing thing). But in all honesty, for book lovers, books are just that: living, breathing things. In our minds, these books offer us something that nothing else ever possibly could — an escape. Not just from society, but from ourselves. They give us a place to turn to when we don’t want to think about how bad our day was and how we walked around all day with toilet paper stuck to our shoe and no one told us (um, for example). They are outlets. Dreams that we can experience while we’re awake.

With that I say to you book lovers out there – don’t be discouraged! You WILL get those books read one day and even if you don’t, they’ll still get the love that they deserve from other book lovers like YOU. Don’t sweat it and just enjoy the books that you have the time to read. Soak them up and let them permeate your mind. Dive into their worlds and allow yourself the privilege to appreciate what the author created just for you. It’s an amazing feeling. One that can get you through just about anything.

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Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

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Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Paperback: 242 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1442413344
Reading Level: YA (12-17 Years)

My Rating: ★★

Synopsis:

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and, most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. And when those two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book in the beginning. I thought, at first, that it was very well written and thought-provoking, but as I continued reading, my praises for this book steadily declined. I began to notice that the writing style continuously flip-flopped between first and third person and it drove me crazy! There were no warnings that this transition would happen, I would just be reading in first person and then BAM! third person. So overall, I absolutely loathed the style of writing in this book.

Another downfall to this book was the ending. For those of you who have not read this book STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW. There will be SPOILERS.

So I decided to push through this book despite the grotesque style of writing and found myself liking the “idea” of the book. Just a FYI, I was reading this book on my Kindle and knew that I was about 90% done. I started wondering what could possibly happen in the next 10% of the book. And then…it happened. His brother came back! It was like a glorious appearing and I loved how it made me feel. I began to wonder what would happen next; would he explain to his brother what happened to him and how he was set free or even how he got away? I was anticipating answers to all of these questions. Then I turned the page. Acknowledgments. WHAT?! No. My heart broke. Hence the reason why this book only gets three stars from me. Great idea, poorly executed and the ending was just a huge letdown.

Divine Vices by Melissa Parkin

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TitleDivine Vices
Author: Melissa Parkin
Kindle Edition: 379 Pages

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

The last thing sixteen-year-old Cassie Foster needs is trouble, but that doesn’t stop him from finding her.

Nine months after the tragic accident that killed her mother and sister, this high school junior just wants a fresh start. Settling down in the quiet town of New Haven, Maine, she’s found peace at last…until the new resident bad boy, Jackson Matthews, comes into the picture. Arrogant, sarcastic, and devastatingly sexy, he’s the very last thing Cassie wants to entertain. Romance was never part of the plan. But when terrifying circumstances drive these two together, she finds herself further in over her head than thought possible. As local girls begin disappearing, Cassie can’t help but wonder if it’s just a coincidence that everything started when this blue-eyed Casanova strolled into town. Will falling into Jackson’s arms mean she’ll be falling victim to a real lady-killer…or worse?

The answer will open the door to a world she never thought possible.

My Thoughts:

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book seriously blew me away. There were so many twists and turns; I didn’t know what to expect. The dialogue was epic. I loved how snarky the characters were. All of the characters in this story definitely had some spunk and I found it to be quite enjoyable. Now I’m just struggling with whether I love Ian or Jack more.

The story itself was well thought out and original. It was very fast paced and it was difficult to put down. I highly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it. I can’t wait to continue on with this series.

Wicked by Clover Donovan

wicked

Title: Wicked
Author: Clover Donovan
Kindle Edition: 244 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1480156685

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis:

For brother and sister, Ethan and Emma Drake, their world is about to get flipped upside down when they discover a malicious warlock is after their power and they are descended from a dark bloodline.

And not to mention their deceased father was the most wicked warlock to walk the earth.

While attempting to uncover their spine-chilling ancestry and keeping themselves alive at the same time, Ethan becomes tempted by the dark magic that lies within him…

Can Ethan and Emma figure out how to stop the warlock and save each other all at once? Join Ethan and Emma as they race against time to save their lives, their world, and fall in love in all the wrong places.

My Thoughts:

I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story follows a brother and sister, Emma and Ethan, as they try to escape a warlock who is after their powers. Emma and Ethan come from a dark bloodline and they find themselves tempted to use dark magic on many different occasions. During their adventures, they meet many new faces and try to learn about their ancestry.

Without giving anymore away, I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and I found myself connecting with the main characters quite well. This book reminds me a little of the Mortal Instruments series, in that there is a world in this story that is different from the mortal world.

The only criticism that I have is that the amount of characters in this book can be, at some times, overwhelming. I would recommend reading carefully and fully understanding the characters and their backgrounds before continuing on to the next page. It may even be beneficial to write them down (which I do anyway for reviewing purposes).

Aside from that, I found this book to be beautifully written and action packed. Highly recommended!

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