Throwback Thursday - I Spy Riddle Books

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Set in a haunted house, readers are invited to search for mice, spiders, candles, bats, jack-o-lanterns, and bones among other creepy things found in the hallway, library, fireplace, and laboratory of the house, as well as in the graveyard and a garden of ghouls outside.

Puzzle books come in all shapes and sizes and while I wasn’t so very fond of picture books or those types of books in general, I did love the I Spy puzzle books. There were a ton of those “Seek and Find” type books back in the day, from Where’s Waldo to ones based off of famous Disney movies (I totally had the Little Mermaid one, too) and everything in between. I remember liking the I Spy genre, though, because the pictures and setting for each book were so creative and artsy. My brothers and I had a ton of fun going through new books together and competing to see who could find the objects the quickest or who could find the most objects in a certain page. We’d go through the books so often that we’d remember which things to “spy” and could find them right off the bat. In short, this was something for me and my younger brothers to bond over, particularly when I could read, but they were still too young to recognize all the words. So many hours spent in fond companionship!
If you read my review of the horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, you probably noted that I’ve always been something of a horror fanatic. So, naturally, my favorite book from this series was I Spy Spooky Night, which was set in a derelict and perhaps even haunted house. It was spooky and had a macabre feel to it, but not overly so that it would frighten small children. The pictures and puzzles really brought the spooky theme to life and, of course, my favorite puzzle was the one of the library with dusty, cob-web ridden spines. More often than not, you’d be challenged to “spy” creepy crawlies, like spiders, snakes and bugs to even nastier things like eyeballs and other dismembered body parts. As a little girl, this was right up my alley!
 Luckily for me, when I was younger, computers were really starting to become the norm in households. We didn’t have reliable internet, so I’d content myself with playing games – and I Spy just happened to make several computer game versions of their books, one of which was called Spooky Mansion. You bet your ass I got that game and I spent HOURS playing through the different puzzles. In the game, you’d get a map piece for every puzzle you solve and, after your collect all the map pieces, you’d find your way out of the mansion. To make things even more interesting, there were three different ways to escape the mansion. What I enjoyed about the games, though, was the different types of puzzles. Rather than just a straightforward “I Spy” like in the books, they had puzzles that could be played in the dark, using a flashlight to spy things, as well as a puzzle in which you use a magnifying glass to find objects hidden in butterfly wings. It was a ton of fun and, even now, I have fond memories of playing it with family and friends.

I loved it so much even, that when a Wii version of I Spy Spooky Mansion was released, I immediately bought it, wanting to relive fun times. Unfortunately, the difficulty level of the puzzles was significantly reduced and it wasn’t just because I was older. My little cousins in kindergarten were breezing through the puzzles with hardly any problem. Moreover, the controls for the game were super wonky. I’ve never been a big fan of the Wii, but that game was a big flop, even for Wii standards.
Overall, though, this is a series of books I look back on with fond memories. I hope that they continue to stay kid’s favorites and that my own children might be able to enjoy them one day.

Waiting on Wednesday - Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

September is going to be epic for so many reasons, only one of them being the release of Crooked Kingdoms, but you can bet I’m super excited to get my hands on this. As I’ve noted before – and you can see in my sidebar – Bardugo is one of my favorite writers, and the fact that she chose to continue a companion series set in Ravka makes me ridiculously happy. I loved the world she created, the grisha system in general, and all the characters from the first series. I devoured Six of Crows in, like, two days and that was pretty damn fast, considering I was working and going to grad school. XD
Also – I know you guys agree with me – I need some more Kaz x Inej in my life. Like, right now. Like, yesterday.
September 27th, you can’t get here quick enough!

Top Five - Books I Feel Differently About Over Time

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Top Ten is the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we showcase our top ten books in a certain category. This week's theme was "Top Ten Books You Feel Differently About." Like last week, this was a hard category for me to pick books for, so I chose to only list five and, even so, some of the books were just ones that my friends and I had differing opinions on.
Number Five: The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
This remains one of my favorite books and movie to this day. The reason it made this list, though, is that the main critique for this book, one that focuses so heavily on the matter of race, is that it's just another book about "whites helping the blacks," with many readers claiming that it read as if Aibileen wouldn't have been able to make such a difference without the help of Skeeter. While I certainly see the argument, I counter with the fact that I see this book as one that - while it might have a heavy emphasis on race - was mostly about personal growth of all three main characters. Yes, it certainly has issues that could be critiqued, but I still love it, regardless.
Number Four: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read this book a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. At first, I rated it as four stars, my main qualms being - of course - with the ending and that Death hinted too heavily about what would've happened. As time passed, though, I've realized that I was a little too harsh with my judgements. Considering a book that was set in WWII, I suppose it was only natural that SOMETHING like that would happen, right? I suppose I was just too sour about the hurt when I finished reading at first. Since then, though, I've edited my rating to five stars and it's a book I look back on fondly.

Number Three: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
This is another book in which I loved, right up until the ending. I actually hadn't been spoiled about what would happen and, when it did, I felt like it was just a means to shock the reader. I was super annoyed at first, but my irritation has waned over the years and I still recognize that it is, indeed, a good book - one that actually got me started on Picoult. I even watched the movie adaptation.
Number Two: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Every reader has a dirty little secret and this one is mine. I admit it. I got swept up in the hype that was Twilight back when it was super big and everyone was reading it. I know, I know! In hindsight, it was really stupid. And even I realized that by the time Breaking Dawn came out. But give a girl credit - I had to read it to see what all the fuss was about! At least now me and my friends can laugh about how dumb we were back in the day. 
Number One: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
I had to read this book in college as part of my Crime Fiction lit class. This was actually my first time delving into Christie and this was another book with a twist ending - one I didn't see until right up at the end. And, in fact, I really liked it! There were a TON of people in my lit class that hated it, though, and felt used after finishing the book. I still like the story and give Christie credit for taking a risk, but I can definitely see how others might have been rubbed the wrong way.

That's all I have for this week's Top Ten Five. Have you read any of these and have differing opinions? What were on your lists? Feel free to link me to your own TTTs in the comments below~

2016 Review Train - Dates & Stops

Monday, May 23, 2016

Well, it's nearly that time, folks! Summer is quickly approaching, with Memorial Day acting as the unofficial start of the sunny and hot season. And with Memorial Day comes the start of our Review Train. We have a lot of awesome bloggers and reviews lined up and we hope that you will take the time to follow the Train as it makes it rounds. Be sure to like, comment, and tweet because the more active you are as followers, the more chances you will have to enter the giveaway on the final day of the Train.
Below is the official list and dates of the Review Train.
Participants, PLEASE double check to see which days you will post. I tried to stick as closely to the dates you wanted as possible, but I did have to tweak a couple days here and there to make everything work. Also, listed on my sidebar is the button/banner for the Train. You aren't obligated to put the button anywhere on your sites, but please put the banner at the top of your review posts, so that followers/readers will be able to distinguish which post is the official "stop" for the Train.

Edited: Also, in addition to the banner, please put a link to the next person in line on the Train at the end of your review post, to make it easier for readers to follow along.
I just want to give an extra special thank you to the participants who agreed to partake in the fun. I can't wait to see what you gals come up with!
May 30th - Genni at Ready, Set, Read is reviewing The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
May 31st - Lauren at Always Me is reviewing Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs
June 1st - Laura at Blue Eye Books is reviewing The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
June 2nd - Sam at Tsundoku Books is reviewing Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
June 3rd - Czai at The Blacksheep Project is reviewing Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
June 4th - Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense is reviewing The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
June 5th - Ashley at [Insert Title Here] is reviewing Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
June 6th - Sinead at Less Reality, More Books is reviewing The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
June 7th - Ashley at What's She Reading? is reviewing Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
June 8th - Brittany at Space Between the Spines is reviewing Summer Days and Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins et al + GIVEAWAY! =D
I encourage you all to follow or subscribe to these lovely ladies. They're blogs are awesome and I'm sure the reviews for the Train will be epic as well. Can't wait to get started!!!

Review - Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Friday, May 20, 2016

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
By April Genevieve Tucholke et al
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through these tales!

I’ve been a horror movie/scary story junkie since I was a little kid. For those of you who might not know, I was actually adopted by my father, and – well, to put it simply – he didn’t really know how to act or treat little girls. Luckily for me, that meant that I got away with murder and with a lot that my mother wouldn’t tolerate. And it just so happened that Dad was the one who initiated my love for horror. He, like me, lives off the stuff. If there’s a scary movie out, he’s the first to watch it. If Stephen King has a new book out, he’s preordered it. That meant that, even though I was a little six year old girl, I’d watch murder, gore, and monsters with him, a grin plastered all over my face. And, subsequently, would crawl into bed between him and Mom when I grew scared at night.
Needless to say, the horror genre has really helped my father and me to bond over the years and we still watch movies – even go to midnight premiers of horror flicks – together. Sure, letting a first grader watch IT probably wasn’t the best of ideas and it resulted in me being absolutely afraid to shower for a long time, but I was a happy girl nonetheless.
So, naturally, when I saw this horror anthology, I was on board. For the scary story aspect, yes, but mostly because it had Leigh Bardugo’s name attached and anything by her is a must read for me. Moreover, there were a ton of authors I’ve never heard of or read and getting the chance to “taste test” their work is a nice way to gauge whether or not I’d pursue their other works. It’s one of the reasons I like anthologies so much. Like the last anthology I read and reviewed (My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories), I’ll be covering those short stories I liked the most and those I felt were more lackluster. If some short stories aren’t mentioned, that meant that I enjoyed them, but there was nothing about it that really stuck out to me as awesome or problematic.
The Best:
1.) Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd – This was one of the highlights of the stories for me, simply because the premise deals with old folk legends, this one focusing on the Appalachian legend of Crow Cullum – death’s harbinger. The main character of the story, Annie, is the victim of murder and when Crow Cullum shows up to collect her soul, she challenges “death” to a game. In the legend, if the person wins the game against death, they get to keep their soul and live. As the title indicates, Annie chooses Hide and Seek and if she can successfully hide from death for twenty-four hours, she wins. I also LOVED the ending of this short story. In a lot of the stories in this compilation, the MCs weren’t really memorable, but Annie proves that she’s smart and resourceful, even – literally – in the face of death.
2.) Stitches by A.G. Howard – I’ve never read Howard’s Splinter series, but I’ve heard very good things about it, so I was interested to dive into this short story and see if her writing was for me. This story is a reimagining of Frankenstein, with the protagonist being a rural tom-boy named Sage. She has a twin sister, younger brother, and a drunkard father. Their mother, however, mysteriously disappeared one stormy night. In an attempt to change his ways and to pay bills, her Pa gives up his body parts to a person named The Collector, in return for cadaver body parts, whom an eclectic doctor claims are from a “good person” and would help to make him a better person, too. It’s Sage’s job to saw off his body parts one by one and stitch on his new ones. The procedure seems to work, as her father once more returns to the kindly, caring person the kids knew, but things come to a head when Sage discovers The Collector isn’t who she thinks and – more importantly – when she discovers who the cadaver body parts came from. This is one of the few stories in the books that actually had a pretty “nice” ending, in that it wasn’t particularly spooky or sinister. More thought provoking, really, and this story really captures the essence and message that the original Frankenstein story was trying to get across.
3.) Sleepless by Jay Kristoff – This story was based off the hit movie Psycho, so you can probably guess about how it played out: young man who’s a loner has an overbearing mother that just won’t give him any peace. But the clicker for this story, though, it that the guy, Justin, is chatting with a girl he likes over the internet, named Cassie. They’ve really seemed to make a connection and, when the young woman runs away from home, she calls her buddy up to see if she could stay with him, just like they had talked about in all their past chats. But things don’t play out like Justin would expect… What was so memorable about this story is simply the epic twist at the end. I actually didn’t see it coming until it was revealed to the MC, which is pretty awesome. It takes talent to build up such suspense in a short story! Too, the IM aspect of the story was fun, seeing as we got to know the characters through their dialogue rather than through prose. Creepy, surprising, and compelling this story was an excellent modern day interpretation of a horror classic. Definitely my favorite out of the whole book!
The Weakest:
1.) Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo – I know, I know. I was surprised, too. The MAIN reason I picked up this book was for Bardugo’s story, but it actually turned out to be the one that frustrated me most, not because it was badly written or anything, but because I felt like I was set up for a creepy, awesome story, only to  be rewarded with little payout. Bardugo’s story is about a young pop singer named Jaycee who, after a DUI incident, ends up at a rehab center that – incidentally – used to be an insane asylum. And, naturally, it isn’t long before Jaycee starts to hear rumors of how it’s haunted. I agree, not the most unique of premises, but who the hell doesn’t love haunted insane asylums? I was soooo down for a good ghost story, but the story ended SO abruptly and right at the climax. I felt like I was sat down at an exquisite dinner then told I couldn’t eat it! I wanted hauntings. I wanted gore. I wanted grisly details, but ended up with a very lousy payoff. Loved the writing, but I definitely felt cheated when I finished it.
2.) Emmeline by Cat Winters – Overall, this story was nicely written, with great imagery and suitable tone for a story set in the past. (It was actually one of only two that were set in the past.) It was pretty interesting getting to see the history, as it was set during World War I, particularly from a French point of view. The pacing was good and I found the main character, Emmeline, sympathetic. But the biggest drawback from this story was how predictable the “twist” at the end of the story was. Perhaps I’m just easily able to detect them from watching horror all my life, but the ending was definitely underwhelming.
And that’s just about it! Many of the other stories were good, too, but I only touched on those I thought really needed to be spoken about. Overall, this is certainly an anthology that would tickle any horror junkie’s fancy. If you’re needing something spine tingling to curl up with at night, this is it!

Revisiting Old Favorites - Throwback Thursday Marathon

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I really came into the book blogging fever late in the game. A couple of years ago, it seemed like every book lover I knew was talking about how they’d have to go home and post a review or update to their blog. I remember being super jealous of them, of their technical prowess and how easily they managed their sites. I’ve never been much of a technologically savvy person (despite the fact that I use computer programs to make digital maps on a daily basis), so the idea of making and controlling my own website was very daunting. However, with the help of some of the right people, I created and made my own book blogging site. There are a few books that I’ve ranted about, but for the most part, almost all of the reviews I posted have been positive to some degree or another. After all, we get more excited to share the books that we loved and truly enjoyed, rather than those that bored us to tears.
That said, I’ve been a reader my whole life and there have been a great many books that I’ve discovered and loved since before Space Between the Spines even became a possibility. For a while now, I’ve wanted to go back and reread some of my old favorites and review them, to share why I thought they were so special and entertaining. The problem, though, is with my massive selection to choose from. That and I don’t know that the books I’d like to review are ones that my audience would really care to hear about, as many aren’t super popular or were geared toward younger audiences.
So, I’m going to put the vote up to you, my followers. Listed below is a poll of the books I’d like to revisit and the top four with the most votes will be the books that I review.
The reviews will be a part of my Throwback Thursday series – a little post I do some Thursday to highlight the books I loved as a child – and will be live every Thursday in July: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th.
If you’ve wanted to do something similar, I challenge you to try this, too. I’d love to see some of the books you loved in the past or when you were little!
Pick some good ones for me, guys! I can wait to wipe the dust away from the old covers and crack into them!

Which book should I read for the Throwback Thursday Marathon?

Waiting on Wednesday - Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

I was a really big fan of Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood series and her newest series looks very promising, as well. I’ve always been a fan of darker YA stories and if there’s a set of sisters trying to kill each other for rights to a crown? Even more, they each have unique magical abilities? (Well, at least one does.) Yup. I’m sold. I hope it’ll be just as dark and gritty as I’m expecting!
Of course, if two sisters are faking their powers and are teaming up to overthrow the third sister, what will happen once she’s been taken care of? I doubt there can be two queens, so I’m almost certain there will be plenty of bloodshed and treachery afoot. Niiiiice.
Have you heard and/or excited about this title? What are you waiting on this week? Feel free to tell me I the comments and link me to your own WoWs!