Grave Robbers,Trains & Ghosts: No falling off until the very end!

Review: Grave Robbers by Samantha Jillian Bayarr

Grave Robbers is a fast paced read that has characters jumping off trains, being thrown into graves and possible visions of people that have died, so the action is non-stop and makes for an exciting read that you will not want to leave behind until you finish. It also has deeper stuff with more marrow: characters make mistakes, shows weaknesses, but also have hopes of transforming. If you love a thrilling pace along with in depth characters who will do anything to go after their goals, this book is for you.

The main character pulls you in from the beginning and makes you want to read more. The story itself is a riveting and tense train ride that grabs you along with fears of falling off and crashing throughout the story- you need to know what happens next even though each lurch of the train makes your heart rate go up and sends your emotions scattering. You hold your breath for the characters as you come to care about them, no matter what they do or have done.

Charlie, a young girl does not come across as your average heroine right away. But she is a character that you will want to keep reading about; she is very much alive (unlike all of those around her) and jumps off the page. Her father is a grave robber. His official job title is grave digger, but he robs them of any valuables before he puts them into the ground. He does this in order to provide for Charlie, as her mother ran off right after she was born.

Charlie is full of spunk and not afraid to rob jewels from a dead lady.  Well, okay, maybe she is a little afraid. But she doesn’t let this or anything stop her. Charlie is a girl who is determined to carve out a path for herself and she lets nothing get in the way of her goals. More than anything, she wants to find her mother. Charlie had no idea of her whereabouts until now. She finds out where her mother may be and even though there is a chance she won’t find her, she comes up with a plan to try.

She convinces herself that she needs the lady’s jewels more than the dead lady does, as she will be six feet under and takes them herself, before her dad can touch them. Her moral dilemma is described very realistically and you understand where she is coming from and her reasoning for her actions, as well as her doubts and fears. She thinks she sees things that may not be there and might be a result of her fear and guilt (or are they?).  All this and she still doesn’t know if she will meet her goal. But she clings to the belief that this is the most important goal and she will not look back, even if her life is on the line.  And her life is indeed on a very thin line while she tries to go through with her plan. This plan is not as safe as she thought, as there are even more dangers lurking around from where she may not have expected. This is one train ride that you need to stay on until the very end.

Charlie is one of those characters that you would not mind jumping off a train with to hear more about, if you can survive the crash landing.

Click on the picture below to get the book on Amazon.

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Mile 81: A stretch of highway full of Pure Terror that you will Love

Your last rest stop: Will you survive Mile 81?

Review: Mile 81 By Stephen King

Blurb from my Stephen King page (written as I was reading Mile 81) Read below italics for the Mile 81 review if you dare!

 My first King book I read was Carrie, quickly followed by Firestarter and I loved both of them. But the one that really grabbed me and made me fall in love with Stephen King and horror was The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. The main character was a normal girl like me (who lived by the woods, no less) who got thrown into the scariest situation that I didn’t know if she could get out of.

I was hooked.

 The character, Rachel, in Mile 81, reminds me of this Girl. She seems to be made of the same stuff that the Girl was. That stuff that fights in order to survive and is forced to let go of her little girl status in a heartbeat. And Mile 81 will also leave you wondering if anyone will get out of this alive.

 If you have not been to Mile 81, you need to go now

Right after you read this, of course. (Don’t worry, no spoilers!)

Yes, it is arguably the scariest stop you will ever make on the highway, but you do not want to pass by this rest area. And be sure to know, you will get no rest until you have experienced the full Mile.

If you enjoyed Christine, you will definitely love Mile 81, as you will see that Mile 81 could be one of the places that Christine would have called home. But I will focus on the pure rush of adrenaline and terror that you will feel from the Mile.

Once the horror of the Mile pulls you in, you will not be able to leave this stretch of highway until the ride is over. The characters are fully sketched out and are very believable and you are made to care about them and hence to fear for their lives in typical King fashion (in which nothing is typical).

Hang on tight and hold your breath: no safety bar on this ride

But you fear that no one will be able to make it out alive on this ride and you hold your breath for the characters who you hope just might make it and you are not able to let go. You hold onto that bar that is supposed to keep you safe on the ride and it seems dangerously loose.

Completely taken in and horrified for the characters, the tension was past the tipping point.  I definitely felt my emotions building up for these characters. The “safety” bar will keep slipping open, leaving you flirting with death. You definitely are kept on a hairline edge between life and death and just when you think you are home free, the safety bar will be wildly torn completely off.

It is as if it is your life on the line or your best friends’, your loved ones,  or your children’s lives. The ones you hold most dear. These characters will stay with you.

Some of it is told in that way I love (and fear) when you know something is way off and something is going to happen that will terrify you, have no doubts about it. That adds more layers to the tension as you don’t know if anyone will come out alive and you hope against hope that they will. And that at least some of the characters will come through for each other.

There is amusing humor dispersed throughout but you will still feel the complete rush of the spine-tingling chills and nail-biting panic (make that the-complete-ripping-off-of-the-entire-nail-and sticking needles-in-your-cuticles-type of panic).

There is no way to fully describe the deliciously dreadful state of mind you will be in- (and may have gotten a taste of if you were following me on Twitter as I read and posted my live reaction) so all I can say is get off the highway now, don’t wait any longer and don’t let the fear deter you! I can only say that I hope you survive it. This is not for the weak of heart and even people used to King’s rides of terror will still have their breath taken away on this one.

I didn’t know if I could keep holding on as it really whips you around and I was holding on so tight that I was numb from the apprehension. (If being numb from horror is possible?  Would like to hear your take on this.) But of course I had to keep going and find out what was ahead for the characters.

The only part I didn’t like was that, like the scariest and faster roller coasters, it was over very fast and I wanted more. But there is no shortage of King and I would definitely go to this Mile again (and other stretches of his haunts and highways). I can only hope there will be more of the monstrosity that was Mile 81.

After reading, I was still too much in a state of shocked horror and the adrenaline had not worn off yet, (it still totally hasn’t!) that I could not make sense of writing the review yet (add to that the fact that I had to go to work in a small number of hours and so needed to sleep).

I am glad that I documented my reaction as I read  Mile 81 and so I will leave you with that to give you just a taste and hopefully you are not pushed too far over the edge of the divider. I wouldn’t want you getting stuck at Mile 81, now would I?

(Note:  The following quotes are my live reaction from reading Mile 81, but may be slightly changed from the original twitter version posted, so that you can get the full idea.)

“White knuckles, tense, holding my breath.”

“Heart racing, chills down my spine, have to read on, but I’m so scared for them, I don’t know if I can face the horror and what is going to happen.”

“Eyes scrunched tight, want to hide under the table, but won’t be safe there either!”

Quote from Stephen King’s Mile 81: “Had to fight every instinct in my brain and my body to keep from running.” My version- “HAD TO FIGHT every instinct to keep from dropping the book and running away in terror, but could not STOP reading!”

Have you read it? Please share with me your reaction from reading!

What other King novels do you love? What was the one that you first read or that made you fall in love with King and the horror genre?

And if you have an answer to my question above, please answer in the comments: Is being numb from horror possible?

(And would love to hear your live reaction as well if you are/will be reading it-  talk to me about Mile 81 and all things King on twitter @Bookwormcastle)

To hear more and to join the Mile 81/Stephen King discussion on my blog, please visit my Stephen King page

 

Love/Hate Relationship with my Guardian Angel

When having a guardian angel might be dangerous…

Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

(Series Order: Hush Hush, Crescendo, Silence)

I did not know if this book would live up to the hype, so I delayed getting it, already having quite the list of books to read. However, once I gave it a taste, I could not put it down. (The only good thing about not reading it right away is that now I don’t have to wait too long for the newest installment!)

The characters are not only out of this world, they are also believable and you truly fall in love with them and with their story. It is a magical world, yet also very realistic and you can definitely relate to the main character, Nora, who soon sees that she may have the very worst (or best) of both worlds.  You can definitely believe in Nora’s world and you can even see yourself there as Nora is easy to relate to and understand and this world welcomes you in grabs you in with both hands (and wings) and doesn’t let you go.

I love the tension of the characters and not knowing the back story of the mysterious characters in Nora’s life, although maddening, it adds to the mystery and magnetism of the story. Nora doesn’t know who loves her or hates her, who wants to protect her or who to avoid if she doesn’t want to die. This is wonderfully and artfully done, so much so that the tension and contrast of the ever changing mood and relationship between the characters is delicious (ravishingly so!). To put it simply: You will fall in love.

You develop strong feeling for the characters and so you fear even more for them when it seems things could go wrong. You hope against hope that it doesn’t go the one way you feared it would because you felt what Nora felt and cannot believe the worst about anybody, especially the ultimate paradox of a character that is Patch. Enough said. (You have to discover this character for yourself!)

Guardian Angels or Dark Angels? Angels of Death?

It is very interesting to see a whole different side of what is termed an “angel”. Guardian angels are not the half of it and this is what makes it so much more thrilling. I don’t want to give away the major points, but angels have no sense of touch and they don’t feel physical pain, which adds an important element to the story.

Unlike the angels, Nora feels a lot of pain throughout the novel, to put it mildly, both physical and emotional. But she is a fighter all the way! She is dead set on finding out the truth. She does not trust anyone and stands her ground, even when doing so puts her life at risk. So much so that even the guardian angels may not be able to save her.

Archangels, Roller-coasters, and…Guardian Angels that kill?

Does the one she loves the most truly have her best at heart? Or is something else going on? Is it all pretend? And will Nora’s desire to find out the truth do more harm than good?

Throughout the novel, I found myself on a gripping and breathless emotional roller-coaster ride, which is similar to the Archangel Roller-coaster that Nora goes on.

On this ride, she experiences something that makes her doubt everything and fears for her life even more. But even in the midst of the white hot tension, there are feel good parts that make you cling even tighter to the bars of the roller-coaster, hoping that your fears don’t come true.

Although the novel is character driven, the plot also carries it along, punch for punch, even threatening to overtake the characters at some points. Very interesting twists and surprises and you never know who is hiding what or what new twist will be thrown at you in the darkness of the tunnel when you are on the roller-coaster. Then you are dropped suddenly and your stomach lurches and everything is upside down. The maximum feeling of this to the nth degree is what this book makes you feel.

Hush, Hush is reminiscent of the wildest roller-coaster ride of your life. It’s the one called the Archangel. Where even the angels can kill you.

There is no question that you will ache to get the next book right away, Crescendo . Check out my review on that here. Then the third book in this absolutely amazing saga is Silence, stay tuned for reviews on this! Please click on the Amazon affiliate picture link below if you do buy the book-perfect time to get it so that you are ready for the finale!

(Note: The picture of the book above takes you right to Amazon) Thank you for reading! Please comment below about your thoughts on this version of guardian angels and if you would want a guardian angel, knowing there might be… erm, risks.

Boyfriend from Hell: When it all seems too perfect (Or fiery teenage rebellion from the not-so-good girl)

Review: Boyfriend from Hell by E. Van Lowe

This book defies the traditions of the paranormal romance realm and delves into the deep end. With shocking twists at every turn, the main character, Megan feels like she doesn’t know who is who anymore or what is going on, as her life totally changes once her mom starts dating. The man seems perfect, almost too good to be true, (in her mom’s eyes, at least) until she digs up some serious dirt on him. Not your average dirt either. But no one believes her, because it sounds too crazy. Who would believe a teenage girl saying that her mom’s new love interest is from hell?

What she doesn’t know will hurt her

So many changes are going on in Megan’s life that she responds at first in the usual teenage way. She breaks her tradition of being the good girl who is known for following the rules and starts to do what she wants. Rules be damned! Things get more serious when she is in danger and has to break some rules, this time for a reason- she has to protect her mother and cannot tell her what is really going on.

The relationships are what drive the book forward with an ever increasing momentum. Just as she doesn’t know who she truly is at times,  she now doesn’t feel she really knows everyone around her, let alone if she can trust them any longer.

As far as love interests go, as the title does say boyfriend– Megan does have a new love interest. And when her two best friends start dating, this throws a whole new dynamic to her friendships. Along with her mom’s new boyfriend situation, Megan does not know who she can really trust or love, let along if they are really there to protect her or hurt her. This definitely adds layers of tension and mystery to the already fast paced story. The complexity of the relationships alone is a great reason to check out the book to see how her relationships fare and how this affects the story, as well as her very chances of survival.

The ending pulls you so completely in that you need to know what happens next. Just enough is revealed so that it leaves you craving more to see what happens next between the characters that you come to love (or hate/fear, depending on who we are talking about). It’s all about the dynamics and this book nails them down.

Megan has to fight to protect her best friends, loved ones and her mom, who she loves more than anything. But who will fight for her? And what if the ones she fights for turn their backs on her?

For information on the author, visit here.

Now is also the perfect time to get your e-copy. The E-book sale is from now until August 31st, check it out here!

Boyfriend From Hell is the first book of the saga, which is great, as it definitely leaves you looking forward to the next one, Earth Angel!

 

Have you heard? Transmedia Story-telling here to stay (will not be Gone)

The New Form(s) of Story-telling

 

Gone is now here and everywhere

For fans of Michael Grant’s Gone series (which you must read! Here’s why) there is an exciting announcement- the story gets bigger and better as it is becoming “transmedia”- meaning it is going across different forms of media- (internet, blog, book, ARG (alternate reality game) and even a new app!) so it will be told in different ways and you will be able to experience the story hands on, in a way. It is something that takes place, as Grant says, “in a world that you’re not going to expect. It’s a world where if you make a false move, you’re going to lose your mind.”

Muppet Babies and Ninja Turtles? Say what?

Still not sure what this means? You may have heard it before (as it is all the rage) but for those who need a refresher course, here it is. Transmedia storytelling is described by Henry Jenkins, who reintroduced the term, (after it was first used by Marsha Kinder to describe many different media franchises, including the Muppet Babies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): “as storytelling across multiple forms of media with each element making distinctive contributions to a fan’s understanding of the story world. By using different media formats, transmedia create “entry points” through which consumers can become immersed in a story world.”

Transmedia is a way to experience the story not just in many different ways, but on your own terms. Just like those choose your own adventure books (although on a much grander scale) you can make the story your own each time and you can determine how far you want to go and how much you want to know about the story.

The World of Gone: better than ever

The Gone series so far has been one of those stories that completely takes you into the world of the characters with the books alone, so I cannot even imagine what this will mean for the series and for all of us as we embark on this new multifaceted adventure that is sure to be the new way to enhance and experience a story to the fullest.

Caution Ahead: Dangerous, Risky Unpaved Life-Threatening Roads

Grant speculates that this may well be the new way that publishing is going. Let’s see where this thrilling new experience takes us and as Grant’s site, gobzrk.com warns: Be careful (or in terms reminiscent of the choose your own adventure books) Proceed at your own risk!

Received information from Grant’s new website (this is where you can join in the fun and expolore this new world!):

Take part in this new world! Join the Fayz

Q&A w/ Michael Grant

Here one second, GONE the next: What happens when all of the adults disappear?

When the adults disappear, who will be in charge? And how hard will they fight for this power?

Review of Gone By Michael Grant

(Check out all of my Gone  series reviews right at the bottom of this post- and more to come!)

Also check below to see the book order of the series if you would like to catch up! Read the Series Spotlight for highlights on the books (or to choose which book to catch up on or start with!)  I have read so far and to join me as I finish reading the series (and possibly re-reading it!)

This book is one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a fast paced, adventure story with lively and lovable characters. From the very first page, even the first sentence, there is non-stop action and tension as the story unfolds. The story centers around the unexplainable event of all of the adults disappearing before everyone’s eyes. Students sit in their classrooms to see their teachers disappear right before their eyes-they are literally there one second and GONE the next.

Astrid

Rollercoaster-can’t breathe-pace of action

I loved this book because of the non-stop action that carries the story forward at a very fast pace. The characters must deal with a huge change in their lives. Everything changes in a split second right before their eyes. Imagine how you would feel if you had to deal with such a huge change in a split second. Some of the children thought it was cool, which can be understood. Absolute freedom! Some children were scared, especially the younger ones who depended on their parents for all of their needs. I can imagine they would be scared. Have you ever gotten lost from your parents as a little child? It can be very scary, but their parents are gone for good and they don’t know why. The action continues at a breath-taking rate from here, as some children discover another strange occurrence after all of the adults disappear. Sam, the main character, and his friends suspect it may have something to do with the high level of radiation at the power plant in town, but they are not sure exactly how. There is also some type of wall or barrier that blocks their town from the outside world. The kids start to refer to their town as the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and this is just the start of the many changes to come.

LIES_Book_Trailer

Sam discovers he has some type of strange ability or power. It is very powerful. He discovered it before the disappearances. He isn’t sure what it is or the full extent of his power, but he knows it can be dangerous as he may have hurt someone with it prior to the adults vanishing. He also discovers he is not the only one with a strange power.

There’s a new boss in town?

Some kids from nearby come to their side of the town and take over. They have powers as well and their leader, Caine, has very strong and dangerous powers and he uses them to gain control, but tries to be as diplomatic about it as possible. Under his leadership, the town of children quickly becomes a place controlled by Caine’s rules and fear and violence are used to keep everyone in order. It becomes a scary place to live in and the reader is drawn into this world of horror, wondering what is going to happen next. The characters are very well developed and the reader cares about them and becomes very much drawn into their journey and plight.

caine

Able to Connect to Characters

I connect to this book in several ways. I can connect with Sam, as he feels alienated at times from his friends. He faces great danger and has to make difficult choices of right and wrong. He chooses not to take the easy way out and refuses to use his power to hurt others. Like him, I want to help other people and sometimes have to make a difficult choice in order to do the right thing. On the other hand, those who have a darker side (as we all do in some way!) will also be able to relate, as there are some darker issues and struggles. Overall, the story is very exciting and if you want to know what other decisions Sam and his friends must make in this increasingly terrifying new world, (and if they all survive) you have to read GONE to see what happens! It is part of a series, so definitely consider having the next one- Hunger ready at hand, as you will definitely want to see what happens next right away!

    war of GONE

You can now get involved in the story and enter the world of the FAYZ yourself- learn more about the new Transmedia World of Gone

My review on Hunger

My review on Lies.

Reviews on Plague, Fear and Light coming soon!

Check out my Series Spotlight for Gone highlights and teasers!

Book Order:

Gone
Hunger
Lies
Plague
Fear
Light

Click on the picture below to be taken to the Amazon page for this book.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog– BookwormCastle

dedicated to my love of books and reading! In this castle, you will discover
many rooms and many different bookshelves in the various genres of libraries.

You could find yourself
battling dragons or vampires in one or travelling back in time in another.

You will find out what the latest books are, what are good “classics” and what is a good read!

Feel free to add in the
comments what book reviews you would like to see next as well as any
ideas/suggestions for features for the site.

More to come- many
bookshelves and libraries to build and then fill!