Fall Book Haul!

Top Ten Tuesday (29).jpg

These are some books that were SUPPOSED to be a part of my last book haul (which you can check out here) but I did the post after I ordered them soooo here we are with another book haul!

This will be kind of a short post since I don’t really have too much to say about any of these books but I am excited to read them all!

Hope you guys enjoy!

my page divider

ARCs Received:

Fire and Bone by Rachel A. Marks

The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane

These are two ARCs I received unsolicited from the publisher but I’m looking forward to reading both of them with release dates in January and February!


Books I Purchased or Were Gifted To Me:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman


The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

I’ve honestly been waiting forever to get my hands on this book, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I want to try and broaden my reading horizons a bit. I don’t usually like historical fiction but I’m hoping this one is as good as I’ve heard!


To Catch A Killer by Sheryl Scarborough


American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Once again I’ve heard a lot of good things plus this is a diverse read! I also have to say the Haitian Vodou beliefs that are supposedly represented in this book have me very intrigued as well.


Ten by Gretchen McNeil

A kind of horror/thriller/slasher book based off of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” which I am here for.


Bone Gap by Laura Ruby


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I’m really not sure if I’ll actually enjoy this book or not but it’s a sci-fi with a gorgeous cover so I have my fingers crossed.


Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Positive reviews, Wonder Woman, and Leigh Bardugo. I’m sold.


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The hardcover is so gorgeous and the book has some illustrations around each page, it’s seriously beautiful. Plus I’m here for Bardugo’s short stories!


E-Books Hauled

(I forgot to mention a few of these in the last book haul, oops!)

(Also these were ALL purchased on sale for under $5)


Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Image result for hunted meagan spooner

I was reluctant to read this one since I think Beauty and The Beast retellings are overdone but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it so I decided to give it a shot!


Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Image result for violet grenade by victoria scott


Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Image result for forbidden tabitha suzuma

I know this is a book about an incestual relationship between siblings and knowing the content I’ve still heard it’s a good book so I decided to pick it up.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Image result for the bear and the nightingaleOf curse there’s been a slew of great reviews for this one so I wanted to give it a read!


Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Image result for bird box josh malerman

my page divider

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

Have any of these on your TBR as well?

Haul any great books lately?

Let me know in the comments! 

 The Sassy

Down The TBR Hole #5

Top Ten Tuesday(92)

Sorry for the double up this week guys but last week I forgot to do this post on Friday so here we are, getting back on track! I’m finding these posts so helpful in cleaning up my TBR, it feels good!

If you missed my other posts of Down the TBR Hole here they are:

This was “created” by Lost in a Story!

The Rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

my page divider

Current TBR Count: 781


Book #41

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I remember when this series was actually pretty popular and so I bought this before I started blogging because before I started blogging I didn’t know what to read! So after having it sit on my shelf for a while now I just don’t think I’m going to read it, maybe I will eventually but not any time soon.

The Judgement: Go


Book #42

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I was a huge fan of the Vampire Academy series so when I found out there was a spin off I read the first book right away. Then I bought the second book here and I still haven’t finished it……however, I do want to read it and maybe finish the series eventually.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #43

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I’ve been meaning to read this one for such a long time and I love creepy books full of ghosties. I’ve also heard nothing but good things about it so I’m definitely keeping it!

The Judgement: Keep


Book #44

Flesh & Bone (Rot & Ruin #3) by Jonathan Maberry

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I read the first two books in this series and absolutley loved them, the characters are fantastic plus if you like zombies it’s pretty awesome from that aspect too. So I really want to continue with the series.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #45

Zomb-B by Darren Shan

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I bought this because it was bargain priced when I was in a bookstore and there’s zombies. That’s pretty much it…that’s my reasoning. Now of course I kind of regret it since I don’t have much interest in reading it at all anymore.

