Sunday, September 1, 2019

Spooky/Halloween Reading Recommendations 2019

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 5:00 PM 0 comments

Okay, I know, I know, A POST ABOUT HALLOWEEN READS RECOMMENDATIONS ON SEPTEMBER 1ST?! ARE YOU CRAZY? Well, yes, yes I am, but that is an entirely different conversation for another post. But I have recently come across some people, my kind of people, who love the spoopy just as much as I do, and gosh darnit, I am going to spoop all over your screen. Too much? Ehh, this girl starts celebrating Fall/Halloween on September 1st, earlier actually considering I just we super Halloween shopping at Michaels yesterday, I will add 2 pictures of my haul below but I will make another full post with individual pictures after this. If anyone is looking for a quick list please scroll all the way to the bottom, I have made a written list for you.

I love how the crow is yelling at the viewer, lol.

A little side note, I created a new Instagram profile for SPOOKY BOOKISH THINGS so if you guys want to follow that I would really appreciate it, @terrifyingtomes

So, yeah, without further ado, here is my EPIC(yes I think that highly of myself) list of Spooky/Halloween reads..... Oh, and if you click on each book's picture it will take you to the  Goodreads page so you can read the synopsis for yourself but I will also be including a little excerpt of why I liked the book. 

I was going to start this off with Libba Bray, don't worry she will come next, but then I REALLY thought about it and while I completely love and adore her writing, one Duology just stands out in my head above all else and that is Mary: The Summoning and Mary: Unleashed. These books are a Bloody Mary retelling, if you couldn't tell from the covers, and I ADORE THESE BOOKS. I reread them EVERY Halloween ever since I found the first book 4/5 years ago. This author and her books are THE PERFECT representation of Young Adult Horror, in my God honest opinion. I wish she could pump out more books just to feed my black heart. 

When I first read The Diviners many many moons again, okay maybe like 6/7, I fell in love. I was engulfed in a spooky historical world and that just made me very excited. At the time, I didn't really know it was going to be a series and it's now been 7 years since the release and the last book was recently announced. I am usually VERY impatient but the level of work the author puts into these books is definitely worth the wait. They are so intricate and beautifully written for something so horrific and spine-tingling. I think the only gripe I have with this series is the fact that the cover has changed so many dang times when the first books cover and under the cover was literal perfection. -sigh-

If Stephen King wrote Young Adult Horror this would be his book, but this book belongs to the wonderful Cyn Balog. While this book IS horror, her other books are more mystery/thriller, so they are still relevant I am picking this book to represent the pack. This book is definitely great and it was inspired by The Shining!

I am not recommending a book so much as an author here. Dawn Kurtagich can write some pretty freaky stories. I have a love/hate relationship with her books but either way they pack the horror punch a lot of us are looking for. Now, I have never outright actually hated any of her books I just had a hard time swallowing her last one, And the Trees Crept in. It wasn't a bad book AT ALL I just found myself going WTF?! a lot. I have no read her most recent book, Teeth in the Mist but it's on my Halloween list for this year. I can't wait to see what else this author's twisted mind can come up with in the future.

This is another author recommendation. Amy Lukavics has written some pretty gruesome and horrific books, THANK GOD. I have enjoyed all of her books enough to put them on this list but they still lack that ultimate horror level for me. Then again, I have been watching horror movies since I was 7 soooo, these books would be great for someone who isn't as well versed in the horror world as me.

Now this book, this book was freaky. It isn't so much horror as it is freakshow. This story was so awesome and earned a place on my favorites shelves. 

Here I am recommending another author but there is a catch this time. I have not personally read any of her books. I own all the ones that are currently out but I haven't read them. I plan to remedy that this year so stay tuned for next year to see if any of her books actually make the cut onto my personal recommendations list. This is just an in general recommendation 

This next author recommendation is a personal favorite of mine and she is the lovely Gretchen McNeil. Ya'll need to read her books NOW. I love #Murdertrending and Ten so much. I love her other books but the titles are escaping my mind. 

Now this series is weird for me. When I first read the books something made me dislike them. But I reread them when the last book came out and for some reason I ended up loving them. It might have something to do with the fact that I watched the Asylum season for American Horror Story(this is also a Halloween recommendation even though it's a TV show and not a book it still counts for SPOOPY) but we shall never know. Either way, Asylums = Good Spoopage. Yes, I am making up words now. 

This is another good asylum type book. I really enjoyed this one when I read it a few years ago. I might have to reread it this season, we shall see.

For some reason, I don't remember much about this duology, only that I enjoyed it. I have bits and pieces floating through my head so this one will definitely need to be reread.

Now this one I personally HATED but I am putting it on this list because someone else might love it and I'm all about people finding books they love. Always remember, just because you didn't enjoy a book doesn't mean someone else will feel the same way. But if you want my opinion on this book, it's like a bad version of Scream and the author should have stuck to Contemporary Romance. 🤷🏼‍♀️

And lastly, I have saved the best recommendation I can give. This series is more macabre than anything but that still earns it a place on this list. The books in this series are bizarre and twisted and not to be missed! The last book, Capturing the Devil comes out on September 10th so now is the perfect time to read these books! Thank you Kerri Maniscalco for writing these amazing books! 

This is not the end of the list, I am sure I will add more later as I think of them but this is a good enough list to get you guys started. Please feel free to let me know either in the comments here or on Instagram @terrifyingtomes if you have or plan to read any of these and what your thoughts are if you have read or after you do read any of the books!

Each year I will have certain books I recommend over and over again but I am going to try my best to add new spoopy reads to this list. I will probably just do a repeat of this post with a new introduction and then add the new reads at the bottom. I have been hoping more authors will write some YA horror so maybe my wish will come true. Either way, I hope you enjoyed my post and may these books bring fear to your hearts and pee to your pants!

Here is the quick Halloween list for anyone who doesn't want to read all my jibberjabber. 

Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Mary: Unleashed by Hillary Monahan
The Diviners series by Libba Bray
Alone by Cyn Balog
Any book by Dawn Kurtagich
Any book by Amy Lukavics
The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood
Anything by Courtney Almeda
Anything by Gretchen McNeil
Asylum series by Madeleine Roux
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Welcome to the Dark House duology by Laurie Faria Stolarz
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

REVIEW: Birthday by Meredith Russo - 4.5/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 10:00 AM 0 comments

Title: Birthday
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/LGBTQ+
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron/Usborne
Publication: May 31st 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Owned Paperback
Birthday by Meredith Russo is the story of Morgan and Eric and how they traverse through life while trying to figure out who they truly are and who they want to be. 

Morgan was given the wrong body at birth. She knows she is supposed to be a girl but the universe didn't get the memo. But how do you tell everyone you are a girl when on the outside you appear to be a boy? And how do you go about telling people you are scared and confused when you live in a small football town in Tennessee? You don't. You can't even tell your best friend because you've already lost your mom and you couldn't handle losing anyone else. Oh, and your father happens to be the football coach in this small homophobic town. 

Eric is confused about his life too, but for different reasons. For one, his father is a very nasty person and all of his sons MUST play football and MUST get a scholarship. But Morgan's mother gave him a guitar before she passed away and he feels like music might be his real calling. He also knows he isn't gay but he has feelings for Morgan that a straight guy should never have. 

Meredith Russo is a very needed and very strong voice for the LGBTQ community. If you or someone you know is struggling with their sexuality or you just want to read a diverse book then I highly suggest giving her books a read. 

In the end, this book was painful but it's meant to be. When I got to the last few pages I also realized something. The entire book I thought that Morgan was scared to come out as herself because she was afraid to lose her father or Eric but now I think she just wasn't ready. Yes, she went through years of pain and she could have came out and Eric or Jasmine could have offered to buy her makeup or take her to get clothes but in the end, I don't think Morgan was ready for that step and that is also extremely important. You might be able to tell that someone is queer by looking or talking with them but if they aren't out it's not your job to try and bring them out. It's a massive process both mentally, emotionally and physically and you can be supportive but the person has to choose when the time is right for them and realizing that about this story made it even more impactful. You truly never know what a person goes through just to be themselves, just to be happy.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, July 22, 2019

REVIEW: Heartwood Box by Ann Aquirre - 4.5/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 10:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Heartwood Box
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Suspense
Author: Ann Aquirre
Publisher: TorTeen 
Publication: July 9th 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardcover
The Heartwood Box by Ann Aquirre is the story of Araceli and the small town her parents force her to move to so she can live with her Great Aunt while they are off reporting on dangerous activities in war-torn places. The best way I can describe this book is The Lakehouse meets Stranger Things. 

Araceli might have been born in the US but her entire life has been spent in very dangerous places while her parents fight to help people who can't help themselves. Her life has been nothing but active so being sent to live with her Great Aunt in some very White town will be very new to her. 

Upon arrival in this strange, stuck in the past town Araceli notices something strange. The amount of missing posters far exceeds the amount any town of this size should have. What could have happened to all of these people? But things get even more strange when she meets her Great Aunt and finds out her Uncle is among the missing. And things just keep getting weirder when Araceli finds a special box in her Aunt's storage room that appears to have special powers. Araceli wants to figure out what is wrong with this town but it isn't until her friend becomes one of the missing that she REALLY starts trying to put the pieces together and boy, oh boy, is this town even more twisted than she could have imagined.

In the end, this book was very intricate and I adored the storyline and all the characters were fleshed out very well. If you are looking for a book to help keep your Stranger Things feelings going then I highly suggest picking this up. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, June 3, 2019

REVIEW: That Night by Cyn Balog - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: That Night
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary(Mental Illness)
Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication: June 4th 2019 2019
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading Format: Provided eARC

That Night by Cyn Balog is the story of Hailey and The Week's brothers, Kane and Declan and how they got tangled in a very deadly web of love and obsession. Sometimes, the line between love and obsession is so thin you don't know you've crossed it until someone gets hurt.

Hailey was on top of the world. She had her best friend, Kane, she had her boyfriend, Declan, and everything seemed perfect. Until it wasn't. Until Declan went into his families shed and shot himself in the head. Until she went to stay in a mental health hospital. Until, until... until. Hailey can't seem to remember what happened the day Declan died. But it turned out maybe there is also more she can't remember. But from what we learn about Declan there is no way he would have killed himself. So what happens when someone might have gotten away with murder?

I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of emotion and mystery to it but it also had a lot of character development that I enjoyed watching. I loved the relationship dynamic and drama between Kane and Hailey, no matter how good or bad it was. I even liked the relationship between Kane and his "girlfriend" even though that was obviously toxic. The author knows how to write characters, I will always say that.

In the end, I kept going back and forth on how this book would end. I know how the author writes so I kept saying there was NO WAY this could just be a contemporary story about a boy committing suicide and I was definitely right. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Friday, May 24, 2019

REVIEW: Finale by Stephanie Garber - 5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Title: Finale
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron
Publication: May 7th 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback
Finale by Stephanie Garber is the, well, FINALE to the Caraval trilogy. (see what I did there?) In this book, we get to continue on where Legendary left off. The girls, Scarlett and Donatella, are now part of Legends crew and they are on their way to perform a special Caraval for someone of great importance. But something about this Caraval is different. Something is... sinister. And more than usual is at stake. Can Scarlett and Donatella make it out alive?

I want to first start off by saying that when I read the previous book, Legendary, I greatly disliked reading from Donatella's point of view. Luckily, with rereading Legendary in preparation for Finale, my view on her changed and I started to enjoy her character more. That being said, Finale would have been a difficult book if I still didn't care for Tella, but like I said, luckily that changed and this book was FANTASTIC.

This book was fantastic. This book series is brilliant. I always kind of knew who Legend was but that really didn't spoil much for me. I was so torn with this book though because I really liked Jacks, even though he was technically supposed to be evil and he was one of the Fates, I still really liked him. Everyone kind of had their own agenda during this book so you can't really hold anyone accountable for how they acted in the end.

If I had to sum this book up in one word the word would be staggering. There is so much that gets thrown at our characters and the world is so beautifully constructed that it is hard not to get pulled into the magic of Caraval.

Can we talk about the romance in these books?! I can't believe it took me till the end of this book to realize that this was, at its heart, a love story. A love story like no other. So much was sacrificed and bargained with all in the name of LOVE.

In the end, this was such a bittersweet ending. On one hand, the author did a fantastic job with the completion, on the other hand, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO END?! Thank you, Stephanie Garber, for writing this beautiful story and bringing this world to life to us readers. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

REVIEW: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small - 4/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 5:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Bright Burning Stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Ballet/Dance
Author: A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin
Publication: May 21st 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Provided ARC
Goodreads | Amazon

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small is the story of two girls, best friends, who attend the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School. They have lived together and climbed the ranks together for the past six years. They are like sisters. But then something shifts and the chance to be Number 1 and win The Prize becomes more real and both girls will do whatever it takes to get that spot, even if it means losing the other. Even if it means losing themselves. 

Kate and Marines relationship dynamic was a big part of this book. I was kind of thinking Marine would be the one who was most unhinged or emotionally damaged with her past but Kate was a strong contender in both mental stability and dance talent. I liked the different perspectives we got to see of the ballet world through each girl's eyes. There is a fierceness to this book that just makes everything feel extremely real. Especially when the girls become involved with the top male dancer of the school.

The readability of this book was almost insane. I found myself flying through the pages and when I would stop to get a drink or move around I would find that fifty pages had gone by in no time. The authors writing just flows and makes you want to devour more and more. Sadly, this is a fairly short book so before I knew it, it was over and I was left sitting here want to read more. This is an EXCELLENT debut novel.

In the end, the story was a little predictable but, nonetheless, still enjoyable. If you like reading about the ballet/dance world and all the snarky, competitive behavior that comes with it then this is a book you need to pick up(I'm not even really into dance but for some reason, I enjoy books about it so anyone could pick this book up and enjoy it). I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next. 

Overall, I have the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, May 20, 2019

REVIEW: Squad by Mariah MacCarthy - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Squad
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Mariah MacCarthy
Publisher: FSG
Publication: March 12th 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardcover

Squad by Mariah MacCarthy is a wonderful coming of age story for our main character Jenna. We get to see the dynamics of losing a best friend and how that affects someone's mental state. And we are shown just how fast someone's life can change, for better or worse.

Jenna is a cheerleader. I know most of us think of vapid, airheads who rule the school when the word cheerleader comes up but shockingly, these girls were actually different. They all have ambitions and cheerleading seems like an actual sport for them rather than a popularity contest. But everything changes for Jenna when her best friend, Raejean, starts avoiding her and it seems like all the girls are picking on her or calling her out. Is this all in her head? Or is she being punished for something as simple as dumping water on someone's head?

Throughout this book Jenna has to figure out how to navigate life without the person she has had by her side since she was little. She has to learn to navigate relationships and she even learns a lot of new things along the way. New things about herself and new things about her brothers' friends James. She even learns that there are more things in life than cheerleading.

In the end, I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was thinking it would be a quick 3-star read to pad my Goodreads numbers. I love when I am proven wrong. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

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