Halloween Non-Horror Recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday(93)

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

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

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

(Review Here)

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


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

(Review Here)

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


Coraline by Neil Gaiman

(Review Here)

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


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

(Review Here)

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


Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

(Review Here)

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


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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

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


The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

(Review Here)

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

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


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

(Review Here)

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


The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

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


The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

(Review Here)

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


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

(Review Here)

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


Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

(Review Here)

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

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

Will you give any of these books a try?

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

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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Book Recs: YA Standalones

Top Ten Tuesday(53)

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

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

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Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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You can read my full review here.

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


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

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

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


The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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You can read my full review here.

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

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


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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You can read my full review here.

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


Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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You can read my full review here.

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


With Malice by Eileen Cook

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You can read my full review here.

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


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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You can read my full review here.

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


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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You can read my full review here.

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

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


Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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You can read my full review here.

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

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


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

You can read my full review here.

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

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

Do you already have some of these on your TBR?

Have you read any of these before?

What are some of your recommendations for standalone YA books?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

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

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

I have to tell you guys that I freaked out a little bit when I saw this week’s theme: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far. I thought to myself “I don’t think I’ve even read that many this year!” Turns out I have but they weren’t all great so I tweaked my theme here a little bit so instead of my favorite 2016 releases this will just be 2016 releases I’ve read this year period.

I’ll also link my reviews for these books if I have them up!

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

3/5 Stars: Indifferent

I didn’t really get the hype with this book and while it was interesting I thought there wasn’t enough world building and it left me with too many questions at the end.

Full Review


The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen, #1)

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

4.5/5 Stars: Loved It

This one’s a very underrated and under appreciated book if you ask me, it’s everything I love in a YA fantasy and it’s executed perfectly. The magic system is fascinating and the world building is great, not to mention our main character really gets put to the test.


Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wink Poppy Midnight

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

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

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

3/5 Stars: Indifferent

Not exactly the great mystery I was expecting but I really do love Tucholke’s writing style, it’s just so gorgeous. I wanted the characters to be a little more deceptive then they ended up being and mostly I was just confused a lot, I still don’t think I know what went down.

Full Review


A Fierce & Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

2/5 Stars: Meh

I like that this had a diverse setting and some diverse characters but overall the plot was really messy and a bit confusing at times while the pacing was all over the place.

Full Review


The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

4/5 Stars: Loved It

This is a dark, dark YA mystery thriller, this might be as dark as you can get while still being a YA book and not an adult book. I loved the twists and the turns and the suspense, really I just loved everything about it.

Full Review


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

5/5 Stars: Perfection

Such an amazing Aladdin retelling, complete with an ACTUAL heart-warming romance and beautiful, descriptive writing. Absolute perfection.

Full Review


Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

2/5 Stars: Meh

I love Peter Pan and that’s no secret so of course I want to get my hands on every retelling. Unfortunately this one SOUNDS amazing but the execution is poorly done and I didn’t like the way the characters developed. Think a love triangle between a roguish, young Hook and a brave, handsome Pan is a great idea? Not in this book.

Full Review


The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2)

I won’t include the description here for this one since it is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil anyone who has yet to read the first book!

4/5 Stars: Loved It

This was a pretty great ending to this duology but I really don’t think it was as great as the first one, I thought the beginning was a bit too slow but other than that it’s the world and characters I love!


With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice

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

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

3.5/4 Stars: Really Enjoyed It

This is one fun, fast paced thriller and it’s great at keeping you guessing. Not anything really new but it’s definitely an enjoyable read!

Full Review


A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

A Drop of Night

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

3.5/5 Stars: Really Enjoyed It

This book is YA horror and it does get a bit weird but overall it’s fun, interesting, and you never know what will happen next. In this case weird is good.

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Have you read any of the books listed here?

Did you enjoy them or dislike them?

What 2016 releases have you read so far this year?

Which ones did you like or dislike the most?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link your Top Ten Tuesday posts as well!

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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description

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

review**** Thank you to Random House Children and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

“Every now and then another answer to what happened that night sneaks in from the darkest corners of my mind…”

Wow, this is dark, twisted, and creepy for a YA book but boy did I love every page of it. There’s a lot of depth and maturity to the story it also lacked any of the usual YA tropes, which I was very glad for. It’s a murder mystery and a psychological thriller all rolled into one and Kara Thomas, quite simply, nailed it.

