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Monthly Recap: October


October started off with me still battling cold but I read and read which made it all better. Then the end of the month got very busy.

LIST OF NEWSWORTHY

Hello, this month's been fairly good and I read seven books (this is a lot since the maximum number I manage to reach in a month is eight).


Best friend's Wedding
My oldest and one of the best friends got married and I feel so weird because I'm so not ready for that. It's a new feeling for me though, she's the one who got married ha ha.

Bookshelf: 1, Sana: 1.
I got zee new bookshelf! Currently it's still in the process of being painted by yours truly. It's pretty big, has six shelves and well, I'm just so happy that my books aren't homeless anymore.

Baby Boy
My brother had a baby! He's his first child and the sixth one in the family. And he scream-cries which is pretty funny 'cause his voice got hoarse just from doing that so much. He's only a week old right now.

TV WATCH

I finally caught up on season one of The Originals and it's good.
The Vampire Diaries mostly suck. The show needs to end 'cause I just watch it for the nostalgia.
Still so happy that The Big Bang Theory and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are back.
Faking It is mostly just stupid but it's only 20 minutes long so.

MOVIE WATCH


I only watched one movie? Ha ha.

Edge of Tomorrow (7/10) - My expectations were sky high and while I liked pretty much all the action-filled scenes, I wasn't blown away by it.

LIST OF READS

Rereading is my new favorite thing. So planning a Harry Potter next year! And oh, fantasy still rocks.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

LIST OF BLOGPOSTS

I was posting fine but then I got busy and couldn't post a couple of posts I wanted to for horror fortnight sigh.

I posted my reviews of Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas.
I posted my review of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch.
I posted my introduction to horror fortnight.
I wrote a post highlighting thirteen authors and YA horror.
I posted my review of The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
I posted the trend of island settings in YA.

LIST OF BOOK BUYS

Pretty books!


The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

PLAYLIST

MOAR Fall Out Boy, basically.

Froot is so different from the Marina songs I've come to love... // FALL OUT BOY :HEART EYES: // TS, I like your new album.


How was your October?

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Trend Alert: Island Settings in YA

Of trends and lesser-knowns.

No, this isn't a post about taking books to a deserted island, it's about books that takes place on them. A deserted island, a huge isolated piece of land floating in dark water, a death trap; you get the picture. It's spooky, there's a high likelihood of getting murdered and possibly no way out. But it could also be adventurous, full of mystery, chilling to the bone, or romantic.

Enid Blyton's Five on a Treasure Island was the first book I read which was set on an island. Full of adventure and mystery, it made me fall in love with the Famous Five.

Classic When it Comes to Island Settings

There are always classics, the books that came before everything else and set a standard or just became classics on the basis of their stories. However, most of the classics in the genre are fantasy-based.


L. M. Montgomery's Anne of the Green Gables series takes place on Prince Edward island and who doesn't know that. Not many people like William Golding's Lord of the Flies which is all things downright creepy and nightmarish and takes place on a deserted island. However, Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost World takes place on a jungle island with dinosaurs.

Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague features ponies and horses and Rachel Neumeier's The Floating Islands is a fantasy that features dragons and men with wings.

Juliet Marillier's Wolf's Skin is a sweeping historical fiction fantasy about Eyvind who dreams of becoming a Wolfskin. Dan Elconin's Never After is a reimagined tale of Peter Pan with perils and laughter as no genre is complete without a retelling.

And oh, Koushun Takami's Battle Royale is also a classic in the sci-fi genre with an island setting.

Lastly, Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races takes place on a fictional island and what could be better than that?

Stranded with Suspense and Murder

I've watched one too many movies where a group of people get stranded on an island only to find that their number is decreasing one by one. Nothing good could come out of that.


In Gretchen McNeil's Ten, it was supposed to be a three-day party weekend on an island. But now it's all about one person having a killer party. Similarly, Abigail Haas' Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys is all about everything gone wrong when a brutal murder happens. Running for your life has a new meaning and it's Haas.

However, in Megan Shephard's The Madman's Daughter, we go back in time on a remote tropical island to uncover the truth about Juliet Moreau's mad, mad father. Whereas Francis Hardinge's The Lost Conspiracy is more about adventure than murder but there's definitely something sinister going on.

Threats and Unraveling Truths On an Island

What is it about islands that's just so damn creepy, anyway? I mean, yeah, they could be romantic and beautiful like that one time in Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn (barf). However, islands are majorly full of truths and mystery and if you want to get off one, you gotta figure out the truth. For instance, how in Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, the arena was in a jungle with the Cornucopia situated on an island.

But could island settings also be something wrought with a different kind of a danger?


Ransom Rigg's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is spine-tingling for a sinister reason and Marcus Sedgewick's Midwinterblood is an unsettling story about immortality set in the future on an, you guessed it, island.

Anna Collomore's The Ruining features insanity and I bet that insanity on an island is worse than in other place. There's just something about it... Moving on, E. Lockhart's We Were Liars is creepy on a private island.

But it's not always psychological as Austin Aslan's The Islands at the End of the World is a bloodchilling dystopia set on Hawaii featuring an epileptic main character. Moreover, Allegra Goodman's The Other Side of the Island is all about finding out the truth and Lynne Matson's Nil and Nil Unlocked feature an island that's full of dangers and a terrible truth.

Francine Prose's The Turning takes place on an isolated island where things are bound to get spooky and Megan Crewe's The Way We Fall is about a community surviving on an island after it's been quarantined because of a virus.

Crash! Now Survive

For some reason, crashing on islands isn't as popular as one would think. It is a chilling scenario, though to find yourself on an island with no way out. How would you survive?


Libba Bray's Beauty Queens is perhaps a stellar book when it comes to suvival because you got a bunch of beauty pageant participants on an island. Fun times ahead, eh? Contrastingly, S. A. Bodeen's The Raft is about a couple of survivors, one of whom is unconscious for a better part of the book.

Basically, books set on island make me wish never to be on one. Do you like books set on islands? Does it get old for you fast or does the thrill of it all excites you?

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Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
young adult fantasy published by Putnam Books for Young Readers on 7 October 2014
first book in The Young Elites series

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they've never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn't belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

This book right here is not about a hero, it's about how a villain is made and that's the essence of The Young Elites. It's everything I loved about it. Marie Lu crosses all boundaries of predictability and goes into the uncharted territory of shock and awe that many seldom cross. The Young Elites is the amalgamation of everything I've come to adore about the fantasy genre; the violence of Susan Ee's Angelfall, the sweeping world of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass, the wickedness in V. E. Schwab's Vicious and that something that sets The Young Elites apart from every other.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever that took her left eye and marked her as a malfetto. It's not a victorious survival for she is marred for life, and on the continent of Kenettra, being a malfetto is akin to a death sentence. Stripped of respect and his reputation as a merchant, her father went to extreme lengths to make Adelina show powers not of this world, to be worth something. To be a young elite. The constant abuse of his father, the love he showered her younger sister Violetta with, and the final straw which drove her to the edge. Adelina escapes from his prison only to constantly find herself behind more and more bars.

Teren Santoro is the Lead Inquisitor, working to eliminate all malfettos and always on the lookout for the young elites. His character surprised me the most. He is one of those who despises malfettos and he's wicked to his bones. Self-righteousness drives him which is revealed through the changes in perspective. Teren's definitely someone to fear because he doesn't spare anyone who crosses him, least of all a malfetto who dared defy him. So seeing him on par with Adelina is something to behold.

Enzo Valenciano is the leader of the Dagger Society, one of the groups of young elites who hope to find more like them and plan to bring down the king and queen. There's not much we get to know about him; he's no open book and I preferred it that way because of the events that took place. There's so much mystery surrounding him and all of his scenes with Adelina were underlaid with such power and sensuality that I wanted more.

The violence in the story is so well-crafted that I could feel the delicious darkness inside Adelina and oh, what darkness it is! It churns and churns and builds up into something that's mindblowing. But the darkness is not limited to Adelina, oh no every character is dark and I supposed much of it is because of the kind of world they live in and what they have to endure on a day to day basis, I just know that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The secondary characters are well-defined especially Raffaele who I adored but it was Spider that I loathed. The next installment in the series is definitely going to be bigger and more badass and I just can't wait to delve back into the world of The Young Elites. Marie Lu decided to wrench my happiness away and now I'm not quite sure what to make of that ending. And oh, that dagger on the cover? It actually shows up in the book.

THE QUOTES

'Be true to yourself. But that's something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.' 
'No one ever gives me their kindness without hoping for something in exchange.'

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Thirteen Authors and YA Horror

It's Horror October and today I'm focusing on YA authors who write horror books that really terrify or are just downright creepy.

Whatever genre an author debuts with definitely impacts their image. Now, there are many things responsible for the success of any book. YA has come a long way in that a good guy facing off the bad guy isn't limited to the darker genres anymore. However, I can't help but notice that there are only a handful of young adult horror authors and that its subgenres are much more popular (re: zombies and dark fantasy). So while we definitely need more young adult horror, here's a list of thirteen authors who delved into the genre.


Before. Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood is probably the most popular book when it comes to young adult horror. And why wouldn't it be, featuring a ghost harboring murderous rage for anyone who dares enter the Victorian house that was her home back in the 1950s? The sequel titled Girl of Nightmares is almost, if not quite, as popular as its predecessor.

After. Blake then went on to write an adult mythology series titled Goddess War which mainly garnered mixed reactions and ratings despite most of Antigoddess ratings averaging four stars while, the recent release of its sequel, Mortal Gods, seems to receive more love.

What's next? A young adult fantasy series, the first of which is titled Three Dark Crowns, releasing in fall 2016. There are assassins and it takes place on a remote island and who doesn't want to read stuff like that.

Before. Writing under the alias of Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire made her debut as a young adult author with Feed, the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy. A series that majority of people love which Grant describes it as 'thoughtful horror and horrific science fiction' set in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies exist.

After. In 2013, Parasite, the first book in her new Parasitology series, was released which tells the story of parasites going after the human race. I guess, letting tapeworms grow in one's stomach for immunity purposes is horrifying.

What's next? An anthology and the conclusion to her Parasitology series titled Chimera are set to release in 2015. And oh, a standalone book titled Rewind set in the same world as Newsflesh is coming out in 2016.

Before. Brenna Yovanoff is primarily a young adult paranormal fantasy writer that crosses over as paranormal fantasy horror. Her debut, The Replacement, tells the story of Mackie Doyle (who might not be human) uncovering the cause of mysterious happenings and eerie creatures roaming the underworld of the small town of Gentry.

After. Since her debut, Brenna Yovanoff has published a book every year. The Space Between, her most popular title to date, is about the daughter of a demon and a fallen angel who travels to earth and dips in her demonic powers in the process. Paper Valentine is a haunting murder mystery whereas, Fiendish is a gothic tale of Clementine who was locked in a cellar for ten years.

What's next? Again, not exactly horror, Fourteen Dreams 'is about a high-achieving girl who falls for the most imperfect boy in school through a series of mysterious dreams that change how she feels about herself, her future, and love.'

Before. Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a story about Mary and others from her village trying to in a village overrun with flesh-eating zombies.

After. In between writing a couple of anthologies and a collection of short stories, The Dead and Empty World, Carrie Ryan have co-authored a middle grade fantasy series with her husband, John Parke Davis. The Map to Everywhere is about a master thief Fin who combine forces with a crew to scour the world for the map to Everywhere.

What's next? Daughter of Deep Silence releasing on June 2nd, 2015 is a young adult romantic thriller about Frances Mace who seeks revenge from a rich family posing as her friend who died as a result of the attack on the luxury yacht they were on. There's also an untitled book releasing in 2016.

Before. Jonathan Maberry is known for horror fiction and rightly so because of his Benny Imura series. But before he wrote horror, Maberry used to write about martial arts. His departure from martial arts began with Ghost Road Blues, a highly acclaimed adult horror thriller about three criminals. 

After. His adult Joe Ledger series about a Baltimore detective began in 2009 and a year later, Maberry's Rot & Ruin was released. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that's been infested by zombies, the series follow Benny Imura as he struggles to survive. Maberry also wrote some graphic novels as well as a few anthologies and collections of short stories.

What's next? A middle grade urban fantasy series starting with The Orphan's Army releasing in June 2015 along with an untitled horror novel that will be released in 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin.

Before. Madeleine Roux debuted with a young adult series featuring zombies back in 2011. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped initially started out as experimental fiction on her blog.

After. HarperTeen published a creepy photo-illustrated series starter Asylum in 2013 that many found page-turning despite being predictable. Sanctum, the second installation of the series, isn't nearly as creepy or impactful as Asylum as fans of the series either ended up feeling underwhelmed or overwhelmed.

What's next? The conclusion to Asylum series coming in August 2015.



Before. Before he was a YA author, Ransom Riggs wrote The Sherlock Holmes Handbook in 2009. Two years after that Quirk published his novel. Set on a mysterious island, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children features strange, gifted children who are pursued by monsters from a set of spooky photographs.

After. The Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children graphic novel was released in 2013 and gave an extra edge to the overall mood of the story. Three years later, the just as peculiar but much more adventurous sequel, Hollow City, was released in January 2014.

What's next? The conclusion to Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children trilogy which doesn't have a release date yet.

Before. Bethany Griffin debuted with Handcuffs in 2008, a young adult contemporary before the publication of Masque of the Red Death. Inspired by the similarly titled work of Poe, Masque of the Red Death and its sequel are more of a dystopian steampunk with elements of gothic horror thrown in for good measure.

After. A psychological thriller of sorts, The Fall is Bethany Griffin's entry into young adult horror. Again influenced by Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, it tells the story of Madeline Usher who is trapped in a house that has a mind of it own.

What's next? An as-of-yet untitled book that will probably release in 2016.

Before. Hillary Monahan's debut, MARY: The Summoning, takes root in the urband legend of Bloody Mary. Rightfully creepy, Mary seems to lack the gore which makes many wonder where the series is headed next.

What's next? The sequel to Mary which doesn't have a release date. Also, The Awesome releasing on May 26th, 2015 under a pen name of Eva Darrows. The Awesome is a paranormal comedy featuring a sassy and smart protagonist, Maggie Cunningham.

Before. Laurie Faria Stolarz debuted with a paranormal mystery Blue is for Nightmares and then went onto to write paranormal romance series Touch.

After. Told from multiple point of views, Welcome to the Dark House is about a contest to face your scariest nightmare in order to meet the movie producer of the Nightmare Elf series but of course, things aren't as simple as they seem.

What's next? The sequel Return to the Dark House releases on July 21st, 2015.

Before. Rick Yancey debuted with adult literary fiction, A Burning in Homeland back in 2003 and then entered the YA genre a couple of years later with a fantasy series beginning with The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp.

Then. 2009 saw the release of The Monstrumologist, a horror thriller about the monstrumologist chasing gruesome monsters with the help of his assistant. The series is four books long as of now.

After. Released only last year, The 5th Wave, become hugely popular. Set in a post-apocalyptic world with aliens, the starter and its sequel are fast-paced and filled with edge-of-your-seat action.

What's next? The conclusion to The Fifth Wave's trilogy is set to release in August 2015.

Before. Nova Ren Suma's debut and sophomore novels, Dani Noir and Imaginary Girls, are mystery YA with surreal and creepy elements thrown in for good measure.

After. Released in 2013, 17 & Gone is Suma's most creepy novel to date where a teen receives visions of missing girls. The boundaries of mental perception are tested in this psychological horror.

What's next? The Walls Around Us, which follows the stories of a living and a dead girl, is a haunting novel featuring magical realism and is set to release on March 24th, 2015 and an untitled book releasing in 2016.

Before. Before writing books about serial killers and such, Barry Lyga used to write contemporary YA. Boy Toy is one of his highly acclaimed coming-of-age novel about Josh Mendel. His venture into the middle grade genre with Archvillain proved successful for the most part.

After. Mostly renowned for I Hunt Killers, Lyga's Jasper Dent series follows Jazz, the son of a serial killer who's finally been jailed. Can Jazz follow in his notorious father's footsteps? The series conclusion, Blood of My Blood was released recently.

What's next? Co-authoring with Peter Facinelli (Carlisle from Twilight, anyone?) and Rob DeFranco, Barry Lyga's After the Red Rain has already started gathering hype despite its release date of August 2015. Set in the future, the cli-fi dystopia follows the life of a boy named Rose.


Have you read any of these? What are your favorites? Looking forward to any creepy, scary titles by any of the thirteen?

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A Fortnight of Horror


fortnight of Horror October begins today! For the next two weeks, Asti and Leanne of Oh, the Books! and all the participants will be blogging about horror-related topics. Leanne hosted the event last year and it was all sorts of spooky fun.

The Thing About Horror

What has changed since the last time the event took place?

I am still not into horror but so excited to celebrate it because apart from ghosts, apparitions and weird scary noises, I'm all for it. Okay, I'm mostly for it. It's just that I can't handle watching a horror movie or TV show. I tried to, as a kid, and I still get creeped out if I start thinking about some of the stuff that I watched (which isn't even that horrifying and mostly embarrassing).

What's the most Halloweeny thing about me? Well, the fact that I went from Sana to Sanatorium on Twitter for it. Ha. Nevertheless, as soon as fall arrives all I want to do is curl up in a blanket with tea and just read really disturbing books.

Read to Be Unsettled

Let's face it. I haven't read a purely young adult horror book since the last R. L. Stine book I read as a teenager. I just keep thinking that I will get around to at least one but I never do and it's sad. So it's mostly the subgenres that I end up reading like psychological horror or paranormal horror.

So in regards to that, I started reading The Young Elites by Marie Lu which is pretty disturbing and dark. After that, I plan to read Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater which isn't horror but it has dark elements and fist-slamming Ronan, so there. I also might read Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini because witches.


Horror: The Subgenres

Last year, I could only manage a couple of posts on Horror October and let's not just get into that more than this. However, since I already talked about horror in YA back then, I would be focusing more on its subgenres this year. A post about books that give you the creeps, another about authors who write YA horror, yet another on how the trend of island settings in YA have changed over time and maybe a couple of book reviews. And oh, a discussion about the subgenres of YA horror seeing how they are vastly more popular than the genre itself.

Do you tend to read creepy, spooky or horror books in fall? Read a good horror YA lately? Let me know!