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.

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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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WWW WEDNESDAYS (#1)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should be Reading

To play along just answer the following three questions
What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m currently halfway through The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (click here to find it on Goodreads) and I am loving it. I’m reading this one with Maria and you can expect a review coming soon. I recently finished The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (click here to find it on Goodreads). I read this for book club and I liked it. And next up my most anticipated of the month The Merciless by Danielle Vega (click here to find it on Goodreads). This one was sent to me by Maria and I cannot wait to read and discuss this one with her!

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FAVORITE COVERS: PINK

Today was the CIBC Run For The Cure which is a very special day for me. My grandmother was taken way too early from Breast Cancer. I always love to raise awareness on this day so today I put on my bright pink pants and went out for a 5k run.
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And I also decided to show you guys my favorite pink covers! So here they are.
2014-10-05 17.33.17(Top row, left to right)
Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland. This is in the Color Your Library collection from Chapters.
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood.
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis.
(Bottom row, left to right)
Sweet Valley High (bind up of the first three in the series) by Francine Pascal.
Thanks For the Memories by Cecilia Ahern.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.
The Merciless by Danielle Vega.
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Let me know what your favorite pink covers are.

Mallory

MALLORY’S SEPTEMBER WRAP UP + OCTOBER TBR

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I’m having a hard time believing it is my favorite time of year already. Where has this year gone? October is my absolute favorite, with the beautiful colors, the gorgeous weather, the yummy pumpkin treats and Halloween, what’s not to love?

September was probably my worst month of reading so far this year. I only ended up reading eight books when I usually try to get in the double digits. So here are the books I read in September.

1. Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout ★★★
Not my favorite of the series but I am still loving every minute of these books. I will be very sad for the series to end. I am waiting to finish this series to do a full series review.

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ★★★★★
Absolutely adored this book. Do not be fooled by the plot, this one has some pretty heavy content in it. Full review to come this month.

3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ★★★★★
An absolute fabulous way to end out the series. I will forever love Stephanie Perkins and I hope she starts working on new books right away. Can’t get enough of her writing.

4. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica ★★★★
My book clubs choice for the month. I was very intrigued with this one and was blown away by the ending. A great thriller thrown in between the contemporary I was reading.

5. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp ★★★★
Not what I was expecting at all but still enjoyable. We did a group discussion on this one and you can find our thoughts here: https://readsbymandm.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/book-discussion-the-spectacular-now-by-tim-tharp/

6. Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter ★★★
One of my monthly reads with Maria. We are still making our way through this series and we will have a full review of this one to come.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry ★★★★
Another one of my reads with Maria. We have already reviewed this one and you can find that right here: https://readsbymandm.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/book-review-the-giver-by-lois-lowry/

8. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman ★★★
Definitely not what I was expecting. As a dragon lover I had a hard time learning to love these dragons. But I have a full review of this one coming up next week and will let you know more of my thoughts then.

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I’ve got a lot on my plate for October. We have received quite a few books for review, Maria and I have a ton of books to read together and I have lots of Halloween and horror posts planned for this month. So I’m going to try and not let myself get overwhelmed with all that. So here are the books I plan to read in October.

1. The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer. Currently reading this one and am halfway through.
2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Reading with Maria.
3. The Merciless by Danielle Vega. Reading with Maria.
4. Chosen at Nightfall by C.C. Hunter. Reading with Maria.
5. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Reading with Maria, Marissa and Mackenzie.
6. Storm Siren by Mary Weber. Received from Netgalley and will be reviewing with Maria.
7. The Swallow by Charis Cotter. Received from Netgalley and will be reviewing with Maria.
8. When War Calls by Zy J. Rykoa. Making my way through this one and will be reviewing with Maria.
9. Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston. Received from Netgalley and will be reviewing with Maria.
10. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. My book clubs choice of the month.
11. Horns by Joe Hill. Was on my list last month but didn’t have time to get to it.

As you can see the two of us will have our hands full this month. But you can expect our blog to be very busy this month.

Hope you all have a great month of reading!

Mallory