I think that the fact that this is YA makes it all the better, as I said it’s quite dark and it’s really surprising to see such an ominous setting in this genre.

PLOT

“The Darkest Corners” is a character driven book so it does make for some slower reading, the pacing isn’t super fast and there isn’t tons of action happening all the time. This made for a very interesting read for me but also has the potential to bother other readers, so if you like fast pacing and lots of action this may not be for you.

I found the plot to be very intriguing, there were a lot of plot threads you had to pay close attention to and follow and many, many details. I actually really enjoy having a lot of information to keep track of, I feel it engages me more as a reader, but I can also foresee it as being a little overwhelming if not confusing at times as well. Although I do think it made the book more interesting and really added to the creepy atmosphere.

Kara Thomas does a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere, as I said it’s creepy and absolutely gave me the chills. Real monsters are human and you certainly get that feeling in this book, it’s downright eerie. There were moments where I was so scared and freaked out I had to take a break from reading.

The mystery itself is believable as well, there wasn’t anything I rolled my eyes at or said “Oh yeah right!”. The way Tessa and Callie got their information was perfectly practical for a couple of teenagers. I really enjoyed this since most of the time I don’t buy teenagers getting away with so much in books.

There are also many twists and turns in the story-line, you’ll be pointing your finger at someone and by the next chapter you’re thinking it’s someone else entirely. I honestly did NOT see the ending coming at all, Kara Thomas throws in a couple red herrings to distract you from putting the real pieces together. I loved how unpredictable the story ended up being but I was also very satisfied with how it ended as well. Sure there were some things that I would have liked explained or explained a little more, but overall I enjoyed the ending.

Another wonderful thing about this book and why it isn’t your typical YA book: no romance. Now, for me, that’s a big plus. It means there’s less time spent on a (more than likely pointless) romance and more time spent on actually making a great mystery filled with suspense. It also does away with other YA tropes such as: love triangles, insta-love, special snowflakes, and Mary-Sues. Nope, none of that here!

Also the writing was wonderful, I was highlighting quotes left and right. It really helped with setting that creepy atmosphere I mentioned earlier. Usually if I’m taking the time to pause my reading and highlight quotes, I KNOW that it’s damn good writing. I’ve plucked a couple new favorite quotes from “The Darkest Corners”.

“There are worse things in this world than monsters, and somehow, they always manage to find me.”

characters

Like I said earlier, this is a character driven book. It’s ALL about the characters, without them this book wouldn’t be nearly as chilling or thrilling (hey I made a rhyme!). We get deep into the minds and relationships of these characters, you can’t quite believe anything they say or do, but being there in their heads is what drives this book forward. There’s a lot of insight gained into the plot by the intensity of the characters.

I really loved Tessa’s character, she was pretty down-to-earth and relatable and a little pessimistic. I just really enjoyed being inside her head-space, she was a believable character. She matures quite a bit throughout the book and it was really fun to see how her perspectives on people and depending on others change.

Callie, on the other hand, was a little different but she does show a lot of growth in the story. She starts out being pretty rude and distant from her former best friend, Tessa, but as the story progresses they regain and strengthen their friendship. I really loved the whole girl-power/friendship dynamic in this book.

There are a slew of other secondary characters but none are as important as Tessa and Callie, honestly the story could have done with a few more prominent characters but it was also fine without them.

in conclusion

I loved how dark and twisted the story became and how much attention to detail there was. I was definitely never bored and am very impressed with the mystery itself as well as the writing. Needless to say I just overall loved this book and am very thankful I got the opportunity to read it!

RECOMMEND

Definitely, I would go out and buy friends and family a copy of this book and force it upon them. That’s how much I recommend reading this bad boy.

I’d also like to say that it would probably be an enjoyable read for any fans of Gillian Flynn, while it may not be as dark and twisted as Flynn’s books, it is definitely comparable considering that “The Darkest Corners” is YA and therefore aimed at younger ages and not as graphic.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy