Halloween Non-Horror Recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday(93)

So as I promised I’ve done up a post for those of you who want to read some spooky books for Halloween but don’t necessarily like horror or want your pants scared off! These are mostly all thrillers or have a paranormal factor present.

If you want to see my Halloween Horror Recommendations you can check that out here.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

(Review Here)

A great diverse read featuring a Latino family of brujas (witches) and when Alex tries to rid herself of her powers her entire family vanishes. This is a very magical adventure full of family love and who doesn’t love a good witch book?


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

(Review Here)

This is a thriller about a girl who lied about who murdered their babysitter when they were younger and must now hunt for the true killer. This doesn’t have much for Halloween vibes but it is a very dark and twisted story full of surprises. It definitely gets gritty and you’ll get chills reading through it!


Coraline by Neil Gaiman

(Review Here)

Who doesn’t think “Coraline” is a Halloween classic now? Because I sure do! It’s subtly creepy and just absolutely perfect for reading this time of year.


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

(Review Here)

Another thriller but this one has some psychics involved making it all the more perfect for some Halloween reading. A girl who fakes being psychic must now help the police find a missing girl but she may just have some insider information….


Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

(Review Here)

Harbingers of Death? That screams Halloween in my opinion! A mysterious boy shows up in town accompanied by flocks of strange crows and when he saves Angie from something supernatural she realizes he may not be human either. Paranormal elements and a slightly creepy atmosphere makes this another great read for non-horror fans!


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Another book that shouldn’t surprise many of you but “The Graveyard Book” is about a boy who is raised by the supernatural residents of a graveyard. It’s full of adventure and just straight up adorableness.


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

A mystery thriller revolving around Jasper Dent the son of the most infamous serial killers in the world. Jasper was being groomed to take over the “family business” and therefore can see crime scenes from a criminal’s POV so when a new serial killer shows up in his small town he’s determined to prove it’s not him.

So, so, sooooo many twists and turns with this one it’s especially great if you have a morbid curiosity about serial killers, like me.


The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

(Review Here)

I could honestly recommend any of Flynn’s books but this short story fits the best in my opinon. It’s about a woman who fakes psychic readings and help from the beyond for money. When a woman wants her help ridding her house of something evil our main character may just start believing in ghosts….

Super quick read and open ended so if open endings aren’t your thing I’d skip it.


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

(Review Here)

Psychics, ancient sleeping kings, ley lines, and magic trees I think it’s safe to say this isn’t your run of the mill paranormal romance or urban fantasy. It’s full of magic and sets a very fast pace not to mention you will definitely fall in love with the characters!


The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

This is more Middle Grade than YA but it’s still super interesting and full of supernatural spirits and creatures and there’s more than a few creepy moments too as Thomas learns about how to be a Spook.


The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

(Review Here)

This one is filled with monsters, demons, undead, and spirits and while it has a few dark moments it mostly follows a girl named Tea learning to control her powers of necromancy.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

(Review Here)

This book fits into a kind of neat genre but it’s about a girl who wants to hunt monsters and boy who is one of those monsters in a city torn into two sects. The monsters are very unique and fun to read about and the characters are a bit morally grey, definitely a fun read though and the monsters aren’t TOO creepy either!


Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

(Review Here)

Another witch book makes the list! This one is about a girl who visits Scotland and learns a bit more about her family’s past as she continues having visions of two women and a bit more about witchcraft and blood magic. Honestly the background of Scotland makes this book worth the read as well!

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Have you read any of this books? What did you think?

Will you give any of these books a try?

What are some of your favorite non-horror Halloween reads?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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ARC Review: The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

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Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.

review

**** Huge thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! ****

After reading and enjoying Cook’s other novel “With Malice” I knew I was going to be in for a treat with “The Hanging Girl” and it definitely did not let me down! I can’t go into too much detail because I really don’t want to ruin anything but it really is a thrilling, fast-paced book!

PLOT

The focus of the story is the main character, Skye, who fakes being a psychic and is enlisted to help the police find a missing girl. She has some inside information on the kidnapping though in exchange for getting money she desperately needs, but things don’t exactly go as planned. That’s all I’m going to tell you!

This is a pretty fast paced book with never a dull moment and also one that will grab your attention immediately. Our protagonist, Skye, is shown as a liar and manipulator right off the bat and therefore a bit of an unreliable narrator, which is always intriguing to me. There are quite a few plot twists throughout the story and I didn’t see hardly any of them coming at all! I also thought it was great that major plot twists occur in the story pretty early on too, definitely keeps things interesting! If you’re already a suspicious reader, like myself, you may guess a few things but I think it’s safe to say you’ll still get surprised.

The psychic portions of the story were also really interesting and perfect for Halloween if you’re looking for a great, non-spooky thriller to read!

I was a little disappointed with the ending, I just felt it wasn’t as shocking as a lot of the other twists were and it was slightly more predictable. I felt like it was abrupt and unfinished, it wasn’t a BAD ending by any means but it left me a little unsatisfied.

I’d also like to mention that the protagonist, Skye,  has anxiety and having anxiety myself I thought it was represented well. She is constantly dealing with the threat of a panic attack throughout the story, and considering the situations it’s not surprising for someone with anxiety. I thought the way the anxiety was described was also fairly accurate such as Skye picking at the skin on her fingertips or biting her nails, that’s something I do because of my anxiety as well and it was extremely relatable.

characters

There really isn’t much to discuss as far as characters go, there’s Skye and as I already mentioned she’s manipulative, a bit unreliable, and also suffers from anxiety. I did really like her character though because she’s doing things for a good reason and found her to be very relatable.

As far as secondary characters go they are there to drive the plot and not much else. The only other moderately interesting character’s would be Skye’s mom, her best friend Drew, and another character whose name I won’t mention due to spoilers but they were……interesting.

romance

One of the best parts about this book is that there is no romance to distract from all the plot twists and thrills!

in conclusion

Overall this was a fun, quick read!

What I Loved:

  • Fast pacing
  • Mindfuckery/ great plot twists
  • Good anxiety rep
  • Relatable main character

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The ending was a little disappointing and felt unfinished

RECOMMEND

I recommend checking this one out especially for Halloween coming up or if you just enjoy a really good, fast-paced thriller!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

(A Very ARC Loaded) September TBR

Top Ten Tuesday(85)

This month’s TBR makes me think I really, really should have participated in ARC August….because these are ALL ARCs. I have got a TON of reading to do this month! I’m hoping I can get out of my mini reading slump here and power through all of these books because I really am excited to read all of them.

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Girls Made of Snow & Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

This is a Snow White retelling that I’m currently trying to power through, it’s very interesting but the pacing is extremely uneven and I’m stuck in a super slow part at the moment.


Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

I feel terrible I didn’t get to this one last month like I was supposed to. This may or may not be my cup of tea since it seems very romance-focused but hopefully the whole “harbinger of death” thing will keep things interesting!


Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

This is a sci-fi novel about a character who is recruited by a corporation to leave Earth and mine a new valuable resource on another planet. However, this planet was kept secret and that’s not all the corporation is hiding. It sounds pretty exciting so I’m hoping it proves worth while!


The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

A group of seniors travel to Boulder House for their senior trip but the house is said to be cursed. When the characters get separated from the rest of their group they realize the truth is much more horrifying. Of course I’m always up for some YA horror, hopefully it’s thrilling!


The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Two young female warriors, whose births were prophesied, must save the world from demons. Sounds badass, period.


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Skye has been faking tarot card readings for a while but when the police ask her to help find a missing girl she already has some inside information. The kidnapping was planned and she was going to get a cut but things have taken a dark turn and she must find them before it’s too late. This sounds both spooky and thrilling so hopefully it will be a great read!


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Bethan is an apprentice green healer in a clan of Welsh-Romanies, however, all isn’t well as the son of the chieftain and his friends brutally assault both Bethan and her friend Martyn. Bethan wants to bring Martyn back from death’s door but is told the price of the magic required is gruesome. When the boys who attacked her don’t come forward and apologize she knows where to collect those ingredients…..

This sounds super creepy and I’m really excited to get to it, I loooove YA horror!


This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

Sasha has everything working out for her: first chair clarinet, top of her class, the perfect boyfriend, and she has her way to being a star musician free and clear. However, a new guy shows up and she finds herself drawn to him and missing his touch even though she’s never met him. She then discovers she absorbed her twin in the womb which may explain her missing memories……

This is another books that sounds strangely creepy yet very mysterious and thrilling, I’m hoping it pans out!


Gray Wolf Island Tracey Neithercott

Right before her sister died she asked Ruby to find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island, armed with a treasure map and a few friends who are all touched by magic. However, each friend is keeping a secret and they must reveal it in order to reach the treasure.

Is it just me or are there not enough treasure themed books? This sounds really unique and compelling!

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Are any of these books on your TBR?

Have you read any of these, what did you think?

What are you planning on reading this month?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Recs: YA Standalones

Top Ten Tuesday(53)

I like to read a lot of standalones since I don’t have a lot of patience for series, I’m better at starting a series than finishing it. So standalones are better for me and they might be for you too! So I just threw together a little list of some of my favorite YA standalones, hopefully you can find some new and interesting books to add to your TBR!

Keep in mind these aren’t ALL of my favorites and some of these are short story anthologies, but they still count in my book! I will link up each title to their Goodreads pages and also link up any reviews I have too.

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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You can read my full review here.

This is an absolutely fantastic Peter Pan retelling about the relationship between Tiger Lily and Peter. Although I will warn you up ahead of time, you will cry so many tears! It’s a dark, sad story with many flawed and broken characters but it still manages to be beautiful (thanks to the gorgeous writing!).


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

I don’t think I need to hype this book up anymore but I will 100% support all of the hype it has already recieved since it’s worth every bit of it! This is an absolutely amazing book telling the story of a girl named Starr who witnesses the shooting of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer, Khalil was also unarmed. We then watch as Starr struggles between voicing what really happened and endangering her life, or not saying anything at all.

It’s not only a diverse read but also a very important and powerful one as well. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already!


The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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You can read my full review here.

This is the story of a girl who lived 12 years in a cult before it finally burned down and the Prophet was killed. Now she’s part of the questioning on what REALLY happened that night.

Another very quietly powerful book on learning to believe things for ourselves and not what others would have us believe. It’s also very interesting if you have some curiousity about cults and their inner workings.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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You can read my full review here.

This is a retelling and origin story for the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland”, is that not enough to make you wanna read it? We get to see some interesting twists on all of our favorite Wonderland characters as well as some crazy plot twists. It’s kind of slow to start but the ending is 100% worth it!


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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You can read my full review here.

I don’t think I can ever mention this book enough! It’s a unique fantasy book that also weaves together little retellings of Mulan, Jane Austen’s Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. It has great world building and fantastic characters as well, plus the plot itself is very original and has all of the retellings interwoven throughout!


With Malice by Eileen Cook

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You can read my full review here.

A very fast-paced YA thriller that’s about a girl who wakes up in the hospital with anmesia and finds out her best friend is dead and she’s the prime suspect! I don’t want to say too much more because there are TONS of crazy twists that will ensure you zip right through this book.


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

Another psychological thriller that actually gets pretty dang dark and twisted for a YA book. I mean it this book will mess with your mind and you definitely won’t be able to guess what will happen next. The main character, Tessa, goes back to her childhood home to try and dig up the truth of her friend’s cousin’s death that occured when they were little girls. The thing is they lied about what they saw that night and now Tessa must find out what really happened.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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You can read my full review here.

If you haven’t read this book just….go read it now! It’s the most beautiful, touching story of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer and a monster comes and takes him on an adventure that will change the way he has been viewing things.

Also just a heads up…you will most definitely cry!


Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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You can read my full review here.

This is actually a small collection of three stories all by Laini Taylor, so of course it’s gorgeously written and all have unique twists and very original mythology/world building. It’s truly amazing how much awesomeness she squeezed into such short stories!

The stories themselves are all Fantasy and revolve around, you guessed it, kisses but the kisses all have consequences that can be…deadly.


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

You can read my full review here.

This is a YA horror anthology that is actually full of VERY good stories with the exception of one or two duds. Although this isn’t for the faint hearted some of the stories get really scary, gory, and disturbing! But if you’re a big YA horror fan like me you’ll definitely love this anthology.

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Did any of these books interest you? Which ones and why?

Do you already have some of these on your TBR?

Have you read any of these before?

What are some of your recommendations for standalone YA books?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

June Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(6)

Well I haven’t done a monthly wrap up in a while and I figured I better start again, I’m absolutely terrible about staying organized with my posts right now but I’m trying to get better about it! It’s pretty hard to be an organized blogger in the summer for me though. I’ve got a slew of book reviews to write as well as tons of tags to do but here’s my June Wrap-Up at least!