The Judgement: Go


Book #46

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

“Eragon” seems to be a classic YA/MG fantasy book and I STILL haven’t read it but I’ll get there eventually.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #47

Archetype by M.D. Waters

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I picked this up randomly in a bookstore because it looked neat but I really shouldn’t have because I just don’t want to read it anymore really.

The Judgement: Go


Book #48

The Dark City by Catherine Fisher

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Yet another random bookstore buy and yet another book I probably won’t ever read. Why do I do this to myself!?

The Judgement: Go


Book #49

Horns by Joe Hill

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I actually enjoy Joe Hill’s writing style and I love horror so I’m definitely keeping this one.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #50

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

I read a good chunk of this book and it was pretty good and definitely creepy so I plan on finishing it at some point. I don’t know why I put it down!

The Judgement: Keep

my page divider

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

Do you think I should have kept any of these books?

Do you agree with any of my keeps or discards?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: Shutter (Shutter #1) by Courtney Alameda

a title here(1)description

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

reviewThis is a bit tough to rate because I did really enjoy this book but there were a lot of parts where I felt really bored and had to kind of force myself to read. So a middle rating is kind of perfect!

Trigger Warning: Physical Abuse/Child Abuse

PLOT

The cover on this is actually a little misleading as you would think it was a horror book when really it’s just kind of an urban fantasy featuring paranormal/supernatural creatures. There wasn’t anything super creepy or horrifying about it which, in my case, was slightly disappointing since I wanted to be scared out of my mind but that’s okay it was still pretty interesting. Was it completely non-creepy? No, there were a few parts that were awesomely creepy but I wouldn’t say this book is really scary.

I really loved the world building in this book and I was not expecting there to be any but it was a pleasant surprise. “Shutter” is set in a world where the existence of supernatural creatures is public knowledge and the descendants of the characters in Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”, including Stoker himself, fight these creatures. It’s pretty badass and being the fan of “Dracula” that I am I was in love with all of the references! Unfortunately it was a lot to take in at first since there is quite a bit of info-dumping at the beginning of the story.

The pacing was pretty fast and full of action throughout most of the book but there were also quite a few parts that got really bogged down and I’m not sure why. It would just slow down a ton and I’d have to force myself to read through which wasn’t fun.

As for the plot itself it just kind of felt a little lacking? Plus the twists were utterly predictable and I was not surprised at all when they came to light because I’d guessed them right away, which isn’t any fun. I hate when things are predictable!

The ending is left with quite a few things unresolved leaving the way open for a sequel but one that I don’t think we are going to get. The ending also felt pretty rushed and big plot elements were kind of quickly resolved but not really in a satisfying way, in my opinion. It was all a little abrupt.

Alameda’s writing was pretty decent as well and a little heavy on the metaphors at times but I enjoyed it, looking forward to whatever else she’ll write up!

One last thing about the “plot related story elements” though, as you can see in the trigger warning I listed above there is an instance of physical abuse from a parent towards a child (teenager but legally still a child). I don’t like how it was skated over and the character didn’t want to mention it ever and deal with it even though it was child abuse, I also don’t like how easily the parent was forgiven.

characters

The characters were just kind of “meh” in which I mean I didn’t really love them or hate them. They were all kind of likable enough and there’s no denying that they’re good at their jobs which is pretty badass. However, I kind of felt like no one was really developed or complex and the characters didn’t really change at all throughout the story, at least not with reason.

There’s Micheline (the MC), Ryder, Oliver, and Jude that make up our main ghost butt kicking squad. Ryder is the love interest and honestly he’s just kind of there for that reason alone and never really grows as a character, boring and I didn’t get what was so great about him. Jude is extremely sexist and kind of annoying, also he “changes” by the end of the story but there really is nothing to justify why he did which annoyed me. Oliver was my favorite character but guess what? Hardly any “page time” for him which was a disappointment.

As for Micheline, our protagonist, I didn’t really think much of her at all, she wasn’t a terrible character but she was pretty self-absorbed and I didn’t like that. She runs headfirst into danger thinking only of how great it will be for her to exorcise this ghost and be the hero and instead she gets her team into a life threatening situation. Yeah, not my favorite kind of character.

