Hotel Ruby

“Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

Title: Hotel Ruby

Author: Suzanne Young

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 288

Source: Author signing at ALA

Summary from Goodreads:

Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

My Thoughts:

Well, the best part of Hotel Ruby was the cover. There, I said it. Shoot me.
This book did absolutely nothing for me other than piss me off. The only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to know if my guess was right – and yes, it was by the way. I loved the idea behind this, a book based off of “Hotel California”? Count me in. Sadly, Hotel Ruby neither lived up to my expectations nor enlightened me to the supposed beauty that is Suzanne Young’s writing. I’ve heard such amazing things about her and her other books, but Hotel Ruby sort of killed it for me. If the other books are told in the same style, you can count me out.
The characters were flat – some were simply there to force some sort of sympathy. There is serious insta-love, and I mean serious. Audrey meets Elias, and BANG! A few chapters into it they’re basically having sex in the damn hallway. I mean, really? There was no build up, no relationship building – zip, nada. It was the same way for all of the characters. Basically, we are told that things are the way they are and that’s it. All of the characters have a set relationship right from the beginning – and it made me extremely annoyed. I hate it when a book tells us how things are rather than illustrating it through dialogue and character development. Add that on top of the poor plotting, insta-love, and all the other issues I’m not even delving into and it’s a miracle I actually finished the book.


The only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to know what the hell was going on at the end. I had an idea, and it was mostly on point. There were no surprises, the “big reveal” was no reveal at all. I saw it coming from a mile away. What caught my attention in the first couple chapters drifted off and left me feeling cold and disengaged.
I can’t recommend this book at all. What is meant to be creepy and thought provoking came across as nothing more than a pathetic attempt at turning a famous song into a book. Hotel Ruby is a letdown of epic proportions. If you can’t tell by my lack of review, I really have nothing to say to this book other than “how dare you?”. I wanted to like it, I wanted to fall into this book like everyone else – but I couldn’t. So, how dare Hotel Ruby make me waste my time to figure out something that wasn’t even worth it in the end. I’ve been on a string of bad books lately, it seems as if I find a good one and then I’m stuck in a rut of other books until something amazing comes along and saves me. Ugh. Time to try again.

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Teaser Tuesday # 8

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

This weeks Teaser Tuesday is for Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young!

“Here, in the middle of nowhere, is a grand building – lit up at 3 a.m. like it’s New Year’s Eve.”

“But we don’t usually judge people by how nice they are. The nice ones usually go to the party downstairs.”

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Willful Machines

“Artificial consciousness looks inevitable, Lee,” Bex said. “So the only question is: How are we going to treat these machines when they come into being?”

Title: Willful Machines

Author: Tim Floreen

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 20th 2015 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 370

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.

Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.

But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.

As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive … and what makes life worth living.

My Thoughts:

Dang flabbit. I HATE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS! It’s time for the unpopular opinion monster to pop out again.

So, Willful Machines – let me tell you, it took all of my damn willpower to get as far as I did. I don’t think I have ever been so annoyed with a main character in the first chapter alone. Lee… goodness gracious, I wanted to strangle him. I am so sick of these “woe is me” characters. Not only that, but insta-love. Curse thee, insta-love. I couldn’t handle it – I really couldn’t. Guys… I tried and I only made it through the first five chapters before I decided I’d had enough.

I really wanted to like it! Like I said, I seem to have the unpopular opinion on this book – but it is my opinion all the same.

This is really frustrating, I seem to be stuck in some sort of cycle where I am surrounded with disappointing books and then I suddenly am gifted with a gem. This is not that gem, but the start of another cycle. The premise was good, the opening was strong – but that was it. The world is flat, the character’s one dimensional and stereotypical tropes (sassy, goth girl friend. Shy in the closet gay guy. Mysterious and sexy new kid. Absentee parent).  But, none of it was done well. The development just wasn’t there, and neither was the writing. It just wasn’t believable enough – especially considering that this is somewhere in our near future and set in the very real United States. Even Game of Thrones has a certain believably to the world – and Willfull Machines lacked it.

So upsetting! I can’t even think of what to say about this book to make it even a possible buying option. I mean, if you can’t tell by the horribly short review I’m writing – it simply isn’t worth the trouble.

Final judgment?

Coming Soon: November 2015

Get ready to add these 10 upcoming young adult novels to your bookshelf! I went down the rabbit hole of Goodreads and my bookshelf to see which books our community is most excited to read and carefully crafted this list!

  1. Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Summary:

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

November 3rd 2015 by Simon Pulse

Add to Goodreads

2. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Summary:

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

November 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

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3. The Lies About the Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

Summary:

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

November 3rd 2015 by HarperTeen

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4. Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Summary:

Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

November 3rd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

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5. All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Summary:

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days.

After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes.

Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in her mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

November 3rd 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

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6. Soundless by Richelle Mead

Summary:

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

November 10th 2015 by Razorbill

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7. Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliott

Summary:

Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love.

When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.

November 10th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

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8. Unforgiven by Lauren Kate

Summary:

High school can be hell.

Cam knows what it’s like to be haunted. He’s spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can’t stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes.

Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails…there’s a special place in Hell just for him.

Tick-tock.

Spread your wings and cry as bad boy dark angel Cam finally reveals his anguished heart in the epic new FALLEN novel, UNFORGIVEN.

November 10th 2015 by Delacorte Press

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9. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Summary:

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…

November 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster

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10. Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern

Summary:

A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life’s uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.

Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.

November 24th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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Stranded

“It’s human instinct to survive…but Mother Nature has other plans.”

Title: Stranded
Author: Melinda Bruan
Series: Standalone
Publication: August 25th 2015 by Simon Pulse
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher at ALA

Summary from Goodreads:

Plagued with guilt after surviving the car accident that took her sister’s life, Emma ventures into the rugged and mysterious wilderness of the Boundary Waters in search of some much needed peace. But when a freak windstorm kills her guide, Emma and a handful of other campers are forced to fend for themselves. Lost, hungry, and exhausted, the small group must rely on their survival instincts as they travel through the forest towards Lake Superior.

But the Boundary Waters is vast and unpredictable, and as the days drag on, it becomes clear that the group is no match for what Mother Nature has in store—and time is running out.

As they continue to battle the elements, Emma realizes that nature isn’t her only threat: there’s one camper who will do whatever it takes to make it out of the Boundary Waters alive. Even if he’s the only one…

With ripped-from-the-headlines drama, this stirring story of heroism and survival will have you at the edge of your seat until the very last page.

My Thoughts:

Okay, I just have to say that I absolutely loved this book. I have to admit, I was afraid that this was going to be too much like The Hunger Games when it came to surviving in the forest – but Stranded completely blew me away. It was real, raw, and an all-around page turner in the truest sense of the word. I needed to know what was going to happen next, I felt their hunger and their fear – it was brilliant.
A lot of people are complaining about the repetitiveness of the chapters, of how it is the same struggle every day to find food, shelter, and water – but I loved it. To me, it was completely realistic. I think that was one of the things I loved the most about this book, none of it was glamorous. They stank, they struggled to use the restroom, and basic everyday things became the biggest hardship and battle. When you’re stranded like they are, of course you’re going to have to find food and water everyday if you don’t have enough. They only had small canteens to fill with water, four canteens for four people – that is a lot of necessary refilling. The drama with certain characters was the same yes, but that was also realistic. Bruan kept the drama centered around a particular character’s attitude – and the fact that it didn’t change impressed me, it shows the ability to keep things consistent. I know, character development and all that jazz – but this had nothing to do with that.
I don’t really know what else to say, this book was so amazing that I find myself at a loss for words. The characters were wonderful, each one had a distinct personality and all of them changed over the course of the book. Being stranded out in the wild changed them, as it rightfully should.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading, hiking, or the outdoors. Stranded really is entertaining, I loved it so much I can’t think of what to say right now. Maybe, one day I’ll come back and add more once I have had time to truly process the beauty that I just finished reading. I would leave this book for ages fourteen and up, there is some mild sexual harassment, cuss words, and the graphic nature of their situation could frighten people. I know this review is really short, but all I can say is this, go grab a copy before your next hiking/camping trip!

Diary of a Haunting

“There was something about that room. I don’t know what it was, but the moment I walked in, I felt this sort of buzzing, like a vibration coming up through the floor, or maybe through the air even.”

Title: Diary of a Haunting
Author: M. Verano
Series: Standalone
Publication: August 25th 2015 by Simon Pulse
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

When Paige moves from LA to Idaho with her mom and little brother after her parents’ high-profile divorce, she expects to completely hate her new life, and the small town doesn’t disappoint. Worse yet, the drafty old mansion they’ve rented is infested with flies, spiders, and other pests Paige doesn’t want to think about.

She chalks it up to her rural surroundings, but it’s harder to ignore the strange things happening around the house, from one can of ravioli becoming a dozen, to unreadable words appearing in the walls. Soon Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house at all hours of the night, and there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor, who knows a lot more than he’s letting on.

Things only get creepier when she learns about the sinister cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost a hundred years earlier.
The more Paige investigates, and the deeper she digs, the clearer it all becomes: whatever is in the house, whatever is causing all the strange occurrences, has no intention of backing down without a fight.

Found in the aftermath, Diary of a Haunting collects the journal entries, letters, and photographs Paige left behind.

My Thoughts:

I went to ALA this year not really knowing about this book, but when I was visiting the Simon and Shuster booth and I got to speak with the editor of both this book and Violent Ends, I knew that I had to have it. I have always loved horror movies, and I do particularly enjoy the movies that are “based on a true story” and shown through a video camera lens. Recently, I just went and saw The Gallows, which was pretty cool by the way, and I thought why not grab this book?

What should I talk about first? I really don’t know what to say about this book as a whole. Did I enjoy it? Did I simply tolerate it more than I enjoyed it? I enjoyed the read, at least I think I did. I enjoyed reading this while on break at work, it gave me something to focus on other than shifting charts to electronic copies. I enjoyed that it was a really fast read, though I don’t know if that statement is coming more from the relief I felt when it was over or my actual enjoyment of the book. When it comes to Diary of a Haunting, I think that is about all that I enjoyed.

I hate criticizing a book, I don’t like the way it makes me feel and I don’t like the way it is bound to make other people who were excited about reading this book feel, so I am going to try and remain as fair as possible in what I have to say. I know it is hard to put your work out there, personally, I absolutely hate it when it is time for submissions for my Creative Writing Workshop. It means days on end spent tearing apart each other’s work , nitpicking all of the little things – it’s helpful, but it can still hurt. So, when it comes to writing a bad review – all I want to do is be constructive about what I disliked. For this book, the things I did not like were simply because I did not like them on a personal level – not because of the book itself. You could still enjoy this book even though I didn’t, especially if you are a fan of the Paranormal Activity movies or The Blair Witch Project.

One of the things that made me want to bang my head against the wall was the narration. I usually despise books told through journal and or diary entries. When I read things like this, I feel as if I am not getting the entire story. You only see what the main character chooses to write in their diary, and for me, I find that really frustrating some times. Now, I don’t mind the occasional journal/diary entry here and there as long as there is some serious prose thrown in, but on its own? I find it tedious and almost annoying. In my opinion, it also makes for a bit of awkward story telling. There are some instances where the narrator is suddenly retelling conversations word for word in the midst of explaining what is going on around her. It also becomes very choppy, there are times when the diary post will stop half way through and then randomly pick back up with an apology from the writer. While this style works for movies, I have not found a book where I think it works – and, in all honesty, this is one of the first ones written in that style that I have actually finished.

The second reason I disliked this book also pertains to the narration. I felt as if the pacing was way off. It would change so suddenly that I wouldn’t notice it until I figured out that I had no clue what was going on. The book lost all consistency, things would happen and then it was like it never went down. Someone would say something and it would turn out that they actually didn’t say it. I have no idea if it was meant to be a part of the suspense of the book, but it just didn’t come across that way. It was extremely difficult to keep track of what was going on, and that took away from the enjoyment – I shouldn’t have to back track and try to figure out what was happening in order to keep reading, I shouldn’t have been so confused that my head hurt just trying to piece everything together. I know that some of it was part of the lead up to the reveal at the end, but in those cases I could tell the difference and it didn’t bother me. I’m not talking about details like that, I am talking about just the general plot line and things that shouldn’t have been as confusing as they were – sort of like my review right now. It just didn’t click for me.

Diary of a Haunting does follow some of the oldest and overused horror film stereotypes, as most horror novels and movies do, but I did find myself creeped out at certain points throughout the book. I didn’t care that I had seen it used before, almost every horror movie is the same when it comes to the way they try to scare people, anyway. I don’t want to give it away, half of being afraid comes from the surprise and suspense. I do want you to give this book a try, I might not have liked certain parts – but like I said, it was personal preference only. Believe me when I tell you this, Diary of a Haunting will creep you out at certain moments if you head into reading it with an open mind. I mean, who isn’t terrified of spiders? Don’t ask questions about that, you’ll see and have nightmares just like I did. (Disclaimer, I am absolutely terrified of spiders and snakes.)

Overall, because the book is meant to be frightening, I would suggest that this book be left for readers that are fourteen and older. There is a heavy paranormal element to this story, so if that bothers/offends you, be wary when reading this. There is also use of some basic Native American blessings and the like, so if that also bothers you, don’t read this. As a whole, though, I did find this book to be somewhat enjoyable in the grand scale of things – so go ahead and give it a shot.