The Monstrumologist

“There are times when fear is not our enemy. There are times when fear is our truest, sometimes only, friend.”

Title: The Monstrumologist

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The Monstrumologist # 1

Publication: September 22nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 434

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?


A Certain Amount of Feelings:

  • The monsters are actually scary, yay! I didn’t like much else beyond that, but there were honest monsters that wanted to kill you and could potentially bring nightmares if read in the dark.
  • Mad scientist for the win, but not really. He’s pretty chill for a mad scientist, though
  • Narrator is named Will… Victorian London, wait, THE INFERNAL DEVICES. (Alas, I was wrong.)
  • Monstrumology is cool, but that’s about it. I’m starting to lose my cool as I flip pages.
  • Yupp, me no longer likey. It was cool, not it’s trying too hard to bring a moral question about becoming a monster to hunt monsters. Eh?
  • There is also a love of scones. Infernal Devices, again.
  • I never thought I would say this, but for a book, I think this is too much gore. It’s one thing when watching a scary movie, but I really don’t enjoy reading about blood splattered this and dripped off that every other page.
  • Decent book, just not my cup of tea.

Overall:

Feel free to give it a try, you might like it more than I did.


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Three Dark Crowns

“Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends

Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen”

Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Series: Three Dark Crowns # 1

Publication: September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 416

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


My Thoughts:

I’m dead. Yupp, I’m dead – or I am dying. I can’t quite tell yet. All I know right now is that my mind is spinning, my heart hurts, and I just got the crap kicked out of me by this amazing book. Three Dark Crowns, wow. I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to completely turn my world upside down with nothing more than a few sentences and  single revelation. Three Dark Crowns is fantastic, there is no other word for it. Well, maybe that’s not true. It is mesmerizing, terrifying, and uniquely fascinating.

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And The Trees Crept In

There was an old lady
who lived all alone,
until her nieces
came all the way home.
nightly she prayed
he’d stay away,
but childhood demons,
come back to play.

Title: And the Trees Crept In

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 6th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 352

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

A GIF List of my Thoughts and Feels

Basically a summary of my feelings towards the whole thing:

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Burning

“Monsters are more interesting than heroes.”

Title: Burning

Author: Danielle Rollins

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 352

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

After three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she’ll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl’s arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest with you. I didn’t read this, not really anyways. I started it, I read it, and I finished it – but I didn’t read it. I didn’t pay attention, I just went through the actions of reading it. I didn’t pay attention because it was not worth paying attention to. While the synopsis grabbed my attention, Burning sparked no feelings from me other than regret and loathing.  This book is a mess, and there is nothing hot about it.

This book is really just a conglomerate of cliches, other (better) plots, and so much predictability that I sort of felt like a badass physic. (Looook into my eyes, I can tell you the future *creepy finger wiggle*) Filled with plot points stuck on the road to nowhere, characters that would make an angel cringe, and a mystery that is so ridiculous you might just pee your pants with laughter – Burning is what I would like to call a colossal cluster-fuck.

The villain is predictable, the characters weak imitations of their better versions, and the lack of character development is both depressing and laughable. I didn’t buy one bit of this whole shebang, it was sort of like watching a really horrible infomercial unfold right before your eyes and there was nothing you could do to stop it. I was paralyzed by the stupidity of it all and I couldn’t help but rubberneck my way through this – you know, that looking without really looking. I couldn’t care less about what went on in this book or to these girls I’m supposed to be rooting for. Angela is a pathetic sop and her two friends weren’t much better.

Overall, Burning was just a really, really upsetting, unsettling, unsatisfactory, and underwhelming rehash of every single mystery ever. Predictable and requiring a lot of suspension of disbelief, Burning is one book best left alone if you want to keep your faith in humanity in tact.

My final verdict?

Bleeding Earth

“The earth isn’t trying to kill us; it’s trying to unite us.”

Title: Bleeding Earth

Author: Kaitlin Ward

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 9th 2016 by Adaptive Books

Pages: 256

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads:

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.

My Thoughts:

Well, that was surprising. I didn’t like it. Nuh uh, no way, and see ya later. I mean, honestly? I expected so much more out of this and then I started it and it was meh, and then bleh. If you cannot tell, I literally cannot force words out of me that do not exist. This book was awful, genuinely, horribly awful and now I feel like a despicable human being for saying so on the internet.

IS IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ORIGINAL ANYMORE! Jeesh. I swear, all the books these days – well, all apocalyptic books – seem to just be recycled versions of the exact same thing over, and over again. I will say, Bleeding Earth sounded interesting – the whole idea of Earth spewing blood sounded nasty and amazing, and then I read it and it destroyed all of my hope in humanity (exaggeration, but you get the picture).

The characters… ugh, they make me shudder. They were the perfect example of what happens when idiots take over. I have never read a book with such a lack of common sense, ingenuity, or simple intelligence in my life. Lea, Lea, Lea. Childish fool – I swear, I wanted to strange her with a cotton candy jump rope or something equally ridiculous that she would dive right into without a second thought – she’s that stupid. Not only that, but you add sheer idiocy with a “holier than thou” attitude and you get the most moronic, dependent, and ridiculous protagonist in existence. She makes Bella Swan look like freaken Katniss Everdeen warrior queen.

I cannot find the words to describe how much I loathe what I just forced myself to read. Truthfully, I think this was better off left in the slush pile and I cannot believe I just wasted my time on something so ridiculous. Everything was poorly handled. The blood, the sheer inconsistency of what was going on: schools and work places were supposed to be shut down but mom went to work for the entire book, changes in what the blood could or couldn’t do when it was convenient like how it was too thick and overwhelming to walk in and yet later people are running through it like it’s a cloud. There was just so much that I wanted to stamp with a giant NO. Partying while the world is ending and daring people to drink the blood that is destroying the Earth: NO.  Previously stagnant blood conveniently flooding a car engine and then disappearing when the protagonist had to get out: NO. Skipping school just to watch news: what the hell? Needy protagonist who doesn’t care about anything but herself: NO. Just, no, no, no, no. Get the picture?

Overall, Bleeding Earth was the epitome of disappointment. I want to wash my brain with bleach, stick needles in my eyes, and possibly go so far as to get a lobotomy just so I can forget the monstrosity that I recently witnessed. This book was so juvenile, pointless, and ridiculous that it could probably win the Darwin Awards without even trying. Good riddance.

This Is Not A Test

“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”

Title: This Is Not A Test

Author: Courtney Summers

Series: This Is Not a Test # 1

Publication: June 19th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 326

Source: My bookshelf

 

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Courtney Summers is an absolute goddess and the complete queen of my bookshelf. I fell in love with her work last year when I read All The Rage, a book that tore my heart and soul to shreds. Her writing never ceases to amaze me in the powerful message that it carries – and This Is Not A Test is no exception. While reading the synopsis might make you uneasy and question how a book about zombies can be as hard hitting as I claim it to be, trust me when I say this – This Is Not a Test is so much more than just another book hightailing it through the zombie craze. It is raw, unflinching, and it will make you question everything about what makes us human. 

Summers has this amazing ability to basically destroy every single plan you’ve made for a day as soon as you read the first page of her books. This Is Not A Test completely grabbed me by the throat and dragged me around kicking and screaming right form the first page – I was hooked before I’d even reached chapter one. The opening sequence of this book was intense – there is no other word for it. It doesn’t get any better from there to tell you the truth. We’re thrown straight into this complete chaotic mess of the world, starting with a regular morning in Sloane – our protagonist’s life – and then we’re off to the races as it were. There is no break, no time to catch your breath. While certain scenes might not be physically brutal or taxing, those in between the fights for survival are filled with emotional battles that are almost more intense than the ones against the zombies or even each other. This book… just wow.

Sloane. I don’t even know what to say about Sloane. When we first meet her, she has no intention of wanting to live. Her sister abandoned her to an abusive father. The world is ending. She is alone. She wants to die – but she holds on. She holds on despite her best efforts to have it end any other way than with her own survival. It was a very strange, eye opening experience – reading a book from the point of view from someone that doesn’t even want to be there. I am so used to a strong, badass heroine doing everything in their power to keep on kicking – and Sloane was the complete opposite. She is still badass, ruthless, and utterly compelling – but for entirely different reasons. She will make you think. She will make you question everything you’ve ever thought about what it means to survive.

Then there are the other students: Cary, Rhys, Trace, Grace, and Harrison. All of them end up trapped together in the high school. They are together, struggling to survive… and boy, do they add to the story. I think this is part of Summers’ mastery – she has this ability to make supporting characters who are so raw and undeniably essential. We get to know them all. We see them cry, we learn their weakness and their vulnerabilities. They are all simply exposed in this new version of hell. It was heartbreaking. I’m still trying to figure out just how I feel about all of them because they just add so much. They turn an already harrowing scenario into a full throttle mental mine field just waiting to blow up at the slightest provocation. The addition of the supporting characters, and the role each individual plays, really nails down the main question of this book. Who is the real enemy? What if the real enemy is you?

Courtney Summers has once again created something worthy of every possible award known to man. This Is Not A Test will make you question everything you think you know about yourself and what you think you are willing to do to survive. This book will rip your chest open and never let the wound close. What are you willing to do to survive and can you live with the answer?

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Teaser Tuesday # 17

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

This weeks Teaser Tuesday is for This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers!

“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it.”

“This is not a test. Listen closely. This is not a test.”
But I think she’s wrong. I think this is a test.
It has to be.”

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