Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Prince Of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prince of Mist (Niebla, #1)Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Translated By: Lucia Graves
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 218
Published: May 4th, 2010 (English version)
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: 5/5 Stars

"A mysterious house harbors an unimaginable secret. . . .
It’s wartime, and the Carver family decides to leave the capital where they live and move to a small coastal village where they’ve recently bought a home. But from the minute they cross the threshold, strange things begin to happen. In that mysterious house there still lurks the spirit of Jacob, the previous owners’ son, who died by drowning.
With the help of their new friend Roland, Max and Alicia Carver begin to explore the suspicious circumstances of that death and discover the existence of a mysterious being called The Prince of Mist—a diabolical character who has returned from the shadows to collect on a debt from the past. Soon the three friends find themselves caught up in an adventure of sunken ships and an enchanted stone garden, which will change their lives forever."~Goodreads

You know those book you read as a kid that just drew you in and totally consumed you for hours on end?  If this book had been translated when I was that age this would have been one of those books.  What am I saying?  It is one of those books.  I picked up this little novel (the first in the Niebla Trilogy) on a whim.  I didn't feel like reading the next book on my to-be-read list yet and needed something quick to keep me entertained for a few days.  The Prince of Mist more than did the trick.  It was charming, exciting and truly scary.  It was everything a young adult horror novel should be.

  • Beautiful writing: Zafon's writing is really beautiful.  He somehow captures the voices of his characters perfectly while at the same time allowing the reader to make their own observations about the world he creates.  The atmosphere was perfect whether that atmosphere was spooky at the time or charming and quaint.  The story moved along quickly and succinctly and kept me wrapped up in it the whole time.  
  • Different take on ghosts:  I love ghost stories, they're probably my favorite kind, but there's usually some sort of formula.  Ghosts are usually dead people who hang around and scare the crap out of the living.  Not in this book though.  These ghosts are unusual.  I'm still not 100% sure how the whole thing went down but apparently they could take different forms, inhabit inanimate objects and resurrect terrifying circus statues.  
  • Truly terrifying villains:  Speaking of circuses, there is a ghost clown.  I hate clowns, I find them truly horrifying at their best so when one of them is walking around all incorporeal with razor teeth I just about lose it.  Throw in some creepy haunted home movies, wardrobe monsters and a ghost ship and I will be sleeping with the light on for awhile.  A+ on the scares.

  • Where are the parents:  About half way through the book something happens and the parents and youngest sister leave town.  They're gone for the rest of the book only to reappear in the epilogue.  I was disappointed in this because I really loved the family dynamic at the beginning of the story and it was sad to see them written out for most of the action.  However, I can see why this was necessary so maybe I can't really count this as a dislike.
  • The ending (maybe):  I'm really not sure about the ending.  There are things I loved (the drama and sadness and hope) but I also was kind of disappointed that the story was wrapped up so completely.  It looks like Max won't be the focus of the second book and I really liked him as a character so that was a bummer, but it will be cool to see what the author does with the story from here on out.  After all, this is The Prince of Mist's story right?

I can't wait to read the rest of this series and see what type of terror The Prince of Mist will create. The second and third books involve different protagonists and different time periods which is a really unique and fun idea for a series.  It will be interesting to see what Zafon has come up with (hopefully no more clowns).  I only wish these would have been translated earlier so I could have enjoyed this amazing tale sooner.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz
Release Date: 07/09/13
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Summary from Goodreads:
On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

Available from:
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg

“So where is he?” She cranes her neck, trying to spot Ryan in the crowd. Heart pounding, my mind hiccups through its storehouse of facts. I reposition myself to block
her view. There’s no time to try texting Ryan a warning. I could tell Susannah. Tell her how Ryan has been sneaking around behind her back for over a 
year, even hooking up with two college juniors in a motel room during one of 
our out of town meets. But defying the Morgan machine by pointing this out 
takes too much energy. Instead I blurt, 

“Did you realize the Watch Hill 
carousel was once part of a traveling carnival?”

She laughs and 
shakes her head. 

“What? Jeremy, sometimes you can be such a--” 
But her voice 
trails off as her gaze wanders past mine, her smile crumpling like a paper bag.
I follow her line of sight and I know this is it. The crowd has thinned around 
Ryan, enough for her to see him with his mouth smashed against Claudia’s.

“Oh, man,” I 
gasp. I turn to comfort Susannah, but she is already gone.

I stand, 
dithering; wanting to run after her and apologize for letting her walk into
this ambush. But, no. This is 
something Ryan needs to take care of. I might have signed on to sweep his mess 
under the rug, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to clean up after him. I push
through the crowd to get to him. 

“What? She what?
Did you know she was coming back early?”

I feel my face 


Ryan pushes 
Claudia off of him, his stage makeup still glistening and thick, traces of
Claudia’s lipstick smeared on his lips. 

“Good job, Jeremy. You could have at
least texted me.”

My hand curls 
into a fist. I stuff it in my jacket pocket. “She ran out,” I say. 

“Maybe you 
can catch her.” 
Ryan shrugs, and 
without a coat, stalks out of the theater into the night. I wait a few minutes 
then follow. Susannah’s car is gone, and so is Ryan’s. I try to call Susannah, 
but she doesn’t pick up. 
I get in my car 
and focus on resisting the water bottle’s siren call, panicked glimpses of my 
waking nightmare crashing through the floodgates, the terrifying memories swept 
through with it. The rain and the torrents of water sweeping past, draining
into the Gorge, forcing me to remember. To relive it. No. Not now
I need to stay clear.

Since eighth 
grade, when I discovered that liquor dulls my terrors, I have been a master
thief and spy. Not even Ryan 
knows.Just a sip to 
calm my shaky nerves. One tiny sip to beat back the rising waters that threaten 
to drown me. I can do it. I pride myself on my steely self-control. My ability 
to remain stone-cold sober even when the track team holds a victory keg party.
They call me Jeremy the Teetotaler. Jeremy, the History Nerd who never
partakes. I snap open the 
glove compartment. The innocuous silver bottle is shoved behind the owner’s 
manual, gas receipts and a collection of power bar wrappers. I raise it to my
lips and gulp once, twice, three times; the cold liquid igniting as it hits my
throat. It takes two, three more gulps to slow my heart to normal speed. The
bottle is nearly empty. I cap it and return it to the compartment, warmth
flowing to my cold fingers. I’d need to drink three times as much as that to 
lose focus.

Swerving the 
deserted black roads slick with rain over ice, I follow my usual running
circuit. This is familiar turf. My backyard, practically. Yes. I can do
this. Susannah knows my route so I hope she’s come this way and parked, knowing
I’d find her. She wants me to find her. To comfort her. I’ll tell her
everything. How I’m sorry for lying to her. For letting Ryan hurt her. And
maybe at last she’ll accept that it’s not Ryan she wants, but me. But there’s no 
sign of her. After driving 
and searching fruitlessly, my mind churning with outcomes, the now driving rain
blurring my windshield, I can’t stand it anymore. My heart is racing. Just one
last sip to fortify myself is all I need. When I round the 
next hairpin curve, my headlights flash on Ryan’s car parked behind Susannah’s, 
engines running. I squint through the rain and mist and spot them behind the 
guardrail, illuminated in the headlamps’ cone of light. There’s no shoulder on
this side of the road, so I pull over when I can, about twenty yards past them. When I finally
get out of the car I can hear her shouts over the racket the rain makes. My 
head is buzzing, but my thoughts are clear. In fact, they’ve 
never been clearer, as the roots that entangle me fall away.

The damp air 
smells like freedom. 
screams, and pounds at Ryan’s chest with her fists. He shoves her hard and she 
falls backward. I don’t see her get up again. Raucous arguments were nothing 
new between Susannah and Ryan, but I’d never seen him hit her before.

There’s a steep 
decline into the woods where they’ve chosen to have their argument and I worry
Susannah could have gotten hurt. Ryan disappears now, too. What the 
hell are they doing?

I begin to run 
at full tilt. I still have some distance to cover, but that’s no problem for 
me, even with the Absolut pumping heat through my veins. But my boot heel 
catches on a wet leaf then slides out from under me. 
I’m flying, but 
I land softly.

About the Author
Lisa has been a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but
somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.

              BREAKING GLASS
which will be released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first
published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in
2014, along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will
also be released in the near future, along with graphic novel style art. 

1-custom pendant like the one pictured on the book cover
2-signed ARCS
1-original work of Breaking Glass related art created and signed by the author.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Rush by Eve Silver

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen

from Goodreads:

So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

Available from:
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg   photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg

Teaser #1:
He smiles, a faint curve of his lips that reveals the barest hint of a long dimple
carved in his right cheek. “No, but I can read your expression. And I’ve been
doing this long enough that I know what most people tend to think when they
first open their eyes.”

“Doing what long enough?”

“This,” he says, and nothing more. A second of silence stretches into two. Though I can’t see behind his glasses, I have the feeling he’s not looking at me anymore, that he’s scanning the area, looking for…something. But as I stare at him, I see me—tiny distorted reflections of me in the shiny, convex lenses.
Copyright © 2013. Eve Silver. All Rights Reserved.

I stare at the things in front of me: the Drau. I can’t look away.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember Jackson talking about Medusa.
Don’t look at their eyes.
Their mercury eyes.
They’re poison.
They will kill me.
© 2013. Eve Silver. All Rights Reserved.

Color and sound explode, too bright, too loud. Even the air on my skin feels like
it’s too much. My fingers go lax. The bag’s handle slides down my palm, then
along my fingers to the tips, impossibly slow. The world tips and tilts and I flail for balance. 
Luka grabs my hand and holds tight. blink. My house, my open front door, Dad, they’re all gone. My breath comes in short gasps and every muscle in my body feels like it’s knotted up tight.
I’m standing in a grassy clearing bounded by trees. The lobby. We’ve been pulled.
© 2013. Eve Silver. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author
Eve Silver lives with her gamer husband and sons, sometimes in Canada, but often in worlds she dreams up. She loves kayaking and sunshine, dogs and desserts, and books, lots and lots of books. Watch for the first book in Eve’s new teen series, THE GAME: RUSH, coming from Katherine Tegen Books, June 2013. She also writes books for adults.

Author Links:

Signed copy of Rush, US and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mini-Review: Shallow Pond by Alissa Grosso

Shallow Pond
Author: Alissa Grosso
Genre:  Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Published: July 8th, 2013
Publisher: Flux
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Barbara “Babie” Bunting is constantly mistaken for her sisters, but she’s determined not to end up like her family. She doesn’t plan to stick around Shallow Pond after graduation, and she certainly won’t be ruined by a broken heart. That is, until fellow orphan Zach Faraday walks into the picture, and Babie can’t deny their chemistry.
When her oldest sister, Annie, comes down with a mysterious illness—initially dismissed as “love sickness”—Babie and Zach start investigating what exactly killed the girls’ mother and why their late father became so consumed by grief. What they find changes everything"~Goodreads
It is going to be next to impossible for me to talk about this book without any spoilers.  But I'll give it a try.   I went into this read expecting a contemporary mystery with deep dark family secrets because, well, that's what the blurb says.  However, it turned out to be far more complicated and convoluted than I ever imagined.  I really wanted to like this one.  It has a great premise.  Small town girl meets mysterious new boy.  Together, they uncover a life-shattering secret.  Drama and mystery ensue.  Actually it was more like whiny, self-involved girl meets new boy with crazy unbelievable back story and discovers she has an even more unbelievable back story (and not unbelievable in a good way). There were so many twists in this book that it was hard to see how everything would fit together in the end and it really didn't for the most part.  To make matters worse our main character, Babie, kept jumping to every possible conclusion except the correct one in each situation. I couldn't understand why she wouldn't just talk to her older sisters about what was going on.  It was infuriating.  Speaking of sisters don't get me started on Annie and Gracie.  Annie is a lifeless character who just mopes around the house all day and refuses to see a doctor even though she's been sick for months.  Gracie is spoiled, bitchy and lacks the capacity for human compassion. 

Then we get to the big event of the book, which incidentally is not finding out why Annie is sick.  I can't tell you what that event is because some of the most interesting parts of the book involve the build up to said event.  Of course then everything goes completely downhill.  By the time I got to the main twist in the book everything was so far out there that I had completely lost interest. I felt like I had been completely mislead about the plot, it felt gimmicky and ridiculous.  I know I sound like I'm being harsh but I just had such high hopes for this book.  I feel the same way I would feel if someone handed me a horror movie and it ended up being a romantic comedy with no warning.  That being said you may read this book and be totally blown away by the twists and turns.  They just weren't for me.  If I can say anything positive it is that the pacing was good and for awhile I really was eager to find out what was going on. I just wish the plot and characters would have been more to my liking.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (22)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews

For Review:

Perfection Breaking Glass
Thanks to Spencer Hill Press!


Defy the Dark
Thanks to Harpe Collins/ Epic Reads!


Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1) Frost
 The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)  Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

As always let me know what you got this week!  Happy Reading!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: This Is W.A.R. by Lisa and Laura Roecker

This is W.A.R.Author: Lisa and Laura Roecker
Genre:  Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 288
Published: July 2nd, 2013
Publisher: SoHo Teen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa's initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all."~Goodreads
Who doesn't like a good revenge novel?  All of us have been wronged at some point and felt powerless to do anything about it.  So there's something cathartic about watching someone get whats coming to them.  This is W.A.R. is a fun and ultimately satisfying novel that weaves together the stories of four girls bent on bringing their best friend's killer to justice.   

  • Four different narrators:  I always love it when an author can use different voices to effectively tell a story.  It makes for a well-rounded story and allows the reader to see all viewpoints.  Each of Willa's friends have their own reason for wanting revenge and their own reason for feeling guilty about her death.  The girls vastly different personalities also make the story more interesting and believable.  I particularly enjoyed the chapters narrated by Willa's stepsister Madge.  She did a great job of making me feel closer not only to her but to her sister as well.
  • Yuppies who rule with an iron fist:  One thing that is vitally important to a thriller is a bad guy you love to hate.  The Gregory's fit this bill to a tee.  They are spoiled, entitled and completely above the law.  They abuse their power and have seemingly no appreciation for the value of other human beings.  But they aren't just one-dimensional jerks.  There are layers to the Gregory family.  The Captain, while obviously an awful human being, is driven by more than just greed.  Trip has been emotionally and psychologically crippled by something in his past and James has been driven to rampant alcoholism by his family.  You love to hate them, but you want to understand them as well.  When you throw in their small lakeside town and the country club that acts as their seat of power the show is quite spectacular.
  • Not too unrealistic:  It would be easy to set up a series of grand schemes that could never happen in real life in this story.  The girls are from wealthy families and money is thrown around like it's nothing.  But most of the schemes the girls come up with are not completely out of the realm of possibility.  


  • Rich people are horrible:  I get a little tired of wealthy people being made into caricatures of Blair Waldorf.  Not everyone who has money is rude and spoiled.  Now I am not saying that as someone who has money, the dent in my car's rear bumper that has been there since 2008 will attest to that.  I am simply saying that as someone who has met all types of people from all different backgrounds.  The country club members are some of the most abhorrent people you can imagine.  They treat the staff like slaves and behave however they want regardless of how it affects others.  I understand that this particular country club had to be this way for the story to work but it still made me roll my eyes.
  • I'm still a little confused about the ending:  I won't get into spoilers here but I have to say there is something that happens at the end regarding a website that I'm totally confused about. In fact, if any of you have read this and want to explain it to me please shoot me an email.  I'd be forever grateful.  
If you're looking for a fun, fast-paced summer read with lots of vigilante justice, this is the read for you.  I definitely will be keeping this on my shelf for summers to come.  It's thrilling, shocking and totally satisfying.