Thursday, November 13, 2014

ARC Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: October 14th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9780062293695
Source: borrowed from fellow blogger for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne's at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator's daughter. Most people do.. or they think they do. Charlotte certainly never expects she'll be Julia's friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl's world- a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation home, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia's handsome older brother, Sebastian.
But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now. 

My Review:

I was excited to be a part of the blog tour for this book and when fellow Ottawa blogger, Kathy lent me this book I was really happy to read it. It's got a very summer time feel to it with a story about best friends. I really liked watching the relationship between Julia and Charlotte grow and enfold. They start off as stranger and quickly become entangled in each other's lives. Well, I would say that Charlotte becomes more enfolded in Julia's life than the other way around. It seems very easy for Charlotte to become integrated into the Buchanan family. She wants to throw herself into the relationship and the family welcomes her in with open arms. I would say that this is not just a story about BFFs and more of a story about one girl falling in love with an entire family. 
I have to admit that I can very much relate to this. High school Meaghan got very involved with her BFF's family. I was at her house every weekend without fail and was even invited to her father's second wedding. Unfortunately over the years, we have lost touch but sometimes I don't just miss her but miss her family. I wonder where they are and what they're up to. Facebook helps the creeper in me keep me connected. I think that when you are close with someone you become close with the people they are close to. I think this is something that YA is missing sometimes and I was really impressed with the story that Philpot was able to weave together. It wasn't just a story about best friends but a story about all kinds of relationships. 
I also really liked reading about the familial connections in the book. The whole Buchanan family had a place in the story. The parents were what you would imagine a senator and a wife to be like but they also surprised me sometimes. Their tenderness towards their children was sweet but their overprotectiveness was also frustrating at times. I just wanted to let them know that they weren't doing any one any favours by hovering around the periphery all the time. The siblings were well-rounded and I can see why Charlotte was fond of each of them. 
I enjoyed the story line with a bit of mystery involved. I kind of figured it out but I was never 100% sure if that's what was going on. I think that you are supposed to have it sort of figured out because it helps to understand the character development in the book. 
If I'm honest I think that some people may not respond well to the ending of this book. I personally thought it was well done and well written. I know that many people don't enjoy the epilogue and the ending has this feeling about it. Sometimes I think the epilogue wraps up some questions you may be having and leaves you feeling more settled about the finale. 
Overall I quite liked this book. Philpot writes her characters well and to me that to be able to do this isn't always the easiest thing. If you have great characters they will drive the plot. I would definitely suggest reading this book- perhaps on a beach. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ARC Review: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Publisher: Quirk Books
Publishing Date: September 23rd, 2014
Genre: Horror, Adult
Pages: 243 pgs
ISBN: 9781594745263
Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review (Thank you Eric!)

Summary from Goodreads:

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they'll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination. A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstor comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk's labyrinthine showroom. 

My Review:

Ok, where do I start with this review? Firstly, let me begin by saying that my family is IKEA-centric. My aunt was a big honcho there and my sister is currently a manager there so we always joke around with them about so many things. Well, as soon as I got this book from Quirk Books I had to send a picture to my sister. The book is unique in the sense that it is shaped like a catalogue, looks like a catalogue on the cover and flaps and it also has very fun design elements throughout the book. 
It is essentially a horror story set in an IKEA-esque type furniture store. Every night when the workers come to open the store there are things broken or in the wrong place. In order to figure out what is going on the floor manager enlists a couple workers to stay overnight to find out what is going on. As the night goes on it becomes clear that something supernatural is going on. 
I have to say that I was pretty excited to read this book. I enjoyed it while I was reading it and found it intriguing. It was creepy and I really wanted to find out more about what was going on. 
As I continued reading I kept thinking that this would make a great movie. I would love to see how they'd pull it all together. I am a bit of a scary movie enthusiast. I find movies scare me way more than reading. When reading, it takes me a lot of really freak me out. This was the case with this book. I liked it and it was entertaining but it didn't super scare me. 
I also finished the book wishing they had explained more. It felt like I had too many questions left at the end of this book. I can why the book ended the way it did but it seemed like there were too many loose ends. I'd be interested to see if there is going to be another book. 
Overall, I liked it and it was a good story for October. If you like creepy things then this is for you.