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Books Read This Month: 6

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasWith Malice by Eileen CookStormdancer by Jay KristoffA Drop of Night by Stefan BachmannRed Queen by Christina HenryWelcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – black3

With Malice by Eileen Cook – black4

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff  – black5

A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann – black3(3.5)

Red Queen by Christina Henry – black3(3.5)

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz – black3

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Reviews Finished This Month

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

With Malice by Eileen Cook

(I’m sorry I’ve been slacking so bad with these other reviews guys!)

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Tags & Memes Done This Month

Top Ten Tuesday: My Version of Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons I Love Book Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I’ve Read So Far This Year

Top 5 Wednesday: My Favorite Character Names

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Posts on The Sassy Book Geek

The TBR Book Tag

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Other Posts

Hyped Books: The Good & The Bad

300 Followers! Q&A

300 Followers! Q&A Answers

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What I’m Currently Reading

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittney Cavallaro

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How was your reading month this June?

What are you currently reading?

What’s on your TBR for July?

The Sassy

Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

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description

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

review

Two pretty girls, an exotic foreign location, mystery as to why I did it, and the potential for revenge and jealousy to be the cause. It didn’t matter what the truth was — what mattered was that it was fun to talk about.

Tell me that quote didn’t snag you right there.

This book is fun, a lot of fun and I devoured it in one sitting so that says a lot right there since I usually don’t read books so fast. However, while “With Malice” is a very fun, quick read it’s not anything game-changing, not something super unique it’s actually quite similar to a lot of other YA thrillers but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. And if “With Malice” is one thing it is definitely enjoyable.

PLOT

I know how hard it is for us bookworms to not read a description before reading a book but honestly with this one I think it’s better to go in 100% blind. There are a few great twists in the first couple of chapters that are completely spoiled in the book’s summary. So I frown upon that but it can’t really be helped and I’m sorry this warning may have come a little too late already!

“With Malice” is very fast-paced and keeps the pages turning, your thirst for answers will have you finishing it in no time! I loved how deceptive Jill’s narrative was, we can’t quite trust what she’s telling us or the memories she slowly starts to recover. Who doesn’t love a questionable narrator? Jill’s amnesia and the overall mystery are really what drive the whole story and make it interesting, everyone is pointing fingers at her and she can’t remember a damn thing. It’s just intense, we’re left wondering what the hell is going on the entire time!

This isn’t a dark thriller or even a very twisted one but that doesn’t take away from it at all, of course you have the final big twist but honestly it wasn’t very predictable at all and I loved it. I had to cover up the next pages so I wouldn’t skip ahead and read! Eileen Cook does an excellent job of deceiving us throughout the story and more than likely you won’t see the ending coming either. Speaking of the ending it is great but also a little unsatisfying, I wanted something a bit more conclusive but I think that just adds a bit more to the story so I’m not too mad.

I also really enjoyed how the media and the public were portrayed throughout the story, using every little thing Jill has ever said or done to brand her a murderer. They were cold, they were vicious, and it really added to the tension. It really just made me root for Jill the entire time though.

There’s also no real romance in this one, so if that’s a plus for you, hooray!

characters

 Really the only character I thought or cared about was Jill, everyone else was pretty flimsy and disposable. “With Malice” is definitely not a character driven story and it shows.

I actually really enjoyed Jill right away, I found her sense of humor to be amusing and I just wanted to root for her the entire time because of the amnesia and the way the media treated her. Jill is a bit of a bookworm and cares more about her academics than boys and she’s also loyal to a fault, especially when it comes to her best friend Simone. I found Jill to be a quite relateable character and her narrative really stuck out to me, I mean come on what book lover can’t relate to a fellow bookworm?

As far as some of the other characters go such as Simone or Anna (Jill’s rehab buddy), it’ll be hard to trust your first impressions since we’re seeing the world through Jill’s POV and she doesn’t remember the last 6 weeks. I really liked how easily my opinion of a character could shift based on certain information, you can’t quite trust anyone.

in conclusion

Really the best way for me to describe “With Malice” is to repeat myself, it’s just a fun and fast book. That’s just all there is to it, it’s not dark or very twisted but just an enjoyable little mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing and turning pages.

RECOMMEND

Definitely. If you’re looking for a quick read this summer then “With Malice” is worth a look!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy