Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Hallowed Ones - Book Review (repost)

I've been more busy with playing games lately than with reading, so today I bring you a repost of my review of The Hallowed Ones, a book I think everyone should read.

The Hallowed Ones
by Laura Bickle

What is it about:
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

What did I think of it:
Ever had that feeling when you read a book and you love it so much that part of you wants to share it with the whole world, while another part of you wants to jealously guard it and keep it all to yourself?

That's how I feel about The Hallowed Ones!

(And to those who do not know that feeling (which is probably all of you): Yes, I'm weird like that.)

I fell in love with Katie from the start. She's a thinker, who doesn't take what others tell her for granted and who wants to explore things before making a decision. Living in a community where it's expected that you take the things your elders tell you for granted is difficult for Katie. That's why she's looking forward to her Rumspringa, to see the outside world and to be able to decide for herself if her place is really among the Amish or if she belongs somewhere else.

Then bad things happen and it looks like Katie's future might be decided for her.

There is so much to this story I could just ramble on all day. It's as much a creepy, suspenseful horror-thriller as it is a story about strength and faith. Who can Katie trust? Who can she confide in? What will she have to do to survive the horrors that plague the outside and that threaten her community?

There's a constant threat hanging over the story which slowly begins to escalate until it's not just a threat anymore and Katie will have to fight for her survival.

I also loved the setting. The Amish community Katie lives in was described very well and used to its full advantage for this story. I especially loved reading about the Hexenmeister, a mysterious and intriguing figure, who paints so called hexes to protect houses and families from all kind of things.

The climax of this story was just totally amazing and the ending makes me hungry for the next book to see what will happen next (and I can tell you: that is bound to be a lot!). So I can safely say I will be reading the next book as soon as it's released and I'll be rereading The Hallowed Ones in the meantime.

Why should you read it:
It's a totally amazing YA horror-thriller

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Teaser Tuesdays - Three Parts Dead

He had no mouth to open, nor a throat through which to draw breath; neither lungs to hold that breath nor diaphragm to propel it out. Yet he howled.

(page 102, Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone)

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Hate - Book Musings

by Alan Gibbons

What is it about:
Eve's older sister, Rosie, was bright and alive and always loved being the centre of attention. Then one day, she is brutally murdered. Six months later, Eve meets Antony and discovers that he was there the night Rosie died and did nothing to help. Is there any way she can ever get past that?

Inspired by the Sophie Lancaster murder in 2007, which saw Sophie and her partner Rob viciously attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, Lancashire because of the way they dressed. This is a hard-hitting real-life thriller about friendship, courage, loss, forgiveness and about our society and communities.

Thoughts on this subject and the book:
Just this once I will not tell you about this book myself, but let my owner do the talking:

I know a lot about being different. At high school I was labeled THE The Cure fan, as if that was all I was. Later in life I have often been called weird because of how I dressed or how I acted. One time I've been called Morticia Addams as an insult (that I took it as a compliment doesn't take away it was meant to be an insult).

These days I sometimes get asked if I'm a Goth. And even though I'm not, and everyone who knows even a little bit about Goths can see I'm not, I do sympathize with Goths, and I love a lot of Goth music. And yes: I dress mainly in black.

Still despite the occasional insult, the labeling, the being called weird or strange: I've never felt threatened or harassed by people for who and what I am. From stories I've heard from other alternative and Goth people I know I've been lucky. I know there's a lot of hate and prejudice towards Goths and other people who are different.

I even encounter it often in my reading. There's a lot of authors who write (YA) Paranormal or Urban Fantasy stories who feel the need to add digs at Goths in their books. From negative or insulting mentions to adding characters who dress like Goths, but aren't TRUE Goths as the author explains in length. It annoys me and makes me wonder why authors do this. Especially as I can only assume that Goths make up a large portion of the readers of Paranormal and Urban Fantasy books.

But I'm getting off track.

I picked up this book because this hate and prejudice towards Goths and other groups/people who are different confuses and scares me. It feels like this intolerance only seems to be growing. I was curious to how Gibbons would handle such a difficult subject.

And I can tell you this book is good.

It was a difficult story to read for me, because apart from the violence it hit very close to home. The way people don't act to not become a victim themselves, to keep their position save. The way they don't speak up. In this book it might have been about a murder, but how often is it that we see that people stay quiet about other important things as well?

This book also was very emotional. I will confess I cried a lot when reading it. This is a powerful story and I could only agree with everything Gibbons tries to tell us.

