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

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR

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

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

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

10.) You by Caroline Kepnes

You

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

9.) Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven

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

8.) The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

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

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

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

7.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House

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

Here’s the description:

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

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

6.) The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

The Creeping

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

5.) Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

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

4.) Alice by Christina Henry

Alice

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

3.) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace, #1)

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

2.) The Traitor Baru Cormorant

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

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

1.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

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

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

This week is “Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish”, this one will be kind of a challenge for me since I think most of my series aren’t actually complete yet……

10.) The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

I read “Divergent” long before it was going to be a movie, and I moderately enjoyed it. I bought “Insurgent” the second book in the trilogy a while ago on my Nook and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’ll finish this series but not anytime soon, it just doesn’t take priority over other books I have yet to read.

9.) The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Hidden (House of Night, #10)

I quit reading this series after “Destined” which is the 9th book, I honestly can’t tell you why I even bothered continuing after I read the first book. I hate this series, it’s just awful. Maybe the only reason I bothered reading them was because I was a young teenager and my cousin was reading them also. I don’t know. I don’t really think I’ll finish this series……

8.) The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, #3)

I actually really like the Caster Chronicles, I just haven’t gotten around to reading the third book in the series, “Beautiful Chaos” which I bought on my Nook and still haven’t read. Even though I like this series it isn’t a priority for me, I’ll finish it here……eventually.

7.) The Rot & Ruin Series/The Benny Imura Series by Jonathon Maberry

Flesh and Bone (Benny Imura, #3)

I LOVE these books! I loved “Rot & Ruin” and I literally stayed up all night finishing it’s sequel “Dust & Decay” but I just haven’t had the time to start reading the third book in the series, “Flesh & Bone” I honestly don’t even have a good reason, I just haven’t read it yet. I bought it on my Nook and haven’t touched it, are you beginning to see a pattern here? I tend to forget about books on my Nook Color.

6.) The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

Any of you who have read any of my blog posts will know that I didn’t think “Shadow and Bone” was that great and that I loath the protagonist, Alina Starkov. However, I really want this series to get better so I will have to suck it up and buy the second book in the Grisha Trilogy, “Siege and Storm”. Hopefully Alina will also suck it up and quit being such a damsel.

5.) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)

“The Lord of the Rings” is very tedious, reading all of these books is the same thing as taking the journey to destroy the One Ring in the fiery depths of Mt. Doom yourself. Seriously, it takes a lot of dedication. Dedication that I, as of right now, lack. I own the entire series and will get around to finishing it….right after I finish every other book I have….

4.) The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

Now I know this is supposed to be series I haven’t finished YET, but I need to include this one. I haven’t actually started the Heroes of Olympus series yet, I own the first one and have yet to read it. It’s basically a spin off of Percy Jackson & the Olympians so since I read all of those I am putting this on my TTT.

3.) The Last Apprentice Series by Joseph Delaney

Night of the Soul Stealer (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #3)

This series is fantastic, and more people should definitely read it. I started reading these when the movie, “Seventh Son” was announced and the movie was OK but COMPLETELY different than the books (which obviously are better). I will continue on with “Night of the Soul Stealer” as soon as I can, since they’re very easy reads.

2.) The Shattered Sea Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

Half the World (Shattered Sea, #2)

I recently read “Half a King” the first book in the series and LOVED it, so “Half the World” is definitely one of my priorities…. I feel bad making other books on this list wait, but it really is that good of a series.

1.) The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)

When I heard there was a new spin off series of “Vampire Academy” I had to check it out, I loved that series and I love Mead’s writing style. I finished the first book and I’ve been lollygagging for too long. I have “The Golden Lily” and I need to finish it, because this series just got completed this year.

Alas, so many books and so little time…….

So do any of you have any unfinished series in common with mine?

Or have you completed any of these and want to convince me which to prioritize?

The Sassy

 

Top Five Most Anticipated Reads: September

Top Ten Tuesday(4)

5.) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

I am pretty excited to read this book, it sounds SUPER interesting. Basically to prevent war on Earth the daughters and sons of the world’s generals, kings, presidents are kept as hostages. So if a nation declares war then their child is killed. Now doesn’t that sound like a promising book? The more I think about it the more excited I get! I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

4.) Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy – #1

First off isn’t that a GORGEOUS cover? This book is about a girl who can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. It’s set during the Gold Rush so you know it’s got to be good.

3.)  The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Publish Date: September 15th, 2015

Publisher: Tor

Again. Isn’t that cover awesome? This is an epic fantasy (not YA) about a girl who hides within the ranks of an empire who conquered her land, her goal is to climb high enough to be able to free her people. As a test to her loyalty this empire sends Baru to Aurdwynn where she must bring order, this land isn’t easily tamed though and Baru must play the games of power in order to survive. Also she has an attraction to a Duchess Tain Hu, so perhaps a lesbian romance? Exciting. I LOVE fantasy novels and this one sounds SO promising!

2.) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road

Publish Date: September 1st, 2015

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Sheesh, what is it about all these amazing covers? I absolutely adore this one though. This is a western YA book and I’m excited just by that fact, seems to me we don’t have enough western YA’s. “Vengeance Road” is about a girl, Kate Thompson, whose father is killed by a gang known as the Rose Riders, and then she basically goes on a revenge kick. Awesome? Yes. Kill Bill-esque? Maybe so, and I LOVED those movies. So I will definitely be picking this book when it’s released.  (Tomorrow)

1.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

sixofcrows

Publish Date: September 29th, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

Series: Six of Crows – #1

So for those of you who follow this blog then you already know how excited I am for “Six of Crows”. For those of you who don’t (even though you totally should) then I shall tell you. Six of Crows is about one grand heist and an ensemble cast of six outcast characters trying to pull it off. It’s been compared to being “Ocean’s Eleven meets Game of Thrones” if that doesn’t hook you then I don’t know what will.

The Sassy

Making Up For Monday: Not So Heroic

This is a weekly meme hosted by An Avid Reader; A Wanna Be Writer!

This week’s question: Who is your least favorite hero-esque character and why?  

shadowandbone

Now I know I’ve said this at least once on this blog before but I’ll say it again: Alina Starkov. I hated her with a burning, fiery passion. I’m actually not even sure she should qualify as a hero for this question, that’s how awful she was. She’s just a pathetic, sad excuse for a heroine. I thought she was a complete damsel, and she had no idea what she was doing 100% of the time. Does that sound like the type of hero you want to rely on to save your fantasy world? No. No it does not.

Granted I’m picking Alina based solely on her character in “Shadow and Bone” because I have not read the rest of the Grisha trilogy yet, I’m working on it people!

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Six of Crows

(hosted by Breaking the Spine)

This week’s book I “can’t wait to read” is:

“Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo

Publication Date: September 29th, 2015  (My Birthday! Woot! Woot! Talk about the perfect present!)

sixofcrowsDESCRIPTION:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Mini Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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description

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

review

Well, I just didn’t love this as much as I should’ve. I know a TON of people absolutely ADORE this book and this series but I just didn’t feel that connection. Don’t get me wrong though it was okay I did kind of like it, I just had some issues with it.

I would say one major issue I had with “Shadow and Bone” was the world building. This is supposed to be a FANTASY and I didn’t feel like I was reading one. I felt like I was kind of thrown into the world without being told the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, or why’s. I felt like one of those blindfolded people in those Febreze commercials, “Oh here’s a really nice smelling fantasy, YA book with a wonderful description I bet it’s really wonderful.” *takes blindfold off and discovers a book full of disappointment and no fantasy* I just can’t do a good job of expressing it really, I just felt frustrated with it.

Then there’s our MC Alina. What a sorry excuse for a female protagonist. She was weak, pathetic, and needy. I HATED HER. She was a complete damsel, she wasn’t the badass Grisha that I was promised! All she does is stumble around not knowing what’s going on and going all gaga over Mal and the Darkling. That’s it. She sucks. She’s the #1 reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I should have.

The plot was decent, it was enough to keep me reading throughout the beginning of the book and the end, but I felt like I really had to force myself to keep reading through the middle. There were a couple of times I thought about DNFing it, but as I’ve said before in other reviews, I HATE not finishing books. Especially when I bought and paid for them already. It was really easy to keep putting this book down and not picking it back up for a while, it didn’t capture my attention as much as a fantasy should have.

Also the characters weren’t really that great, I didn’t care what happened to any of them really. Usually I have a problem with getting too attached but that was not the case with any of these characters. Alina sucked, Mal was boring, and all of the others were just meh. Pretty much all of the other Grisha were stuck up jerks. I did, however, LOVE Genya. She was freaking awesome. And the Darkling was just….yummy, if you’ve read “Shadow and Bone” then you get it, if you haven’t then you WILL.

So “Shadow and Bone” is really just a decent read, I will eventually get around to reading “Siege and Storm” because I REALLY want this series to get better.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy