Book Review- Wait Till Helen Comes

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Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by Harper Collins on November 2, 1986
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 184
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Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

Wait Till Helen Comes is spooky, haunting, and an all around amazing ghost story.

I love the complexity of this novel. It is so short and easy to read, yet there is so much emotion packed into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it would give away too much of the plot, but the way the plot progresses and changes is amazing. Every scene is important and interesting, and I love how the tensions between the characters change and shift as the novel moves forward.

The protagonist, Molly, and is only 12, and is the oldest of the three kids, so this book does feel a little young. I remember reading it for the first time when I was 8 or 9 and loving it. So it’s not necessarily a book aimed for older teens or adults. But, reading it now, I found myself enjoying it just as much, even though I remembered what happened.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good ghost story. This one is timeless.

I am going to give Wait Till Helen Comes five out of five hearts.

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Book Review- Haunting the Deep

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Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather
Expected publication by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 3rd, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 368
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Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

After being surprised by how much I liked How to Hang a Witch (read my review here), I jumped at the chance to receive this book from a fellow blogger. I was excited to dive back into the magically spooky world of Salem, and join Sam and her friends on their next adventure.
I was not disappointed.

This books picks up 6 months after the first book ends. Sam is dealing with the fallout of the events (which I will not spoil, incase you haven’t read the first book yet… which you totally should), and staying as far away from the descendants, and magic, as she can. Then she starts seeing spirits again. Spirits from the Titanic.

The mystery of this book kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, and honestly it was so exciting! I read this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next!

I also loved how much more developed the characters seemed in this book than the first one. One of the biggest problems I had with How to Hang a Witch was how all of the characters felt like children… even the adults. In this one, although I got glimpses of that same problem, the characters felt much more mature and true to who they were supposed to be. It was easier for me to get lost in the story because the inconsistencies were almost gone.

I loved the feeling of this book too. It was easy to read and light, but at the same time it was so full of emotion and excitement and mystery and intrigue.
I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good spooky story. Both books are great reads!

I am going to give Haunting the Deep four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- How To Hang A Witch

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How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 26 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 358
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Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

After a bit of a rocky start, I actually really enjoyed this book. It had the perfect mix of magic and mystery, complete with a ghost side kick and some witchy bit… sorry, “friends”.

Sam has no idea why the so-called “descendants” hate her, even if she is a descendant of Cotton Mather. Honestly, when I first started the book and got to this part, I was ready to give up and call it a day. I mean, come on. The Descendants?

But I decided to stick with it and I am really glad I did. Despite their cringe-worthy group name, and Sam’s cringe-worthy ability to make a fool out of herself at every turn (which by the way is a very annoying trope), How To Hang a Witch was actually a kind of amazing book.

I loved the witch lore and history of the Salem Witch Trials. I loved Elijah the ghost, and I even ended up loving the descendants. Sam, too, became a much more interesting character as the book went on… mostly due to some amazing character development and less of the lets-make-Sam-super-clumsy-in-order-to-move-the-plot-along.

The ending of this book was actually a total surprise, and I loved it. Honestly, after I got past the first quarter or so of the book, I could barely put the book down. Even the weird love-v-thing between Sam, Elijah, and Jaxon (who has no idea that Elijah even exists) doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Yes, I didn’t LOVE Jaxon (totally team Elijah on this one), but he still had some endearing qualities, and by the end I found myself quite liking him, thank you very much.

Sam’s narration had a very young voice, but considering she is 15 in the book, it makes sense. It got on my nerves a little at the beginning of the book, but the more I read, the more I appreciated it… kind of like everything else in the book.

So I know this review focuses more on what I didn’t like about the book, but let me just say that How To Hang A Witch was actually kind of amazing. I am definitely going to be getting the sequel, Haunting the Deep. I would recommend this book to people who love supernatural things (especially witches!!), young adult mysteries, or are just looking for an quick, intriguing read.

I am going to give How To Hang A Witch four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Fallen

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Fallen by Lauren Kate
Published by Delacorte Press on December 8 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 452
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What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

The prologue was the best part of Fallen. Honestly, the rest of the book was a painfully drawn out version of those first few pages with a different ending.

I barely finished this book. When I first started it, I was excited by the prologue. It was dark and sexy and made me think that this book was going to be awesome. I WAS SO WRONG. SO WRONG.

