Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

There’s so much going on it this book! A teenage boy struggling to reconcile the wild stories his grandfather told him with reality after his loss. A mysterious island where he meets mysterious children that give him a glimpse into his grandfather’s past. And . . . Nazis? Yeah, Nazis. But the author does an excellent job of weaving all the threads together, making the outlandish and impossible seem quite sane and able. I found myself accepting even the paranormal-ish aspects of the book without question. An enjoyable adventure!

I’ve read several of White’s books before, and can usually count on her for a good thrill. This one felt different from the start, though. Usually her books center around the suspense of who will be murdered, but this one starts with the murder and switches between what led to the crime and the trial. Still a compelling read, but it didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat quite as much as I’d hoped. It did, however, wrap up with a nice twist!

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book was well written, insightful, and at times, poignant. But if I’m being honest, I didn’t really care. This was a good book, but I had to battle my way through it. The plot had me hooked – a plane crashes, and only a single young boy survives. But, while I sympathized for the character who lost his entire family in the crash, I didn’t like him, which made me feel bad. Some of his actions and reactions didn’t ring true. I preferred the scenes without Edward because I felt the author did a better job of letting me know who those characters were. If you’re looking for an emotional character ARC, this one’s for you.

This book is about a podcaster who debarks from her norm of investigating – and solving – cold case murders to covering a rape trial for her third season. While there, a fan who’s case she chose not to pursue baits her with letters about the crime. The scenes shift between her podcast, the courtroom, the letters written to her, and her actions as she investigates the second case when she should be focusing on the first. This book has received All. The. Hype. And while there’s plenty of suspense in this one, I just wasn’t feeling it as strongly as I had hoped. It’s a good book with an engaging story, but it didn’t hit me as intensely as I had anticipated. 4/5 stars.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

This book has such an exciting premise! Drawn by her dreams into the past, the MC joins her relatives on the Titanic – but someone may be trying to keep her there! Full of suspense, this one didn’t have me reading with quite the urgency as Mather’s other stories, but it kept me hooked! I’m officially a fangirl of this author!

This book! The MC is sent to spend the summer with her uncle who works for a circus on a remote island in Louisiana after he summons for her – only he didn’t. And it’s not just called the Circus Of The Dead – people actually die there, sometimes as part of the acts. Once on the island, she’s desperate to find a way to escape all the ghosts and danger and . . . boys? I really liked this book, but the MC was a little too boy crazy for my taste. Also, while I expected a cliffhanger ending since this is part of a series, I didn’t expect such a sudden and unfulfilling end.

I just started:

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Monday (Mini #BookReview) Madness

This week I read:

There are a lot of books on craft, some of them better than others. This is one of the good ones. If you’re looking for a reader friendly tutorial that will help inspire and renew vigor for your own writing, I suggest giving this book a shot. It’s short, easy, and most important of all, filled with useful information!

This book has all the suspense! After a car accident that left her mother dead and herself injured, Jess is sent to live with her father in the extreme northern wilderness. She barely knows him and doesn’t want to be there. But after he dies, leaving her stranded, disabled, and alone, with the harsh winter coming, Jess is forced to fend for her own survival – or die trying. I really enjoyed most, but not all, of this book. Worth a read but brace yourself.

I just started:

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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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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:

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:

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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