Blog Tour Book Review: The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Today I am one of the stops for Carly Anne West’s new book, THE MURMURINGS, hosted by Shane @ Itching for Books. Check out the other stops here. Also, check below my review for a dream cast and giveaway!

the murmuringsInfo:
Title: The Murmurings
Author: Carly Anne West
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher for blog tour
Series? No
Genre: YA, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Page Count: 384


Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I don’t usually read horror — I don’t like being scared! — but the summary for THE MURMURINGS caught my attention. Immediately I wanted to know why Nell committed suicide, what the voices said, and why Sophie was hearing them too. I also think the cover’s intense, with the girl staring right into my eyes.

The book starts out creepy, with Sophie seeing something in the mirror. I think everyone’s seen things, then really looked and nothing’s there, so it’s an easy way for the reader to relate to what’s happening to Sophie. THE MURMURINGS is also sad, a look into a family broken by grief. I really felt for Sophie, trying to cope with Nell’s death without the help of her mother.

Nell’s death has also made Sophie an outcast at school, and I liked that she wasn’t the popular girl. I did have a bit of trouble believing the relationship that sprang up between Sophie and Evan, but Evan is one of the few male characters I’ve liked lately. He’s awkward, and unsure of himself in an endearing sort of way. Refreshingly, he’s not one of the bad boys that are so trendy in YA. Ethan reads like a real guy.

The basic story of THE MURMURINGS, without giving too much away, is that Sophie is trying to find out why Nell died, and why she heard voices. The scariness for me wasn’t actually in the voices or the things in mirrors, but in the mental institution. Now, Oakside put the eep in creepy. Dr. Keller and the rest of the staff made my skin crawl.

Spread throughout the book are passages from Nell’s diary and blog posts from Adam, an orderly at the institution. Adam’s blog posts were some of my favorite parts. They were of the “crazy dude in a tinfoil hat” variety, and I didn’t know if I could trust him or not, which added to the twists in the book. But in the end, THE MURMURINGS wasn’t as full of horror as the summary implied. It’s hard to explain why without spoiling too much, but I felt like there was a lot of focus on a supernatural element that wasn’t very scary.

I’d recommend THE MURMURINGS to other readers like me, who may not like horror stories. It would be a good way to get into the genre.

Socialize with the author:
Carly Anne West:

Dream Cast!

Sophie played by Sophie Turner. I wasn’t sure who to pick for Sophie, but when I went looking for faces, I stumbled over this picture. The hair is a bit light, but I like the combination of vulnerability and “leave me alone” on her face. Plus, the actress’s name is Sophie, so it’s like it was meant to be.

Evan played by Michael Trevino. Again, I wasn’t sure who to pick, but I found this picture and I knew it was Evan. He’s got a perfect geeky, sort of awkward expression.

Dr. Keller by Cillian Murphy. I knew immediately who I wanted to pick for Dr. Keller. Cillian Murphy does a good “I’m creepy, but you can trust me” expression.

Adam played by Colin O’Donoghue. This is inspiration from my recent infatuation with Once Upon a Time.

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Giveaway is not hosted by me. I am not responsible for prizes.

– leeanna

Blog Tour Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (and giveaway!)

Today I am one of the stops for Rachel Harris’s new book, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, hosted by Shane @ Itching for Books. As I participated in both cover reveals (!) and am a history buff, I was eager to read this book. As part of the tour, I am doing a dream cast, so check after the review for that, as well as a giveaway.

my super sweet sixteenth centuryInfo:
Title: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
Author: Rachel Harris
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: From publisher for blog tour
Series? Yes, #1
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 304


On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever? (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Wow! I read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century in one sitting. I bonded with Cat the minute we met, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to her over the course of the book.

Going in, I expected the book to be fluffy and mindless fun. On one level, it is. But on another level, there’s an important message behind it, a message that hit home for me. Cat reminded me a bit of myself — a loner, afraid to let people get close — so it was great to see her grow and learn some lessons about herself and life.

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century would make an awesome beach read, if we were going into summer. So instead I’ll call it a cozy read, to be enjoyed under the blankets, curled up with a backpack full of snacks.

I got swept away by Cat’s enthusiasm for her time travel trip. Instead of being freaked out by being sent hundreds of years into the past, Cat decided to just go with it, a decision I approved of. I also liked that she was into history and had a passion for art, so being sent back to Renaissance Florence was almost like a dream come true for her. Mostly. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I think it would be a great introduction for readers who may not like full on historical fiction. The author doesn’t overload you with detail and history lessons, but there is enough there to keep you interested if you are already a fan of historical fiction.

The only thing that really bugged me was the relationship between Cat and Lorenzo. I’m not a big fan of instant or almost instant love, but in this book, it did make sense. Lorenzo himself is a good character — a nice guy who likes Cat just as much as she likes him. At first I thought he would be the typical bad boy, a player, but he proved me wrong.

Alessandra is also a real sweetie, and she was my favorite character after Cat. Niccolo is delightfully creepy, and a great illustration of the differences between the sixteenth century and modern day.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve read a historical fiction that has made me laugh! There’s a lot of humor in My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, largely because Cat makes some funny blunders, including mixing modern day slang with sixteenth century formal speech.

I wasn’t sure how Cat would get out of her predicament — and let me tell you, she gets in some real trouble. I liked how the author handled and told the story, and while the ending is open for a sequel, most things are resolved, so you aren’t left on a cliffhanger.

I definitely recommend My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century if you’re in the mood for a fun read.

Rating: 4 owls

Socialize with the author:
Rachel Harris:
Twitter @RachelHarrisYA

Dream Cast!

Cat played by Alexandra Daddario. I know Cat has dark eyes, but there’s something about this actress that reminds me of her. Maybe that’s the sort of look Cat gives the paparazzi — I don’t care that you’re taking five hundred pictures of me!

Lorenzo played by Alex Pettyfer. His hair may not be curly, but he’s definitely got that brooding artist look in this picture.

Alessandra played by Ariana Grande. As soon as I found out this actress was Italian, I knew I had to pick her. I like to think Alessandra would look like this, after Cat gets her to loosen up!

Niccolo played by Pierce Brosnan. I don’t know why, but Pierce kept popping into my head every time there was a scene with Niccolo.

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