Category: Reviews

Review: Amity by Micol Ostow + Giveaway

For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror.

Connor’s family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she’s recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor’s nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren’t there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.

If you’re one of those readers who is a bit on edge about the idea of jumping into horror, let this book be a sign. Horror is back. The past few years have seen a new surge of frightfully terrifying horror novels and this one can be counted among the best of them. And I hope that we’ll be seeing plenty more in the mainstream soon!

Amity may be a new take on the true events of the Amityville Horror most know about but believe me, this book (and house) has a story of their own and they’re ready to tell it. Relive the horror like never before. You will feel this house in your bones before you finish this book and it may haunt you.

One of the most interesting things I found about this book was the perspective in which it’s told in. Now, I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t because that’s the magic of it. But the POV tells two different stories within the house that are ten years apart. Two different characters experiencing nearly the same horrors weaving them together though they’ve never met themselves. It was a seamless transition from past to present every few chapters and one that I think the reader will find extremely unique and powerful.

If you’re looking for a light read to cap off the summer, I don’t suggest this book to you. But if you’re looking for a killer novel that will scare the pants off of you (you can handle it), then this is one book that you absolutely cannot miss.

Amity will be available in stores everywhere August 26, 2014.

micolostowAbout the author:

Micol Ostow has written dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens, but Amity is her first foray into horror. I turns out, writing a ghost story is almost more terrifying than reading one. (In a good way.) Her novel family was called a “Favorite Book of 2011” by Liz Burns at School Library Journal, and her illustrated novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. In her spare time, Ostow blogs with the National Book Award-winning literacy initiative readergirlz.com. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, her (utterly fearless) daughter, and a finicky French bulldog named Bridget Jones. Visit her online at www.micolostow.com or follow her on Twitter.

The next stop on the blog tour is Good Books and Good Wine with a guest post and giveaway.
To keep up with the rest of the tour, click here.

Giveaway:

Enter the form below for a chance to win a finished copy of Amity! The giveaway is for US/Canada only.

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla Top
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

It’s not a secret that all of us have been waiting a long time for Isla. A long time. Despite the long wait and all the hype surrounding the book, Isla more than lived up to my expectations. In fact, she surpassed them.

Taking place in my relatively new hometown of New York, and the series’ beloved Paris, the scale of this book feels larger than the others in the series, simply because it covers more distance. But the locations themselves play less of a character in this book, and for good reason. While our two previous heroines of the series  Anna and Lola — know very much where they are and where they are going, Isla does not.

Isla is facing the choices and questions every senior in high school faces: what do I want to do with the rest of my life? What happens if you don’t know? Does my life still have value and do I as a person still have worth even though I haven’t claimed my place in the world? How exactly do I figure out who I am? Isla grapples with these things through the highs and lows of new love, the pressures of family and school, and what the rest of the world thinks of her.

While Anna and Lola stole my heart, I identified with Isla and her struggles on a whole other level. I sat down with the book, only intending to read a few chapters and read the whole book in one sitting. I finished at four in the morning, blown away by what I had just read and filled with happiness.

This book has everything fans will want and expect in the ending. Breathtaking romance, beautiful cities, heartbreak, wonder, and closure, all blended together with Stephanie Perkins’ characteristic wit and charm. If you love the series, then this is definitely the book you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

If you’ve been around the fantasy world at all in the last fifteen years, you’ve probably heard of Diana Gabaldon. The Outlander series is one of the most popular and best selling series in that world. It’s been on my to-read list for an embarrassingly long time. But now that they’re making a TV show (Starz) out of it, I knew I had to read it before the show ruined it for me forever.

Outlander is many things. Part time travel, part fantasy, part romance, part adventure, and a WHOLE-LOTTA-BOOK. It’s a long book. It’s sequels are long too. It’s a daunting task to think about taking on a series full of eight-hundred page books, but in this case I think it’s worth it.

Set against the backdrop of tribal Scotland, Outlander follows Claire on the adventure of a lifetime. She disappeared from post world war two Scotland, and into the middle of the English oppression of the scots. Things only get crazier from there as she meets and falls in love with the notorious Scot and outlaw Jamie Fraser. (Who, of course, is a hero any woman would wish for.)

In the attempts to clear Jamie’s name of a crime he did not commit there are many injuries, near-death experiences, torture, wolves, perhaps a wedding, and lots of sex. Without spoilers, I think that this book (and it’s new TV show) is about to spring into the world and be called the ‘new’ Game of Thrones for both it’s scale and it’s addictive story.

The TV show is premiering August 9th, so read it before it’s too late!

Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

stillblueheaderThe race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

I tend to be wary going into the final book of a series. There’s a moment when I’m absolutely terrified, wondering if my heart will be broken, or I’ll regret knowing what happened, or even that I might be over the moon with happiness. So I was relieved when I absolutely loved the ending of the Under the Never Sky trilogy.

In this book we see Aria and Perry’s relationship blossom through impossible situations and choices. We see true growth by them as a couple which leads to an incredibly satisfying end or both their combined and personal character arcs. In addition, they are not the only characters which receive more than satisfactory endings, almost everyone grows or changes in a visible way.

But perhaps most impressively is the way in which Rossi handles the book 3 conundrum–how to you reach and surpass a goal that has been looked forward to for two entire books? As is the case with many recent trilogies, there is a journey to either a specific place, or a specific goal. A thing that will bring immense change to all the characters and most likely change their entire metaphorical–or in this case, literal–world.

When this goal is reached, it is neither overblown into a utopia or so underwhelming that it is disappointing. Rather, Aria and Perry’s new world has all the problems of their old one, because the same humans still inhabit it, and with them come the same set of relationships and prejudices. Yet, there is the knowledge that in this new world there can be change and overcoming, and that makes all the difference.

I thought that this trilogy ended beautifully, and I encourage everyone to read and enjoy this beautifully rendered fantasy.

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

ever night headerIt’s been months since Aria learned of her mother’s death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It’s a moment they’ve been longing for with countless expectations. And it’s a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don’t take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry’s control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

Middle books are hard. Especially when it seems like every YA book is turning into a trilogy. This is why I was very pleasantly surprised by the second book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy.

Unlike the first book of the series, which is a book of immense change and upheaval for the characters, this book is about acceptance and growth. While there is some development and growth of Aria and Perry’s relationship, the development is more of an individual nature, as they spend the majority of the book apart.

Perry learns how to be a leader in this book, and he learns how to do it on his own terms, not in the terms of the corrupt leadership he’s known before. He makes mistakes, and he owns those mistakes. This allows his to come into himself as a person and assess who he is, what he wants, and what he has to do to protect his people.

Aria learns what it’s like to stand on her own to feet out in the Real, with Perry to pull her along and force her to act. She accepts her mixed heritage and endeavors to understand what it means to be a child of two worlds with multiple abilities. All in all Aria becomes or more complete person as she distances herself from the isolating technology of the pods that she’s known her whole life.

This sequel is one of the best middle books I’ve found, and is a perfect set up for the finale of the series: Into the Still BlueDon’t miss it!

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