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Julia Walton
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S. Jae-Jones
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Mini Reviews

This Shattered World - Amie Kaufman,  Meagan Spooner The Accident Season - Moïra Fowley-Doyle The Last Time We Say Goodbye - Cynthia Hand The Girl at Midnight - Melissa Grey All That Burns - Ryan Graudin The Dead House - Dawn Kurtagich The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall - Katie Alender

Mini Reviews

 

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – 1 Star

Didn’t like this one at all. Very disappointing compared to how much I liked These Broken Stars. The second Starbound instalment I found very very dull. This book focused on one of the planets, Avon, and some sort of long standing war between the soldiers and a group of rebels who didn’t like the way things were run. The Army Captain is supposed to be the best in her group, even at 17, yet in the first chapter she manages to get herself captured by a rebel who intends to lead her back to base for an execution to be made an example of. Or something along those lines. Of course it all goes hideously wrong. And the two become obsessed with each other. It seemed to be about I love him/her but we can’t be together because we’re on opposite sides. I felt nothing for these characters. The romance was flat and uninteresting and there was so much going on in the background, one tragic act after another, or something equally horrific. It just got boring. So, didn’t like this second instalment. That being said, I am still looking forward to the next book. While this one didn’t work for me, I still like the series and world building enough I want more.

 

The Accident Season – Moira Fowley-Doyle – 5 Stars

I loved this book so much I read it in a few hours, I simply could not put it down. I loved the setting, the ambivalence of the plot. The type of magical realism and not so likeable characters reminded me very much of Nova Ren Suma’s writing. The story focuses on a family who have inexplicable accidents at a certain time of the year. There is never really any sort of explanation for this. There is an underline theme explored towards the end of the novel involving a very dark and uncomfortable family secret that has been hidden for years. Along with a party in a supposedly haunted house and all sorts of weird things going on that you’re not sure are real or not. It was confusing, but it was one of those good confusing books where despite the fact I didn’t have a clue what was going on most of the time, I was so invested in the story and each character, I loved it anyway.

 

The Last Time We Say Goodbye – Cynthia Hand – 5 Stars.

This one had me sobbing ugly tears by the end. This novel tells the story of a girl dealing with her brother’s suicide and broken family.  Took a while to get into, but by the end it was heart breaking. There was a big sense of something almost like guilt from the main character, Lex, about not noticing something was up with her brother, or being able to stop it. As well as dealing with her parents’ divorce and a mother who can now barely cope.  What I loved about Lex was how smart she was. She was a math whiz with a dream to get into MIT. But dealing with the unexpected suicide sort of threw her off her game. She’s struggling with coping herself. She has to see a shrink she’s not all that impressed with. She’s willing to sacrifice a great potential future to stay home and help her mother. Her friends, who she pretty much all ditched in her grief were pretty amazing that they were still willing to understand and be there, even if it took time. Sad, but uplifting in a way as well.

 

All That Burns (All That Glows #2) – Ryan Graudin – 5 Stars

Oh so swoony! I love this duology. An incredibly unique mix of fae mythology and Arthurian legend brilliantly woven together.  Picking up shortly where All That Glows left off, Richard is now King, Emrys has given up her magic to be with him. She has a little left over but it’s not much. Humans and Fae now have a sort of uneasy treaty, new laws are in place to help them get along more. It all seems to be going okay. But of course, it’s not long before everything goes pear shaped and things are horribly wrong. There’s a big new baddie on the scene and Emrys is struggling to cope with how to fight as a human with a touch of fae magic. To make things worse, Richard goes missing. And everyone, other than Richard’s sister Princess Annabelle, blame her. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant book. Mesmerising plot, fantastic characters. Swoony romance (though not without its heartache and struggles). Yes, the writing is a tad bit purple prosey a lot of the time, but the story is so good its easy to overlook.

 

The Girl at Midnight – Melissa Grey – 5 Stars

A brilliant mix of modern day and fantasy world building. And a fantastic lead character. Echo pretty much owned this book right from the start. Snarky without being too annoying, she knew when to rely on help and when to tell people where to go. She was loyal to her friends and did what had to be done, even when it meant forming an alliance with a sworn enemy. It did take a while for the plot to get going and was kind of hard to get my head around the different races and the world building at first. Something to do with some two races of people, some based on birds, some based on dragons who had been at war forever, and a mythical firebird who would solve all their problems. I figured out the firebird twist immediately, but didn’t care because by then I was in love with the book. Very unique. Can’t wait for more.

 

The Dead House – Dawn Kurtagich – 5 Stars

Oh this book creeped me out. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. I had to stop at certain points because it creeped me out. (Though reading it during a dark rainy night and with a ‘The Walking Dead’ on in the background probably wasn’t the smartest idea!) I don’t scare easy. I have yet to find a YA horror novel that has truly made me uncomfortable and creeped me out. The Dead House did a spectacular job of that. This book actually gave me more than a few nightmares.

It’s told in a very unusual format. In the form of diary entries, police interviews, psychiatry reports, video transcriptions, emails and chats. It tells a very creepy story of two girls who share one body. Seemingly reasonable Carly gets the day, while at night the more volatile Kaitlyn comes out. They communicate by writing messages to each other. Two very different personalities, in one body. We learn “their” parents died under mysterious circumstances. Also that something big and terrible happened and the novel explores what leads up to that terrible big event and what happened afterwards.

Each personality - both the Carly and Kaitlyn forms actually communicate with each other through leaving post-its or messages lying around.  Before long things take a turn for the worst when a form of dark scary voodoo type magic becomes involved. It’s strange, uncomfortable, and told in such a way that even though the content is disturbing, it’s morbidly fascinating.  There’s a sort of conclusion, but the whole thing is very open ended. Usually, this irritates me to no end. In this case however, it’s so well done that it makes the creep factor even more freaky.

 

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender – 4 Stars

Another YA horror/mystery that turned out to be better than expected. Certainly nowhere near as scary as The Dead House. There were parts of it that were absolute cheese. But it was very entertaining and I finished it in a few hours. This tells the story of Delia who inherits a house from her deceased grandmother, Cordelia. (They share the same name and Delia communicated with her through letters when she was growing up so grandma left her the house) Delia is now 17, and got into a bit of trouble trying to sneak off with her friends for a spring break vacation with no adults around. But she got caught. Her parents decide that they are going to move to the inherited house for the summer to clean it up ready for selling along with Delia’s nightmare of a younger sister Janie.

      The house turns out to be a closed down metal hospital which catered to ‘troubled’ young women for a few centuries but shut down. The real truth behind grandma Cordelia’s death is also revealed. A tragic incident leads the modern day Delia to the terrible truth about the asylum. And the novel tells the story of Delia coming to terms with the shock of the revelation and how to cope with it.

         It’s very entertaining as Delia gets to grips with the rules of the house and how she has to now interact with her friends and family. It’s also extremely cheesy as well in certain parts and certain bits of the dialogue are very silly. There are some typical teen horror movie moments with the heroine doing stupid things inducing a “what the hell are you doing??!” reaction. The plot has a few amusing twists and turns particularly towards the end of the novel. Cheesy and fun.