Still I wonder if this book will be read by those people who need to read it. I am afraid this book will only get picked up by people who already know how wrong prejudice and the hate that goes with it is.

We're a long way away from a more inclusive society. I can only hope we will see sense.

Why should you read it:
It's a powerful and emotional read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Testing - Book Review

The Testing (The Testing #1)
by Joelle Charbonneau

What is it about:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

What did I think of it:
This is a very entertaining read.

So the whole last stage of the testing seemed absurd: who cares. It made for fun reading.

Seriously: the concept of The Testing is one that's been done before: teens have to battle it out for survival or placement in a position they want. I knew this going in, so I wasn't expecting originality. I started on this book with the expectation I would be entertained. And I was!

Cia is likeable enough, and the tests she and the others have to take were cool to read about. The whole world building and the testing didn't really make sense to me, but I decided not to try to make sense of it and just enjoy the events.

And I must say that I really loved the interaction between Cia and the other teens. There were some really fun characters. Even Tomas, who seemed to be the typical teenage heartthrob, turned out to have a few tricks up his sleeves. I will confess it's this part of the story that makes me curious how this series will continue, and I most probably will pick up the next book in the series to find out.

All in all this book is enjoyable, if not overly original. If you're looking for an entertaining Dystopian read (and aren't too critical) this might be your book.

Why should you read it:
Teens having to compete in absurd tests!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Thursday, 18 June 2015

On McPig's Wishlist - Dead Ringers

This book sounds like it might be a really cool read, but it's over 20 Euro! I guess I'll have to hope for a cheaper paperback.

Dead Ringers
by Christopher Golden

When Tess Devlin runs into her ex-husband Nick on a Boston sidewalk, she's furious at him for pretending he doesn't know her. She calls his cell to have it out with him, only to discover that he's in New Hampshire with his current girlfriend. But if Nick's in New Hampshire...who did she encounter on the street?

Frank Lindbergh's dreams have fallen apart. He wanted to get out of the grim neighborhood where he'd grown up and out of the shadow of his alcoholic father. Now both his parents are dead and he's back in his childhood home, drinking too much himself. As he sets in motion his plans for the future, he's assaulted by an intruder in his living intruder who could be his twin.

In an elegant hotel, Tess will find mystery and terror in her own reflection. Outside a famed mansion on Beacon Hill, people are infected with a diabolical malice...while on the streets, an eyeless man, dressed in rags, searches for a woman who wears Tess's face.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Age of Blood - Book Review

Age of Blood (Ash and Ruin #3)
by Shauna Granger

What is it about:
Hope is a dangerous thing, but powerful. Hope keeps you going. Hope can keep you alive.

But hope can shatter your world.

Kat and Dylan have found a home, but the monsters are still out there. The pox and plague still ravage the world. They have hope of finding a vaccine, but their encampment isn't equipped to develop it.

Dylan is still too weak from the pox to leave the encampment, so Kat must decide between staying by his side and protecting her last remaining family member as he leaves to find supplies. Separated for the first time since they came together, Kat and Dylan will have to fight their own battles to save what is left of their bloody world.

Kat will have to hold on to hope that she has anything left to save and someone to come home to. If she can survive.

What did I think of it:
If I wasn't already totally hooked on this trilogy, I might have started on it as soon as I saw the cover of this book. Isn't it gorgeous and cool!


I loved the previous two books, so I ordered this book as soon as I saw it was available on bookdepository.

And this book is an wonderful conclusion to an awesome trilogy.

I was a bit apprehensive that Kat and Dylan were splitting up, but Granger made it work. I could understand why Kat takes on a mission that takes her away from Dylan. The team she travels with was well chosen story-wise: Kat's companions all have very different personalities and their interaction was just as suspenseful as their adventures.

To be able to end this trilogy on a note of hope the story focuses on a cure for the plague, so people can start doing more than just survive. The plan to create a vaccine and to find the supplies to do so sounded believable to me, making it easy to root for Kat to succeed.

She and her friends encounter lots of dangers on their mission and there is lots of action. And it's not just Pestas they encounter: This book shows people both at their best and their very worst.

The book is fast paced and I couldn't put it down until I reached the end, which is very satisfying in my opinion. I will most certainly reread this trilogy, and might give other books by Granger a try as well.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome Post Apocalyptic YA read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Teaser Tuesdays - The Testing

I take deep breaths. I force my legs to move. All the while I am wondering, if this room from my father's subconscious is real, what else is?

(page 97, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!