Review: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

Survive the Night Survive the Night
by Danielle Vega

ISBN-13: 9-781595-147240
Publication: July 7, 2015 from Razorbill
Source: publisher
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

We’re all gonna die down here…

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy – no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse…

…until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.

Trapped underground with someone – or something – out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here…”


Survive the Night by Danielle Vega is not my usual type of read, but I enjoyed it and finished it in one evening. Thankfully I was relaxing in bright, warm sunshine or else I think I might have gotten a little scared because I’m a chicken when it comes to anything horror related.

So Casey. Our main character. Talk about an unreliable narrator! Casey has just gotten out of rehab for drug addiction. She’s attending a sleepover at a, shall we say, former friends house when our other main characters show up – Shana, Julie and Aya. Right away the adult in me wanted to shake Casey and tell her to go back to Madison’s house, talk about soccer, boys and school and leave Shana way, way behind! Julie and Aya are tamer versions of Shana. High and drunk, yes, but they don’t seem as death-defying reckless as the girl you know is the reason Casey was in rehab. So anyway, the girls head to NYC, hook up with Casey’s ex Sam and his bandmate Woody and head out to find an underground rave called Survive the Night. Let the surviving begin!

I highly enjoyed the atmosphere of this book. Danielle Vega does a wonderful job of portraying dark, dank, tense, and scary. The longer Casey is at survive the night, the more suspensful and unsure it gets. At the beginning, when Julie disappears, you aren’t sure what to think. You discover that Casey is high, and it could all be a hallucination. It still could be! Yes, things go bad, fast. But is it really the something Casey believes it was? Aya’s repetition of “We’re all going to die” lends a chilling fear to the desperate race through the underground tunnels. My only disbeliefs for this book? Besides the something, of course, but monsters are cool – is that their way out was blocked so quickly considering all the ravers are escorted out of the tunnels while Casey and friends watch and are not that far away, that none of them yelled through the grate to have themselves be found, and that their cellphones had no reception but lasted as long as they did as flashlights. I know by 4 in the morning without any charging my phone would have been looooooong dead. Also, the romance. Or what there was of it. Last thing I would think of when running for my life is if my ex-bf wanted to get back with me.

3 heart

That said, the characterization, backstory, foreshadowing and uncertain ending all keep Survive the Night being a strong, nail-biting rush of a novel. Casey and Shana are the ultimate unhealthy relationship. From the beginning you want Casey to smarten up and as more and more of their past is revealed you can only shake your head and pray that any children you have in the future avoid getting tangled up with someone like Shana. And Casey knows it’s unhealthy, but drugs and that rush of adventure can change you. I will definitely be checking out Danielle Vega’s other book The Merciless and recommend Survive the Night to anyone looking for a little creepy in their life.

ARC received from Penguin Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
by April Genevieve Tucholke

ISBN-13: 9-780803-738898
Publication: August 2013 from Dial
Source: bought (audiobook)
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.


Ever since reading the synopsis for Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke I had wanted to get my hands on it. I finally decided to purchase it – and went with audiobook. I am so glad I did! I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of audiobook and this one certainly helped! I listened to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea fully in my car while commuting back and forth to two jobs, and finished it quickly. Thank goodness, too, because this book is full of moments that hook you and drag you in.

Violet and her brother Luke are living alone in their big, old gothic-like mansion when our story opens. Though their parents are off traveling, Violet (our narrator) does not often concern herself with them. Instead, it is her late grandmother Freddie she thinks of, and her warnings about the Devil. It seems like good luck that when Violet and Luke are in need of money, River West sees Violet’s aid for a border and comes to apply. Since this is a YA book, billed as gothic-romance/horror, you know right away that River West is going to be bad news. Or very good bad news, if you get my meaning. And really, it’s a bit of both. Along with River comes a whole host of problems for Violet, Luke and Violet’s best friend Sunshine (who I found rather over-the-top). Some of these problems are River’s fault – others, are not.

Along with the horror aspect of the novel, which is done exceedingly well, full of deaths and visions and mind-control, is a small mystery involving Violet’s grandmother and family. It’s melded very well with the horror of the book, and surprisingly lends quiet moments to the story. I am a big fan of April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing – the plot unfolds both quickly and quietly at the same time. Small moments give way to bigger ones, and new revelations lead up to crazy ones in the end. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Violet, or Luke or Sunshine or River but then again…I don’t think we’re supposed to be? They all had their moments in which I went “really??” and “so stupid” and “of course!” but they also all had moments of “awww” and “oh geez!” and yes. What I’m saying is that the characters are refreshingly flawed. I didn’t even mind the insta-love, since it’s kind of explained!

4 heart

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was both what I was expecting, and no where near what I was expecting. I was looking for gothic romance/horror and I was given gothic romance/horror. I was also given flawed, human, relatable (surprisingly) characters that changed and matured, or were broken and carefully pieced back together. River’s story and grandmother Freddie’s mystery mesh and blend beautifully together. This is definitely a book outside my usual fare, but one I thouroughly enjoyed experiencing. I’m excited for the sequel, and will definitely be purchasing it on audiobook. I hope it’s the same narrator!

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Waiting On Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Between the Spark and the Burn big Between the Spark and the Burn
by April Genevieve Tucholke
Publication date: August 14, 2014 from Dial

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry — until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own…

Review: Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck Stuck
by Oliver Jeffers

ISBN-13: 9-780399-257377
Publication: November 2011 from Philomel
Source: bought
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action…is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes.

And that’s only the beginning.


Stuck by Oliver Jeffers is an absolute joy to read. I came across it while browsing my local indie children’s book store Woozles, and immediately fell in love. Stuck was my first foray into Oliver Jeffers’ work, but it was not my last!

In the beginning, Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree. So of course, he throws his shoe at it to try and knock it down. But his shoe gets stuck! I can completely connect with Floyd in the fact that my brother and I roofed or treed any number of shoes (or tennis balls!) trying to knock loose other items we had thrown up on said roof or tree. Unlike us, though, when Floyd’s shoe gets stuck he doesn’t go looking for mom or dad – he keeps trying. Unfortunately, nothing seems to work. And those fireman and the mailman will certainly be missed. The whale probably wants to head back to the ocean, and his neighbour’s house takes up a lot of tree space.

5 heart Primary and grade one students love Stuck and are quick to shout out predictions when Floyd brings out a ladder, and later a saw. Hilarity ensues when he does not use either item as intended! The illustrations are wonderfully done and compliment the handwritten-style narrative (complete with crossed out misspellings and different sizes for emphasis). I definitely highly recommend picking up Stuck for any house or classroom, and check out The Incredible Book Eating Boy while you’re at it! Oliver Jeffers does not disappoint.

Review: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

The Day the Crayons Quit The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (illustrations)

ISBN-13: 9-780399-255373
Publication: June 2013 from Philomel
Source: BEA 2013
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.

What is Duncan to do?


I absolutely adore The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. Duncan opens up his box of crayons and sees letters saying that they have all quit! All the basic colours are represented, from red to blue to green and purple, including white, peach and beige with black and grey interspersed with pink, yellow and orange.

Yellow and Orange are feuding over who is the real colour of the sun, while Purple just wants Duncan to start colouring inside the lines. Peach can’t leave the crayon box, Blue is shrinking, Red feels overworked and Beige wants more work! Each crayon has a neat little letter telling Duncan exactly why they have quit and asking him to please fix the problem. Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations match the story perfectly, showcasing drawings close to what a child’s might look like, and providing handwritten letters rather than traditional typed text (in the colour of each crayon, too!).

5 heart

I’ve read The Day the Crayons Quit to grades primary to four and the students always love it. It promotes great discussion about creative choices in both drawings and colour choosing, how Duncan can help his crayons and Peach always gets the most uproarious laughter – especially from the primary grade! (Mind you, I then find peach crayon wrappings all over the floor and their desks. Read the book – you’ll see why!) This book will definitely be a staple in any of my classrooms, and I highly recommend it to any teacher, parent or anyone just looking for a cute and funny picture book.

Review: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff [blog tour]

Paper Valentine Paper Valentine
by Brenna Yovanoff

Publication: January 2013 from Razorbill
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Hannah’s best friend Lillian dies six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can it when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders linked only by a paper valentine? Hannah can hardly begin to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able to move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.


Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff is an interesting ghost story that revolves mainly around character development. Hannah’s best friend Lillian died six months before the beginning of the story and Hannah is being haunted by her ghost. Throw in a few murders and the ghosts of those girls also haunting Hannah, and she is having one crazy summer.

Honestly, for the first hundred pages or so I wasn’t quite sure where this story was going. The beginning of the book mainly revolves around character development and plot setting. We meet Hannah, a high school girl who is understandably a little withdrawn after her best friend Lillian died from anorexia and whose ghost is haunting her. Right away there is news of a murder, but as it is the first and stuff like that happens, Hannah things nothing more of it, really and it becomes almost just a part of the story’s background information. All the pieces for the later section of the book are put into place, though. We discover that Hannah works at her cousin’s photo developing shop where she develops police photos from time to time, we meet Finny – the unlikely love interest, but not really since he’s the bad boy with a heart of gold underneath it all – and we begin to see more of who Hannah is and who Lillian was.

When the second girl is found murdered, is when the story really picks up. Lillian urges Hannah to look into the killings and when Hannah starts seeing and hearing the ghosts of the dead girls, she dives right in to the mystery. Hannah’s been a bit lost, but she’s slowly bouncing back and helping these girls find closure by getting their murdered caught it a big step in that. Finny helps, too. Of course, everyone can be a suspect and I was definitely surprised at who the murderer turns out to be and the reveal process. I think Brenna Yovanoff did a great job in that.

3 heart

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff is an intense murder mystery/ghost story – the seance scene gave me chills. If you love in depth looks at character development, than Paper Valentine would be a great book – Hannah’s character has so many facets and aspects to explore. And while the beginning of the book was a little slow for my tastes, the writing is beautiful and once the murder mystery part of the story began in earnest I was much more hooked. Definitely a book I enjoyed reading!

Hardcover copy provided by Razorbill Canada in exchange for my honest review and tour participation. Thank you!

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Shades of Earth small Shades of Earth
by Beth Revis

ISBN-13: 9-781595-143990
Series: book 3 in Across the Universe
Publication: January 2013 from Razorbill
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh – to build a home – on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed‘s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to uncover who – or what – is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed – friends, family, life on Earth – will have been for nothing.



Oh. My. God. Honestly, that was my reaction at the beginning, middle and end of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis. I think this one is my favourite of the trilogy, hands down. I was completely happy and had to hold myself back from reading the ending so many times. I just wanted to know that everyone was ok and that things turned out right for Amy and Elder.

Beth Revis continues to amaze me with her descriptive world building. And now we get more than just the Godspeed! The planet is lush and fully realized. There’s this bit of a Pitch Black feel to the creatures that Amy, Elder and the others come across. The emotion that comes through in the writing really adds to the sense of fear and the unknown that permeates the majority of the novel. The shuttle landing was intense and Amy’s dad? Kind of a dick. I mean, as the book goes on you kind of understand where he’s coming from, but I still was not his biggest fan. There’s this amazing mystery that starts to unfold as soon as they land on the planet and wake those frozen in cryo. All the little pieces start to come together and mesh as the story continues, with the big reveals wonderfully planned out for shock and “I should have known!” moments. The suspense is one of the best parts of the book, as is the fast-paced plot and action mixed with a murder mystery.

I also really enjoyed that we get to see snippets of the Plague Eldest and learn more about Godspeed’s mission and why Orion did what he did. I honestly was surprised and impressed with the twists. I definitely didn’t see the final explanation coming and guh. Just guh. Beth Revis likes to kill off her characters, that’s all I can say! Characterization was still wonderful – I feel that Amy and Elder continue to grow as individuals and a couple. And of course we get to see a different side of Amy once her mother and father are present, and how they (and the others from cryo) interact with Elder and the shipborns. Elder really falls into this “hero and leader” persona that you could tell from Across the Universe and A Million Suns he had in him all the time, he just had to embrace it. Elder’s got a good head on his shoulders and he really cares for his people and Amy.

5 heart

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis is a fitting and beautiful end to one of my favourite trilogies. Everything that has occurred in the previous books was leading to this epic end and I couldn’t have been more happy with it. And she left it open to continue playing in this universe if she wanted! I mean, the ending gives us this great “and now you imagine what happens next” scenario in that way really good books do, but I would love to see a fifteen years down the road type story at some point. New characters but with the old ones still in the background and new obstacles. Let’s face it, I just don’t want to say goodbye to Amy, Elder and the shipborns yet!

ARC received from Razorbill (Penguin Canada) in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!