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

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June Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(6)

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

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Books Read This Month: 6

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

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – black3

With Malice by Eileen Cook – black4

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff  – black5

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

Red Queen by Christina Henry – black3(3.5)

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz – black3

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Reviews Finished This Month

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

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

With Malice by Eileen Cook

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

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Tags & Memes Done This Month

Top Ten Tuesday: My Version of Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons I Love Book Blogging

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

Top 5 Wednesday: My Favorite Character Names

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Posts on The Sassy Book Geek

The TBR Book Tag

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Other Posts

Hyped Books: The Good & The Bad

300 Followers! Q&A

300 Followers! Q&A Answers

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What I’m Currently Reading

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittney Cavallaro

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How was your reading month this June?

What are you currently reading?

What’s on your TBR for July?

The Sassy

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

Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

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description

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

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

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

review

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

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

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

PLOT

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

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

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

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

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

characters

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

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

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

in conclusion

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

RECOMMEND

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

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy