Book Review: Doll Face by Tim Curran


Doll Face by Tim Curran

24486813

Published: March 3rd 2015 by DarkFuse

SYNOPSIS

Six friends are returning home from a night out when they end up in a town called Stokes. They discover they are trapped there, as Stokes does not really exist. The actual town had burned to the ground more than fifty years ago. The Stokes they are in is a nightmare version of the former town, engineered by a deranged and undead mind, a supernatural machine of wrath that will destroy them one by one….unless they submit to its dominance and become living dolls.

Review

Curran certainly has a knack for telling terrifying stories. He is able to take the most mundane situations and twist them into truly terrifying ordeals. He sure loves torturing his characters. I read Long Black Coffin before it’s release and was instantly hooked on Curran’s signature style of prose. I was excited to find a new story of his on NetGalley, and had to indulge (it being Friday the 13th, it seemed appropriate to ready a creepy story.)

Combine House of Wax, Silent Hill and a teeny bit of I Know What You Did Last Summer and you have the perfect horror story. Doll Face pays homage to 90’s horror films at there very best, and I think that’s why I loved the campy and chilling feel that was consistent throughout Doll Face.

Curran knows how to bring stories to life. His vivid imagery makes the story unfold in the readers mind as though they were watching a film. I LOVED the idea of dolls coming to life. This is something that has terrified me since I was a child watching Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The dolls are reminiscent of the wax figures in house of wax, remixed with the dolls seen in Silent Hill Revelations.

Doll Face is a great addition to the horror genre. Fans of the curio, and things that go bump in the night will devour this book.

Thank you, NetGalley for the review copy.

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Last American Vampire


The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

20454635

Published: January 13th 2015

SYNOPSIS

New York Times bestselling author Seth Grahame-Smith returns with the follow-up to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter–a sweeping, alternate history of 20th Century America as seen through the eyes of vampire Henry Sturges.

New York Times bestselling author Seth Grahame-Smith returns with the follow-up to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter–a sweeping, alternate history of 20th Century America as seen through the eyes of vampire Henry Sturges.

THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE

In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln’s shocking death. It will be an expansive journey that will first send him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia’s October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Expansive in scope and serious in execution, THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE is sure to appeal to the passionate readers who made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a runaway success.

Review

First, I must address the cover. How awesome is this interpretation of the famous ‘Kiss’ photo? I love it!

One of the most alluring things about both of these books is that Smith writes them as though they were history books, complete with footnotes and sometimes (doctored) historical photos. Alongside photos of Teddy Roosevelt posing with an elephant he had just killed are tales of blood and gore of the vampire world. It can certainly play tricks on your mind and have you questioning, are vampires real? The realism behind these books is what makes them such a success and so damn interesting to readers.

The story follows Henry Sturges—Abraham’s immortal friend and mentor. After the tragically fatal shooting in Ford’s Theatre, Henry is left alone in the world. Ever the gentleman, Abe refuses to become a vampire and crushes Henry’s dreams of a friend for the darkness by committing suicide in the sunlight. As Henry is alone, the world continues to progress and move forward.

The scope of history covered in The Last American Vampire is much wider than the previous book. As the wheels of history churn launching Henry into a new world, he finds himself with quite a story to tell. He befriends an impressive roster of intellectuals, artists and celebrities. Names like Bram Stoker are casually mentioned. Henry travels to London in pursuit of Jack The Ripper, finds himself present in New York City for the birth of a new American century, joins an excited nation for the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison. Henry even makes acquaintance with a certain Russian villain history has spoke of many times—Rasputin. In his many journeys Henry witnesses the disaster of the Hindenburg crash, Russia’s October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Henry even makes an attempt at the life of Hitler, failing of course.

History buffs will enjoy how the author takes real world events and takes a different spin on how they happened. It is a fun read to see how all of these real-life individuals interact with one another, and how ‘history’ unfolded.

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Reads: The Frenchman


UnknownThe Frenchman by Lesley Young

24520596

Published: January 2015

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family business will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

Must-Read-Valentine’s-Day-full-romantic-love-poetry-Us

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark


The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

21853719

Published: January 16th 2015 by Swoon Reads

SYNOPSIS

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.

Gabe can’t imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

Review

This book was utterly adorable. I loved every single page of this story.

The dual narrative really added to the connection the reader felt to the characters. Both were loveable, with often very different perspectives on the same situation. It was refreshing to see a YA love story unfold from a male perspective in addition to a female.

The Boy Next Door navigates through the problems we all face as teenagers–high school drama, secrets destroying families and the possibility of romantic feelings making a lifelong friendship fall apart.

It was exciting to learn about the professional world of skating and what it means to find success on a rink. I loved everything about this story. I can’t say it enough! The characters wormed their way into my heart, and the story was absolutely charming and witty.

One of the best reads of 2015 thus far.

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Maybe One Day


Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

18053047

Published: February 18th 2014

SYNOPSIS

Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Review

Normally I am not one to review books when all my thoughts concerning them are negative. For this, I felt the need to make an exception. I don’t understand why YA stories centred around cancer are a sudden trend. This is not a ‘must-read’ book, this is not ‘compelling’ this is not ‘beautiful’.

If anything, it is outrageous and should NOT have been published. This book does NOT benefit the reader; it does not inform about this evil disease, nor does it even ring true of what the experience of dealing with this disease is actually like.

The details are beyond the point of unrealistic. Olivia feels ill over the weekend and is diagnosed and receiving chemotherapy on a Tuesday afternoon? Her doctor has diagnosed her that fast with Leukemia and already set up a treatment schedule? Is she some famous and the author forget to mention that part?

Best-friend Zoe learns that Olivia is in the hospital because she is sick with Leukemia so she frolics over, even dancing along the way. She doesn’t know it is cancer until she sees the word oncology…Really? A high school girl couldn’t have figured that out before?

The book focuses on Zoe being the victim because she has a friend with cancer. Boohoo for her, things are just so hard. She even has the audacity to state that her friends cancer is a pain in the ass…

Yes, this is a work of fiction. I firmly believe when writing about something as huge as cancer it is only respectful to do the research and make sure that part of the book is actually factual. Remember, the target audience is YA…reading things like this ‘book’ give a false presentation of what this disease actually is. There is no ‘instant treatment’ everything takes time. There are tests galore to be done…things don’t happen in one day—which this story is suggesting it does to readers.

Final thoughts?

857554

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: Funko Pop Series 4


game_of_thrones_wallpaper__seven_noble_houses_by_mcnealy-d4tbx4eMuch like the rest of the world, I have been collecting these cool little dudes since they first launched.20140311-140901-e1394561687589

Series 4 includes a new Jon Snow (YESSSSS) and much to my amusement, a Petyr Baelish (LittleFinger) figure that looks exactly like the actor!

2014-Funko-Pop-Game-of-Thrones-Series-4-Group

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More!, Fashion & Pop Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: How (Not) To Fall In Love by Lisa Brown Roberts


How (Not) To Fall In Love by Lisa Brown Roberts

22392967

Published: February 3rd 2015

SYNOPSIS

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn’t just skip town, he bailed on his family.

Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone.

But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself…if she has the courage to follow it.

Review

Initially I thought this story would be the cliché fluff of ‘popular girl loses her popular world’ sorta story. Boy, was I ever wrong! I was hooked on the style of prose. It was simple, yet engaging and engrossing for the reader. Some YA authors simply try too hard to cater to a younger audience by throwing in typical clichés every chapter. Lisa is confident in whom she is writing for, and doesn’t ‘try too hard’ to appeal–it comes natural. I think this is why the book targets a universal audience, rather than just YA readers.

Darcy’s self-help guru of a father goes from hero to zero overnight. Instead of staying by his wife and daughters side, he flees. This leaves Darcy stuck with her mother whom has developed more of a bond with alcohol than with her. At first Darcy wallows and throws herself a pity party. This made me immediately dislike her character, but she redeemed herself (thank goodness.)

After her uncle reaches out to her, she beings to learn what independence is and how the rest of the world functions. Bonding with her alternative lifestyle uncle opens up her eyes to the beauty in the world that she has always chosen to look past. In this new world she finds true friendship, love and the power of family coming together.

I loved that the story centred around family instead of being 100% about a teen romance. There are many lessons taught in this story and are delivered in a refreshing way.

Family is always first, whether it be the family you are born into or the family you create for yourself. Connecting with your roots is important and the story of Darcy and the bond she shares with her uncle is simply beautiful.

Instantly after reading this book I found the author on Instagram, and she has the most adorable posts.

Our lovely protagonist Darcy collects Salt/Pepper Shakers that were given to her by her estranged uncle every birthday. On Lisa’s Instagram, she has photos of the shakers mentioned in the book. It’s such a cute and creative idea, a nice touch to make readers smile.

Thank you, NetGalley for the review copy.

Posted in Book Reviews, Author Interviews & More! | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment