Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

I don’t have much to say about this week’s choices since the theme is pretty straightforward so this post will be shorter than usual!

These are not in any particular order.

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10.) Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

9.) And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

Because it’s pretty yet creepy sounding.

 8.) Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

7.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

6.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

5.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

4.) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

3.) And I Darken by Kiersten White

2.) Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

1.) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

I don’t know why but for some reason I really like the word vengeance?

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Have you read any of these books as well? What did you think?

What are some of your favorite unique book titles?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved Less Than Everyone Else

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

This week’s theme is books we either loved less or more than everyone else, pretty self explanatory. I, being the black sheep that I am, chose to go with books I loved less since that usually seems to be the way things go for me with more popular books.

As usual I’ll link up my full reviews to the titles!

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10.) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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This book was insanely hyped last year when it came out and so my expectations were pretty high for it and….it was not that great. It lacked world building and honestly I didn’t think anything was developed at all. There were elements I enjoyed but overall it was a disappointment.


9.) Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

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So a TON of people love Rosamund Hodge’s books and they do sound amazing, I mean dark fairy tale retellings? Hell yes! Unfortunately this one was confusing, I spent a lot of my time completely lost as to what was going on and the characters were really flat. Maybe I’ll like her other books more but if they’re like this one I already know I won’t.


8.) Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Another extremely hyped book and series that I just did not love as much as everyone. I hated the main character and I felt there was a lack of world building. However, I thought Bardugo’s writing improved vastly with “Six of Crows” which I loved.


7.) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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I honestly think I should turn this rating from a 3 to a 2 since I really didn’t like this book all that much. Celaena was annoying and vain and not as badass as everyone makes her seem, also a lack of world building. Definitely a black sheep with this one since EVERYONE loves this series.


6.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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The Lunar Chronicles is another series that is wildly popular and for me “Cinder” was a big disappointment. My main problem was how predictable the story was but I am thinking about continuing the series.


5.) The Crown’s Games by Evelyn Skye

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Another book that got super hyped and was wildly disappointing for me. It was FULL of insta-love, an awful love triangle, and lack of world building once again (see a theme here for me?). Also the magical fight to the death was just a bunch of parlor tricks and no actual fighting occurred.


4.) Soundless by Richelle Mead

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I absolutely loved Mead’s Vampire Academy series so I was expecting to love her new standalone but I did not. Once again the complete lack of world building was the biggest reason I did not like this book.


3.) Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

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Seems a ton of people loved this book and while the writing is very beautiful I thought the characters were awful and idiotic, and the romance was also full of cliches.


2.) These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

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I really wanted to like this book because EVERYONE loves it but it was just so slooooooow and boring for me. Seriously this book had no business being 500 pages….


1.) Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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Lots of people actually liked this book and I can see why like if you like historical fiction romances for the most part. However, for me I was expecting actual PIRATES since this is supposed to be about Blackbeard! Did I get pirates! No! I got zero pirates!

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What books do you love more or less than everyone else?

Did you dislike any of these books too? Or like them?

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

The Sassy

Book Review: Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

 

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description

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

review

I’m very conflicted when it comes to reading books by April Genevieve Tucholke, on the one hand I love her writing style because it’s just absolutely gorgeous and lyrical. However, I just seem to have a hard time liking her characters and I find her storylines to be either confusing, boring, or both. Mostly I’m left feeling indifferent because there is both good and bad with her books such is the case with “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”.

PLOT

The plot in this book is riddled with your usual YA tropes and the big one is insta-love. Violet (the MC) pretty much falls head over heels in love with River after knowing him for just one day. We also have the forbidden love trope much like the one seen in “Twilight”, honestly if you didn’t like “Twilight” you won’t like this one because River and Violet are very Bella and Edward-esque. River is always telling Violet how bad he is for her but does she listen? Nope. Not to mention we also have the whole absent parents thing going on, which I do consider a YA trope, because how convenient is that? You can have ALL the strange boys come rent your guest house now! So yes I think this book is loaded with tropes, many of which I find quite annoying.

I did like the overall atmosphere though, it’s selling itself as gothic and I think it does a decent job of pulling this off. It’s all very old fashioned feeling with the old Victorian houses and small town. Everyone cares about social standing and family names, so as I said it had an old fashioned atmosphere and I really enjoyed that part. Even Violet felt this way as a character seeing as how she wears her dead grandmother’s old clothes and goes to the park to watch old black and white films.

In general, though, the plot didn’t make much sense at all. There is no big mystery and what mystery there may have been was ruined by it being revealed too soon in the story. I also felt that there was no real climax to the plot either, it was just the same pacing throughout the entire book. Honestly, this book just sort of did its own thing. There wasn’t a set, structure storyline and no horror to speak of and a tiny sprinkling of the paranormal, which considering the plot and blurb I expected a lot more creepiness. Basically what you get is a whole lot of romance that left this book feeling like more of a contemporary than anything else.

Also for those of you, who like me, thought this would be about a romance with the actual Devil in teenage boy form, think again. I thought that idea made it seem more exciting but don’t waste your time if that’s what you want because you’ll leave disappointed as I did.

characters

All of the characters were meh, I didn’t hate Violet but I didn’t exactly love her either. She’s sort of pretentious and snobby, with her always quoting old classic literature and cinema. It made her come off that way, in my opinion. She’s very…hipster-y, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Violet made it come off as condescending.

River is even less impressive, especially as the love interest. He’s essentially psychotic, compulsively lies, and Violet chooses to be blind and ignore all of the crazy, crappy things he says and does. She catches him in every lie he tells and he’s always warning her away from him. But oh! That makes him so mysterious and dangerous! No. You should probably listen and stay away from him.

There was also absolutely zero point in Violet’s brother Luke and her “BFF” Sunshine. They were the single most annoying part of this whole book. I can’t even really explain why, they were just always THERE doing nothing to move the story forward, rendering them essentially meaningless characters.

romance

This book is very, very romance-oriented and as I mentioned earlier you’ve got an atrocious amount of insta-love and forbidden love. I can handle forbidden love if it’s done correctly but it tied in too much with the insta-love for me to even remotely like River and Violet’s relationship. Knowing him for just one day had Violet drooling over River.

Also River compulsively lies to Violet and there is a certain point in the story where a certain incident borders a little too much on potential rape. Not a fan. Therefore I found this romance to be completely unsatisfying.

in conclusion

I actually really enjoy Tucholke’s writing a lot and I did like the overall atmosphere of this book but I found the plot itself and characters to be really lacking. Basically the only reason this is getting a two star rating instead of a one star rating is because the writing is beautiful and great quality.

RECOMMEND

No not really. Unless you really, really loved “Twilight” or if you really enjoy paranormal romances then maybe you’ll find this more to your liking!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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description

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

review

Let me sum up this entire book and review with one word: confusion.

I didn’t understand this book, at all. Zero understanding. I have no idea what happened or how I’m supposed to feel about it now. This was a book that I expected to enjoy much more than I actually did in the end, I was pretty disappointed.

I’ve never had such a hard time rating a book because “Wink Poppy Midnight” is confusing in itself and I was even more confused with how I felt about it. Ultimately I settled on 3 stars instead of 2 because I really liked certain parts without really loving the entire book.

What I Loved:

  • The writing: it’s absolutely gorgeous and lyrical.
  • The characters: twisted, messed up, and very well developed.

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The complete lack of plot
  • A more than confusing story and ending

So each thing I loved, I really loved and each thing I disliked, I really disliked. Thus my very confused state regarding a rating for this book.

PLOT

Plot? What plot? “Wink Poppy Midnight” is more character driven with no real story to speak of and what story there is doesn’t develop until half way through the book. Then when that story really gets rolling it was confusing as hell. I mean seriously I had no idea what was happening, at all!

Which with this book is kind of the point, right? We can’t trust any of the characters but even when all is “explained” I still had no idea what went down. There was no climax, there was no build up to anything and it made reading through this book feel pretty pointless. Plus from reading the description, all the “every story needs a hero” stuff, it pretty much gives away any twists because you already know you can’t trust the characters and what they think they are. No shockers there.

Basically what “Wink Poppy Midnight” passes off for a plot is just the characters manipulating and screwing each other over.

Then there’s the writing, really the only thing that even kept me turning pages because it certainly wasn’t anything else. The writing is kind of used to cover up the lack of plot, it dazzles you for quite a bit before you realize that all you’ve been reading was pretty writing and nothing was actually happening. However, it is very pretty. I am a sucker for beautiful writing and Tucholke’s is exceptional, I’ve always liked it but it was a bit overdone in this case. By which I mean it was kind of smoke and mirrors: “hey look over here at this gorgeous-ness and not over there were fake-y nothingness is happening!”

Generally I love weird, unique books but this was a little too eccentric and confusing for me….

characters

Since “Wink Poppy Midnight” is a character driven book of course all three of the characters are very three dimensional and well developed. It’s all very psychological we get plenty of insight into everyone’s thoughts and that’s what makes this book a book. Without these characters we’d have nothing.

Wink, Poppy, and Midnight are all untrustworthy narrators and that’s what I loved the most about reading this story, I loved how twisted and flawed they all were. Nobody’s perfect.

Wink was by far my favorite of the characters she’s just so quirky and has the whole  cute “girl next door” thing going on. She’s very independent and pretty strong-willed.

I despised Poppy and I know that’s what the goal was but I really didn’t like her, at all. She’s the “sexy, mean girl” and every time we got to her POV I wanted to skip it, which of course I didn’t but that’s how much I disliked her. Although with Poppy the dislike isn’t because she was poorly written, the point was to not like her after all.

Midnight……honestly the best way for me to describe him would be “a little bitch”. He lets himself be everyone’s plaything and even though he knows this he lets it continue. Midnight needed to man up.

Also there is a sort of love triangle except I didn’t understand that either because it was a love triangle and yet wasn’t all at once. Any romance in this book is just as confusing as the not-plot so I don’t have much to add on it except more words about my confusion.

in conclusion

Well I can only say how confused I was in so many different ways right? Great writing and well written characters but all of that just can’t make up for a lack of any sort of story. All it did was make me question my own intellect, “Am I just not smart enough to understand this book?” Who knows? I surely don’t.

All in all I just didn’t like the story enough to rate it anymore than 3 stars but I liked the writing and characters enough to not want to rate it 2 stars.

RECOMMEND

If you want a book that’s all pretty writing and fucked up characters, knock yourself out. If you like a little more substance and story with your books then I’d skip this one.

I just can’t really recommend a book to anyone that I myself didn’t quite understand.

It’s definitely I book I would borrow versus buy if you can, unless you want a beautiful cover to add to your shelves.

The Sassy

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

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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

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!