Top 10 Horror Novels I’d Totally Love to Read (If I wasn’t such a chicken!)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Halloween Freebie! (Happy Halloween! Let your creativity run wild with a themed post to celebrate!).

So, confession time here at The Bookish Libra…I’ve always maintained that I don’t enjoy reading horror novels.  Well, the truth is I’ve actually never even read one.  Why?  Because I’m a gigantic wimp.  I read for enjoyment and I get no enjoyment out of being terrified.  I don’t read scary books and I don’t watch horror movies.

If I were to ever work up my nerve and read scary books, however, here’s a list of books that I would totally consider reading.

 

* * * * *

 

Top 10 Horror Novels I’d Totally Love to Read (If I wasn’t such a chicken!)

 

  •  IT by Stephen King   “To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.  It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.  Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

 

  • THE SHINING by Stephen King  “Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.”

 

  • THE OMEN by David Seltzer  “Jeremy Thorn, United States Ambassador to England, and his wife Katherine become the parents of a beautiful boy whose destiny is to fulfill the most horrible prophecy ever made.”

 

  • PSYCHO by Robert Bloch  “It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty but clean and the plumbing worked. Norman Bates, the manager, seemed nice, if a little odd.”

 

  • THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson “The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre.  First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.”

 

  • DRACULA by Bram Stoker “When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.”

 

  • HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson “Can any soul survive?  Regarded as the Mount Everest of haunted houses, Belasco House has witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity. Two previous expeditions to investigate its secrets met with disaster, the participants destroyed by murder, suicide or insanity. Now a new investigation has been mounted – four strangers, each with his or her own reason for daring the unknown torments and temptations of the mansion…”

 

  • HEART SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill “Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.”

 

  • CORALINE by Neil Gaiman “The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.   The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.Only it’s different.At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.  Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.”

(Okay, so I break down and read Coraline anyway since it’s supposed to be for ages 9 and up, lol).

 

  • THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin “Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

    The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.”“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

    First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

    As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

    With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.’ to ‘“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.”

(Note:  All synopses taken from Goodreads.)

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Question:  What are some of your favorite Horror novels?

The Bookish Libra reviews the riveting thriller ONE PERFECT LIE

The Bookish Libra reviews the riveting thriller ONE PERFECT LIEOne Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
three-half-stars
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 11th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

MY REVIEW:

Lisa Scottoline’s One Perfect Lie is a riveting thriller that sucked me in from the very first sentence:  “Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud.”

From the first moment of the novel, the main character Chris Brennan is painted as a master manipulator and liar.  As Chris sits in the principal’s office interviewing for a job as a government teacher and assistant baseball coach at Central Valley High School, it immediately becomes clear that he is lying every step of the way.  While presenting himself as the picture perfect candidate to fill the teaching position, Chris is also sitting there contemplating his real motivation for securing this job… and guess what? It has absolutely nothing to do with teaching.  Chris’s thoughts are dark, sinister, and potentially deadly.

Because he’s perfect on paper and is able to easily lie his way through the interview, Chris lands the job and immediately begins to put step one of his real plan into motion.  He needs a teenage boy to help him carry out his plan and, through prior research he has conducted of the classes he will teach and the baseball team he will coach, Chris has identified three prospective boys.  First is Evan Kostis, who is popular, good looking, and comes from a wealthy family. Then there’s Jordan Larkin, who is shy and tends to be a bit of a follower, and the final candidate, Raz Sematov, who has a bit of a bad boy vibe.  Like a predator, Chris observes these three boys intently for several days trying to determine which of them possesses the qualities he needs.

Scottoline had my full attention by this point as Chris’s ominous plot started to unfold.  I ended up reading One Perfect Lie in less than a day.  I literally could not stop turning the pages because the suspense was so great. I just had to know who Chris really was, what he was up to, what his motivations were, and most especially, why he needed a boy to help him carry out his seemingly sinister plan.

Holy Plot Twist, Batman!  One of my favorite parts about One Perfect Lie was that after all of the setup that I just wrote about, Scottoline throws an unexpected wrench into the story that made me have to throw out every assumption I had built up in my mind about Chris Brennan and start all over again.  I can’t really go into any details without spoiling the main action of the story, but it definitely threw me for a loop and took the story in an entirely different direction that I was expecting it to go.

I also liked the use of multiple points of view to unravel the mystery of this story.  One Perfect Lie is told from the perspective not just of Chris Brennan, master liar, but also from the perspectives of the mothers of Evan, Jordan, and Raz. While Chris was the expected point of view, the mothers surprised me since I would have expected to hear from the boys.  I really liked Scottoline’s use of the mothers though.  From Susan Sematov’s perspective, we learn that Raz’s whole family is reeling from the unexpected death of Raz’s father a few months earlier, while from the perspective of Mindy Kostis, we learn that Evan is caught up in a life of drama that would rival Desperate Housewives. And finally, from Heather Larkin’s perspective, we learn that she is a single mom trying to make ends meet and therefore isn’t around for Jordan as much as she would like to be.  Watching the story unfold from these POVs gave a lot of insight into the home lives of the three boys and what it was about each of them that drew Chris to them.  It also revealed that Chris Brennan isn’t the only one walking around with secrets and lies, adding an element of juicy domestic drama to an already captivating mystery.

Scottoline does a fabulous job building up suspense throughout the story too.  As I mentioned earlier, I literally could not put this book down once I got started.  The mystery was just so engaging, and then there were just so many lies that needed to be unraveled.  The pacing was quick and consistent, which was nice, and I can’t recall ever being bored while I was reading.

Even though I plowed through the book in less than a day, I still had a couple of issues with it.  I sat on this review for a week just to see if these things still bothered me and yes, they still do.

  1. There’s some drama early on about needing to rent a truck from a business that would allow a teenage driver to pick up the truck. I’m intentionally being vague here because of spoilers, but the gist of my issue is that this scene is presented in such a way that it makes it seem like it’s crucial to the storyline, but then it’s never mentioned again. It left me very confused since I kept waiting to see when the truck would fit into the storyline.
  1. There’s an action sequence near the end that just felt didn’t feel realistic to me. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely made for great entertainment, but since the rest of the story felt so realistic, it just felt really out there in comparison, like something out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger action hero movie.  Trust me, you’ll know exactly the scene I’m referring to when you get there.

Even with the couple of issues I had, I still very much enjoyed this read.  With its intricate plot, riveting suspense, and a memorable cast of characters, One Perfect Lie is sure to please any reader who enjoys a great mystery.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Jordan’s baseball games. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will have readers riveted up to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.

three-half-stars

About Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 28 novels, including her latest, ONE PERFECT LIE, which releases in April 2017. Her previous emotional thriller, MOST WANTED, has been optioned for a TV series. Lisa also co-authors a bestselling series of humorous memoir with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, which is based on their weekly Philadelphia Inquirer column titled “Chick Wit.” These witty and hysterical books examine life from a woman’s perspective, and the most recent book is, I’VE GOT SAND IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES. The first in the series, WHY MY THIRD HUSBAND WILL BE A DOG, has been optioned for TV. Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at The University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much sought after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Weekly Recap #24: Week of 10/22-10/28

 

It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday last week.  I had a lovely day and as you’ll see from my Stacking the Shelves this week, I did indeed score a lot of new reads as birthday gifts, not to mention a couple of gift cards so that I can purchase more once I work my way through these.  Aside from birthday activities, it was actually a very quiet week. I’ve been trying to get out every day and take a nice, long walk now that the cooler fall weather has arrived.  I’ve also been making my son go with me, and it’s amazing how much more information I can get out of him about his school day when I have him completely away from all of his electronic distractions.

We did have a last minute dash a couple of days ago regarding Halloween costumes. For the past two months, my son has been telling me that he didn’t want to dress up this year, that he would rather stay home and hand out candy.  “Are you sure?”  “Yes.” “Are you absolutely sure?” “YES!”  All of the sudden on Thursday, he comes to me “I think I want to go trick or treating.”  “Seriously?”  Thankfully we have a Spirit Halloween store in town and they still had a few costumes left in his size.  Otherwise I would have forced him to wear his soccer uniform and carry a soccer ball with him, lol.

As far as the blog goes, it was pretty much business as usual for me this week.  If you haven’t entered my twitter follower celebration giveaway, make sure to do that. It ends tomorrow.  Also, if you’re interested in reading Dear Martin, there’s a blog tour giveaway on my review post so be sure to enter that as well.

I did get a lot of reading done, finishing One Perfect Lie, The Tethered Mage, and about half of Artemis this week, and I’m of course still plugging away on Hillary’s book. I’m about 350 pages into that and still wishing she had been elected President with every page I turn.  I don’t know that I’ll be able to objectively review that book since I’m obviously a huge Hillary fan, but we’ll see how I feel once I finish it.  I definitely think it’s one of those reads where if you love her, you’ll love the book. If you hate her, you’ll find nothing redeeming about it.

Anyway, I think that’s it for me.  Have a great week, everyone!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

    

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

    
       
 

STACKING THE SHELVES

 

   
   
   

TOTALLY RANDOM

 

Source: Pinterest

2017 HoHoHo Readathon Sign Up Post & TBR List

 

I’ve been looking around for a  while now for a new readathon or challenge to participate in and have settled on one that I thought sounded like a lot of fun, the HoHoHo Readathon, which is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer.  I’ve also finally decided what books I’m going to try to read for the readathon, so here’s my sign-up post, complete with my Christmas/Winter-themed TBR list as well as the rules for the readathon in case anyone else is interested in signing up.

 

My 2017 HoHoHo Readathon TBR List

 

      
 

2017 HoHoHo Readathon Details and Rules

 

It’s that time of year when the holiday and winter-themed books hit the bookshelves. It’s also time to sign up for the Fifth Annual HoHoHo Holiday/Winter Readathon! hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer.  Gather up your favorite cocoa, comfort foods, holiday music and books and join in the fun!

 

This year’s event will run from Wednesday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 15th at 11:59 pm. During the event, you can participate in challenges, win prizes, meet new friends and join the Twiter party. You can participate for a day or cozy up by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participate the more entries you will earn for the Participant Giveaway. See details below:

 

  • Link-up (it is not necessary to link to goal post, just link to the account/blog you will be using)
  • Before or on November 8th post a goals post to your blog.  If you do not have a blog, declare your intentions on social media and link to this page, then create a shelf on Goodreads with intended books) Be sure and link back to Caffeinated Reviewer. If you do not have a blog or Goodreads account and wish to participate you could use Instagram or Facebook. Contact me if unsure.
  • It might be a good idea to a friend, like or follow me on whatever social media site you use so we can see your progress. Just mention Ho-Ho-Ho so I can follow you back.
  • Grab the image and share! Tell your friends, post the image and link on social media using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google + or Instagram Be sure to include a link to this page, so others may join.
  • Participate in at least one challenge to be eligible for grand prize
  • Read/listen to as many Holiday or Winter themed books as you can. (Winter can be new years setting, snowstorm etc. If you are unsure contact me)
  • Tweet your progress using #hohohorat
  • Twitter Party! Tuesday, November 15, 2017, at 8:30 pm (EST) #hohohorat Come chat about the books you have read. There will be prizes.
  • Challenge schedule and Grand Prize widget will post on November 8th at/by 8 am (EST)
  • Read-a-thon starts on November 8th 12:o1 am (your time zone) and ends on November 15 at 11:59 pm (your time zone)
  • Challenges will be open from 8 am (EST) on the 8th and stay open until Nov 15th at 11:59 pm (EST)
  • Grand Prize Raffle will be open until November 16th at 11:59 pm (EST) to allow you to submit entries.
  • All winners of challenges and the grand prize will be notified by November 20th.

Rockstar Book Tours: Dear Martin Review & Giveaway

Rockstar Book Tours:  Dear Martin Review & GiveawayDear Martin by Nic Stone
four-half-stars
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on October 17th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 224
Source: a Blog Giveaway
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from a Blog Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is my stop on the RockStar Blog Tour for Nic Stone’s powerful new novel, Dear Martin.  Please check out my review and then be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for your chance to win a finished copy of DEAR MARTIN.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other stops on the Dear Martin Blog Tour!

MY REVIEW:

Dear Martin is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and most important books I’ve read this year.  It follows the story of high school student Justyce Mcallister.  Through Justyce’s eyes, readers see firsthand what it’s like to be a young black man in America.  We experience the fear and the frustration of constantly having to worry about being singled out by police, or even shot and killed, because of the color of your skin, the clothes that you’re wearing, or perhaps even the type of music that you’re listening to and how loud you have that music turned up.

Justyce has worked hard all his life in order to secure the best future possible for himself.  He thinks everything is going his way too until one fateful night when he is stopped by a police officer and immediately placed in handcuffs.  It doesn’t matter that Justyce is an “A” student and that he has been accepted to an Ivy League university; the police officer just automatically assumes that Justyce is up to no good.

The racial profiling is blatant and it makes Justyce all the more sensitive to the racism that goes on around him every day.  When he returns to school, for example, one of his white classmates (and someone he thought was a friend) implies that the only reason Justyce got into an Ivy League school was because of his race and Affirmative Action.  Not only does the student accuse Justyce of not having truly earned his spot at the university, but the implication is that Justyce stole the white student’s spot as well.

Justyce is not only frustrated by these comments but also by comments from those he grew up with who accuse of him forgetting his roots and selling out because he moved out of their rough and poor neighborhood to go to a better school.

When the unthinkable happens and someone near to him is killed in an incident involving a white off-duty police officer, Justyce is left feeling caught between two worlds and alone.

Armed with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, (the “Dear Martin” of the title), Justyce takes us on what is ultimately a journey of self-discovery.  His story is raw, gritty, and poignant, but it is still ultimately a hopeful one.

 

Justyce of course was my favorite part of Dear Martin.  He is not only an extremely likable character, but he is also a much needed voice in YA literature.  There aren’t nearly enough books out there with young male protagonists, and especially persons of color.  Nic Stone makes Justyce give a voice to every other young man who has experienced similar kinds of prejudice and/or who has been racially profiled..

Justyce is also a great character because he is so complex and well-developed.  The journey that we go on with him is so poignant, especially experiencing the wide range of emotions he goes through – the initial almost disbelief that such blatant racism still exists, the mounting frustration as he realizes it’s all around him, and the questions that run through is mind about how to deal with it.  Nic Stone does a beautiful job of fleshing out this character from every angle.

I also liked that Dear Martin packed such a huge punch with so few words.  It’s only about 200 or so pages long, which would make it ideal for Required Reading at schools (hint, hint!), and it’s 200 of the most powerful and relevant pages I’ve read this year.  It’s fast-paced and filled with plenty of action and riveting dialogue that I think would keep even the most reluctant reader engaged.

The Dear Martin letters that Justyce was writing throughout the story were another highlight for me.  I loved the balance between those letters and the rest of the action of the story.  The letters Justyce wrote were so reflective and conveyed every emotion he was feeling as he tried to process everything that was confronting him.  They also powerfully illustrated how badly he wanted guidance to know how to survive in such a racist world “What Would Martin Do?”, along with his questions about whether or not the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were still relevant today.

 

I have to admit that at first I was a little down on the romantic relationship in Dear Martin.  (Yes, my usual lament that not every YA contemporary needs to have romance.)  In the case of Dear Martin, while I liked the relationship itself and thought the couple was a great match, I just felt like it was a little distracting from the main themes of the story.  But then Nic Stone did something that changed my mind — she took what was seemingly a distraction and, through a conversation between Justyce and his mother, ended up tying it right back to one of her novel’s most important messages — that no one, white, black, or any other color, should be judged based on the color of their skin.  Taking what could have been a potential distraction and linking to one of the central points of the story made the romance work much better for me than I thought it was going to.

 

Dear Martin is a book that everyone should read.  I really wish this book had been around back when I was teaching high school because I just know Justyce’s story would have resonated with so many of my students.  It not only powerfully tackles important social issues such as racism, racial profiling, and police brutality, but Nic Stone has also delivered a beautifully written story with a captivating and complex main character that you’ll fall in love with.  I look forward to reading more from her and just can’t recommend Dear Martin highly enough.

 

 

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

 

 

PURCHASE LINKS:

AmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of DEAR MARTIN, US Only.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

DEAR MARTIN TOUR SCHEDULE:

 

Week One:

10/16/2017- LILbooKlovers Interview

10/17/2017- YA Bibliophile– Review

10/18/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Guest Post

10/19/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

10/20/2017- Eli to the nth– Excerpt

Week Two:

10/23/2017- Chasing Faerytales– Review

10/24/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Interview

10/25/2017- BookHounds YA– Review

10/26/2017- Novel Novice– Guest Post

10/27/2017- The Bookish Libra– Review

Week Three:

10/30/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review

10/31/2017- Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook Interview

11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Excerpt

11/2/2017- Novel Ink– Review

11/3/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post

Week Four:

11/6/2017- Amanda Gernentz Hanson– Review

11/7/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Excerpt

11/8/2017- Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Review

11/9/2017- Lost in Ever After– Interview

11/10/2017- A Backwards Story– Review

 

 

four-half-stars

About Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.

Can’t Wait Wednesday – Spotlight on Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in for over a year now, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll just be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

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My selection for this week is Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu.  I grew up watching Batman on so as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I was going to read it at some point.  But then after reading Warcross and falling in love with Marie Lu’s writing, Batman: Nightwalker attained must-read status.  I just can’t wait to see her put her unique spin on the caped crusader.

 

BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER by Marie Lu

Publication Date:  January 2, 2018

 

From Amazon:

The new, eagerly anticipated BATMAN YA novel is an action-packed thrill ride that could only be penned by #1 New York Times bestselling author MARIE LU.

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

The city’s elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most nefarious criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

In this second DC Icons book–following Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer–Bruce Wayne is proof that you don’t need superpowers to be a super hero, but can he survive this game of tense intrigue, pulse-pounding action, and masterful deception?

 

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Advance Praise for BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER 

 

“The trickiest aspect of any Batman narrative is getting into Bruce Wayne’s head, and [Lu] doesn’t miss a beat. . . . An engaging character piece with enough Batman allusions to intrigue fans and newcomers alike.”  —Kirkus Reviews, (for Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu)

“Doesn’t merely survive the hype, it deserves it.” —The New York Times Book Review (for Legend)

“An action-packed love story full of inventive details.” —The Los Angeles Times (for Legend)

“Fine writing and excellent execution.” —Entertainment Weekly (for Legend)

“Lu opts for a high simmer of intrigue.” —PW, Starred Review (for Prodigy)

“By permitting her characters some grand failures, she raises the stakes in the best way possible.”—The New York Times Book Review (for The Young Elites)

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Unique Book Titles

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Unique Book Titles.   I’m thinking of this week’s topic in terms of titles that jumped out at me and made me want to read the book even if it was just to figure out how the title ties into the story.

 

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TOP 10 UNIQUE BOOK TITLES

 

1. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli

(Find out what it’s about…)

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2. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

(Find out what it’s about…)

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3.  TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green 

(Find out what it’s about…)

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4. GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION by Jake Burt

(Find out what it’s about…)

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5. A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole

(Find out what it’s about…)

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6. LILY AND THE OCTOPUS by Steven Rowley

(Find out what it’s about…)

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7. CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF by Tennessee Williams

(Find out what it’s about…)

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8. DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

(Find out what it’s about…)

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9. MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL by John Berendt

(Find out what it’s about…)

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10. MURDER OVER MOCHAS by Caroline Fardig

(Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What are some unique book titles that have piqued your curiosity?

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour – MARKED BEAUTY Book Review & Giveaway

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour – MARKED BEAUTY Book Review & GiveawayMarked Beauty by S.A. Larsen
four-stars
Published by Ellysian Press on October 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 305
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is my stop on the Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour for S.A. Larsen’s exciting new novel, Marked Beauty.  Please check out my review and then be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other stops on the Marked Beauty Blog Tour!

 

MY REVIEW:

 

S.A. Larsen’s Marked Beauty is a fresh and imaginative YA contemporary fantasy that follows high school student, Anastasia Tate, or Ana as she is called. For most of her life, Ana has been carrying around a secret: she’s an empath and can feel the emotions of those around her. Not only can she feel their emotions, but she can actually see them as well. Everyone she meets has colored life energy auras floating around them.  It’s not an ability that she fully understands and so the emotions of others often overwhelm her, so most days she just tries to get by while drawing as little attention to herself as possible.  When she senses a dark shadowy presence stalking her at school one day, it becomes clear that life as she has known it is about to change.

That same dark shadowy presence nearly costs Ana and her best friend, Katee, their lives, but a young man named Viktor Castle intervenes and rescues them.  Viktor, however, is no ordinary young man.  He possesses abilities of his own and is also carrying around a secret – Viktor is the victim of an ancient curse and Ana is the only one who can set him free.  His original purpose for being in the right place at the right time is to retrieve Ana so that he can free himself, but once he sees her, he decides he can’t go through with it and instead vows to protect her at all costs, even if it means he is cursed forever.

From the moment she lays eyes on Viktor, Ana senses that the two of them have a connection that she has never experienced before.  It’s an undeniable attraction.  Ana also senses that he has the answers to questions she has had all her life about her abilities and so she begins to question him relentlessly and gets furious when he evades her questions at every turn.  What Ana doesn’t realize, because she doesn’t know the full extent of her history and where her powers come from, is that by interceding and saving her life, Viktor has actually put her in even more danger.

Will Viktor finally come clean to Ana and answer all of her questions about her powers and about this bond that the two of them clearly share?  Will Ana and Viktor be able to escape the dark forces that threaten both of their lives?

There’s so much to love about Marked Beauty.   There’s mystery, action and adventure,  romance, a lush fantasy world, and ancient curses, as well as characters that will immediately draw you in and keep you invested in their stories.

I especially enjoyed the main character, Ana.  I thought the author did a brilliant job of illustrating her empathic powers and how challenging and often overwhelming they could be for Ana, while still infusing Ana with qualities such as being feisty, determined, and quite often stubborn.  She has these powers that she’s not quite sure what to make of, but once she decides she wants to know everything about them, there’s no stopping her.  That realistic and relatable mix of strong and determined yet somewhat vulnerable had me cheering Ana on from the first pages of the story.

Viktor was also a great character.  I loved the sense of mystery that surrounded him from the moment he enters the story.  I also liked that even though he knew Ana was the only way to free himself from this curse, he chooses the selfless route instead and vows to protect Ana and keep her hidden from those who would love to harness her power and use it for their own sinister purposes.

The unique fantasy world that S.A. Larsen has created was really what kept me so mesmerized by this story.  I really enjoyed how the novel itself is set in a normal high school contemporary setting, but that just below the surface, there’s this rich fantasy world filled with the Lynceus, Rifters, hybrids, the mysterious Sixth, bloodprints, life energy auras, family curses, and so much more.

I don’t want to give too much away about the fantasy world since I think it’s best to watch the details of the mystery unfold for yourself and see how they ultimately tie back to both Ana and Viktor and their families, but it’s definitely one of the most intriguing fantasy worlds I’ve encountered.  I also kept finding myself thinking about what a great film this story would make.  The descriptions of the auras, in particular, were so lush and vivid that I just kept wishing I could actually see them for myself on film.

While the mystery of finding out how this fantasy world relates back to Ana was my favorite part of Marked Beauty, I have to admit that I also enjoyed the romantic aspect of the story as well.  Those who follow my reviews are probably shocked since I’m usually quite critical of romance in YA fantasy and I’ll admit that I had a moment of ‘OMG, no. It’s instalove!’ but I changed my mind.  Yes, Ana and Viktor are immediately attracted to one another, but in this case, there’s a clear reason for it because they’ve been somehow bound together by this curse.  Their destinies were intertwined back before they ever met, so I was okay with them having that instant bond.  The bond is what initially brings them together, but they do end up having enough chemistry that it worked for me.

I can’t say that I had many issues at all with Marked Beauty.  The only thing that dropped it from a 5 star to a 4 star rating for me was that I occasionally had a little trouble following the mystery of the curse and how it related to Ana.  The story itself is fascinating but some of the details were so intricate that they lost me once in a while.  That said, by the end, all of my questions were answered so I was satisfied even though I had that occasional confusion about what was happening and why.

If you’re into fantasies that are filled with action, romance, mystery, and a hint of danger, I’d say give Marked Beauty a chance.  S.A. Larsen has created a unique fantasy world that I definitely wouldn’t mind visiting again.

 

 

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.

Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.

Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger. As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

 

Purchase Links:

Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

 

Blog Tour Giveaway:

One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars

About S.A. Larsen

S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.

Weekly Recap #23: Week of 10/15-10/21

 

It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Well, all of my work deadlines are behind me so needless to say, this has been a great week!  I’ve had plenty of downtime and have just been enjoying the fall weather, napping a lot, and getting caught up on all of the shows that have been stacking up on my DVR.  I haven’t tried many of the new shows yet but of the ones I have, I really enjoyed the first few episodes of “The Brave” on NBC.

And today’s my birthday. Yay!  I have no idea what I’m doing today yet, but I’m hoping to spend some quality time with my son and my hubby (and hopefully snag a few new books too!).

On the blog, I’ve got a few blog tour posts coming up this week, one for a YA fantasy called Marked Beauty and one for a YA contemporary, Dear Martin.  Both reads were quite good so I look forward to sharing those reviews.  I also have a new giveaway up on the blog to celebrate reaching the 1,000 twitter follower mark.  If you haven’t already, make sure you enter.  The prize is a book of your choice (up to a $20 value) from The Book Depository.

Anyway, I think that’s it for me.  Have a great week, everyone!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

   

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

    
       
 

STACKING THE SHELVES

 

   

 

TOTALLY RANDOM

 

1,000 Twitter Follower Giveaway – Enter to Win a Book of Your Choice (Up to $20 Value) – Open Intl.

 

I’m so thrilled to announce that I have finally reached the 1,000 follower mark on twitter. Yay!  I love to celebrate blogging milestones, so I’m hosting a bookish giveaway as a way to say thanks to everyone who follows and reads my blog.  You’re the best!

At first I was going to come up with a specific list of books for you to choose from, but there’s so many amazing books out there right now that I couldn’t choose just a few and didn’t want to limit your choices either. So, instead, I’m just setting a $20 value on my giveaway and letting the winner select a book of their choice (up to that $20 value) from The Book Depository.  The giveaway is also open internationally as long as TBD ships to you, so be sure to check their list before entering: (Countries The Book Depository Ships To)

The giveaway runs from now until October 30, so be sure to get your entries in by then.  I’ll be contacting the winner via DM.  Thanks again for all of your support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway