Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for Game On by Laura Silverman, as well as a collection of other (lovely) authors. I hope you enjoy!
Title: Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between Edited by Laura Silverman
Genre: Young Adult Anthology
Publication Date: January 18th, 2022
A charming and inclusive YA anthology all about games–from athletic sports to board games to virtual reality–from editor Laura Silverman and an all-star cast of contributors.
From the slightly fantastical to the utterly real, light and sweet romance to tales tinged with horror and thrills, Game On is an anthology that spans genre and style. But beneath each story is a loving ode to competition and games perfect for anyone who has ever played a sport or a board game, picked up a video game controller, or rolled a twenty-sided die.
A manhunt game is interrupted by a town disappearing beneath the players’ eyes. A puzzle-filled scavenger hunt emboldens one college freshman to be brave with the boy she’s crushing on. A series of summer nights full of card games leads a boy to fall for a boy who he knows is taken. And a spin the bottle game could end a life-long friendship.
Fifteen stories, and fifteen unforgettable experiences that may inspire readers to start up that Settlers of Catan game again.
Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!
Now onto the interview!
1. Hi there! I’m so excited to have you with us Laura! Before we begin, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?
Laura: Thanks so much for having me! Let’s see…random facts…I started my own Etsy shop a few months ago. I design candles, notebooks, and other cute gifts for writers! I also started playing chess during the pandemic and got pretty decent at it. And if I could afford it, I would eat sushi every day of my life.
Saniya: I think it’s so cool you have an Etsy Shop! Chess is one of my favourite board games, so it’s awesome to know that you took it up recently.
2. Your upcoming 2022 release is an incredible young adult anthology. What is your favourite part about creating short story collections?
Laura: My favorite part is working with so many amazing authors! It’s seriously been such a gift to collaborate with these brilliant writers. They are all so kind and creative, and I know readers will love these stories as much as I do!
3. Game On includes a variety of sports. As a child, was there ever a sports player who inspired you? If so, who?
Laura: *averts eyes with camera* I can’t say I had a sports idol as a child. I did love watching the Olympics and even got to attend the Atlanta Olympics when I say six. But that’s what I love about this anthology! There’s a type of game in here for everyone – from sports to board games to videos games and puzzles, there are competitions for everyone to get excited about!
Saniya: That’s what I love about Game On! There’s something for everyone.
4. Lastly, what is your favourite board game and why?
Laura: I love so many! Like I mentioned, I really got into chess this past year. I also loved playing a fairly new game called Wingspan. But my absolute favorite still has to be Settlers of Catan. I used to play it every week in graduate school with fellow anthology contributors Kika Hatzopoulou, Amanda Joy, and Anna Meriano! It was really special working on this anthology with them since we bonded over both writing and games. Quick pitches for their stories – Kika wrote a really fun Mafia story where our MC is unsure whether or not she’s on a first date with the girl she likes, Amanda wrote an incredible love/hate story about teammates on a cheer squad, and Anna wrote a delightful romcomedy of errors about muggle quidditch and crushing on your roommate!
About the Author
Laura Silverman is an author and freelance editor and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, Recommended for You, Up All Night, and the upcoming Game On. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and You Asked for Perfect was named to best teen fiction lists by YALSA, Chicago Public Library, and the Georgia Center for the Book. You can contact Laura on Twitter @LJSilverman1 or through her website LauraSilvermanWrites.com.
Hiya!! I hope your day is going amazing. Today I’ll be reviewing Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, so I really want to read more books like it. If you have any similar recommendations, send them my way. Anyways, enjoy!
(Synopsis from GoodReads)
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure what I’d be in for. Luckily, I really enjoyed my time with Vicious! As the story progressed, I found myself constantly wanting to read on. The premise is just that unique.
The main characters however, were a whole other story. While I was fascinated by Eli and Victor, they weren’t particularly likeable. They were extremely self-centered and did more harm than good. But then again, I don’t know if Eli and Victor were even meant to be likeable from the start. They’re both morally grey characters. This may sound bizarre, but Eli and Victor heavily resemble anime antagonists. I’ve never been able to make this comparison in other books, so it was quite intriguing. Furthermore, there was no character development at all. This led them to feel dull and unlikeable.
“You don’t understand,” gasped Eli. “No one understands.”
“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”
In addition, the side characters were also very unique. Both Eli and Victor had allies who were related. Tween Sydney worked alongside Victor, while Sydney’s older sister Serena worked with Eli. I found this to be quite an interesting subplot as the two sisters were unofficial rivals throughout the story.
Moreover, the dialogue was done really well. It was gritty and full of wit. Which dare I say, is an awesome combination.
“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.” ― V. E. Schwab, Vicious
The writing style was very distinctive. V.E. Schwab writes with such eccentricity and elegance, allowing their books to always be must-reads. Vicious is written in third person, but it feels like you’re reading a first-person novel. You can definitely feel the emotions the characters are experiencing as you read. Unfortunately though, I disliked the ending. Without giving away too much, it was very anti-climatic.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading Vicious. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and was incredibly gripping. If you love morally grey characters, urban fantasy, or superheroes, then I highly recommend this one!
Age Rating:15 and up
Trigger Warnings: Violence
Overall Rating:8/10 or 4 out of 5 stars
Have you read any of V.E. Schwab’s novels? Have a great day!
Hiya!! I’m back with another review. I actually assumed I posted this one, but I guess I forgot to. Nevertheless I am here with a review of the lovely novel; Love Is a Revolution by Rennee Watson! This was actually a buddy read with the (awesome) April @ Booked Till Midnight . Alrighty, let’s get into it!
(Synopsis from GoodReads)
When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.
Love Is a Revolution is a timeless coming of age that you won’t want to miss this year!
The initial premise of the book immediately intrigued me as stories regarding self-love aren’t very common in fiction. Unfortunately though, the message of loving oneself was too obvious for me. I usually like to look for a deeper meaning, but in this case, I was already presented with the message.
“I can’t stand when people don’t follow through. Make a plan, stick to it. Say what you mean and mean what you say.” ― Renée Watson, Love Is a Revolution
In addition, the characters weren’t very likable. While I can appreciate the different relationship dynamics the main character Nala has with others, she wasn’t a very kind person. She’s closeminded, and constantly lies to her crush in order to impress him. However, she never truly accepts that what she did was wrong. Furthermore, there was a lot of girl-on-girl hate, which I am not fond of. On a better note, I adored Tye, Nala’s crush. He was extremely likable and added a real spark to the book.
Luckily, I adored the dialogue in Love Is A Revolution.It was the right amount sparky and heartfelt.
“You two are family. Family. That alone ought to be enough for you to respect each other. You’re also two women. Black women. The most radical thing you can do is love yourself and each other.” ― Renée Watson, Love Is a Revolution
I was very conflicted when it came to the writing. It was done very nicely. At times it was beautifully poetic! Other times though, it was too simple. This unfortunately made the moral of the story seem blunt and on-the-nose.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Love Is A Revolution. While it didn’t exceed my expectations, I can definitely appreciate its message. If you’re looking for a book on self-love, then this is definitely the book for you!
Age Rating: 13 and up
Trigger Warnings: Lying
Overall Rating:6.5/10 or 3.25 out of 5 stars
Have you read a book with self-love themes? Have a fabulous day!
Merry (belated) Christmas to all those who celebrate! I hope your holiday season was filled with joy, and maybe some festive reads too. Speaking of festivity, today I’ll be reviewing The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo. Enjoy!
(Synopsis from GoodReads)
Lila Castro is ready to take on her last winter break of high school. The snow is plentiful, the mood is full of holiday cheer, and she’s earning extra cash working at the cozy local inn. But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Veracruz, becomes her coworker. When they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they both realize they’ve been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets–and a dash of holiday spirit–bring them closer to love?
The Holiday Switch was the cozy read I was looking for this holiday season. It’s both fun and festive!
The main characters Teddy and Lila are strong characters, but only on their own. Their interactions were cute, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. One thing that made me uncomfy was that Teddy borderline threatened to spill Lila’s secret if she spilled his. Without spoiling too much, the issue wasn’t called out much. This also made me uncomfortable because Lila is in high school, and Teddy is not. Yes, she’s eighteen. However, this doesn’t excuse the fact that she was practically threatened by a college student.
On a better note, I loved how family was represented in the book. Lila is the oldest sibling, and has a lot of pressure to do well in life. I think many teenagers will relate to her in that sense. Lila also has a book blog, which was so cool because if it wasn’t obvious, I do too! 😆
“Books are an escape. Books are a reminder that opposites can exist at the same time, both good and bad, positive and negative.” ― Tif Marcelo, The Holiday Switch
In addition, the dialogue didn’t sound like something teens today would say. For example, phrases like ‘har har’ aren’t sayings kids use often. Fortunately, there was some great talk about the importance of representation in the media. I really liked that aspect of the book.
Moreover, the writing was very clunky. I found myself frequently re-reading sentences. This unfortunately did decrease my enjoyment of the book. Luckily, the story was very cozy. From sledding to drinking hot cocoa, the warm-and-fuzzy vibes in The Holiday Switch were amazing!
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped. The Holiday Switch was cozy though, so if that’s your jam then I recommend this book!
Age Rating: 14 and up
Trigger Warnings: Blackmailing
Overall Rating:7/10 or 3.5 out of 5 stars
What’s your favourite Christmas-themed book? Have a wonderful day!
Hi all! This year, or rather last year, I read almost 50 books, which is probably the most I’ll ever read in a year. 😆 Today I’ll be sharing my top 5 novels of 2021! However, I’ll be sharing some honourable mentions as well because I read so many amazing books this year. Also, if you’ve recapped your 2021 in any way on your blog, do share the link in the comments. I’d love to see all the lovely books you’ve read in 2021 too. Alrighty, let’s get into it!
(PS: Click on the book covers to add them to Goodreads.)
5. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
I loved loved loved Instructions for Dancing…until the ending. Unfortunately, it was too anti-climatic. However, the journey this book puts you through is incredible. The main characters are so lovable, and the writing was humorous yet heart-wrenching. Instructions for Dancing was the perfect mix of emotional yet funny, which in hindsight is an odd combination, but definitely a good one.
4. Made in Korea by Sarah Suk
Made in Korea was my first physical ARC, so it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I also interviewed the author, you can find that post here! The banter in this book was phenomenally done, to the point where I even want to re-read it, and I never re-read! The entrepreneurial aspect was awesome too.
3. Rumaysa: A Fairytale by Radiya Hafiza
This book surprised me so much! It’s a middle-grade novel that features beautiful illustrations inspired by South Asia. (It’s not a graphic novel though, in case you were wondering. 🙂) Nevertheless, Rumaysa was amazing! The heroine was spunky, and the story was absolutely hilarious! However, it’s the important lessons of following one’s heart and helping others that really stuck with me…and also the delicious descriptions of desi food. *sigh* I’d really love a hot cup of chai and a samosa right now.
2. Once Upon an Eid by A Collection of Authors (Edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed)
Once Upon an Eid made my heart feel so full! It tells a variety of stories, all of which show diverse perspectives and traditions that happen during the month of Ramadan, and on Eid. I felt like I learnt so much about the world through this book. Overall, it was incredibly wholesome and very joyful. I highly recommend it!
1. A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier
And now, in first place I give you 🥁*drumroll please*🥁 A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! This was one of my first reads of the year, and it was amazingly cozy. It’s essentially a mystery set in the mountains, and I loved it! From the hilarious dialogue, to the warm writing, A Castle in the Clouds is the winter read you’ve been endlessly searching GoodReads for! You can read my full review here.
Both of these books are adventure based, and are very easy reads. In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens was a sweet book with lovely writing. I definitely recommend! Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne was such a fun and enticing book that I recommend to anyone wanting to get into classical novels.
Feel free to read my interview with the author of In Deeper Waters here! I wish I could also interview Jules Verne, but sadly time travelling back to the 1800s will be a difficult feat. You can however, read my full review of Journey to the Center of the Earth here!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite books of 2021. I’m grateful to have read such amazing books, and hope to expand my reading to new genres like fantasy and historical novels. What genres do you hope to read more of in 2022? Have a lovely day!
Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Today I’ll be reviewing an ARC of WhatLives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie. Enjoy!
**Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Kids, and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Welcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is always watching. From the author of Scritch Scratch comes a chilling middle grade story about a creepy mansion and sinister creatures in the woods. All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to relax. But when Ginny’s father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures that escaped a mad scientist over a hundred years ago. And some say campers routinely disappear never to be seen again. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: there’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers. They’re after her.
First, let’s talk about the plot. What Lives in the Woods promises a story about a girl who uncovers secrets within the woods around the creepy manor she’s staying at over the summer. However, I found that this wasn’t the case when reading my ARC of the novel. The main character Ginny is being haunted, and most of it happens within the mansion. Unfortunately, the woods around the manor has very little to do with the story.
In addition, the main character Ginny is really fun! She’s imaginative and passionate. Although, her brother was portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The majority of the jokes made in the book revolve around how Ginny’s brother Leo acts. I understand that he was used as comic relief, but the jokes were overused. Luckily, I adored Ginny’s parents, along with her new friend Will. They were wonderful supporting characters.
Moreover, the dialogue was just okay. As mentioned previously, I didn’t find the jokes to be very appealing.
Fortunately, the writing was done well. It was gorgeously eerie, and really made my skin crawl! However, Ginny mentions Agatha Christie way too often. Her character development towards the end of the story felt very on the nose as well. On a more positive note, I’m happy that the story’s message was very sweet. It’s about making the most of one’s situation, which I thought was really nice.
Overall, I enjoyed What Lives in the Woods. While it wasn’t my favorite read, I definitely encourage young readers to pick up this thriller!
Age Rating: 10 and up
Trigger Warnings:Talk of death, scary imagery
Overall Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars or 6.5 out of 10.
Who’s your favourite author that writes thrillers? Have a wonderful day!
Happy (belated) Halloween!! This is the first Halloween I am celebrating during my blogging journey, so of course I had to end this year’s spooky season off with a review for one of October’s most read title; The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling. I hope you enjoy!
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two. That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all. Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.
Packed with witchy fun, The Ex Hex is the banter-filled read you don’t want to miss this fall!
The Ex Hex is a fun and whimsical book jam-packed with twists and turns! The main character Vivienne faces challenge after challenge, and never catches a break. This made for a very well-developed plot.
However, I did feel that some aspects of the book were quite repetitive. For example, Vivienne and Rhys (her ex), have feelings for each other, but always try to deny it. Unfortunately, their angst merely scratched the surface of what could have been such a thought-provoking relationship. Since The Ex Hex is mostly about Vivienne and Rhys’ relationship, I was hoping for much more substance. Luckily, their chemistry really saved me from writing a two-star review. 😆
“The best cure for anything was candles and a bath” ― Erin Sterling, The Ex Hex
Furthermore, the dialogue was slightly tacky. It tried hard to be sarcastic, but never truly delivered any laugh-out-loud lines. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the dialogue. But considering this is a romantic comedy, I was hoping for more witty dialogue.
On a more positive note, the writing in The Ex Hex really surprised me. Unlike the dialogue, it was absolutely hilarious. The mishaps Vivienne and Rhys deal with are comedy gold. The author does a wonderful job at portraying awkward situations in a way that doesn’t make me get second-hand embarrassment. If you ask me, that alone is an achievement in itself. Also, the writing is incredibly atmospheric. It depicts small towns during the fall in such a cozy way!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s fast-paced and absolutely perfect for the autumn season. Halloween might be over, but who says you can’t enjoy a spooktacular read during the fall?
Age Rating: 16 and up
Trigger Warnings: The death of a parent is brought up.
Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars, or 7.5 out of 10.
What’s your favorite witch-themed read? Have a fabulous day!
Hiya! Today I bring you a mood board for the incredibly atmospheric novel; Journey to the Heart of the Abyss (Light the Abyss #2). Enjoy!
Title: Journey to the Heart of the Abyss (Light the Abyss #2)
Author: London Shah
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
The sequel to London Shah’s thrilling futuristic mystery The Light at the Bottom of the World, perfect for fans of Illuminae and These Broken Stars.
Leyla McQueen has finally reunited with her father after breaking him out of Broadmoor, the illegal government prison—but his freedom comes at a terrible cost. As Leyla celebrates his return, she must grapple with the pain of losing Ari. Now separated from the boy who has her heart and labeled the nation’s number one enemy, Leyla must risk illegal travel through unchartered waters in her quest for the truth behind her father’s arrest.
Across Britain, the fallout from Leyla’s actions has escalated tensions between Anthropoid and non-Anthropoid communities, bringing them to an all-time high. And, as Leyla and her friends fight to uncover the startling truths about their world, she discovers her own shocking past—and the horrifying secrets behind her father’s abduction and arrest. But as these long-buried truths finally begin to surface, so, too, do the authorities’ terrible future plans. And if the ever-pervasive fear prevents the people from taking a stand now, the abyss could stay in the dark forever.
Find out more about Journey to the Heart of the Abyss with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link. If you have time, do check out the other lovely tour stops as well!
Here’s a moodboard I made for the book!
About the Author
London Shah is a British Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital for most of her life, via England’s beautiful North. On any given day she can be found daydreaming of a different past, an alternate present, or some surreal future. She enjoys drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, and losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. The Light at the Bottom of the World is her debut novel. The sequel Journey to the Heart of the Abyss releases 26.10.21.
Hey everyone! Today’s post is a bit overdue, but will hopefully be a worthwhile one because I’m going to be giving you some books to read this fall season! I’ve separated the books into four categories; Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult, and of course, the Classics. I hope you enjoy!
PS: Press the book covers for the goodreads links. I also summarised most of the book synopsis’ myself. However some I took from goodreads.
If you’re a bit of a scaredy cat like me, than I suggest these middle grade titles! But don’t let their innocent demeanor fool you…
1. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
This is a gorgeously creepy story about a girl whose field trip to a farm goes wrong.
2. Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
Set in 1922, Ophie’s Ghosts follows a girl named Ophie. She has no choice but to work as a maid in an old manor as her mother is tight on money. Little does she know that the manor holds secrets of its own.
3. What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie
When Ginny Anderson’s dad takes the family on a month long trip to a decrepit manor known as Woodmoor Manor, things take an uneasy turn. For the woods surrounding the mansion, hold a secret.
4. Thirteens by Kate Marshall
After the death of her mother, twelve-year-old Eleanor moved to a town called Eden Eld where an eerie Mr. January collects his payment of three thirteen-year-olds every thirteen years. The kids are sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back, and has their eyes on Eleanor and her friends. Will they break the curse before Halloween ends?
I feel like Young Adult thrillers are harder to find than YA mysteries, so here are some to add to your TBR!
5. The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins
Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
6. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
While this one isn’t entirely a thriller, it gives me such fall and back to school vibes!
Darcy Phillips gives relationship advice to her fellow students. However, one day she is hired by the popular guy at school who wants to get his ex back. What could possibly go wrong?
7. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Cemetery Boys is a fall classic!
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)
8. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
Sixteen year old Jake Livingston can see the dead. However, what happens when you become haunted by a ghost, and are able to see it?
