Friday, June 27, 2014

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box 
By Josh Malerman
Pages: 262
Published: May 13th, 2014 by Ecco

Summary: Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn't look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows. They are out there. She might let them in. The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall. Soon she will have to wake them. Soon she will have to blindfold them. Today they must leave the house. Today they will risk everything.


Bird Box is a story about Malorie who witnesses the world go to pieces. It all starts with someone seeing something and then going completely mad. Not thinking much of it at first, she doesn't fall into the hype. She doesn't start to panic until the hysteria falls on US soil and she witnesses it with her sister Shannon. Responding to an ad in the paper, Malorie; who recently found out she was pregnant, adventures to a house where she will live for four years. The housemates: Tom, Don, Cheryl and Jules all accept Malorie into their home. While she lives there, they have curtains on windows and always wearing blind folds. After an event at the household, Malorie finally adventures out into the new world and finds a new safe place to raise her children. 

I had two main reasons for picking up this book. One it was compared to The Road which is one of my favorite books and also I was looking for a good quick horror book to read. I wanted something different. I got one of those reasons. I do see the comparisons to The Road, but it's not quite like Cormac's. This is a book in it's own right. 

The story jumps from Malorie leaving the house and to why she left. It was organized enough so you didn't get lost with the jumping back and forth. It ran smoothly. I had a difficult time enjoying any of the characters. Malorie annoyed me especially when she was calling her child 'boy' and 'girl' the whole time. It felt she had no sympathy for them. I saw the point of this at the very end of the book, but I couldn't get past that. 

When I was looking for a horror book, I definitely got it with Bird Box. I found myself only reading it during day light because some parts where terrifying and graphically detailed. I don't get scared easily when it comes to novels, but this was one that did it for me. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be scared and questioning my familiar black shadows. 

This book is DEFINITELY not for everyone. I would say if you can handle The Road or some of King's horror books then you will be fine reading Bird Box. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Roomies by by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Pages: 297
Published December 24th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 

Summary: It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.


Roomies is a story about life in between high school and the start of college. It documents those last few moments that you have with family, friends and who truly matters in your life. Roomies follows the story of Elizabeth or Eb and Lauren as they email each other back and forth to get to know each other before college. Before they realize they are relying on each other through their summers ups and downs and what they thought was completely weird turns into a surprised friendship. 

I enjoyed this book. I never went to college, but some how I still found myself attached to Elizabeth and Lauren and their experience. Maybe it's because I feel I missed out on this portion of my life, or the characters were that relateable. Either or, this was one of the few books where I enjoyed every single character. There wasn't a character I didn't like. 

I like how they started out just emailing each other and then found themselves building this friendship over time. They go about their lives and rely on each other in their times of need. 

The only thing I did have to complain about the book was I wanted more at the end. It cuts off at a cliffhanger, and it's like ugh. I wanted a little more from that, but after the initial let down of the end, I felt it was a good place to stop. It could have dragged on. It also leaves room for a sequel if they so desire. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been
By Melanie Benjamin
Paperback, 345 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Bantam

Summary: Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she’ll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she’ll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever.


Alice I Have Been tells the story of Alice Liddell and her relationship with Mr. Dodgson who later is known for Lewis Carroll. It starts off with 7 year old Alice being taken by Mr. Dodgson to in her 80s where she prefers to believe Dodgson is part of her past that she wishes to remain in her past. The story also goes into detail about her love affair with a soon to be king. We watch Alice grow up and how difficult it is for her to shake the image of Alice. It's a part of her past that she wishes to ignore, but the world does not let her forget.

I LOVED this story. I have always loved Alice In Wonderland spin offs, but this is a much different spin off. It has a little bit of truth to it and isn't about wonderland itself, but how wonderland became and how wonderland was soon forgotten. While this book may not fit everyone. The relationship between Alice and Dodgson could be turned off because of their huge age difference but also remember that during that time it was normal. If you put that behind, then this book is a fantastic read.

You find yourself feeling sorry for Alice as she goes through so much in her life, and how she never changes as a person. She suffers love loss and death multiple times. It raises a question on what exactly happened that made Alice hate Carroll so much that she completely washed him out of her history every chance she had.

It was beautifully written, and highly recommend if you're a Alice in Wonderland fan.

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Liv, Forever
by Amy Talkington
Pages: 280
Published March 11th 2014 by Soho Teen
Author Website

NOTES: I was given this novel for a honest review by NetGalley

Summary: When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.


Liv, Forever is a story about Liv Bloom who makes it into an elite boarding school on the east coast. The boarding school is rich with history and legends. Liv meets Malcom and on their first day they that they met they shared a special connection. However, Liv also starts a friendship with Gabe. One night Liv and Malcom are hanging out and that night something terrible happens. Liv dies. During the book you find out what exactly happened to Liv and how she connects with the past of Wickham Hall.

I have a lot of feelings for Liv Forever. I originally was going to toss this book aside because I couldn't get into it like I had hoped. HOWEVER, I found myself sticking to it and I was glad that I did. I didn't want to put it down. I don't remember the exact point where the book grabbed me and sucked me in. I normally don't read paranormal romances, but I loved Liv, Forever and want to purchase it for my own book collection. I did like all the characters especially Gabe. I liked the friendship that he and Malcom had at the end of the book.

I did have some minor issues with it. Liv is originally from Vegas and it gets hot and humid. During the novel the author constantly said how she wasn't used to humidity. The other issue I had was that it was "instant love". It's a popular trend in these books, but it was something that will always bug me. I did like Liv and Malcom, but the instant part was a little difficult to get past at first. Once I stopped caring so much about that it was enjoyable. This would be a book I would recommend to other people.

Paradigm (Paradigm #1) by Ceri A. Lowe

Title: Paradigm
Author: Ceri A. Lowe
Pages: 382
Published: June 13th by Bookouture
Author Website & Twitter

Notes: This was given to me by NetGalley for an honest opinion.

Summary: What if the end of the world was just the beginning? 
Alice Davenport awakens from a fever to find her mother gone and the city she lives in ravaged by storms – with few survivors. 
When Alice is finally rescued, she is taken to a huge underground bunker owned by the mysterious Paradigm Industries. As the storms worsen, the hatches close.87 years later, amidst the ruins of London, the survivors of the Storms have reinvented society. The Model maintains a perfect balance – with inhabitants routinely frozen until they are needed by the Industry. 
Fifteen-year-old Carter Warren knows his time has come. Awoken from the catacombs as a contender for the role of Controller General, it is his destiny to succeed – where his parents failed. 
But Carter soon discovers that the world has changed, in ways that make him begin to question everything that he believes in. As Carter is forced to fight for those he loves and even for his life, it seems that the key to the future lies in the secrets of the past...

This is a story about Carter and Alice. It jumps between the two. Alice is a 12 year old girl who witnesses
the storms from the beginning, and Carter is a 15 year old kid who sees the effects after the storms many years later. Carter has been under grown for many years, and comes back in what he hopes to a new position but he finds out that he came back for a much bigger reason.

Unfortunately I could not finish this book. I tried. I loved how much detail went into this book from the author. You could tell that she spent a lot of time on it, and with her own creative world. However, I was waiting for that spark. That point in the novel that hooked me. I got almost half way through, and it didn't do that to me. I could see parts where it might for someone else, but I didn't find it.

I don't really see this as being a young adult novel. It's too detailed and too long of chapters, but maybe a new adult. Other wise, the author has good potential.