Stacking the Shelves (152) - November 28th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.


Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Title: Hotel Ruby
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 3rd 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.


Hotel Ruby is a fast paced mystery that kept me intrigued through the very last page.  After facing a tragic loss, the elegant and extravagant parties, setting and guests at the Hotel Ruby captivated both Audrey and myself.

The enchanting characters and wild events have such an odd vibe to them, it was easy to tell something was not right but I could not place what exactly was off about the characters.  I wanted to know more and understand what the book had in store, I read Hotel Ruby in one sitting.  At times it reminded me of The Shining, if The Shining met The Great Gatsby.  It was such a different and unique blend of glitz and creepiness that made for a complex, well done story.

Hotel Ruby is unlike most books I have read before, it gives off an almost movie-like vibe to it.  As the mystery unfolded, I guessed some aspects but overall I was surprised until the very end. Even though the characters are develop and parts of the story focus on relationships, Hotel Ruby is ultimately a plot driven book.  There are hints of romance, sadness, loss and an overall good vs. evil vibe throughout combining a wide array of emotions.   I recommend it if you are in the mood for something different and  a bit darker and heavier.


Winter by Marissa Meyer

Title: Winter
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: November 10, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?


FANTASTIC, PERFECT, ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING SERIES EVER! Winter is a truly fantastic book in the epic series The Lunar Chronicles.  If you have not read the series yet, I highly recommend it.  Here are our reviews for Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest in case you need further convincing.

The series beautifully all intertwines in this last book to make an epic conclusion full of action, crazy battles, and swoony romance. Princess Winter is a crazy yet endearing and sweet character that complements the rag tag group of characters.  Her unique personality gives her strength and allows her to aide the team in ways they never expected.

The relationships from the previous books continue to unfold,the plot is full of kisses and love.  Each character faces challenges that come from going to war and taking on an evil queen.  Meyer does not shy away from hard decisions, she incorporates the honesty and sometimes sadness that comes with the tough decisions that the characters are faced with. There is just so much greatness in this ending :)

Ultimately, Winter was everything I hoped for.  All 827 pages were full of romance, adventure, fantasy, and a fairy tale-ish ending.  I was sad to finish the story but without fail I know that this is a story that I will come back to again and again.


Stacking the Shelves (151) - Nov 21st

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading

What books are stacking your shelves? 


Mini Reviews: A Book of Spirit and Thieves, The Piper's Son, Persuasion & Under a Painted Sky

Title: A Book of Spirits and Thieves
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Spirits and Thieves #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 23, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.


If you like magic,secret societies, action, adventure and trickery then A Book of Spirits and Thieves is the book for you.  I had so much fun reading this one - with the story weaving between Mytica and present day and so many powers at play, all because of this ancient text. But what I love most about Rhodes' stories are her characters. She really excels at characterization and is exceptionally good at creating strong women. She also knows how to write multiple POV really well to craft a well-rounded story. As of now, I am still a bigger fan of the Falling Kingdoms series but this spin-off was pretty solid and I can't wait for more. Who knows which series will hold a bigger piece of my heart in the end!

Title: The Piper's Son
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 14, 2012

Summary from Goodreads:
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.


The Piper's Son was not my favorite Marchetta book but there is something about her work that makes it impossible for me not to love. They are always so raw and honest, almost unpolished in a sense, which makes them feel so real. It was both a joy and struggle to be back with Tom and the gang from Saving Francesca. A joy because I love these characters and will always want more time with them but a struggle because Tom was a mess. It wasn't easy to read this book but was ultimately worth it to see Tom get his life back under control. I also loved the part of the story that focused on his Aunt Georgie's story. Georgie had to get over her anger and her pride so that she could live happily. I could definitely relate to Georgie's story in the sense that I often care too much about what people think and I feel like that gets in the way of my own happiness. Simply put, I recommend all of Marchetta's work. There is no one else like her.

Title: Persuasion
Author: Martina Boone
Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #2
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).


How I feel about Persuasion pretty closely mirrors how I feel about Compulsion. There are many elements of this story that I really like -  the Southern Gothic vibe, the history between the founding families, the magic and mystery surrounding the plantations and more - yet it continues to fall victim to some trivial things that weigh the plot down - like all the secret keeping/lack of communication and making decisions for others. The relationship drama is a little too repetitive and much for my liking. But the setting and plot keep me coming back for more and Persuasion definitely upped the ante. I have so many questions that I can't wait to have answers to. SO suffice it to say, I am looking forward to the next book despite some of my grievances.

Title: Under a Painted Sky
Author: Stacey Lee
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 17, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.


Under the Painted Sky is quite a beautiful story. The friendships in this book are really quite special and will likely win many of you over. There are also some incredibly important themes in this book relating to gender, race, good vs bad, basic human rights, and more. Honestly, it's an extremely impressive debut. But it was just a little too slow for my liking and the Oregon Trail adventure was not as captivating to me in the wake of reading Walk On Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. My rating reflects more of how it made me feel than how I view this book, which is actually very highly.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 6th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.


I was a bit hesitant when starting this one because I loved Fangirl but was not the biggest fan of the fan fiction that started each chapter; however, I have enjoyed all of Rainbow Rowell's works so I figured I had to give it a go.  Carry On is a wonderful fantasy story full of friendships, adventures, magic, kisses, and heroes; I was not disappointed.

Carry On is told through multiple point of views, which really gives the reader a well rounded story line.  Baz and Simon are the stars of the show, their constant fighting/banter that evolves throughout but never disappears is truly fantastic. The secondary characters, Agatha and Penelope, were full of personality and great fit to the team. Similar to her other works, Rowell's dialogue and overall readability is on point, it was easy to get transported into this magical Harry Potter-ish world and watch all the scenes unfold.

Carry On was not at all what I expected, it was much more.  It truly was a magical adventure story with old friendships and new relationships, that I would highly recommend.


Stacking The Shelves (150) - November 14th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

Upcoming Reads

What books are stacking your shelves??


The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Title: The Wicked Will Rise
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die...

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?


The Wicked Will Rise was one hell of a follow up to Dorothy Must Die. In fact, I might have enjoyed it even more than the first. I forgot how much I loved this dark and unpredictable Oz and continuing to explore this world was a delight. I remember just enough of the original Oz that everything feels familiar and yet completely new at the same time. I can’t get enough.

Having already developed the back story, Paige was able to jump right into the action in this sequel. This book picks up right where Dorothy Must Die leaves off, as in right after all the shit hit the fan. Within the first 50 pages, Amy had already killed another one of Dorothy’s sidekicks and was trying to regroup with the rest of the Order. This book was one adventure after another through the different worlds within Oz. And it ended with yet another epic showdown.

As a sequel should do, The Wicked Will Rise added new layers to the plot. We get some answers – like hows and whys - but we also have new questions – like what is going on with Amy. I can’t make heads or tails of most of the characters (in a good way) and have no clue what Paige has in store for us next. The perfect recipe for anticipating the next book!

The Wicked Will Rise is everything a sequel should be. I am even more impressed with it than I was with Dorothy Must Die, and I was pretty impressed with that one. Paige might be pretty new to the writing scene but she’s definitely taking it by storm. I regret not reading this book sooner but I won’t make the same mistake with the sequel! Trust me, you want to read this series!


Play On by Michelle Smith

Title: Play On
Author: Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek #1
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything.

Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek—he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.


The first thing that stood out to me about Play On was that it was a contemporary YA romance told solely from a male POV. Male POV is definitely becoming more prevalent in YA, but for this sub-genre, this was my first experience with a male-only voice. But as a fan of male POV, I liked it. Sure there were times I wish I knew what Marisa was thinking but I have those moments every time I read a book with a singular POV. Otherwise, I thought Austin’s voice was authentic and I was just as easily swept up in the story had it been told by a female, or both male and female.

The second thing that stood out to me about Play On was how well it tackled the topic of depression and how it lent a new perspective on suicide. In Play On, Austin was struggling to move passed his father’s suicide. He hated that his dad didn’t love him enough to keep living and he hated himself for never seeing the signs. But as he got to know Marisa and her battle with depression, he came to realize how dark and dangerous of an illness it was and how maybe his father’s death had nothing to do with him.

I loved the relationship between Austin and Marisa. I loved how it was slow and steady – starting with a friendship and an obvious attraction then developing into more. I loved how Austin didn’t run away from Marisa when she opened up about her past despite the fact that it scared the shit out of him. He gave her the love she needed to survive her dark days and in return, she gave him the perspective to forgive his father and move forward.

The baseball theme was an added bonus. I actually managed my school’s baseball team all 4 years of HS so it kind of brought me back to those days and good memories. But even if I hadn’t, as a huge sports fan, I love sports themed novels. I could feel the passion for the sport , the bond among teammates and the power of the crowd. And the ended totally made me tear up as the team played their last home game. I also loved how Marisa could hold her own when it came to sports talk. Girls are so often underestimated when it comes to being a sports fan.

I could go on and on about the things I loved in this book. The friendships. The family dynamics. The yes mams and no sirs. And especially the relationship between Austin’s best friend and another one of his teammates and their battle with coming out to the world. This book was beautifully written and full of emotion. It’s a must read in my opinion.

And I definitely can’t wait to read Eric’s story in the next book in this series.


Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations We Are Looking Forward To!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations We Are Looking Forward To"

Nicole's Top Five

1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Just the thought of seeing this story brought to the big screen gives me chills. This is one of the most epic series I have ever read and it would make one HELL of an action movie. GIMME.

2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I'm with Ash on this one. The book was great and it looks like they actually did a decent job on the movie! Can't wait!

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray
OMG I DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS REALLY A THING BUT I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK AND THINK IT COULD BE AN AMAZING MOVIE. Only, putting a face to Naughty John might be too much for me. #nightmaresforlife

4. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
So Stephenie Meyer is apparently directing this film and I haven't decided how I feel about that yet. But I loved this book so I have high hopes for the movie!

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I don't know if this is a thing either or how this book would translate tot he big screen, but the movie rights have been purchased and I am so desperate for more from Cashore that I'll take anything! 

Ashley's Top Five

1. Paper Towns by John Green 
I liked this book but was not exactly wowed by it but I think it would make an awesome movie

2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I watched one of the trailers for this one, I cannot wait :)

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I loved the dynamic between Eleanor and Park and all the great dialogue, would love to see who they would cast to fit the characters.

4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I am unsure how they are going to do the magical horses but if done well this awesome world would make an amazing production.

5. The Raven Boys  by Maggie Stiefvater
Goodness I want this to be super well done and if so, the magical world would make a perfect fall movie.

What are your top ten?


Compulsion by Martina Boone

Title: Compulsion
Author: Martina Boone
Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.


There was so much about Compulsion that I loved. The Southern Gothic vibe. The history between the three founding families of Watson Island. The curses. The mysterious house. The spirits that live on the island. Barrie's mysterious upbringing. Eight. When it comes to setting and plot and characters, Martina Boone pretty much nailed it. I only wish the delivery was a smidge better.

From the moment Barrie arrived on Watson's Landing, it was clear something was up. The house was out to get her, weird things were happening at midnight and everyone seemed to be keeping something from her. It was fun unraveling the history that was there and all of Watson's Landing's mysteries. Throw in a hidden treasure at the Colesworth's place and Martina Boone pretty much had me eating out of the palm of her hand for a while.

But the book didn't go in quite the direction I had hoped... as in the treasure became sort of an afterthought and the plot became very tied up in Watson - Colesworth drama and this weird tension between Barrie and Eight. I was definitely still interested in what was happening but there was so much potential here and I feel like the plot got a little sidetracked. But the ending was still fantastic with a lot of surprises. Like I said, there was no shortage of things for me to love in this book so I still enjoyed reading it despite expecting more.


Stacking the Shelves (149) - Nov 7th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading

What books are stacking your shelves? 


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke et al.

Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke et al.
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann | Leigh Bardugo | Kendare Blake | A. G. Howard | Jay Kristoff | Marie Lu | Jonathan Maberry | Danielle Paige | Carrie Ryan | Megan Shepherd | Nova Ren Suma | McCormick Templeman | April Genevieve Tucholke | Cat Winters


The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma - 2.5 stars
This one is about a creepy next door neighbor and the teenage girls that suspect he is up to no good... and birds. Leonard made my skin crawl and the story got progressively more disturbing. Not bad, but nothing special either.

In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan - 4 stars
This one had a twisted Alice in Wonderland theme to it which was awesome. It was definitely one of the more creative and creepy stories in this anthology but maybe a bit over my head. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it and want to read more Carrie Ryan!

Emmeline by Cat Winters - 2.5 stars
Cat Winters is very good at writing period pieces. Readers are transported to Northern France and feel the devastating effects of World War I on the country. But as far as a scary story goes, this one was a little predictable and pales in comparison to many of the other stories.

Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo - 3 stars

This one was about a teenage star who partied a little too hard and was sent to a recovery center. Only the person who came back wasn't the same as the one who left. This story definitely snuck up on me. Very subtly creepy. But would it be fair of me to say that I expected more from Leigh Bardugo?

Hide and Seek by Megan Shepherd - 4 stars
This one is about a girl who challenges death to a game to get a second chance at life. It was fast paced and so much fun. Easily one of my favorites!

The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige - 3.5 stars
This story is about the misfit in High School who captures some unwanted attention only she doesn't realize that it's unwanted at first. It definitely had it's share of surprises and only kept getting better. I liked it!

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke - 3 stars
This one was very I Know What You Did Last Summer only most of the story was focused on the back story rather than the aftermath. But it was still your classic horror movie tale (told in 30 pages or so). Good, not great.

Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Maberry - 3.5 stars
Zombie Apocalypses always make for good stories but I think I enjoyed this one more so because Dahlia was awesome. She got a lot of shit for being the fat girl but never by repeat offenders because she wasn't one to roll over and take it.

Sleepless by Jay Kristoff - 4.5 stars
My first thought upon finishing this one was "Fucking Awesome!" It was like a Criminal Minds episode about creepy internet predators but with a twist at the end. My only complaint is that it was a little painful reading the online chats that completely butchered the English language. Do people really speak THAT poorly? Stefan Bachmann - 3 stars
This story reminded me a little of Clue - a bunch of aristocrats are in a house and someone is murdered. There is a witness but she is blind so the murderer is pretty sure he got away with it only Misha isn't one to be underestimated. This one was fun. I liked the setting.

The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu - 4 stars
Psychological Thriller for the win! I found this one scarier than most, having a girl in a closet that haunted our MC. But finding out who she was and why she was there was the best part!

The Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman - 3.5 stars
This one was about a plagued village where the girls didn't last very long and a shaman's daughter who had a job to do. I enjoyed all of the moving parts and the bittersweet ending. This fantasy was a welcome change to the rest of the stories!

Stitches by A. G. Howard - 5 stars
This one is about a man who makes a deal to swap the sinful parts of his body with a good person's parts. It was dark and disturbing and completely took me by surprise. I absolutely LOVED it. Definitely my favorite of the bunch - they saved the best for (almost) last!

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake - 4 stars
This story is about an unassuming girl at a truck stop who is seeking vengeance for all the other naive girls out there who get into cars with strangers. I didn't quite understand the magic/paranormal piece in this one but I liked it even with the sad undertones.

Overall Impression

I definitely expected this anthology to be WAY scarier than it was but it probably worked better for me as is since I'm a big baby.As is typical with anthologies, some stories are better than others, but I enjoyed all of them and overall, I thought this was a worthwhile read. And it is PERFECT for this time of year. Just enough scary and creepy to fit the Halloween/Fall mood without giving me nightmares. I definitely recommend it if you like creepy/scary reads!


Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Brightly Woven
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: March 23, 2010

Summary from Goodreads:
The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness....

Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?

Through a journey that spans a country, magic and hard-won romance are woven together with precision and brilliant design by a first-time novelist.


Brightly Woven has all the markings of a strong Fantasy novel. The plot is well-constructed, with layers upon layers that are revealed with each new chapter read. There is a likable heroine, a mysterious Wizard, and the always-fun hate-to-love romance between the two. An enemy evil wizard that is pretty damn difficult to kill contributes action and suspense throughout the story. And all of this is set against a kingdom-on-the-brink-of-war backdrop, with a new queen forced to make difficult decisions. It was easy to stay entertained, especially with all the work trying to puzzle out North’s intentions.

However, Brightly Woven also had many signs of a debut novel. Most of the story could have been better fleshed out, most notably the romance between North and Sydelle. The hate turned to love a little too quickly and Sydelle forgave North for his indiscretions without much effort. There were also some parts of the plot that could have been given a little more attention. But while I observed that these things could have been handled better, it wasn’t as if they significantly impeded my reading experience.

What did get my panties in a bunch though was that one big thing is left unresolved. And the more we got to talking about it at book club, the more we agreed that Bracken probably hoped to write a sequel. This is obviously a little frustrating because no sequel was or likely will ever be written so readers are left just hoping for the best. I know some readers get very upset/pissed off when this happens so consider yourself warned!

I recommend Brightly Woven if you are looking for a solid Fantasy without having to commit to a series. It might not be perfect but it is still quite impressive and I doubt anyone would regret reading it. And who knows, maybe if it gets enough traction someday we will get a sequel!

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