Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Title & Author: Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher/Year: HarperTeen/April 26, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: Another Little Piece, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, Among the Shadows

My Rating: 4hearts

What This Book Is About

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I’ve read Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn last fall and her other novel, (Don’t You) Forget About Me, has been on my TBR list for quite some time now. When I saw she had a new young adult book coming out, I jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of it and I am SO happy I did. I raced through this book in about 2 days and enjoyed every single page. The characters were awesome, the whole storyline was amazing and the author did a great job adding not only comedy but some dark moments as well. Kate Karyus Quinn also made a reference to Another Little Piece (and she may have made one to (Don’t You) Forget About Me as well but I haven’t read it yet). The books themselves aren’t sequels or a series but seeing one tie into another was pretty cool and original.

“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.” I’m not going to lie, this line will haunt me if I ever hear someone say it out loud after reading this book. Lennie heard her uncles say this many times when someone would come through to buy their moonshine and would make a wish and toast the first sip. Of course she never realized that this was much more than just a toast, so when she sneaks out several jars of her uncles’ moonshine to take to a party, she causes so much havoc. Some characters, such as W2 and Zinkowski, have hilarious wishes that some true, others are far more serious and a few are innocent. Watching each wish unfold was entertaining and seeing the outcomes of their wishes made you constantly wonder what would happen next and if Lennie would be able to find a way to make everything go back to the way it was before the party.

All of the main characters in the book were enjoyable, even the bad ones. They all brought something to the story and without even one of them there would have been something missing. Lennie may not be the smartest character, but in her defense she didn’t have any idea of her wish granting abilities until after the damage was done. She was genuinely caring though and was trying to fulfill her dead best friend’s wish of going to a crazy party. Lennie’s dad was evil in every sort of way, her mother was mostly absent but played a huge part in the family legacy, and Lennie’s uncles honestly seemed like the cool uncles you’d want to hang around at a family party. They were tough on Lennie but only wanted the best for her and to protect her. Lennie’s friend Dylan and Dylan’s twin Smith proved to be two key characters. Although we don’t get to know Dylan before she is murdered, we get an interested undead version of her thanks to Lennie’s wish. Smith on the other hand was a character I thought I was going to despise from the beginning but grew to love as the book went on. Last was Lennie’s friend Larry, who you ended up feeling sorry for a majority of the time. It was clear he had a thing for Lennie and would do whatever would please her. He was also such a goody two shoes and momma’s boy that you felt bad he got stuck in such a crappy situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed Down With the Shine, enough to want to purchase my own copy to reread once it is published. I’m also making a mental note now to also purchase myself a copy of her other book, (Don’t You) Forget About Me. I would love to see Down With the Shine turned into a movie, definitely think it would be awesome to see on the big screen and I cannot wait to see what book she writes next.

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

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Title/Author: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse – February 17, 2015

Genres: YA Paranormal, YA Horror, YA Thriller

Format: ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)

Source: Edelweiss

Other Books from Author: The Murmurings

Rating: images (2)

What This Book Is About

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

I was so excited to be granted access to an ARC of The Bargaining on Edelweiss. I LOVE creepy, scary young adult books and was eager to jump right into this one. The Bargaining definitely delivered the creepy factor and much more. The first night I began reading this, I started dozing off and waking up, so by the next day I had to start all over again because I couldn’t remember anything I had read. I had been about 35 pages in and was just like…

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Once I started rereading the book, I was instantly sucked right in. I will admit that I began reading the book from the beginning for the second time in my Western Civilizations class, and I continued to read through the entire class. (Gotta love crazy old college professors…see Saturday’s post.) Luckily Monday was one of my short days, so I immediately went home and continued reading. In all honesty, and sorry for my choice of words, The Bargaining scared the shit out of me. Already being pretty afraid of the dark, reading this in bed in complete darkness (it was on my iPad so my lights were all off) may have not been my smartest choice. I was actually afraid to roll over because I thought someone or something would be standing next to my bed. I never experienced “scary goosebumps” from a book until I read this one. Seriously, read when it’s still light out!

I really liked the storyline of The Bargaining and how Penny’s and Miller’s pasts tied into it. I was constantly left guessing what was going to happen next and overall what really went on in those woods. Penny seemed like your typical moody, curious teenager. At first she annoyed me a little bit because she made no effort with her stepmom, but I ended up really liking her in the end. Miller on the other hand, we get to know his story in the prologue of the book. Knowing who he was and what he caused I think automatically influenced my feelings towards him. Even as he became friends with Penny, I still didn’t really like him too much. The huge shocking secret Miller finally shares with Penny at the end was so unexpected and surprisingly that I couldn’t believe it.

The Carver House reminds me of the many abandoned, haunted places that are all over the state of New Jersey. I’m a hug scaredy cat, but I’ve always wanted to check some of them out. (There were two specifically that really set the picture in my head for the Carver House and if you’re interested in reading about abandoned places and the rumors behind them here are the two houses. Demon’s Alley and Purgatory House. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a justifying article for Purgatory House.) I think I really was interested in the Carver House because of the mystery behind it. You don’t know what happened there or who previously lived there, just that a lot of people talk and have stories to tell about it. If the Carver House was real I may consider flying across the country to find it.

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(A house from Demon’s Alley, inspiration for what the Carver House looked like in my mind.)

Overall I think The Bargaining was great. It’s labeled as a chilling and suspenseful novel, and that it definitely is. It was truly terrifying at some points and I love when a book can deliver that level of terror. I will be purchasing a physical copy of The Bargaining in February when it is published and rereading it in the future. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in young adult mysteries, thrillers, paranormal, horror genres or anyone interested in local legends and abandoned places. I cannot wait now to read Carly Anne West’s other young adult book that has been on my TBR-list for so long, The Murmurings.

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I was so excited to read this book. The cover looks super creepy and the summary gives you the impression that it’s going to be a truly terrifying novel, but it definitely fell short of my expectations. I was expecting my heart to be racing while I was reading Welcome to the Dead House and instead I had to pull myself through it.

Welcome to the Dead House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

3stars

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 What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

(Summary from Goodreads)

I am so thankful that I read this book through an ARC tour because I would have been disappointed if I had bought it. From the summary, I thought Welcome to the Dark House was going to be a scary, thrilling novel. It was still a thriller because you didn’t know what was going to happen next, but it certainly didn’t have my heart racing.

The story is told in six different perspectives, which from the summary it seems like it may only be told from two, Ivy and Parker, but no all six winners are narrating. It often was pretty confusing as to who was narrating and I would have to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see, but the six different perspectives were also kind of necessary to the storyline. As for the six characters, I have mixed feelings for all of them. Some were jerks, others were so moody and depressing, and there was one I was really suspicious of. None of them really brought anything great to the story and there were two in particular who were constantly getting on my nerves by the middle of the book.

The storyline also went really quickly. I thought more time would have been spent in the amusement park since that is where all the big important events were happening, but I felt like the author spent way too much time going over their first night at the house. I did get pretty good visuals in my head while I was reading because the writer did a great job describing everything. She also leaves the end open to what could be a sequel (or perhaps it will be a trilogy). The epilogue confused me big time, but if there is no sequel I will be really disappointed. So many questions were left unanswered and if there will be a sequel, I might give Welcome to the Dark House a 4 star rating instead of 3 only because then this book would be more interesting as it is setting up events for a sequel (if that makes sense).

I feel like I am once again only complaining about this book, but there were some things I did enjoy. I thought the idea of the story was great. Instantly it reminded me of a horror movie I watched where a group of friends goes to a haunted house called, The House of Fears, and it focuses on people’s biggest fears (clowns, buried alive, drowning, ect.). I thought the movie was great and this in a way was very similar. It also reminded me a bit like the horror movie Prom Night. I can’t go into too much detail about the similarities between them though without giving away some spoilers. I also finished the book in only one day, although I was more or less getting through it hoping it would get better. If you enjoyed or watched those one or both of those movies, I’d recommend reading Welcome to the Dark House. It does have a pretty good rating on Goodreads as well, 3.80 stars. If you have read it, did you enjoy it or did it have you scared? If you haven’t read it, please don’t let my review turn you away from it. Give it a try because everyone has a different opinion.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

I have viewed Ten a few times on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble online, but I always overlooked it. When I went shopping last weekend, I saw there was only one copy left and figured I would check it out. I figured if I enjoyed watching horror movies, maybe I would enjoy a book similar to them and I definitely enjoyed Ten.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

5stars

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Meg and Minnie are best friends…best friends who have recieved an exclusive invitation to a weekend long house party on Henry Island. What starts off as a fun filled weekend with boys and booze turns sinister when the ten high schoolers find a dvd with the eerie message, vengence is mine, at the end of a very strange homemade video. Things only get worse when a raging storm comes through and they loose power and are now cut off to the world. Soon, one by one the teens are dying, with each death more gruesome than the last and it becomes clear these are no accidents. With no escape until the next morning and the teens turning on one another, will Meg be able to figure out who the killer is before someone else dies?

I fell in love with Ten after the first chapter. I could not put the book down. I literally sat in bed and read this book straight through. Ten is so original (and I know I say that quite often, but I don’t like typical, predictable books) and is unlike any book I have ever read and I will definitely be checking out more books like this in the future. Since I love horror and thriller movies, I figured that I should read some horror and thriller books. Ten was not originally on the list, and even though it is the first in those categories that I have read, I already know it is the best. I felt like I was reading a horror movie if that makes sense.  There were so many details to set the scene and the characters were so thoroughly described I felt like it painted a picture in my head. Although some characters proved to be more annoying than others, I really liked all the characters in Ten. During the suspenseful parts, my heart was actually pounding and I caught myself holding my breath. I loved that it had that effect on myself. Ten also had a good amount of surprising plot twists and made you think a lot of who the killer really is. It was more enjoyable and more original than 98% of Hollywood horror movies and I definitely think a studio (who can hire a very good director) should get the rights to create this book into a movie.

Ten can definitely be described as a page turner. If you enjoy thriller and mystery books or you enjoy watching horror and thriller movies, Ten is a book you will thoroughly enjoy reading. It brings the scare factor to a novel, which I had never expected to truely be possible.