About Me

bellbookandcandle. Powered by Blogger.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: "H2O" (The Rain #1) by Virgina Bergin


It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.

They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

I feel like I was bamboozled! Led astray! Hoodwinked! This book was supposed to be spectacular! It's an apocalyptic world with killer rain! How could you go wrong with that! Obviously a lot because I seriously had to force myself to finish the book, and even then I was really only skimming the last half. What a waste of a perfectly good book cover...

The plot and ending isn't difficult to guess; I mean, you already know everyone is going to die, so there's no real mystery to it. Which kind of sucks about the premise because there isn't much to write about.
The main character, Ruby, made me want to give her some serious side eye action-- she was just too superficial. I'm still trying to figure out why she is worried about her hair and makeup? Or why she is concerned about cute guys or her female competition? Honey, you have much bigger problems to worry about like, oh I don't know, the people rapidly dying around you! I would be more worried about the safety of my loved ones and how I'm going to survive without water, but hey, that's just me.
Speaking of which, how would one prepare for an apocalypse involving killer rain? I haven't a clue,
but I do have an awesome, kick** survival plan for a zombie apocalypse!
While reading this book, I was insanely thirsty: I downed a whole bottle of Arizona Green Tea in two minutes! Anyways, This book is nothing to write home about, unless you see killer rain happening anytime soon-- which in that case, let me know. Otherwise, this book is a massive snoozefest.

336 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire

Rating:  🔔 🔔

Recommend?  Nope. Nada.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: "My Last Kiss" by Bethany Neal


What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
I swear, this should be a cautionary tale for those who cheat--- right beside Fatal Attraction. This is another book I randomly came upon while up to no good with my friend in Barnes and Noble. Don't ask; don't tell. I must've skimmed the synopsis on back, because if I had realized how much of a tear-jerker was I might not have bought it. I hate (in a good way) books that make me cry.
This was quite the emotional rollercoaster of a book. I'm not going to lie, I was in tears. The mystery of Cassidy's, the protagonist, death was indeed puzzling. As I have said before, I am very good at guessing how a book/movie will end, but I didn't see that ending coming--- and I guessed at least 50 times. I'm not pulling you guys' leg, either. The mystery was off the charts, and there was a bit of suspense thrown in  there as well. The best and my most favorite part was...*drum roll*... the characters.
I'm a character driven person; characters and how they are written or developed can make or break a book for me. The depth and development of these characters was off the charts. You will discover that there is  more than meets the eye and nothing is what it seems with each one of them. I loved the flaws Cassidy had, in which you realize she is just as flawed as the rest of us. And Ethan...Oh my goodness, it was both endearing and heartbreaking seeing the connection  he and Cassidy possessed, especially since they didn't exactly get the "HEA" we readers love to see.
The pain you see everyone going through in response to Cassidy's death broke my heart. I couldn't imagine how my mom would feel. Or Cassidy-- living in limbo like she was is a major drag. It also goes to show that not all "friends" are your real friends. You have to be careful with backstabbers---literally and figuratively. None the less, this was a great story and the ending was beautiful. However, I'm still trying to figure out if the people responsible for Cassidy's death are going to jail; it wasn't exactly clear. And it was slow torture watching Cassidy make her mistakes that would inevitably lead to her death. What a shame. But on the bright side...at least there weren't any boiled bunnies anywhere. See, there IS a silver lining!
358 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rating: 🔔 🔔 🔔 🔔

Recommend?   Yeah. But have a box of tissues nearby.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: "Soulless" (Death Warden #1) by Amber Garr


When it comes to death and love…only one is guaranteed.

Four decades ago Nora died. A tragic event for someone so young; however, four decades ago Nora was also given a second chance to walk among the living.

A Death Warden with a mysterious past, her job is to escort the newly expired towards the light, battling with the Soul Hunters who want the freshly dead to help with their own evil purposes buried in the dark.

When Nora’s charges suddenly become targets, she realizes that the hunters are after far more than just souls. A shift in power between good and evil threatens to change everything, risking the lives of the only family Nora has ever known.

Devastated and angry, she’s forced to face the man she once loved - a man who chose darkness over her - in order to find the answers she needs to stop the horror from escalating. Yet, while a lost relationship still haunts her broken heart, a new Warden with secrets of his own will enter the mix and quickly alter everything Nora believed to be true.

