Book Recommendations: Must Read (Lesser Known) YA Series

 

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

I’m going to recommend a few YA series that I’ve read that happen to be (unfortunately) not as popular as others, but just as good or even better. And sure some of them may be more of a Middle Grade series, but it’s OK. I haven’t seen enough love for these books around in the book blogging community, but maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. This is going to be my way of spreading the love though!

Plus who doesn’t love book recs?


1.) The Inkworld Series

 

Why I Recommend It: These books are all absolutely enchanting, they’re books about a book and we can ALL definitely relate to that right? There is a wonderful cast of characters that grows as the series goes along, I was absolutely in love with every single one. You’ll care about every character good and bad, major or minor. The Inkworld series is simply magical.

Meggie, our 12 year old protagonist, learns that her and her father, Mo, can read fictional characters to life by reading out loud from books. When Meggie was younger her father read from a book called Inkheart, characters were unleashed into the real world and Meggie’s mother disappeared into the book. And so Meggie and Mo are kidnapped by one of the very characters Mo released, where Mo is forced into servitude thanks to his magical ability.

That’s how this series kicks off and let me tell you it only gets better after the first installment “Inkheart”. If you find yourself close to DNFing this first book, I beg you to reconsider because the next two books are definitely worth it.  “Inkheart” is a little more slow and tedious than its followers.


2.) The Leviathan Series

Why I Recommend It: Well first off it’s an alternative history and steampunk series of novels. Grab your attention? I hope so. If any of you have read steampunk before and you haven’t read this, what are you waiting for? And for any of you who haven’t read steampunk before you should definitely give this series a try, it was my first and it was amazing.

The setting is during the time of WWI and our MCs are: heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Prince Aleksander, who’s on the run from his own people and Daryn Sharp who wants to be an air man, but he has a problem, he is a girl. There’s two forces in this series that are at war: the Clankers and the Darwinists. The Clankers who use mechanical war machines to fight, and the Darwinists use fabricated living organisms to fight for them.

It really is fascinating, even if the story isn’t engaging for you, reading about the Clanker’s and the Darwinists’ machines and creatures makes the whole book worth it. Plus there’s pictures! So that always helps, and who doesn’t love pictures in their books?


3.) The Jasper Dent Series

 

Why I Recommend It: It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. This series is dark, psychological, full of thrills and action, and keeps you guessing. It’s definitely a lot of fun seeing (or in this case reading) the world through the eyes of a serial killer or at least a serial killer in training. It puts you through constant grey areas, the plot is engrossing, the characters are all lovable even the “bad” guys. It definitely calls the whole “nature vs. nurture” thing into question.

So the “Jasper Dent” series is obviously about Jasper “Jazz” Dent, the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer. Jazz’s childhood was spent being taught the ropes by his Dear Old Dad, in other words being nurtured into the next most notorious serial killer. So when the body count in Lobo’s Nod starts rising all eyes are on Jazz, so he has to hunt down this new killer and clear his name.

This series is definitely one heck of a thrill ride and it gets to be pretty grisly down the road, so those of you who are squeamish be warned!


4.) The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series

Why I Recommend It: These books really broke my heart and I want them to break your heart too…just kidding, but seriously feel my pain. It’s all about zombies, but it isn’t your usual zombie fiction. This is more of a break down of the group and characters while being forced through zombie situations. Bad things happen, it’s horrible, sad, and heartbreaking! Read it, it’ll be fun!

Each book is told from the perspective of a different girl, but it’s all in the same world state. The first installment is told by a girl named Mary who lives in a village surrounded by a fence in the middle of the Forest of Hands and Teeth. This village is ruled by the Sisterhood, a religious order that runs the place and to which Mary belongs as a Sister in training. Ultimately the fence is breached and the village is destroyed by Unconsecrated and forces Mary and her friends to flee into the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

It’s pretty intense stuff and you never know if you can actually trust the narrator or not. Definitely a must read for any zombie fiction lovers!


And so ends my first round of book recommendations, hopefully one of the series sparked you interest enough to give them a try. You guys are more than welcome to come back and chat about them with me anytime. These books need more fans!


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Book Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

a title here(34)

 

description

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

review

This book was freaking amazing no amount of praise will ever do it justice. If you love YA Horror or if you’re looking for your next “make me sleep with the lights on” book, then look no farther than “Slasher Girls and Monster Boys”. 

It contains 14 short stories by some of the best YA authors out there, and it definitely shows. It promises horror and thrills, and it delivers them. I haven’t ever read an anthology book before and I am glad I chose this to be my first. All of these stories were mostly enjoyable, which I think is really saying something, since you’re reading a book with 14 short stories in it. There were a couple I wasn’t overly fond of, but more often then not I loved these creeptastic stories.

At the end of each story it’s revealed where the authors drew their inspiration from, various music, books, and movies. I’ll be reviewing each story individually so buckle up kids this is gonna be a long one!


The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

3.5 Stars

Tons of people that have read this book will say that this short was their favorite story in the entire thing. I disagree. I disagreed the minute I was done with this story, because I knew that there was no way this was the best the book had to offer. It was confusing, I honestly STILL don’t understand it. Perhaps there’s just a lot of symbolism that just “flew over” my head. Get it? Because it’s a story about birds……. anyways. The plot was a very realistic type of creepy (who doesn’t think perverts are creepy?) and there’s a bit of a supernatural twist that made it just…..weird. The story was interesting enough but it really took a turn for the worst for me, it wasn’t explained enough. It left me with tons of questions. So if any of you have read or do read this please come back and comment and let me know your thoughts, I’d love to discuss it with you!


In The Forest Dark & Deep by Carrie Ryan

4.5 Stars

Probably my favorite story in the whole book, I read Ryan’s “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” series and I loved them and so I had high hopes for this one right away. It was truly horrifying, I found myself looking over my shoulder while reading this one! It’s also pretty disturbing, a little gory, and more than a little unsettling. It also has an emotional touch, I was definitely affected by this as well. I loved the sentiment of “not all monsters are filled with darkness”. The ending really comes full circle and it wasn’t as confusing for me as “Birds”. For me, “In The Forest Dark & Deep” was the scariest story in the entire anthology.


Emmeline by Cat Winters

3 Stars

When I started reading this story I had no idea how it fit into this book, then it hit me half way through, there’s a bit of a paranormal twist. “Emmeline” isn’t creepy, scary, or gory at all. It’s just sort of…disquieting. It was also very quick to read through, not one of my favorites but still very entertaining. The writing was beautiful and the atmosphere was haunting, Cat Winters does creepy historical-fiction extremely well. It’s more of a sad romance than a horror story, it’s a little emotional, you definitely feel a pang of sympathy for Emmeline.


Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo

4 Stars

This one was very entertaining to read through although I found the horror aspect to be somewhat lacking. The story revolved around the lives of the characters more than anything, so a lot of it was gossip. The ending was almost abrupt and I felt I really didn’t understand how it happened or why. Certain things are brought up throughout the story but are never revisited to show why they MATTERED in the story. Still had a creepy moment or two, and one of the better shorts in this anthology, even though it left me feeling a little vexed.

Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd

5 Stars

“Don’t expect death to play by the rules.”

This one along with “In the Forest Dark & Deep” are tied for my number one favorite story in the whole book. It is absolutely engrossing, “Hide-And-Seek” focuses on a folktale that revolves around Death. A girl who dies must play a game against Death to win her life back, sound interesting? It is. For a short story the mythology within it is FULLY explained, it was very well built and keeps you informed throughout. Now the inspiration for this particular story is a very clever horror movie, therefore making this story VERY clever and creative. The ending was fantastic everything is explained and resolved nicely, I was completely satisfied. Definitely one of the best reads in “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys”.


The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige

2 Stars

I didn’t enjoy this one, even though it wasn’t TOO horrible to force my way through. This story wasn’t even really horror at all, it also lacked any kind of creepy or dark atmosphere. Mostly it’s a bunch of high school mean girl-ness with a supernatural love interest, it’s the dullest story in the ENTIRE BOOK. One thing I did like was the (very) small inclusion of Greek mythology, such as the tale of Hades and Persephone. Our MC wasn’t complex, twisted, or even vaguely interesting compared to other MCs in the book, she’s pretty much a Mary-Sue. Not a fan of this story.


The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

2 Stars

I think I disliked this one even more than Paige’s story (above), it’s by far one of the least enjoyable stories. Basically the entire thing is about a bunch of douchebag teenagers, seriously, they’re the worst sort of people. They’re all extremely unlikable, you will not give a crap what happens to them at all, hopefully that was Tucholke’s point because if it was she nailed it. If that wasn’t bad enough it’s also PAINFULLY obvious what two horror movies this story draws its “inspiration” from. I put quotes over that because it isn’t so much inspiration as much as it’s taking the two plots of the movies and mashing them together, it’s practically like watching both movies play out in one. There’s nothing new or added it’s the exact same, which was super irritating because it just wasn’t that original.


Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry

3 Stars

I’m starting to think of Maberry as becoming a bit of a one trick pony, it was so predictable what horror element he was going to bring to the table. Zombies. His story wasn’t scary, or creepy, and it was kind of lacking the overall mood the other stories set. Mostly it focused on your typical high school drama, bullying, and mean girls. However, what the story lacked for in outright horror and scariness it made up for in our MC, Dahlia. She’s a high school “fat girl” but she doesn’t lay down and take shit from anyone, she’s a very strong character. Dahlia was so much fun to read about and she’s what really drove the story. I’d give her an A+ but unfortunately I wouldn’t for the rest of this story.


Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

4.5 Stars

Brilliant, creepy, and a very captivating story. “Sleepless” is definitely one of my other favorite stories in this book. It starts out a little slow and tedious, but trust me when you get a little further into it it gets downright intense. Also as you read through you’ll probably notice right away the similarities between this story and a very classic horror movie. There’s a couple of twists throughout and you won’t see them coming, I know I didn’t. Now I can’t say too much without giving away the twists but this is certainly one of the better stories in the book, it fits the overall themes perfectly.


M by Stefan Bachmann

3 Stars

This one, to me, didn’t really fit in with the rest of the stories, I didn’t find myself horrified or creeped out at all. Although with the inclusion of a blind narrator the overall atmosphere is very well developed, it’s an eerie feeling on its own. There’s nothing supernatural here, so it really wasn’t very engaging for me. I don’t understand why it was selected to be in this book, it’s surely the odd one out. “M” is more of a murder mystery than anything else, not really impressive to me.


The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

4 Stars

I found this story to be a bit of a disappointment, it was 100% me and not the story though. I was expecting it to be the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read just because of the title. “The Girl Without a Face” that just SCREAMS horrifying, right? However, it was scary enough to be enjoyable, for me. It took a bit of a psychological turn and I hated that, I just wanted a good old fashioned REAL monster and it would have been so much scarier because we can’t EXPLAIN a real monster. But someone who did bad things? We can justify them being haunted by their mistakes. Therefore I was disappointed, I wasn’t getting my pants scared off it felt more like I was being taught a lesson in morals and karma. Still, I liked this story and it had a pretty high creep factor going on and a GREAT ending.


A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

3 Stars

This one is hard to review because it’s also hard to explain. I’m not even sure I knew what was actually going on towards the end. The story starts slow but finishes with a bang, the characters all fell pretty short and weren’t interesting at all. They did, however, talk about “night creatures” stalking them through the wilderness and that was enough to get me excited. There was a pretty interesting back story explaining the actions of the characters and that ,for me, is what really made the story. The night creatures were really the best part though, they sounded so creepy.


Stitches by A.G. Howard

4 Stars

“Stitches” started out strong and ended the same way, it grabs your attention right away and holds onto it until the story is over. It’s gory, graphic, and full of surprises. There are a few moments that are actually very touching and emotional, which is a BIG surprise in a story that’s so gruesome. Caution to those of you who are a bit squeamish!


On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

3.5 Stars

I love Blake’s writing style in “Anna Dress in Blood” and it shows the same in this short story. There’s a twist or two that ended up not being all that surprising after reading an entire book full of them. It would have been better off being placed earlier in the book. Still a very compelling story with a bit of a paranormal angle.


So in the end “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys” is a fantastic read and I HIGHLY recommend it. See if you can pick it up this Halloween (coming up), I guarantee you’re in for some scares!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week’s theme is books on my fall TBR, which there’s always a ton on my TBR. Now some of these books are ones that I’m planning on buying and reading, others I already own.

So first, books I own and have yet to read (that are towards the top at least):

10.) You by Caroline Kepnes

You

This one hasn’t been sitting around for too long, and I’m pretty excited to read it. So it’s in my top 10 to get at this fall. But until then it’ll be sitting by my night stand…waiting.

