#FrightFall Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

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#FrightFall Read-a-Thon is over. Why did it have to end so quickly? I really glad that I participated in this Read-a-Thon as I had a lot of fun trying to achieve my goal. I wanted to read four books during the week and I achieved my goal! Take a look below to see which books I read:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads 

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

I’m really happy to have achieved my goal and I can’t wait to participate in more Seasons of Reading Read-a-Thons in the future! 🙂

– Liz

Darkmere by Helen Maslin Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer.

Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together – but instead, she’s drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Release Date: 6th August, 2015

Pages: 368

Publisher: Chicken House

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

I tried hard to like Darkmere by Helen Maslin. I really did. I honestly feel quite apathetic towards Darkmere. Having said that, I do have some points to make about the book and, sadly, most of them are negative.

To be honest, I found the whole story to be unoriginal and predictable. There are two storylines that run concurrently throughout Darkmere and that is something that I like as a writing device. However, it was really easy to see which direction the storylines were heading in. When events occur in the book, I wasn’t reading anything new. Nothing about the plot made Darkmere stand out from the rest of YA fiction.

Darkmere presented me with a host of characters that I just didn’t care for. I couldn’t find anything about the characters that was likeable and I wasn’t able to gel with Kate, the main character in the story. This made it difficult for me to root for Kate and I found myself not really caring what happened to her as a character. As I have been writing this review, I have been trying to remember other details about Kate and her fellow characters but I can’t. Kate, her friends and the other characters we meet just aren’t memorable.

One thing I did appreciate about the book is that the characters are affected by issues that real teenagers have to deal with. The characters have problems at home, drink alcohol and smoke weed, amongst other things. References to these things, however, got old after a while and sometimes it felt like partying and going to the beach were the only things happening in the book.

By the end of the novel I was bored. This is mainly because Darkmere is too predictable and pretty uneventful. I do have to say, though, that the writing is the strongest part of the novel. It was the writing that encouraged me to continue with the book. I do believe that the author has the ability to write something special, so I will be keeping an eye out for any future novels that she publishes. Darkmere will hopefully be a stepping stone to greater things for Helen Maslin.

2/5 stars

– Liz

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem — and the movies.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Release Date: 30th September, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Point

Format: Hardback

Source: Gift

A couple of years ago I read Katie Alender’s Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy which I found to be average and disappointing. I was hesitant about reading Famous Last Words, also by Alender, because of this. I shouldn’t have worried because Famous Last Words was a great read.

There is a noticeable improvement in Alender’s writing in Famous Last Words compared to the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy. The writing was well paced, making for a quick read. I was captivated by the writing and the plot. I did not want to put the book down and whenever I was not reading the book I found myself thinking about it. I just needed to know what was going to happen next.  Famous Last Words was, however, slightly predictable. I was able to guess the identity of the killer pretty much straight away but I still had fun reading all the twists and turns as they unfolded. It was also nice to read a YA novel that was not bogged down by romance. I’m someone who has become tired of insta-love, love triangles and romance in YA. Romance does play a small role in this book but it certainly did not put me off. Instead, Alender lets the Hollywood serial killer plot take centre stage, which I appreciated and enjoyed. I’m a big fan of the horror genre, so I am used to a lot of scare tactics used in books and movies. It takes a lot to scare me but Famous Last Words had a definite creepy vibe to it that got to me at the end of the novel and I put that down to Alender’s carefully crafted writing.

I found the characters in the Bad Girls Don’t Die book to be one-dimensional and sometimes immature. But, just like with the writing, the character development has also improved greatly. Willa, the main character, was so much fun to read about. She is relatable, intelligent and likeable. As people who are familiar with the horror genre, and especially slasher films, know, if you do not have a strong protagonist then you often end up rooting for the villain. One of my main problems with the Bad Girls Don’t Die books was the development of Alexis, the main character, and with Famous Last Words being slasher-esque, I thought that I might end up with another main character I couldn’t root for. I was wrong. I was able to support Willa 100% and I always wanted to see her succeed. Willa, along with the other characters in the story, have depth to them and are interesting to read about.

Overall, Famous Last Words was such a pleasure to read and I would definitely recommend this book to others. I would also love to read another book starring Willa simply because she has been one of the best main characters I’ve read about in a while. I am now eagerly awaiting Alender’s next book, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall.

“Maybe it’s human nature to be drawn to the things that have hurt us the most.” (Page 197)

4/5 stars

 – Liz

“Waiting On” Wednesday #2: 05/08/2015

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As I’m sure you all know by now, “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine (http://breakingthespine.blogspot.co.uk) which allows readers to showcase an up and coming book.

The pre-release that I’ve chosen for this week is:

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Asylum meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in this riveting tale of ghosts, secrets, and family, from master of suspense Katie Alender.

Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. It used to be an insane asylum, a place to lock up “troubled” young women long ago. And a restless, wicked spirit is still at play–and it doesn’t want defiant girls like Delia to go anywhere.

So the house kills her.

Now Delia is a ghost, trapped in her creepy home forever. As she meets the other ghost girls who haunt the narrow hallways, as well as the handsome ghost boy on the grounds, she learns shocking truths about the house’s history. Delia also realizes that her alive and grieving sister might be the house’s next target. Can Delia unlock the mystery of the old asylum, save her sister, and free herself?“

I love a good scary story and I’m always keen to try out YA horror titles so I’m really excited for Alender’s latest novel to be published. And I don’t have long to wait as The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is released on 25th August here in England.

Happy reading! 🙂

 – Liz