Monday, October 20, 2014

The Cleavers: The Savages review

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! Don't forget I've got a ton of giveaways going on!

The Savages by Matt Whyman
Release Date: March 6, 2014 (orig. June 6, 2013)
Publisher: Overlook Press
Pages: 288
Keywords: murder, family, cooking
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)
Sasha Savage is in love with Jack - a handsome, charming ... vegetarian. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous'. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother's culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel — as does their sinister taste in human beings
It's safe to say I really wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book in the mail, and though I initially didn't like the cover, it's kind of growing on me. Especially Ivan, the young boy. Wow, is he creepy.

I was surprised how much I liked this gory macabre tale. It seemed like a normal family, and I liked how the narration style made the family's actions so normal-seeming. Though obviously their eating habits are far from normal, it was a funny take on the subject rather than just approaching it like a crime novel.

The book was also very British-humor-esque, in that it was pretty dry and straightforward while being humorous about the whole situation. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The story revolved around the family and the private investigator researching the family and trying to figure out why they were so weird. The narration was a third-person omnipotent sort of character, and it jumped around between the family members quite a bit. But, it wasn't hard to follow. I felt like I got to know each member of the family individually, and I wasn't overwhelmed by the hopping.

The private investigator is made out to be this large, fast-food-eating, disorganized sort of fellow, and I pictured him kind of like Vernon Dursley. He was made out to be the butt of the jokes, even though he was trying to stop the cannibal family, and it was all pretty entertaining.

I really liked the humorous spin on such a gory subject, and it brought up a lot of interesting discussions on people's opinions on food. It was also entertaining to read this book as a vegetarian. :)

And, to celebrate, the lovely people at Overlook Press have passed along a hardcover copy for one lucky US resident! Enter to win!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On Internet Privacy & Cyberbullying

I'm taking a break from regularly scheduled blogtober (where I have 4 giveaways happening, btws) to talk about something that's extremely important.

I just had a huge wake-up call tonight (it's Saturday as I write this), and frankly, I'm a little scared to voice my full opinions. I know I shouldn't be, but it's got me second-guessing every word I write down here in the little box on Google that helps me make this blog post.

If you weren't on the internet in the past 24 hours, you may not be aware of the issue at hand, so I'll BRIEFLY run over it. I'm not going to link to the article, but I believe Jamie has a link you can use so it won't get hits on its counter, and I strongly urge you to use that link. Kathleen Hale, author of No One Else Can Have You, (a book I was already weary of reading because it's a Full Fathom Five novel. That's a whole other issue I won't go into today), released an article on The Guardian recounting how she became obsessed with Blythe, a blogger who had given her book a not-so-great review.

She got to the point where she paid for a background check, actively sought her out on social media, and rented a car to find her home address. If that wasn't enough, she obtained her work phone and called her while she was at her job. Hale's perspective is that since Blythe wasn't a real name, she was in the right by seeking her out since she had been fooled.

Using a blogger persona name is like using a pen name. It's okay.

Stalking is NEVER okay. Bad reviews don't mean bad people. It just means that particular reader didn't like a book. Big whoop. Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James seem to be doing okay career-wise despite literally thousands of terrible reviews.

I know a few bloggers who don't use their real names, and now I'm thinking they've got it right. Which leads me to my next point. I wanted to see just what kind of information was out there that, in the event I wrote a bad review, other people could have access to.

So, camped out on my sofa in the living room (with twitter open in another window so I could keep an eye on what was happening), I began to do some research. I brought up a basic site called whoishostingthis.com. I typed in my URL, and there, in plain text, was my phone number and my home address. On a public site. For literally anyone to see.

I began to panic at this point because I know VERY LITTLE about hosting and web stuff. My HTML knowledge is how to create a div and make images smaller. It's not how to fix hosting problems. So since the site brought up my info through GoDaddy, I called their support number. The guy I spoke with was very polite and didn't laugh at me when I said I had NO IDEA how to fix it, but I used blogger. He told me Google was hosting me, and that they weren't affiliated (I thought they were, that's why I called them), but all the information was pulling up because that's what happens when you register a domain. Your info gets put up on all the lists.

I hung up the phone, and I shut my computer. I was too frustrated at this point to continue. So I made some pizza, watched a Gilmore Girls, and regrouped.

Next, it took me a THOUSAND YEARS, or about 2 and a half hours, to log in as an administrator of my site. I couldn't figure out the username log on, and another phone call to google support left me more frustrated. So I was on a forum for a while before I finally found someone who had the same problem I did, and a solution to fix it. I was finally able to log on to my admin dashboard to see my domain information, and there, in plain site, was the link to who my domain was registered with.

I clicked it, and it took me to my dashboard there (for the record, it's registered with eNOM), and I found a tab that said contact information. FINALLY. I was so happy at this point. It had two bits of contact. First was registrant, which was all my information, and the second was a second-party, which fortunately, Google had registered under itself and provided an address and phone number. I just changed all my info to theirs, got rid of my last name, and hit change. All I had to do was verify the info through a confirmation email.

VOILA. I am so thrilled, and I feel so much more secure.

But my point is this: BE SAFE. Please know how much of your info is out there. Go to this site to find out if your info is visible, and work on taking it down.

I don't want to get into a big argument, but stalking is ILLEGAL, and I hope Blythe is taking the steps to let the authorities know, and there really shouldn't be any other side to this. Reviews are opinions, and they do not attack authors. I urge reviewers like myself to be certain you are only referencing the book in your posts.

But I really just wanted to write this to say be safe. The Internet is not always so friendly in our cozy little book corner. I'm so sad this happened in our community, but I love that we are sticking together to not tolerate something like this.

And if you need any help or have any questions about how to get your info down, I will help as much as I can. I don't know a ton, but I want to help you all feel safer as bloggers.

*hugs all around*

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's Left on the TBR Pile

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! Don't forget I've got a ton of giveaways going on!

After going through my schedule for the second half of blogtober, I realized I have WAY too many more books on my creepy TBR pile than days left in October. So I'm introducing my halfway point post. I'm going to post all the books I have reviewed this month, and all the books I still have yet to read. That way, even if I can't read them before the month is up, you'll know I still have good intentions!

Books Reviewed So Far



(click on the pictures to see my reviews)

Books Still on the Pile:
 (Yes, I realize there are actually more than 9 days left in October, but I've already got other things planned out, so there just aren't enough empty days on my blog to fit all these)




 Is there anything I should push immediately to the front of my reading list? I'm currently reading The Savages and really enjoying it. :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Servants of the Storm Giveaway!

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! Don't forget I've got a ton of giveaways going on!

And just as I say don't forget about the giveaways, it's time for another giveaway! This may be the last one in a blog post (keep your eye out for a Twitter giveaway. Not following? Click that bird in the sidebar--->) because I want to give everyone plenty of time to get entered.

Today, the very lovely people at Simon & Schuster have so kindly sent along a copy of Servants of the Storm by Delilah Dawson (I LOVE her name so much) to give to one of you lucky readers! This cover is beautiful, and you are definitely going to want this on your shelf.

Servants of the Storm by Delilah Dawson
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 384
Keywords: fantasy, horror, mystery
Goodreads | Book Depository
A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey's best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her. 
But recently she's started to believe she's seeing things that can't be real ... including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined. 
As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.
Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

You're In The Story: Blackbird Review

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

Blackbird by Anna Carey
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 266
Keywords: mystery, suspense
Format Read: ARC
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.
This may not be a very long review, but it wasn't a very long book, and I don't have too many thoughts on it. It's also a review I think I'll be in the minority in because several people I know have reviewed it and really enjoyed it. Sadly, I was not one of them.

The description contradicts what the book actually is because the book is written in second person. As in, "You sat up. You looked around. You sighed." I had several problems with this, the first being the descriptions of the character were far different from me, so I didn't really buy the whole premise that I was the main character. Second, literally every sentence began with "you" followed by an action verb. And that's not an exaggeration. Three pages in a row were like this.

My other big issue with the book was that the actual storyline was not not suspenseful or interesting enough to interest me for the whole book, let alone for a second book. I was mildly interested at the very beginning, but no answers were given throughout the pages, and I felt like some answers were necessary to keep me involved in the story.

I was a little sad that I didn't like this one as much as everyone else seems to, but give it a shot if it sounds like something you'd be interested in!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Brief PSA: All Hallows Read

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

I know about this event from my lovely friend Olivia, who introduced this to me last year and gave me an excellent vampire book in celebration of it. All Hallows Read takes place on Halloween, and it's basically a big reason to share some scary books with some scary (or just regular) friends! Need more reason to think this is cool? Here's Neil Gaiman talking about it and why he started it.


They've even got some cute little posters on their website, all available for free just so people can print them for fun and spread the word. 

This isn't a very long post, just a brief PSA for a really cool thing that should be bigger in the book world than it is. Pass the information along, and share a scary book with someone this Halloween.

Have you heard of this before? Will you be participating? What's your favorite poster on the website? Let's talk in the comments!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Firespell Review

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

Firespell by Chloe Neill
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 246
Keywords: magic, boarding school, adventure
Format Read: finished copy (signed!) from publisher
As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia's boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She's pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face, and surviving them and their cruel practical jokes is proving even tougher than the homework...
But on top of being the punchline to every joke, Lily's hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. All building have their creaks and groans - but Lily could swear that she's being watched.
The only thing keeping her sane, so far, is her roommate Scout. But something strange is going on there too - Scout keeps disappearing late at night, reappearing bruised and tired, and she won't tell Lily where's she's been... until, that is, a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school. Lost in the dark Lily hear's footsteps heading towards her - it's Scout and she's running from a real monster.
I've had this book on my shelf forever (I think since before it came out. In 2010. Yikes), and I've always wanted to pick it up, and I finally did this time (it's beautifully signed), and I was very glad I did. And then I checked out #2 from the library. Also, side note, first cover (pictured) is better. The new one has a "prettier" girl on the front. You know, long hair, lip gloss, a little Mean Girls-esque. Which doesn't make sense. Because the character looks like this ^^.

This was the essence of what I wanted to read in October. Quintessential boarding school creepy setting in Chicago with old-time magic and lots of sneaking around and cliques. And it was excellent. The characters were a typical cast — mean girls ruling the school, MC new girl to the school, the quirky, weird girl who befriends MC, and a few others thrown in there like the boys from the companion boarding school who visited on occasion. But even though it was the regular cast of people, I still felt like they had wonderful personalities, and they were all developed over time and not just thrown together and mentioned a few times.

Neill was also excellent at spacing out the right amount of information in the right amount of chapters apart from each other. It was suspenseful and fun to read, and I was left with a lot of questions, but not enough that I was frustrated, but enough that I definitely wanted to read the next book.

It wasn't a masterpiece or anything, but it was such a fun, essential, Halloween read that I wanted to go grab the series and just stay in bed all day reading them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall in Floyds Knobs

This post is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

I've been interviewing bloggers, mostly about what they do in the fall time and Halloween traditions, and I thought it would be fun to share what I do in the fall in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Yes, that's really what it's called, and a knob (hahaha) is smaller than a mountain but much bigger than a hill. We sit 600 feet above Louisville. It's not technically a town since we don't have our own government system, but it's a township. There are quite a few people here, but the whole township takes up the whole county, so we're just really spaced out so it seems like there's no one here.


Near the beginning of October, the town down the hill has this big event called Harvest Homecoming, and it's basically the whole city shuts down because of it. Really. The YMCA (where my evening job is) is closed because it's downtown in the middle of it. Basically it's a block festival with weird homemade crafts, iffy local bands, and lots and lots of food. Everyone beelines it to the Boy Scout roasted corn or old peoples' club apple dumplings. It's a catfight over which is better. (Corn, obvs.)


I also always hit up Huber's Orchard & Winery. I worked there in high school on the weekends (I was the caramel apple-maker), and my mom works up in the wine tasting loft on the weekends now, so I've been visiting her a lot. The orchards are beautiful, and it's a lot of fun to pick apples (spoiler, they're all delicious). My favorite part is always the wine, but outside is pretty too.


The left is my and my momma (she's my favorite) hanging out at the winery in the crazy-lit sunlight, and the right is the orchards (winesap apples that day. they are delicious).
It's super gorgeous here in the autumn season, and there are trees EVERYWHERE, and they're all changing now, and I absolutely love driving down the hill on the way to work.

And just for fun, here's me and mom last week trying to take a selfie in the cardboard cutout farmer faces we were too short for in the first place. It was ridiculous, and we had a whole bottle of wine before that, and people were staring at us. It was awesome.


Do you all have any fall-musts in your town? What do you like most about the season?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Party Flop: Party Games Review

This review is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

Party Games: A Fear Street Novel by R.L. Stine
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 288
Keywords: horror, thriller, high school
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.
I was pretty excited about this because I owned ALL the Goosebumps books as a kid (I even posted a TBT in honor of the legendary series, and there's a picture of Ryan Gosling on the page). And I started reading and got extremely confused, and it made me want to go back and read the other books because WHAT.

The voice was terrible. The sentences were like this. The words were there. They were repetitive. I found myself wanting all the characters to die early so I wouldn't have to read the narration about them. It was "tell, not show" when it's supposed to be the other way around. The narrator gave us every detail of information, including about 83% of things that were not important to the plot, developing a character, or remotely interesting. If it's not one of those three things, it doesn't need to be in the book.

My nostalgia for R. L. Stine won out, and I did finish the book, but it was incredibly predictable and disappointing how moronic the characters behaved. I started to question all my choices as a 3rd-grader, and I want to see if the voice is still the same, and then smack past me for ever liking them if it is.

There's a lot of instalove and weird relationships and confusing plot holes and creepy high school kids. And then, even after all the shitty stuff this person does, people seem to forgive it in about 3 seconds and all is right with the world again.

I was incredibly let down by this book, and I don't want to go back and read my beloved Goosebumps series anymore for fear that I will be as sad as I was when I finished this one.

Don't forget you can win lots of books & prizes all October long!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Savages Giveaway

This post is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! If you've got a fall post, make sure to add it to the Linky so I can check it out!

Yesterday, my Friday Book Drinks featured The Savages, a super weird, super creative story about a family of cannibals in the suburbs. Yep, you read that correctly.

Thanks to the lovely Josie @ Overlook Press, I am able to give away 1 hardcover copy of the book I was reading this weekend! It will last through the end of the month and is US only, and I'm putting the book information below!

The Savages by Matt Whyman (tweet)
Release Date: March 6, 2014 (orig. June 6, 2013)
Publisher: Overlook Press
Pages: 288
Keywords: murder, family, high school
Goodreads | Book Depository
Sasha Savage is in love with Jack - a handsome, charming vegetarian. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous'. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother's culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel — as does their sinister taste in human beings.