Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book is strange and weird but also kind of wonderful. It wasn’t the crazy spoof I was expecting – it’s about a pair of twins who spontaneously catch fire. There are so many ways that plot could veer towards the absurd. But rather than being silly, it was touching and full of heart. I think the author does a great job in the way he crafts this story and his characters. I’d definitely read more by him.

This is about a girl who attends a prestigious school on scholarship, is inducted into an elite social group, and whose bestfriend is murdered freshman year, but doubts about the identity of the killer arise her senior year.

This one was good, but I wasn’t really feeling it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and thought certain aspects of the plot were a bit too far fetched. I did want to know what happened, and there were just enough red herrings to keep me reading and guessing, but it was always going to be one of two suspects. I wanted more.

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:

Secrets, lies, and betrayal? Yes, please! Honestly, I wasn’t feeling this one at first. It took me a while to warm up to the characters, and even the plot – an estranged family full of secrets – didn’t seem like it was going to deliver the payout I’ve come to expect from McManus. Then the twists started rolling in like waves during a storm, relentlessly crashing against me – and forcing me to change my mind. Not my favorite by the author, but way more than I initially expected. She’s sure to blindside you at least once with this well thought out mystery.

The YA Silence Of The Lambs

I think the cover and the title of this one don’t do it justice. I was expecting a somewhat hokey teen slasher. What I got was the YA The Silence Of The Lambs! Creepy, suspenseful, and atmospheric in an eerie Hannibal Lecter perfect villain that you can’t quite hate kind of way! I will say that while I love the use of an incomplete sentence for effect, this author does at times take it to extremes. But, I got much more than I bargained for with this one, so no complaints here. So good!

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:

This was an interesting book. A teenage girl with schizophrenia deals with her illness while also trying to lead a somewhat normal life in high school, if there is such a thing. Her issues with determining what was real and what was part of her psychosis leant itself well to the plot. It was an interesting portrayal of mental illness and ultimately I really enjoyed it.

This is the book upon which Hitchcock based the legendary movie, only in the book, what takes place happens against the backdrop of France during WWII. I really had to push through this one. I only continued to get to the payoff I knew was coming, but I found even the ending a bit disappointed. This is one of the rare instances where I’d recommend watching the movie and skipping the book.

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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Blog Tour: FORESHADOW ~ Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA

Several months ago I was fortunate enough to score an ARC on a book that was unique and fresh. Both short story anthology and a primer on the craft of writing, it presents an innovative format that really demonstrates the lessons being taught. As an added bonus, this collection also features work by new and underrepresented voices. You should really check it out!

(Find my original review here.)

Description

Thirteen Short Stories from Bold New YA Voices & Writing Advice from YA Icons

Created by New York Times bestselling authors Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, Foreshadow is so much more than a short story collection. A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

Featured in print for the first time, the thirteen stories anthologized here were originally released via the buzzed-about online platform Foreshadow. Ranging from contemporary romance to mind-bending fantasy, the Foreshadow stories showcase underrepresented voices and highlight the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each piece is selected and introduced by a YA luminary, among them Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jason Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

What makes these memorable stories tick? What sparked them? How do authors build a world or refine a voice or weave in that deliciously creepy atmosphere to bring their writing to the next level? Addressing these questions and many more are essays and discussions on craft and process by Nova Ren Suma and Emily X. R. Pan.

This unique compilation reveals and celebrates the magic of reading and writing for young adults. 

Find on Amazon here.

Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, which won the APALA Honor Award and the Walter Honor Award, received six starred reviews, was an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, among other accolades. NBC News called the novel “moving and poetic” and the Wall Street Journal named it as one of the top twelve books of the season. Emily is also co-creator of the foreshadowYA.com digital platform and the print anthology FORESHADOW: THE MAGIC OF READING & WRITING YA, coming fall 2020 from Algonquin. She lives on Lenape land in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Emily online at exrpan.com, and find her on Twitter and Instagram: @exrpan.

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City. Find Nova online at novaren.com and on her blog distraction99.com. Twitter and Instagram: @novaren

Check out the Goodreads page here to find out more about the individual contributors.

Monday (Mini #BookReview ) Madness

This week I read:

This book had a good premise, developed the characters well and created a solid group dynamic. It delivered the creeps and the scares, and if you want to know how, just read the name. I enjoyed the story, but doubt I’ll be reading more in the series.
This book is SO good! It has heart. It has horror. It has carnage. It’s both haunting and about a haunting. 😉 Stellar plot, creative and imaginative, and while it’s an old trope, it felt new. It’s the first book I’ve read in a while where I thought both, “Yay! There’s a sequel!” and, “Must read sequel immediately!” I’ll be very happy if the next book delivers as much as this one did.

I just started:

Click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads and unite our bookish communities!

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