{Book Reviews} Yes! Finally some decent horror!

So my last two “horror” books were flops, but I was happily surprised by the next few I tried! Sure, neither of them were sleep-with-the-lights-on scary, but they definitely both had that creep factor.

through the woodsThe first one I want to highlight is Through the Woods by Canadian author Emily Carroll. This is a graphic novel that is guaranteed to spook your socks off. At first glance when you open it up, it looks like it could be for kids, but it DEFINITELY isn’t. I don’t know what it is about graphic novels, but I always just assume that they’re for kids. This one has some adult themes and is almost Gaiman-esque in its execution.

The illustrations are bold and gorgeous. I love that Carroll uses lots of bright colours (albeit in the darker variety of colours, like reds, blues, etc.) and everything in the book is so vivid to look at. There’s a beautiful flow to the whole book, an almost old-school, gothic quality.

AND this is a collection of short stories told in graphic novel format. All are very, very spooky. My favourite story in the book is about a woman who marries a man and starts hearing voices in the house, coming from the walls. Slightly gory, this one will get the hairs on your arms to raise … it’s not for the faint of heart!

Beautifully haunting, this is a book that will stick with you and maybe creep into your dreams at night. Worth not just one read, but many more after! I’m lucky my library had it — and that they found it! Apparently it wasn’t where it was supposed to be on the shelf. I would’ve hated to miss out on this gem!

the madman's daughterThe next book was a gift to me from Teresa (@NeedNewSpace). I had commented that I really wanted to read The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd and she sent me an extra copy she had! Yay! Of course, then it sat for about a year on my shelf and I finally, finally got to it this week! Why did I wait so long?

The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, a book I have not read, but one that I’m very much interested in now. This book was just plain creepy and weird! It’s a beautifully gothic tale about a girl who had fallen from society after her father was caught doing something illegal — vivisection, or operating on animals without anaesthetic. Super creepy, if you ask me. Anyway, she feels like her father is still alive and her suspicions come true when she finds an old childhood friend who had been a servant of her father. She’s taken to a mysterious island where nothing is as it seems.

Everything about this book was gorgeous! It even has a bit of a love triangle which I wasn’t totally against (and you all know how I hate love triangles). The islanders were creepy, Juliet’s father was downright strange, and even her love interests had their interesting quirks to them. The entire story was just a bit disturbing (and at times a little gory!). This book is even part of a series, which again I’m totally okay with because that means I get to experience more of Megan Shepherd’s gorgeous writing! Not to mention the ending that I started to suspect would happen (about a few pages before it did) … I need more!

I love a good gothic novel, so reading this one after reading Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor was just what I needed. It really made me want more of the genre. I find that there are YA books that very much seem like YA but I find that once you get into the gothic novels there are ones that stand out and seem older than they are, in a good way. This is definitely one of them and I look forward to getting the next book in the series!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? 


Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

book reviewing-01

dramaTitle: Drama
Raina Telgemeier
Date(s) read:
March 7, 2013
MG Graphic Novel
Library (Paperback)


Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

my thoughts-01

After reading Raina Telgemeier’s awesome book Smile, which brought back memories of my own youth, I knew I had to read more of her graphic novels. Seeing that a lot of people were recommending Drama, I picked it up to give it a try.

I loved that this story had the same kind of feel as the first book I had read. I still love Raina’s illustrations and that they’re so bright and colourful, and fun to look at. I liked the idea of the story’s setting being around a theatre class in school — though, I really couldn’t identify with it myself since I really wasn’t a drama person in school.

I think part of the charm of the first book, of Smile, was that the main character was Raina. It was so interesting to kind of connect with the author through the things she had to go through as a child. In Drama, we get Callie, who looks quite similar to Raina. I had wished that they were the same character in both books, since I felt slightly disconnected with this story.

I did like that this story revolves around first loves and the shyness that surrounds it. It also deals with coming out of your shell and trying something new, even if you’re scared to try it. But I felt like a lot of the themes were too neatly tied up, whereas in real life they would probably be more complicated. Still, it’s a very short, easy read, so if you’re looking for something to read in a short amount of time, this could be a nice one to try.

I am definitely interested in trying out more of Raina’s work, but I do think that Smile will remain the favourite for me.


Author Links


BOOK REVIEW: Smile, by Riana Telgemeier

Date(s) read
: January 7, 2013
Genre: MG Graphic Novel


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From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

My Thoughts
One of the goals I set for myself this year was to read more books that are either award nominees or winners. At the library, there is a display of books that are nominated for the Young Readers Choice Awards. Smile was one of the books on that display, and since it was a graphic novel and looked like a pretty quick read, I thought it would be a good start to tackling this category of books. 

Of course, when I picked up the story to begin with, I never expected how much I would relate to the struggles of young Raina as she goes through middle school. I didn’t even realize that a lot of the story — despite the title — deals with Raina falling and knocking out a few teeth. I may be way past the middle grade age, but boy did I squirm during a lot of the dental surgery parts! I would suggest if you’re not the biggest fan of the dentist that you tread lightly with this book because I winced many, many times. Continue reading