Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Two teachers quit their jobs and decide to build a house themselves in a remote Vermont town on land that used to be owned by witches. This book had a really interesting take on the whole haunted house trope – the freshest execution I’ve read in a while. It was a bit sluggish at times, and I didn’t love the writer’s style in the beginning, but by the end I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened!

This book was super creepy. Something bad is going down in the cities of the world, so the MC is on her way to pick up her aunt to take her to her sister’s compound, where they hope to stay safe. Except she gets in a wreck on the way, and can’t remember what was going on, how her wreck happened, how she got her injuries, or how she ended up in a secret mansion hidden in the woods with a strange man.

There’s so much suspense while you’re waiting for the reveals to start rolling in, because there were so many ways this one could have gone. Then it lost me a bit at the end for a couple of reasons. I won’t be reading the sequel, but I very much enjoyed this one.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

You meet a stranger on a train. You confide your secrets. Wouldn’t it be easier if your problems just went away? And then they do.

Then the stranger calls. But what do they want? What did they do? And once your life has been turned upside down, what will you?

This crafty thriller kept me turning the pages as lightening speed! A solid, suspenseful mystery!

What would you do if you went from living in your car to being the richest teenage billionaire in the world? For Avery, that’s exactly what happens. Only the man who left her the money is a stranger – his family is seriously upset – and she has no idea why she was named his heir.

This fast paced YA thriller is smart and fun. I was rooting for Avery and enjoyed the clues. Best of all, a sequel is in the works!

I just started:

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My Top 10 Books Of 2020

I had to wait for the last minute to make this list because I’ve read SO MANY good books this year and they just keep coming! I wish I could include them all, but unfortunately, that’s not how these lists work! These are the top 10 books I read this year that I’d recommend adding to your TBR pile:

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

1) Hollow Kingdom

This one was a HUGE departure from what I normally read, but I loved it so much! It made me laugh, cry, and think.

In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

2) In An Instant

This is one of those books that breaks you, then puts you back together again. Keep tissues handy.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

3) Heroine

Readers of Mindy McGinnis know that she doesn’t pull any punches. This book was raw and brutal and should be required reading for high schoolers.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

4) The Sun Down Motel

This book had all the atmosphere! It also gave me ghost story fever and influenced what I read quite a bit in the months after I finished it.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

5) Anna Dressed In Blood

You wouldn’t expect a YA horror book to be so good, but this one really was. It was deep and poignant and much more than I ever expected.

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

6) The Hand On The Wall

This entire trilogy was just so perfect, from the dual mystery, modern day and historical, to the characters. It was an absolute pleasure to read! (And I hear there’s a fourth book in the works!)

#NoEscape (Volume 3) by Gretchen McNeil

7) #NoEscape

I’m a big Gretchen McNeil fan, and this one did not disappoint! Plenty of suspense, horror, and so, so smart!

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

8) With The Fire On High

This book didn’t have a lot of suspense, it had zero horror, but it had a lot of heart. It had me cheering for the main character because I cared about her future.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

9) Home Before Dark

For some reason I got the biggest kick out of this book. It was a good balance of humor and horror, fact and fiction, and I really had fun reading it.

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly   Jones

10) I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

This wasn’t the best written or the most emotional, but it kept me on the edge of my seat! Incredibly suspenseful because it was such a pertinent book for our times, 2020 in particular.

Have you read any of these? Where did they rank with what you read this year?

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This isn’t one of my normal genres, but I’m a fan of the author and decided to give it a shot. Set in a dystopian future where water is scarce and the earth is wild, this YA story pulls no punches with nail-biting suspense and plenty of tension. It center’s on one girl’s fight for survival, and the ways she’s forced to grow. Not my favorite by this author, but good.

This is a “James Patterson Presents” book, which means he reads it and writes a forward. The plot is pretty simple and can be gleaned from the cover – a group of high school kids are in a plane crash in the middle of the jungle and do their best to survive. Told from the point of view of one boy, the writing is

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

I was surprised when I looked at the reviews for this one to discover that many readers liked it more than the first – it’s not often that a sequel exceeds the original, but after finishing the book I have to admit that this story was on fire! Not quite as good as the first, but pretty close! High stakes, high tension, and high action will leave you breathless! In this one, November leaves the Academy and takes us on an adrenaline ride across oceans, beneath cities, and inside the darkest corners of a Secret Society in an attempt to save her father.

I was really excited to receive this ARC of a YA horror book by the author of “Bird Box” and “Malorie”. The premise sounded incredibly creepy (I mean, a house at the bottom of a lake!) and while the book delivered all the spooks and chills, I’d have to say it falls more into the speculative category than horror, and I was a little underwhelmed. While a good, quick read, I wanted more – more depth from the YA characters, more horror in the plot, and more like I was a part of the story – the narrative didn’t draw me in and make me feel as vested as I would have liked.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This is an ARC of a book PLL’s author Sara Shepard wrote with a 16 year-old influencer, and I have to say that, unfortunately, it shows. While the story is good and shows an interesting insider’s view of the influencer industry, it’s not quite as compelling as Shepard’s books usually are, and there’s something distinctly juvenile about the writing style. I’d say this one’s best for younger readers. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Secret organizations, ancient families, and a school that teaches its students deadly skills? Yes, please. This was a fast paced, enthralling YA book that was so much fun that I had to start the sequel ASAP, even though book one has a nice conclusion if you don’t want to read on. Plenty of fun and useful info too!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Two girls alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods waiting for their mom to come home with their sick little sister – this one had me hooked from the start. It switches points of view from one of the girls to a childless woman who hopes to become a foster parent even though she suspects her husband is cheating on her. This one was so good up until the twists, which were a little disappointing. Still a well written and engaging story, just a touch unbelievable at times.

Anthologies are tough because you’re never going to like all the stories – or perhaps I should say almost never. While there were definitely certain stories in this collection that shone brighter than the others, I didn’t dislike any of them. They were all interesting and well written and clever! While the theme was YA horror shorts, these would easily be enjoyed by adult fans of the genre as well.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Which is scarier? Clowns? or Cornfields? Why not both?!?! This one brings plenty of thrills to the table like a good teen slasher should. Easy reading and big on the entertainment factor without being poorly written. Spoiler alert: The clown did it!

I feel like this one was as much of a social commentary as a horror novel, maybe even more so. There are some good scenes if horror is what you’re after, but if that’s all you’re after, and you want the pacing and tension of a horror novel, you might find your attention straying in spots, especially in the beginning. Good but not spectacular.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

Wow! What a ride! Trapped at a ski resort by an avalanche with a murderer on the loose! While not entirely unpredictable, Ware builds the tension and suspense in such a way that you have to find out what happens next! This one will keep you up late reading!

This was a good book, a classic is there or isn’t there a haunting with plenty of other mayhem going on in the background to craft a suspenseful thriller, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Good, but not great. It felt a touch cliché and predictable, like the author was checking off boxes on a formula list, but they use those formulas for a reason . . . so, to each their own. I’ve talked with someone who can’t say enough good things about this book, so maybe I was just in a fussy mood when I read it?

I just started:

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