Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2017!

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

This week’s theme is your favorite books of 2017 and you can put any kind of spin on it that you want but since I have similar posts planned already I’m just going to do some of my favorites I’ve read this year! There will be another post with the rest of the books I enjoyed since it wasn’t ONLY ten so be on the look out for it!

These aren’t in any particular order and I will be linking my reviews if they are available.

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Night Film by Marisha Pessl

There are only two books on this list that were just so amazing I couldn’t even put together a review to describe how awesome they were, this is one of them.

It’s a very fast paced, suspenseful and thrilling. I was addicted to this story while reading! It combines a sort of classic mystery but also combines it with horror and supernatural elements as well which was fun for me especially since you don’t know what to believe or not. One of the best books I’ve ever read and very unique, I highly recommend checking out too by the way.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

And this is the other book that was just so good and so amazing that I couldn’t form a coherent review for it! Lots of people rant and rave about “The Night Circus” and for good reason too it’s simply a magical wonderful book full of great characters and a great romance. Plus the circus setting was one of the best and most interesting settings I’ve ever had the pleasure of being transported away to via reading.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’m not usually a big contemporary reader but this book is perfection, seriously. Not only is it incredibly powerful but it’s also extremely well written and full of the most endearing characters. If I was rich enough to buy everyone in the world a copy to read, I would.

You can read my full review for “The Hate U Give” here.


Red Rising by Pierce Brown

THIS BOOK! Why did it take me this long to finally read this treasure? It’s everything I wanted in a book and didn’t even know! There’s fantasy and sci-fi elements both present along with the BEST characters ever, revenge, betrayals, plot twists, and some pretty brutal violence. It’s been a long time since a book has made me feel so many different emotions from sadness to pretty much screaming in outrage. And yet it was great.

You can read my full review for “Red Rising” here.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This one actually reminded me a lot of “Red Rising” except set in a fantasy world that’s very Roman inspired. There’s fantastic characters, magic, and the world itself is actually very dark and brutal. So many plot twists though I couldn’t stop reading!

You can read my full review of “An Ember in the Ashes” here.


Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

While this happens to be a pretty short book it still managed to pack a lot of punch. It’s about a home for children/teens who have returned from other fantastical worlds (very much like Alice in Wonderland or Narnia) and learn to cope with being back in reality. The characters were extremely diverse and learning about all the different worlds they have visited was the most interesting part, I’m really hoping Seanan McGuire writes like fifty of these books.

You can read my full review for “Every Heart A Doorway” here.


Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Christina Henry’s horror retellings and that’s because they never fail to amaze me. The creativity she puts into them is just awe-inducing. This one happens to be about my favorite fairy tale “Peter Pan” and is told from James Hook’s perspective, it’s definitely not the Neverland we all know and love. It’s a very vicious island full of deadly creatures and beings. If you’re a fan of horror and “Peter Pan” I highly recommend checking it out.

You can read my full review of “Lost Boy” here.


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

This book is just amazing, full of diversity, and FUN. I loved the Comic Con-esque setting and the characters were amazing, I especially related to Taylor who suffers from anxiety I thought the anxiety rep was pretty spot on.

You can read my full review “Queens of Geek” here.


A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Another genre I don’t read to often, historical fiction, but man was this a treat! It was very fast paced, the writing was fantastic, and the characters were great. If I was going to pick just one word to describe how I feel about this book it’d be: fun!

You can read my full review of “A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue” here.


 The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Probably one of the best YA horror books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading! It’s about a Romani girl who is brutally assaulted and her friend is left at the edge of death, in order to save him she must collect “ingredients” and take revenge on the boys who are responsible. It’s brutal, violent, gory, and full of witchcraft. It’s truly a fantastic book but definitely not for the faint of heart.

You can read my full review of “The Hollow Girl” here.

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

What were some of your favorite reads of 2017?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Creepy Book Covers: Part 2

Top Ten Tuesday

This post is pretty straight forward! You can read my first post of creepy covers here! I’m trying to keep a lot of my posts here for the rest of the month Halloween related so here goes nothing.

Keep in mind these are only covers of books I have either read or are on my TBR. If there are any other super creepy covers you know of let me know in the comments below!

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It by Stephen King

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Of course I’m going to include this one with its many variations of creepy covers but this is the one I own and its the one that I think looks great and also creepy. I like the big Cheshire cat style clown grin full of teeth, it’s definitely scary!


Unwind by Neal Shusterman

While this might not necessarily be a horror book it seems to have a pretty dark synopsis and the cover is more than a little creepy. Hands pressing against things like that always freaks me out.


Say Her Name by James Dawson

Bloody Mary and mirrors make for a pretty scary cover especially with all of that condensation….


The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

I think this cover is gorgeous and creepy all at the same time! The leaf dripping blood is just really neat, maybe I’m strange?


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Creepy setting, dark, with a creepy girl on the cover = one big creepy.


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

The ghost of Anna standing with blood dripping down her dress on the cover is pretty darn creepy.


The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Something about old fashioned baby strollers creep me out especially with the creepy little mobile there…..


A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmmann

Also not the creepiest cover on this list but the colors and font give off an eerie vibe in my opinion.


Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

This is super scary looking, anything that’s faceless gives me chills especially with the one girl climbing up the wall. Nope!


Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

I don’t like anything being covered with fabric like this, it’s always creeped me out and while this one isn’t super terrifying it’s a little bit…uncomfortable to look at!

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

Do you find any of these covers to be creepy?

What are some of your favorite creepy covers?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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

Halloween Horror Recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday(90)

My FAVORITE part of October is getting the chance to recommend some of my favorite horror books to you all! I mean to be honest I can recommend these whenever I want but it’s more fun to do it in October!

These are all books that fall 100% into the horror genre in my opinion whether they’re actually terrifying or just an entertaining read or whether they’re full of spirits/monsters or deal with serial killers and slashers.

***I will be doing another post here soon of Halloween Recommendations for those of you who want a book that isn’t necessarily scary or horror! So some “non-spooky” books!***

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Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

(Review Here)

This is about a male teen, Cas, who hunts ghosts in his spare time and now he’s on the hunt for Anna, a vengeful spirit who murders anyone who sets foot in her home. Except she spares Cas’s life.

I highly, highly recommend this for any other Supernatural fans out there as it really has the feel to the story!


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

(Review Here)

A YA horror anthology with some top notch stories! There were only a couple of duds in here but for the most part they were all excellent and definitely scary.


The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

(Review Here)

This story follows a vengeful spirit who wreaks havoc on those who murder or do harm to children. She meets a strange boy the sucks her in but the boy has a dark secret that she wasn’t expecting…

Okay so with this one I know a few people didn’t enjoy it but I am absolutely terrified of any stories that are even remotely reminiscent of The Ring or The Grudge and have disjointed bodies crawling out of things. That’s all one big nope for me so naturally this story scared the shit out of me!


The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

(Review Here)

This is a psychological thriller with a creepy twist, is it supernatural or is it something else? The story is told through video transcripts, journal entries, and newspaper clippings and the events all lead up to what ends in mysterious fire that killed three students and one, Carly Johnson, disappeared. In the ruins they find a diary that belonged to Carly’s twin sister, Kaitlyn, except Carly didn’t have a twin…..

I recommend this one for people who want more suspense than horror, it gets a little creepy but never anything super scary!


Alice by Christina Henry

(Review Here)

Trigger Warnings: Rape and other graphic violence

This is one where people are the monsters and it’s very violent and graphic. It’s a retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” that’s very dark and gritty I definitely don’t recommend this to the faint of heart, you’ll have to steel your stomach for this one. However, I recommend it to anyone who thinks they can brave it because it is still an excellent story!


Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

(Review Here)

You wouldn’t think that a graphic novel compiled of several short stories would be that scary but it is, it really is! These stories are open ended for the most part and that leaves more to your imagination in which case you’ll probably scare yourself thinking of it like I did! The illustrations are both terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a quick horror read and you don’t mind open ended stories.


A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

(Review Here)

This is kind of a thriller/action-adventure/horror all rolled into one. It follows a group of teens who are invited to help explore a recently discovered underground palace in France. However, there’s something else waiting for them in the depths of the palace.

Kind of an odd story but I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a very fast-paced, suspenseful read!


The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

(Review Here)

A boy named Will Henry finds himself studying under Dr. Pellinore Warthrop who happens to be a monstrumologist, someone who studies monsters.

Pretty straight forward, this is a historical fiction and it’s a pretty dark horror story because on top of the creepy monsters there’s also just a lot of gore in general. You may get squeamish!


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Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

(Review Here)

Honestly this is one of my favorites on the list!

It’s about a pioneer family who moves out onto the prairie with a teenage daughter who is desperately trying to hide her pregnancy. However, they arrive and find a new home that was abandoned with the walls and floors covered in blood and they’ve heard rumors of the prairie being tainted by evil.

This is a wonderful mix of terrifying, gory, and twisted. You definitely will not see the twists coming at all! I recommend this one for the horror lovers out there who want to be scared silly, this one is a treat!


Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

(Review Here)

A group of teen contest winners all get whisked away out into the middle of nowhere to meet horror director Justin Blake. However, things start to get weird and soon they’re all trapped in a game of nightmares.

This reads exactly like a classic slasher horror movie so if you’re a fan of those you’re probably going to love this one! It’s entertaining but don’t expect a lot of depth.


And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

(Review Here)

One of my other favorites plus I love the cover!

Two girls, Silla and Nori,  arrive at their aunt’s manor in the forest and soon learn that everything is not right and the manor may be cursed. They aren’t allowed to enter the woods, the trees feel like they’re closing in around the house, and there’s a strange man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night…..

So creepy and so good! The Creeper Man will definitely be haunting your dreams after reading this one….


The Merciless by Danielle Vega

(Review Here)

Four girls gang up on an outcast tying her up and attempting to perform an exorcism on her. However, it’s more torture than anything else and Sofia, the new girl, wants out but if she goes against the others she may be next…

This one isn’t too creepy or scary but it definitely is full of twisted mean girls, gore galore, and some demonic possession!

If any of those things interest you I’d recommend checking this one out!


The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

(Review Here)

Lucy and Margaret are cousins who live with their respective parents in a mansion in the middle of the woods, one day Margaret’s mother goes missing and she slowly starts to believe she can hear her dead mother’s voice in the walls. Lucy watches as Margaret slowly goes insane and she soon starts hearing voices as well and must confront the legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

Not as good as “Daughters Unto Devils” but still very twisted and creepy! Most of the book is a bit slow but the ending makes it all worth it!


Dreamfall by Amy Plum

(Review Here)

A group of teenagers enter an experiment that is supposed to help cure their insomnia but instead find themselves all trapped within a dreamworld made up of their worst nightmares.

I thought this was going to be more sci-fi than anything but was surprised by how scary it actually got! There are definitely some very creepy nightmares the kids have to make it through.


Night Film by Marisha Pessl

This one can be both scary horror and suspenseful thriller, there are some supernatural elements to the story and the situations themselves can get pretty terrifying.

A journalist, Scott McGrath, investigates the death of Ashley Cordova, the daughter of the mysterious horror film director Stanislas Cordova. He believes there’s more to her death than anyone knows and as he digs deeper he discovers more and more disturbing things about the family and wonders if he may be next.

If you want a very dark, gritty, and terrifying thriller this one is for you. It’s extremely compelling and fast paced.


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

(Review Here)

Trigger Warning: Rape, violence, and gore

A Romani girl studying herbcraft under her Gran’s teaching befriends an outsider but on her way home one day they are both jumped and brutally assaulted leaving her friend on the brink of death. She must now utilize her dark witchcraft to extract body parts from the boys who wronged her in order to save her friend.

If revenge stories are up your alley this one is very satisfying and I loved the addition of the witchcraft. However, if you can’t handle gore or graphic violence maybe leave this one alone.

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

Are you going to give any of these horror books a try?

What are some of your favorite scary horror books?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

(October) Halloween Read-A-Thon TBR!

Halloween Readathon

IT’S FINALLY MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!!! Halloween is my favorite holiday and therefore October is my favorite month that I love to fill with scary movies and books! I missed out on Lauren’s amazing Read-A-Thon last year but I’m joining in on the fun this year!

I may or may not be able to read through all of these because I have ARCs to catch up on but I’m going to try my hardest because I LOVE HORROR BOOKS!

So if you’d like to join the read-a-thon as well and get a chance to win a give-away as well! Just link back to Lauren’s post here!

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costume-party

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For this one I’ve decided to go with “Shutter” because I’ve been dying to read this forever and the cover is pretty damn creepy! It’s about a female descendant of Van Helsing who fights both undead monsters as well as ghosts and she has a crew who assists her but one of their ghost hunts goes wrong and they are all infected with a curse.

