Monday, August 15, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich


A stunning, terrifying novel about a house the color of blood and the two sisters who are trapped there, by The Dead House author Dawn Kurtagich 

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, it's immediately clear that the "blood manor" is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too--the questions that Silla can't ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that's appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? 

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


A brilliantly, terrifying novel that is just creatively stunning. Another perfect novel by Dawn Kurtagich! 

Two sisters that are trying to escape the clutches of their abusive father end up at their aunt's manor called Blood Manor and end up believing it is cursed. When her aunt goes crazy and locks herself in the attic, Silla and Nori now have to live in Blood Manor afraid of what lurks in and out of the house. When the garden and yard start dying and turning to ash, they begin to starve, but when a charming boy shows up with apples they seem to just let him in. Silla, however, is always suspicious and now she has to worry about her younger sister Nori, her crazy aunt, the charming boy with apples and the trees! The trees are slowly creeping in and making the house sink in to the earth and in the shadow the creeper man is watching. 

My favorite part is when Silla forgives herself because she was suffering because she wouldn't forgive herself.  My favorite character is Nori because she is so innocent and perfect, but she has seen everything that adults tend to miss because of being so busy. 

Even though this book was a horror story it also had a great lesson about forgiving yourself. I just love how this author can make a book so well-written that it occupies your imagination and still has a great lesson mixed in. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up. 

**This book's publishing date is September 6, 2016. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Genuis: The Game by Leopoldo Gout


Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India's youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde-This14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China's most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father's new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This book is brilliantly written with characters that manipulate your mind! 

This novel is about all of the young geniuses of the world from the perspectives of three web friends, Rex, Painted Wolf and Tunde. All 3 of them get invited to "The Game" which is the competition for the top young minds in the world. The 3 need to find out all they can about "The Game" and why they are really there. Tunde has to build a jammer and win no matter what to keep his family from danger. Rex has ended up in jail, and Painted Wolf has to keep her identity a secret. All of happens during the time they spend together at the big event "The Game". 

My favorite character is Painted Wolf because she has to keep her identity a secret and help her friends all at the same time. My favorite part is when Painted Wolf dresses up like a lawyer and bails Rex out of jail. 

This book should be read by ALL teens because all of the brilliance of exceptional young people in this novel. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Death Cat Sally by P.S. Brooks


After seventeen-year-old Sally Rancher knocks over a cat named Zachary, it's only the start of her nightmare. Trying to help, Sally is hit by a truck. Waking from a coma, she sees that half of Zachary's spirit is fused to her shoulder and he can talk. Able to communicate with animals, Sally finds when she falls asleep or becomes unconscious, both Zachary and her are pulled into No Man's Land – a dark, spine-chilling realm filled with vengeful animal spirits. As No Man's Land becomes ever more twisted and terrifying, Sally and Zachary become pivotal in solving a mystery that concerns not only them, but all life on the planet. If only Zachary could keep his mouth shut for more than five seconds, they might have some chance. Who… or what… is responsible?

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This book is so different, but it is exciting and full of great action! However, it could use some more exciting, descriptive words. Throughout the book, I lost some interest and I felt that I was trying so hard to finish. Overall though, it was a pretty good book. 

One night, Sally, on the verge of sleep, hits a cat named Zachary. She gets out of her car and desperately tries to wake the cat. With so much commotion going on Sally doesn't see the truck. Sally is hit by the truck and put in a coma. When she finally awakes from the coma, she finds Zachary attached to her shoulder! Now that she knows she can talk to animals and Zachary, she is in despair. When sleeping, Zachary and her are taken to a place called No Man's Land. While in No Man's Land, she finds more than she expected with tons of mysteries to solve. 

My favorite part is when Zachary appears on Sally's shoulder because it is so funny and extremely weird. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 and up. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

BLOG TOUR, INTERVIEW & REVIEW: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen


“Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryand The Island of Dr. Libris

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.
Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

"Deliciously dark, funny, and foreboding, Neilsen’s first novel delivers with broad appeal." —Booklist

"Recommended for school libraries that need to breathe life into their traditional mystery collections." —School Library Journal

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 12 years, 1 month


This book was absolutely amazing! It drew me in from the first page and is an adventure to the very end. I didn't want to put it down because it was so good! 

My favorite character is Jerry because he is super duper smart. My favorite part is when Dr. Fell came in to town because he talks funny, dresses funny and acts funny. 

This book is really good. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good adventure. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. 

Interview Conducted by:

1. Why did you choose a playground?

I wanted to create a place that would naturally attract children. It just seemed to me that the most obvious attraction would be the world’s greatest playground.

2. Why a doctor?

The character of Dr. Fell came from a print by the late children’s illustrator Trina Schart Hyman which had been hanging on the wall in the home of my wife’s parents for years. The drawing shows a man in a suit and top hat leering down at a little girl, who looks back at him suspiciously. The man has a large basket strapped to his back out of which are sticking various arms, legs, and heads of little children. It’s labelled “Dr. Fell” and Hyman drew it when asked to create an image from her favorite fable or fairy tale. Curious, I looked up Dr. Fell online and discovered the four-line poem written in 1680 which I’ve included at the beginning of my book.

So from the start, the character was Dr. Fell. While his title could have implied a number of different things, I chose to take it literally and have him offer his services as a doctor to the neighborhood. There’s an element of trust we give our doctors, and I liked the idea that my Dr. Fell would take advantage of this trust.

3. Do you like cats? Why or why not?

I love cats! For real! We have two who have agreed to live with us as long as we continue to feed them, scratch their heads from time to time, and clean their litter box. One of them likes to climb onto my lap when I’m trying to write--it’s her way of reminding me that as busy as life gets, there’s always time to stop and pet the kitty.

4. When you were a kid would you have loved to play on Dr. Fell's playground?

As a kid? I’d love to play on his playground now! I am a big fan of playgrounds. A few years ago I led a team to build a new awesome playground for one of our local elementary schools. As I wrote more of the book and the playground continued to develop, I added elements to it that I’d personally find fun and exciting--things I’d always wanted to see on a playground. So in many ways, I designed my own perfect playground.

5. Who is your favorite character in your book?

I would have to say that my favorite character is Dr. Fell himself. I really enjoyed creating him, giving him a history, and developing his distinct pattern of speech. He’s wonderfully evil, but hides his evil beneath a layer of civility. I also loved creating the more mysterious aspects of him and teasing them out piece by piece: for example, the way his shoes seem to creak when he walks, his large crates, the odd images on his walls. He really was a fun character to write.

6. What is your favorite color? Why?

My favorite color is green, mainly because when I see green outside it generally means winter is over, and I’m not a big fan of snow.

7. Any other interesting facts/info about yourself or your book?

I spend every October working as a storyteller and telling spooky stories at places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the NY Botanical Gardens. Also, I have an extremely large collection of Star Wars ships and figures that take up a lot of room in my attic.

We hope you’re enjoying the blog tour for David Neilsen’s Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom! In case you missed yesterday’s post, head over to Seraphina Reads to check it out. The tour continues tomorrow on I'm Shelf-ish.

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts by K.C. Tansley


She tried to ignore them. But some things won't be ignored.

Kat Preston doesn't believe in ghosts. Not because she's never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat's disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan's scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.But that's all before Kat's yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. 

When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time--and their own bodies--before their souls slip away forever. 

A YA time-travel murder mystery that is sure to delight fans of Page Morgan's The Dispossessed trilogy.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This book was unbelievable, and really well written. It had a great pace and fantastic characters. 

Kat Preston doesn't like the idea on anything about ghosts, but when her professor assigns her and other students a project to uncover the mystery behind a 129 -year-old curse, she finds herself back to her 9-year-old self. After a terrifying experience with a ghost, she had to stop believing in them, but how can she face them again? However, in order to solve the mystery she has to get rid of her fear! Kat and her classmate, Evan, are yanked in a magical mirror portal by a ghost named Turia to 129 years ago when the curse was put in to place. Now they have to stay in the ghost's body and figure out a way home and how to break the curse. 

My favorite character is Evan because even though he is rude sometimes, he seems to always be there for Kat and is just so sweet. 

My favorite part is when Kat and Evan see the biggest part of how the curse was placed and where the couple that was cursed went. 

This books was fascinating, but I had hoped that it took a little bit longer in some parts to give it the overall dire effect of reversing the curse. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Sisters by Claire Douglas


One lied. One died.

When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive

After a tragic accident, still haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets siblings Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.

When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs

As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention?

When the truth outs, will either sister survive?

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This book was a great mystery to uncover, and was tons of fun with every chapter. 

This novel is about a girl named Abi. Recently her twin sister, Lucy, died and Abi blames herself. Abi is haunted of that day and by Lucy's face. Abi wants to deeply find someone like Lucy, even if she doesn't know it. On one rainy day, Abi meets Bea, a girl that closely resembles Lucy. Soon Abi meets Bea's twin brother, Ben, and is instantly drawn to him. After a while, Abi moves in with Bea and Ben and gets involved in a relationship with Ben. Things start to get tense with Abi and Bea. Bea doesn't want Abi dating Ben and Abi doesn't want Bea to be so protective of Ben. Arguments start happening with Ben always in the middle. Ben has to take sides, but Ben is keeping secrets and is manipulating them. Everyone has been pointing fingers at the wrong person!

My favorite character is Nia because she is everything a best friend should be. Nia is loyal, well put together, caring and brave. My favorite part is when Bea and Abi finally become friends again because they would have been excellent friends if it wasn't for Ben. 

This book is full of a spine-twisting mystery, however, I would've liked a little more perspective of their lives for that overall tension. I enjoyed this book overall. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and up. 

BOOK BLITZ, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Under a Million Stars by Rita Branches

Under A Million Stars
Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces? 
Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident. 
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him. 
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding. 
Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from. 
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?


These two weeks had been hell for me.

I didn’t know how I was going to pull this off for the eight months I still had left in this hell of a town. My parents didn’t get me, and she was around all the time, suffocating me. My heart skipped a beat every time I heard her voice, and it doubled in speed when she was near me. I wouldn’t be able to stay away, I knew it. She was breaking my heart all over again.

I heard her at night, when she thought everyone was sleeping. I just sat on the floor, resting my head against the wall, and listen to her cry and throw up every other night.

I stayed there like a jerk, as if I didn’t give a crap about her or her feelings, but I cried. I missed her. I wanted to hold her at night and tell her that everything would be alright, but I couldn’t. I promised I would stay away—I couldn’t hurt her, anymore. I pushed my knees to my chest to hold myself together and to keep me from crumbling. Sometimes, I had to place my closed fist against my mouth, so she wouldn’t hear me sob. I wished she would have, though. I wished she would have opened the door and saw me sitting there, caring about her, suffering like she did.

My mom was getting suspicious about me. She knew about her, or at least that something wasn’t right. My face, the permanent dark circles under my eyes, and my lack of appetite wasn’t normal, though. I was okay, before her parents’ accident—I had started to pull myself together.


This night was especially bad. She stayed in the bathroom for hours. I had been on the other side, hearing her cry and wishing I could take it all away.

I was starting to get really scared for her. I left before my parents woke up, unable to face them and those disapproving looks, anymore, like I wasn’t doing anything right with my life. They wanted a perfect son and they didn’t have one.

I was in no condition to go to college—I couldn’t even imagine myself being closed behind four walls for another four or five years. I needed something to take my thoughts away—something that would fuel me with adrenaline. They wouldn’t approve of the plans I’d been making. They’d hate them, in fact, but I didn’t care, anymore, I just needed to get away.

Author Bio:
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany


"The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016. 

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 13 years, 8 months


I did not like this book at all! The Harry Potter series is my absolute favorite, however this book did not impress me at all and it actually made me mad. 

I found the plot confusing, the characters undeveloped, and it ruined the first 7 books for me completely. I found the whole book was horribly set up. 

I can honestly say I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone! 

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: With Malice by Eileen Cook


Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron's senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident...wasn't an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This novel was one of the best books I have ever read! I have never read a book where everything and everyone you believe in turns out that you can't trust anything or anyone at all! 

This book is about two best friends named Jill and Simone. There is an accident while on their school trip to Italy. However, some believe it was murder. Jill and Simone were in an accident and Simone died. Jill cannot remember anything about what really happened in the car in Italy. People start saying that Jill was jealous of Simone and attempted to murder her. Others say that Jill attempted to kill Simone after Simone kissed Jill's boyfriend. While Jill still doesn't remember anything, she wants everyone to believe that she didn't kill Simone and that it was an accident. People really aren't sure what to believe in this fast-paced mystery, adventure book. 

My favorite character is Anna because even though she has an attitude, she is a great friend. My favorite part is learning all the juicy details of the accident. It was definitely not what I expected! 

There is some slight language that is not suitable for younger readers. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and up. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Forest of Wolves (The Uprising) by Chelsea Luna


Prague, 1610

In a few short weeks seventeen-year-old Mila has gone from being Ludmila Novakova, pampered daughter of the High Chancellor of Bohemia, to becoming a traitor escaping the palace at midnight in her wedding nightgown. Her country is in chaos, an army is marching from Austria, and revolution is a breath away.

Mila is caught in the middle, between the man she loves—Marc, the son of a blacksmith and a leader of the rebellion—and the murderer the Church calls her husband. Even as she flees with Marc into the heart of the resistance, where the suspicions of angry citizens make her every palace-born habit a danger, she knows he hasn’t told her everything.

But Mila is keeping the biggest secret herself: she is the heir to the throne, the daughter of embattled King Rudolf and Princess of Bohemia. The truth will turn the fury of both sides against her, leaving Mila alone to win her country’s freedom—and her own . . .

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 13 years, 8 months


I absolutely loved this book! The plot always kept me interested and on the edge of my seat. 

I love how developed these characters are. The 2 villains are so cruel and unforgiving. The major characters are loving and yet, they sacrifice so much for their cause. 

My favorite character is Ludmila because even in the face of torture, poverty, and death she never strays from her cause. She does what is right even when its not easy. 

The setting of this book is beautifully described. The whole book is detailed perfectly and overall, this is definitely a 5 star novel! 

I recommend this book to anyone who likes stories of torn kingdoms, war, romance and action. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 and up. 

**This book's publishing date is September 13, 2016. 

BOOK REVIEW: A Place to Call Home: Toby's Tale by G.A. Whitmore


A Place to Call Home is the heartwarming and inspiring story of an abandoned white German shepherd puppy named Toby and his cross-country search for a forever home. Narrated in part by the animal characters in the book, the reader experiences Toby's world through his eyes and those of the animals he meets on his journey.  

Toby's life begins on a farm where the carefree, happy days he has known come to an abrupt end when his breeder decides to "dispose" of him and his sister Tara because of the color of their fur. With the help of a kind farmhand, the two puppies escape unharmed. 

After a tumultuous time during which Toby is shuffled from place to place, he is finally adopted, but he quickly realizes his new family has deep-seated issues that put him in danger, and what seemed like an ideal home, turns into another place he must escape from.

As Toby struggles to find a forever home where he can feel safe and secure, he experiences some painful losses, but he also makes new friends--friends who will help him to trust humans again and teach him the power of love.

Inspired by a true story, this middle grade/young adult novel can be enjoyed by dog lovers of all ages.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This was one truly amazing, fascinating tale! I couldn't ask for a better book to read. This book took me on an emotional roller coaster and I loved it!

This book is about a dog named Toby. When Toby and his sister are separated from their mother and left at a dumpster, a younger couple take a chance with them and take them home. One day at the couple's house Toby's sister dies from injuries she sustained from a larger dog. The journey only starts there. Toby, now without his sister, is moved to an abusive family and then moved to a home where he can find the trust and love his heart desperately needs. This book is full of passion in every single word and every chapter keeps you wanting more. Seriously, you couldn't ask for a better book. 

My favorite part is when the woman can feel an instant bond with Toby. My favorite character is the dog named Drake because he took care of Toby when he was a puppy, and even died protecting him. I loved Drake's compassion and loyalty. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 and up. 

BOOK REVIEW: Whisper (The Whisper Trilogy Book 1) by Dana Faletti


Callie Evans is named after a muse from Greek mythology. Little does she know she is actually an angel, an Arc sent from Heaven to do battle with Darks on Earth. Her specific targets are Raysers, demons who prey on the souls of teens.

REVIEW BY: Michaela, age 12 years, 1 month


This books was good. I loved that Callie didn't know about her past because it just makes it so much more exciting! 

I really enjoyed the Micros because they had so much attitude in a little package like me. I think the Micros are my favorite and I love that they talk about God. My favorite part is when Callie learns what she is. 

Overall, this is a great book. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 16. 

BOOK REVIEW: The Land Without Color by Benjamin Ellefson


Floating into the air with an enormous gum bubble, Alvin lands in a strange world where everything is gray. The trees, the flowers, the dirt, the sky, the animals, and even the people are all missing their color. 

Confronted with the mystery of the missing color, Alvin teams up with some unexpected friends to battle man-eating plants, outsmart the bumbling Crimson Guards, cross the Sugar Desert, overcome the two-headed dragon, and find the color-stealing goblins to restore color to the kingdom.

REVIEW BY: Angel, age 13 years, 9 months


This book was so fun to read and the author put a ton of imagination in to it! 

On Alvin's birthday he gets popless gum and ends up floating in the sky to a place where everything is absolutely gray and dull. Along the way to find his way back home, he meets lots of new friends and one big mystery of the missing color. 

My favorite character is Alvin because he is brave. My favorite part is when he is in the air from the popless gum. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 10.