Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

Goodreads: The house on Hemlock Road used to be someone’s home. Until something happened. Something that even after 80 years, can never be forgotten or forgiven . . . .

Eleven-year-old twins Hannah and Anna agree about everything—especially that they don’t want to move to the creepy old house on Hemlock Road.
But as soon as they move into the house, the twins start disagreeing for the first time in their lives. In fact, it’s almost as though something or someone is trying to drive them apart.
While Anna settles in, Hannah can’t ignore the strange things that keep happening on Hemlock Road. Why does she sense things that no one else in the family does?  Like when the hemlock branch outside waves shush, shush. And at night, if she listens hard enough, it’s almost as though someone is trying to talk to her. Someone no one else can hear. Someone angry enough to want revenge. Hannah, are you listening? 
Is the house haunted? Is Hannah crazy? Or does something in the house want her as a best friend—forever?

Its been a long time since I've read and enjoyed a middle grade book. The main creepiness in the book comes from not knowing who the narrator is. It is written n a way where the narrator has thoughts of their own, their own comments are added and their observation on situations and soon you start to realise that the narrator is actually a character in the book but what you do not know is whether they are living or dead. 

Hannah and Anna, eleven-year-old twins are forced to move into the house in Hemlock Road when their elder sister Selena fails to get into a decent college. They hate the creepy house and they plan on ways to get their family to move back to their old home. On the first day of school Anna makes a friend, and soon she is settling in fine, enjoying school and going to slumber parties. Hannah bhates school makes no friends and soon Hannah and Anna are drifting apart. Hannah is lonely, depressed, and that is when the "being" in the house decides to make Hannah her new best friend. Aside from the bats, and mice and other "critters" in the house.

Who is this being, the lonely soul who has been left behind all thise years ago. Why is it trapped in this house. As Hannah spends more and more time by herself, the "voice" starts to communicate with her. It wants her to discover things hidden in the house. It wants her to figure out what had happened. It wants to keep her there with her.

Overall : Excellent writing, gripping., full of suspense. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and absolutely loved the lonely, sometimes hateful and sometimes even menacing narrator.

Happy Reading Everyone!!!

In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Goodreads Synopsis:  In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

When I started reading this book I had absolutely no idea what it was about. The cover is what grabbed my attention. To tell you the truth I was hooked from page one. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelly Black is on a train to go live with her aunt in San Diego. The train is crowded with passengers wearing mask to prevent themselves from catching a killer flu. The train stinks of onions, a method people have deemed as a way of warding off the flu germs. Its the middle of World War One, and soldiers are dying in the battle fields and people are dying from this deadly disease that just appeared one day. Mary Shelly's father has been arrested for crimes against the USA, her mother had died giving birth to her.
She arrives in San Diego. The houses have black and white ribbons hanging on the doors for every member lost to the flu including children. Her Aunt Eva bathes her in onions (literally) and feeds her onion soup. She finds comfort in reading letters from her childhood sweetheart, her best friend, Stephen. Stephen's half brother Julius is a spirit photographer. People flock to his studio to get their photos taken just to find piece in having a photo taken where the spirit of dead relatives can be seen hovering around them.
Stephen dies in battle. He has left a package for Mary Shelly but to have it she must sit for Julius and let him photograph her. Stephen's spirit appears in the photograph and that is just the beginning of  all the weird things that start happening to Mary Shelly. Stephen soon starts to visit her. His spirit is still stuck somewhere between this world and the next and Mary Shelly must figure out a way to free his soul. He believes that something or someone is hurting him and he screams about blackbirds. Mary Shelly decides to help Stephen to pass on even though she has no idea how to do it or has no one to turn to for help.

Even though the story is about ghosts and spirits, the main darkness and gloom comes from the chaos surrounding the flu. People dropping like flies, the flu reaches the neighborhood, patients are without ambulances there are no beds left in hospitals. The narration is so strong and believable you can almost smell the onions! There is a scene where Mary Shelly volunteers at the Red Cross house to help the wounded. Soldiers with the missing limbs, the bandaged faces, some doped up on morphine, others screaming in their sleep from nightmares they just can't seem to wake up from, Cat winters describes the scenes so well that you can easily picture yourself in Mary Shelly's place and can see the soldiers all in their wounded bodies and can feel their pain. 

The characters were well done, the plot - excellent! I could not put this book down! I think it was more of the way the story was told rather than the actual story itself. I just had to find out what happened to Stephen when he was at war or what had happened to him afterwards. I wanted to know if Mary Shelly and Aunt Eva do escape from the flu or not, this book had me on the edge of my seat till the very end. A job well done Ms. Cat Winters, a job well done!

Happy Reading Everyone!!!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Reading Updates

Since the other post was getting crammy, i'll be posting the updates here.
So we are into hour 22, and my eyes are SORE!!! I fell asleep twice already (right at the start of the challenge and then again just a few hours after waking up). The amount of cleaning i had to get done today was ridiculous, which obviously meant less reading time.
Still, I did manage to get some reading done, not very impressive considering the page count but its still something :)

Completed: The Asylum for Fairy-Tale Creatures by Sabastian Gregory
                   The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

Partially Read : The Fall
                        13 Little Blue Envelopes

In total I have read around 550 - 600 pages. Still got a couple of hours till the end of the challenge so I better get reading!!!

End of hour 24 : Aahhh i am soooo tireeeeed!!! I didnt get much reading done since the last update. i kept reading a few pages from random books nothing specific just so i could still be awake when the challenge ends.

Since this was my first read-a-thon, I really didn't know what to expect. I honestly didn't think staying up would be this hard. I mean usually i can easily go 48 hours without any sleep, except of course when i need to stay awake then, magically sleep comes. Another big mistake on my part was skipping meals. I haven't had proper meal since last night's dinner and snacking on cookies did not help. I am starving, as in my stomach is burning I am so hungry and now I am too tired to even make myself something to eat. Next year, or sooner maybe, when i do another read-a-thon  definitely know what to do and what not to do. Another stupid mistake was not having a few audio books, cos at times my eyes were so tired that I just couldn't go on. Also would have helped when I had to do the dishes and the laundry.

All in all I had a great time. Looking forward to next year's read-a-thon and will definitely beat this year's page count.

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, 17 October 2014

24 Hour Read-a-Thon!!!

I am taking part in Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon, and it starts in less than five hours!!! I haven't decided which books i want to read today, but I do know i will be starting with The Fall by Bethany Griffin. I don't know much about this book except for that it is horror, fantasy/paranormal.

I will be mostly reading books on my Kindle that ways can switch to any book I want and won't have to carry a big pile of books to places where I might decide to read. Also, I usually find that when my eyes get tired, or i am starting to feel a little sleepy, i can always increase the text size on and which means i can usually read for a little longer.

Other books I might be reading :

The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Paranormal

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
, Mystery

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

The Asylum of FairyTale Creatures by Sabastian Gregory
Genre: FairyTale Retelling
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

A New Beginning

Ever since I was a little girl I loved to write down my thoughts. I would find a piece of paper or an old notebook with yellowed pages and would simply start writing away. Words appeared on the page faster than I could think them up. I loved to write. So the fact that I want to start a blog and write whatever i feel like writing should come very naturally, right? Wrong! I don't know how many days I sat in front of my computer staring at the screen thinking, "Should I write? What should I write about? Is anyone gonna even read it? What is the point of this??? "

So today, sitting at my computer, two and a half hours of frustration, temple rubbing, hair pulling, and two very sore eyes later I have decided to start a blog about my favorite thing in the world, Books. I love everything about books. The story, the title, the cover, the pages, the dusty smell of old books, inky smell of new books. I love it all. 

This is just a silly little intro i felt i needed to write. tomorrow i am taking part in  a 24 hour Read-a-Thon and what better to start than to start with my first time read-a-thon experience. Lots of thoughts, updates, short reviews and pics to come... Here we go !!!