It sounds so fun!


haunted-house

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For this one I’m going with “Mary: The Summoning” because I’ve had it on my TBR for a while and finally need to read it! I’m especially excited to read another book by Hillary Monahan after I LOVED her new book “The Hollow Girl”! This one is basically about a group of teens summoning Bloody Mary and you can imagine how that will go…


urban-legends

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Believe it or not I actually don’t have that many horror books on my shelves that AREN’T supernatural in some way or I have already read them! So I decided to go with “Survive The Night” since nothing about it seemed paranormal from the synopsis and I did really like Vega’s other series “The Merciless”.


witching-hour

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I always get waaaay more creeped out reading spooky books in the dark which can be good and bad sometimes! I tried picking one of the creepier books on my shelves for this one, “Diary of a Haunting”. The cover is kind of creepy and anything with hauntings is up my alley!


scarymovie

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Watching scary movies is seriously one of my favorite parts of October! The sad part is I don’t have anyone who likes to watch them with me except my brother! I always try to have some horror movie marathons though so for this one I’ll go ahead and pick The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 because those are some of my favorites and I know I’ll make time for them!


trick-or-treat

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Definitely “Trick” for me! I’ve been putting off “The Call” for a while now and everyone who has read it seems to really like it so I’m going to try and read that one this month! It’s got some creepy people-eating creatures from Irish mythology called Sidhe and people get “called” into their world and must try and survive.


read7books

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I may or may not make it to seven books but if I do I’m going to try and read “The Wood” which sounds and looks super creepy but I’m not 100% sure how creepy or supernatural it actually is. Still I want to read it, and I loooove the cover!

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Will you be participating in Lauren’s Halloween Read-A-Thon?

What books will you be reading this October? Anything spooky?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Diverse Main Characters

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

So this week’s theme is basically anything to do with characters! You can put any spin on it that you’d like and I decided to do diverse characters since we could always use more diverse book recommendations, am I right? The characters I’m including are diverse in ethnicity and sexuality and there’s also some mental illness rep here as well.

I’m slowly working my way through the diverse books on my TBR but putting this list together has made me realize I really need to read more of them faster!

These are in no particular order and I will link each book title to my full review in case you’re interested!


top ten tuesday diverse characters


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

This book has a Latino main character who also happens to be a bruja (witch) and when she seeks to rid herself of her power she ends of losing her family and to find them again she must enter a magical realm to save them. This is a very creative and magical book, highly recommended for Halloween coming up too!


Want by Cindy Pon

While I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book I did still enjoy it and it’s diverse cast of characters (mostly Taiwanese) and Pon’s tackling of many big issues such as global warming, pollution, and poverty within the plot line. Still a very interesting book even though the pacing was a little off for me.


Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

While this isn’t the most diverse book on this list it still includes a really adorable F/F romance between the main character and another side character, I don’t want to give it away. This is a Snow White retelling that really delves into new representations of “Snow White and the Evil Queen” in a very unique way.


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

This is a very underrated book that’s set in a steampunk Victorian London with a gay main character who falls in love with a clock tower’s spirit. It’s so incredibly adorable and heart warming! Plus it’s something I’ve never seen done before!


The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters

Cat Winters is an incredible writer and her books should be in the lime light a lot more than they are! This book deals with a biracial girl in the 1920’s dealing with racism and hate crimes who is starting to suspect her father’s death wasn’t an accident. There is also the inclusion of a gay character dealing homophobia and hate crimes as well. This is said to be a sort of retelling of “Hamlet” and there is a bit of the paranormal in the plot as well.


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Probably the most diverse book included on this list! We have bisexual characters, gay characters, characters of different ethnic backgrounds, characters with mental illness or other disabilities. Everything is also handled and represented incredibly well due to it being an #OwnVoices book and I personally can speak for the anxiety rep as well. There is so much adorableness and so many heart warming moments as well, overall fantastic book full of diversity!


A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A story with a M/M romance and the characters both think the other doesn’t love them back, but it’s also full of some crazy shenanigans and a trip across Europe. You’ll ship these two so hard, trust me!


Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

This was a huge surprise to me, I found it way more enjoyable than I had originally anticipated! This is what I wanted “Throne of Glass” to be, full of violence and a main character who isn’t afraid to show their skill and do anything it takes to win. The main character is also gender fluid!


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Pretty sure everyone’s heard of this one by now! This is a fantastic story with a very powerful plot which includes an African American girl as our wonderful main character who is dealing with the aftermath of a police officer shooting her unarmed friend. As I said it’s incredibly powerful and so well written, I highly recommend reading it.


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

The main character of this book is Welsh Romani (which we definitely do not get to see very often in books at all) and is studying herbcraft (and hopefully witchcraft) under her Gran. However, her and her friend are brutally assaulted and in order to save his life she must harvest body parts from the boys who did it. I recommend checking out my trigger warnings in my review before reading this one.

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

Do you have any of these on your TBR?

What are some of your favorite books with diverse characters?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

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Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.

Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.

One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a half-Roma friend, Martyn. As empty and hopeless as she feels from the attack, she asks Drina to bring Martyn back from death’s door. “There is always a price for this kind of magic,” Drina warns. The way to save him is gruesome. Bethan must collect grisly pieces to fuel the spell: an ear, some hair, an eye, a nose, and fingers.

She gives the boys who assaulted her a chance to come forward and apologize. And when they don’t, she knows exactly where to collect her ingredients to save Martyn.

review

**** Huge thank you to Delacorte Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****

I knew I was going to enjoy this book but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Even though this book handles some tough content I still thought it was a fantastic book and something I just know I’ll be recommending, however, please keep in mind the following trigger warnings since this book gets very dark and gritty:

****Trigger Warnings: Rape, Graphic Violence, Physical and Sexual Abuse, & Gore****

PLOT

First I’d like to say I actually really liked the Author’s Note/Forward at the beginning of this novel explaining her Romani heritage and some background on her inspiration for this book. I thought the Romani culture included in the story was absolutely fascinating and it’s very clear it’s handled and represented well by the author.

The story follows our protagonist, Bethan, who is learning herbcraft from her Gran who is also their clan’s drabarni (dealing in witchcraft). She desperately wants her Gran to start teaching her spells and witchcraft but must be patient and so instead goes to the market to sell their “spell” bags. At the marketplace she meets a very bold, sweet boy named Martyn who quickly befriends her. However, Bethan is constantly being harassed by the chieftain’s son Silas and his cronies and on her way home, she and Martyn are attacked and brutally assaulted. Bethan is learning quickly the ugly prices they have to pay to cast spells and must collect body parts from the wicked boys in order to save her friend.

The atmosphere in this story is very dark and very gritty dealing with blood and dark witchcraft, it definitely isn’t a story for the faint of heart. It’s also a very powerful and emotional story though and I thought the rape scene was handled well as it happens off page. How Bethan deals with the aftermath is incredible she’s an extremely strong character and slowly comes to terms with what was done to her over the course of the story.

I was on an emotional roller coaster while reading through “The Hollow Girl”, the way Hillary Monahan writes it made me feel every emotion that passed through Bethan. The anger, the rage at what was done to her and Martyn but yet she still had so much hope and mercy to give as well. We go from raging on a Hell bent revenge story to something……a lot more powerful and that’s all I’ll say. Everything comes full circle in a bit of an unexpected way. So overall though I thought the writing was fantastic.

As far as the pacing goes I thought it was very fast paced and was incredibly interesting from start to finish. The beginning may be considered more slow to other readers but it’s building up the story, the characters, and Romani rep so it really isn’t dull or boring at all. The action really picks up in the middle though and there’s also a couple surprise plot twists I did not see coming whatsoever!

Overall the plot was dark, suspenseful, and just plain amazing.

characters

There weren’t too many central characters that came into play but the ones that did were fantastic, there was a lot of complexity and development to our main characters.

Bethan, is an amazing protagonist she’s extremely strong and develops a lot through the events of the story. Probably one of the best character arcs I’ve read! I don’t want to give too much away though by going in depth, just know she is a very well done character.

Gran, the current clan’s Drabarni and who is teaching Bethan to take her place, is also a very powerful and important character. Honestly Gran was such a badass, straight up badass is the best way to describe her. There were some scenes where I had goosebumps from her powerful spell craft displays. Go Gran!

Martyn didn’t have much “screen time” but he’s an important character at the beginning and end of the story especially. I thought he was incredibly charming, sweet, and adorable he was very much the chivalrous gentleman in my opinion. So much cuteness!

As for that little toad Silas and his gang they were despicable, I WISH I could have gone into this story and whooped some ass myself! However, every character got what they had coming to them and it was very satisfying.

romance

While there isn’t really a romance in “The Hollow Girl” there is some flirtation and attraction between Martyn and Bethan, however after her assault she doesn’t want to be touched or too close to anyone, for good reason. However, it’s implied at the end of the story that they could be together in time. They are adorable and I’d love to see them end up together eventually.

in conclusion

Overall an incredible story that had horror, suspense, and gore but also managed to be an incredibly emotional and powerful read.

What I Loved:

  • The writing was incredible
  • The Romani rep and culture was done well and was fascinating
  • Loved the dark, gritty revenge aspect of the story
  • Very fast paced and interesting all the way through
  • Very strong protagonist and great characters all around

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I honestly can’t think of anything I DIDN’T like about this story

RECOMMEND

 

I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of YA horror that gets dark and gritty. The addition of Romani culture and the witchcraft added to the story all the more as well. However, as I mentioned earlier please keep in mind the trigger warnings as this won’t be a book everyone can read.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy