Review: Tunnel of Bones

I love Victoria/V.E. Schwab’s books – including her middle grade series, The Cassidy Blake series. The first book, City of Ghosts, was so good! I read the ARC that I received at BookCon 2018 and fell in love.

Some people have a weird thing about not reading younger books, as if they’re not as good or as sophisticated, but that’s simply not true. I think middle grade books are important and should be read! They can be silly and “childish” (since they’re FOR CHILDREN) but that doesn’t mean they don’t talk about important issues. Same thing with YA. Just because it’s marketed for young people doesn’t mean that it’s not a good story to read – and I think this series is awesome!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab is the second book in the Cassidy Blake series and it takes place in Paris, France. If you haven’t read City of Ghosts, Cassidy Blake #1, here is the link to my review! My opinions have changed a lot since that post, especially about middle grades, so take that part with a grain of salt.

This book is so good. I read it in one sitting and I can say, this is a keeper. I can see myself passing this along to my kids to read along with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Cassidy is such a fun character to hang out with, and her best friend Jacob is awesome too! (He’s making me write this)

We get to explore the haunted parts of Paris and learn about a new kind of ghost, a poltergeist. Jacob, our handy dandy ghost friend, isn’t doing so well either and Cassidy is scared he’s going to become just like our new found poltergeist friend. Their friendship is really cute and it touches on important moments for young friends, like gathering up the trust to tell an important secret or a bad memory.

As a kid, I would have loved to read about a series that lets me travel the world and go ghost hunting! I read so many ghost stories, especially in middle school, including Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series. You have no idea how much I wanted to be able to see and talk to ghosts (and maybe even fall in love with one?) because of these stories.

While Victoria’s series isn’t as romantic, and definitely more scary, they’re a fun adventure that any kid can follow. If they ever get an opportunity to travel the world there are sights to be seen from this book. And if not, it’s like you’ve already been there.

Overall, I think this book is so good and so cute. I worry for Jacob and I’m curious to see how his character changes in the next book. I’m not sure how many books are in this series, but I hope it continues cause I love this.

For my rating, I have to give it starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for top scares, excellent scenery, and fun moments between friends. If you, or your child, is looking for a good middle grade ghost story – check out the Cassidy Blake series!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s, The Lightening Thief, by Rick Riordan OR The Mediator series, Shadowland by Meg Cabot.

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Halloween/Fall Reads You Need to Add to Your TBR Now

I love fall. It is absolutely my favorite season out of the four and that means I read a lot of fall and Halloween related books during this season.

These books are top notch to put you in a fall, spooky vibe so if you’re looking for something to make you check under your bed an extra time, check out these reads!

1. Bone Houses

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Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

2. The Grace Year

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Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

3. The Tenth Girl

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Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

4. Gideon the Ninth

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The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

5. Tunnel of Bones ***

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Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.***

 

*** This is the second in a series – the first is called City of Ghosts

6. House of Salt and Sorrows

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Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

7. Spectacle 

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Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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I am such a fan of horror, thriller, and spooky reads. Let me know which ones spark your interest this Halloween season! And if you have any recommendations, pass them here! I tried to focus on books published in 2019 – so let me know which other 2019 reads I missed.

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If you liked this post please like this, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab debuts in August 28, 2018. We both received this ARC at BookCon as part of a three pack for the Epic Reads event. Personally, I am not a giant fan of middle grade books, but stop the presses! This book was so good and so cute!

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Here is the full synopsis from Goodreads:

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

Going into this story I was excited, because I adore Victoria Schwab, but also nervous. As a not-so-big fan of middle grade, I was scared this book would be dull, boring, or too easy. On the contrary, this book was fun, exciting, witty, and action packed. While the language was dumbed down (obviously!) it was such a fun and enticing read.

My favorite thing about ALL of Schwab’s books are her amazing characters. Cass and Jacob are complex and three dimensional throughout the entire novel. Their choices reflect who they are as people instead of what the author or readers want. I think that Schwab’s use of realistic characters (even the side characters) not only make this book easy and fun to read, but also scary. This ghost story does include actual ghosts (shocker) and the humanity in each of those ghost scenes sometimes make it less scary, and sometimes terrifying.

Another thing I loved about this book was the strong detailed descriptions of what is going on around Cass and where she is. I never felt like the screen in my brain went dark because Schwab keeps it lit with her avid and, sometimes, scary descriptions. I loved reading scenes just of Cass’ surroundings because even that is interesting and I loved viewing Scotland through her lens.

The plot of this story was also adorable! Being a middle grade, I thought this book was actually scary. If I were a elementary or middle schooler reading this now, I might need to leave the lights on for a few weeks (I’m also just a giant scaredy cat!). I think this book is a perfect intro to supernatural, horror, and other spooky subjects for kids and does so without scarying them half to death (cough cough Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark cough cough!).

The only problem I had with this book was that I felt it ended too early! I wanted to hear more about Cass and Jacob’s adventures and see more of Edinburgh, Scotland! Thankfully, Schwab has confirmed book two, and it appears it takes place in Paris!

Overall, I would give this book Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star stars!

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If you liked this review or this book sounds interesting, I would check out either Coraline or The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman! Both are middle grade scary/suspense novels by another amazing author!