Genre: Gothic

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Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

March 23, 2017 Diversity 1, Reviews 1 ★★

Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy LukavicsThe Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 27, 2016
Genres: Gothic, YA, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: ALA Annual 2016
Goodreads
two-stars
Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

Diversity: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 2 (Lucy self-harms)
Intersectionality: 0

A few days ago, I was at the local used bookstore with my best friend and I found a copy of Daughter Unto Devils. I’d read the book and loved it; she hadn’t. Meanwhile, she’d already gotten to The Women in the Walls and was terrified by it when I hadn’t even gotten to read it yet. Naturally, I peer pressured her into buying it and happened to pull The Women in the Walls out of my TBR jar the very next day. Reader, for how much I enjoyed my previous experience reading a novel from Amy Lukavics, I am disappoint. Read more »

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Review: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

June 24, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★

Review: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. AndrewsFlowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Series: Dollanganger #1
Published by Simon Pulse on November 1979
Genres: Gothic, Historical, Suspense, YA, YA Historical
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
three-stars
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake--a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work--children who--one by one--must be destroyed....

'Way upstairs there are
four secrets hidden.
Blond, beautiful, innocent
struggling to stay alive....

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Way back when the Lifetime movie of Flowers in the Attic premiered on television and I watched it (aka about two years ago), I finally decided to read the infamous book people the teens of the 80s passed around. Really, there’s not a person in the United States who doesn’t know this series is one big dramatic saga about incest. I knew what was coming and yet I wanted to read it anyway. Whoo, was that an experience! Read more »

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Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

June 10, 2016 Diversity 1, Reviews 3

Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah JudeThe May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children on May 3, 2016
Genres: Gothic, Mystery, YA, YA Horror
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
one-star
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

Warning: lots of animal death in this book.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (Ivy is half-Mexican through her mother; her parents’ “love story” is nasty)
QUILTBAG: 0 (Heather is a lesbian and her story falls right into the old Bury Your Gays trope)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

It shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as it is to find a good horror novel. I’m fully aware it’s a genre as worthy and full of quality as any other, but I have such a bad radar for horror that I wonder sometimes if the good ones are just exceptions to a “YA horror is bad” rule! (Then I slap myself for being ridiculous.) The May Queen Murders was yet another novel that promised isolation, creepy happenings, and death, but it’s a letdown in almost every respect. Read more »

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Review: Oblivion by Kelly Creagh

September 11, 2015 Diversity 0, Reviews 1 ★★★★½

Review: Oblivion by Kelly CreaghOblivion by Kelly Creagh
Series: Nevermore #3
Published by Atheneum on July 28, 2015
Genres: Gothic, YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-half-stars
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” —Edgar Allan Poe

The fine line between life and death blurred long ago for Isobel Lanley. After a deadly confrontation with Varen in the dreamworld, she’s terrified to return to that desolate and dangerous place. But when her nightmares resume, bleeding into reality, she is left with no choice. Varen’s darkness is catching up to her. To everything. Threatening to devour it all.

Isobel fears for her world—for her sanity and Varen’s, especially after a fresh and devastating loss. To make matters worse, the ghostly demon Lilith wants Varen for her own, and she will do anything to keep him in her grasp—anything.

Can Isobel ever find her happy ending? Worlds collide and fates are sealed in this breathtaking finale to the Nevermore trilogy.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Some fans have to wait an ungodly amount of time for the final book in a series they love. For instance, LJ Smith/Night World fans have been waiting fifteen years and counting for the final book in that series. At this point, it probably isn’t happening. Thus reading Nevermore in 2010, Enshadowed in 2012, and Oblivion in 2015 wasn’t as long a wait as it could have been. BUT IT STILL SUCKED BECAUSE CLIFFHANGERS. I was honestly worried at one point that Oblivion got cancelled and I would never see the end of Isobel and Varen’s story, but I finally got it and it was great. Mediocre finales don’t keep me in bed all day devouring pages like food, after all! Read more »

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Review: Blythewood by Carol Goodman

February 2, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: Blythewood by Carol GoodmanBlythewood by Carol Goodman
Series: Blythewood #1
Published by Viking Juvenile on October 8, 2013
Genres: Gothic, YA, YA Historical, YA Paranormal
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: finished copy from the publisher
five-stars
Welcome to Blythewood.

At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.

Once upon a time, I acquired an ARC of an intriguing little book called Blythewood in a swap with another blogger. It languished on my TBR for over a year and a half, but I fully intended to read it someday. Cut to recently, when a publicist at Penguin emailed me to offer review copies of both Blythewood and its sequel Ravencliffe. I accepted, of course, and I honestly can’t believe I put off reading Blythewood for so long! The pacing may be slow at times, but the strength of Ava’s character, the lore Goodman weaves with careful hands, and its flat-out perfect use of historical events to tie into the events of the story put this book on my all-time favorites list.

Read more »

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Review: Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

August 11, 2014 Reviews 3

Review: Ghost House by Alexandra AdornettoGhost House by Alexandra Adornetto
Series: The Ghost House Saga #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 26, 2014
Genres: Gothic, YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: BEA 2014
zero-stars
From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.

I am no stranger to Alexandra Adornetto’s work; against my better judgment, I read her entire Halo trilogy and hated almost every page of it for its anti-feminist themes, internalized misogyny, poor plotting/pacing/writing, and general poor quality. Ghost House was never something on my radar, but it ended up in my possession at BEA and I didn’t want to just abandon it. According to some behind-the-scenes gossip I heard, she’s supposed to be a much better writer now than she once was. Would it kill me to give her another shot and see if her craft has improved? It definitely didn’t kill me, but it hurt a good bit. Anyone who has read Halo or either of its sequels should expect the same level of quality here. Read more »

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Review: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

July 21, 2014 Reviews 2

Review: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. DawsonServants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson
Published by Simon Pulse on August 5, 2014
Genres: Gothic, YA, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
DNF
A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey's best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she's started to believe she's seeing things that can't be real ... including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself.

Servants of the Storm is one of those books that wants to fuck with your head so deeply you’re in a book coma for a little while afterwards and it’s probably going to succeed based on what I read. Jesus, this book is weird. I don’t know what else I can say to sum it up for you because it’s just so weird. Read more »

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