Halloween Recs: Chilling Anthologies, Novellas, & Short Stories

This post is all about spooky story collections, novellas, and short stories! If you’re interested in even more specific Halloween recommendations I will link all of my previous ones at the end of the post!

I will also link each title to its Goodreads page if you want more info as well as include my full reviews if they’re available.

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Halloween Recs: Ghost Stories & Creature Features

If there’s one thing that I adore and will get me back into my blogging it’s recommending a variety of different books for all of you in time for Halloween. My favorite holiday and my favorite genre of books! This post is all about books featuring ghosts and other types of creatures and monsters, if you’re interested in even more specific Halloween recommendations I will link all of my previous ones at the end of the post!

I tried to use a couple “new/different” books but you’ll probably see one or two on multiple lists and there are books I didn’t feature that also apply. So definitely check out my other rec links below if you want more.

I will also link each title to its Goodreads page if you want more info as well as include my full reviews if they’re available.

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It’s Halloween Rec Time! My All Time Spookiest Reads!

I’ve always been one to recommend a TON of different books for Halloween but one recommendation post that I always love doing (and never gets old) is the scariest books I’ve read. There are still a few of my favorites that have yet to be dethroned by other books but there are a few new faces on the list this year! So let’s just get right into it, shall we?

These aren’t in any particular order and I will link up my full reviews (if available) to each one as well as a Goodreads link in case you’re curious for more info! Just click the book titles or links below each one!

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Books I’m Sharing a Birthday With Today!

I know it’s been more than a hot minute since I’ve done a post, but I couldn’t let my birthday go by without doing this post! There’s just too many good books I’m sharing it with today, so hopefully this will be a fun little post and help me get back into the blogging game (seriously, 2020 can stop anytime now).

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Aesthetics for My Favorite Books

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Story time! I’ve always been super envious of people who make such gorgeous book aesthetics and I always wanted to make them for my favorite books too. However, I was pretty terrible at it. I never found the photos I wanted in order to make them look good in my opinion. Then I figured out how to use Pinterest (search words were a problem for me, for some reason) to get those images and then it was a piece of cake. So tada! Here are some of the aesthetics I made one day, I honestly had such a blast doing it too.

And PLEASE, if you have read any of these books as well let me know what you think! Do the images fit the book? I’d appreciate it and let me know if you’d like to see more!

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Book Review: Mary: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

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There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go. A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: ‘Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.’ A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered. A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–befo…

review

I honestly had to really sit and debate over what I wanted to rate this because while there were some things I didn’t like I really did enjoy this book. So instead of a 3 or 3.5 rating I’m just going to round it all the way up to a solid 4 because this book was FUN and definitely entertaining!

Just a word of warning though: Don’t read this in the dark or alone!

PLOT

This is actually very fast-paced and there is no messing around setting up the story for Bloody Mary in the beginning, Hillary Monahan wasted no time throwing us right into the nitty gritty! I thought the pacing kept up throughout the entire book as well with barely a moment’s rest, the characters were pretty much under constant attack by Mary. Plenty of excitement and scares, that’s for sure!

The plot mostly focuses on the summoning of Bloody Mary, the haunting of the girls, and the girls trying to defeat her for good. There’s plenty of action and scares that will keep you on the edge of your seat too! Plus there’s a pretty good twist towards the end of the book as well that just adds to the overall thrill factor. However, the plot doesn’t have as much “oomph” as I would have liked but that could be being saved for the sequel maybe.

Let me just say that I thought the book had some VERY creepy and scary scenes as well, I was pleasantly surprised! This book really passed my expectations on all fronts but especially on that one, I’m glad it was scarier than I anticipated! Although I will say in order to scare me all you have to do is have something scuttling and doing that creepy disjointed crawling and I’m done for (which ended up happening)! I think Monahan did such an amazing job writing and describing Mary and each creepy scene in great detail, and to make a book scary it really is in the details.

The only thing I had a slight problem with was the characters making some dumb decisions, such as investigating an abandoned building at night alone. Dumb. However, I will say that for the most part the characters were actually pretty smart especially considering the fact that they’re a group of teenage girls in a horror book! Plus this quote pretty much explains away any irrational decisions because it makes perfect sense:

“In the past, when I watched horror movies because I thought being scared was fun, I always got angry at the characters whose hands shook so badly they dropped the car keys when the monster was chasing them. If someone wanted to survive, she would keep it together long enough to get away. Now, standing in the locker room like a frightened lamb, I understood. Fear shut my body down…”

Also that ending was such a cliffhanger, it’s not fair! I need the next book immediately!

characters

I actually really liked the characters in this book and as I said while they did make some questionable decisions they were all pretty smart about their ghost situation for the most part.

Shauna and Kitty both came full circle throughout reading and I thought their characters developed well. Anna was okay as well but she didn’t really come into focus all that much and Jess didn’t change at all. I also just despised Jess’s character in general since it was her who insisted on summoning Mary in the first place! She was a great character for furthering the plot though, I will give her that.

Then I suppose there’s Bloody Mary herself and she was fearsome to behold let me tell you! As I mentioned earlier Monahan did a fantastic job describing Mary in great detail and she was terrifying! I also really enjoyed digging into Mary’s past as well, the background on her character was interesting.

romance

There is a bit of a side romance between Kitty and another character but it’s not a main focus at all in the story. Other than that there is zero romance which is nice not only for a YA book but also a horror in general!

in conclusion

Overall this book definitely isn’t perfect by any means but it’s fun, scary, entertaining, and great for reading this time of year!

What I Loved:

  • Plenty of creepy and scary scenes
  • Fast pacing
  • Great writing with lots of detail
  • No romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Plot needed a little more attention
  • Characters made questionable decisions

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of horror or looking for a fun, scary book to read for Halloween! Otherwise if you don’t like being scared maybe skip this one!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet (Best Deal)

The Sassy

Discussion Post: Reviewing Books Long After Finishing Them

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So this is actually a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about recently and just wanted to do up a discussion post and see what the rest of you think about it as well! This is almost like a poll for me since I’m genuinely very curious as to what your opinions are on this topic so please join the discussion and let me know!

This will be a shorter discussion post than usual since it’s pretty straight forward.

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Do we always have to publish a review for a book?

As book bloggers we read quite a few books and also review them on our blogs but when it gets to be too much I don’t see anything wrong with reading a book JUST for fun and not publishing a review at all. There are also instances where a book may just be too hard to review because we loved or hated it so much we can’t find the right words to properly describe our experience. I know I have certainly run into both of these problems myself.

The only time I think a review is mandatory is when you receive an ARC (advanced reader copy) because publishers gave you a FREE copy in order to review it and get some hype/buzz going about the book.


So when you do decide to review a book, how long is too long to wait?

This here is the golden question in this discussion! I know when I finish a book I may not always jump into a review right away (for the reasons stated in the first question). Then as time goes on I realize “Hey! I never actually reviewed that one….” which brings me to thinking I can either post a review now or maybe just put it off infinitely. However, many of the books I have yet to review were ones I had full intentions of reviewing and just never got around to it.

I personally like to think you can post a review for a book WHENEVER you want to! Read the book a year ago? Fine, post a review! Read it a month ago? Fine, post a review! You should be able to post reviews for books at your own leisure, with the exception of ARCs as stated earlier.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we are all comfortable doing it whenever. I know I personally get really self conscious about reviewing books I read last year and why? Because I worry that’s frowned upon by others. But why?! Why do I care? I don’t know, but I definitely think at the same time we should post what we want, when we want!


One Last Note…..

I’m VERY curious as to all of your thoughts on this topic since I have quite a few books I read and have yet to review! So the big reason behind making this into a post is to learn whether or not you guys are still interested in reading reviews for books I read a year ago even if their mini reviews and whatnot.

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Come Join The Discussion!

How long do you wait to post a review for a book you read?

Do you always review every book you read?

Are you still interested in reading book reviews even though the books were read a while ago?

Is it alright to read a book and NEVER post a review?

Do you think it’s alright to post a review even though you read the book a while ago? Even if it’s been a month, a few months, or even a year?

What do you think of others who take a long time to post their reviews?

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

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description

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

review

**** Big thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

I was almost positive I would adore this book because the cover is so gorgeous and the synopsis sounds amazing, however, that really wasn’t the case and I couldn’t be more saddened by it. I can’t tell if I’m more disappointed with myself for not liking it as much, the book for not living up to my expectations, or just a bit of both which I’m sure it is.

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book was that it had pretty slow pacing and the overall storyline was very….vague. I spent a lot of time wondering what exactly the main plot was or what was even supposed to happen, there was also never any sort of climax in the story either. Nothing was ever really explained and I felt that I was supposed to already know what was going on before I started reading. I spent a lot of time confused and bored.

On top of that there was virtually no world building whatsoever and we are in some type of fantasy world with the Beast and soul eaters with some type of magic but none of it is ever fleshed out our further developed. Everything is just sort of …….there. Which is very unfortunate since this world had a lot of potential but it fell completely short. I would have at least liked to know more about the Beast and what it is or how the soul eaters become what they are….but no.

I can’t explain what kept me reading but some parts of the story were interesting and the atmosphere was eerie and mysterious (the only reasons this is getting 2.5 stars instead of 1), it’s just that overall I honestly couldn’t tell you what the story was even about.

characters

The characters were a little better than the plot, more developed and I cared more about them than the story but they STILL fell flat for me. When something tragic happened to a character I felt a little sad maybe but overall I didn’t much care either way.

Alys was an alright heroine she was curious, clever, and cared a lot about the well being of others. Other than that though she wasn’t a very memorable protagonist just as many of the characters weren’t memorable either.

romance

At first I thought for sure there would be no romance in this story and there did end up being some, just when I thought the plot couldn’t get more tedious. Alys meets a boy that travels with other characters she knows and ends up falling in insta-love with him and vice versa. Overall it was an extremely pointless romance and become a big focus at the end of the book and I felt nothing for it because it was so underdeveloped.

in conclusion

I was extremely disappointed with this book since I thought it had such wonderful potential but ultimately fell very short. Honestly though I found it to be quite a mess.

What I Liked:

  • Alys and a handful of characters
  • The story was interesting in certain bits
  • The atmosphere was mysterious and eerie at parts

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The plot was confusing and messy
  • No clue what was going on at all whatsoever
  • Lack of world building
  • Slow pacing
  • Pointless romance with insta-love

RECOMMEND

Sorry but I just can’t recommend this one especially if you’re thinking this will be a dark, action packed book. It’s slow and confusing and there’s no world building at all, just those things right there are enough for me not to recommend this book.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Graphic Novel Favorites & TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is visuals so books with pictures essentially! Graphic novels, comics, or picture books you can do your favorites or ones that are on your TBR whichever you like. I decided to do graphic novels and since I have yet to read as many as I’d like I only have a few that are truly my favorites and the rest on this list will be graphic novels on my TBR!

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10.) The Walking Dead Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman

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Of course I wanted to read these because I like the TV show (even though I’m like 3 seasons behind) and I was actually pleasantly surprised. I had assumed watching the TV show would spoil the graphic novels but while they stay similar the graphic novels tell a different story than the show. I actually think I may prefer these more!


9.) Hyperbole & A Half by Allie Brosh

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This is humor and non-fiction but it is also technically a graphic novel! It’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and I highly recommend it!

You can read my full review here.


8.) Watchmen by Alan Moore

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I’ll be honest I wanted to read this only after watching (and adoring) the movie but there is also a reason this is one of the greatest graphic novels of all time! It’s dark, gritty and violent but it’s also just an amazing graphic novel hands down. This is technically about superheroes but I would say for people who aren’t necessarily superhero fans you’d still like this because the Watchmen are not your average superhero….if you can even call them “heroes” at all.


7.) Amulet Vol. 1 The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

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This is actually a fantastic series from what I’ve read (the whole thing isn’t finished yet) it’s more Middle Grade but I think it can be enjoyable for all ages. It’s kind of fantasy and sci-fi mixed together with a new world, flying ships, robots, elves, and creatures! Highly recommend this series!

You can read my full series review here.


6.) Through The Woods by Emily Caroll

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This graphic novel is amazing it’s a collection of short, open-ended, horror stories and they are absolutely creepy! It doesn’t have any jump scares but more of the slow, hair rising up the back of our neck style of scares. Plus the art is just beautiful!

You can read my full review here.


5.) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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Fantasy and humor this graphic novel is utter perfection! I can’t really find the words to describe how amazing this is….you should probably just go read it.

You can read my full review here.


Now On To The TBR Graphic Novels!


4.) In Real Life by Cory Doctorow

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This came recommended by a lot of bloggers and is about a girl who plays online video games basically. I’m female. I’m a gamer. So I’m in.


3.) Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

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This one also came recommended to me a lot so I got a copy! This is about a girl who falls into a well and finds herself befriending the ghost that lives down there.


2.) The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephan Collins

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Another recommendation that I bought, it’s just waiting for me on my shelves. I think the title kind of sums up what it’s about…..


1.) The Wicked + The Divine by Gillen McKelvie & Wilson Cowles

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I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers read this and it caught my eye, it’s about 12 gods who, every 30 years, are incarnated as humans who are also pop stars. Sounds interesting enough, right?

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Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Are any of these on your TBR?

What are some of your favorite graphic novels?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your TTT as well!

The Sassy