Top 5 Wednesdays: Horror Stories (On My TBR)

Wrapping up my month of topics leading up to Halloween, I thought it would only make sense to end with the kinds of books that I tend to find the most creepy! I’ve mentioned before that I rarely read horror since it freaks me out too easily, so I was a bit surprised to find so many books that were tagged as horror on my Goodreads TBR list. It’s a bit strange because I tend to enjoy the few horror books that I have read, but I tend to actively avoid reading them because of how much they scare me. It’s not uncommon for a scary book I’ve read to really stick with me for a long time afterwards, and I’ll end up creeping myself out about it. I chose these books because they seemed to be such a great fit for the Halloween season, and definitely seemed very creepy!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

35115574I’ve read both of Dawn Kurtagich’s other books so far, so I added this newest release to my list as soon as I saw it come up on Goodreads. I absolutely loved And the Trees Crept In, and liked The Dead House but not as much as I’d expected. This book was released back in June, and I haven’t really heard too much about it since then. It is about a 16-year-old girl named Zoey who has always been fascinated by the burnt remains of Medwyn Mill House, and sets out to explore it with her best friend, Poulton. In 1851, this house was home to 17-year-old Roan, a ward hiding something from her new guardian, who finds herself connected to an ancient secret. It also spans back to the late 1500s, when newlywed Hermione accompanies her husband, who sets out to build Mill House in Northern Wales. To be honest, I find the synopsis a bit confusing, but it seems that the book is told from multiple perspectives spanning these three eras. I’m hoping I’ll love this one as much as And The Trees Crept In when I finally read it.

2) Final Girls by Riley Sager

32796253Riley Sager is very quickly becoming one of my top priority authors to try next year. Lately I keep finding myself coming back to his books, which I’d put off a bit because of the horror elements. This one is his 2017 debut, about a college student named Quincy who is the sole survivor of a massacre while on vacation with friends. She finds herself immediately a part of a group of survivors of similar tragedies, known as the Final Girls for being the only ones who made it out alive. Although the media tends to group them together, the women never meet. Quincy finally begins to move forward with her life, until another of the Final Girls is found dead, and the other shows up on her doorstep, intent on making Quincy relive her past. As more details come to light about the young woman’s death, Quincy finds herself struggling to figure out whether what the other woman tells her is the truth, and most importantly, remembering what happened to her the night she survived. There definitely seem to be some horror elements here, but this seems close enough to other thrillers I’ve read that I don’t think it would be too scary for me to manage. I haven’t decided yet which of Riley Sager’s books I want to read first, but this one could be a good place to start.

3) While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

35478962. sy475 For some reason, I feel like this book had been on my TBR forever, even though I only added it in January 2019. I assume I had it mixed up with something else since it’s only been out for a year, so it couldn’t really have been on my list for much longer. This book is about a woman named Zoe who wants to get away from her life in the US after separating from her husband, and decides to rent a newly renovated home on a remote Scottish island. Zoe soon realizes that her new home has a much darker past. It is the site of several mysterious disappearances, and she finds the peace she expected by moving there disrupted by strange sounds and events. The locals insist that what she sees are connected to the home’s past, but Zoe believes the danger is something more immediate and real. As much as I’m scared of anything to do with real haunted houses, I do tend to enjoy reading about them. I was especially drawn to this book because I saw it described as Gothic, which is a huge buzzword for me. This seems to be another book that has mostly flown under the radar, but it sounds pretty interesting and very creepy.

4) Doll Bones by Holly Black

15944406This one’s a middle grade book, so I doubt I would find it too scary, but I probably would have if I had read it at that age! It is about three best friends, Zach, Poppy and Alice, who love to imagine a magical world for their favourite action figures, until Zach’s father decides he is too old from them and throws them all away, causing Zach to distance himself from his friends. The girls soon pay him a strange visit, where Poppy claims that she is being haunted by a china doll that says it was made from the bones of a murdered child. The children believe they must return the doll to the girl’s home and bury it there, otherwise they may be cursed. I’ve only read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black so far, and honestly, I wasn’t particularly impressed. However, I’m planning to read her Cruel Prince series next year, and hopefully will like that one better. I think the premise for this story is very creepy and definitely something I would have found unnerving as a child, especially since I had a room full of stuffed animals (but luckily, few dolls). To be honest, I’ve always found dolls a bit creepy-looking and they seem to be such a great source for scary stories.

5) Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

41806986I discovered this book last fall, and was immediately intrigued after seeing it compared to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. it is about a woman named Lauren who, exhausted from the birth of her twins, Morgan and Riley, is sure that she saw a woman try to replace her newborns with other creatures. After an investigation turns up nothing, everyone seems to believe she must have imagined it. After a month, the infants disappear while at the park with her, and although they are found, Lauren again insists that something is wrong and that the children are not her twins. Lauren is determined to find her “real” children and bring them back home, but no one else seems to believe what she claims she saw. This sounds like such an interesting and unique idea for a story! I’ve heard of these kinds of changeling stories before in fantasy books, usually those involving Fae, but never in a book that has a more realistic setting. I love stories where you are left to question what is really happening and how reliable the main characters are, and this one sounds like it will fit exactly that. This is exactly the kind of thing I meant by books that are mainly a thriller with some horror elements, and I’m excited to try it.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Halloween Freebie (Halloween-ish Books On My TBR)

Apparently I had a bit of a mental block about this week’s prompt, because I somehow assumed that an upcoming topic was meant for this week. I think it’s because I saw this week’s prompt as pretty similar to the post I already had in mind for Top 5 Wednesday tomorrow, so they both kind of blended together in my head. It makes sense that this week’s topic would be a Halloween theme, but it was left open as a freebie! When I think of books to read around Halloween, I tend to go in one of two directions. I either read very creepy thrillers or even sometimes mild horror, or I read the more “cartoony” kinds of Halloween stories, which are a mix of scary and funny elements. Usually, I tend to save any books I have that involve monsters, witches, ghosts, etc. for October, but also some scary thrillers. For this week’s freebie, I went through my TBR and found ten books that I haven’t read yet, that I’d probably save to read around Halloween when I decide to try them.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

42527596. sy475 This book immediately jumped out to me as one that would give me Halloween vibes. It is about a woman named Melissa, known as Mouse, whose father asks her to clean out her recently deceased grandmother’s home. Mouse soon discovers that her grandmother was a hoarder, and among her things, she also finds her step-grandfather’s journal which seems to mostly be nonsense, until Mouse finds that the horrifying things he described seem to be true. Mouse finds herself alone in the woods with her dog, facing a series of seemingly impossible and terrifying things that appear to be coming after her. It’s rare that I pick up a horror story, but this one sounds along the lines of others that I have tried. I always seem to go for the books involving mysterious journals, and it sounds like a very creepy setting. I don’t know why, but the fact that the character is referred to as Mouse instead of by her name is a bit off-putting to me, so I’m hoping that is addressed in the story itself.

2) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

7507908This is a recent addition to my TBR, and one that I’d imagine will be a little easier on me because it is YA. It caught my attention because the cover art reminded me quite a bit of The Addams Family Values movie, where there is a third Addams sibling born. This book is about a boy named Mackie Doyle who is a “Replacement,” taking the place of a human baby 16 years ago, and now struggling to survive in the human world. Mackie would love to live among humans as a regular person, but when the baby sister of his crush goes missing, he finds himself drawn back into the underworld of his town to find his rightful place. Since I’ve started to read more fantasy books, and especially those that involve Fae, I’ve started to hear more myths about changelings, which seems to be what this book is describing. I love stories about supernatural characters who are struggling to figure out where they fit in, such as  Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song, with the monster who did not want to be one. This sounds like a very interesting story, and not too scary.

3) His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

39127647I think of all the books listed here, this is the one that I’m most likely to read first. This is an anthology of short stories that are retellings of classic Edgar Allan Poe stories. I absolutely adore the Raven, and I’m familiar with several of other Poe stories from adaptations (especially The Simpsons), although I’ve struggled a bit when trying to read the actual stories themselves. I’m very interested in reading this one because it includes several authors that I’ve already read and enjoyed, including, Tiffany D. Jackson and Kendare Blake, and many more that I’ve been very interested in trying. I’m curious to see how these authors tackle these stories, especially the few that I am most familiar with like The Tell-Tale Heart. Actually, looking at the names of the stories that were included, I am not that familiar with many of them, so this book could also be a good introduction to Poe’s stories. It’s not exactly the same as reading the real thing, but it could give me a good idea of the main storylines.

4) The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

42642111I’ve been seeing this book around quite a bit lately since it was just released at the end of last month, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized it was tagged as horror. It is about a finishing school in South America that is rumoured to be cursed. Mavi, a native of Buenos Aries who is fleeing the military regime, sets out to become a teacher to Argentina’s elite, but soon notices the strangeness of the house. When one of her students go missing and students and teachers both start to show signs of possession, Mavi starts to realize that the legends of a curse can no longer be ignored. For some reason, it’s rare that I find a book set in South America that strongly interests me, but I think this one has a lot of potential. It sounds like a very creepy setting, and a bit along the lines of The Broken Girls, which I’m currently reading and loving. Unfortunately, the reviews of this one so far have not been the best. It currently has an average rating of 3.21 stars on Goodreads, which is quite low but there have not been too many reviews yet given that this is such a new book. I’m definitely interested in finding out more about it, but I’d also like to see how it does once it has more reviews.

5) What the Woods Keep by Katya de Becerra

29748448. sy475 Aside from mysterious journals, a creepy woods seems to be another common factor in the scarier books that catch my attention. This is another YA book, about a girl named Hayden who is set to inherit her childhood home on her 18th birthday, if she can uncover its secrets. Hayden had tried to move on and prepare for college, in attempt to outrun her mother’s mysterious disappearance, her father’s bizarre theories, and her own disturbing dreams. Arriving back in her hometown with her best friend, Del, Hayden decides to uncover the truth of her past, even if that threatens to unravel the reality that she knows. I’m intrigued by this one because it is tagged on Goodreads as both fantasy and sci-fi, which is a combination that I don’t read often but tend to enjoy when I do. This book has been out for just over a year already, but does not seem to be particularly well-known. It definitely seems like the kind of story I could enjoy, and a great one to read around Halloween.

6) Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

24833801I think most of Mark Edwards books would be great to read around Halloween, although I have only read one so far. This one is about a couple named Daniel and Laura, who find themselves thrown off a train in the middle of nowhere at night, toward the start of what should have been their trip of a lifetime. In order to find their way back home, they must hike through a creepy forest, and are haunted by what they see there, vowing never to speak of it again by the time they make it back to London. As they try to get back into their normal lives, it becomes clear that it is not so easy to put that trip behind them. The synopsis for this one seems a bit on the vague side, but definitely sounds very creepy! It definitely leaves me wondering what happened to them, and especially how the forest could continue to haunt them after they made it to safety. The cover alone is reason enough to read it around Halloween since it looks so eerie! I have so many of Mark Edwards books on my TBR, and I think any one of them would be a good choice to get in the Halloween spirit, since they all seem to straddle the line between thriller and horror.

7) Twisted by Marla Meyers

36376191. sy475 I rarely add such short books to my TBR since I usually prefer books that give more room for the story to develop, but this one sounds very interesting. It is about a 72-year-old woman named Stella who is trying to avoid being sent to retirement home, after her daughter, Jennifer, begins to question Stella’s mental state. Jennifer notices her mother’s unusual behaviour, including claims of hearing voices, destruction of items around the house, and the belief that someone is threatening to hurt her. It is one of those stories that calls into question whether Stella’s mental state is really deteriorating, or if there is genuinely a ghost in her house as she claims. It sounds like a very interesting idea, but I think I’d like it even more if it had been developed into a full-length novel instead of a short novella. I love stories that make you question what is actually happening, and leave the reader to decide for themselves what is really going on. It seems that the author has also written another creepy novella that also seems quite interesting, but I definitely want to try one first before adding the other to my TBR.

8) The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

40965093. sy475 This book is an early 2019 release that I discovered toward the beginning of the year while looking at new and upcoming thrillers. It is about a couple named Sarah and Patrick, who have moved to the beachside house that Patrick grew up in to get a fresh start after the death of Sarah’s mother. The only catch is that, despite Patrick’s happy childhood there, the house has a reputation as the Murder House because of a family that was killed there. Patrick believes that they can restore the house, but with the local rumours of hauntings, the murderer on parole, and many creepy things happening around the house, Sarah can’t shake off the fact that something isn’t right. She especially begins to think that her husband’s stories about his happy childhood aren’t quite adding up anymore. I am definitely the kind of person who would be freaked out to live in a “murder house” even if it wasn’t actually haunted, so this seems like a book that would really creep me out! It’s the kind of thriller that I tend to love, and I’m glad I saw it on my TBR again since it will give me an extra push to pick it up.

9) Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

36039295I’m hoping to read another book by this author before the end of the year, and to be honest, I don’t know very much about this one. I was drawn to add it originally because of the interesting cover art, which definitely gives me Halloween vibes. It is about a mysterious fire that burns down the house at the end of the lane, causing the deaths of a woman and her ward, and only a few people in the town know what really happened. The synopsis for this one is also frustratingly vague for some reason, and I’m actually a bit confused as to why is tagged as horror on Goodreads at all. From what I can gather from various reviews, it is a coming-of-age story that involves some magic or witchcraft, and possibly some other paranormal elements. I think this one is still a good Halloween-ish book because of the overall atmosphere, but I think it will be pretty low on my list until I find out more about it.

10) Disturbed by Jennifer Jaynes

34884860. sy475 This one gets bonus points for having some of the story actually set on Halloween. I think I had this one mixed up with Riley Sager’s Final Girls somehow. It is about a woman named Chelsea whose college roommates were stabbed to death on Halloween night five years ago. Chelsea was found critically injured and hiding, and has done her best to move forward with her life despite an unshakable fear that the attacker will come back for her. When someone from her past re-emerges, Chelsea starts to receive disturbing messages and begins to feel like she’s being watched, triggering long-buried memories of that horrific night. This is definitely the kind of creepy story that seems perfect to read around Halloween, and especially because the holiday itself was a part of the plot. I’ve had this one on my TBR for a couple of years already but haven’t picked it up yet, although it sounds like the kind of thriller I’d probably enjoy.

Stacking the Shelves (#24)

Last month, I was surprised to realize that, for once, I hadn’t added a ton of books to my TBR. I expected that this month would be mostly the same, since I thought I’d already added all the upcoming releases that I was excited for. Somehow, I still ended up adding 111 new books, and I think about half of them are new releases. The unintentional theme this month seemed to be finding new books by authors that I’ve either read only once before, or that I’ve had repeatedly on my TBR without trying yet. My list currently stands at a completely overwhelming 3222 books! It should be fun to start planning for next year’s reading challenges with so many books to choose from, and I would hope that I could find something for every prompt from among what’s already on there.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality

1) Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

36547225. sy475 I swear I had this book on my TBR already, and it is one of those ones that ended up as a duplicate because of Goodreads giveaways. If that’s the case though, I must have deleted the previous one, since I now can’t find it. In any case, I was first drawn to this book because I absolutely loved the cover art. It is about a boy named Adam, who is dealing with the death of his oldest brother, and a girl named Jolene, who is an aspiring director with divorced parents. With the two of them spending every other weekend in the same apartment building, they soon strike up an unlikely friendship, and start to realize that their weekends together have become the best parts of their lives. When one of their lives finally starts to piece back together while the other’s spirals further out of control, they struggle with the idea of falling in love after seeing the pain it’s caused everyone around them. To be honest, I’d mostly forgotten what this book was about, but now that I’ve seen the synopsis again, it’s moved way up on my list for next year! Divorce and death of a family member both tend to be a bit overused in YA and this book has both, but it sounds like an adorable story.

2) The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

46779178I think I need to add more Christina Lauren books to my list for next year. I’ve only ever read one (Autoboyography), and hope to read at least one more by the end of this year, but all of their standalones are on my list! This book is their upcoming 2020 release, about a woman named Carey who works for home design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp, who hate each other but are on the verge of a huge career breakthrough. She is set to go on a book tour with the Tripps, along with James McCann, hired to be an engineer and unhappy about the prospect of having to tour. The two of them decide to work together to keep the struggling couple together for the few weeks of their tour, and soon realize they may have the chance of building something more together. I’m not sure if this is my highest priority Christina Lauren book to try, but they all sound so fun! I’m definitely planning to incorporate at least one of theirs into my challenges for next year.

3) If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

46650016This is another author that I’ve had on my TBR for ages, but I haven’t read any of her books yet! This one is actually coming out in March, around the same time as the Christina Lauren book above. It is about a woman named Laurie who is devastated when her partner of more than a decade suddenly ends things, and it’s especially difficult since they work at the same law firm and will still see each other every day. When a chance encounter with the office’s player, Jamie, happens in a broken-down elevator, Laurie realizes that it is the perfect opportunity. She wants to give the rumour mill something other than her ex’s pregnant new girlfriend to talk about, and Jamie needs a serious girlfriend to impress the bosses. The two of them decided to fake a relationship and let the whole thing play out on social media, and of course, soon start to develop real feelings for each other. This book reminds me a bit of a cross between The Hating Game and The Wedding Date, and it has several of the tropes that I love! This is another author that I think I should try next year, and this might be the book to start with.

4) The Kissing Game by Marie Harte

45689202I found and added this book, among several other contemporary romances, on a list of upcoming releases with illustrated covers. This one is about a woman named Rena who is a diehard romantic, interested in a man named Axel, who is a regular at the dive bar where she works. As Valentine’s Day approaches, and with no signs of any interest on his part, Rena is about ready to give up on Axel. Meanwhile, Axel has been crushing on her but has no idea how to show her how he feels, and decides he has one last chance to win her over. This book is due out just before Valentine’s Day, and not too much information seems to be available about it yet. It’s definitely not at the top of my list right now, but I’m interested enough to keep it on my TBR to find out more as the information becomes available. The synopsis on its own sounds mildly interesting, although it could also fall quite a bit into the frustrating side of the miscommunication trope.

5) When I Find You by Emma Curtis

39323683. sy475 I found this one while browsing for thrillers on Goodreads, and I’m pretty sure I was drawn to this one because it has a cover that is along the lines of the creepy house theme that I always seem to like. This one is about a woman named Laura who takes up after her office Christmas party with a man’s shirt on the floor, and no memory of what happened. Laura also suffers from prosopagnosia (face blindness), which means she is unable to remember and identify people’s faces. She knows that the man she spent time with at the party was wearing a pink shirt, but the shirt beside her is blue. Laura must now go to work every day and face the man who seemed to have taken advantage of her, with no way to know who it was. I think the prosopagnosia angle could create a unique angle for a thriller, and it is definitely not something that I’ve seen often in books. The story is narrated from the perspectives of Laura, as she tries to track down the man, and her boss, Rebecca, the only person at work who knows of her face-blindness. This sounds like it has potential to be a great thriller, and I’m interested in giving it a try at some point.

6) In the Role of Brie Hutchins by Nicole Melleby

46305867I’m a little on the fence about this one since it is tagged as middle grade, and I’m definitely not the target audience. It is about an middle school student named Brie who wants to convince her parents to let her go to a performing arts high school. When her mom walks in on her looking at some potentially inappropriate pictures of her favourite actress, Brie panics and blurts out that she has been chosen to take part in a ceremony at her Catholic school. Not only has Brie not been chosen, but she stands little chance of getting the role because it always goes to a top student. Brie decides to turn to Kennedy, the girl expected to participate in the ceremony, and Brie soon realizes that she may have feelings for Kennedy. It’s rare that I pick up a middle grade book, aside from graphic novels, but this one sounds like it has potential. I’m especially interested in seeing how the Catholic school setting plays a role. I can definitely see myself reading this at some point, but I wouldn’t say it’s near the top of my list just yet.

7) The Betrothed by Keira Cass

36071008. sy475 I read The Selection series a couple of years ago because I’d seen so much hype for it, and I really enjoyed it, although it definitely felt like more of a guilty pleasure. I liked Kiera Cass’s writing enough to be interested in giving something else she writes a chance, so I was excited to see this upcoming release mentioned on Goodreads. This book is not due out until next May, so there is not too much detail about it yet. It is about a woman named Hollis who has captured the heart of the king, only to realize that being queen might not be what she wants after all. She soon meets a commoner with a strange power, and finds that the future she wants is not what she ever thought. At first glance, this book does not seem too far off The Selection. Both involve girls who are chosen to marry a member of the royal family, but it sounds like it could be interesting. This book is supposed to be the first in a duology, and I’m very interested in finding out more about it as we get closer to the release date.

8) The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown

40110093. sy475 I saw this one mentioned very recently on the Youtube channel ProblemsOfABookNerd, and immediately thought it sounded very interesting. This is another middle grade book,about a girl named Iris who sneaks into the woods with her best friend, Daniel, where they discover a gravestone of a young girl. As soon as the grave is discovered, strange things start happening to Iris and she finds herself pulled back the woods and the grave. Iris and Daniel decide to investigate the area as part of a school project to figure out what’s happening, and soon learn that Avery’s grave is part of a forgotten cemetery for black people that existed at a time when white and black people were segregated, even in death. As the two of them learn more about their town’s history, they are determined to give Avery and the others buried there the respect they deserve. However, they have also awakened an angry ghost who is not satisfied with their plans and is determined to find herself a permanent best friend. This book sounds really creepy for a children’s story, and I also think it is a unique and interesting way to introduce the topic of segregation and racism. I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel about it since it’s a middle grade level story, but I’d like to give it a try.

9) How Far We Fell by Jane Shelmit

37806850. sy475 Another addition to my “creepy house covers” habit! I bought another of Jane Shelmit’s thrillers from Book Outlet, which, ironically enough also had a creepy house cover, but have not read it yet. This is her 2018 release, which I somehow didn’t hear of until this month. It is about a woman named Beth, who is married to Albie, a man who seems to have given her the perfect life and the chance to leave her past behind. Unbeknownst to him, Beth had an affair a year ago with Ted, the boss who has been helping to boost Albie’s career, but now that the affair is ending, things are starting to fall apart. Beth soon sees an opportunity to support her husband’s ambitions and satisfy her own desire for revenge, while keeping both her marriage and her secret safe. This definitely seems a bit different from most of the other thrillers that I’ve read, but it sounds like a very interesting premise. Like many thrillers, this one seems to have incredibly mixed reviews, and I’m especially intrigued because I’ve seen it described as “a modern Macbeth.”

10) Offline by Kealan Patrick Burke

12511842I found this book through a post on Destiny’s blog Howling Libraries, and it immediately caught my attention because of the social media theme, even though it is also horror. This book is written in the form of a true crime case presented as Facebook messages, which seems to center on the dangers of online communication. I was a bit surprised to realize that this book is less than 50 pages, which is usually enough to put me off since I prefer more room for a story to develop. I think this one could be very interesting to read, since it seems to be along the lines of a book like You by Caroline Kepnes. Social media provides such a great backdrop for a thriller, and I’m especially intrigued to see how this one plays out considering it is so short. I also tend to enjoy books that are told in some kind of unusual format, so that was another reason to add it to my TBR. I have never read anything by this author before, and horror is a genre in general that I tend to stay away from, but this one seems just close enough to my comfort zone that I might be able to manage it.

11) In My Mother’s Name by Laura Elliot

47966046. sy475 I’ve read one book by this author so far, with many more on my TBR already. This book was just released last week, and it is about a woman named Adele who has just returned to the last town where her mother, Marianne, was seen alive, after finding a diary that reveals a disturbing secret about her past. Adele is determined to find the men involved and bring them to justice, as well as find out what happened at the Mother and Baby home run by a self-proclaimed religious group. Her return to the town stirs up a lot of memories and secrets, and Adele must find a way to prove that her mother was telling the truth. This sounds like a very intriguing story, and I was glad to see it come up on my news feed. To be honest, I don’t remember very much about the one book by this author that I read, but I do remember that I really enjoyed it, and immediately added the rest of her books to my TBR. I’m definitely interested in trying this one.

12) The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

45046677I already have D.J. Palmer’s Saving Meghan pretty high on my priority list for next year, so I was excited to see another book by the author come up on Goodreads. This one is about a woman named Nina whose husband, Glen, seems to have been living a double life before he disappeared and was presumed dead. A year and a half after the accident, Nina has a chance encounter with her daughter’s teacher and believes she has the chance to find love again. Her son, Connor, welcomes this new man, but her daughter Maggie sees a much darker side to him. Nina is committed to moving forward with her life and resuming her career, but she must first make sure she is making the right choice with her new partner and soon uncovers a shocking truth. I have an idea already in mind of what one of the twists is likely to be, but I’m very intrigued to try this book to find out if I’m right since it seems like such an obvious choice. This sounds like exactly the kind of thriller I tend to enjoy, so there’s a chance that both of D.J. Palmer’s books might make my list for next year.

13) The Good Nieghbours by Kiersten Modglin

45728541. sy475 You can probably guess by now what first drew me to this book. I have no idea why these kinds of covers have become such a pattern for me! This book is about a couple named Bryant and Harper, who move to Lancaster Mills, and are shocked to find that their first encounter with their neighbours, Jason and Tori, is not the warm welcome they expected. Intrigued by the people living on their street, they soon realize that everyone has secrets and digging into them might be dangerous. The Goodreads synopsis for this one is frustratingly vague, even for a thriller, but it sounds intriguing. I’ve read a few thrillers that are based around creepy neighbours, and have many more on my TBR, so this seems like something I’m likely to enjoy. It reminds me a bit of The Magpies by Mark Edwards, which I enjoyed. This book has been out since June of this year, but does not seem to be very well-known yet. I’m not sure how high priority this one will be for me yet, but it is something that I’d like to read eventually.

14) I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

43352295I heard about this book just a few days ago on either a blog or vlog that I was looking at, but I can’t remember whose it was! I was immediately intrigued by premise. It is about a teenage girl named Jemma who has severe cerebral palsy, which impacts her ability to communicate and move. When someone reveals to Jemma a dark secret, they assume that it is safe because she can’t speak, until new technology becomes available that gives her the ability to communicate and share all that she knows. Now able to identify the killer, it seems to be only a matter of time before they act again, especially to make sure that their secret remains safe. As someone who works with adults with special needs, some of whom have limited abilities to communicate, I find this whole premise fascinating. It is very common for people to assume that individuals who can’t speak also don’t understand what is said to them or, as seems to be Jemma’s case, that you can say anything because it “doesn’t matter.” I’m actually amazed that I haven’t seen this as a thriller before, and I’m very interested in reading it! I’m a tiny bit put off by the fact that it is a YA thriller though, since I tend not to enjoy those quite as much, but it’s still unique enough that I think it will be worth trying.

15) Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

48400278. sy475 I think Riley Sager will also end up on my priority list for next year. I have all of his books on my TBR, yet have never read any of them. This book is his upcoming new thriller, due out in July 2020. It is about a woman named Maggie, who lived with her parents in an apparently haunted house for there weeks as a child before fleeing the building. Their entire experience was captured in a book written by her father, Ewan, which became a worldwide phenomenon. Now a restorer of old homes, Maggie has decided she does not believe any of her father’s writing, and sets out the renovate the “haunted” house of her childhood after inheriting it from her father’s estate. However, she soon discovers that people of the small town are upset about her father’s book and the level of attention it brought to the town, and the house itself seems to have a dark history that leads Maggie to question whether her father’s writing was more true than she believed. I think of all of Riley Sager’s books, this is the one that seems most interesting, although I would like to try all of them. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a copy of this one quickly enough to read it next year, unless I decide to buy it myself, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading it.

16) You Say It First by Katie Cotugno

45306303. sy475 Katie Cotugno has not quite made it onto my list of authors that I need to try already, but she probably comes pretty close considering I have the majority of her books on my TBR. The main reason I haven’t picked any of hers up yet is because I’m rarely interested in a straightforward YA romance, which is what her books mostly seem to be. This one is about a girl named Meg who thinks she has her future perfectly set up, with a supportive boyfriend, and plans to go to the same college as her best friend. While working at a call center to register voters, Meg unexpectedly connects with Colby, who immediately winds her up. Colby is stuck in a dead-end job and is struggling to cope with a family tragedy, and wants nothing to do with Meg or the political process. However, their phone conversation sparks a series of calls that turn into a long-distance friendship and maybe something more. I think of all of Katie Cotugno’s books, this is the one I’d be most likely to try first, although I’m not thrilled about the potential for cheating involved since Meg already has a boyfriend. I love books that involve online or long-distance friendships, so that might be enough to draw me to try this one.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Thrillers with Creepy Covers

I probably should have saved my ghosts-themed post from last week for today instead, since I’m just starting my pile of ghost books, but I thought this was a great Halloween-themed topic too! I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I somehow seem to have a pattern of adding books that have creepy houses on the cover, especially when it comes to thrillers. I have no idea why these always catch my attention, but somehow they always seem to automatically make it on to my list. Literally yesterday, a book (not listed here) with a creepy-looking house on the cover drew my attention when I saw it on my Goodreads feed, and it immediately made me want to add it to my list, even before I’d fully read the synopsis! I thought it would make a nice change from the monster-of-the-week topics I’ve done this month so far, but these books still definitely give me Halloween vibes.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald

47190836. sy475 This is  a pretty recent addition to my TBR, and it was added along with the author’s other 2019 release, The Woman Upstairs. Interestingly enough, both of these books were released this year, just 3 months apart! It is about a woman named Claire who realizes that her seemingly perfect life is starting to fall apart after she receives a note in her mailbox saying that she does not deserve her daughter. The synopsis itself is pretty vague, but I was able to gather a tiny bit more information from other reviewers. Claire moves with her husband Matt and newborn daughter Olivia to Matt’s family’s cottage, where she is under the constant watch of her mother-in-law. When Claire starts to see and hear strange things, she starts to wonder if she is just being paranoid or if someone really knows about her past and seeks to destroy the life she’s built for herself. This is a pretty common premise for thrillers by now, but it is one that I generally tend to enjoy as long as it is done well. I’m not sure when I’ll be getting to this one, but it sounds like something I’d probably like.

2) The Family by Louise Jensen

45023639. sy475 I’m hoping to finally read my first Louise Jensen book in the next couple of weeks, after having literally all of them on my TBR for years now. It’s one of those authors that it’s just become ridiculous that I haven’t tried yet, considering I keep adding all of her new books to my TBR. This one is her most recent release that just came out last month, and it actually caught my attention because of the cover before I’d even realized that it was by Louise Jensen! This one s about a woman named Laura who is grieving the sudden death of her husband, and she and her teenage daughter, Tilly, are offered a home by a local community. When another community member dies under suspicious circumstances, Laura wants to leave but Tilly refuses because she’s drawn to the leader, Alex. Desperate to save her daughter, Laura starts digging into the past of this community and  uncovers the reason that she and Tilly were invited in the first place, and why it will be so hard for them to now leave. I’m very interested in this one because I always find cult stories so interesting, but they are surprisingly hard to find! The last one I read was Always Watching by Chevy Stevens, and I’m excited to give another one a try.

3) Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson

40581130. sy475 I added this one to my TBR back in February, and I highly suspect it was another one that I was drawn to because of the cover. It is about a woman named Lizzie who has always been jealous of her colleague, Becca, who has a seemingly perfect life that she posts about all over social media. Years after the women have lost touch, Lizzie is suddenly pulled back into Becca’s life, and soon realizes that her online persona may not be the most accurate reflection of her real life. I’m a little confused about this one because the reviews seem to suggest quite a different direction for the story compared to the synopsis, but either way, it sounds like something I would enjoy. I love stories that have a focus on social media, and I especially love when thrillers use social media since there are so many great directions that these stories can take. I’d actually completely forgotten that I had this one on my TBR, but it sounds so intriguing! Looking at the synopsis again just might have pushed this one up on my list for next year.

4) The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

35482074. sy475 This one has been on my TBR for two years already, and the cover is so creepy! I don’t know why, but I was convinced that I had already mentioned this one before, but apparently not. It is about a woman named Corrine who is on her last chance to have a baby, after three failed IVF attempts. When a small part of a doll house turns up outside her front door, she decides that it must be a sign, but as more pieces start to show up, she realizes that they look strangely familiar. The pieces seem to be parts of the dollhouse that Corinne’s father made for her and her sister, Ashley, which is especially eerie since it is approaching the anniversary of her father’s death. The book is also told in dual perspectives, with the other half focusing on Ashley, a mother of three who suspects that her husband might be cheating, especially when she starts receiving phone calls with no one on the other end. I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews for this one, but it sounds very creepy! I don’t know why, but creepy phone calls are something that I always find especially scary. I’m a bit hesitant about this one because of the reviews, but many thrillers seem to get quite mixed reactions, so I’m still interested in giving this one a chance.

5) The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart

39904261This one is a very recent discovery, that I found just under two weeks ago by randomly browsing Goodreads. It is about a woman named Anna who is ready to return to work for the first time after having her children. She and her husband, Josh, reluctantly decided to hire a live-in nanny, and are happy to find Oaklynn, whom her children seem to love and comes with glowing recommendations. However, shortly after her arrival, the children start to come down with strange illnesses and injuries, and Anna begins to feel a bit displaced by Oaklynn’s role in caring for her children, despite her husband and friends’ reassurances that it is normal anxiety about returning to work. As Anna begins to delve into Oaklynn’s past, she soon realizes that they don’t know her as well as they thought, and she may not be the only one who lied. There definitely seems to be a trend of creepy nanny stories lately, but this one sounds very interesting! The synopsis immediately makes me wonder if it is some kind of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy story, but either way it sounds like something that I’d really like to read! This is another one that may make it to the top of my list for next year.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Book Titles I Would Change

I think this week’s prompt is the most difficult one for me so far this year! As I mentioned last week, titles are not something that I tend to pay much attention to. I have a few specific peeves when it comes to titles, but at the end of the day, I don’t really care what the title is as long as the book is good. For example, I don’t really like titles that are overly long, which seems to be a trend with a lot of YA books, or when the title doesn’t make much sense. On the other hand, it also bothers me when there are a lot of titles in a genre that follow the exact same format. A lot of thrillers, for example, have two word titles that are just “The” something, and attempt to sound ominous, such as The Friend, or The Teacher. For this week’s topic, I had to stray away from the prompt a bit. I have no idea what I would want to rename these books, especially because I haven’t read several of them yet, but these are all titles that I don’t really like.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson — This is one title that has always really bugged me! I hate that it is “Kitten Holy,” which makes no sense when it could just as easily be Holy Kitten. If I recall correctly, it was written this way because it was an anagram, but I don’t see how switching the order of the words would make a difference.

2) Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff – I’m very excited for this book, but I’m not such a fan of the title. I don’t like the way that “empire” and “vampire” sound so much alike, because it makes the title feel a bit awkward to say out loud. It’s like they were trying to make the title rhyme, but didn’t even quite accomplish that. Even if they had, I’m not such a fan of rhyming titles either.

3) The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – This is another book that I’m excited to try, but the title sounds way too close to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Between the similar numbers and the very similar character names, it seems a bit confusing. I wouldn’t necessarily rename this one, because from what I understand, it fits the story very well and it also is very intriguing, but the timing definitely wasn’t great.

4) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – This is really nothing to do with the book itself, but when I hear “Shades of Gray,” it automatically makes me think of 50 Shades of Grey and that puts me off a bit. It’s not really fair to fault the book for a similarity in the title to another series, but it’s another case of bad timing. Both this book and 50 Shades were first published in 2011, two months apart, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who naturally assumed some kind of connection.

5) Meet Cute by Helena Hunting – I have not read this one yet, so I’m mostly going by the feedback I’ve seen from other reviewers, but I’ve repeatedly seen comments indicating that the title of this book is misleading. The title and the cover both imply that this book is a light and fluffy romance, but it seems that this is not the case. I’ve seen several other reviewers comment that this book actually gets quite dark/heavy in places, and readers might want to know that before picking it up.

6) Mister Tender’s Girl by Carter Wilson – I get that this title is supposed to be a play on the name Slenderman, but I just don’t find Mister Tender very creepy-sounding at all. It’s such an interesting case to be the basis for a thriller, but I think they could have done a much better job with naming the character. Instead of getting stuck on the idea of making it sound vaguely like Slenderman, they should have gone in a more unique direction.

7) Ghosted by Rosie Walsh – Technically, this isn’t the worst title, but it’s also a bit misleading. I thought this book was going to be a thriller about the main character, Sarah, finding out what happened to Eddie, the man who ghosted her just after they seemed to be falling for each other. This book was not at all what I expected, and I wasn’t such a fan of the direction it took. The title does kind of fit, and is definitely better than the UK title (The Man Who Didn’t Call), but I think it did contribute to my impressions of what the book was going to be before I read it.

8) Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway – I don’t know why, but this title has always bothered me. I think it’s because the term “lacy eye”  doesn’t make sense to me. It sounds like it should be “Lazy Eye,” which also doesn’t sound like a great title either. I’ve owned this book for a while but haven’t picked it up yet. It sounds like such an interesting story too, but I keep putting it off and I’m sure the lackluster title is a small part of that.

9) Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell – This was such a fun concept for a book, and I wish the title had done a bit more to reflect that! This book is a collection of funny questions, comments, etc. or otherwise weird interactions Jen Campbell and other bookstore employees have had with their customers. They range from extremely specific requests to people who have no idea what they want, to those who really have no clue what a bookstore actually does. For a book with such funny stories, it would have been great to see a funnier or at least more creative title.

10) Jonathan Cleaned Up — Then He Heard a Sound by Robert Munsch – I don’t like to pick on the names of children’s books, but this one has always annoyed me! I love Robert Munsch’s books, but this was one that I never cared for as much. I don’t like the title because it is awkwardly long and wordy. It does technically fit the story, so I have no idea what else it should be called either, but it’s definitely not as catchy as most of the rest of his titles.






The Autumn Book Tag

Autumn has always been my favourite season! My birthday is just before Halloween, so that was always a fun time of year for me. I used to love going trick-or-treating with my friends, and we kept going as long as we could, even in high school! I was also the kind of child who loved back-to-school season. I loved shopping for school supplies, and even tended to enjoy the start of school because I was nerdy like that. Living in Canada, we sometimes seem to jump directly from summer to winter, but I wanted to give this tag a try while we finally have some true fall weather. Unfortunately, I’m having some trouble finding the original creator of this tag. I found it here on TheQuirkyBookNerd, and I will credit the originator if possible when I find out who it is.

1) What is your favourite thing about autumn?

I think the weather in autumn is perfect. I’m very heat-sensitive, so I tend to not like summers that much. I also get seasonal allergies in spring (and sometimes also at the start of fall), so that’s not really fun either. I love the falling leaves, and the cooler temperatures. I love to wear comfy sweaters, and I also love the start of seasonal treats, although I’m not very interested in pumpkin spice. And as much as it bugs me to see Christmas take over radio/TV and all kinds of public places in the winter, I love to see Halloween decorations, Halloween specials, and all of that. I’m a huge coward when it comes to the scarier stuff, but it helps get into the whole Halloween spirit without feeling overwhelming like Christmas does.

2) What book reminds you of your school days?

This is probably a very common answer, but I think I’d have to pick To Kill a Mockingbird. This was the first book that I studied in my high school English class, and I think it is one that I will always associate with that even though I’ve read it at least once since then.

3) What cover reminds you of autumn?

1282954. sy475







4) What is your favourite horror or Halloween story?

These aren’t specifically Halloween stories, but I tend to love things that have a kind of gothic feel to them, like Rebecca or We Have Always Lived in the Castle, or even The Thirteenth Tale. They are not really scary, but they are all a bit on the creepy/unnerving side. If I wanted something truly scary, I’d probably still have to go with Little Girls by Ronald Malfi, but that’s not necessarily something I’d reread.

5) What is your favourite horror or Halloween film?

Definitely The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values! I also love Beetlejuice and Dark Shadows for similar reasons. All of these have a good mix of humour along with creepier elements, so they are a lot of fun to watch without being too scary for me to handle.

6) What fall book release are you looking forward to?

There are so many great books coming out this fall, and I’m looking forward to all of them! These are a few of the ones that I’m most anticipating:









7) What autumn movie release are you anticipating?

Definitely the new Addams Family movie! I’m sure I’m not the target audience for it, but I don’t really care. I’m also very interested in seeing Joker.

8) What are three books you are planning to read this autumn?

The Broken Girls by Simon St. James
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I tag anyone who is interested in giving this one a try!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books About Ghosts (On My TBR)

Carrying on with my trend of choosing favourite Halloween-ish creatures, I decided to revisit a topic from last October and mention some books about ghosts. Given how much of a coward I am when it comes to ghost stories, I was surprised to realize how many of them I have on my TBR! To be fair, many of them are YA paranormal stories, some of which I’m not sure I’ll be keeping on my TBR, but there were definitely more than I thought. This one does stray away from my trend so far of the post lining up well with my current read, since I’m still working my way through The Mortal Instruments. I do have three books about ghosts planned for the rest of this month though (Invisible Ghosts, Sheets, and The Broken Girls), so it’s at least a topic I will be getting to in the next couple of days! I tend to like ghost stories to a certain degree because they are very creepy, but they also tend to really stick with me (or “haunt” me, if you will). It’s rare that I pick them up because I get so creeped out, but I tend to really enjoy the ones that I have read.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Uninvited by Cat Winters

19547848I bought another of Cat Winters books from Book Outlet, which I haven’t read yet, but this one is one of three that I currently have on my TBR. Cat Winters write paranormal historical stories, which give her books such a unique and creepy setting! This one is about a 25-year-old woman named Ivy who has the ability to see ghosts. Shortly after seeing the ghost of her grandmother, she learns that her brother and father have killed a German immigrant as retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother in WWI. Ivy leaves home to discover that the flu has caused panic and chaos in her society, and soon finds herself drawn to Daniel, the brother of the man her family has killed, with the hope of easing some of the guilt she feels. After looking through some of the reviews, it seems that the paranormal elements are not the main focus of this book, but I’m still interested in giving it a try at some point. I think the post-WWI setting is an interesting one, and one that I know very little about, and it definitely seems like the right kind of atmosphere for a ghost story.

2) The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

25543181I bought a copy of this one on a whim from Book Outlet, knowing very little about the author or the story itself. I actually just realized now that this author has also written Boneshaker, which I very tentatively considered reading for a challenge prompt a few years ago, but ultimately didn’t pick up because it just didn’t interest me enough. This book definitely seems a lot closer to something I might enjoy. It is about a woman named Dahlia who is assigned to clear out the huge family estate that had been owned by Augusta Winthrow. While working to clear out the house, Dahlia soon realizes that the home might be empty, but it is not abandoned. There is an angry presence still there, which seems to be taking its last chance to cause as much trouble as it can before the house is destroyed. I love stories that are set in creepy, atmospheric houses and that focus on characters uncovering the secrets behind a mysterious home. It sounds like exactly the kind of story I’d enjoy, and it’s such a great setting for a ghost story!

3) Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

42872940This is one of several books I’ve seen lately the features a creepy forest on the cover! It is about a girl named Sara, whose sister Becca has disappeared. In the aftermath of the disappearance, Sara struggles to return to her normal life at school, and her friends begin to distance themselves from her. When she receives a mysterious text inviting her and her former friends to “play a game” and find the local ghost Lucy Gallows, Sara becomes convinced that this will lead her to her sister. She soon finds herself in the woods with the friends she’s hardly spoken to in a year, with just their cameras to show what really happened as they follow her down the path deeper into the forest. Part of what intrigues me about this book is that it is told in a mixed media documentary style, and has been compared to the Blair Witch project. I have never seen that movie but it is definitely an interesting style for such a creepy storyline, and I tend to love books that are told in these kinds of unusual formats. Of all the books here, I think this is the one that I’m likely to pick up first.

4) The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

40065317I added this one to my TBR because I’d recognized the author’s name from a couple of other books that I’d also been interested in trying. I was a bit surprised to realize I’d never added The Winter People to my TBR since that was the book I had in mind when I first saw this one. I also apparently had one of her older releases (Don’t Breathe a Word) without realizing that it was by the same author. This is her most recent release, which is about a couple named Helen and Nate who move to a large plot of land where they plan to build their dream house. Discovering that their land has a dark past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes obsessed with the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, the woman who lived and died there a century ago. As she and her husband start to build their house, Helen also starts to uncover more about Hattie and the three generations of women who followed her, each of whom died under mysterious circumstances. This has all the elements of a story that would both fascinate me and really creep me out!

5) Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey

824768I’ve had this one on my TBR since 2016, but I somehow keep forgetting about it. It is about a girl named Eva, whose mother dies shortly after she is born, leaving her to be raised by her aunt and her father. As a child, Eva frequently sees a woman and a girl who no one else seems to see, and the intentions of these two figures becomes less clear as Eva grows up. She starts to wonder whether they are looking to protect her, or if they mean her harm. I actually can’t remember where I first heard about this book or what made me add it to my TBR, which is probably why it has taken me so long to get around to it. This is another author where I was surprised to realize I have another book by this author on my TBR too! I guess I need to start paying a lot more attention to the authors’ names when I add books to my list. I wouldn’t say this book is really high priority for me, but it does sound like an interesting and potentially very creepy story.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Extraordinary Book Titles (On My TBR)

I have to admit that titles are not something I especially pay attention to. I generally just accept that the title the book has was chosen for a reason, and was the best available option. When I saw this week’s prompt to find extraordinary titles, I was initially pretty stumped. I couldn’t figure out what would make a title “extraordinary” to me until I started to browse through my TBR for some inspiration. What I ended up finding were titles that all jumped out to me a bit because there seemed to be something particularly unusual or intriguing about them. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I pick books or add them to my TBR based on title alone, but it is definitely something that tends to catch my attention. Whenever I’m looking at lists of new or upcoming releases, it’s frequently books that don’t yet have cover art, so the title and author name are really all I have to go on. I often find there are several titles that catch my attention enough to draw me to check out the synopsis, or add the books to my list! The ones I’ve chosen here were the books that stood out to me most from my current TBR.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore – It’s a combination of the title and the cover art for this one. The title “Dark and Deepest Red” automatically makes me think of fairy tales, so that alone was enough to spark my interest, and it also helps that the cover art is stunning.

2) Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain – I think what I liked most about this title was the contradictory idea of teaching something flightless to fly. It’s one of a few books I’ve discovered in the past year or so that has a circus theme, which is a very interesting setting, and it has also been compared to Wonder, which I loved!

3) The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough – I’ve been very intrigued by this one for years, but still haven’t picked it up yet! I’ve had it on my TBR since 2016, and even bought a copy of it from Book Outlet to give myself an extra push to prioritize it, but clearly that has failed.

4) Jokes About Dead Girls by Richard Denney – I thought this book was supposed to be out this year, but it looks like it’s been pushed back until 2020. This one caught my attention at first because the title seemed a bit shockingly inappropriate. It definitely works as an attention-grabber though!

5) The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket – This is a very difficult title to top! It’s another book that’s been on my TBR since 2016, but I haven’t picked it up yet. I love this title because it sounds so funny. I’m especially confused by this being called a Christmas story when it mentions a Hanukkah food in the title.

6) My Life as An Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi – This is a newer release that caught my attention both because of the author and because of the unusual title. I haven’t read any of Ibi Zoboi’s books yet, but I’m hoping to read American Street soon. The synopsis doesn’t really give any clues as to what the ice cream sandwich idea is all about, so I’m very curious to see what that means.

7) A Room Away from Wolves by Nova Ren Suma – I have The Walls Around Us by this author in one of my Book Outlet stacks, but haven’t read that one yet either. Both of these books have very intriguing titles, but I chose this one because it is the more recent release. To be honest, I don’t know very much about it, but both the cover and the title drew me in when I first saw it.

8) Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan – To be fair, it’s the title itself that I find extraordinary, not necessarily the subtitle. As an introvert myself, I immediately loved the title because it was a feeling I could definitely relate to. I love that duality of what the person is saying out loud vs. what they are thinking.

9) With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo – This book is quickly becoming one of my top priorities for next year, and I’ve actually just picked up a copy of The Poet X by this author from the library that I’ll be reading very soon! I love this title because of the double meaning — the character has an interest in cooking, so the “fire” doubles as both the literal heat of cooking, and the strength of her passion for it.

10) When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer – This is another one that caught my attention because of both the title and the cover. It is a YA realistic fiction book that I discovered last year, and the cover features a staircase that spirals up like an elephant’s trunk. I’m not even 100% sure what it is about this title that I loved, but it was one that immediately caught my interest somehow.


Never Have I Ever: Bookworm Edition

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Facebook post the other day, which led me to this Never Have I Ever game. I’ve actually never really understood the appeal of Never Have I Ever as as party game, but that may be because the kinds of questions my coworkers tend to ask at staff holiday parties mean that I’ll very easily win! I thought it might be a bit more fun for me to try a book-related version of the game since that’s something that I can relate to better. This version of the game consists of 36 questions, and you get 1 point for each one that you have never done. I’ve always been a bit confused about the scoring system for these games though. I would have thought that a higher score would mean you’re more of a bookworm, but if you’re getting points for what you haven’t done, then that doesn’t seem to make sense.

1) Dropped a book on your face while reading

I have never done this! I have definitely had books slip out of my hands while I’m reading, but I don’t usually read lying down so it’s never been on my face.

2) Hid a book you were reading

Already, I’m not sure how to score this one. I used to keep the books I was reading under my pillow at night, but it wasn’t to “hide” them in the sense that I didn’t want people to see. It just seemed like the most convenient place to store them at the time. I’ve also hidden books that scared me after I’ve finished them, but not while reading. I guess I’ll count this as another never, but it is debatable.

3) Lied about what you’re reading

I’ve never done this either. I’m not embarrassed by what I read so I don’t see any reason to lie.

4) Read 50 Shades of Gray more than once

I have not even read it once, so never!

5) DNF a book

I have only done this once, with a very poorly written YA choose-your-own-adventure book.

6) Dreamed of a book boyfriend

Never! I don’t have book boyfriends.

7) Complained about a book turned movie

I have done this many times! Adaptations always tend to add or change things in a way that bugs me.

8) Said the book was better

I have definitely done this. I usually like the book better than the movie.

9) Went over your book budget

I’ll say I’ve done this, although I don’t really have a set book budget. I’ve definitely ordered books from Book Outlet when there was a sale that I didn’t expect, at times when I wasn’t planning to buy any books.

10) Claimed a book boyfriend

I feel like this is the same question as the one above. I’ve never had a book boyfriend.

11) Cried while reading

Yes! Honestly, not that often, but there are some books that really affect me. A Monster Calls is a prime example.

12) Made someone read your favourite book

I can’t say for sure. I’ve definitely recommended books to people, but I’ve never forced anyone to read anything, nor do I know for sure whether anyone has followed through on my recommendations. So I’m not really sure how to score this one?

13) Followed your favourite author online

I follow many of my favourite authors on social media, including Goodreads.

14) Fangirled over an author

Again, I have no clue how to answer this because I’m not sure what they mean by fangirling. I assume it has to do with being super excited to meet an author, but I have never met any authors in person. So I guess never?

15) Waited up for a book to hit your kindle

Never. I don’t use e-readers.

16) Pulled out your kindle at a party

I don’t have a kindle, but I’ve also never pulled a book out at a party either.

17) Gone to a book signing

Never. I know this is something a lot of bookworms love to do, but I’ve never been that interested in meeting authors in person.

18) Joined a book club

I’ll count it as a yes because I’m part of the Goodreads Around the Year reading challenge group, which is kind of like a book club. I’m not interested in joining a “real” club where I have to read and discuss a specific book at a specific time, because as soon as reading feels like a chore to me, I lose interest.

19) Laughed out loud as a book

I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty sure that I have.

20) Got an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy)

I did! When my mom worked at the library, they sometimes got a few ARCs that the staff could have, since they couldn’t put them on the shelves, I ended up getting one or two.

21) Read a taboo trope

I have no idea what they are counting as a taboo trope, but I’ve read Forbidden which involves incest, so I’ll count that as a yes.

22) Missed a meal so you could read

I have never done this. I’ve probably eaten quickly so I can get back to my book, but I’ve never completely skipped a meal.

23) Waited in your car to read

I don’t drive or own a car, so no.

24) Listen to an audiobook

I have listened to a few. It is definitely not my preferred format, so I only really listen when a reading challenge requires it or when I’m really struggling to get through a slow-paced physical copy of a classic.

25) Messaged an author online

I think I have, without realizing at the time that it was an author. I responded to an Instagram book giveaway which included a question of which book in the set was my most anticipated, only to realize that it was the author of one of the books that I was responding to. Luckily, I had picked her book!

26) Took a selfie with an author

I have never met any authors in person, so no.

27) Met a book model

I’m not sure what a book model is. I would guess it’s the people who pose for the cover art? I don’t think I have done this.

28) Traveled for a book event

I have never been to a book event.

29) Watched Passionflix

I don’t even know what this is.

30) Swooned over a book character

I’m not sure how to answer this one. There are definitely characters that I’ve found romantic, but I don’t know if I’d call it swooning. I’ll tentatively say never?

31) Wished to live in a book

I mean, I think most of us at some point have wished to live at Hogwarts or at least in the Wizarding World.

32) Smelled a new book

I have a terrible sense of smell, so I wouldn’t really get much out of trying to do this anyway.

33) Wanted to live at a library

It’s definitely crossed my mind.

34) Hated a character in a book

Dolores Umbridge. Need I say more?

35) Threatened to go “Misery” on an author

For those who aren’t familiar with Misery, it is about a woman who kidnaps her favourite author and threatens him into continuing a series that he had intended to cancel and reviving the lead character that he had killed off. I’ve definitely been upset when a favourite series ends, but I’ve never even thought about going to this extreme!

36) Hugged or kissed a book

I have definitely never kissed a book, but I have sometimes “hugged” a book after I’ve finished one that I love or when excited about getting one as a gift, so I guess I’ll have to say yes to this one.

In total, there were 20 things on this list that I had never done (including the two that were tentative nevers)!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books About Vampires (On My TBR)

It’s funny how well the topics I’d chosen for my Top 5 Wednesdays for the month have lined up with the books that I’m reading at the time. Last week, I posted about witches while reading an anthology of short stories about women and witchcraft. This week, I’ve chosen vampires, and I’ve also just started the second half of the Mortal Instruments series, which features a major character who is a vampire! This was completely unintentional, but somehow, it works. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not usually very interested in vampire stories, but that’s because so many of the ones that I’ve found have been along the lines of Twilight. What I tend to look for and love about vampire stories is all the mythology and lore that comes along with them. Vampire books definitely seem to be making a comeback right now, so I’m excited to see how some of these authors tackle the story!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

42265183I’ve had Renee Ahdieh’s books on my TBR for a few years now, but have not yet picked up a single one! I’m hoping to at least read the Flame in the Mist duology before the end of this year. The Beautiful is her latest book, which just came out this week, about a girl named Celine who is taken in by a convent in New Orleans, along with six other girls. Celine soon becomes involved with the city’s underworld, including the group’s leader Sebastien Saint Germain, but when one of the other girls from her convent is found dead, she starts to harbour suspicions. As more people die in a series of unsolved murders, Celine decides to take it upon herself to find out what’s happening, leading her to discover a long-running feud that also reveals the truth about her. I’m a bit nervous about this one because I’ve seen extremely mixed reviews from the reviewers I follow who have already read it. Most confusingly, I’ve seen a comment saying that for a book about vampires, it didn’t actually contain much about vampires. I suspect that’s because there a sequel, The Damned, which has already been announced for next year, but it’s still a bit of a weird comment to see about a vampire book.

2) Empire of the Vampire (Jay Kristoff)

43728380. sy475 This book is still nearly a year away, so there is no cover art for it yet. I loved Jay Kristoff’s writing in the Illuminae series, and I’m very interested in trying his other series as well. It is about a man named Gabriel de Leon, who is the last member of a destroyed holy order, imprisoned for murdering the vampire king. Gabriel tells the story of his life, which begins from his youth and spans to the betrayal that saw the end of his order, and his discovery of the Grail, which may end the eternal night that has already lasted 27 years. Through his journey, he also bonds with a teenage street urchin, Dior, who holds the secret of the Grail. This sounds like such an interesting concept for a story and I’m especially intrigued because it has so many plot elements that I tend to really enjoy. It’s going to be such a long wait before I can finally read this one, but at least I have Jay Kristoff’s other series to catch up on in the meantime.

3) Vampires Never Get Old edited by Natalie C. Parker and Zoraida Cordova

42594473. sy475 This is another book that is not due out until next September! It is a YA fantasy anthology featuring stories about vampires, and it includes authors like V.E. Schwab, Mark Oshiro, and Julie Murphy.  Unfortunately, considering this book is nearly a year away, there really isn’t much detail about it yet. It’s really only in the past year or so that I’ve started to branch out and read more anthologies. In general, I tend to prefer full novels because there is more room for the characters and the story to develop, but I’ve read some very good ones. Usually, an anthology will catch my attention because of the theme or because of the authors involved, and in this case, it was both. I’ve read at least one book or at least short story by several of the authors involved here, and many of the others are on my TBR. It sounds like this collection will be a lot of fun to read, and I’m very excited to try it.

4) Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

43763I have neither read this book nor seen the movie yet, but I’m very interested in doing both. Aside from Dracula, this is probably one of the best-known vampire classics, although I’ve been a bit hesitant to pick it up because it was first published in the late 70s, and I often find the style of older books is harder for me to get into. This story is told from the perspective of Louis, who is talking about how he first became a vampire, and his alliance with Claudia, who becomes a vampire that is trapped in the body of the young child she was when she died. Together, they travel to find somewhere they might belong and find others who are like them, and eventually come to Paris, where they meet Armand, who introduces them to an entire society of vampires, with its own dangers. I actually have a copy of this book that I’ve been tentatively intending to read for years as part of my reading challenges, but somehow keep putting it aside. I have a feeling it will be the same next year: I’ve already thought about including it as part of my challenges next year, but still feel a bit indifferent about trying it soon. I feel like the longer I push it off though, the less likely I am to actually try it.

5) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

345627I think this is one of the few remaining very popular series that I discovered through the online community that I have not tried yet. This is the first in a six book series, about a mortal vampire princess named Lissa, who has unusual powers. Her best friend, Rose, is dedicated to preventing the powerful and immortal Strigoi from coming after Lissa. After running away, the two of them return to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where Rose resumes training with Dimitri to learn how to be Lissa’s protector. To be honest, I don’t know that much about what this series is about aside from those basic details, and I’ve seen some pretty mixed reviews for it. I’m still pretty interested in reading it at some point, but it’s another one that I keep pushing aside in favour of many other series that I want to read more. It’s also another case where I feel like if I don’t read it soon, I’ll either keep pushing it off or completely outgrow it. As it is, YA paranormal series tend to be hit-or-miss for me, especially ones that were written around the time that this series came out. I’d still like to give it a chance at some point, or at least the first book.