Book review: ‘The Murmurings’ by Carly Anne West

Young adult fiction is filled with two things: Angsty, dysfunctional teenagers and the supernatural. The Murmurings is a YA novel that combines the two, successfully if not phenomenally. Six months ago, Sophie David lost her older sister, Nell. Everyone thinks Nell committed suicide, but Sophie knew her sister better than that. Before Nell died, she was hearing voices, and now Sophie’s hearing them too. She’s afraid she might be going crazy, but finds solace in the last person she expected,…

Book review: ‘Paper Valentine’ by Brenna Yovanoff

[caption id="attachment_828" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Photo: Razorbill[/caption] Brenna Yovanoff is the best selling author of The Replacement, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Yovanoff’s next novel, Paper Valentine, is not as exciting but still worth a look. Six months ago, Hannah Wagner lost her best friend, Lillian. Lillian died from complications from an eating disorder, but other girls are being murdered all over town. Girls that both teenage Hannah and her 12-year-old sister, Ariel, know. Hannah soon starts seeing apparitions of the…

Book review: ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ by Kendare Blake

For some reason, the world of young adult books is full of lonely teenagers who fall in love with murderous paranormal creatures. Anna Dressed in Blood is yet another paranormal romance, but it’s a bit more morbid than its vampire and werewolf predecessors. Theseus Cassio Lockwood -- or Cas, as he prefers to be called -- is anything but your average teenage boy. For starters, he’s a ghost hunter who travels the country offing dangerous spirits with a special knife…

Movie review: ‘World War Z’ lacks heart

[caption id="attachment_733" align="aligncenter" width="192"] Photo: Paramount[/caption] Zombie movie World War Z is supposed to be based on a novel by Max Brooks, but bears virtually no resemblance to it. Instead, an oral history of a decade long zombie war has been turned into a loud summer action flick. Little known indie actor Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former UN worker who has left the business to spend more time with his wife and kids. But then, mass panic…

Movie review: ‘The Purge’ is tense but heavy-handed

[caption id="attachment_730" align="aligncenter" width="190"] Photo: Universal[/caption] Dystopians are hot, and so are home invasion movies. The Purge combines the two genres in a tense but disturbing thriller that might be a bit too much for some viewers -- but will intrigue others. Even though it starts in 2022, the movie’s pre-Purge hours are portrayed like a scene from Leave it to Beaver. Neighbors bake each other cookies. Dutiful wives fix dinner for their families, who all sit around the table…

Book review: ‘Origin’ is hardly original, but still exciting

[caption id="attachment_680" align="aligncenter" width="186"] Photo: Razorbill[/caption] For as long as humans have been around, we’ve been fascinated with the idea of immortality. Dystopian novels are popular today with teens, and Jessica Khoury’s debut novel, Origin, combines the two old ideas remarkably well. The story begins in Little Cam, a research facility hidden deep in the jungles of the Amazon. 16-year-old Pia is the result of a multi-generational scientific experiment. Her parents, grandparents, and others before her all drank from a…

5 young adult novels to read after ‘Twilight’

[caption id="attachment_769" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Photo: Little, Brown and Company[/caption] The Twilight books and movies have all been released. The midnight showings are over, the discussions on the series (good and bad) have been done to death. But that doesn’t mean there are no more paranormal novels out there. If you enjoyed the love story between Edward and Bella, here are a few more series you might want to check out. Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater) [caption id="attachment_778" align="aligncenter" width="204"] Photo: Scholastic Press[/caption]…

4 creepy haunted locations in North America

I already did a list of haunted locations around the world. But there are so many awesome ones in North America alone that I had to make another list. Here are four more haunted places in the United States and Canada. Sallie House: This Atchison, Kansas house is considered one of the most haunted places in the country. It was built in the 1870's but, other than a few isolated incidents, there wasn't much paranormal activity until 1992, when Deborah and…

‘The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer’ book review: No surprises, plenty of mystery

[caption id="attachment_791" align="aligncenter" width="199"] Photo: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers[/caption] Michelle Hodkin’s novel The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was released to bookstores back in 2011. The story begins what will eventually become a series filled with mystery, romance, and even a bit of humor, but few surprises. High school junior Mara Dyer lived a relatively normal life until a building collapse killed her friends and left her inexplicably unscathed. After the tragedy, her family relocates from Rhode Island to Miami…

Movie review: ‘Mama’ has faults but still stands out

[caption id="attachment_727" align="aligncenter" width="190"] Photo: Universal Pictures[/caption] Guillermo del Toro is known for big movies like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. But his movie Mama takes haunting to a new level, featuring two feral children who were raised by a ghost. Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel, (Jessica Chastain), have been tracking his missing nieces, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse), for five years. When the girls are found alive in a remote mountain cabin, the couple takes them in. Annabel,…