Books by Theme: Halloween Reads

Welcome to a new feature: Books By Theme!  I realized when doing my last "Before there Was" that there are SO many good books out there people don't know much about, but some of them aren't classic look-a-likes (book-a-likes, if you will) or don't fit into that kind of category.  So how about other categories?  In the spirit of mini-reviews and recs, welcome to the newest feature!  And today, obviously, our theme is...

Halloween Reads

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
 I reviewed this ARC earlier this year and adored it.  It's your classic ghost story...with a twist.  If you're looking for something creepy with a lot of drama, a lot of suspense, and a really fun, sarcastic, relatable main character (and don't forget a cute romance, a murder, psychological problems that make you wonder what's real and what's not) then buy this immediately!  It's the story of a girl who's struggling with bipolar disorder--and the hauntings of an old ghost with a secret and a grudge.
Read my review

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
If you have a strong stomach and are looking for gore and psychopathy, look no further.  We follow the rise and downfall of Patrick Bateman, 1980s playboy and secret serial killer extraordinaire.  It's alternately funny, grotesque, suspenseful, poignant, and chilling.  Recommended for more  mature readers!
Read my review

These are classic, and if you haven't read them, go do it now!  Based on urban legends, myths, folklore, and the creepy crawlies in a lot of authors' minds, these collected stories will alternately make you laugh and scream.  Perfect to tell around a campfire, a flashlight, or just to read quietly with some tea and a few candles.  The illustrations make it even better.

The Shining by Stephen King
I will preface by saying: I am not scared easily.  I walk boredly through haunted houses and it's my single greatest hope to find a horror movie that will actually get my blood pumping.  But this book scared me.  John and his family take over the old ski lodge for the winter months...but this inhuman place makes human monsters, and when the snow locks them in, cabin fever and old ghosts create the environment for murder.  It's a classic and absolutely chilling.  If it doesn't make it hard for you to sleep, you're braver than I am.

The Fear Street Saga by R.L. Stine
This set of three shorts books is still worthy of reading a decade later.  The Fear Street books were Goosebumps for older readers, and some of my favorites for a long time.  They're all fun and creepy, but this trio is particularly perfect for Halloween.  Following the story of Fear Street, a haunted area of Shadyside, from its very beginnings, it offers the best of historical, romance, and horror for older children, teens, and adults with young hearts.

Click the book titles to find out more! 

What other books are great for Halloween?


Before there was ... 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

So, I'm a bit sinus infected and behind on work and whatnot.  Therefore, I apologize for the unintentional hiatus in reviews.  I should have at least two for you this week.  For now, enjoy some book recs!   A lot of you have already said in the reader survey (hint hint, sidebar) that I should do more of these and more reviews, so I hope you enjoy!  You have been heard! 

Before there was Thirteen Reasons Why 
by Jay Asher, there was . . . 

 So I've only seen the movie so far (I'm ducking, now, in case you're throwing things at me in a rage) but I've quizzed several friends on this book and, guess what?  As fantastic as the movie was, the book is even better!  Shocking.  Anyhoo, welcome to the letters of Charlie, a troubled teen who's dealing with all the typical issues of freshman-land (drugs, dates, awkwardness) while at the same time, struggling with some heavy emotional problems.  He and his friends go through hell and back, taking you with them along the way.  Powerful stuff, and from it comes a quote I can't stop thinking about: "We accept the love we think we deserve."

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A 90s classic and just as relevant now.  Meet Melinda, a girl who has become a new social outcast after calling the cops at a summer party.  No one will speak to her, except to rage for what she's done.  And slowly, she stops speaking back.  Anderson portrays her silent struggles in a meaningful, relatable, darkly humorous way that draws you right in.  And beneath the silence is the secret Melinda's hiding, and the building pressure to speak or break.  Absolutely beautiful,
Read my review

Cut by Patricia McCormick
I read this book a long time ago, but it's stayed with me.  It was my best friend's summer reading, and I devoured it in an afternoon on vacation.  It's a short but powerful read about a subject that is just as important as suicide, but often even more stigmatized and misunderstood.  Callie finds herself in a treatment facility after being caught cutting.  She doesn't want to speak.  She doesn't want to relate.  But through the process, she realizes that she's not the only one.  It's a wonderful book for looking at the causes of self-mutilation, and showing that the victims are not the whining attention-seekers that the media makes them out to be.  Must-read for young teens.

I haven't read this yet, but it has come highly recommended to me by some trustworthy readerly types, and resonates well with the issues in 13 Reasons.  Daelyn is the quiet loner.  The weirdo.  Then she finds a site for suicidal teens, and finds a voice.  She chronicles the story of the bullying that's pushed her to the edge.  Then she meets someone who wants to be part of her life...just when she thought she lost all hope.  Very good reviews on this one, and it cannot be overstated how important it is to raise awareness about bullying. 

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
Um, okay.  I realize this actually came after Jay Asher's awesome book.  Sue me.  This book also deals with suicide and, if you couldn't judge by the title, has a very similar structure.  In this case, each chapter starts with a cryptic note left by Ellie, the girl who died.  Each chapter is narrated by one of three people that Ellie left behind.  As you read their stories, you realize all of their own issues, and the ways that Ellie affected them, dead and alive--many of which are unexpected.  It's a captivating read that resonates with the teenage state of confusion and hopelessness.
Read my review

Click the book titles to find out more! 

What other older or obscure books 
remind you of Thirteen Reasons Why?


Release: Treason by S.M. Boyce!

So, guess what? Not only am I alive (and apologize heavily for my absence, but hey, a friend was visiting and Halloween festivities took over my life) but Treason, the sequel to the snazzy fantasy Lichgates by S.M. Boyce, is released today!  

It takes place in the creative world of Ourea, filled with never-before-seen creatures and one of the coolest fantasy kingdom systems I've ever seen.  Main characters Kara and Braeden are complex and relatable, and I want to marry Braeden.  

So yeah.  You should read the first one if you haven't, and then you should buy the second one and REJOICE.  I'm currently almost done with my copy of Treason, and I can tell you this: it's even better than Lichgates, and I'm in love with Boyce's writing.   

Here's more info!  And don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway and look out for tour stops.  The fun lasts until December 31st!  


Grimoire Trilogy #1

The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it...and Kara Magari is its next target.
Kara has no idea what she's getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking along a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she's thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying beings that all want the Grimoire's secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, but most just want to control the new-found power the Grimoire bestows upon her.
Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known in life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—one question that can fix everything in his broken world—and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.
There’s no escaping Ourea.

Grab Your Copy:

Amazon: USA UK Germany |  France Spain | Italy

Bonus Features

The Grimoire Store


Grimoire Trilogy #2

Ourea has always been a deadly place. The lichgates tying the hidden world to Earth keep its creatures at bay—for now.
Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that goes against everything she believes in. But things don’t go as planned.
Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who—and what—he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.
To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.

Grab Your Copy:

Amazon: USA | UK | Germany |  France | Spain | Italy

Bonus Features

The Grimoire Store

About S. M. Boyce

Boyce writes fantasy and paranormal fiction with a splash of humor. She’s a sarcastic twit, but she still has friends because some people seem to like that. Her B.A. in Creative Writing qualifies her to serve you french fries. Feel free to connect with her online or check out more about writing on her blog.

Connect with Boyce


Musing: How (not) to drink coffee

I am sitting in a coffee shop. 

I have been working on data analyses for the last three straight hours. 

I just picked up my coffee and tried to drink it. 

Out of the wrong side of the lid. 

It proceeded to spill all over my face and dress. 

And I inhaled some. 

Thankfully, my friend was on hand to go fetch me napkins. 

So I could attempt to salvage my dignity... 

So that this calamity might never befall you, I am going to show you how to drink coffee correctly.  This handy diagram should clear up any misconceptions you've had about proper imbibing techniques.  

Godspeed, my friends.  

Drink safely.  

Wishlist Wednesday: Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Wishlist Wednesday features books that have been on your wishlist for a long time, old or new.

m. beth bloom

Every night I'd lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there'd be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn't wash off.

Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.

c.j.'s thoughts

This is the first time I've read the full description, because I basically saw the title and wanted to TBR it, then the cover and wanted to TBR it more, then a very brief blurb and...well, that was the clincher. Basically, this book manages to combine almost everything that I love.  

Check it:

  • The 90s (the best decade besides the 80s) 
  • Bret Easton Ellis (to which the writing has been compared) 
  • A Nirvana song as its title 
  • Another Nirvana reference, in the heart on the cover 
  • Snarky writing 
  • Cute romance 
  • Trouble 
So, yeah.  I'm pretty much in love with this book already and want it really really badly and will love anyone forever who makes it possible for me to get a copy.  Or I'll break down and spend my grocery pennies on it.  Because it sounds like heaven in book form. 

And just because, one of my top five favorite songs from one of my top five favorite people, aka my idol.  

Is it a coincidence that the author's last name is Bloom, as in "In Bloom"?  

I think not. 


I'm gonna sleep now. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a feature hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine to feature yet-to-be-released books.

emma carlson berne

Learn more

coming december 2012 

A love triangle goes horribly wrong in this dark, romantic suspense-thriller from the author of Still Waters. Megan never meant to hurt her best friend, Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.

On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.

Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn...

c.j.'s thoughts
I saw this description and immediately thought "borderline!"  Aka, psychopathology.  Aka, give me!  Reminds me of those thrillers where the friend is secretly stalking the lead and you realize later that the friend is the one who killed the boyfriend, or something.  Yeah, that was intelligible.  I'm tired.  Anyway, I love a good psychological thriller and a bit of romance thrown in sounds great too.  Add a psychopathically clingy bestie and I'm all in.  I'm hoping for some darkness and some good creepy suspense.  Hopefully Anna isn't too ridiculous; it's always scarier when they seem halfway sane.


Retro Review: Now You See It... by Vivian Vande Velde

some of you have already expressed, in the survey, the desire for more reviews. well guess what? i agree! only there's this thing called "grad school" that eats my life and makes me sad and grumpy. and sad, grumpy people who don't have time to sleep or eat also don't have time to read multiple awesome books in one week. so i reached deep into my brain-of-brains and pulled out this nifty idea: past reviews! i used to do those! i should do them more! just because a book came out ages ago doesn't mean it's not good! in fact, it means that people probably don't know about it as much and should be introduced to it. so, tada! 

yes, i made myself an inspirational meme. hush. 

title:  Now You See It...

author: Vivian Vande Velde

pages: 288

format: Paperback

isbn/asin: 978-0152053116

buy it: Amazon

rating: 5/5 [in the genre] or 8/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Fans of Diana Wynne Jones, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, or other fantasy not-quite middle grade and not-quite Twilight.  Lovers of good, clean fantasy. Anyone looking for a quick, light read with an endearing main character and a whimsical plot.

Wendy isn't as blind as a bat--there are bats that can see better than she can. Which is why, when her new glasses break, she's all too happy to wear the dorky pair of sunglasses she finds on the lawn. They seem to match her prescription, and that's all that matters if she's going to be able to make it through her school day.

But the glasses correct her vision too much. She begins to see things that no one else can see: cheerful corpses, frightening crones disguised as teenyboppers, and portals to other worlds--places where people are all too aware of the magical properties of her new shades . . . and will do anything to get them.

the basics
This is just something I picked up randomly at Borders long ago.  It's been years since I've read it, but it's really stuck with me.  It's just fun.  No angsty werewolves.  No epic sword-and-sorcery battles.  Just a gawky teen girl who finds herself in a perplexing situation with bizarre creatures and a cute boy.  The glasses thing is such a clever way to give Wendy her "second sight."  What awkward bespectacled high schooler wouldn't wish her glasses had magical powers?  The plot is fast and thrilling, the characters lovable, the romance sweet, and the writing cute and witty.  If you're looking for a light read that will make you smile and remind you of those nostalgic fairy tale days, this is your book.

plot . 5/5
It's a short book, so the plot picks up right away and doesn't let go.  It's not any Pulitzer stuff here, or Lord of the Rings.  It's a bit silly, a bit ridiculous, and that works for it.  Give in to the whimsy!  Go with the mean girl being a crazy old bat (not literally, ha) and the cute boy having a secret life.  Accept Wendy's awkwardness.  The set-up is just over-the-top enough that the silly plot twists feel perfectly believable, and fun.  I cannot say "fun" enough.  Also, the ending made me smile.  Loads.  Velde just creates such a clever little backstory that's revealed bit by bit.

concept . 4/5
As I mentioned, behold the whimsy!  It's silly.  Girl breaks glasses.  Girl happens to find sunglasses on lawn and tries them on.  Girl decides to wear sunglasses.  Okay, yeah, silly.  But once you get over that, it's such a cute coming-of-age urban fantasy that it doesn't matter.  Like all those middle school books you used to read with the outrageous plots, just go with it.  It's not the most original fantasy world, but the familiar creatures make it an easy, comfortable read--and allow Velde to add a few twists of her own that are easy to stomach.  It's classic and warm and fuzzy in a way few authors can manage.

characters . 5/5
Julian.  Mm.  That's all I have to say.  Okay, if I were still in high school.  But seriously...he's adorable and lovable and suave.  And Wendy is the opposite.  Gawky, nerdy, awkward.  Endearingly so.  She's every bookwormish kid in high school, and it makes her super relatable.  The other characters are pretty trope-y (the mean cheerleader, the weird kid) but they work.  You're not meant to marvel at these amazing, original characters...you're meant to relive a little slice of high school with a fantastical twist.

style . 5/5
Velde is funny.  She gets awkward teen speak perfectly, and she just has a great sense of atmosphere.  She really did remind me of Diana Wynne Jones at times.  She's got just enough dry wit to balance out the silliness, giving you something that's both funny and clever.  I just realized that she's written TONS of other books, and I think I'll actually take a look at them.  She's got a gift for twisting the fairy tale into something fresh but familiar.

mechanics . 5/5
Your basic MG/YA kind of writing.  Typo-free.  Pretty cover with pretty colors.

take home message
A lighthearted fantasy that takes you back to your awkward high school days, with a magical twist.

Note: I purchased this copy. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

Teaser Tuesday: Treason by S.M. Boyce

"Teaser Tuesday" is a weekly feature hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  

read this book. read lichgates first. worship it. woooorship.  

s.m. boyce

Dirt streaked across her skin like claw marks. 
The hallway''s light illuminated one wing as 
she turned to face him, and then nothing but 
gaping shadow where her second wing 
should have been.

books are an escape. they put into words what we can't. if you're suffering in silence, you're not alone. 



Follower and Reader Appreciation Survey and Giveaway

Hello, followers and readers!

I appreciate you!  And your input!  

For this reason, I have a few questions about your experience here at Sarcasm & Lemons.  It's totally voluntary but, every person who completes it will be entered in a drawing for a $10 book of their choice from The Book Depository!

You can either post it on the comments or e-mail it to me at the (dot) winnower (at) gmail (dot) com.  Just remember to leave me your e-mail so I can contact you if you win.  

Survey Says . . . 

1. What are your thoughts on the layout of Sarcasm & Lemons? 

2. What features do you most enjoy? 

3. What features do you least enjoy? 

4. What features would you like to see more / less of?  

5. What parts of the blog are strengths? 

6. What parts of the blog need improvement? 

Thanks for the help! 

Book Trailer: Prescription for Delirium by Noree Cosper

I always forget about book trailers, but they're really kind of nifty.  They give you a sense of the book's atmosphere and they're a little more exciting than reading the back-of-cover blurb.  Because they come with pretty pictures and such.  

Here's a trailer for Prescription for Delirium, a new vampire thriller / paranormal romance by the delightful Noree Cosper.  Add it to your Goodreads!  Check back here in a month for the tour stop I'm hosting for an interview with Noree!  And, ya know, enjoy. 


Cover Love: The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs

yeah, so apparently i haven't done one of these in a REALLY LONG TIME.  don't you love when real work gets in the way of fun work? 

So, I actually have no interest in reading this book (which is billed as "the sexiest romance you'll read this year"...so if any of you actually like reading romance, tell me if the claims match the hype).  I just think the cover is gorgeous.  I have a thing for text-only covers because they tend to look cleaner.  Which this does, ironically, considering it's covered in grungy details.  The title text is stark and Burton-esque, with a beautiful addition in the rose.  The little spatter of red is just enough to avoid being too boringly monochrome, and the blood drips suggest the theme without taking over.  Love love love love love.  At first glance, I'd never have known it was a romance!  

Have I really not posted this one yet?  Shame!  It's one of my favorite covers of all time!  For those of you who know Johnny Cash and his song "Hurt"....did you know that it wasn't originally his song?  Nope.  He was covering the Nine Inch Nails.  How cool is that!?  Also, his version happens to be beautifully and softly haunting, a cool contrast to Reznor's equally beautiful but more violent rasp. 


Excerpt: Letters I'll Never Send #3

Apparently I'm in excerpt mode. 

Someday, you can think about the good times.  Not now.  Now, you need to think about the bad times.  The times that made you cry.  The times that made you ball up your fists by your temples and scream.  The times that drove you into the winter night to sit numb beneath the most remote tree on the quad.  Those are the times that will help you move on.  The good times...they'll make you fall in love again, and again.  


Quote #3

We accept the love we think we deserve. Steven Chbosky Perks of Being a Wallflower

Excerpt: Letters I'll Never Send #2

so, remember that excerpt i posted a few days ago? well, here's another one, from the same novel project.  and on the same subject.  art therapy, woot woot.  comments are welcome! 

But someone had found her, someone who didn’t even know who she was, except that he knew her address.  Or she.  She supposed a she could have a girlfriend too.  But she got the feeling it was a he.  Something about the craggy penmanship like little pictographs instead of letters, like the wedge writing that the Babylonians used.  Actually it was all the Sumerians and the Babylonians only adopted it for their language, Akkadian.  You would know that, and you would tell me that I wasn’t quite right, and explain the real answer while I blushed self-consciously for failing to impress you.

But you wouldn’t care and you’d smile, like the blonde boy smiled at Laura as he walked past and she made a point of ignoring him, lopsided and otherworldly.


300 GFC Followers Happy Dance!

it's been a rough year. 

a break-up. 

the loss of a friend. 

a huge life transition. 

but one thing that's always made me smile...

you guys!

it's so exciting to see new comments every day

new followers

new tweets. 

i can't express how much it means to me that you all keep coming back and saying hi. 

thank you, so much, to all my followers. 

you make the hard things easier. 


Feature & Follow: Book Liasion

Q: When you step out of your USUAL genre what do you like to read? Best books in that genre? 

A:  I guess I don't do that much.  My usual genres are both young adult, and kind of dark literary fiction.  I guess the most out of the box I could mention would be paranormal stuff, usually because I've been requested to read it. Once in a while I'll read crime fiction. 

All follows loved and appreciated!  I can't wait to meet everyone! 
I'll stop by your blog as soon as I can! 

Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

happy thursday. 
do something crazy. 
have an ice cream. 
call an estranged relative. 

title:  Living Dead Girl

author: Elizabeth Scott

pages: 176

format: Hardcover

isbn/asin: 978-1416960591

buy it: Amazon

rating: 5/5 [in the genre] or 7/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Teenagers.  Anyone mature enough to deal with some really tough topics. Those who enjoy books about the dark side of real life.

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.

Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

the basics
Chilling.  Devastating.  Living Dead Girl is a story of every parent's, and every child's, worst nightmare.  We enter the world of Alice, five years after she has been kidnapped by the abusive Ray.  The story winds between her memories of that fateful day and her struggle to escape his new plan for her: find a new Alice.  This isn't for the weak stomached.  Alice goes through some of the worst torture, physical and sexual, a person can experience.  In books like this, it's easy for the the violence to become maudlin or offensively exploitative.  Instead of a meaningful book, it becomes little better than a shower scene in a slasher film.  Scott avoids that pitfall.  By focusing on Alice's mental and emotional reactions rather than the details of the tortures, she shows a faithful picture of the horror without making it tacky.  Alice is instantly lovable and her story is a mix of thriller and memoir that picks up and doesn't let go.

plot . 5/5
There's no slow buildup.  You're thrown right into Alice's hell.  It's an interesting choice.  We see the kidnapping and glimpses of the past several years in flashback chapters, but not directly.  We see her memories.  It allows the story to pick up right away and to avoid getting down in a lot of exposition.  It also allows us to come in at Alice's worst moment: the moment Ray says he has a new plan for her.  This plan, to steal another child, is horrifying in itself, and a clever literary choice.  It shows us just how broken Alice is mentally--so desperate for freedom from her abuse that she'll do anything to remove Ray's attention from her.  The ending is abrupt, but I don't think it would have been good for it to drag either.

concept . 5/5
You see it a lot on crime shows, but this is the first book I've read about it.  It's a rare and horrific thing, kidnapping and sexual slavery.  It make for a book that could be sensationalized.  Used as "torture porn."  It's not.  Scott does a great job of portraying Alice's life faithfully.  The story focuses mostly on her inner thoughts and reactions, so we see the true damage caused by this situation, beyond just the physical.  It's an important point to make, and it underscores the message of the title--Living Dead Girl--perfectly.

characters . 5/5
There aren't many characters.  Alice lives a secluded life with her abuser, who doesn't even appear in the text as often as you'd expect.  However, we still know him intimately.  We know him through Alice's descriptions of his abuse.  Her fear of him.  The details she slips about his life and his threats.  We even pity him, briefly, while still hating him.  In the same way, Jake is both lovable and loathable.  He's no prince charming, but he's as deeply broken as Alice and looking for any way to escape.  He's that dark part of all of us.

style . 5/5
The style is beautiful, lyrical, poetic at times.  But not in a flowery way.  It shows how deeply Alice lives in her inner world.  Dead, but still moving through the world.  Still forming impressions.  Her voice has a dreamlike, trancelike quality to it--perfect for a zombie, a Living Dead Girl.  It's gorgeous writing that you don't get to see much in the young adult genre.

mechanics . 5/5
Part flashback, part thriller, part philosophy.  We get impressions, memories, thoughts, dreams--it's like being inside of Alice's head.  And of course the formatting is polished and pretty.

take home message
A chilling slice of a tortured life that shows just how deeply abuse can leave scars, in and out.

Note: I purchased this copy. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


Quote #2

Men always want to be a woman’s first love. 
Women have a more subtle instinct: 
What they like is to be a man’s last romance.

- Oscar Wilde -

Waiting on Wednesday: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a feature hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine to feature yet-to-be-released books.

victoria schwab

Learn more

coming january 2013 

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

c.j.'s thoughts
I discovered this a while back.  I basically read the first line, added it to my TBR, giddily waggled my fingers together...and then read the rest of the blurb and had to rip myself away from the computer to avoid preordering it immediately.  Which I might do anyway.  Since I have no willpower (or disposable income, but, oh well...).  It reminded me of one of the best Doctor Who episodes, "Silence in the Library", and it's also one of the most creative, interesting, morbid, delightful concepts I've ever heard for a book.  In case you haven't noticed, I'm a wee bit obsessed with death, things about death, things that may mention death.  Whatever.  I was a morbid kid who loved black roses.  ("Loved" may be a bit loose of a tense...and "was".) But yeah, you should read this.  I have the excerpt on my Kindle and I'm using it as a reward for writing my thesis.  Cause I have no willpower.  Did I mention this is an amazingly clever concept?  That promises a lot of depth and intrigue?  Hem.

Wishlist Wednesday: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Wishlist Wednesday features books that have been on your wishlist for a long time, old or new.

patrick ness

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth

c.j.'s thoughts

So, not only is the cover FANTASTIC (dark, creepy, sketchily stylized, all things that I love), but the concept sounds great!  Just enough in the blurb to make me go, "Hm, this seems Lovecraftian and creepy.  Sign me up."  I've heard good things about it.  I've also heard bad things, but mostly along the lines of "kind of surreal."  Which I also love.  So, yeah, I'm cool with that.  Want.  Must know what's going on!  What are these treatments?  What nightmares?  What's the first monster and what's the monster that actually comes?  The blurb does such a great job of setting up a mystery and hooking you in!  And by you I mean me.  And hopefully also you.