if you like… TWISTS

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

Alas, it’s time for the final Halloween-themed week of this feature! This post focuses on twists, because we all know that surprises are what Halloween is really all about. A haunted house would be nothing without people jumping out and surprising you! So here are some books that have plenty of twists and turns in them to keep you guessing the entire way through.

far far away cover

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Nothing is as it seems in this medley of classic fairy tale ideas. Think of an idyllic fairy tale town. Got it? Now add a twisted, sinister spin. You’ll never see this one coming!

more than this cover

More Than This by Patrick Ness

This book is mysterious and suspenseful from the very first page. As soon as I thought I had everything figured out, Ness would go ahead and completely prove my theory wrong. AND THE ENDING. Oh my goodness, it completely blew my mind!

and then there were none

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I’ve read this book countless times, and I still cannot believe the ending. This is a fantastically executed who-done-it story from the master of mystery herself. Filled with murder, secrets, and complicated pasts, this novel will absolutely keep you guessing until the very last page.

Well, these past four weeks have been a blast, guys! What suspenseful or Halloween-ish books would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

3.5 cupcakes

The 5th Wave is exactly how I like my post-apocalyptic worlds: dark and with high stakes. There’s this prevailing feeling of hopelessness that, coupled with the intrigue of what the 5th Wave could possibly contain, certainly makes for an intense read.

This creepy factor peters off towards the middle of the book when our protagonist, Cassie, forgets that survival should be her main priority and falls into an unfortunate case of instalove with Evan. Not only is the romance severely lacking in chemistry, but it also serves to weaken Cassie’s character and any previous admiration that I had for her. Any suspicions that Cassie (rightfully) had about Evan were swept out the window whenever he so much as smiled at her, causing the plot to drag in many places, and ruining the effect of the subsequent plot twist (if it can be called that, given that I had guessed it fairly early on).

I wasn’t really able to connect with any of the characters. While I appreciated having multiple perspectives, the fact that they weren’t labelled led to a bit of confusion on my part, since Cassie and Zombie sounded quite similar; if it weren’t for the fact that they were in much different settings (and of different genders), I wouldn’t have been able to tell their voices apart. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Sammy’s eyes: the naive voice of a child brought much-needed light-hearted, aww-worthy moments to the story.

Some of my favourite parts of The 5th Wave were the philosophical musings on moral ambiguity and the notion of humanity. It posed some questions that I’m still considering: what does it mean to be human? Is humanity something that one can gain or lose?

Overall, I enjoyed The 5th Wave for the most part; if it weren’t for the romance, I feel as though I would have loved it just as much as everyone else. That being said, I’m still looking forward to reading The Infinite Sea , if only to see how much more intense the alien invasion can get.

Saturday Showcase (October 25)

ss

Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

This week’s featured book is The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

The Diviners is beautifully written and atmospheric, and takes place in one of my favourite time periods: the Roaring Twenties. It’s also wonderfully creepy: from serial killers to demonic possessions, it’s the perfect choice for a Halloween read.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
3

would you rather: scary books

would you rather graphicWelcome to a new feature called Would You Rather? The rules are simple: I’ll be asking two bookish questions, and then you guys have to pick which one you’d rather do!

So, would you rather…

Read a fun, light-hearted book while all alone in your house on a stormy night.

or

Read a super scary book in bed late at night while everyone else in your house is asleep.

Let me know which option you would rather do in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

if you like… SPOOKY SETTINGS

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

The Halloween fun continues this week with a post all about spooky settings- you know, those places in books that make shivers dance up your spine, the ones that cause to you look over your shoulder in paranoia whenever you read. It takes a skilled writer to craft such a spooky setting, but fortunately there are plenty of them that I can recommend!

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children cover

 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

There’s something about Cairnholm Island that was really spooky. Perhaps it’s the gloomy weather, the isolation, or simply the eerie aura it exudes. Whatever the reason, it’s sure to give you the creeps!

clockwork angel cover

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

London in 1878? Dark alleyways, mysterious societies, and conniving vampires? Everything about the setting of this novel screams spooky!

a great and terrible beauty cover

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.

 That’s right: this story takes place at a Victorian boarding school. Coupled with a secret Order and supernatural elements, this setting is definitely going to make you think twice about shutting your lights off at night!

I hope these recommendations are adequately spooky! What books with spooky settings would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

Why I Love Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are the most difficult kind of reviews for me to write. Not only do I want to avoid offending anyone (like the author, if they are to see it), but it can be hard to come up with any redeeming/positive points if I really disliked a book.

While I may not enjoy writing negative reviews for those reasons, I absolutely love reading them. Part of it is definitely the entertainment factor – the snarkier reviews, in particular, are great at making me laugh. I also love reading negative reviews because they’re incredibly informative. The parts that didn’t work for a reader are thoroughly laid out, so if certain topics that I’m uncomfortable with or tropes that I really dislike are present, I avoid giving that book a read.

Of course, negative reviews don’t always cause a book to be removed from my TBR; in fact, they often cause me to want to read a book even more since I’m curious to see if it’s that bad. If it’s a book that I was really looking forward to reading, I may lower my expectations a little bit or borrow it from the library instead of purchasing it, but I’ll likely still give it a read. After all, just because one reader didn’t enjoy a book doesn’t mean that it won’t be another reader’s favourite story. An individual’s thoughts and feelings towards a book are shaped by their experiences, and that subjectivity is part of what makes reading such a magical experience.

Your turn: how do negative reviews affect your reading choices?

3

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

3 cupcakes

To All the Boys I Loved Before was a cute, quick, predictable read that focused equally on the importance of familial relationships and romantic ones.

The protagonist, Lara Jean, is a sweet, innocent young lady. She had a very young-sounding voice, so I kept imagining her as a twelve or thirteen year old instead of a junior in high school. While her naivety was endearing at first, I never really got the sense that she had matured over the course of the story; she stepped outside of her comfort zone a bit, but given that the book was about moving on and taking more responsibility, I suppose I had expected this to be a bit more prevalent.

The familial aspect of the story was easily my favourite part. I loved how supportive and present Lara Jean’s father was, and how much the sisters cared about one another. From protective, independent Margot who had taken over a maternal role to the adorable younger sister, Kitty, who reminded me so much of the kids that I used to babysit, it was nice to see an authentic portrayal of a close-knit family.

The romance, while sweet, never caused me to become emotionally invested in its outcome. Peter Kavinsky reminded me of a few boys that I went to high school with: endearing at times, but not so overly sweet that his portrayal bordered on wish-fulfillment. His characterization was authentic, and I loved how he was just a regular guy.

My main complaint is that Lara Jean’s best friend, Chris, seemed to only be there to provide her with a semblance of a social life and a female friendship. It was also ridiculously easy to determine who had sent out the letters, but considering the story was more about how Lara Jean dealt with the aftermath than determining who had done it, I didn’t mind too much.

The ending was very open-ended, nicely setting up the next book – and the subsequent love-triangle that I’m sure will follow. I was initially disappointed that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before wasn’t a standalone, but it was sweet enough that I’m looking forward to reading the sequel when it’s released next year.