9.) Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven

I’m actually about half way through this already….but I got distracted by other books. So I’m looking to finish this one up soon.

8.) The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well, #1)

I just bought this one even though I’ve read mixed reviews about it. It still looks like something I might enjoy reading so I bought it anyways! I’m waiting to read “The Girl From The Well” a little closer to Halloween though.

And now books that are either newly released or soon to be released:

7.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House

The minute I discovered this book I knew I wanted to read it.

Here’s the description:

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…
…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.
But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?
The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.
The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known…

Sounds pretty awesome right? Once again I’m going to save it for around Halloween hoping that it’s at least a little scary.

6.) The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

The Creeping

This one was released fairly recently, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Apparently it has a really dark and creepy atmosphere to it. So I’m hoping to pick it up soon.

5.) Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

This book is going to be released next week (on my birthday) and I’ve heard mixed reviews of it. It’s a thriller and I think it sounds interesting enough for me to give it a shot.

4.) Alice by Christina Henry

Alice

A retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” obviously, and apparently a very grim, dark, and graphic one. I’m really excited to get my hands on this book, I’ve heard a TON of good things about it. There is one drawback for me though, it’s been mentioned that there is some really graphic, disturbing content such as rape. I don’t think that’s enough to keep me from reading it though.

3.) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace, #1)

This one was released today and I’m just waiting to buy it (because I’m lazy). It sounds so cool and I’ve had this on another one of my mini lists. Check it out here.

2.) The Traitor Baru Cormorant

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Once again this one’s been on here before, check it out on my “Most Anticipated Reads for September”.

1.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

If any of you have been on my blog before then you KNOW how excited I am for “Six of Crows”. IneeditIneeditIneeditIneedit.

Are there any books on YOUR fall TBR that we have in common? Are any of you guys as excited as I am for any of these books?

(Mini) Book Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

 

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description

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

review

I came across this book whilst shopping with my grandma and cousin one day. My grandma said, “Girls. You can each go and pick out a book and I’ll buy it for you.” And thus I took off. I ended up picking “Rot & Ruin” because it sounded interesting and I love zombies….even though I worry about them sometimes…… I just remember by grandma saying, “Um….are you sure you want this one?” She was really appalled by the cover and my cousin was buying a nice teen girly book, and I told her, “Yes grandma I want this one.” Because I’m a rebel like that.

This book is very beautiful, you wouldn’t expect it to be since…it’s about ugly zombies but it’s true. The characters are all well developed, the concept of “zombies are people too” is actually really eye-opening, and there’s a lot of emotional turmoil that the characters are put through.

So Benny (our MC), is a typical 15 year old boy, therefore his narrating can get a little irritating sometimes. Plus he’s constantly fighting his brother, Tom, at every turn. Benny blames Tom for the loss of their parents on the First Night (of the zombie outbreak). Now, Tom is a badass. BADASS. He’s easily my favorite character, he manages to keep his cool through everything. Read this book and DON’T develop a crush on Tom, I dare you. The two main female characters, Nix and Lilah, are also extremely badass and capable. Maberry did a good job on the strong female characters front.

There is no insta-love, there are no love triangles. There’s not really any romance in this book (which I love), the main relationship in focus is between Benny and Tom. Which is a nice change while reading YA.

“Rot & Ruin” is also extremely emotional, at least for me because I’m a big baby. There are a lot of affectionate moments between the brothers, and there’s a couple of other tear-jerking stories told within the book. I cried….a lot. I was sitting and trying to do my hair and read at the same time and I fucked up my hair because I got too into the book and started bawling.

I have so much love for this book (and the series), they’re definitely worth the read. I HIGHLY recommend reading it.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Definitely DON’T Recommend

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

It’s freebie week, and I was looking for ideas and all I kept seeing were books I’d recommend for _______ and so on. So I’ve decided to do the top ten books I DON’T recommend. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean I HATED the book or anything, I just wouldn’t go around recommending them to people. Instead of 10 I only have 8, which is good right? It means I haven’t read that many books I dislike. Granted some are grouped into the series as a whole but that’s not the point is it?

8.) The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

 

Do I even need to explain why this is on here? Let me say this: I remotely enjoyed them while I was reading them in the 9th grade. THEN I realized how bad they actually were. I, like a sheep following the flock, was suckered into reading the ENTIRE series just because everyone else did. Is this series really that bad? No. Are there TONS of other books that are so much better? Yes. “Twilight” suffered from a serious case of the “over hype”.

7.) The (Entire) House of Night Series by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

These are all the ones I read, 1-9. How I managed to read 9 of these remains a mystery to me. Our MC spends the whole series getting with EVERY, SINGLE GUY. I’m serious. Every single one. She will sit there and flirt and wheedle her way into the hearts of all male characters, it is the single most annoying thing about this series. It is very clear that this series came out during “The Great Vampire Fad”. You get all the awfulness of that PLUS high school drama. Yay! (said no one, except me…sarcastically). If you want to read an AWESOME vampire series that deals with the high school aspect then please refer yourselves to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. It’s great. I recommend that series highly…not this one.

6.) Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

“Cinder” is actually, probably the best book on this list (which is saying something). I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than these others, but I still had major issues with it. You can check out my full review of Cinder here for an idea of why I wouldn’t recommend.

5.) City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

So many people LOVE this series and the hype (to me) couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d recommend going and reading “Twilight” before I’d recommend this one. If you want my FULL thoughts on this book you can check out my review here and then you’ll definitely understand why it belongs on this list.

4.) Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate

Fallen (Fallen, #1)

NOOOOOOOOOOO. I haven’t even heard of anyone liking this book. Don’t read it! This is one of the worst PNRs out there, I’m certain. Lucinda (the MC) spends the entire book being gaga over Daniel (the douche love interest), and all he does is act like a dick to her and she STILL stalks the crap out of him! Take a hint girl and leave him alone! I forced myself to to finish this thing, the characters were all two dimensional. I could have gone and drawn a stick figure on a piece of paper and it would have more personality than these guys. Instead of me recommending this book to anyone, I’m going to recommend you go onto Goodreads and read all of the reviews.

3.) Spider’s Bite (Elemental Assassin #1) by Jennifer Estep

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, #1)

No, this is book is just….no. The description for this book sounds amazing, and I read the whole sample and it was amazing, but the book was…not amazing. It was actually really boring, and Gin (the MC) is not as funny, hot, or badass as she thinks she is. I expected to love this book but I hated it, even though it promises something unique it really is your basic run of the mill PNR. And I’m not really a fan of romance so that may explain why I disliked it. Point is, not a book that I would recommend…at all.

2.) Bliss by Lauren Myracle

Bliss

This book is fucked up, it’s weird as hell, and nothing about it was enjoyable. That is a basic summary of “Bliss”, it is seriously messed up. I bought and read it years ago thinking I was going to be reading a good YA horror book, and man….was I wrong. All it was, was gross and not scary. There’s the whole “don’t pick on unpopular kids because they’ll commune with the dark side and fuck you up” thing going on, plus the whole “high school mean girls” thing. It was an annoying book, don’t waste your time with this one like I did.

1.) Night World, No. 1 (Night World #1-3) by L.J. Smith

Night World, No. 1 (Night World, #1-3)

“Night World No. 1” is composed of three short novels in one book, and they all drug on with the intensity of watching grass grow. In other words they were tedious and uninteresting. There was a lot of insta-love going on, and I found all the characters to be dull and undeveloped. I even read this when I was a preteen (which is definitely the target audience) and I STILL didn’t enjoy it. I’m fairly convinced that every other vampire/PNR related book out there is better than this one, including the others on this list. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book even if it was your only company on a desert island.

That’s my (belated) Top Ten Tuesday, are there any books you agree/disagree with me on? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you guys.

The Sassy

Random Ramblings #3 – Mini Bookhaul (Sept. 2015)

Ahhh! I’ve been so busy all day I didn’t get time to do my TTT! Never fear though I’ll finish that baby up and post it tomorrow…..still counts.

Anyways thought I would share my mini bookhaul from over the weekend.

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I’m getting all geared up for October! Since ya know…..scary books…plus “The Martian”. But the movie for that comes out in October so I must prepare!
I’m pretty excited for some good YA horror books in time for Halloween (the best holiday).
Have any of you read these books? If so comment and let me know what you thought!