Sunday, October 28, 2018

{13 Days of Halloween} D10: Review/Giveaway of Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn


This time around I'm going to give review and giveaway!
When you think of Halloween what do you think of?
I've provided ghosts, witches, and suspense so far
But
Don't you also think of vampires and...werewolves?
This book has a little of werewolves and a little of suspense.
It blew me away with how great the twists and turns took on life.
This book is not what I was expecting.
Read below for all my thoughts!
Then
Stick around for a chance to win a copy for yourself!!

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Charm and Strange
Series: none
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Release Date: June 11, 2013
by, St. Martin's Griffen
*An ARC was provided for review purposes*
*giveaway at the end

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . . 

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.


Wow. Just...wow. This book was all sorts of different. I went through a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts and debates with this book. That being said, I'm going to break up this review into parts: beginning thoughts, middle, and my conclusion of the end.

The Beginning: My first impression was that of Kuehn's writing. It is absolutely gorgeous and alluring. She automatically sets us up with a tone of mystery--the main character being aloof and a bit of that loner "freak" type, quiet and dangerous--and gloom. This pulled me in right away, being curious as to who he was and what kind of secrets he was hiding. The chapter titles were a subject of intrigue as well--every other switching between "Matter" and "antimatter". After seeing it was a prominent title for each chapter, I got curious and asked myself what the significance of it and then almost immediately after was given an answer. It's at the end of chapter 7 that it essentially is answered and it captivated me. I would go as far as saying it may very well just be one of my favorite book quotes in the history of ever. I might just get it tattooed too...*Spoiler: This didn't end up being a book I would call a favorite of all time but for this poetic notion alone, I fell more interested and will hold on to this beautiful writing piece as a favorite. Curious? Let me help you out.

"Insert quote here"
I don't usually quote in my reviews...maybe I should start? 
Leave opinion in comments!

The Middle: So it turns out, each chapter alternates between Drew/Win’s past and present. Both of these POVS also alternate through each part of Andrew Winston Winters. The past is Drew and the present is Win. Until the middle, I had felt Drew was written a little too immaturely. He was supposed to be 10 I believe and sometimes I just felt like by the way he talked and acted, he seemed more like 5. It was also not until the middle where I got the most confused and thrown off. In the beginning I felt as thought the book was going to be more mental health related...like maybe he was bipolar. Then....Win started bringing up werewolves. What? Yeah, I was a bit confused but then I eased into it. I started to like it. His friend Lex and new girl outcast Jordan were introduced more and I really, really enjoyed them. Because Win was such an outcast of self decision we honestly don’t see them too much until one night at a party...

The End: Once this party goes down, this is when shiz gets real. No joke. Ugh. This end. This ending 3rd of the book is what really hooked me. Past and present start clicking together and gah. Heartbreak. So much heartbreak. So many feels. As the boom progresses, Lex and Jordan really gain a voice and these three and thrown together whether Win likes it or not. They all need each other, three people bonded together because of the pain and past of their own. A friendship that ends up real and tough.

This book is wonderfully told, again Kuehn has such beautiful writing that keeps you peeled to the pages. At the end, the very last sentence reads, “And that makes all the difference,” which isn’t very far off from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” which it’s own last line reads, “And that has made all the difference.” After reading that line I knew it sounded familiar and looked it up. A short psychology evaluation of the poem described gave something like, “Confronting and solving problems is a painful process which most of us attempt to avoid. And the very avoidance results in greater pain and an inability to grow both mentally and spiritually...” This books journey is parallel to just that. I love the poetic reference from this last sentence alone. It’s s perfect ending. 

Charm and Strange holds its readers with constant curiosity, a continuous mystery front to finish. An initial whirlwind of emotions and conclusion settled down into a heartbreaking and humble end. Lovely. This is another book in which I'm curious how the hype isn't bigger than what I feel it should be--granted its another that is about 4 years old. Still, I haven't seen too many reviews on it via Goodreads, especially from bloggers I've been following since my start. *shrugs* Bottom line: I highly recommend this book to all. Next time you need something new, run out and grab this one!

~Rating:

~Giveaway

Now, again, what I know you’ve really been waiting for, yes that’s right. The giveaway. I really enjoyed this book and am excited to be able to give a copy away to one of you! Please be sure to review my giveaway policy (can be found in the rafflecopter or on my giveaway page) before entering. This is a US giveaway only. Sorry!! I can only ship so far money wise. Good luck!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2018

{13 Days of Halloween} D8: Interview with Teri Bailey Black

Hey guys! Its already past the half-way point of the 13 days leading up till Halloween!
It's time to pull out the big guns.
I know you're tired of the lists.

How about we pull out this awesome interview with Teri Bailey Black?
How does that sound!?

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Teri Bailey Black is the author of:


Release Date: August 7, 2018

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The Interview

The book world had a fad of dystopias for a while and now there seems to be lots more contemporary and fantasy, absent of "horror" and suspense novels. What made you want to write about a murder mystery?I’ve always loved reading mysteries—I have two shelves dedicated to them—but I’m also a big fantasy reader, so my first two practice novels were actually YA fantasy. As I was contemplating which story idea to write next, there were already so many amazing fantasy and dystopian books on the market, I made a conscious choice to write something else.

At first, I thought GIRL AT THE GRAVE would be straight historical fiction—the story of a girl who has to overcome the shame of a mother who was hanged for murder. Then, a few chapters into it, I realized—hey, this is a murder mystery! My brain caught fire thinking up who would get killed and why and by whom. I tossed in a few family secrets and some romance. (Must have romance.) At the time, I wasn’t aware of any mysteries in the YA market, but recently it’s been a big trend—which makes me happy because I love reading them.


I love reading mysteries myself. I even love the tv shows and movies dedicated to them documentaries especially! Is there a mentality you had to keep throughout your writing process to keep the book's eerie feel?Atmosphere is actually the fun, easy part of writing for me. I love art and design, and usually have a vivid image in my mind that I enjoy turning into words. A decrepit mansion. A creepy graveyard. The dramatic tension also comes rather easily—too easily in fact; I usually have to go back and tone it down. I’m happy to say that my real life is filled with more cookie baking and lunch with friends than dramatic atmosphere, but for some reason my imagination tends to go to a dark and stormy place.

My major in school is currently Fine Arts. I'm a lover of the arts and design myself. I love your use of that as a comparison with writing. Sometimes you forget not only is the author a creator of words but a home designer, decorator and more! You have to be good at them and love your skill in it! How did you draw the line between a suspenseful, gothic novel and utter horror?That was a natural line I didn’t think about. I love atmosphere and tension, but I’m not drawn to stories that are overly dark or horrifying. Occasionally everyone raves about a dark book or TV show, so I give it a try, but it usually ends up creeping me out and I stop partway. I want a protagonist who’s a good person stuck in a bad situation, willing to go to a dark place for a noble reason (hello Frodo). But if the protagonist is overly dark and troubled and creepy, I’m usually out.

Haha I love it! I can completely understand the natural draw to stay away from horror. Personally, I've always found myself creeped out a lot more from the horror books so perhaps this is why I have yet to read many. Lol. The book doesn't take place in today's time, instead you chose to tie in a historical time line. What interested you in taking on an older time?I knew before I wrote a single word that the story would be historical, but that still left me with lots of options in time and place. The mother was hanged quickly—just three days after the murder—so that ruled out anything in the last hundred years, when the investigation and court case would probably have taken longer. So I zeroed in on the early 1800’s. I decided on a New England setting because it had the atmosphere I wanted, with creepy old graves and a stifling social structure (unlike my own California which was still very wild west at that time). I first wrote the book in the 1820’s, then switched it to 1849 in revisions when I incorporated the start of the women’s rights movement (which was super exciting for me – so grateful for those early women who forged the way).

I love all the thought and research that went into the time era. I love history as well and always appreciate the attention to the details, work, sweat and tears going into the research to pull it off. Many props and appreciation. What is the key to keep a reader guessing within a murder mystery?It’s a super tricky, fun puzzle. A mystery needs plenty of false clues that lead the reader to suspect the wrong person (multiple times), plus enough real clues so it all makes sense at the end. It needs a few shocking reveals along the way, twisting the story in surprising directions (that’s the fun part). And, for me, even more important than the mystery, the characters have to be fully developed, with personal conflicts that force them to stretch and grow as the mystery unfolds. Oh—and the romance element needs careful handling as well, of course, with plenty of tension . . . and then hope . . . and then more tension—all with a killer on the loose. So, yeah, plotting a mystery isn’t quick and easy, but it’s a fun challenge. I’m currently replotting my next book for the THIRD time!!! I just changed the murder victim.

This reminds me of the board game, Clue I used to play growing up. It was one of my favorites. This sounds so fun! Fun, but again super impressed with your attention to research and utmost attention to detail. It really shows.Oooo yay!! Another mystery novel from you! So excited to find that out!! Creepy gothic mansions, creepy graveyards, hangings, murder...Did you have to do research to create your setting/what inspired the visuals?I’m super happy when I hit a place in my writing where I have to stop and jump into a research rabbit hole. I love it. Sometimes I look at images. (What was written on tombstones in the 1700’s? What did people wear in 1849?) Sometimes it’s reading articles on a fascinating topic—like the women’s rights movement in the mid-1800’s. For my current WIP, I’ve been researching astrophysics, which has me feeling all sorts of smart right now.

This has been such a great interview. I absolutely loved hearing all the work you put into this wonderful book. Also can appreciate the leak of more mysteries from you soon! 

Speed round:·       pumpkin pie or pecan pie? Pumpkin, but I’m not going to turn down pecan.
·       creepy grave yard or haunted mansion? Oh, haunted mansion for sure. I love creepy old houses with hidden staircases and whispers in the attic.
·       ghosts or mummies? Ghosts are so much better—people with spooky voices and fascinating stories. Mummies are just faceless and moaning.
·       spells or potions? Spells. I love words. I don’t love drinking things that taste nasty.
·       haunting or summoning? Haunting. I will not be summoning anything.
·       Freddy or Jason? Impossible question. The answer is no and definitely no.

Haha! These Halloween speed round questions are so much fun! Your answers are great xD

About Teri Bailey Black:


Teri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.
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How great was this interview!?
Thank you again to the amazing Teri Bailey Black for participating.
This book has perfect Halloween read written all over it!

Have you read it yet?
Let me know what you thought of the interview!
Answer the speed round questions yourself down in the comments!

Boo!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

{13 Days of Halloween} D7- Best Halloween-Worthy Books I've Read to Date


It's Day 8.
Halloween is creeping closer and closer you guys!
I'm stoked.
.
.
Today's a little bit of nostalgia.
I have for you today a list comprised of all the books I have deemed
as the best creepy/thrilling/halloween-worthy books I've read to date.
Ready?
(the books are not ordered in any specific order)
.
.



This book. This book is everything. I think I've already mentioned it twice this month...its that good. It's that creepy. I remember being so confused as to what was going on and just having these chills constantly throughout the entirety of the book. Mara is creepy guys. Shes great. But she's creepy. Noah Shaw might have been another reason as to why I had chills the entire book, and its not cause he was creepy if you know what I'm saying ;)

This book takes possession to an entirely new different level guys. I have already mentioned this book this month too. I took out a quote on an accurate representation of what this book is capable of here if you are interested. This book is good. And that cover? Gah!

So this book, look at that cover...is it not creepy? It did get a makeover so the newer covers don't reflect the same way. This book deals with vampires and I mean its Julie Kagawa so you know its good. She has such an effortless writing style that is so cinematic. This cinematic quality of her writing is what gives it its creepy tone. These aren't the vampires of Twilight be very aware of that. These are the type that will haunt you in your dreams and it is so dang good!



So, this one isn't necessarily creepy but the title? The synopsis? It's all about nightmares you guys and the hunt to discover a murder before it happens. This mystery and pace of the book keep you hooked. I never continued on with the series but I think this another I'm going to have to touch back on. Its great. If you haven't yet...do so!

I remember this book being 1. Creepy af and 2. one of my favorite reads. This book took me by surprise in so many ways. I was not expecting it to have the amount of creepy factor it had. I did not see that ending coming. I did not see the paranormal element it had going for it. These surprises won my heart. I still can't put into words how much I enjoyed this book. If you haven't read this yet. DO! Like now. It's only 6.15 on Kindle right now...just so you know *shrugs casually*. I seriously can't believe Yelena Black has yet to write anything else. I'd pick up her next book ASAP if she came out with one. 

I'd still have to agree with 6 years ago me, the synopsis gives way too much away. I think this was my first re-telling of Frankenstein and I loved it. "It chilled me more than I thought it would. I knew it was going to be semi-creepy because of the whole Frankenstein thing but I didn't think it would have this creepy fog hovering over it the entire book. It was like having those gloomy thunderstorm clouds with the lightening cackling every now and then. It gave me goosebumps I will admit. It also had my heart squeezing and flipping."--from my review 6 years ago. If that doesn't tell you...I don't know what will.

I know, these books are all quite a throwback.
But!! Throwbacks can be healthy! Sometimes its good to look back!
Have you guys read any of these?
See any that you want to read now?
What are some of your creepiest reads?
Let me know below!

Dont forget! The Trick or Treat Tour is going strong!
Find Days 1/D2/D3/D4/D5/D6/D7/D8!
Lots of amazing posts!
Lots of giveaways!
Check it out!
Don't miss out!
<3
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