ARC Book Review: A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian

Posted on Friday, September 26, 2014 12:00 AM
A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her stunning New Adult debut, The Wicked We Have Done, Sarah Harian introduced readers to the Compass Room: a twisted experimental jail where the guilty and the innocent suffer alike. But breaking out was only the beginning…

Even though she’s escaped, twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra is anything but free. She’s desperate to return to a life that no longer exists, but prying reporters continually draw her back into nightmarish memories, using the tabloids to vilify her. Bad press is the last thing she needs during the trial of the year: the case that she and her fellow survivors staked against the Compass Room engineers. A case that could terminate the use of the inhumane system forever...

But in her dreams, she is still locked in that terrifying jail.

When she wakes, someone is trying to communicate with her in secret, through strange and intricate clues. As Evalyn follows their signs, she uncovers a conspiracy that goes so much deeper than her own ordeal. A dangerous intrigue that only she can bring to light. One that will force her to work with the one person she doesn’t want to see.

The person who owns her heart...

My Thoughts: 

After reading and falling in love with The Wicked We Have Done earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel in order to find out what happens to Evalyn, Casey and Valerie.  And I have to admit that I was expecting the same heart stopping action and the edge-of-your-seat suspense that we got in TWWHD.  However, that wasn’t the case with A Vault of Sins as it was more centered on the actual characters and I really loved that aspect.

It was a pleasure to be able to dive deeper into the lives and minds of Evalyn, Casey and Valerie in this wonderful sequel and to see just how much being in the Compass Room affected each of them.  They each had their own coping mechanism whether it be alcohol or building up walls.

Although each and every survivor of the Compass Room was affected deeply it seemed that Casey had the hardest time dealing with repercussions of his crime, probably due to the fact that it was much more personal and hit closer to home compared to Evalyn and Valerie.  Nevertheless, I felt like each of them grew as characters in their own ways.

Now to the romance.  I love the idea of Evalyn and Casey together and I was ecstatic every time we got a glimpse of the depth of their feelings for each other.  However, there wasn’t enough in this installment to keep me satisfied.  I’m hoping that we will get more E&C in the next book.

I also really liked how Harian included snippets of news stories, blog posts and fan fiction in with the story.  I felt like it gave me more sympathy for Evalyn, Casey and Valerie which in turn made everything that was going on and happening to them have more of an impact on the reader.  So well done on that aspect, Harian.

Overall, A Vault of Sins is a magnificent sequel to one of my favorite reads this year.  It’s filled with character development, twists that will leave you with your jaw dropped and a promise of more amazing things to come if that ending is any indication.  The Chaos Theory is a New Adult series that shouldn’t be missed.

<3, Christy

Waiting on Wednesday | The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:30 AM

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My Pick

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Seventeen-year-old Ella Lawton spent her entire life living in the shadows of her identical twin sister's popularity, but she never dreamed of having Maddy’s life; never wanted it. In fact, she’s spent the last three years trying to separate herself from the group at school Maddy has chosen, preferring the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook and the company of her best friend, Josh, to the constant battle for attention and popularity that has defined her sister’s life.

When a heated argument and a tragic accident leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by friends and loved ones who believe she is Maddy. She is overwhelmed by their joy when they realize she will live - a joy Ella is sure she would not see if they knew the truth, that it is Ella who survived, not her lovable, popular sister. After what she has done, she cannot bring herself to cause even more heartache and in that moment she makes the gut wrenching decision to assume her sister’s life. Navigating her sister’s popularity and boyfriend are hard enough, but Ella soon realizes that Maddy’s life is full of secrets that have kept her popularity intact while slowly destroying her from the inside out. Caught in a web of lies and with no escape in sight, Ella is faced with two options - confess her deception and risk the hatred and betrayal of those around her, or give up all of her own dreams and continue down the destructive path her sister's life has mapped out for her.

ARC Book Review | Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2014 4:30 AM
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s something about the swamp in Sticks, Louisiana. Something different, something haunting . . . something alive. Everyone knows this, and everyone avoids going near it. And even the Mardi Gras–bead-decorated fence that surrounds it keeps people away.

Until one morning when Sterling Saucier’s older brother Phineas runs into the swamp . . .

And doesn’t return.

Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out in his place, and all of a sudden, no one in Sticks remembers Phin at all. They treat Lenora May as if she’s been Sterling’s sister forever.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—but first she’s got to find someone who believes her.

Heath Durham might be that someone. A loner shrouded behind rumors of drug addiction, Heath has had his own strange experience with the swamp. He and Sterling will have to piece together enough bits of memory and ancient swamp lore to get to the truth. But as the wild swamp encroaches on their town, Sterling and Heath may find a lot more than they expected . . . and Phin may be lost to them forever.

My Thoughts:

Unique, eerie, and incredibly fascinating, Beware the Wild is every one of those things. This book had me hooked from the very first page and kept me enthralled until the very end.

In Sticks, Louisiana it’s a known fact that the swamp is dangerous and for no reason do you ever go beyond the fence that contains it. However, when Sterling and her brother Phin have an argument one morning, he jumps the fence. Sterling waits all day for her brother to come back out but he doesn’t. Instead a girl named Lenora May comes out in his place and takes over his life. Everyone, including Sterling’s parents have forgotten all about Phin. Everyone except Sterling, and she is determined to send the imposter that everyone thinks is her sister back to the swamp and bring Phin out. But she quickly learns that everything isn’t as it seems and you have to be careful who you trust.

I really liked Sterling, she was so stubborn and strong and she would do anything to bring her brother back, no matter the costs. I really didn’t know what to think of Lenora May at first, but she really grew on me. I really enjoyed the baking scene, I felt like that was the moment that I realized she may be different than what I was thinking.

Heath was also an amazing character, he’s also not a stranger to the swamp. He was really sweet and he was determined to help Sterling bring her brother back.

The romance, although light, was very endearing. You couldn’t help but to want the best for Heath and Sterling and I found myself constantly hoping that they would overcome the things that were thrown their way.

Overall, Beware the Wild is a wonderful YA fantasy with the right amount of creepy and mystery to keep you engrossed. The plot was fast paced and flowed wonderfully, the twists and turns of this swampy debut makes it a book that’s not to be missed.

---- Christy

Waiting on Wednesday | Suspicion

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:00 AM

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My Pick

Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Expected Publication Date: December 9, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

Find on Goodreads

Review and Giveaway| The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Posted on 12:00 AM

Welcome to my stop for The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco Blog Tour hosted by Sourcebooks Fire!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!  You can win a print copy of The Girl from the Well (US and Canada only)

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

My Review:

I am where the dead children go

Yep, that is the first line in this uniquely haunting book. How freaking creepy is that?!? VERY! Am I right?? Of course I am ;) 

BUT…even though, that first line gave me the chills with its eeriness, it also really intrigued me. What does that mean?? Where do the dead children go?? I want to know! Well…..kind of. Ok, not so much, but I still had to find out. 

The Girl from the Well is based on a very well-known Japanese ghost story, one that I wish I would have researched before I picked this book up as I did get a teeny bit confused at times, but it wasn’t enough to make me put this book down. Okiku is a ‘vengeful’ spirit, one that has been hunting child murderers for a very long time. Her story begins over three hundred years ago when she was thrown down a well to her death, only her spirit never left and she has been wandering around seeking vengeance on those who murder kids, much like the man who killed her.

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

Like I said above, Okiku has spent her timing unconcerned with those around her, unless of course they have dead children attached to them. However, all of this changes when a tattooed boy crosses her path and Okiku finds herself drawn to him and she doesn’t know why. The plot only grows from there but since I don’t want to give anything away I’ll just say that the tattooed boy is more than meets the ‘human’ eye. Yes, I know that’s kind of vague and you probably won’t understand it until you read the book ;) 

Although I enjoyed this story, I wish I would have put it off for a few days only because the day that I finished this book, I came home from class and had NO electricity, which means I had to sleep in the dark! After reading this! Needless to say that I didn’t sleep well that night. I kept waking up and imagining a Japanese dead girl standing beside my bed *shudders*

Overall, The Girl from the Well is a disturbingly unique, haunting book. It will give you chills and you’ll probably never look at a ceiling the same way again. If you like to be scared then you should definitely give this one a try. 

About the Author:

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

Her work, The Girl from the Well, is a YA psychological horror novel due out in Fall 2014, pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge". She is represented by Nicole LaBombard and Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency.


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Waiting on Wednesday | Aponlonia

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 4:00 AM

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My Pick

Apolonia by Jamie McGuire

Expected Publication Date: October 1, 2014 by Simon & Schuster

“They killed me, but I survived.”

Three years after Rory Riordan foiled her own murder, she still trusts no one. Not Dr. Z, the eccentric college professor who has taken her under his wing, not Benji, the endearing, attractive classmate who insists on following her around, and certainly not Cy, the beautifully dark and mysterious boy who sits on the first row in Dr. Z’s Astrobiology class and asks far too many questions.

When Rory witnesses Cy being abducted by soldiers in the middle of the night, she finds herself submersed in a world that holds even more secrets than she could imagine--even darker secrets than her own.

From #1 New York Times Bestseller Jamie McGuire, experience the perfect combination of her bestselling books Providence & Beautiful Disaster. This New Adult Sci-Fi Romance is an action-packed, whiplash-inducing roller coaster ride. Page after page, this unpredictable, dark and sexy nail biter will keep readers guessing until the very end!

Sunday Showdown (22) | Best Book Boyfriend

Posted on Sunday, September 7, 2014 1:00 AM

I've decided to switch things up on my Showdowns and include more than just covers.  I'm going to start throwing characters world's, etc up against each other too just to see who comes out on top! 

For today, I'm putting the infamous Daemon Black up against Aiden St. Delphi...unfair, I know ;) 

Let the Showdown begin!

“I swore to you that I wouldn't let that happen, and I know I've failed you, but I'm not going to just give up, Alex. I'll never give up on you.” - Aiden


“Did you think you could stop me? I'll burn the world down to save her.”  - Daemon

Best Book Boyfriend free polls 

Blog Tour: Astray by Amy Christine Parker

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:00 AM
Welcome to my stop on the Astray Blog Tour!!

Lyla is caught between two worlds. The isolated Community that she grew up in and the outside world that she’s navigating for the very first time. The outsiders call the Community a cult, but Pioneer miraculously survived a shooting that should have killed him. Are the faithful members right to stay true to his message? Is this just a test of faith? One thing is for sure: the Community will do anything to bring Lyla back to the fold. Trapped in a spider’s web of deception, will Lyla detect the sticky threads tightening around her before it’s too late? She’ll have to unravel the mystery of what Pioneer and the Community are truly up to if she wants to survive.

Suspenseful and chilling, Astray is Amy Christine Parker’s nerve-fraying sequel to Gated. This fast-paced psychological thriller is masterfully plotted and sure to leave goose bumps. Perfect for fans of creepy YA thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

My Thoughts: 

When I read Gated last year, it completely took me by surprise.  I went into it not knowing what to expect and came out on the other side amazed.  The events and the plot of this book is something that I could truly see happening in real life and that’s what made it so terrifying.  When I finished, I didn’t know that there would be a sequel so when I saw Astray I was absolutely ecstatic.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it so that I could see what would happen to Lyla and Cody, and I’m happy to say that Astray didn’t disappoint, it was just as intense and chilling as the first book.

Lyla has been staying with Cody’s family since the raid on Mandrodage Meadows and although Pioneer is behind bars and she’s not with the Community anymore, she still doesn’t feel free.  Pioneer still haunts her, and even behind bars, he will do everything he can to make sure Lyla comes back into the folds of the Community. 

Like I said in my review of Gated, Lyla is such a strong character, and that strength doesn’t waver in this installment either.  Sure, she may feel a little lost and like she doesn’t belong on one side or the other, but it takes strength to keep on fighting and that’s exactly what Lyla does.  Pioneer may want her back and he may have the resources that he needs to get his way, but like so many, he underestimates Lyla’s strength. 

Cody is another one of my favorite characters in these books.  He’s just so caring, sweet and he has such a big heart.  With everything that Lyla is going through, he’s her rock and if he wasn’t there for her, I’m not sure what would happen.  The supporting characters are pretty amazing too, Taylor, Jack, Cody’s parents, all of them make a difference in Lyla’s life, and they make her see that there’s more to Outsiders than she grew up thinking.

Parker’s writing is astounding, the story flows flawlessly and she knows how to keep you entertained from the very first page up until the very end.  Overall, Astray is just as strong and unsettling as Gated.  If you enjoyed the first book, then you’re sure to love this one and if you haven’t read these books you, you should.

 About the Author:

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.


Book Review | In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Posted on Monday, September 1, 2014 4:30 AM
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

My Thoughts:

I’ve heard such amazing things about In the Shadows of Blackbirds but not being a huge historical fiction fan, I’ve put off reading it for a while. I’m glad that I finally decided to give it a go though, because it’s such a unique story.

Mary Shelley Black lives in a time of war and disease, it’s the fall of 1918 and the Spanish Influenza is in full swing taking the lives of most people who are unlucky enough to catch it. With people dying from the flu and soldiers dying in combat everyone is turning towards séances and spirit photographers.

However, Mary Shelley doesn’t believe in all that stuff, until it comes knocking on her door in the form of her first love, Stephen. But the things that Stephen is telling her and the things she discovers doesn’t add up with what she told about his death, and it’s up to her to figure out what happened to Stephen so he can finally get the peace he deserves.

Like I said above, this story is incredibly unique and I don’t think I’ve read a ghost story quite like this one before as this was the first time I’ve ever even heard of spiritualist photographers. And while I may be just as skeptical as Mary Shelley when it comes to those type of photographers, I can see how in times of death, people would flock to them, searching for any shred of hope of life after death.

Mary Shelley was an interesting character, I loved how stubborn she was and the fact that she would fight for what she thought was right, no matter the cost to her. I wish we could’ve gotten more of Stephen as I feel like it would have made his death more devastating for the reader, but alas we can’t always have what we want.

In the Shadows of Blackbirds was a unique read and while I enjoyed Mary Shelley’s story, this book didn’t blow me away like I was hoping based on all of the amazing reviews that I’ve seen but that could be because I’m not big on historical fiction, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

--- Christy

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