9. Alice by Heart by Steven Sater
In this Alice and Wonderland retelling, Alice and her best friend Alfred must take refuge in a London Tube station during WWII. Alfred is gravely ill with Tuberculosis, and might not survive the night. So to cheer him up, Alice tells her favorite story; The Story of Alice in Wonderland. But what happens when wonderland is her only escape from the harshness of World War Two?
10. I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan
In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again. At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
11. The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, Detective Min―Hwani’s father―learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village―and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol―Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
12. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Something is off about Snakebite. Teens keep going missing, and Ashely Barton’s boyfriend is one of them. When Logan Oritz-Woodley and her family move in town, they aren’t exactly met with a warm welcome. Logan frequently wonders why the town hates her family so much. Could Snakebite be hiding a secret?
13. A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell
Separated by the rest of the world, Derry and her eight siblings live on a lake near a merciless forest. One day Derry’s siblings start to go missing, forcing her to confront the forest once again.
So maybe Middle Grade and Young Adult aren’t your jam. If so, then that’s totally okay! Here are some adult reads instead.
14. Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau
This book isn’t necessarily spooky, but it’s most definitely cozy!
Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After the sudden death of his mother and years of constant work, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum. Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees. As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.
(Synopis from goodreads)
15. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Nine years ago, young witch Vivienne Jones ‘pretended’ to curse Rhys, the guy who dumped her. Fast forward almost a decade, and he’s back in town to represent his prestigious family, and also to recharge the town’s ley lines. However, will the curse Vivienne thought she never placed on Rhys endanger the town she’s always called home?
16. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia
Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead. Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that. When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her. Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
17. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
If you’re a fantasy lover, then this is definitely the book for you!
A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully. Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for. At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
Can’t forget about the classics!
18. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is a story about the infamous Van Helsing, a guy named Harker, and of course, evil. Filled with incredibly atmospheric writing, and a deliciously eerie setting, Dracula is a classic you don’t want to miss this Halloween!
19. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This is the insane story of Dr. Frankenstein and his experiment that lead to the creation of the iconically creepy monster Frankenstein.
20. The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. Soon, amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is on the scene to investigate what will become a legendary murder case, but can this scruffy sleuth solve a seemingly impossible crime?
(Synopsis from goodreads)
🎃 Still not sure what to read this autumn? Feel free to check out my spooky book reviews below for some ideas! 🎃
Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing well, and enjoying this lovely spooky season. Today I’ll be reviewing The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould. This book was definitely outside of my comfort zone, so I’m happy I received the opportunity to read it! Without further ado, here are my thoughts on it!
PS: Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
(Synopsis from goodreads)
I’m not going to lie, it took a while for the book to fully grasp my attention. The book was very complicating and repetitive at times. However, as the story progressed, I found myself becoming more and more enthralled!
The main characters Logan and Ashley are quite peculiar characters. They’re both morally grey, and you can never truly tell if they’re friends or not. But this only adds to the excitement you feel while reading The Dead and the Dark. Readers will never know if they’ll become close, or betray one another. In addition, Logan and Ashley’s parents are incredibly mysterious. This only adds to the eerie vibe of the story. Every character in the book has a story to tell, and it was such an amazing experience to see it all unravel.
In addition, the dialogue didn’t stand out to me. Since The Dead and the Dark is a mystery, I expected there to be more suspicious or nail-biting dialogue. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
On a more positive note, I adored the writing. While many scenes felt repetitive, the author described each setting a bit differently every time Ashley or Logan returned to that specific place. This was such a unique way to showcase the change in perspectives!
Overall, I really enjoyed The Dead and the Dark. It started off slow, but very quickly grasped my attention. I definitely recommend this novel for the fall season!
Age Rating: 15 and up
Trigger Warnings: Violence, death, drowning
Final Rating: 8/10 or 4 stars
What’s a spooky book you adore? I’d love to know! Have an amazing day!