Fri, September 26, 2014

Rooms by Lauren Oliver Review

Rooms book cover

Rooms book cover

By Lauren Oliver
Publication date: Sept. 23, 2014
Ecco, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition ofThe Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

What! A review of an adult novel on Anna Reads?! WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE!

I know. BUT…it’s Lauren Oliver so I knew you guys would be interested. Rooms is her first adult book and I was pumped to get to read it early.

I’ll be honest: It’s not my typical type of book. Beyond the fact that it’s adult, it’s quiet and has multiple narrators — two elements of books that tend to trip me up. So it was slow going for me.

But those of you who are big Lauren fans, fan of complicated characters and, moreover, fans of literary fiction will want to check this out. Oliver’s writing, as always, is lovely, as is the concept that there is history and life and secrets and character within the rooms of a house.

I dog-earred a few passages that I thought capture the spirit (ha-ha, see what I did there? The house is haunted) of the story:

People, Caroline though, were like houses. They could open their doors. You could walk through their rooms and touch the objects hidden in their corners. But something–the structure, the wiring, the invisible mechanism that kept the whole thing standing–remained invisible, suggested only by the fact of its existing at all.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Lauren Oliver

About Lauren Oliver:

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren’s first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at

Purchase ROOMS here
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Visit Lauren’s Website

Posted by: Anna   •   In: adult books, family, ghosts, lauren oliver

Thu, March 28, 2013

Darkhouse by Karina Halle Review

Darkhouse book cover

Darkhouse book cover

By Karina Halle
Publication date: March 10, 2012
Metal Blonde Books, 346 pages
Source: Purchased for my Kindle

With all the vampire, werewolf and faerie books out there, it’s easy to become numb to all things supernatural. The antidote? Darkhouse introduces two real and unforgettable characters, Perry Palomino & Dex Foray, amateur ghost hunters who are “attractive, relatable and oddly heroic,” “flawed but loveable,” “slightly crazy” and just the most endearing pair to ever tackle the paranormal…just don’t call them normal.

Darkhouse is a thrilling and sexy new take on concepts like Supernatural and The X-Files, bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been inundated with the dead.

***Darkhouse and the Experiment in Terror series is a horror/romance for mature audiences only. Readers who are easily offended by harsh language should think twice about reading it.***

— description

Guys, I’m torn. And befuddled. So here’s what’s up:

I liked the horror/ghost story aspects of Darkhouse by Karina Halle. It is legit scary.

And I truly enjoyed the main character. She has the slight edge where we aren’t quite sure if she’s mentally ill, if she cares or doesn’t care, if we like her or dislike her.

But I read a lot of rave reviews of this one that made it seem, like, HOTT. Yeah, “hot” with two Ts, so you know it’s SERIOUS. Only…I did not get that AT ALL.

I think if I hadn’t been waiting for the sexytimes/romance to kick in, I might have enjoyed the suspense and scariness of the story a bit more.

Here’s my question: Is it just me? Or does more of this come later in the series? Do I need to keep reading it? All thoughts welcome! Has anyone ever had this happen: Where maybe reading too many of reviews skewed your reading experience? I mean…err…not that reading reviews is bad. KEEP READING MY BLOG PRETTY PLEASE. But you know what I mean, right?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: ghosts, horror, karina halle, paranormal, Uncategorized

Fri, May 18, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake Book Review

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake book cover

Anna Dressed in Blood
By Kendare Blake

Publication date: Aug. 30, 2011
Tor Teen, 316 pages
Source: Borrowed from Melanie

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

— description

Can I get a what what for Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake for being one of the first horror stories I’ve ever remotely enjoyed?

Horror is really not my thing — in books or in movies — but this was a pretty solid read. It wasn’t my favorite (just because I prefer looooove to murder), but I was really proud of myself for getting into Anna Dressed in Blood as much as I did.

I think a lot of what appealed to me is the originality — I mean, I love forbidden love stories, but a boy falling in love with a dead, murderous ghost certainly takes it to another level, doesn’t it?

At the end of the book, I just sat there like “huh.” Not like, “HUH!? WHAT HAPPENED?” But more like “huh” that left me thinking. Which leads to my most urgent question: Is there going to be a sequel from Kendare Blake? There sort of has to be, right?!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: death, ghosts, kendare blake

Wed, November 2, 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire Review

By Myra McEntire

June 14, 2011
EgmontUSA, 400 pages
Source: Library

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

— description

If you were to ask my mom, “What type of book do you like?” she’d probably say “anything with romance and time travel.” The woman loves her some time travel books. So when I saw what Hourglass was about, I was like, “Hey! Maybe it’s genetic, and this book is the book for me.”

Was it? Hmm. Hard to say. I think I’d prefer a classic time travel book about someone who travels back to a historic time period or into the future. Traveling back in time to six months ago just wasn’t as thrilling for me.

Still, Hourglass was an intriguing book that I had no problem getting through. Those more interested in the theories and morals behind travel (as opposed to the historic aspect) might find it more appealing.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: ghosts, myra mcentire, time travel

Mon, October 17, 2011

Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson Review

”NameName of the Star
By Maureen Johnson

Sept. 20, 2011
Putnam Juvenile, 384 pages
Source: Heidi gave me an extra review copy because she rocks

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police now believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

— description

Need a good book for Halloween? Well, good thing you stopped by, because I HAVE THE BOOK FOR YOU.

To start, let me say that Name of the Star is my favorite Maureen Johnson book yet. Didn’t “get” the MJ craze after reading Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and its sequel? Try this. For serious.

It’s got four elements I know a lot of you love:

1) Boarding school
2) British boys
3) Ghosty things
4) Based on historical events

And it had JUST enough romance to satisfy those who cannot go without it (like me).
The thriller was done so, so well. The constant threat of murder and tension made me feel all like “BOO! THE GHOSTIES ARE GONNA GET YOU!” at all times. Which is the sort of fright you need at least once this time of year, right? This book is definitely worth checking out.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: ghosts, maureen johnson, paranormal, thriller