Friday, February 5, 2016

Unique Format: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich


The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Review by Lauren

Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryPart-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?


Review: I've owned this book for awhile now, so I figured it was finally time I read it when I realized I could use it for my Unique Formatting Book Challenge (details on a page under my header). When it comes to the actual story, I found it really interesting! Carly Johnson suffers from Dis-associative Identity Disorder (DID - used to be Multiple Personality Disorder) and this means that during the day, she is Carly. At night, she's Kaitlyn. The psychiatrist believes that Carly developed Kaitlyn as a coping mechanism after Carly's parents died. However, both girls tell her that they have always been like this. Their parents knew they were like this, but they wanted to keep it a secret because they knew people wouldn't understand.

Carly was sent to a psychiatric hospital after her parent's death and after being there for some time, she is allowed into Elmbridge High. Only her best friend Naida knows about Kaitlyn. Everyone else either knows nothing or just believe that Carly is a bit different at night. The overall story of the book is either "days before incident" or "days after incident" and it's mixed up throughout the book, giving you enough details as time goes on to put the picture together, yet still be held in enough suspense to keep reading. I think Kurtaghich did a great job! I'd love to read another mystery/suspense novel from her!

The "incident" in the book is known as the Johnson Incident and a file has been put together (this is the book you are reading) with various evidence to help explain what happened and why. Carly Johnson is obviously a key figure in said incident. From the above summary, it tells you how the story is told, using transcripts of video footage that Naida took, diary entries from Kaitlyn and a few from Carly, interview transcripts, and more. If you have read the book Illuminae, then The Dead House is one that you should definitely check out because the various non-traditional narrative styles you see in Illimuinae were used in The Dead House as well. I thought it worked great  and that you got to know Kaitlyn very well. You don't know Carly as well, but there is a reason for that, I believe, and I still feel like you know her enough.

Unique Format: Like I said before, I read this for the Unique Formatting Book Challenge that I'm hosting. I listed the various ways this book used that technique and I love that the whole book is a unique format! You usually only get bits and pieces unless the book is told through letters or a diary format all the way through. This is also suited for the Rock My TBR challenged hosted by The YA Book Traveler. I read this in January, but I'm only now reviewing it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Unique Formatting Challenge: February Reviews


I can't believe it's February already! I got one book in last month with a unique format, so I'll have to review that and link up this month. If you missed January's linky, then feel free to link up here. Otherwise, link up your February reviews! More details about this challenge (as well as book ideas) can be found underneath my header at the top of the blog! 


Sweaterweather: And Other Short Stories by Sara Varon



Sweatherweather: and Other Short Stories by Sara Varon

Review by Lauren

Source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryBack before Odd Duck, before Robot Dreams, Sara Varon created Sweaterweather. This endearing, quirky volume is a captivating look into Varon's creative process. It combines short comics stories, essays, and journal entries, and invites the reader into the world of Sara Varon: where adorable, awkward anthropomorphic animals walk the streets of Brooklyn and a surprising, sideways revelation is waiting around every corner.

Review: This is a book that I could see wannabe comic writers/artists really enjoying. Before every new comic, there is a little box with the comic title, when it was created, and then information from Varon herself on the style, or the story behind the comic. Sometimes Varon cannot remember the details behind a comic, but for the most part, it's a nice look into the mind of the artist.

Varon draws in a fun style,  giving animals a human quality and making them the main characters in her little stories. The colors are mostly blue and white, pink and white, or a mix of the three colors. The animals feel simple and fun, but it's the details in the comic strips that really catch your eye and show Varon's true talent.

"The Flight" - source

One of the stories I liked was titled "The Flight" and it's about a cat who sees a plane and has a wish to fly, using pigeons in their quest to do so! This comic does not include any words, so it's a completely silent story. Regardless, it's easy to understand - though younger readers might have a fun time creating their own dialogue. In fact, most of these comics do not have words except for the ones that read more like diary entries or include an animal version of Varon doing interviews.

It's a fun collection and the first 8 stories in the book were published as Sweaterweather in 2003. This version includes Varon's thoughts, as well as some additional comics!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Starflight by Melissa Landers Release Day Blitz

Alicia here, with a Release Day Blitz for a YA I can't wait to read! I loved the Alienated series, so I need to crack my copy of Starflight open ASAP! Enjoy!

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Hey there, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I originally pitched this story to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies) meets “Firefly” (an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season). STARFLIGHT follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue. STARFLIGHT is very different in tone from the Alienated trilogy, but the story is still filled with all the things I love: humor, heart, and adventure.

What do reviewers have to say?

“Get ready for blast-off! Action-packed and utterly addictive, nobody writes like Melissa Landers. A smart, satisfying romance set in a vividly detailed world, Starflight was just plain fun!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman

Teens will be bracing themselves during the swashbuckling action scenes. A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal

“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist



If you like your sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT today. It’s now available in stores and online.

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1MKVTwt
Book Depository (free international shipping): http://bit.ly/1OoN2WD
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1IIMPx7
Add to Goodreads 

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a STARFLIGHT swag pack, complete with custom nail wraps, bookmarks, and a mini poster! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2016


Wow, I can't believe today is the last day in January. I'm sorry this wasn't posted earlier today but I've been working all weekend and haven't had much time. Anyway, I don't normally do monthly wrap-ups but since I'm doing various book challenges and whatnot, I thought I would try and keep track of things this way.

January Monthly Wrap-Up

Blog Swap!!! 

First off, I wanted to share what I got in the Book and A Cuppa Swap from Chaotic Goddess Swaps. The idea was to send your partner one book from their wish list, a mug, and then other mug/book goodies. Whatever you want really! My partner was Meghann from Becoming Books and she did a great job with everything she got for me! Seriously!


Here is a look at everything that I got from Meghann- minus the mug (pictures below). She did an amazing job. I got Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as the book she chose from my wish list. I can't wait to read this. I just ate my Salted caramel chocolate (laying on top of the owl notepad) and it was amazing. I can't wait to eat up the rest of the candy and to use all the other lovely goodies I received!
 
Close up of some of my goodies!


Close up of the other half of my goodies!
And now...on to my lovely mug, that Meghann decorated HERSELF! I'm so in love.


This is one side of the mug (with the hot chocolate packets Meghann sent me). Click the photo to see more clearly, but it's a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes! On the other side of the mug ---


It says "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." I'm so amazed that Meghann put this together herself. It really shows that she put thought into her gift and I appreciate that! Thank you so much, Meghann!

2016 Book Challenges

I have a new page at the top of my blog (under the header) for the challenge I'm hosting - The Unique Format Book Challenge. All links and information can be found there. If you want to see links, as well as my goals, for the other challenges - go here!

Unique Format Book Challenge - read 1/15+

Book Blog Discussion Challenge - posted 1/13-24

Non-Fiction Reading Challenge (no set number) - read 3 non-fiction books so far!

2016 Series Starter Challenge - I have a goal to start 3-4 new to me series; I have not started any yet.

Rock My TBR- the goal is to read one book from your TBR every month, if you can. I read The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich in January which I have owned for awhile.

Commenting 365 Challenge - comment on 365 blogs throughout the year. I have been commenting, but not keeping track. I need to work on that!

Goodreads Challenge- I have it at 100 books for the year, but I feel like I'll read more. Right now:

15/100 books read for the year

Add me on Goodreads to keep track of everything I'm reading, as well as for what challenge! I read The Dead House as a TBR book, but it also fits the Unique Format Challenge! I had reviews for some of these posted throughout the month, but not all the books I read in January have been reviewed yet!

The Rest of It

Okay, I know a lot of people use these monthly wrap-ups to leave links to all the various posts they made throughout the month, but I'm a bit lazy at the moment. Do you want me to do this in future months though? I'll make sure to if there is interest! 

As for my Sunday posts about the library, I didn't attend any events this past week. I have a lot of them in February though, so be on the look out for photos during my normal Sunday Posts! 

Currently Reading: Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey (really good so far - nice for fans!) I wish I could have finished it in time to count for January, but ah well, I think 15 books this month is good. It's a high number for me! hah January has been five weeks though, so we'll see what I get finished in February! 

-Lauren

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shooting Thoughts: Bridge the Gap With Me


One of my challenges for this year is to do more discussion posts. I often have ideas I want to talk about, but I find that writing these posts often take the longest time. Am I the only one? Anyway, today I want to talking about international entertainment - books, movies, music. Whatever! For me, international is anything that is not from the United States. For people in other countries, it would be any country besides your own! Easy, right? Let's start discussing...

Let Us Bridge the Gap 

This is something I've been meaning to really do on the blog, but I just keep forgetting. First off, I'll be needing a button so I can properly label these posts. If anyone wants to make one (especially if you'd like to use it on your own blog too) that would be awesome! Otherwise I'll try my hand at making something simple. 

Anyway, the idea behind Bridge the Gap is to focus on things that are outside of where you live. Sure, living in the United States, I could read about a different state and have something very unique. However, I'd really like to start paying attention to other countries and what they have to offer. Yes, I've read books that were published in other countries (or by foreign authors) and yes, I've watched foreign films and listened to music from artists in other countries. I'm doing this now! I want to be more aware of it though. Seek out more entertainment and actually write about it on the blog. This doesn't mean I have to take an outsider's approach to everything, but I want to acknowledge the places these pieces of entertainment come from.

I know a lot of you reading this are mostly book bloggers, so that means you would seek out books written in other countries. If you do not live in the United States, you can still do this! U.S. books count, especially if your native language isn't English...but you can also look at all the other places where you don't live! It's a way for us as bloggers to come together a bit more, by celebrating the different places where we all live. It seems like books published in the U.S. are the most celebrated and they probably get most of the attention because of the big-name publishers, but that shouldn't always be the case. Besides, plenty of U.S. publishing companies are now sharing foreign novels by having them translated into English. People say this means the book loses a bit of what it originally was, because not all things can be translated in quite the same way the author might have meant. And yeah, that's probably true, but we shouldn't just ignore these books (or those movies with subtitles) because of that!

This discussion is one part telling you that I hope to pay more attention to what other countries are producing, as well as making note on my blog when I am featuring them with a Bridge the Gap button. However, I also want to reach out to the blogosphere as a whole and see if you would like to take this journey with me, if you will. Share what you're reading, listening too, watching, etc. Give ideas of what other people should check out - whether it's from your country (non-U.S. natives) or not! 

I'm ready to find more gems. I'm ready to learn about other places and other people. Are you ready to Bridge the Gap with me? 

-Lauren 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chandler by Laurelin Paige Cover Reveal

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Title: Chandler (A Fixed Trilogy Spinoff)
Author: Laurelin Paige
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance


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I dominate the boardroom. Im a Pierceits what we do. But I never had a reason to bring that persona into the bedroom. Until Genevive Fasbender. Shes brash and bold and stubborn as hell, and she doesnt believe its possible to satisfy her. But Ive discovered her secret, one she hasnt even figured out herselfshe wants what I want. And not only does she want itI'll make her need it. No matter what.


Add to Goodreads




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iBooks


"Laurelin Paige has done it again with her sexy, protective, alpha males. ★★★★★" - Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads


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Free Me is on sale NOW for 99¢

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With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn't seem to complain, however. When she isn't reading or writing sexy stories, she's probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. 

You can connect with Laurelin on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaurelinPaige or on twitter @laurelinpaige. You can also visit her website, www.laurelinpaige.com, to sign up for emails about new releases.



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