BOOK REVIEW : THE MERCILESS BY DANIELLE VEGA

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Title: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Published: June 12th 2014 by Razorbill
279 pages
Source: Purchased

Maria’s thoughts:
Sofia moves to a new town and becomes the new girl all over again. A lot like the movie “Mean Girls”, she befriends both the popular and the unpopular crowd.
Popular croud: Riley, Alexis and Grace
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Unpopular croud: Brooklyn
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Riley and her posse are your not your typical mean girls. They take their religion very seriously, and honestly believe that Brooklyn is evil and has to be “saved”. Sofia agrees to spy on Brooklyn for Riley, but secretly becomes friends with her. Brooklyn is the bad-ass character. She does what she wants, when she wants, and believes that Sofia is a lot more like her than she thinks. Sofia never really was the religious type, but follows Riley in order to fit in. Wanting to help Brooklynn, and not upset Riley, Sofia agrees to help “save her”. Sofia never expected it to result in an exorcism

One word to describe the Merciless: CREEPY

I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely something you need to save for an evening that you will have a few hours to spend reading – because you will want to finish this in one sitting. Like a scary movie, you can’t look away, no matter how gruesome it gets. And it does get pretty gruesome at times. Danielle Vega does an incredible job at pulling her readers in.

 It was hard to rate the Merciless, but after finishing it and needing to get out of bed and try to think of ANYTHING but what I had just read, I realized that I really loved this reading experience. At first, I was leaning towards three or four stars. It started out just like any high-school/mean-girls scenario. Nevertheless, as the novel progressed, I become enthralled with this YA horror story, and in the end I couldn’t give it less than 5 out of 5 stars.

It truly did creep me out.It might not come off as scary to you, it might not frighten you enough to keep you awake at night, but if you have read The Merciless, you have to admit that some of the descriptions are down right creepy and that those girls are seriously messed up.

Think you can handle it? Maybe not. Before going into this book, ask yourself if you are okay with reading very detailed descriptions of torture and blood. Does the thought of ripping someones nails off make you cringe? Maybe you should pick up an other book… There are still images haunting me since finishing The Merciless. However, if you are willing to dive into this fast-paced thrilling read and you are looking to be creeped out, I highly recommend it. It is Halloween, after all.

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Mallory’s thoughts:
I purposely avoided reviews for this book as I did not want to be spoiled in any way. I didn’t even let myself read the synopsis of the book because I did not want to know a single thing. I wish I would have so I could have mentally prepared myself a little bit. Total surprise.

I never expected this to be so brutally gory.

Sofia is the new girl in school. She finds a dead, skinned cat inside of a pentagram under the bleachers and when popular girl Riley tells her it was done by Brooklyn, Sofia believes her and befriends Brooklyn to spy on her for her new group of popular friends. Little does she know Riley, Grace and Alexis are extremely religious and plan to take things to the extreme to expel the “demon” inside of Brooklyn. Locked in a house, Sofia, Riley, Grace and Alexis perform an exorcism. One that turns torturous.

Sofia has no choice but to take part.

Let me just start out by saying I do not do well with gore, torture and blood whatsoever. I am the worlds biggest chicken with a very weak stomach, and I would say about 75% of this book was torture. At one point I had to throw away the broccoli and carrots that I was eating, I just couldn’t handle it. The writing is so descriptive it feels as though you are sitting in the basement watching these horrific events unfold right before your own eyes.

I give major props to Vega. The story was so enthralling that no matter how grossed out or freaked out I was, I still needed to know what happened next. I read this in two sittings.

It was a great book to read for the Halloween season and I definitely recommend it to all you horror fanatics.

3/5 stars from me.

MARIA’S HALLOWEEN COSTUME 2014

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So yeah, boyfriend and I went with the Avengers theme this year, me as the Black Widow and him as Captain America. It’s always super-hero related with him. This photo was taken at my Halloween party last weekend. Today, being actual Halloween, I am going to dress up for work, but after that i’m not sure what i’ll be doing. I miss trick-or-treating 😦 I might buy myself some treats and have a Halloween movie night when I finish work. Or I might continue on with the MARA DYER TRILOGY. BECAUSE ITS SO GOOD AND PERFECT FOR HALLOWEEN. (Look at that messy bookshelf in the background.)

What are you doing today for Halloween? What are you dressing up as? I’m curious 🙂 COMMENT BELOW!

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BOOK REVIEW: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK BY NEIL GAIMAN

2213661Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2008 by HarperCollins
312 pages
Source: Purchased
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
Bod Owens didn’t have the same upbringing as most children. The story begins with a retelling of the night of his parents murder. Bod had awaken to unsettling sounds coming from outside of his bedroom. Luckily, the boy had managed to climb out of his crib and escape his house before whoever it was had reached his bedroom. The killer, known as “the man Jack” throughout the novel, continues his search for the missing boy, for he is determined to finish his bloody job. That same night, Bod’s journey brings him inside of a graveyard, and there he meets a few very interesting ghosts. When Bod’s mother’s spirit appears, she asks the ghosts of the graveyard to take care of her son. They accept her offer and decide to raise him as their own. Bod receives “freedom of the graveyard” to protect him from the man Jack, whom will not rest until the child is dead.

I loved reading about Bod and watching him grow as a character. Always curious about both the real world and the ghost world, Bod was constantly asking questions and learning from his ghostly elders (and his mistakes). His adoptive parents were both caring and supportive, while his godfather was a good role model and friend. To be honest, I appreciated every single one of the characters that were brought to life in this story. Even the ghosts had felt very real, very alive, to me. The characters in The Graveyard Book were extremely well done. Each of them had a distinct personality and played an important part in the story. Gaimans characters blew me away, as they felt like they were going to step out of the pages at any given time.

Every chapter felt like a new adventure and each began with an illustration. I enjoyed that I was always learning about new characters, as well as learning more about the main characters, Bod and Jack. The pictures really added a certain oomph to the story and made it all the more original and fun to read.

I adored the descriptive writing style. Neil Gaiman painted a very detailed picture of The Graveyard Book in my mind. My reading experience was a lot like watching a movie. The story telling aspect was very memorable, appropriate for all ages and PERFECT for Halloween.

I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars and I definitely would recommend it! It really got me into the Halloween mood this year and i’m sure that I will be picking it up again in the future.

Mallory’s thoughts:
There is something about Neil Gaiman’s writing that brings me back to being a little girl, greedily devouring spooky stories about witches and monsters in the dark corners of my parents house. His writing and story telling ability is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but that I want to keep experiencing over and over again.

Bod Owens was just a tiny baby when his family was murdered. Luckily, Bod was able to escape his crib and made it out of the house before the killers got to him. He crawled his way down to the graveyard, where the ghosts there decided to raise and take care of him, and giving him the name Nobody Owens, or Bod for short. He is raised well with lots of love and protection from the killer who is still out there and wants to return to kill Bod and finish the job. He also gets constant education. They teach him how to do ghostly things like dream walking and fading, as well as educating him about the living world.

And in a world of only ghosts and roaming around a graveyard, what will Bod do when he meets Scarlett, a young girl visiting the graveyard? And what will happen when he finally comes face to face with the man that wants to end his life?

As I said before Neil Gaiman’s story telling is so extremely satisfying and perfect, and the artwork that accompanies the novel is absolutely brilliant and fits the theme so well. At times it felt like I myself was sitting in that graveyard with Bod, listening to the conversations between him and the ghosts. I get so drawn in to his stories that sometimes I forget his characters are not real people.

Bod was a great character to read about as we watch him grow not only in age but also through his developing personality. He was very curious and always wanting to learn more. For a young boy I found him so passionate. All around just a top notch protagonist to read about and follow through the story.

I’m sad that this isn’t a series. I would absolutely love to read more about Bod as he gets older.

This was my fourth Gaiman novel and it’s safe to say I now consider him one of my top favorite authors and I can’t wait to devour the rest of his work. I want to binge read the rest of them, but I am going to try and take them slow as I will be very sad the day I run out of his books to read.

An easy 5/5 star rating for me. This was perfect to read in the fall/Halloween time. A highly recommended novel that is suitable for all ages!

MALLORY’S WONDERFULLY WICKED READ-A-THON WRAP UP

readathonWell the read-a-thon finally came to an end yesterday and I must say, I am very happy with the amount I was able to read! All in all I finished six books (technically five and a half as I was already halfway through my first book). I’m not going to go into much detail since my October wrap up will be posted in a couple of days, so I’m just going to tell you the books and my star ratings.

1. Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter ★★★
2. Storm Siren by Mary Weber ★★★
3. Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan ★★★★★
4. The Death Cure by James Dashner ★★★★
5. Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz & Michael Johnston ★★★★
6. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan ★★★

I absolutely loved taking part in this read-a-thon and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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BOOK REVIEW: THE HOUSE OF LEAVES BY MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI

The house of leaves may intimidate you. It isn’t small and the fact that it is classified as a horror novel may frighten you. If you are willing to take the plunge, I assure you that this book will not disappoint.

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Title: The House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Published: March 7th 2000 by Random House
709 pages
Rating: ★★★★

The story itself isn’t very easy to explain. As a reader, you are following a few different perspectives, mainly Zampano’s manuscript and Johnny Truants thoughts. Both of which were equally as important and interesting throughout this book.

Johnny Truant is a young man who works in a tattoo shop and who’s biggest concern is getting a pretty girls attention. That is, until he discovers this book.

His best friend, Lude, lives in the same apartment building as Zampano. When Lude learns about the passing of his neighbour, he brings Johnny inside of Zampano’s home. There, Johnny is questioning the man who had once lived within those walls and comes across a mysterious trunk full of documents written by Zampano himself. Curious, Johnny takes this with him. When Johnny begins sorting through the strange pile of papers (leaves), he discovers that Zampano was writing a manuscript about a very strange short film: The Navidson Record. This horrifying documentary is about a family that had lived in a house unlike any other. The house on Ash Tree Lane was in fact bigger on the inside than on the outside. Don’t laugh. Hallways would appear unexpectedly and disappear just as fast. The depth and what lies within the hallways were also always changing without the slightest explanation. In The Navidson Record, Navidson and his team explore the hallways, with high hopes of finding answers.

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It is safe to say that the house had a mind of it’s own and could somehow read into the paranoid minds of the people who dared to explore it. The more you read, the more it becomes clear that the houses changes reflected the psychology of those inside.

Johnny soon becomes obsessed with the fascinating manuscript written by Zampano, and adds his own notes as he reads and analyses, desperately wanting to finish what Zampano had started. Through his notes, we can see how Johnny’s mental state changes because of the horror that is The Navidson Record.

But was there really ever a film titled, The Navidson Record? This still puzzles me.

The book is a maze. While reading it, you will be turning it every which way. Sometimes starting from the bottom, sometimes from the side. You will even go as far as flipping your book upside down to grasp and comprehend as much as you possibly can. The format makes for a very original, unforgettable read. The style really impacts the storytelling and makes The House of Leaves realistic and frightening. It is like having the original manuscript by Zampano in your very own hands.

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It will mess with your mind.

Reading about the manuscript and how it had affected Johnny, and feeling as if you are holding that terrifying manuscript, is more than enough to take over your thoughts. Even after finishing, you will have questions. Questions that may never get answered. Questions that may always haunt you. There really isn’t an end to The House of Leaves.

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It’s complicated.

I find it impossible to read The House of Leaves one single time and feel as if you know everything. There is so much information, that it is easy to miss out on small details that may answer your future questions. The book is packed with references, poems, pictures, side notes, symbols and clues. I tried my best to apprehend as much as i could, although it really is difficult to analyse this story as you read it for the first time. Therefore, I plan on reading this monstrous book for a second time someday in the future.

It’s not so much a horror novel. Yes it scared me. It took over my life until I had finished the entire 709 pages. I couldn’t think of anything else as I sat alone in my quiet apartment, let alone sleep. However, it is much more than just horror. It has romance. It has suspense. It has mystery. It has psychology. It has almost everything and it brings readers to really participate in this story more than I believe any other book can.

Feel free to search through the forums on The House of Leaves official website if you have already read this book. I, however, had tried to do so and ended up with an even bigger headache than when I had first finished this book. I am going to give myself some time before re-reading and trying to decode this mind-blowing piece of literature.

All in all, I really enjoyed The House of Leaves, perhaps more than I ever thought that I would. It is still just so frigging fascinating to me. What is real? What is fiction? What if my hallway turns into this? What if I end up like Johnny? I have developed a great appreciation for the complex work of Mark Z. Danielewski and I highly highly highly recommend giving The House of Leaves a try.
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MARIA’S WONDERFULLY WICKED READ-A-THON WRAP-UP

readathonAs you may know, Mallory and I had participated in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon hosted by Bex at Kindle Fever and April at My Shelf Confessions. It had started on October 17th and finished on October 27th. It has been a busy week, but I am happy with the books that I had managed to finish. Below are the books that I had completed, my rating and mini review.

Total of books finished: 4

Page count: 808 pages

Favorite book: The Merciless by Danielle Vega

1. Soppy : A Love Story by Phillipa Rice (provided by Netgalley) ★★★★★

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Soppy is an adorable collection of illustrations based on Philippa Rice’s relationship with her boyfriend. I loved this so much because it was so realistic. You can relate to the characters. The comics make you realize that in a relationship, it is really important to appreciate the little things. I recommend this to those who enjoy a cute romance – give this graphic novel a try! Well worth the read!

2. The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski ★★★★

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This was the biggest and most intimidating book on my October TBR. I had started it before the read-a-thon began, but I am so proud to have finished it. This book is told in two main parts. The first tells the story of Johnny Truant, a young man working in a tattoo shop. The second part is the manuscript that Johnny had found. A manuscript that has the power to mess with your mind. I will review this book in more detail in an upcoming blogpost. For now, all I will say is that I had become almost as obsessed as Johnny had with the House of Leaves. While reading this book, it was extremely hard to think of anything else. Unlike anything I have ever read (or even heard of), I really enjoyed this complex piece of literature and plan on re-reading it someday in the future.

3. Ed Undead: The Chronicles of a Teenage Zombie by Edward Kent (provided by Netgalley) ★★★

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Ed is on his own. When the zombies took over, he had lost everything: his parents, his schoolmates, the girl he loved… And he too had caught the disease. But why wasn’t he turning into a full fledged zombie? This book follows Ed’s journey, as he does his best to survive in such a messed up world and meets up with people along the way. I really did enjoy this book. It was a light, fun, halloween read. If you like to read about zombies, you should give this one a try!

4. The Merciless by Danielle Vega ★★★★★

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This is the story of some very messed up girls. Don’t take that lightly. When Sofia moves to a new town and starts a new school, she becomes friends with the “popular girls” (yes, just like our beloved movie “mean girls”) but she also becomes friends with the “weird girl”, Brooklyn. I don’t want to give too much away. It really is better not knowing. Just know that when you start this, you will not want to put it down – no matter how scary or gross it gets. I couldn’t sleep after finishing!

Comment below to let me know what you accomplished during this read-a-thon and your thoughts on these wonderful books 🙂

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COVER REVEAL: THE HEIR BY KIERA CASS

Yesterday the cover for The Heir was finally released, and can we just take a minute to admire how beautiful it is?

22918050This is the fourth book in The Selection series and it sounds like it is going to be just as awesome as the other three! Looking forward to continuing on with this series!

Have you read this series?

Let us know what you thought of it!