There are a few side characters such as Micheline’s dad Leonard Helsing, Oliver’s dad Dr. Stoker, Father Marlowe, and Damien Drake which they were all pretty interesting in their own way and I would have liked to have learned a bit more about each of them. Especially Damien Drake who seems like a total badass and I would have liked to have learned more about his and Jude’s strange powers. That would have been awesome!

romance

The romance was another “meh” aspect for me. I liked that it was sort of a forbidden romance because that’s the one romance trope that I really enjoy but it just didn’t feel like there was any chemistry between the characters. It was kind of romance for the sake of romance. On the plus side the romance never takes over the plot and it’s more on the side lines which I appreciated.

in conclusion

Overall as I mentioned earlier there were both pluses and minuses to this book and I did enjoy it for the most part, it was definitely entertaining.

What I Loved:

  • Mostly fast pacing
  • Plenty of action
  • Great world building
  • Characters were okay
  • Good writing
  • “Dracula” references!

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Pacing slowed down in some parts
  • Not as creepy as I would have liked
  • Predictable twists
  • Rushed ending
  • Self absorbed main character

RECOMMEND

I would recommend this book if you’re looking for something slightly on the creepy horror side but you don’t want the crap scared out of you, it’s full of ghosties but wasn’t terrifying! I also recommend checking this one out if you’re a “Dracula” fan, like myself, because the references made reading through a lot of fun!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet

The Sassy

What Makes Me DNF A Book?

Top Ten Tuesday (28)

I rarely DNF books usually I’ll push through them but sometimes a book is so terrible I have to make an exception. The things I list in this post are also things that will make me rate a book lower or give it a bad review, since I don’t always DNF but you get the point.

So yes just to clarify I don’t always DNF EVERY book that has these elements in it but more than likely the book will receive a poor review from me even if I finish it.

my page divider

Slow Pacing (With No Atmosphere)

I’m the kind of reader that likes a lot of fast pacing and action! However, when those things aren’t present the LEAST I need is some atmosphere or some very well written characters. With NO atmosphere or well written characters though a book with slow pacing is absolutely unbearable to me, I have a short attention span and very little patience.

Image result for snail pace gif


Unlikable, Under-Developed Characters

This is just a given right? Sometimes an unlikable character can work depending on how it’s done such as a morally grey character, an anti-hero, or an unreliable narrator. In those cases I can enjoy a character I love to hate but when there’s no rhyme or reason to it? No. Also no one likes a flat one-dimensional character, it’s boring and unrealistic.


Cliched, “Focus of the Plot” Romances

I am not a big romance in books lover, I’m just not. This usually has to do with the fact that most YA romances are FILLED with tropes such as love triangles and insta-love. Which I hate. I also hate when there is a plot that sounds interesting and WOULD be interesting if the trope-filled romance didn’t completely overshadow it. Does the book’s synopsis promise a story filled with romance? Then that’s fine. Does the book promise action and thrills but instead delivers a story filled with romance? Then that’s where I get frustrated and angry.

Image result for insta love gif


Poor World Building

If I’m reading a fantasy book with its own unique world I’m going to want to learn more about it, I want to be immersed! It’s hard to be immersed when I’m given zero information about the world I’m reading about! I just….like a complex fantasy/sci-fi world in my books it makes things so much more enjoyable and interesting.


Plot Holes

Once again this is kind of a given but I hate when there are plot holes in my books. I don’t like reading through the story and having a bunch of inconsistencies or things that were brought up and then dropped never to be explained later.

Image result for plot hole gif


Dull Writing

Does anyone like dull writing, really though? I love fast-paced, addictive writing and lyrical/purple prose style writing.

Image result for dull gif


Predictability

This is probably one of my number one pet peeves! There is nothing worse to me than reading a book whose plot twists are predictable but especially when it’s a mystery/thriller that heavily relies on the twists to make it interesting. I read books to be entertained and guessing “whodunnit” at the beginning of the story is not entertaining.

Image result for predictable gif


Tropes

Love triangles, Special Snowflakes, Mary-Sues, and Insta-love. I could go on but I won’t. I don’t like seeing the SAME thing over and over in every single YA book it’s not fun.


Girl on Girl Hate

This is kind of a cliche and a trope in itself. Here’s a magical concept: girls can all be friends and not sit and hate each other and fight each other over boys. Amazing, right?

Image result for mean girl gif


Book Synopses That Lies!

No one likes liars! Don’t tell me a book is about pirates and then give me a historical fiction romance with NO pirates! You’d be surprised how many books have a synopsis that is misleading like this. Also just a side note: I hate synopses that spoil the books as well.

Image result for you sit on a throne of lies gif

my page divider

What are some things that make you DNF a book?

Do we have any book turn offs in common?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Down The TBR Hole #4

Top Ten Tuesday(92)

For some reason I completely forgot that I was saving these posts for Fridays and did a different post this last Friday! So I’ll have to double up this week but here is another edition of Down The TBR Hole where once again I actually get rid of a couple *whispers* I think I’m doing well…..

If you missed my other two posts of Down the TBR Hole here they are:

This was “created” by Lost in a Story!

The Rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

my page divider

Current TBR Count: 786

*** I added new books since the last post, see why this is a never ending cycle? ****


Book #31

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy book

It’s a classic and I think it would be hilarious to read through in the best way. I have a copy with all of the books so I hope to actually read it here one day.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #32

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia 

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for unbreakable book

I bought a copy of this a long time ago before I knew any better and while it seems similar to Supernatural, which I love, I think I’m just going to get rid of this one for now and decide later if I’m going to get rid of my copy for good.

The Judgement: Go


Book #33

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for the rithmatist

IT’S BRANDON SANDERSON SO I MUST KEEP IT!!!!!!

The Judgement: Keep


Book #34

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for the sea of trolls

I bought this a while ago when I was searching for books based off of Norse culture and mythology and just never finished it. Now that Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series is here I feel like that thirst is quenched and I don’t need this book really anymore.

The Judgement: Go


Book #35

The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for the woken gods

I saw the cover in the bookstore and I adore books with any sort of mythology in them but I think this was a spur of the moment buy and I feel guilty because it was a gift but I’m just really not interested in reading it anymore.

The Judgement: Go


Book #36

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for good omens

This one I’m still kind of on the edge about because I love Neil Gaiman but I feel like I won’t really like Terry Pratchett’s writing style. I’ll keep this one for now though and I do own a copy.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #37

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for the demon king

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Chima’s books and I bought this one a loooong time ago but I still hope to read through it especially now that there’s a spin off series from this one.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #38

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for i a m number four

Why did I ever give into the hype and buy this book? I have zero interest in reading it. Zero.

The Judgement: Go


Book #39

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for world war z

I actually really enjoyed reading through Brooks’ other book “The Zombie Survival Guide” and I actually read through a bit of this book already and it was okay. I am going to keep it around for now because I still want to finish it plus I love zombies.

The Judgement: Keep


Book #40

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Date Added: June 23rd, 2015

Image result for scarlet marissa meyer

Okay so I really didn’t enjoy the first book “Cinder” but I’ve heard from other readers that felt the same that the rest of this series is really good. I also really enjoy Meyer’s other book “Heartless” so I think I’ll push on with this one.

The Judgement: Keep

my page divider

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

Do you think I should have kept any of these books?

Do you agree with any of my keeps or discards?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

October Wrap-Up

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

So October was a fantastic month all around for my blog and the reading wasn’t too terrible either! This was the best month for my blog as far as stats go and I think it has to do with the fact that Halloween is my favorite holiday so I did A LOT of posting, it felt rewarding! I’m really hoping to keep the ball rolling into November as well but I’ve got a TON of books to start cramming in before the end of the year now.

my page divider

Books Read This Month: 4

The Hanging Girl by Eileen CookThe Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault RiveraMary by Hillary MonahanThis Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

I was pretty happy with the books I read this month with the only disappointing one being “This Darkness Mine” which I had a lot of personal issues with. The other 3 were fantastic though and I’d recommend all of them!


Reviews Finished This Month:

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis


Tags & Memes Done This Month:

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Boyfriends/Girlfriends

Spooky Scary Book Tag

Spooky Halloween Tag (Non-Bookish)

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Book Titles

Trick or Treat Round The Block Book Tag

Top Ten Tuesday (Halloween Edition): Horror Books on my TBR!


Other Posts Done This Month:

September Wrap-Up

October Halloween Read-A-Thon TBR

October Releases I’m Excited For!

Halloween Horror Recommendations

(Over Due) Huge Book Haul!

Halloween Non-Horror Recommendations

Creepy Book Covers: Part 2

Down The TBR Hole #1

Down The TBR Hole #2

Down The TBR Hole #3


What I’m Currently Reading:

Shutter

I remnant of my failed Halloween read-a-thon but it’s a pretty good read so far. I have so many ARCs I still need to read through though. I’m a mess.

my page divider

How was your reading and blogging month this October?

What were your best or worst reads?

What are you currently reading?

What books are you excited for this coming month, November?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday (Halloween Edition): Horror Books On My TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday(9)

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

It was kind of hard for me to come up with a Halloween theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday because I’ve already done so many Halloween themed posts! So I decided to just go with some horror books that are still on my TBR but I can’t wait to read them!

You can find some of my other Halloween posts here:

my page divider

Untitled design(1)

10.) Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

The sequel to the amazing “Anna Dressed in Blood” so of course I need to read it! Hopefully it’s as good as the first one, I wasn’t expecting “Anna” to be as gory and scary as it was!


9.) The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2) by Rin Chupeco

I was terrified by the first book and since I’m a sucker for scaring myself I want to read the sequel!


8.) The Diviners by Libba Bray

This might just be more of a paranormal/supernatural book and not horror but I’m including it anyways. I read the first chapter and it was pretty creepy so I’m excited to get into this series!


7.) Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

This is a book I picked up and read a quarter through and set back down. It was definitely creepy though and I do plan on picking it back up. It’s basically about a haunted suit and the ghost of the old man is haunting the main character now. Like I said it’s super creepy.


6.) It by Stephen King

I don’t think this one needs an explanation.


5.) The Child Thief by Brom

Peter Pan is my favorite fairy tale and so I’m ALL for any retelling of it but especially a dark, horror retelling.


4.) Bird Box by Josh Malerman

A short, slow horror style book but I want to give it a go. Especially since it’s really short….because I’m lazy.


3.) The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics

I’m not too sure about this book anymore since it hasn’t been getting the best of reviews but I really enjoy Lukavics’ books so I’d like to at least try it.


2.) Say Her Name by James Dawson

I’m always pretty creeped out by Blood Mary stories so I’m ready to be scared with this one.


1.) Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

I’m currently reading Alameda’s other novel “Shutter” and really enjoying it PLUS this one sounds very similar to the Alien movie franchise and I’m here for it.

my page divider

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

Do you have any of these on your TBR as well?

What are some horror books that are on your TBR?

Any favorite horror books?

Let me know in the comments and Happy Halloween guys!

The Sassy

ARC Review: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

a title heredescription

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

review

**** Big thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****

Trigger Warnings: Graphic description of injuries, medical procedures, and health issues.

I really don’t know how to rate this book because while it was still interesting I’m left feeling a little disappointed with it. I also just had some very personal issues with some of the content (which I will go into detail about below) so I’m left giving it a rating of 2.5 because I neither strongly liked or strongly disliked this book.

PLOT

I’d like to first go out on a limb and say this book really, really wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was expecting something with a little more suspense and thriller style twists to it, but what I got was a pretty predictable plot line and a very unlikable main character. There is a bit of a twist half way through and the story takes a turn but it wasn’t very shocking and I really disliked the second half of the story because it was super slow.

The pacing was pretty even throughout the beginning of the book and I kept reading wanting to know more about Sasha’s situation but as I mentioned previously there’s a twist half way through that made the story take a bit of a dive as far as pacing goes. I thought it was considerably slower and even pretty boring all the way through to the end.

There’s hardly any plot twists which was really disappointing for a mystery/thriller and the big plot twist that makes up the entire story is very predictable and not at all a surprise. Also disappointing. I was expecting there to be a lot more shockers than that. PLUS a lot of stuff is given away in the synopsis! I hate that!

I do really like unreliable narrators and in this case the story was pretty good since Sasha is a very unreliable narrator. She actually makes the story very dark as her character flaws come to the light and we don’t know what to believe. That’s part of why I enjoyed the story and was able to finish it.

However, as much as I love an unreliable narrator and a dark plot the book actually got really, really…….weird. Usually I love weird but with this I just felt super confused and I finished the book thinking “What the hell did I just read?” and not really in a good way. I enjoy a good open ended book but with this ending I felt like a bit more explanation or plot development would have done it a lot of good. The only comprehensible thought I have on the ending of this book is it’s WEIRD.

The writing was really great though and I found it to be extremely readable, honestly it was probably one of the reasons I was able to read this through to the end. I will definitely be checking out McGinnis’ other books just for more of her writing.

Last but not least I’d like to address one of my biggest issues with this book which also happens to be a personal issue of mine. This may or may not affect your reading of this book but I’d like to throw it out there and that has to do with the trigger warning I listed at the start of this review:

I have anxiety and a big part of my anxiety is linked to my health (i.e. hypochondria) and therefore I cannot stand reading about or listening to in depth descriptions of health issues or medical procedures because it triggers my anxiety. “This Darkness Mine” really goes into great description of these things and it becomes a major part of the plot, if I had known this ahead of time I probably wouldn’t have wanted to read the book since reading through this triggered my anxiety to the point where I had to stop reading at times. This is a big part of why I didn’t rate this book higher, it’s a personal issue I understand but one I wanted to warn others about as well.

characters

The characters in this book are another drawback for me, while I liked that Sasha (the MC) was an unreliable narrator making the story a bit more interesting, she was extremely unlikable. We’re talking a downright crappy person and it was frustrating to read through and listen to her say rude things to and about people. I understand that these things were Sasha’s character flaws and were there to drive a point home about her and none of these things were portrayed in a positive way. However, this didn’t make me enjoy her any more.

There were actually quite a few side characters that I liked such as Sasha’s friend Brooke and Isaac who is the love interest. I thought Brooke was hilarious and her bits were worth reading and Isaac was actually such a sweetheart and I feel terrible about some of the things that happen to him.

romance

While I really liked Isaac and I wanted him to be happy I just felt that Sasha treated him like crap, plain and simple. It definitely isn’t a healthy or positive relationship but McGinnis doesn’t glorify this at all which I liked. Neither Isaac nor Sasha are physically or verbally abusive to one another but I just feel like it’s still unhealthy because of the way Sasha negatively treats him at times.

in conclusion

As I said there are a lot of mixed feelings on this book because while some things worked a lot of them didn’t for me.

What I Loved:

  • Unreliable narrator, dark atmosphere
  • Writing
  • Side Characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Slow pacing in second half
  • Predictable
  • Plot is given away in synopsis
  • Weird….just downright weird plot
  • Unexplained, confusing ending
  • Trigger Warning Material
  • Unlikable main character
  • Negative romance

RECOMMEND

I’d recommend reading this only if you like unreliable/unlikable main characters, strange plots with open endings, and if you aren’t triggered by anything I mentioned in the warnings. Otherwise I’d steer clear of this one.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Mary: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

a title here(94)description

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go. A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: ‘Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.’ A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered. A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–befo…

review

I honestly had to really sit and debate over what I wanted to rate this because while there were some things I didn’t like I really did enjoy this book. So instead of a 3 or 3.5 rating I’m just going to round it all the way up to a solid 4 because this book was FUN and definitely entertaining!

Just a word of warning though: Don’t read this in the dark or alone!

PLOT

This is actually very fast-paced and there is no messing around setting up the story for Bloody Mary in the beginning, Hillary Monahan wasted no time throwing us right into the nitty gritty! I thought the pacing kept up throughout the entire book as well with barely a moment’s rest, the characters were pretty much under constant attack by Mary. Plenty of excitement and scares, that’s for sure!

The plot mostly focuses on the summoning of Bloody Mary, the haunting of the girls, and the girls trying to defeat her for good. There’s plenty of action and scares that will keep you on the edge of your seat too! Plus there’s a pretty good twist towards the end of the book as well that just adds to the overall thrill factor. However, the plot doesn’t have as much “oomph” as I would have liked but that could be being saved for the sequel maybe.

Let me just say that I thought the book had some VERY creepy and scary scenes as well, I was pleasantly surprised! This book really passed my expectations on all fronts but especially on that one, I’m glad it was scarier than I anticipated! Although I will say in order to scare me all you have to do is have something scuttling and doing that creepy disjointed crawling and I’m done for (which ended up happening)! I think Monahan did such an amazing job writing and describing Mary and each creepy scene in great detail, and to make a book scary it really is in the details.

The only thing I had a slight problem with was the characters making some dumb decisions, such as investigating an abandoned building at night alone. Dumb. However, I will say that for the most part the characters were actually pretty smart especially considering the fact that they’re a group of teenage girls in a horror book! Plus this quote pretty much explains away any irrational decisions because it makes perfect sense:

“In the past, when I watched horror movies because I thought being scared was fun, I always got angry at the characters whose hands shook so badly they dropped the car keys when the monster was chasing them. If someone wanted to survive, she would keep it together long enough to get away. Now, standing in the locker room like a frightened lamb, I understood. Fear shut my body down…”

Also that ending was such a cliffhanger, it’s not fair! I need the next book immediately!

characters

I actually really liked the characters in this book and as I said while they did make some questionable decisions they were all pretty smart about their ghost situation for the most part.

Shauna and Kitty both came full circle throughout reading and I thought their characters developed well. Anna was okay as well but she didn’t really come into focus all that much and Jess didn’t change at all. I also just despised Jess’s character in general since it was her who insisted on summoning Mary in the first place! She was a great character for furthering the plot though, I will give her that.

Then I suppose there’s Bloody Mary herself and she was fearsome to behold let me tell you! As I mentioned earlier Monahan did a fantastic job describing Mary in great detail and she was terrifying! I also really enjoyed digging into Mary’s past as well, the background on her character was interesting.

romance

There is a bit of a side romance between Kitty and another character but it’s not a main focus at all in the story. Other than that there is zero romance which is nice not only for a YA book but also a horror in general!

in conclusion

Overall this book definitely isn’t perfect by any means but it’s fun, scary, entertaining, and great for reading this time of year!

What I Loved:

  • Plenty of creepy and scary scenes
  • Fast pacing
  • Great writing with lots of detail
  • No romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Plot needed a little more attention
  • Characters made questionable decisions

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of horror or looking for a fun, scary book to read for Halloween! Otherwise if you don’t like being scared maybe skip this one!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Book Outlet (Best Deal)

The Sassy

(Over Due) Huge Book Haul!

Top Ten Tuesday (26)

Honestly I should have been doing book hauls every time I got a decent amount of books but here I am piling them all together into one! These are books I collected over the summer and part of fall here and there definitely are a ton to share!

I did actually order another small haul from Book Outlet here as well as a few other books I just picked up but I decided instead of waiting to include them I’d just maybe do another book haul here shortly.

So without further ado let’s get into this book haul!

my page divider

20171001_205648.jpg

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 20th Anniversary Edition

This was something I was super pumped to get for my birthday because I didn’t think anyone would actually get it for me! This is the UK hardback Ravenclaw edition (because I am a Ravenclaw, of course!) and it’s absolutely gorgeous it has blue edged pages with yellow stripes. There’s also just some fun little “facts” about Ravenclaw house as well as a beautiful map of Hogwarts inside as well.

I also received those gorgeous Harry Potter bookmarks with it!


The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

Mostly I wanted this for the cover which is gorgeous and creepy all at once with a leaf dripping blood. It seems creepy but also not, if that makes sense? There’s portals and woods and it all sounds super interesting!


Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

I literally waited forever for Book Outlet to get copies of this one in! I’ve been wanting to read something by Tahereh Mafi for a while but her Shatter Me series doesn’t seem up my alley and so I wanted to try this one. Plus the cover is really vibrant and colorful.


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Another Book Outlet purchase, I wasn’t originally going to buy this book but since everything is so cheap on Book Outlet I decided I might as well. I’m always a sucker for pirate books so hopefully this one lives up to some expectations.


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Everyone was hyping this book up quite a bit and normally I’m not a huge contemporary reader but I thought it sounded interesting and I do want to broaden my bookish horizons a bit!


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology plus Neil Gaiman? I was sold instantly! Of course I needed to buy it!


Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

This one had pretty good reviews and I honestly need more great YA sci-fi books in my life, that’s all!


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

A female gladiator? Once again, sold instantly.


Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

The cover is gorgeous and this seems like a really unique contemporary since it focuses on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

I haven’t read AGOS yet but I figured while Book Outlet still had copies of this that I would buy it that way I had the next book right away!


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Of course I bought this because I adore Laini Taylor and need ALL her books in my life.


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

So originally I wasn’t going to buy this book either since I’m iffy on whether I’d enjoy it or not but once again Book Outlet! I figured since it was cheap I’d just buy it and hopefully enjoy it, if not at least it’s pretty.


Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

I loved Thomas’s other book “The Darkest Corners” and so I had to buy her newest book, she really knows how to write some great twisted thrillers!


Because You Love To Hate Me stories selected by Amerie 

A good amount of hype plus short stories told from the villains POV and some great YA authors collaborating with Booktubers? I definitely had to check this one out.


It by Stephen King

Yes, yes I did just buy this book after seeing the movie! The movie of course was excellent and I highly recommend seeing it! This is a pretty intimidating book but I do want to read it eventually because I also adore Stephen King.


The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

More fantasy books, woohoo! I really need to start reading some of her books because now I have two from each of her series….


The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I wasn’t going to buy this one but I’ve decided to start ignoring reviews on certain things and just try it myself especially since I really love fantasy books.


Sabriel by Garth Nix

Moooooore fantasy books….


The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood 

Horror book for Halloween, right? This was an ARC sent to me for review.


No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear

Another ARC sent to me for review, this one is based off of “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote which sounds super interesting.


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Another ARC that I have reviewed already, it was absolutely freaking fantastic.

(Review Here)


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

An ARC once again. Very fast paced with some great twists, it’s perfect for non-horror readers for Halloween.

(Review Here)


Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

I finally bought the entire box set from Book Outlet! Super excited to dive back into some Riordan books because of course they’re always fun, fast, and fantastic!


The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The year I started blogging this was a new release and it’s a fantasy about a girl going “undercover” in order to infiltrate the rulers who conquered her homeland, there’s also a F/F romance. Sounds super good and Book Outlet had this one on sale so of course I scooped it up!

my page divider

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

Do you have any of these on your TBR as well? 

What did you think of my haul?

Let me know in the comments! 

The Sassy