Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cover Costume Candy

Happy Halloween guys! Hope you are having a spooktacular evening. My night will be spent watching The Walking Dead Season One. Or attempting to. The first time I wanted to watch the series I had to quit after only about five minutes. Yes, I'm very easily scared. 
I haven't picked out a Halloween costume to wear, but can't wait to see what (possibly bookish) characters you will be embodying. When I started to collect post ideas for my YA Halloween Fear Factor special I wanted to do something with costumes. I thought of all the beautiful book covers on my shelves and knew I had to compose a list of my favourite YA book cover inspired costumes. I selected pieces of clothes, accessories and beauty products and put together looks for a fancy costume party.
And what would a party be without a great cocktail? Of course every YA cover costume heroine or hero gets her/his appendant drink.

For larger versions of the pictures below, click here to visit my Cover Costume Candy Pinterest board.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely - Deadly Chic

Picture & Recipe
Blueberry Mojito

8 blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed), plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup (2 ounces) white rum
1 cup ice
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) club soda
lime slice for garnish

Through the Zombie Glass - Zombie in Wonderland

Picture & Recipe
Black Vodka Ghost Martini

1/3 part black vodka
1/3 part Chambord
1/3 part cranberry juice
Club Soda
Blackberry for garnish
Dry ice pellets

The Selection - Dystopian Princess

Picture & Recipe
Cotton Candy Champagne Cocktail

1 fluff of cotton candy
Champagne to top

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Monster Princess

Picture & Recipe
Blue Hawaiian Jelly Shots

3 oz box of Berry Blue Jello
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup Malibu rum
1/2 cup Blue curacao
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Asunder - Flowery Soul

Picture & Recipe  
Raspberry Rose Fizz

1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz liqueur framboise
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz raspberry syrup
3 drops rosewater
1 egg white
1 1/2 oz sparkling water
rose petal for garnish
Raspberry Syrup:
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

The Girl In The Steel Corset - Steampunk Warrior

Picture & Recipe
Blood Orange Mimosa

1 bottle Prosecco
1 1/2 cups fresh blood orange juice
1 tablespoon super-fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

 Tiger Girl

Picture & Recipe
Peachy Orange Cream Cocktail

2 slices fresh or frozen (thawed) peaches
1 slice fresh orange
1/4 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 oz vodka (2 tablespoons)
4 oz lemon-lime soda (1/2 cup)

Everneath - Underworld Goddess

Picture & Recipe
Pomegranate-Ginger Prosecco Cocktail 

2 oz gin 
2 oz pomegranate juice 
1 oz ginger simple syrup (above) 
2 oz prosecco 
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

Vixen - 20's Seductress

Picture & Recipe
Cranberry Champagne

1 ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
1 wedge lime
Champagne or sparkling wine
Cranberries (frozen)

Victorian Gentleman

Picture & Recipe
The Blackthorne Cocktail

1 oz Sweet Vermouth (M&R Rosso)
2 oz Irish whiskey (Jameson 12, Redbreast)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
absinthe wash

Con Man

Picture & Recipe
Kamikaze Cocktail

1 1/4 oz Smirnoff  Red Label Vodka
1/4 oz triple sec
1/4 oz lime juice or sour mix

Ice Prince

Picture & Recipe
Whiskey Lemonade

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 tablespoons whiskey 
2 tablespoons Simple Syrup 
Lemon zest

Q! Which costume do you like best? Would you dress up like a YA cover model and which one would it be?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mini Reviews #14

Today's Mini Reviews post is part of my YA Halloween Fear Factor special in October and the beginning of November. Out of all the books that had yet to be reviewed I chose TEN by Gretchen McNeil, DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas and LITTLE WHITE LIES by Katie Dale to represent the Halloween reads in form of a Mini Reviews post, because all three have something dark about them, in a horrific and/or thrilling way. Murder, betrayal, deception, now choose your brand of thrill ride.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten teenagers are invited to White Rock House, stately mannor on a private island. Meg and her best friend Minnie just wanted to have a fun weekend and enjoy the party, but someone on the island has different plans for them. When they find a DVD with a vengeful message, people start disappearing and getting killed. Of course the killer is after the two girls as well.
TEN is a mix of all the teen slasher movies that you've watched, turned into a book. The setting for TEN is very glum and isolated, a tiny island with only two mansions and a storm brewing. These factors are expected to make our characters' quest for survival harder and even though they often say they shouldn't separate they do exactly that. They were just as infuriating as teens in horror movies. Admittedly both setting and characters are a bit clichéd and the plot felt too generic. It could've been more extensive in explanations and allowed some more time to work on a stressed-out reader instead of rattling through the murders in a row, offing people like ticking off a check list. TEN comes along with a story of friendship, a small love story for Meg and one of the boys on the island and its grand killing spree. The story of our teens is supplemented with diary entries of an unknown person, whose past and entries are the key to finding out who's behind the murders.

3,5/5 ***/* TEN -  A mainstream YA horror slasher story, with creepy occurrences and gruesome murders according to schedule.

I read TEN during my summer vacation, in a lonely cottage on the Danish coast, while rainy and windy weather broke through the quiet of the night. So you can imagine a portion of the story's intended tension and creep-factor were definitly delivered to this reader.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 18th 2012
Length: 296 pages
Keywords: YA, horror, thriller, romance, island
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Murder in paradise. That's what Anna and her friends' vacation on Aruba ends with. The group of teens was only set out for a fun time and now Anna's best friend is dead and Anna herself is in jail, treated as the island's police's prime suspect.
The entire novel was strategically well-structured, scenes of Anna's trial alternating with scenes from the past and the previous nights on Aruba, doing some explaining and offering insight on how the characters play together, how they met each other and what ultimately led to the murder. Anna and Tate have a sweet romantic love story and Elise is the best friend Anna had been needing for so long.
While some short scenes of Anna's present days in prison, in dialogue with her lawyer or in the court room sometimes lack tension, sequences of Anna and Tate's as Anna and Elise's past can balance them out with their mixture of tropical romantic nights, parties, sex, drugs and deadly games.
Anna is a character one immediately feels sorry for, considering her current situation, caught in a foreign prison, without support, her friends or her family. While I felt strong sympathy for her, I even suspected her to be involved in Elise's murder as the prosecution is throwing evidence into the game that looks real bad for her.

3,5/5 ***/* DANGEROUS GIRLS – A paradisic concoction of sweet romantic and all the same murderous feelings!

 While DANGEROUS GIRLS offered a tropical dream of a murder case and I just flew through the story, the ending to the book left me disappointed in its vagueness.We are left with too flimsy a solution for the entire story that at first sight appeared to be complex in background, and with that many friends being possible suspects. Out of all the possible ways to end the story, the one Abigail Haas picked was also the reason for a perfectly engaging story to leave me unsatisfied in the end. So in the end I wished Abigail Haas would have presented us with much more details and actions on actual crimes than the ways of law.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: August 1st 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, friendship, murder, jail, trial, romance, Aruba
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Little White Lies by Katie Dale

Lou's freshly attending university. It's a new start for her. She's making new friends in only a matter of hours and she meets the attractive and secretive Christian who lives in town, too. They seem to run into each other with a conspicuous frequency. Their attraction is mutual and almost palpable, their relationship though built on a construction of lies and secrets.
Katie Dale is a genius to even let her main character keep secrets from us. Brilliant idea! You don't know who to believe and trust. I never knew who was lying and even if Lou was to be trusted. LITTLE WHITE LIES keeps you constantly guessing and reforming your opinion about its characters. Their secrets are unravelled slowly and put into context in a well-paced manner. 
Christian and Lou's relationship isn't built on the most solid foundation: lies, or at least withheld information, so there was to be expected more than one conflict to disturb their peace. Their romance is continuously evolving, changing, turning steamier, darker, more reluctant, trusting and so it is beautifully fitting into the overall arc of suspense and the various secrets that have yet to be unveiled.

4,5/5 ****/* LITTLE WHITE LIES – An artfully constructed, suspenseful thriller with high recognition factor by one of my favourite British YA authors!

I loved Katie Dale's debut novel SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE so much. Her second book is headed in a much darker direction, a Brit thriller par excellence. Wild chases and the hunt for clues make her second novel so absolutely gripping. She shows the effect and dynamics of public news, an angry mob and a helpless individual caught in a web of lies, false assumptions and lack of chance to explain himself. I'm so excited to hear what will be Katie's next book.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: August 1st 2013
Length: 384 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, friendship, romance, UK
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Your Top 13 YA Halloween Reads of 2013

Still looking for a good Halloween read? A few days ago I asked you about your literary Halloween plans this year and here's a list of your Top 13 YA reads in no particular order. Background images for each book were taken from their book trailer if not stated otherwise. Among the mentions were a few Stephen King novels like Carrie and Coraline by Neil Gaiman as well. Get inspired. Get reading!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS make the perfect Halloween read with their dark caster magic and the atmospheric Southern town of Gatlin. I still haven't read the third book in the series, but I should get to it very soon!

Watch the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES book trailer.

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

What would Halloween be without vampires? Holly Black's latest book came out in September 2013 and I so have to get my hands on a copy in the next weeks. Its book trailer is really whetting my appetite for a little blood-sucker action. 

Watch the THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN book trailer

Anna Dressed In Blood & Girl of Nightmares by Kendra Blake

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD tells the story of a ghost girl who kills everyone who disturbs her. So creepy!

Watch the GIRL OF NIGHTMARES book trailer.

Ten & 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
A house party on an island gone terribly terribly wrong. Now ten teens have to fear for their lives. And 3:59 could be even scarier with a parallel universe and doppelgängers! I used the TEN cover for this background image. 

Watch the TEN book trailer.

Find Me by Romily Bernard

Romily Bernard's debut novel is a gripping thriller with a murder case and the hacker girl Wick who gets involved in the case when her sister seems to be the murderer's next target. This could be one of the lighter Halloween reads, more thriller than horror.

Watch the FIND ME book trailer

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Pick up a copy of WARM BODIES to read a zombie book of a different sort. 'R' is a zombie and when he decides to save a girl instead of eating her, a love story of a kind is put into motion. I bet someone gets eaten, too.

Watch the WARM BODIES book trailer.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

The title of Madeleine Roux' novel is a pretty good clue at what we can expect the story to be about. I haven't picked it up until today, because I was too frightened to visit the asylum. Just look at the picture above and you know why. The image was taken from the book's back.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Until today THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER and its sequel are the creepiest books I've read. So many scary things keep happening and Mara is drawn into a tangle of lies, intrigues, delusions and evil intentions. These are two of my favourite YA books and if you haven't read them yet, now's exactly the right time to do so.

Watch the THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER book trailer

Ransom Riggs' and his home for peculiar children is another book that I couldn't bring myself to read so far. The idea of a bunch of children with very unusual talents is freaking me out. I find them even scarier than an evil creature of the night on the loose!


 The Rift by Andrea Cremer

In the wolf category you named RIFT by Andrea Cremer, the prequel to her bestselling NIGHTSHADE series and SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. If you liked Andrea Cremer's NIGHTSHADE series this should definitely be on your radar. Who can resist the shape shifters?

Watch the THE RIFT book trailer

 Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The SHIVER trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater isn't exactly scary, but it's one of my favourite reads and I was surprised to find it on your Halloween reading list. It has a great romance and a bunch of very hot werewolves. Good choice! Shiver background source

Watch the SHIVER book trailer.

 The Host by Stephenie Meyer

An alien read shouldn't be missing from this Halloween reads list, and you named THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer as one of your picks. I really liked both book and movie. Background image source.

The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Your Cassandra Clare Halloween picks were CITY OF ASHES and CITY OF GLASS from the THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series and CLOCKWORK ANGEL from Cassandra's THE INFERNAL DEVICES series. Werewolves, vampires faeries, angels, demons, Cassandra's books have them all.

Watch the CITY OF LOST SOULS book trailer.

My Halloween Reads

I picked three books for this year's Halloween reading. UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendra Blake, which can also be found on your Halloween reading list and THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher. Dangerous spirits, ghosts and demons and a murderer on the loose are promising one or two sleepless nights for me.

Q! What are reading on Halloween? Are you throwing a Halloween party, perhaps a bookish themed Halloween party? Tell me all about it in the comments or link me to your Halloween posts.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

Title: The Sound
Author: Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: August 1st 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, thriller, murder, romance, summer
Source: Publisher

When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston's elite, she's hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn't count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer...

Summary by Goodreads 

THE SOUND is set on the island of Nantucket. And Ren's could've been a story about a beautiful summer spent nannying and enjoying a few weeks in the US, if it weren't for the unpredictable ways of a serial killer. The long stretching beach and the sound, a kind of small strip of sea between two masses of land, hold many secrets that make THE SOUND not your average sunny beach read. Sarah Alderson found the ideal setting for her new thriller. Her personal teen experiences as a nanny in Nantucket definitely contributed to that atmospheric and rich setting we get to explore in her newest novel.

Ren Kingston is British. And Sarah Alderson so cleverly made use of that fact to bring in small hints about the differences between the US and UK, with focus on their comical side of course.
In the US, Ren is staying with Carrie, Mike and their two kids. As it will be Ren's job to nanny them, we will get to know Braiden and Brodie, too and spent time with them. They are two absolutely adorable kids. But as Carrie and Mike are pretty easy-going and accommodating parents, they give Ren the space and time to explore the island and make new friends, too.
Ren meets local teens her age and is friends with them pretty fast. Her summer will be filled with riding her bike, hanging out at the beach and attending fashionable parties by the local kids and their families. She's into music, reading and blogging, aspiring to become a music journalist. I liked her a lot and think we could easily be friends. Her attribute of assistance: Ren is one of the few YA girls who seem to be able to calculate the danger they're in. She's very set on listening to her natural instinct.

Now let's come to the serial killer. Without him this thriller would be only half as much fun. The story around the nanny murderer is chilling and intriguing and it's someone who's on the island with them, someone who Ren already met. This serial killer could've been so creepy with all the tension building and Ren being his possibly next target. It seemed he was a bit too shy to bring on the big psychotic action in the end. His presence created an unnerving feeling, but didn't lead to the high number of bone-chilling incidents  I had been hoping for.

Besides the fear of becoming the next victim of a murderer, a dark secret of a different kind causes trouble and various conflicts in Ren's circle of new friends. Most of them are privileged children of rich parents and couldn't be bothered to hide their disdainful character, openly bullying and provoking local bad boy Jesse. The boy Ren feels herself drawn to, despite her dating someone else (there goes her no-boys-summer rule).
Jesse's father owns a bike shop and Jesse helps whenever he can. He appears to be the rough and scorned bad boy. Unsurprisingly, there's much more to him than the rumors that people so willingly believe. Jesse is confident even though he's not very popluar with everyone on the island and he is protective of the people he loves. He's very skilled with his hands (ha!), the perfect YA book boy crush. His and Ren's relationship is heated and much more compelling than the actual murder case (which is definitely not a bad thing). Sarah Alderson is the best at writing book boys that will have you crushing on them hard within seconds.

4,5/5 ****/* THE SOUND – This strinking new book by Sarah Alderson is a chilling beach read providing you with a luscious love story, a local bad boy to lust after and a slightly less creepy murderer than the story actually needed.

How about a few autumnal days spent at the sea? THE SOUND would make a perfect beach read for the currently darker season! Sarah Alderson is always a safe bet when you are looking for a thrilling and likewise steamy read. I'm a fan of her HUNTING LILA series and now officially can't decide between Alex and Jesse as my favourite Sarah Alderson book boy.

"He ignores me, reaching for a T-shirt on the counter and pulling it on as I watch, trying to force myself not to stare at. Those. Muscles. I forbid myself to quiver. Or to reach out and touch them to check that they are real." ― p. 42

THE SOUND you might also enjoy LITTLE WHITE LIES by fellow UK author Katie Dale, CLARITY by Kim Harrington, set in a beach town as well but with a specially gifted heroine. And of course, if you haven't read it yet, HUNTING LILA by Sarah Alderson. Lila's boyfriend Alex is just as yummy as Jesse.

* How do you like the US cover of THE SOUND?

* For more information about Sarah Alderson and her books visit

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a review copy of THE SOUND!

YA Halloween Fear Factor

This week, October 28th - November 3rd is dedicated to my Halloween feature named YA Halloween Fear Factor. I will be reviewing spooky books with paranormal influences, murder mysteries and thrillers. Among them are TEN by Gretchen McNeil, LITTLE WHITE LIES by Katie Dale, THE SOUND by Sarah Alderson, DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Hass, UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia and the seven-book VAMPIRE ACADEMY series by Richelle Mead.
Another post is reserved to your Top 13 YA Halloween Reads of 2013. On October 30th I'm displaying a bunch of YA cover models and their looks that could make for fabulous costumes. And at the end of our Halloween week there'll be a Tricksters & Treats post with some of the darkest YA minds that are irresistably sexy and date ideas you should give a wide berth. Here's a list of my planned posts for the next seven days.

October 28th Book Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

October 29th Your Top 13 YA Halloween Reads of 2013

October 30th Mini Reviews #14 with Ten by Gretchen McNeil,  Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas and Little White Lies by Katie Dale.

October 31st Cover Costume Candy

November 1st Book Review: Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

November 2nd YA Tricksters & Treats

November 3rd Book Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

YA Pumpkin Carving Patterns

And now to get in the full YA Halloween mood, you just need to grab a pumpkin and start carving these absolutely drool-worthy YA book cover patterns. I found them at Kate Hart's blog and there are many more fun pumpkin carving patterns for you. Click on the links for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions.

The Fault In Our Stars, Fangirl & Paper Towns

The Curiosities, Sweetly & Paper Valentine

Q! Which YA cover design would you carve into your pumpkin? I'd pick the Sweetly design because the gnarly branches forming a woman's face is the creepiest of them all.