BOOK REVIEW: Courtney Summers “Sadie”

34810320Title: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

This book was intense.

I listened to the audiobook version of Sadie and absolutely loved it. The story alternates between Sadie’s point of view as she’s on the run and seeking revenge, and a podcast where they’re solving the mystery of Sadie’s disappearance. The audiobook has a full cast and is so well done; the podcast is recorded like an actual podcast, the narration is excellent and it truly makes you feel as if you’re part of the story. It pulls you in so thoroughly, and I found myself invested almost instantly.

Nobody knows who killed Sadie’s sister, but Sadie does. This is how she finds herself on the run and in search of a man. We follow Sadie on her travels as she follows clues and leads to her final destination, complete with huge climax and bittersweet ending.

The story deals with some heavy subject material, including rape and murder. It can be dark and difficult to read, but overall I’m glad that I did. It handles the tough subjects well and delivers a (semi) satisfying ending. I can’t say too much else without spoiling, but if you like thrillers or mysteries, I highly recommend Sadie.

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Finally Fall Book Tag

wide angle photo of road

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

It’s fall! … but it doesn’t feel like it for me, sadly. I live in Hawaii, which in retrospect is amazing and I know I’m unbelievably lucky to be here. Still, I do miss the temperature getting below 70 degrees and being able to wear sweaters and scarves without getting funny looks (because yes, I do still try to get away with it).

But it’s still fall in my brain, so by golly I’m gonna do this tag.

51bIN6SUb1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Crisp Fall Air – a book that felt fresh and new

It took me way too long to come up with a single book that this applied to, which I suppose is a good thing! This means I’ve read lots of unique, amazing books so far this year. There were many contenders, but the title I decided on was Bird Box by Josh Malerman. This was such a great read and gave me hope that the thriller genre isn’t dead yet. It’s been such a struggle for me to connect with this genre lately, which is a shame because I love thrillers! They’ve just become so bland and predictable lately, and Bird Box breathed life into me again. Read my full review here.

9781250095312Howling Winds – an ending that blew you away

This one was also a close call, between Legendary and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing; and Legendary wins over by just a fraction. The whole book was a wild ride, and the reader was always thinking: Who is Legend? I loved the big reveal, but that cliffhanger was rough. Tella became a new favorite character and I found that I enjoyed this installment even more than I loved Caraval, the first book. Read my full review here.

81Csb1x-vSLComfy Sweaters – a book that gave you the warm fuzzies

So Love and Other Words may be a strange choice because this broke my heart, but it was also undeniably sweet. There’s nothing quite like a childhood love blossoming into adulthood, but this one had angst and tragedy as well. I felt about every emotion on the spectrum during this read, but ultimately, my heart grew and felt warm in the end.

411h5t91y4LBright Colors – a cover with either red, orange or yellow

I chose the first book I came across that applied and ended up with Vicious, a read from October. This book was positively villainous and I can’t wait to read Vengeance soon!

9781619636118Leaf Fight – a book with nonstop action

There was no question what book I would choose for this: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas. This final installment in the Throne of Glass series was chock-full of action and battle sequences that forced me to keep reading long into the night. Seriously, I stayed up until 4 am to finish this. It was worth it. Read my full review here.

KingofscarsPumpkin Spice – your most anticipated read

This was another obvious one for me; Leigh Bardugo is at the top of my list of auto-buy authors, and Nikolai is my sweet little cinnamon roll. Of course King of Scars is my most anticipated read. I could not be more excited for Nikolai’s spin-off books and I’m ready to just eat this up.

Thank you for joining me today! If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged!

BOOK REVIEW: Josh Malerman “Bird Box”

51bIN6SUb1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTitle: Bird Box

Author: Josh Malerman

Genre: Thriller/Horror

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

My thoughts:

This is by far one of the greatest thrillers I have ever read in my life. I have about 1,462 questions and the end did not answer a single one; yet I’m not even disappointed. I loved it so much.

Bird Box was terrifying and thought-provoking and completely fascinating. It made me question what I would do in the situation, it made me fear for our main character Malorie, and it had me questioning every single step of the way: what was out there?

Malorie’s parenting style was questionable to say the least, yet necessary for the situation she had found herself in: alone with two children in a world where opening your eyes could literally kill you. She had to train the children to listen better than they could see, and they were forced to grow up in a world where they weren’t able to see the sun, the sky, anything outside of the house they were born in. Malorie was incredibly resourceful and smart and her survival story was so inspiring!

This book had me on the edge of my seat throughout; never was there I time I could relax. It was thrilling and terrifying and completely genius that the creatures are never described to the reader because no one had ever seen one and lived to tell. We’re forced to imagine ourselves what these creatures may look like, which is somehow even scarier. All we see is the aftermath, which always ends in violence and death.

While I was reading this, I had to talk about it to anyone who would listen. I was visiting family at the time and would rant about it to my mom or my brother who were both basically done with me, but I couldn’t help it. Everyone should honestly be talking about Bird Box. The concept is intriguing, the execution is flawless, and the story is riveting and incredible.

I highly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys thrillers and stories of survival in post-apocalyptic times (although I think everyone should read it because it’s amazing).

 

Josh Malerman: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Cate Holahan “The Widower’s Wife”

51nKCFTyz9LTitle: The Widower’s Wife

Author: Cate Holahan

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Ana Bacon, a young housewife, tumbles off a cruise ship into the dark and deadly waters. But did she take her secrets with her?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten-million-dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi, and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall. So the official ruling seems substantiated.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

*Summary supplied by the back of the book*

My thoughts:

I definitely struggled with this book. Typically, I love mysteries and thrillers, yet I found nothing intriguing or thrilling about this story. The characters were all flat, and while I sympathized with Ana throughout, it wasn’t enough to carry the plot. The writing was sub-par and the mystery itself wasn’t surprising.

The book alternates between two different points of views in two different timelines: Ana Bacon before her mysterious disappearance and Ryan Monahan a few months after. If done wrong, this could have become confusing. Fortunately, each POV gave up just enough information for the reader to get by.

Monahan’s job is to investigate Ana’s death for signs pointing to suicide. According to their insurance, they don’t have to pay the 5-million-dollar payout if it turns out that she killed herself. So Monahan interviews several people in Ana’s life, looking for signs of depression or any indication that she may commit suicide. Instead, he finds a string a secrets and strange behaviors, and it seems that the case is much more than he bargained for.

The last 50 or so pages were definitely more interesting than the rest of the book (which was a drag) and ultimately saved this from being a total dud. I still didn’t love the big reveal and found it to be a disappointment, but overall was happy about the way things ended up. Justice was served and good won over evil, which is always something I love. Still, I don’t see myself reading anything else from this author in the future.

 

Cate Holahan: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: C.J. Tudor “The Chalk Man”

519g-w0P6xL.SX316.SY316Title: The Chalk Man

Author: C.J. Tudor

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

Eddie and his friends used the chalk figures as a secret code to use amongst them; they’d draw on each other’s driveways to invite one another to different areas of the little English village they all lived in. That is until one day, the figures led the boys into the forest to the remains of a young girl’s body.

That was back in 1986. It’s 2016 now, and Eddie is a school teacher, still living in the village he grew up in. The events of 1986 still haunt him, though, and he’s determined to forget everything that happened; even when he and the rest of the old gang receive chalk men in the mail.

Except one of them dies. It seems that Eddie and the remaining gang members must work together and face their demons in order to solve the murder, or else more of them may die.

My thoughts:

This is going to be a difficult book for me to review. Let me start out by saying that I really wanted to like this, and I found myself justifying several things that made me uncomfortable throughout, hoping that it would turn out better. I hoped that the end would just blow me away and it would make everything else seem inconsequential. Unfortunately, the end was not mind-blowing, and the parts I had concerns about remained concerning.

First of all, I’m a religious person. I’m a Christian, but I am also aware that there are many people in the world that consider themselves religious that are also horrible people, and they tend to ruin it for the good people. So to be clear: just because you call yourself a Christian does not make you a good person.

So one of the adversaries in this book was the village vicar, who was an absolutely terrible person. I do not dispute this. He did awful things throughout the duration of this story and he should have suffered major consequences. Still, the author seemed to make anyone who was remotely religious out to be evil, spiteful, hateful people, and all the non-religious characters were understanding and kind and knowing. And I have issues with that.

I won’t get into it more than that. I only feel like I need to stick up for the people in my life who associate themselves with this type of belief system and say that neither I nor any of my peers are like the religious folk in The Chalk Man.

Moving on, the pacing of this was very interesting and well done. The chapters alternate between 1986 and 2016, and each chapter ended in some sort of cliff hanger. So if you wanted to find out how the events of the previous chapter play out, you have to read at least 2 more chapters. This is an interesting strategy but all in all I think it worked out nicely. I finished the book quickly due to both this aspect and of course wanting to get to the end to find out what happens.

Unfortunately, the author made the villain out to be quite obvious from the very beginning. Whenever this happens, I tend to guess that it’s a character you wouldn’t think of, somebody you’d least suspect. I ignore the villain that the author is trying to throw in my face and distract me with because no, it can’t be this guy, it has to be the goofy, side character that no one thinks twice about.

No, it was the character the author was trying to throw in my face.

This is so frustrating for me as a reader who likes to be surprised and see major twists occur. The author did include a morsel of a twist in the final chapter, but it was definitely not enough to satisfy me. The Chalk Man was creepy and at time good, thrilling fun, but was ruined by a disappointing conclusion.

 

C.J. Tudor: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: E Lockhart “Genuine Fraud”

https___blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_346502_3ea5e24d-98fb-49fd-9586-7269cef4e243Title: Genuine Fraud

Author: E Lockhart

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

This is the story of a woman who is a master of disguise and reinvention. Jule’s cleverness and quick thinking (and constant costume changes) keep her out of trouble and living her luxurious lifestyle.

Unfortunately, that’s about all this book is about.

You’ll find that it’s difficult to even summarize this book because I feel as though very little actually happens. I’m not quite sure what the main plot truly is. The concept is intriguing and I like the idea of the story, but it never goes anywhere.

This is so terribly difficult to review. I was disappointed by this, to say the least. We Were Liars by E Lockhart had such a shocking twist, and I was expecting much the same from this novel. The story is told in backwards chronological order, and while I understand why, it didn’t make things any less confusing. And I was expecting a solid ending that wrapped things up and left [at least most] everything explained. Ultimately, I closed the book feeling dissatisfied, puzzled, and confident I had just wasted several hours of my life.

I wish I had more to add to this review, but seeing as very little happened in this book, I have very little to say about it. All in all, Genuine Fraud was anticlimactic. frustrating, and pointless. By all means, however, read Lockhart’s earlier work We Were Liars, or another thriller I recently read, Little Monsters by Kara Thomas.

 

E Lockhart: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Kara Thomas “Little Monsters”

32320750Title: Little Monsters

Author: Kara Thomas

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

To Kacey, life with her father and his family in Broken Falls is a far cry from her life with her mother, with her string of terrible, temperamental boyfriends and her own crazy breakdowns. Now she has a welcoming new stepmother, stepbrother, half sister, and an accepting small group of friends in a quaint little town where everyone knows everyone.

One night, Kacey’s two friends, Bailey and Jade, sneak her out to an old barn that’s just down the street from where she lives. They go there to perform a séance because it’s said that there’s a ghost who haunts the place known as the Red Woman. The outing is creepy and leaves them all feeling a bit unbalanced, but no one gets hurt and they all go home.

The next day, Kacey feels suddenly distant from her two friends who normally bombard her with texts. Now they send nothing, and what’s more, they don’t invite her to go to a party with them that night. What’s more, Bailey never comes home that night.

My thoughts: 

When I picked this book up at the library, it was because I wanted a book that would surprise me. I was tired of reading mysteries that I could predict the endings to and I wanted to read something that would really shake things up for me.

Little Monsters did exactly what I wanted it to do.

I was so pleased with this reading experience, and so relieved. I’ve needed something to satisfy my craving for a good mystery for a long time now, and I finally feel quenched.

My review probably won’t be helpful to those who want to hear about the characters or any other aspects of the story because I wasn’t really paying attention to that. I didn’t love or even care for any of the characters because that wasn’t my main concern. My focus was on the story and the mystery and my hoping it was going to deliver a good ending, which it did. That’s all I wanted, so this book fulfilled its purpose.

Great mystery, great reveal, great surprises. It kept me guessing throughout and I was thrilled with the outcome. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a good mystery.

 

Kara Thomas: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys”

9780147514080Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

Author(s): Stefan Bachmann, Kendare Blake, Jay Kristoff, Jonathan Maberry, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, April Genevieve Tucholke, Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, Marie Lu, Danielle Paige, Megan Shepherd, McCormick Templeman, Cat Winters

Genre: Horror/Thriller

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a compilation of 14 stories by some of the most well-known young adult authors in the business. This particular collection is full of creepy, scary, bone-chilling, spine-tingling stories, some of which might keep you up late into the night, scared to check under your bed or inside your closet. Each one is inspired by either TV, movies or books, some horror and some not, and gives it a twist. You’re intended to read each story and attempt to guess what they’re reminiscent of, and then you can find out at the end.

1.) The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

The very first story in this collection was a really good way to set the tone for the entries to follow. It was appropriately creepy and told in just the right way; a story about a perverted old neighbor who takes pictures of young girls and shoots birds in his backyard.

2.) In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

This story was by far the scariest. It’s quite obvious from the very first pages that the other drew her inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, but it took a very, very dark turn. It was disturbing and twisted and terrifying, and I will be thinking about this short story for a long, long time.

3.) Emmeline by Cat Winters

While some of these stories are intended to scary and induce nightmares, this particular story was sad: a lonely ghost girl who seduces men and likes the cinema. This one wasn’t a favorite of mine, but at least it didn’t make me want to cry like the previous one. Short, sweet, and to the point.

4.) Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo

I was excited to read this one because it was written by the lovely Leigh Bardugo, a favorite YA author of mine. This one was creepy but much more subtle. It was written well, but it was a little underwhelming to me.

5.) Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

This was a very enjoyable read for me. It was a unique and interesting concept and I feel like it could have possibly served well as a full-length story as well. The main character is murdered by her step-father in the beginning of the story, but she’s given a chance to live if she can win a game of hide-and-seek with death. The ending was very satisfying and justice was served in the end, a very uncommon trait for most horror stories.

6.) The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige

Unfortunately, this was one of my least favorites in this collection. It was kind of creepy, but it felt mostly silly. I wasn’t impressed by this story about the son of Hades.

7.) The Flicker, the Finger, the Beat, the Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Another one of my least favorites. It seemed sort of pointless and anti-climactic. It wasn’t scary, there were no explanations, and the characters were all very annoying and problematic. Bleh.

8.) Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry

This was definitely my favorite story in this book; I absolutely loved it. It was the only one of the stories that included humor, and it had zombies, which I also love. Quite honestly, I’m thinking about trying to contact Maberry and asking him to write an entire book- heck, an entire series about Dahlia and her zombie-killing awesomeness. So very enjoyable.

9.) Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

I’ve never read anything by Kristoff before, even though I’ve been seeing him all over Instagram. This wasn’t my favorite story, but it has made me want to read more of his work for sure. It was one of the more unpredictable works in this compilation and I was surprised by the outcome. It’s obvious the direction the story was going in based on the first few pages: boy meets girl online, they talk and develop a crush on each other, and one of them is probably a predator. Somehow, I got it all wrong though, and I really liked how it ended.

10.) M by Stefan Backmann

I was a little disappointed by this one. It wasn’t a bad story and it had a really interesting, lovely setting, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea, I suppose.

11.) The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Another beloved author contribution, Marie Lu. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from her so far, so I was expecting to love this. Unfortunately, it was also meh. I guess I’m not impressed with paranormal-type stories about vengeful spirits. It’s such a common trope in ghost stories and I didn’t think this one was good enough to stand out.

12.) A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

This one could have been really good. It had a unique setting, but it was almost like it was a completely different world. While it was different, it’s hard to create a whole new world and catch your reader’s attention when your story is barely 20 pages long. It’s hard to understand what’s happening when the author has so little time to explain it. If this had been longer and had more content, it would have shown promise.

13.) Stitches by A.G. Howard

Stitches was a weird story. I’m still not completely sure what happened. I want to say I liked it, but I don’t even know that. I don’t have much else to say.

14.) On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

This one was interesting, and I thought it was a good story to end on. It was beautiful in an odd, creepy kind of way.

All in all, this collection of stories had a pretty even mix of good and bad for me. Half of them I liked, half of them I didn’t.

Many of them reminded me of the stories my grandpa used to tell me. For some reason, I was able to handle scary stories better as a young child than I can now, and he used to set me up on his lap and tell some of the best ones. It’s one of my favorite memories of him and reading this brought those memories to mind. Reading this took me back to that time, and I appreciate that.