fantasy · ghosts · paranormal

Review: The Ghost and the Goth

Author: Stacey Kade
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: The Ghost and the Goth

Summary from Goodreads:

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit (DON’T call her a ghost) in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast who despises the social elite. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Comments:

I’m glad I enjoyed this book even though it’s a genre that I’m hesitant to read. I might be a bit biased with my rating but this book totally deserved it because it helped me get out of a slump.

Alona Dare, the most popular girl in high school got hit by a bus and died unexpectedly. Problem was, she never got “into the light” and was stuck in the in-between. Little did she know that Will Killian, resident loser and goth, is able to see dead people. She needed answers on how she could move on and the only way to do that is through Will, who also has enough problems of his own.

The story featured a typical high setting – popular kids are the cheerleaders and jocks, different cliques depending on your intellect, talents, sense of fashion, losers get bullied.. You know the drill. I enjoyed the premise of having to make Alona and Will work together although they come from so different worlds. Of course, Alona would eventually bring out that good side of her, while Will had to break through stereotypes that he isn’t really a goth. Although some would agree that the characters are a bit shallow, I did like the part where we understand more of Alona’s background and that she has not led the perfect life everybody thinks. I thought there should have been more focus on the reconciliation part with her mom because that scene seemed rushed just so the rift would be over.

I’m not sure if I’m totally digging this couple’s love story. I mean, it would be impossible to work out, right? I thought about the parts where they kiss and how a normal person would look at Will and just see him kissing the air. It was cool that the story somewhat took the ghost part lightly, considering most people would find it scary to be able to see them all the time.

I liked the writing style which was funny and light, perfect for someone who just wants to enjoy the story without having to overthink. Cute story indeed. Recommended for anyone who needs a quick and fun read.

“Trust me, you see the dead walking around, you learn not to scream, laugh, or piss yourself pretty quickly.”

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

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adventure · fantasy · paranormal

Review: Poison Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: The Chronicles of Ixia

Summary from Goodreads:

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Comments:

Actual rating is 4.5

It all started out with Yelena’s chance for a new life.

I love the setting the of the story. I was never into fantasy or magic, but somehow this novel made me reconsider. The pace of the story was slow, with memories of Yelena strewn along the pages. As the big picture was slowly presented, I was able to empathize with Yelena for the choice she made. The themes of loyalty, betrayal, thirst for power, and even romance worked together to create this intriguing novel. I have to agree that this is a welcome break from the usual YA.

I love the characters in the story. They were realistic in their reactions to different situations presented to them. Yelena’s distrust and survival instinct came because of all the harsh experiences she had. Valek’s loyalty to the Commander was also explained. There was Rand who was torn by his good nature and debt. The evil characters were driven by their lust for power and greediness to the extent destroying other people. The only confusion I got was from the Commander’s past which was actually weird for me.

I was a bit disappointed with the romance between Yelena and Valek. Although it was very obvious that Valek liked her, I’m not sure how Yelena came to reciprocate the feeling. Maybe it was because she finally decided to trust him by recounting her past but I am unconvinced. I feel like all she views Valek as a protector and a teacher, which somehow leveled up to be a lover. Again, that’s just my opinion.

Will definitely read the next book in the series when I have a copy!

My Rating: ★★★★ (4.5)

fantasy · paranormal · romance

Let the Sky Fall

Author: Shannon Messenger
Series: Let the Sky Fall #1

Summary from Goodreads:
Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past – except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she’s real.

Audra is real, but she isn’t human. She’s a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She’s also a guardian – Vane’s guardian – and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Comments:

I’m so relieved that the ending was so much better than the other parts of the book or I would have been really frustrated with this book. The author gave me a new world to explore since I’ve never heard of sylphs before, but the story didn’t really make me that interested. It wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t that good either.

How would you feel if one day you would discover that you aren’t human? Let us leave that question to be answered by Vane Weston when he found out that he was a sylph. Not only that, but suppressed memories were suddenly becoming clear. The greatest event was meeting that girl he often dreamed about – Audra.

The story was interchangeably from Vane and Audra’s point of view. Vane’s tone is usually sarcastic and funny whilst Audra’s more serious and uptight. I guess one thing I didn’t like was the info dump regarding the winds and windwalkers and other wind talk. The conversations were a bit too long for my taste while the action came at the end. Each day that they were together was just too long. Romance-wise, it was alright, not something I’d really fangirl about.

Hopefully the next installment wouldn’t be as dragged out as this one!

My Rating: ★★

fantasy · paranormal · romance

Die For Me

Author: Amy Plum
Date finished reading: March 02, 2014

Comments:

Fact 1: Plot is so common! A depressed girl meets a perfect, hot boy who seems to be full of dark secrets. Yet, with the lucky turn of events, they bump into each other often. Girl becomes obsessed with boy. Turns out boy is in love with girl. But because of this “secret”, their relationship becomes complicated and they have to work together to defeat the villain.

Fact 2: Reading this made me think of Twilight so much. I’m not sure if you’ll think of that as a bad thing but I’m not a fan of the series causing me to shudder whenever the similarities present themselves.

Fact 3: The thing that I like about the story is the unusual creatures called the “revenants”. It is the first time I’ve heard about them and what their nature is. That is what sets the whole story apart from the others. And oh, I like the setting too! I’m glad how we are given a little tour of Paris with Kate and Vincent’s adventure.

Overall, this wasn’t such a bad read. However, the events were really predictable and I feel bad that a lot of comparisons had been made. The next books in the series would probably be better but I don’t think I’d be in any hurry to find out how Kate and Vincent’s love story unfolds.

“I had feared that love would make me vulnerable. Instead I felt empowered.”

My Rating: ★★

fantasy · horror · paranormal

Bad Girls Don’t Die

Author: Katie Alender
Date finished reading: February 19, 2014

Comments:

The first thing that caught my eye with this book is the cover. I am guilty of judging some books by its covers and this looked interesting for me. The good thing is, I am also into the paranormal genre making me more excited to read this book.

Dysfunctional is how Alexis was described in the book; she can’t hold onto relationships with anybody – schoolmates, friends, even family. She is definitely smart, but she used that edge to fend people away and stand her ground. Photography is her creative outlet and that is when she started noticing strange things happening. Her sister Kasey is not her usual self and it would be up to Alexis (with the help of new found friends) to save her, or maybe save them.

I’ve read a lot of stories where the heroin is usually rude and anti-social so I had to kind of roll my eyes as I was getting acquainted with Alexis. To my surprise, I liked her! I like the fact that she wants to be real and hates people who tries so hard to be someone they aren’t. I liked how the author gave a back story on why she acted that way with the unfortunate incident of losing her best friend. Kasey was way different from Alexis; she is very dependent but was more social. So it actually came as an astonishment to her family when she began speaking up for herself. I feel bad for their family situation but I’m glad of how it was taken care of in the end.

There are different elements that made this story creepy. Dolls are on top of the list. Isn’t it ironic how toys that were supposed to be cute and cuddly actually turned to be evil? I had to say though that it if a scary factor. The back story involving Sarah showed us how the doll was the start of her losing friends and eventually losing herself. I kind of imagine them together.

There is also possession by the a very hostile ghost who wants to everyone responsible for her death to be erased from the face of the earth. Seeking revenge makes anything possible. That what makes this story more believable for me. It wasn’t just some random ghost trying to scare the wits out of you. Alexis almost fell for Sarah’s trap the last minute! Way to go Shara for helping out.

Although I admit some parts were predictable, I still couldn’t bear myself to put the book down until I was finished with it. The romance was downplayed and it was just perfect! The ending was awesome and I have to agree that Alexis deserved to the good girl. I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

“Just say something real. Everyone just always tries so hard, and it all comes out the same. I just want someone to say something real.”

My Rating: ★★★★

fantasy · horror · paranormal

The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Date finished reading: February 13, 2014

Comments:

Nobody “Bod” Owens, referred to as the living boy, was raised in a graveyard on the top of a hill. His family was murdered and he was adopted by a dead couple who gave him to the care of Silas, his guardian. Bod took lessons from the dead, listened to their stories, played with them, and the graveyard was his home. But the man who murdered his family is still out there looking for him and Bod has yet a lot to learn in order to survive the real world.

I love the story! Again, Neil Gaiman winds me over his writing style that is entertaining yet thought provoking. Death is not usually a theme used in composing children’s stories, but this was done in such a manner that death can only be but a threshold waiting to be discovered. We find the irony that it was the dead who wanted to bring Bod to safety; as soon as he tried his hand being with the living, he had gone to trouble.

When Scarlet met with Bod for the second time, it regrettably didn’t go as well. I couldn’t blame Bod for how he can be socially awkward, given his upbringing, but Scarlet was also right when the things she had seen led her to think that Bod was heartless – even a monster. I hope there would have been a better resolve instead of her having to leave and forget all their memories.

The ending was right. And by that I didn’t mean happy or sad – it was both. Sad that he had to leave his home and his friends, happy that he now has a whole lot ahead of him to write his own story. My heart ached at the last words given to him by his parents – I’m proud of you my son. If ever he stumbled upon the graveyard again, it would just be another place. I hope that in his heart, there would always remain that part of him who once walked with the dead.

“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

My Rating: ★★★★★