Honestly Luce annoyed me. Daniel annoyed me. Cam annoyed me. EVERYONE annoyed me. They were all just annoying characters. They were flat and boring and didn’t make me interested in them AT ALL. It was like trying to care about the romantic life of a mosquito. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

When Luce wasn’t ogling over Daniel, Cam, or both at the same time (which happened quite frequently) she was crying about something. About what you may ask? I have no idea because usually it didn’t really matter to the plot in the long run.

The whole romance aspect of the book was cringe worthy. It wasn’t cute or sexy or anything. It was just painful. There was no spark between any of the characters except what was said out loud… and even that was painful to read. I just couldn’t get on board with it.

Also, although there were moments thrown into the book that were meant to be shocking, they ended up just being kind of boring and didn’t have the surprise factor that they were meant to. This book was just a flop for me. Needless to say, I won’t be reading the next one.

I am going to give Fallen one out of five hearts. 

Book Review- Unraveling

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Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Published by Balzar + Bray on April 24, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 464
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Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died… and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

Unraveling is a mind twister. It is fast paced and is amazingly complex and completely understandable at the same time. The book defiantly kept me on the edge of my seat, and it was impossible to guess what was going to happen next!

I love Janelle. Honestly she is one of the most badass female characters out there. She doesn’t have any special skills or powers, but she is brave and selfless and willing to break the rules if it means keeping those she loves safe.

As for the romance in the book, I really like how it is written. This definitely is not one of those books where the romance takes over the whole plot. Instead, it feels natural and just right. And I love Ben. Definitely fictional BF material!

Another thing I love about Unraveling is how it kept me guessing. I did not see anything coming and my heart was shattered and pieced back together and then shattered again… and then the pieces were shattered. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster!

Unraveling is definitely one of my favorite books, and I recommend it to anyone who loves young adult, sci-fi, mystery, and paranormal books. It’s a good one, guys.

I am giving Unraveling five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Don’t Even Think About It

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Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Delacorte Press on March 11, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 317
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We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming.

Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

Don’t Even Think About It is a cute book, there is no getting around that one. It is written in a first person plural tense, which is really unique. It’s like one big collective mind split into different bodies, but telling the story as one person. So, for example, instead of using “I”, it uses “we”.

The story itself is pretty interesting. It follows classroom 10B as they get ESP powers and can read minds. A lot of secrets are brought out and there is definitely a lot of drama. But its not the kind of drama that made me want to roll my eyes and put the book down… it was the kind of drama that made me laugh a little and really want to find out what was going to happen next.

As I said earlier, the book is written in a first person plural… the plural being the 22 students of 10B that got ESP. However, each of the characters is still unique, which made for a great read. There were the students that I loved (hi Olivia and Cooper!), those that made me laugh (BJ), those that I kind of sort of hated (*ahem* Courtney and Pi), and those that I don’t even remember the names of because they aren’t that important to the story.

I really did enjoy reading Don’t Even Think About It, but it wasn’t my favorite book in the world. I feel like there could have been more to the story. That being said, I still want to read the second one to find out what happens next!

I am going to give Don’t Even Think About It four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Girl of Nightmares

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Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on August 7, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 332
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It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Kendare Blake has done it again. Girl of Nightmares picks up six months after Anna Dressed in Blood ends, and immediately launches into the ghost hunting world of Cas, Thomas, and Caramel. Only Cas keeps seeing Anna everywhere.

One reason I love Girl of Nightmares is that it feels like a real continuation of the story. I didn’t need to “get back into it” like I need to with other series. The second I started reading it, it felt like I was in familiar territories. It gradually eased into the new plot line in a natural progression.

I also loved the development of the characters. Cas changed so much (in a good way, I might add) in the first book, and his character continues to develop in the second. He’s not perfect, but he is determined and loyal and not afraid to do what he believes is right. Thomas and Caramel also continue to grow, and although they both change in surprising ways, it is all for the best.

Girl of Nightmares is one of those books where you get to the last few pages and say to yourself: “There is no way all of this is going to be tied up in this many words”. Only it is. And the ending is beautiful (although certainly not what I expected). Although I have to admit that I wish there was a third book. I’m not ready to leave Cas and his friends quite yet.

Girl of Nightmares gets five out of five hearts from me!

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