How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

“You have more power than you know, Samantha. You just have to be brave enough to realize it.” – How to Hang a Witch, Adriana Mather

Spooky, engaging and intense. I love how the story juxtaposed the Salem witch trials to modern day bullying and vilification. The author herself is a descendant of Witch prosecutor Cotton Mather which also added extra dimension to the story. This story is filled with witchcraft, ghost and strong underlying moral themes of kindness and compassion. Although I felt the ending was somewhat rushed and the love story was moderately interesting, it is the snippets of clues about the witch trial mystery and history that kept me reading. It was an interesting and fast-paced read which I would recommend to readers that enjoys thrillers with a side of supernatural.

– NJ

Book blurb:

It’s the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

Thank you to Walker Books for the opportunity to review this book.

 

Advertisements

Release by Patrick Ness

A book of one day in the life of Adam Thorn, aged 17 and it’s a big day… Things go wrong, it’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches..

Annie and Bert team up for a “Release” read along!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the read along I did with my friend, Bert.. a unique story in the sense that there were 2 storylines, one that follows Adam who is struggling to be true to himself due to his family’s beliefs and the other of a ghost – yet I’m not quite sure of the connection between the two, my theory is it’s somehow a metaphor for Adam’s inner struggle.. I found the book to be very conversational which contributed to how quick I read this book. There are parts of this story that make you laugh and cringe at the same time. I felt mixed emotions for the characters – you know it’s a good book when you have that sort of emotional reaction!!!
-Annie

I am oh so happy to have read this book! I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and really didn’t like it, I just didn’t get the appeal of it. After having read that I thought that Mr. Ness and his books had no place in my life, this book however, was beautiful. Adam Thorn is one of the most interesting male characters I’ve read in a long time, usually I find books with a male lead character to be tiresome as I like reading books with females as the centre but Adam was really quite charming… Oh and Linus was completely GORGE with his “dancer butt.” The parts dealing with the ghost really confused me, while they are beautifully written I found them to be a little too vague, I don’t really know how they connect to the story of Adam. For me the book has redeemed Patrick Ness as a storyteller, I just might try some of his other books now. A great story, beautifully told that is reminiscent of some of the great 80s teen movies. Shout out to my friend Annie for giving me the reading copy and suggesting we do a read-a-long… Fun fun fun!!!
-Bert

Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending us an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our Honest Reviews.

Fire Boy by Sami Shah

“And verily, We created mankind from sounding clay of altered smooth mud and the jinn We created from smokeless fire.” (Quran, Surah 15, Ayats 26-27)

-One of my 2016 favourites!!! Rating: 5 Stars-

This was a really engaging and fantastic read!!! Yes this is urban fantasy – yes the story is a work of fiction – however, it accurately references Islamic beliefs and terms throughout the story which worked really well with the plot and it intrigued a lot of my non-Muslim friends into asking more questions about Islam and wanting to learn more, it bridged some gaps from a different angle.

This epic Urban Fantasy follows the story of Wahid whose birth and ability to see jinn (creatures made of smokeless fire) remains a mystery. He’s growing up in Karachi, Pakistan and he’s a typical geek boy – really into Dungeons and Dragons, comics and games. In an ill-timed, fatal car accident, Wahid witnesses a jinn stealing his friend’s soul and he vows to get her back. Wahid is wrongfully accused of causing the accident and is on the run having to source help from the most darkest of all spirits – the Devil himself.

Some scenes were rather violent and freaky however, the story line was captivating and the dialogue was quite witty and clever. It is very well written, action packed – and suspenseful. For those who don’t take well with jinn or the supernatural, I strongly advise reading during daylight hours. Due to the themes and level of violence in the story, it is not suitable to readers under 15 years of age. I highly recommend this story for urban/fantasy fiction fans as it is very different to what you may have read before.

Please remember, this story is a work of fiction with reference to Islamic beliefs. For further reading and understanding on the Islamic beliefs that are referenced in the book, please refer to Islamic books, the Quran or Hadith. 

I am really looking forward to the sequel!!!
-Annie

Black by Fleur Ferris

“shut the windows.. lock the doors.. you don’t know who’s coming!!”

INTENSE – GRIPPING – HAUNTING
READ IT DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS
YOU WONT WANT TO PUT THIS DOWN
5 STARS – 2016 FAVOURITE!!!

Australian Author Fleur Ferris dazzles the YA reading community with her 2nd novel “Black” a haunting thriller that will make you check your doors are locked and blinds are drawn at night before you go to sleep!!! Fast paced, action packed with an intriguing storyline – although you will be freaked out, you will be gripped until the last page!!!

This story follows protagonist Ebony Marshall – also known as Black.. Cleverly nicknamed as ebony can also mean black, however her nickname takes on a whole new meaning in quiet small town Dainsfield where priest Father Ratchet has creepy control over a following called the Pure Apostles who are convinced Ebony is cursed and have convinced others of the same thing.

Ebony – “Black” is trying to see her senior year through and live a normal life following her grief over the loss of three of her dear friends who died in tragic accidents. Rather than receiving support for her loss, rumours are spread about her saying she is cursed and had something to do with the deaths of her friends. Due to these rumours, Black isolates herself and finds it normal to be on her own until she meets a new friend Aiden who, on the night of their Year 12 formal ends up in intensive care. This unfortunate incident ignites the rumours and these rumours then become life threatening to Black. To deal with this, Black starts to piece together the events and the root of these rumours to unravel a mystery that started once upon a time.

This book had me engrossed in the story from page 1, I found this to have an incredible plot and it was extremely well written. Parts of the story gave me goosebumps – to think there are people out there who have such far fetched ideologies that impact on people’s lives. I purposely read this only during daylight hours and even though a lot it freaked me out, I was yearning for more of the story as I simply had to know what happens next!!! I formulated a few theories about the next scene or who the real enemy was and yes – I was slapped in the face when I got the answer. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend this to all YA fans who are looking for a book with mystery and intrigue.

Special thanks to author and friend Fleur Ferris for sending me a personally autographed copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and congratulations on launching your second novel!!!

-Annie

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Blog Duet by Annie and Amanda – rating this book 4 stars

This story will take you back to the enchanting place of Wonderland long before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. This story follows Princess Dinah, the heiress to the throne – the future Queen of Hearts – in a place that is ruled under an iron fist by her father, the king. Characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance in this fantasy/twisted fairy tale that sets a whole new light on a place we all thought we once knew.

Amanda:
This Alice in Wonderland prequel of sorts was a quick read. There were interesting aspects to this novel, especially seeing how the known characters from the Alice in Wonderland universe fit into this story. Although I enjoyed this story, I couldn’t exactly find a main plot line – it was like reading about the world building of Wonderland, meanwhile there was a dark story lurking within this world. Some parts of this story remain a mystery to me – some I managed to predict – but it has kept me hanging for part 2 where I am hoping my questions will be answered. I see potential with this series so I am interested to read the next one. The read along was fun – Annie and I were texting each other over a few days updating each other on which parts we were up to – we both agree, we absolutely hate the King!!! and we both have theories as to some of the characters which we won’t share here to avoid spoilers.

Annie:
Well I had the pleasure of doing a read along for this book with Amanda and it was quite fun texting with page and chapter number updates – a lot of which included emoticons expressing my shock or anger at particular parts of the story. I have to say, it’s not a bad prequel to Alice in Wonderland and it certainly explains a lot about the Queen of Hearts and how she become what we know her to be in future stories. Although this was a dark retelling/prequel to the story we all know, I felt it was quite creative how the author intricately rebuilt the world of Wonderland. It was also quite funny to see how a deck of cards have such involvement in the ruling of Wonderland – hearts were royal.. clubs were dark military etc. I found this to be a fast paced read, very easy to follow and even with a story full of mystery, twists and turns, there were moments we would “call it” and other times that slapped us in the face. Like Amanda, I see potential for this series so I am looking forward to the subsequent book/s.

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us an Advance Review Copy in exchange for our honest review

Afterlight by Rebecca Lim

Tip: best to read this 5 star book during daylight hours

Wow what a read!! I strategically read this during daylight hours as it brought back memories of the 90’s classic: The Sixth Sense.. I loved the thrill and the chills it gave me when a beautiful ghost makes unannounced night appearances to the protagonist so she can do her bidding and bring justice to a mystery that went unsolved before the “ghost’s” untimely death..

I found the story to also be so unpredictable.. It’s so well written and such a page turner!! Just as I thought I worked it out – BAM! I’m thrown a curve ball! I loved the mystery that keeps you asking “why is this happening?” and “what’s the connection?” 

Such an eerie yet very imaginative and creative storyline!!!

-Annie