House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

This was a highly anticipated read for me since the summer, and I was very excited to join in the Bookish Ladies Club buddy read.

I tried to walk into this one not expecting anything, but even then I was left feeling like it was overhyped.

The good..

-The atmosphere. I’m a fan of dark retellings, and liked the setting of this story. The mention of ghosts made for an eerie kind of read.

– I also liked that this was a murder mystery, which was great initially, but things started to go a little downhill for me.

The bad..

-The story is kinda slow to start and a bit too descriptive at times.
– I already figured out who the villain was as soon as they were introduced, so for me, it wasn’t surprising.

– Not gonna lie, there were some major eye-rolling moments: like when the girls are having their dresses and shoes made, and the moment Annaleigh meets Cassius. Ugh..this instalove story didn’t work for me.

But here is where things get ugly..

– There were too many elements: mystery, ghosts, fantasy & magic. The ideas were good, but the execution was kind of a mess, making the last portion of the story weird. I felt like I was reading an entirely different story.

Overall, I was intrigued and wanted to see where things were going, but it was a bit of a letdown.

The Institute by Stephen King #TheInstitute

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

Oiy..I had to take some time to think about this one, cause I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s previous books and movies, and this is sitting between a 3.5 to 4 stars.

This was part of a buddy/group read on Instagram, so I’m gonna keep this one spoiler free since I finished before everyone else..couldn’t help myself! I was in need-to-know mode.

The story starts off slow (like most of King’s previous books), but picks up at Shots For Dots.

What didn’t work for me..

The story lost momentum at the very end. For me, the last 40% of the book was the best part.

What I enjoyed most..

The setting and characters. Stephen King always knows how to set the stage and create the perfect cast of characters. Some of which, I grew very fond of.

If you’re planning to read this one, here are just some of my two cents:

– If you enjoyed Eleven’s story in season 1 of Stranger Things, you’ll most likely enjoy this as well.

– If you’ve never read any of King’s work, his stories are slow burn with a lot of character building. So that’ll either be something you enjoy or don’t. But if you’re new to his world, this is probably a good one to get your feet wet with, especially if you don’t care for horror.

For my horror & King fans: don’t expect to get scared with one. I would classify this as Sci-Fi and NOT horror.

Overall, it was a good read that kept me entertained and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

** Thank you Raincoast Books for my ARC **

Genre: YA

Rating: DNF

This was one of my most anticipated reads this fall and was uber excited when I received an ARC..so I was incredibly bummed to find it wasn’t working for me and landed in my DNF pile.

What didn’t work..

– the pacing was a slow as soon as Mavi was introduced. It felt like the author got carried away in thought, making the paragraphs drag on when they didn’t need to.

-So this one was a big one for me! I have no problem with the mention of cosmetics, but it didn’t work for this particular tale. In fact, it killed my reading mojo as soon as the face creams were mentioned:

It’s hardly enough to make do in the wilderness, unless pumas enjoy Lancome.

“Did you just spit on me?” I ask. My blood sugar is far too low for this nonsense, shea butter be damned.

What I did enjoy..

– I’m a fan of myths and legends, and I thought Faring did a good job of incorporating that into this story.

– The setting was perfect and what you’d expect in a gothic tale.

– I also liked that there was an element of a surprise at the end. It probably won’t sit well with a lot of readers, but I like my stories with unpredictable endings. I went ahead and cheated by going to the end as well as reading another reviewer’s spoilers. 😜

Overall, the premise and prologue were great hooks. The ideas were all there, but the execution just didn’t work for me.

Have you read it? What did you think? Is it on your radar?

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Owlcrate Jr: October Box

Hello Booksharks! Has October been flying by for you the same way it has for me?!

Do you subscribe, or have you purchased any book boxes or bookish goodies?

I recently became a rep for Owlcrate Jr, which also happens to be our first book box!!

If you’re looking for a cool gift for a budding reader or even for yourself, you can use code: PRINCESS and receive 15% off your firt order.

This month’s theme is ROBOTS with some really neat stuff. Here’s what was inside this magical box:

✔ 2 books (1 MG fiction & 1 non-fiction about Robots)

✔ Activity roll

✔ 100 piece robot puzzle

✔ A Wall-E pin

✔ The Off bits animal kit

✔ Robot bookmark

✔ November’s Sneak Peek: PARALLEL WORLDS

I’ll be ordering their regular box for November ~ Through The Enchanted Forest, which will also be a first for me, so keep your eyes peeled!

Rules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall @PenguinTeen @PenguinTeenCa @VikingBooks @kmarshallarts

** Thank you Penguin Teen for my ARC **

Genre: YA, Horror

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don’t believe in ghosts, not exactly. But I don’t believe Becca is dead either. Which means she’s out there, and no one is looking for her but me.

I can’t breathe. There’s something in my throat as solid as stone.

Whose hand am I holding?

Did you ever tell ghost stories at camp when you were young? Well, this was the perfect campfire story!

It’s told in a series of interviews, text messages, recollections and video footage that really bring this story to life.
The whole time I was reading it, I swear my eyes could not move across the page quick enough! I didn’t want to put it down and kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.

The ending..it left me hanging and mind boggled! (Which will either work for you, or it won’t.)

Am I the only one still trying to figure out what happened? Was that it? I NEED ANSWERS!!

I got such a thrill reading this story! It had a diverse cast and I loved all the characters.

For me, this was like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark meets Ghost Hunters & Coraline, making it the perfect Halloween read!

Have you read it? Is it on your TBR? What’s on your Halloween reading list??

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young @RaincoastBooks @adriennebooks @wednesdaybooks

** Thank you Raincoast Books for providing me with an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review **

Genre: YA

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you ever chosen to read a book based solely on the cover & title alone? (Without reading the description?)

That was me with this book!

Dum dum me, didn’t know this was the second book to Sky In The Deep, until I already had the ARC in my hands and stumbled upon moonprincess37‘s awesome review. 🤦‍♀️

It didn’t matter though, cause this could be read as a standalone. Phew!

To be honest, I didn’t think Vikings were my thing or my kinda story, but after reading this..it may have changed my outlook on it!

It totally reminded me of season 5 of Game Of Thrones. So if you’re a fan of the show like I was and haven’t read Sky In The Deep yet, I think you’ll enjoy this read.

There’s character building, an epic battle and alternating POV’s. Everything that makes for good storytelling!

Definitely going on my list of favourites for 2019!

Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? Did you read Sky In The Deep?

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Spooktober Reads #MonthlyTBR #BOTM

Hello booksharks!

What’s your favourite season or holiday?

Me? I LOVE autumn & Halloween! I prefer the cooler weather, pumpkin spice beverages (cause who doesn’t?) and dressing up for Halloween! It’s become a bit of tradition in our family. 🙂

Alright..so let’s get down to business! What’s on your TBR this month??

Here are mine:

1) Rules For Vanishing by Kate AliceMarshall

2) The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

3) The Institute by Stephen King

4) Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

5) House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin. A Craig

Have you read any of these yet?

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Genre: Horror

Rating: DNF @ page 90

An old car, at the end of the block, was easing away. A black Rolls-Royce with sideboards and chrome fixtures. Its taillights flashed red in the night and illuminated the license plate: NOS4A2. Then it turned the corner and disappeared, taking the joyful noise of Christmas with it.

When I first started reading this, I was wowed by the prologue. It reminded me of the Christmas scene in season 2 of American Horror Story.

So why did I DNF it?

It wasn’t that the story was bad. It was actually really good..until I met Maggie. She had a striking similarity to Bill from IT. Even though it was a different character and totally different story, I just couldn’t get past the resemblance.

According to some of the reviews I’ve come across on Goodreads, there are other references to King’s work throughout the book. That’ll either work for you, or it won’t (like in my case).

As much as I enjoyed the idea of the Shorter Way bridge, which was like a morbid rabbit hole, I also found it a tad confusing at first.

Aside from that, if I hadn’t read IT, I probably would’ve loved this one like so many others.

Have you read this one? Have you read any of Joe Hill’s other books?

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Contagion by Erin Bowman @erin_bowman @HarperCollinsCa @HCCFrenzy

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

This was like Guardians Of The Galaxy meets The Walking Dead. Except everyone on the ship is human.

I’m a newbie to reading Sci-Fi and after the last 2 tragic DNF’s (The Luminous Dead & Aurora Rising), I was starting to lose faith in the genre. But this..It kept me up all hours of the night reading!

I really enjoyed the alternating timelines and POV’s. The last 30% of the book was an intense ride. I had the same adrenaline rush as when I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Characters

Toby..
That’s all I’m going to say about him.

Dylan

You know that annoying character in every slasher/horror flick, that you just wanna punch in the face? Well for me, that was her.

I’d have to say Thea and Coen were my favourite characters. I’m excited to see where they take us in the next book (Immunity).

Overall, I loved this story. It felt like I was watching a Blockbuster hit with everything I was looking for: great storyline and cast, actim then I think you’ll enjoy this one!

Have you read? What did you think? Did you read Immunity?

It got in us

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don’t set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

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