Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved The Year I Started My Blog

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

Another week, another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is a throwback freebie so it can be anything you’d like to discuss about older books such as: books published 10 years ago, older books you forgot you loved, or books from the year you started blogging (which I’m doing!).

There are so many books I read a while ago that I don’t talk about enough and some of them I do talk about plenty. This is going to be a list of my favorite reads from 2015 back when I started this blog!

These are in no particular order and I do have reviews up for each of these books but I’m not going to link them since they’re older and slightly embarrassing! Still though they are available if you want to hear my full thoughts on some of them.


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10.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This was one of the first books I read when I started my blog because there was a ton of hype and glowing reviews for it! Of course I’m super happy I gave Schwab a try because she’s one of my favorite authors now.


9.) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I had read “Gone Girl” as well as “Dark Places” before I gave this one a go because I really enjoy the way Flynn tells her stories, they’re also super twisted. This one is probably one of my favorites of hers now as well because of that twist at the end!


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

This was a new release when I started my blog and I had heard a few good things about it and I’m ALWAYS looking for some great, creepy YA horror books. This is an anthology and pretty much all of the stories were fantastic plus some of them definitely did not fail to give me nightmares!


7.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

I actually mention this book quite frequently but when I first started blogging I was digging around for some great books to read that I hadn’t heard of before. “Lips Touch” was one of the ones I found and it definitely is very underrated. It’s three short stories told by Laini Taylor and her writing here is just as beautiful as it is in her other book “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. Highly recommend checking out if you’re a fan of hers!


6.) The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

I bought this book when I got “Slasher Girls & Monster Boys” as well because I had heard mixed things about it and was looking for more scary reads. I’m really terrified of Japanese horror stories every since getting nightmares in the fourth grade from the movie “The Grudge” so I was easily scared reading this book, which was fun!


5.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

I hadn’t actually heard much about this book but I saw it in my local bookstore and the cover was so intriguing and creepy that I HAD to buy it. It’s also told in a really unique format consisting of transcripts of video footage, journal entries, and even drawings. It’s an interesting and pretty suspenseful psychological thriller.


4.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book….broke my heart! It came highly recommended when I was searching Goodreads for new books to read since I started my book blog and while it was fantastic and very well written….it was also completely emotionally devastating!


3.) Alice by Christina Henry

Okay, okay I KNOW I mention this book all the time but that’s only because it’s so fantastic! I think it’s pretty good for me to still be recommending a book two years after reading it! This is a very twisted, gritty retelling of Alice in Wonderland and is very much worth reading through in my opinion.


2.) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This book was actually recommended to me by one of my blogging besties Arianna @ The Quirky Book Nerd and I of course always take her recommendations to heart! This was such a hilarious graphic novel and I enjoyed every minute of it, it’s a great book to brighten up your day!


1.) Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Probably my most highly recommended book I’ve read and I was pretty proud reading two of Schwab’s books in half a year too when I started all of this! It’s got morally ambiguous characters with freaking superpowers….so yeah I was definitely impressed. I’m also DYING to read the sequel!!!!


A Few Honorable Mentions:

  • You by Caroline Kepnes
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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

What are some of your favorite books from the year you started blogging?

How about some older favorites in general?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading For SFF Lovers

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

Hello fellow book lovers!

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

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this week’s theme is “Back To School” which can be anything from books you read in school or books you think should be required reading etc. So I decided to go with books I feel are required reading for any Sci-fi and Fantasy lovers out there!

I do have full reviews for each of these titles (which I am not going to link this time around) if you’d like to check them out!

These are also in no particular order and there are equal amounts of sci-fi and fantasy books here!

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10.) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This book is simply amazing and definitely something you should check out if you’re a fantasy lover! Schwab weaves together some incredible world building and an action-packed plot focusing on a main character who has the magical ability to travel between the 4 parallel versions of London.


9.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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This is technically sci-fi but while reading you don’t get very many vibes of this except for the alien type creatures and some plot information you receive later on. It’s sci-fi though trust me! This is about a boy living in a town of men who can all hear everyone’s thoughts and when he learns a secret about said town he must flee for his life.

Very heartbreaking story but so, so good.


8.) Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Yes, another Schwab book! Basically if you’re a lover of SFF then just check her out period! This book is probably my favorite of hers and it involves morally ambiguous characters and super powers, what more could you ask for? It’s definitely a page turner!


7.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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This is one of those books that may not be for everyone but with the super unique formatting and the literal non-stop action I can’t help but recommend it for all sci-fi lovers. It has everything from a self-aware AI to creepy space viruses! There really is never a dull moment.


6.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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 I honestly recommend this book ALL the damn time but here I am again with it! This book has such creative world building and the characters were amazing too, tons of plot twists, and plenty of action as well. All around amazing fantasy book with all of the fantasy elements I personally look for. Who doesn’t love talking animal companions?


5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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Another fantasy book I recommend all the time which is also very underrated, it has some very unique world building along with four different retellings weaved into the plot as well (Hua Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Jane Austen’s Emma). It’s got some very heart warming and heart breaking moments for sure, overall amazing story though!


4.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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This is sci-fi but the political intrigue and plots are very reminiscent of fantasy as well, the pacing is insanely fast and there’s non stop plot twists and action! You’ll also love the complete badass main character, Nemesis, who pretty much just kicks ass the entire book. She’s one tough cookie!


3.) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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If I were going to sum up why this should be required reading it’d just be me screaming because of how awesome this book is.

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There are so many wonderful characters and it’s like a much more brutal and violent version of the Hunger Games except in space….well Mars but you get what I mean.


2.) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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The world building is very Ancient Roman inspired, there’s loads of action,  fantastic characters, and plenty of shock worthy plot twists. This has all of the wonderful fantasy elements most of us look for and is extremely entertaining!


1.) Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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Very short, sweet, and to the point this book is magical and actually has some great world building for how short the story is. It’s about a home for “chosen one” children who have been kicked out of their magical worlds and must learn how to cope back in reality.

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

Do you think these should be required reading for SFF fans?

What are some books you’d consider required reading for SFF lovers?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Recs: YA Standalones

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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

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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description

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

review

“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”

Wow, this has got to be one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Seriously, everything about it was perfection. It was heart wrenching, beautiful, adventurous, thought-provoking, and original. Everything about it was SO ORIGINAL, I’ve never read anything like it before. I also don’t think I’ve ever felt this emotional about a book ever, or at least not in a very long time.

Reasons Why You Should Read “The Knife of Never Letting Go”:

  1. It’s fast paced with plenty of action, adventure, and heart-break. It’ll keep you reading and on the edge of your seat begging to know what happens next.
  2. The world building is extraordinary it’s original and unique and there’s always new things being learned even when you thought you knew everything.
  3. Every single character you meet is complex and full of personality, you will fall in love with them. Even the ones you hate, you’ll love to hate them.
  4. There’s no romance! I don’t know about you but that’s fantastic for a YA book! That means no insta-love or love triangles!

PLOT

Trust me when I tell you that you’ll have a hard time getting bored with this book, it never has a dull moment. I hated to even put the book down at all!

There’s quite a bit of traveling in the story and usually ,for me, that equals slow pacing or a boring book overall. That was not the case with “The Knife of Never Letting Go”. There’s always something happening during their travels that’s interesting whether it’s a sort of chase scene, meeting a new character, or unveiling secrets. No slow pacing here which is awesome for an almost 500 page book, could you imagine reading that many pages and getting BORED? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The world-building Ness did with this book was simply amazing, practically nothing was left to the imagination! There were no info-dumps either, you gradually learned about the world throughout the course of the book. Not to mention how original and creative the world Ness built is. People hearing each others thoughts, animals talking, native aliens, and space ships. All of which are explained in extraordinary detail, it was fascinating to learn about.

Now to the actual plot, you will be frustrated A LOT and yes that is a good thing. It means you actually care enough about what’s happening to get frustrated! Yay! Don’t let all of the action I mentioned earlier deceive you though, this book will test you emotionally and it will rip your heart out and stomp all over it. There’s much more to this book than meets the eye, you will feel absolutely moved by the time you reach the last pages. I guarantee it.

Another point I’d like to make is that every thing that occurs in “The Knife of Never Letting Go” and every choice Todd has to make is never easy. Never. Nothing about this book is easy and none of it is black and white. Everything exists in a moral gray area. Which if you ask me just makes the book that much more interesting and that much more unpredictable.

Seriously, I dare you to try and predict anything that happens in this book.

This book was utterly flawless, I don’t have one single complaint about anything in it. However, there are two things that I’ll discuss that may bother you or other readers.

Todd’s slangy speech. This didn’t bother me any while I read but it might bother you, Todd’s speech in the book is lots of slang and mispronounced words. Here’s a quote that demonstrates this:

“That’s the thing I’m learning about being thrown out on yer own. Nobody does nothing for you. If you don’t change it, it don’t get changed.”

See what I mean? He also pronounces the word creatures as creachers and so on.

The second thing about this book that may bother you is that it ends on a big cliffhanger that demands you pick up the next installment right away. Cliffhangers don’t really bother me any, I’ll either pick up the next book or I won’t, but you’ve been warned now.

characters

First off let me tell you that every single character you meet will make an impression on you. Everyone in this story is more than meets the eye, and practically everyone is well developed. Random people you meet on the road? You’re damn right they’re developed characters. I felt that I really KNEW every person Todd came across in his journey.

If that’s not great character writing I don’t know what is!

Our main protagonist is Todd (which I keep accidentally typing as Tood, how embarrassing) who is probably one of the most deep, complex, and well developed protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. He’s a fantastic narrator, and not only that but he’s an incredibly real and relatable character.

(Yes I just made a meme to use to make my point)

We get to watch Todd grow as a person throughout the course of this book, and it’s enough to make you feel almost proud of him.

Viola is the other main character in this book and I loved her as well. She’s strong, smart, loyal, and very capable. Pretty much everything I love in a heroine!

Then we have Manchee, Todd’s dog. Holy crap is he ever the greatest dog in any book I’ve ever read. He talks! And he talks EXACTLY how I imagine real dogs would talk.

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
About anything.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Shutup, Manchee.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut it.”

If dogs ever talk while I’m alive and they don’t talk like this, I’m going to be so disappointed. Manchee is as loyal a friend to Todd as anyone, and he’s actually very smart. He helps Todd throughout his journey more than anyone I think. Manchee just warms my heart, he’s basically Doug from the movie “Up”. If you think I’m lying go read the book and you’ll agree with me. I’m patient….I can wait.

Other Things I Have To Say:

There’s no romance in this story, which always merits points from me. Sorry, I’m just not a romance fan. There’s no love triangles or insta-love or any of that. Nope, this book has something better. Bonds and the kind of love we feel towards friends or family, not romantic love. That’s the kind of love that’s in this book and you’ll feel it too.

in conclusion

“The Knife of Never Letting Go” is a very emotional book that will succeed at completely immersing you into its story. I just wish I could properly explain how wonderfully beautiful this book truly is and writing this review was very difficult. How do you write a review for such perfection? I hope I did OK.

RECOMMEND

Yes! A million times yes! This book makes all of my other 4-5 Star ratings seem like 2’s!

Although I’d say if you’re NOT a fan of crying or getting super emotionally attached to characters then skip this one. You will cry. That’s the only reason I have to not recommend this though.

So hurry up and read this dang book that I love! Then we can all sit and cry together! I mean discuss this great book together!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

 The Sassy

Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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description

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

review

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere inbetween.”

Wow, this book is utter perfection, it’s beautiful, it’s emotional, and now I need to convince all of you how much you need to read it!

PLOT

Conor’s mom has cancer and every day he has to live in fear of losing her, he also has to deal with everyone treating him differently because of his sick mother. If all that isn’t enough to break your heart, just wait, there’s more.

The monster in the story comes walking to Conor in order to help him, with what you may ask? Read the book and you shall know. Anyways, in order for the monster to do this he will tell Conor 3 stories (3 truths as it were) in exchange  Conor must tell the monster a fourth, his own truth. In other words Conor’s deepest secret or fear. Which I cannot go into further detail about because I don’t want to spoil the best part.

The stories the monster tells to Conor are more intricate then you’d probably expect, the plot and characters are not black and white, they all fit into a moral gray area. There are no bad guys and there are no good guys, but rather people who are in between.They’re fascinating stories, they were one of the best parts of the book.

This is a book that will teach you something special and never at any point did this book get preachy. Nobody likes having ideas forced on them right? No problem with that here.

There is a point in the plot where you’ll start to question if the monster is real or is part of Conor’s imagination due to all of the pressure and stress he lives through because of his mother’s sickness. I like to think of this story as a fantasy, it’s more enjoyable that way than thinking Conor might have cracked under pressure.

I really don’t have a single complaint about this book, none whatsoever. The only thing that could even vaguely be considered me complaining is that I thought the ending was a little abrupt. That’s just because I wasn’t ready for it to end though! I’m selfish like that, I wanted more!

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Overall this book is VERY bittersweet, it’s touching. Don’t expect to keep your eyes dry while reading this one! I know I was tearing up, a lot actually.

Then last but not least, the illustrations throughout were absolutely gorgeous! They add so much to the story I couldn’t imagine reading it without them. So when (because I know you will) read this book, I definitely recommend going with the illustrated version. Just look at these!

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in conclusion

I somehow wish I could better convey my feelings on this book, it really is a hard one to review because of how great it is. My words will never do it justice, it is definitely a story that will stay with you long, long after you finish the last page.

RECOMMEND

A thousand times yes! There isn’t a single person on the face of this Earth I WOULDN’T recommend it to! Go read it now!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Friday Finds: September 4th, 2015

Friday Finds is hosted by A Daily Rhythm

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

amonstercalling

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

themonstrumologist

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.