Friday, March 25, 2022

Review: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab


Pages: 272
Format: E-Book
Published By: Scholastic
Genre: MG - Paranormal, Horror
Series: Cassidy Blake

Rating:
✮✮✮

Review:
The first book in a series following a young girl whose parents are a ghost-hunting team traveling across the world for their new tv show, City of Ghosts was a darker Middle Grade horror novel with just the right number of paranormal spooks for a younger audience.

Cassidy Blake travels to Scotland for the first part of her parents' documentary with her best friend who happens to be a ghost. She was gifted with the ability to travel between the living world and the dead world resulting from a near death experience when she was younger.

In Scotland, things take a very dark turn when Cassidy learns that children have gone missing, and it has something to do with a lady known as the Red Raven. With the help of another girl like her named Lara and her best friend, Cassidy decides to hunt down the Red Raven.

I really liked all of our central characters: Cassidy, Lara, and Jacob. They were very lovable characters, but also very simply written with not a lot of depth to them. I look forward to seeing how they grow as characters in the next books.

Another huge hit was the legend behind the Red Raven. She is based on a Mourning Mother ghost, which is a mother whose children die along with her, and she comes back as a spirit to take children from their parents. She also reminds me of the Piped Piper of Hamelin.

Even though I really enjoyed the novel, I did find the pacing to be slow and the story to be very straight-forward, lacking any surprise twists or turns. Which were the two biggest downfalls of the book. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and cannot wait to continue with the two remaining books in the series.

Monday, February 21, 2022

New Post Idea

 So, I still have a lot to catch up on for this blog - a few reviews that need to be posted - but I am still working on fixing this up. There are old posts that never were published that I am going through and decided if I still want to do that or if I want to just get rid of it. I am also going to probably change the background because I want to see some change. That's a huge reason that you haven't see me post much and hopefully once that all gets wrapped up, I will catch up on a lot of what I need to do for the actual blog.

To throw this out real quick, some reviews you can look forward to:


For my new post idea, I want to give book recommendations based on video games that I play. I have been planning on doing this for some time now, but haven't had the opportunity yet to fully dive into this. But if you like the idea, I want to give a shout-out to Hardback Hoarder over on her booktube channel because she recently also did this.

My goal is to recommend five books that I think give the same tone and vibes that I get from playing the games. I am hoping that I can look for new books to recommend, so it's not going to be a quick turnaround time for this post. I am also planning on reviewing the game so that you might decide to give it a try yourself.

The first game that I will be doing this for is:


Other games you can look forward to are: 


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Review: Prom House by Chelsea Mueller

Prom House by Chelsea Mueller


What happens when the best night of your life turns into the worst? Full of menace and suspense, this is an unputdownable thriller!

Ten people share a prom house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend. Every one of them has a secret . . . and when they begin to die one by one, panic ensues. Could somebody's prom date also be . . . a killer?

Pages: 256
Format: E-Book
Published By: Underlined Publishing
Genre: YA - Horror, Mystery

Rating:
✮✮

Review:
What happens when the best night of your life turns into the worst?

Prom House is about ten friends who rent a slightly secluded house to spend their prom weekend at when someone starts to murder them. My feelings and thoughts for this book were ultimately disappointed. Where was the menace? Where was the suspense? I have never been more excited for a horror novel and let down so badly.

The synopsis for this story is very short with not a lot of detail - but the impression I was left with was more of a slasher-esque horror novel, and the book did not deliver, which might be my own fault because I drew those conclusions, but alas. I believe that this has a lot to do with the setting of the story.

The secluded aspect of the setting would have worked better - had it not been for a hurricane that was occurring throughout the novel - which had them stuck in the house, and therefore our characters, killer included, were pretty much together the majority of the book. So, our characters that live spend a good majority of the book talking.

The biggest problem is that they continuously rehash the same thing over and over, but because nothing really happens throughout the book, there isn’t information that they should continuously be talking about, but they do. So when new information gets presented, it comes off as random because why wasn’t this information already mentioned.

This leads to very annoying and frustrating characters, who are supposed to be best friends, but instead act like they don’t really like each other - there was just so much teenage drama between the characters which detracted from the actual story. They are also very stereotypical written characters. I ended this book, not really caring about any of the characters. And the killer - I had it figured out very early on in the novel. Which left the one thing that could have redeemed this book some for me in the dust.

So what we get is a horror mystery novel that has no horror, mystery, or suspense. No plot twists, no character development, no action. You're left with a book that is very drawn out and bordering on boring. The little action and teenage drama feels forced as a way to keep the novel moving and feels like it could have been left out and the story wouldn’t have changed much.

Here’s the thing, I’m more sad that this book did not live up to my expectations because if it hadn’t fallen so flat, I would have loved it. This could have been a five-star read for me, which is the most disappointing thing about this experience. If you love good horror mysteries, don’t pick this up - you’ll probably end up disappointed like I was. I definitely don’t recommend it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

2022 Reading Goals and Challenges

Last year, I changed up how I want to challenge my reading during the coming year. I failed at it, but I still have a lot going on in my life and sometimes I was caught up in what was going on reality and didn't really take the time to keep up with my challenges. I am going to still hold to the layout of my challenges last year, but I wanted to do something a little different for picking my reading prompts. Although I am also going to challenge myself to complete the Jane Austen collection, but I'm not going to set it up as a bi-monthly challenge, and just have it be as a "whenever I pick it up" deal this year.

The other challenge I am doing is a TBR challenge, utilizing Owlcrate's et cetera game they included in one of their boxes last year. There are 48 different categories given (so spoilers for those who own the game but haven't gotten around to playing it), and each month I will pick 4 of those categories and try to find a book that fits. For example, there is a category that is books with love triangles - so fairly easy to pick a book for this category - but there are categories like fictional parents - for this I would pick a book that has a focus on relationships with parents or a thriller with parents trying to find their child. Since this is my own challenge for myself, I get to make the rules as long as I feel like it fits the category.

1. Read Jane Austen Challenge

During the course of 2022, read all of Jane Austen's books.

2. Owlcrate Game Challenge

Using the Owlcrate game, et cetera, use the categories to pick my TBR for the month.

3. Goodreads Challenge

Read 100 Books over the course of the year.

4. Complete One Readathon

I have a habit of starting readathons and not finishing them, so I would like to aim to complete at least one readathon this year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Tour + Review: Have You Seen Me? by Alexandrea Weis


Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vesuvian Books (August 17, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1645480755
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1645480754

Praise for HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

"Every five or ten years you'll read a book that'll grip you from start to end and you'll find you're up at 3am in the morning bewitched by the plot, the characters, and the setting. Have You Seen Me? is one such book, the pace is frenetic, urgent, and comes across as vividly telegenic. It takes a truly talented and masterful author to craft a novel which creates a three-dimensional drama inside your mind. Alexandrea Weis is one of the most talented authors around, she straddles several genres, and in a short time her novels are destined to stand along with authors such as Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffery Deaver." The Strand Magazine

"With atmosphere, mercurial threats, and intrigue, Alexandrea Weis excels in probing the psychological undertones of the prep school and a new teacher's return to her past. She also does a fine job of evolving the plot that connects students and teachers to an unpredictable truth. As school and local history are revealed by the determined team, readers receive an eerie feel of inevitable disaster much in the manner of the classic film 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'. The buildup that leads to the truth about the killer's identity makes for a fine story that will reach from young adult to adult audiences with a winning exploration of prep school pressures, politics, and the special interests that lead to murder. Very nicely done." D. Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Review

"Riveting, fast paced thriller wrapped up in a mystery. Is history repeating itself or is it a coincidence? Alexandrea Weis slowly peels away layer after layer to reveal the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it even if you don't usually read thrillers." Erin E. Forys, Barnes and Noble, Williamsburg, VA

"Alexandrea Weis addresses cultural issues such as class systems, race, and bullying all the while providing chilling and spooky imagery that is sure to have all readers begging the question: "Who will be next?" A thrilling spine-tingling novel Have You Seen Me? had my heart racing on every page." Tanya Roberts @bookswihtanya, CER at Indigo Books, Qu├ębec Canada

"A fast-paced thriller that will engage readers with great characters and a chilling mystery! I was sucked in and fully invested in finding the killer!!" Gretchen Hall, Barnes and Noble, Houston, TX

"A dark, complex tale of psychological suspense that will captivate and thrill readers, especially those who love slashers!" Monique Snyman, Bram Stoker Awards Nominee

"...capably written with a vibrant setting that feels lived-in and starts off with an intriguing mystery ... that leads to a shocking revelation." IndieReader


Lindsey Gillett is missing.

And she’s not the first girl at Waverly High to vanish without a trace.

To help cope with the tragedy, new history teacher Aubrey LaRoux organizes a student investigation team. But when the project’s key members start turning up dead across campus, Aubrey suspects there’s more going on than anyone is willing to admit.


The murdered students all had something in common with Lindsey. They shared a secret. And what they uncovered could threaten the future of the historic school.

At Waverly High, someone wants to keep the past buried—and you don’t want to get in their way.

You can purchase Have You Seen Me? at the following Retailers:
        

REVIEW:

4 Stars

Have You Seen Me? was a nice introduction to Alexandrea Weis as an author, and I definitely look forward to reading more. Have You Seen Me? was a fast-paced thriller, and overall had a very well-written mystery - but if you pick up this book, don't expect shocking twists - I found the story to be pretty predictable, but it didn't ruin the experience.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are other books out there similar in plot to this, but this was the first book I've read where the story taking place is high schools students being murdered, and you get to experience it through the eyes of a teacher - and I really enjoyed that twist to a common thriller plot.

I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a thriller that is quick and easy to follow for the spookier season. For a mood reader, like myself, the fall is a perfect time to pick this book up and read.

Photo Content from Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes supernatural, horror, mystery, and thrillers. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

        
WEEK ONE
OCTOBER 11th MONDAY JeanBookNerd GUEST POST
OCTOBER 12th TUESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW
OCTOBER 13th WEDNESDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT
OCTOBER 14th THURSDAY BookHounds INTERVIEW
OCTOBER 15th FRIDAY Living in a Bookworld EXCERPT

WEEK TWO
OCTOBER 18th MONDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
OCTOBER 19th TUESDAY Ya It's Lit REVIEW
OCTOBER 20th WEDNESDAY Reading Adventures of a Book Dragon REVIEW
OCTOBER 21st THURSDAY Coffee and Wander Book Reviews REVIEW
OCTOBER 21st THURSDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW
OCTOBER 22nd FRIDAY My Fictional Oasis REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

Saturday, July 31, 2021

August TBR and Wrap-Up


My Jane Austen book continuing into August is Emma.

My prompt for the month is to read a book that is over 500 pages, and once again, there are a few books that I would love to get to that fit this prompt: Witches Steeped in Gold or Blood & Honey.


I didn't include a TBR for the previous few months because I updated them after the months had passed. But here are some books that I would love to read during the month of August (along with catching up on previous prompts). There are also a few books included in this TBR that I started in the month of July and just need to finish reading.

During the month of July I completed a total of 4 books. I was really excited to finally get to the second Norroway graphic novel because I absolutely loved the first. Then I listened to the audiobooks for Poet X and Dangerous Path. Finally, I finished reading Flashfall, which was the book that I read with my sisters for our book club.