Death is unavoidable…but sometimes, so is love.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:

I have no idea what it is about the afterlife that interests me: perhaps the idea of the unknown? Although I'm not that interested in finding out anytime soon lol. But seriously, I am liking the twist Ms Garr puts on her idea of the afterlife...it makes for a very interesting plot.
I just loved the so called "competition" between the Hunters and Wardens for souls. But not as much as Nora, our heroine, and Theron, the maybe antagonist, being on opposing sides! Especially with the two being former lovers; where else can you get drama this juicy? As I was saying, the rivalry almost seems better; at least you can decide to enter Heaven or Hell rather than the choice being taken from you (that's never fun).

The characters were alright: not extraordinary, but not horrible either. Charles was my favorite, though. He has the perfect timing for humor. Nora was a bit annoying when it came to Theron. I mean, he's the bad guy for the moment, so why are you meeting with him secretly? I get that she was with Theron for twenty-plus years, but your with Jason now, so stop stringing him along. Then again, I might do the same thing if I were in her shoes. Jason was adorable from the very first time he spoke with his southern twang. He and Nora are ridiculously cute!
My biggest complaint would be the length of this book: it's way too short. I wanted to see more of the plot and its development. It felt a bit too rushed for my liking. Also, I wanted more character development and romance build up. Other than that, it was a good paranormal read.

180 pages
Published August 23rd 2014 by Hallowed Ink Press

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔

Recommend?         Not bad. Worth a read

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Hallowed Ink Press)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: "The Whispering Skull" (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn't made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood's investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George's curiosity attracts a horrible phantom.

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood's annoyance. Bickerstaff's coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
Very rarely is a sequel better than the first. In this case, I would have to say parts of it were better and some parts were not. Now before you all jump down my throat or look at the screen crazy saying, "what?", let me explain. The story was even better than the last. The humor was even  better and everything is progressing nicely and setting up for the next book. However a select few of the characters were just not on their game. I'll get to that later.
This sequel was even more chilling than the previous book.  I'm not going to spoil it, but the plot was dreadfully good! (See what I did there?). Once again, it is in first person POV with the reader seeing through Lucy's eyes. I'm not sure if I like reading from Lucy's point of view, to be honest. Despite this, I deeply enjoyed then book. I am absolutely in love with the premise. It's like Ghostbusters meets the Three Musketeers.
And now for the nitty gritty. As stated previously (up above), I said stated that certain characters were not on their A-game, which was kind of a drag while reading (a big enough drag that deserves a place in RuPaul's Drag Race! LOL I'm so hilarious...). Lucy seemed to be a real wimp in this book. I just don't understand it since she didn't really act like this in the first book. She was acting way too much like a "scared-y" cat (yeah, I said it!). I kept wanting to say that this is the Lockwood & Co. series, and not Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Get it together, girl; you're an agent that fights ghosts.

The wisecrack of the group, George, was his ever so charming self and continued to make me laugh with his sarcasm and dry humor. However, in every group there is one token damsel in distress; i.e. Daphne in Scooby Doo, Amy in Doctor Who etc. And who was it in this group? Hint: starts with a "G" and ends with an "E". That's right folks, you guessed it: George. I totally face palmed when it happened, it was so ridiculous. Besides George, the skull was funny too. I liked the introduction of this new character...err...ghost?
Anyways, I loved the mystery and suspense factor within the plot as well as the team work between the protagonists. The suspense really kept me on edge. I said it before and I'll say it again...I love this series! You already know Stroud is setting us up for something quite spectacular in this book as well as the future books.

Favorite Quotes:

     "Where was that recent strangling case?" George said. "Where the ghost knocked on the window and killed the old lady?"
     "George, that was a window! This is a door!"
     "So what? They're both rectangular apertures! I can be strangled too!"

     "I'm fine," I said briskly. "So who's opening it?"
     "Not me," Lockwood tapped the sewn-up clawmarks on his coat front. "I did Mrs Barrett."
     "Well, I did that trapdoor in Melmoth House. George?"
     "I  did that secret room at the Savoy Hotel," George said. "You remember-- the one with the ancient plague mark on the door. Ooh, that was eerie."
     "No, it wasn't. It wasn't haunted or secret. It was a laundry room filled with pants."
     "I didn't know that when I went in, did I?" George protested. "Tell you what, we'll toss for it." He rummaged deep in his trousers, produced a dirty-looking coin. "What do you think, Luce? Heads or tails?"
     "I think---"
     "Heads? Interesting choice. Let's see." There was a blur of movement, too fast for the eye to follow. "Ah, it's tails. Unlucky, Luce. Here's the crowbar."
     Lockwood grinned. "Nice try, George, but you're doing it. Let's fetch the tools and seals"

400 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2014 by Random House UK
Rating: 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔
Recommend?   Yes. I demand that you read it! Just kidding (kind of)

(ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Doubleday Children's)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: "The Screaming Staircase" (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud


When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
Okay so...this book was released last year, but in one of my rare moods I just had to read it before reading the sequel. I am pleased to announce that I am a new fan of Jonathan Stroud and the Lockwood & Co. series! It has officially filled the Percy Jackson and the Olympians withdrawal I have been experiencing lately.
Man, oh man, I adored the story! The idea of ghosts becoming what goes bump in the night was chilling. I liked the part that mainly children were able to fight ghosts, as they are more psychically open; especially since that has been a common belief in the real world. The only sucky part of this fictional universe is having to worry about being ghost touched (read the book and find out what that is. No spoilers here people!).
It is in first person POV and you're seeing (or reading, if you want to get technical) everything through Lucy's, our protagonist, eyes. This is a adventure/ mystery kind of book, which is sort of neat. There were multiple plots going on, so I wasn't exactly sure how they were going to be resolved or tie in, but alas, Stroud surprised me by tying every loose end into a cute little red bow. Also, I'm mostly sure that tis book is geared more towards preteens or even YA, but I believe even adults would heavily enjoy this book.
The characters were young, of course. I say that because: 1. they were immature at times;  2. naive every once in a while; and 3. could grate on your nerves. As I said, they are young so what do you expect? Although on a personal note, I don't think I eve acted like that, but who knows? Maybe I did and that's why my mom was always shaking her head at the things I said or did.  
Lucy, Anthony and George are like the Three Musketeers meets the Ghostbusters. They each bring something different to the table, which may be why they are as cohesive as a well oiled machine. George, by far, is my favorite with his dry humor and sarcasm. Anthony's quick wit and leadership is appreciated as well as  Lucy's...uh...being a girl? LOL just kidding everyone.
This is a great read and easily one of my new favorites! I recommend a read. And believe me, you will love it! (Or else....) just kidding again haha.

440 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Doubleday Children’s Books

Rating:  🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔  

Recommend?   Yeah Yeah Yeah!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: "Hexed" (The Witch Hunter #1) by Michelle Krys

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
*(summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review:
This is another book I came across while at Barnes & Noble. The cover (as always) captured my attention from down the aisle, and then I read the premise...(dun dun dunnn). It sounded good at first, buuuuut (<--and that's a big but) I'm just not feeling it.

The story was...I am not sure what the story was actually because the plot was ridiculous. To be fairly honest, it was child's play: basically the cliche that if the heroine doesn't get the bible back everyone is doomed. Then later, you come to find out it was all for nothing. By the end I was wondering why I was still reading this book. There's hardly any cool witchcraft, powers, plot, romance, awesome characters...
And for the love of all that is holy! The characters were so one dimensional. I was in a constant state of rolling my eyes; especially at the protagonist. Indigo is a vapid little cheerleader. Funny how she says she has the third highest GPA in her class...Ummmm, what school are you going to? And it doesn't count if you ride the short bus, sweetie. I swear, during the entire book she was a spineless, airheaded nitwit. First she blabs about the bible even though she knows to keep it secret, then she makes the bad guys "promise" to let her go. I mean, really? She's in LA, not Beverly Hills, get a brain and a backbone while your at it, girl!! Plus, the added romance/tension/whatever it is between Bishop and Indie was corny as hell. A major cheese-fest.
I tried sticking with this book, but I honestly couldn't wait for it to be over. The characters were nothing special, the plot was pointless and by the end I was like "where is the magic and witchcraft?". Here, let me help you out Indigo---Abracadabra..BE GONE! LOL, if only...(a girl can dream right?)
Favorite Quotes:
"It's all right." He looks out the window. "She's just pulling a Bella."
"A what?"
"A Bella. You know--guy does you wrong, so you punish him by practically killing yourself."

"Nooo" she says, throwing as much sarcasm into the word as humanly possible, "you definitely want to run toward the axe murderer."
384 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Delacorte Press

Rating:   🔔
Recommend?   Oh hell no.