Spoiler-Free Review: The Gathering (Shadow House #1) by Dan Poblocki
The Gathering (Shadow House #1) by Dan Poblocki
Date Started: 30/7/2017
Date Finished: 30/7/2017
Synopsis: Some houses are more than just haunted... they're hungry.
Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House.
Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear.
And the way out?
That's disappeared, too...
Enter Shadow House... if you dare.
I was gifted this book back in October for my birthday and I was planning to read it around Halloween, but that didn't end up happening. However, I ended up participating in Booktubeathon this year and seeing as it's quite a short book, I decided it would be the perfect time to read it.
I included the synopsis above, but basically the book features 5 children (3 boys and 2 girls) and they've all been invited to Shadow House for different reasons. They arrive in stages and find out it's nothing like they thought. Strange things happen and they end up having to work together to figure it all out.
I didn't actually know too much about this before going in to it, other than having already heard great things and the fact that it was going to be a creepy read. I don't think I've ever read a horror book, but I thought I'd give this a try as it is a children's (middle-grade)/Young Adult book so it'd be a bit less scary and full on.
I was happily surprised by The Gathering and how much detail there was to the plot. There was a lot more to it than I expected and I liked that there were important little details added in to do with both the characters and the plot.
Dotted throughout the story there are some creepy black and white photographs that relate to what's happening. I liked the detail of that and it helped to break the story up.
Even though the book was around 200 (ish) pages, you did really get a feel for the characters and they were easy to relate and care to/for. It was interesting to be able to see that they all wanted different things and those things were mainly what they were promised would be at Shadow House for them (music school, a family members' house, help, a TV Set etc)
I did managed to read it pretty quick as it was easy to get into and there never really was a calm moment, so I just couldn't put the book down. Many of the scenes had me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed the suspense of it all.
The one thing that did let the book down for me was the ending. I felt it was all a bit rushed and I found myself getting quite confused during the last couple of chapters.
Overall, I found it to be a fun read, especially as it's something I wouldn't normally pick up. I might end up picking up the sequel at some point to find out where everything will go.
Rate - 3/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28691933-the-gathering?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Shadow-House-The-Gathering-Dan-Poblocki/9780545925501?ref=grid-view&qid=1502462011752&sr=1-1
Spoiler-Free Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Date Started: 26/7/2017
Date Finished: 27/7/2017
Synopsis: Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
I'm going to be quite honest and say that when I picked this up, I didn't actually know a thing about it. I only brought it as Tesco was doing a special edition for quite a good price (and I just loved the cover anyway) and also the fact that it was getting hyped by everyone everywhere. Oh, and I knew that it had something to do with a circus because of the circus tent on the cover. As you can see it doesn't really take much for me to buy a book.
I have included the synopsis above, but basically the book features two sisters, Scarlett and Tella Dragna. They live on a small island with their abusive father, who is quite a powerful man. Ever since they were children, Scarlett and Tella have been obsessed with Caraval and the master of it all, Legend. Scarlett wrote many letters as a child to Legend, begging him to come to their island and invite Scarlett and Tella to Caraval.
Both sisters are older now and Scarlett (the more sensible sister) is having an arranged marriage to some Count, that her father is hiding information about from her. One day Scarlett gets a response from the Count with three tickets to Caraval; one each for Tella and Scarlett as well as the Count. However, in order to go to Caraval they need to escape the island and they need to do it without their father knowing. From then on, the adventure begins.
One thing I want to say about this book is just how complex it is. I can't really get my head around how someone can think of all the small details and crossovers that are in this book and put it all together and make it make sense. It was full of twists and turns and I ended up really loving it.
It starts off quite vague and you sort of have to keep reading and piece it all together. Though, some bits are a bit too vague and there are details you don't get to know (mainly surrounding the world they live in) which are just covered up with descriptions. I'm hoping that in the sequel we get to see a bit more world-building, as I would really love to find out more.
The sisters are different, Tella is much more outgoing and doesn't want to let anything stop her meanwhile Scarlett obeys the rules and will do anything to prevent her father beating them. The contrast is more noticeable at other points in the story and you get to see how they react in different situations and that they really are quite different. Though one thing between the two of them that is common is their love for each other and how they will do anything to protect each other and we see this at the start when the father loses his temper.
The event Caraval was a lot different to what I was expecting. I thought it was just going to be like a circus, meanwhile it's a lot more complex. There are rules repeated throughout and it works more like a competition. One thing that is repeated throughout is that You must remember that it's all a game. Seems like a simple thing but the importance this rule brings later on in the story is huge and you need to remember it while you read. Another thing that is repeated a lot is how people need to watch out and not get swept away into the world of Caraval as it's enough to drive people crazy as it has done in the past.
It was easy to relate to the characters, especially Scarlett and as I carried on reading I realised that I was starting to really care for her and just wanted everything to work out right.
As I said above, there are many twists and turns throughout this book. During many scenes (especially towards the end) I was sat on the edge of my seat and whizzing through the pages like my life depended on it. Some of the surprises I expected. but there was many other bigger ones that I didn't expect.
One of the things that did let the book down for me was the build up towards the ending. I felt it was a bit rushed and I got quite confused. I managed to sort everything out eventually, but then I didn't really understand how certain people reacted the way that they did to the ending (trying not to spoil) and it was like nothing had happened. That probably didn't make any sense, but I'm trying not to spoil people. If you've read it you might be able to figure out what I meant(?).
Overall, I did really enjoy Caraval and getting sucked into such a different and complex world. I'm really looking forward to finding out where the story goes in the sequel and I'm also hoping for a bit more world-building as well as other details.
Rate - 4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27883214-caraval?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/Caraval/9781473629141
Mini-Review: The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour (Potion #2) by Amy Alward
*REVIEW WRITTEN IN DECEMBER 2016*
I read The Potion Diaries: The Royal Tour by Amy Alward right at the start of December as I was in a mood to catch up a bit on series, so I decided to knock this sequel off my TBR by finally reading it and I'm super glad that I did.
This is the sequel to The Potion Diaries, so if you haven't read that then you might want to click off this review as there might be spoilers from the first book in this review.
Anyway, now that I've talked about that, let's get into my small review of The Potion Diaries: The Royal Tour...
Title - The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour (Potion #2)
Author - Amy Alward
Genre (s) - YA, Fantasy
Date Started - 1/12/2016
Date Finished - 11/12/2016
Synopsis: Stolen memories, a lost diary and a race against time...
Having saved Princess Evelyn (and become her new BFF) Sam must accompany Evelyn on a world tour, so she can keep the princess (and everyone around her) safe with a power-binding potion. But Sam also has another reason to scour the globe. Someone has tampered with her grandad's mind, and Sam is the only one who can unlock his memories to save him and the family business. And that's not all that's at stake. The stolen memories contain the recipe to a potion which many would kill to get hold of. With the post powerful people in the world desperate for the recipe, Sam must save her grandad in order to save everyone else...
At the end of The Potion Diaries, we know that Sam has saved Princess Evelyn by finding a cure against a love potion. This book starts off after that has happened and does talk a lot about how Sam's life has changed since and how she's coping with these changes to her life. Throughout the book you see pages from a website that features rumours/theories about events surrounding Princess Evelyn and stuff going on in the community of alchemy. Sam features a lot on this website since her popularity has increased after curing Evelyn and the website follows what's going on in the book and what other people suspect is going on.
In this sequel you do find a bit more out about characters that were mentioned in the first book and how they play a part in the events now happening. Some of the characters that feature once again in this sequel are Zain, Emelia Thoth, and lots more. The sequel also features more about Sam's Great-Grandmother Cleo and her lost diary as they attempt to find it.
This sequel is just as quick-paced and exciting as the first and constantly keeps you wondering what's going to happen next. It's full of twists and turns, which just add to the excitement of the story. There's more adventure in this book as well and some old faces do appear to join in and help as well as new ones.
I loved this book just as much as the first if not a bit more. Everything about it was great, but the cliffhanger ending. UGH! I need the next book! Basically, if you enjoyed the first book, you'll love this one as well. Also, if you haven't yet picked up this series, I fully suggest that you do!
The one thing that caused me to lower the rating was that I did find some things a bit slow leading into the story, but once you get a certain amount through it does get a lot better. Nonetheless, this is a brilliant sequel!
Rate - 4-4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26065653-royal-tour?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Potion-Diaries--Royal-Tour/9781471143588
Cover Reveal: Addicted (Dark Road Series #1) by Krys Fenner
I'm really excited to be able to show you today, the cover for Addicted by Krys Fenner. The cover has been designed by We Got You Covered and I do have to say that I really love it! Anyway, without further ado here's the cover (+more)!
by Krys Fenner
(Dark Road Series, #1)
Publishing: September 29th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:Sixteen-year-old Bella Kynaston has been the victim of a brutal rape, by someone she can only describe as ‘the scar-faced man.’ With little recollection of what happened, she must somehow rebuild her life. Being the person she once was proves more difficult than she imagined.
To complicate matters, Bella has just met Jeremiah Detrone, the new guy in school. He’s attractive, funny, and smart. All things she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. Too bad she’s conflicted over so many unexpected emotions. Without realizing it, she falls down a rabbit hole and begins walking a dangerous line between addiction and self-preservation.
As Bella works together with the police to bring her attackers to justice, will she be able to see it through to the end? And even if she does, will it only bring her more pain and misery? Or will she find an anchor in Jeremiah and figure out how to move forward?
Krys Fenner has been infinitely passionate about writing and helping people for as long as she can remember. To date, she has published two books, numerous poems, and is now avidly working on a fantasy series. Krys received an Associate of Arts in Psychology and is currently working on her B.A.
To find out more about Krys Fenner and her upcoming book releases, visit her official website: www.krysfenner.co
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