Booky Thoughts and Me

Book reviews and pondering thoughts of a down to earth person


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Book Review: Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

Published: March 1, 2010

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Source: Harlequin (giving away free copies)

Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself—without being labeled a snitch?

On the first day of school Kate Morgan and everyone else in her school are attracted to the side building of their school. It has been ‘tagged’ with a life-size graffiti mural. From that day on, the debates begin whether it’s vandalism or actual art, and the suspense keeps on building on who could be culprit. Is it someone from school? Someone’s friend?  A random person causing trouble?

Kate wants nothing to do with the speculation, mainly because her father is a cop, and she doesn’t want to be labeled a snitch. When the murals start to appear all over the state, her curiosity gets the best of her, especially when Eli, her favorite coworker goes missing, and she starts to investigate.

It doesn’t help that her best friend Lan is busy with her own life, and she can’t ask for her advice. Like why she is starting to see Eli as more than just a classmate and favorite coworker. When the signs begin to point to a culprit, Kate is afraid it might be someone who she is close to and doesn’t know what to do.

Personal Thoughts:  This book was a big downer for me. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t that exciting and there wasn’t much to the storyline.  I’ve had this book on my shelf for the past year and haven’t had a chance to read it because of my really long to read list, but after reading other books by Mara Purnhagen, I decided to bump this one up and read it. The plot line was intriguing don’t get me wrong, however, I think the pacing was off. It seemed as though the plot just dragged on and on.

The cover did not interest me at all. It could have had a lot more potential and grab the reader’s attention. They could have had the gorilla on the front cover, even if it was just a small one. I don’t think this cover really works for this novel.

I feel as though some parts of the story could have been extended (such as Eli and Kate, Lan and Bradley, etc). It seems as though something is missing. There is no wow factor that makes you think about the book or pause and think it over.

Overall it was a quick read but a disappointing one, because I was expecting more.

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Book Review: Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave by Mara Purnhagen

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Published: August 23, 2011

In the conclusion to the Past Midnight series, there are a lot of unknowns that still need to be figured out. Charlotte is still recovering from the attack that happened to her and her family three months ago. Everything has changed since then. She missed out on prom.  She’s going to a local community college instead of going out of state, her mother is still in a coma, but at least she still has her boyfriend Noah. But lately Noah  have been very secretive and seems to be pulling away. It

When strange things start happening and Noah disappears, Charlotte must find out what’s happening and fix it before another disaster falls on her and those around her. She must fight the paranormal and get her life back, she is done moping and waiting around for things to change back to normal.

Personal Thoughts: 

What a great conclusion to the Past Midnight series! There was so much action packed into this novel it’s crazy. The author did a good job of incorporating the other two books into this one with little tidbits to inform the reader of something that happened in the past. A reader can pick this book up and not feel like they are missing a piece of the puzzle. One thing that was a shocker for me was the additional characters Michael and Marcus and the the plot twists that happened with them.

The complexities of what was happening to Noah and those around him brought everything together in the end. It was interesting to see that Bliss went from ‘I hate you’ to ‘let’s be friends’ in this book. It shows that some times you can’t judge people and that they have their reasons for being the way they are.

Out of the three books in the series, I think this one is my favorite overall.


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Book Review: One Hundred Candles

One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Published: March 2011

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

The sequel begins innocently enough with Charlotte, Noah and Avery going to a house party. The host of the party, popular football star Harris Abbott invites all of them to Gwyn’s house for a little fun. They play a game called One Hundred Candles, where everyone in the circle goes around telling ghost stories and lighting a candle after they are done. When one hundred stories have been told, something is supposed to happen. Charlotte thinks it’s just fun and goes along, debunking each story as its told, however it all changes when they all go back to school.

Unexplained occurences begin to happen and all of a sudden their school is said to be haunted. Charlotte, her family and friends are now in danger, and she must find a way to close the door to the other realm that she has opened before it is too late.

Personal Thoughts:

This is the sequel to Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen. First thought that popped into my mind as I was reading this book was wow. It’s definitely more action packed than in the last book. Right from the start of the book to the very end. I liked how there were two plots, a main one and subplot to keep the suspense going.

When I saw the cover I thought, the one hundred candles might have something to do with a seance and it was close to it. I love how on each of the covers, we never actually get to see Charlotte Silver. We only see a part of her face but never the eyes.

The plot made things tense for Charlotte for a while by making it really personal. People that are closest to Charlotte are hurt and there is nothing that she can do. I felt sympathy for her and it made me keep on reading to find out what was going to happen. Things are definitely not what they seem in this book and that’s what makes it even more interesting to read.


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Book Review: Past Midnight

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Published: September 2010

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Past Midnight is about Charlotte Silver, a normal teenage girls who just happens to have parents that debunk ghost theories for a living. They travel all over the world searching for the next ghost phenomenon and proving that it is false. According to their theories, there are no such things as ghosts, it is usually something else such as energy, a creaky floor board etc.

She tries her hardest to keep it a secret for as long as possible but eventually someone finds out and her life is changed once again.

Everything changes when they visit Charleston and the ghosts begin to speak to Charlotte. She thinks that they have left her alone when they leave, but that is not the case when they make themselves comfortable within her dreams and in her bedroom.

To make it even more complicated, Avery, her new best friend is hiding something that happened the year before Charlotte came to the school. Everyone seems to know what happened, except her. Between the ghosts, her new life and friends, she is kept busy.

Through research and their ‘ghost’ equipment, the Silver family realizes soon enough that time is running out and something ominous could happen. Theories are thrown out the window when Charlotte is faced with the ghosts face to face and knows that she must do whatever necessary to bring closure, both for herself and the ghosts that are trying to move on.

Personal Thoughts: 

As a fan of the paranormal and ghosts, I had high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, they fell short. I was expecting a lot more action when it comes to the paranormal side, especially since Charlotte’s parents were into it hardcore, but there was not enough in my opinion.

The overall story captivated my interest, but the pacing was a bit slow. It only started to be paced a bit faster towards the end of the book and that’s when it really grabbed my attention.

I loved how the author had a nice mix between the paranormal and real life contemporary young adult life. It was an easy and enjoyable read and I’ll be looking into the other books in this series. You know what they say about series, one book you might not like, but another you will love. Let’s see what kind of paranormal is stored in the next book. 🙂