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Review - The Whispering House

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The Whispering House
by Rebecca Wade

Publication: May 22, 2012
Pages: 272
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

Maisie Holt.

This is her book.

It's an old house, one her family plans to stay in for only a short while; but for Hannah Price, secrets soon come creeping out of every corner of Cowleigh Lodge.

First there's the old and dusty book of children's fairy tales that belonged to a young girl named Maisie. Hannah learns that the girl died mysteriously at age eleven in this very house nearly 140 years ago.

Then, when Hannah draws a portrait of Maisie, things begin to fall apart. The house seems to be reverting to its nineteenth-century form, and Hannah's not sure whether it or Maisie herself is sending her messages. Hannah must solve the mystery of Maisie's death, because if she doesn't help her, Maisie may never leave Hannah alone....

Hannah starts to have strange, intense dreams about being under a canopy of glittering green leaves with a strange, blankly staring face next to hers, when her family relocates to an old Victorian house. There, she finds a dusty book of fairy tales. The book is inscribed, "To Maisie From Your Loving Papa, Christmas 1876." Upon the discovery of Maisie Holt's gravestone in the neighborhood graveyard, Hannah finds out that Maisie died when she was only eleven years old. Hannah decides to find out what happened to Maisie with the help of her best friend Sam.

Hannah is smart, and she can put the clues together. However, all the people she gets in touch with easily gives her the necessary information needed to solve the mystery. She is too perfect, as is her situation, making her seem unreal. Sam is more interesting, and he is the one that helps Hannah make sense about the clues she finds and the dreams she has.

The ending of book is a bit let down, as it isn't nearly as strong as the rest of the book. Still, I do love the plot for the book and how the story weaves the past and the present into one by drawing on intriguing pieces of history, and I found the truth behind the dreams interesting. The Whispering House delivers plenty of spookiness for younger readers, but the older tweens and teens will find this book too simple.

Note - I didn't realize until I was reading this book that it is a book two. The first book about Hannah Price is called The Theft & The Miracle.

A copy was provided for review by the publisher.

A Bookish Halloween

This past month, I've been blogging about many Halloween-ish reads, though I never did manage to put up an events banner celebrating Monsters, Thrills, and the Paranormal. (By the time I was past midterms, it was the middle of October and I already had to start preparing for a third round of exams, so I had to change between putting up reviews and designing banners.) You can find a list of titles in the archive for October in the right sidebar.

Now that the day is finally upon us, I'd like to ask. What will you be reading tonight? Are you going to dress up and go trick or treating? If so, as a bookish character? I'm planning to dress up as a witch at the Ballroom Halloween dance this Saturday.

Review - Invisible Inkling: Dangerous Pumpkins

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Invisible Inkling: Dangerous Pumpkins
by by Emily Jenkins, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)

3 Stars
Publication: July 24, 2012
Pages: 160
Emily: Website
Harry: Website
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

It's Halloween. Fourth grader Hank Wolowitz "hates" Halloween. Every year his older sister, Nadia, scares him half to death.

This year might be different, though. After all, Hank's the only kid in Brooklyn--probably the only kid in North America--with an invisible bandapat living in his laundry basket. And Invisible Inkling "loves" Halloween. Pumpkins are his favorite food.

But Hank has serious trouble stopping Inkling from devouring every jack-o'-lantern in their neighborhood. And that's not his only problem: Will he figure out a cool costume? Will he survive the small army of ballerinas roaming the hallways of his building? Will Hank ever get revenge on Nadia?

Inkling has long since stopped listening to Hank's worries.

Inkling is taking action.

This is a fun Halloween read. Hank has an invisible, very real, friend (Invisible Inkling) who is alway sgetting him into troubles because of his deep love for pumpkins. Because no one else can see Inkling, Hank often gets into easily misunderstood situations as he cleans up after Inkling's messes. Readers will laugh at Hank's predicaments even as they are able to relate to him with regards to how he's treated by others, his relationship issues with family and friends, and dealing with it all.

Hank's family is a stereotypical one. The older sister (Nadia) is talented and overshadows the little brother (Hank). She's a troubled artist and looks the part, and she loves tormenting her little brother; in fact, one of her pranks on him led to his hatred/fear of Halloween. Hank is the typical dweeb of a little brother, who doesn't really fit into a crowd at school and is always misunderstood. Their parents don't have much personality; they're pretty happy-go-lucky, but they wake up often enough to scold Hank for things he didn't do. Inkling could fit into the family as the baby of the family who's always getting into trouble, causing problems for Hank, and letting Hank take the blame for him. Of course, they all make up somewhere towards the end--for the meantime.

I wouldn't have a problem with sharing this book with middle-grade readers. However, I would want to point out that while there are children treated with Hank, nobody has to put up with unfair treatment and that while isn't nice to pull pranks on people, just because someone does something to you doesn't mean you have to pay them back the same way. Also, that family should stick together. Nadia and Hank don't make up in the best way, but they still form a tentative peace. Hank is still learning how to stand up for him, and it's a work in progress. Hopefully, he finds more self-confidences as he grows older.

A copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.

Reaping Me Softly Tour Stop & Giveaway

Monday, October 29, 2012
Today, as a part of the Reaping Me Softly tour, I have for you my review and a giveaway!

Reaping Me Softly (Book #1)
by Kate Evangelista

3 stars: A Good Read
Publication: October 30, 2012
Pages: 220
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Buy it: Amazon

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?

The story is told through the perspectives of various characters. While it rounds out the plot, some of the changes felt abrupt, as I went from Death thinking about something to Arianne telling her best friend Ben that she sees dead people to Niko and his Reaper life. Things improved once the characters were all introduced and I got into the heart of the story, but it still felt as though I missed out on so much of the characters' lives because we're jumping around so much. At the same time, however, I do appreciate getting to know the different characters. If the story were told merely through Arianne's perspective, I doubt I'd get to see as much of Death the desk worker as I did, and I wouldn't have gotten to know Niko half as well.

The side characters held their own as well. Ben is a delight with the way he calmly takes things in stride and supports Arianne, listening to her worries and telling her what she really needs to hear. Her sister Carrie is wonderful as well. The best way that I can describe her is that she has personality.

For example:

“I talked to Niko Clark today,” Arianne blurted out, unable to take the hint of desolation hiding in the corner of Carrie’s neutral expression.

“Way to bury the lead, sis!” By the power of the sun’s rays, the fairy princess had been revived. “How did that miracle happen? And please don’t tell me you babbled.”

Awesome sister, no? I absolutely adore Carrie. She's totally worth dying and coming back for.

And let's not forget the fact that Niko is a Reaper... the Reaper of Georgia. It doesn't sound very cool, does it? But it does fall along the coolness measure with Death being a major, overworked deskworker. To make up for it, Niko has some neat abilities. I don't want to go into spoilers, but say that you're the girl he likes and you're feeling down. He can cheer you up by taking you to the In Between (and kissing you). Plus, he's hot. That's always a bonus!

Loving a Reaper has its attractions, but there are major consequences for breaking the rules. Arianne and Niko both make great sacrifice to be together and find happiness, and the ending to Reaping Me Softly has me wanting to read the next book Unreap My Heart to see how it all goes!

An copy was provided from the publisher for review purposes

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing.

This post was part of the official blog tour for Reaping Me Softly. For the full tour schedule, click here.

Imagine Weekly: Imagine My Mailbox (37)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Last weekend, I was on a road trip to a ballroom competition with my team, so I was unable to schedule my Imagine Weekly post. This week's post is a compilation of the past two weeks!

Other news, I'm changing "The Book Nerd's Heart" name to "Imaginary Chats" and will be resuming it this coming week. Things have been pretty hectic with organizing club activities and the Ballroom Halloween Dance. I'm really happy that college organizations have more power than high school clubs, but it also means a lot of work. (Still, I recommend taking an officer position at least once. It's a great experience!) Back to the topic at hand, I plan on trying to keep up with my "Imaginary Chats" weekly from now on.

Also, I probably will be posting one less day a week--if I do, Saturday will be the one hit. I have a lot of studying to do, and unfortunately this means less time for pleasure reading. I hope to catch up on my TBR piles Winter Break, but until finals are over, I won't be around as much. Even if I don't comment on the blogs I usually do, know that I'm still reading them when I can!

These Past Two Weeks
Books Reviewed

Featured Giveaway
Spooktacular Giveaway
Your choice of books from a selection, open internationally

Imagine My Mailbox

* Check out more book hauls at Tynga's Stacking the Shelves *

What did you get this week? Leave a link in the comments section, and I'll check out your week's haul!

Review: Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones

Friday, October 26, 2012
Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones (Gravediggers #1)
by Christopher Krovatin

Publication: September 11, 2012
Pages: 336
Author: Twitter
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

Ian was the one who chased the majestic buck into the forest. (His motto: Act first, think later.)

Kendra didn't want to become separated from the other sixth graders, but she followed Ian anyway, despite what her analytical mind told her.

PJ followed him, too. Even though he was scared, he figured he might catch some amazing footage with his video camera.

They all hoped to return to the hiking trail before anyone noticed they were gone. However, the mountain had other plans for them: dark, sinister plans that only nightmares are made of.

Now they don't know where they are. They don't know how to get home. They don't know what gruesome creatures lurk in the shadows-but when they find out, will they be able to defeat these monsters and escape the mountain together?

The book focuses on three 6th-grader students, Ian, PJ, and Kendra, who head out to Homeroom Earth camp in Montana for a week of science immersion and end up get lost in the woods while chasing a buck. Kendra’s compass is not working, and they don’t know where they are going. Then, they find an abandoned old cabin. Soon they find the cabin is not abandoned, and they are being hunted by zombies. Now, they have to defeat the zombies before they can reach their classmates and teachers and spread the news to the world of the danger lurking nearby.

Ian is a reckless and arrogant boy who thinks he is the center of the world; within is an intelligent, innovative individual. PJ is lacking in self-confidence, but he knows how to think in a situation. Kendra is smart, but she also thinks that she is never wrong. At first, these three characters won't acknowledge each other, but they grow to copperate with one another to survive. I love how their friendship grows and allows them to use each other’s strengths to help them survive.

Christopher mixes horror and humor in this unique story about friendship, survival, and (of course) zombies. I enjoyed learning about the unique idea of the zombies’ origins and the magic in the woods. Overall, this is a great read for middle-grade readers. I can’t wait to read about Ian, P.J. and Kendra's next big zombie adventure!

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween is almost here, and I have some awesome book prizes up for grabs!

A US resident may enter to win your choice of three of the following:

Flutter by Gina Linko
The Turning by Francine Prose
Demons by Heather Frost
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence (ARC)
Foretold, edited by Carrie Ryan (ARC)

Crave by Melissa Darnell
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Crusher by Niall Leonard
Dead Rules by Randy Russell
Beastly by Alex Flinn

Halfings by Heather Burc
White Raven by Irina Lopatina
First, to Dream of Love by Cara Ruegg
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

An international winner may enter to win an ebook of one of the following spooktacular books!

Click on cover to view Goodreads synopsis

a Rafflecopter giveaway