Spookathon 2019 Wrap Up

Last week went by so fast and it was so fun on Youtube to see all the people who don’t normally read thrillers or mysteries giving them a go. It did make me realize that some books are either marketed or talked about as thrillers because that’s the in thing right now but they are really mysteries. Which isn’t really anyone’s fault but if you go in expecting some crazy twists and turns and it’s really a mystery where the clues are laid out the book and especially the ending are going to be disappointing. I am guilty of labeling books as thrillers and mysteries at the same time and I am committing to not falling into that trap anymore. It annoys me when I go into something and it turns out to be something else and I don’t want to contribute to disappointing anyone. Now that is out of the way lets get into all the books I read last week. I changed my Spookathon TBR up a tiny bit but overall I’m really pleased with how well I did. I only read four instead of the five I had wanted to but we also went on a road trip this past weekend so that obviously didn’t leave much time for reading.

41150380

Challenge: Read a book with a spooky setting

You can read my full review of this but don’t be misled by the title. This is a trapped elevator setting and NOT an escape room.

Rating: 3/5

51lWFL1nZsL._SL300_

Challenge: Read a book with a spooky word in the title (13)

This was one of my favorite Agatha Christie’s that I have read. I still have a ton more to read but this one will be a favorite. I was trying to solve this one right along with Hercule Poirot and I thought I had it all figured out but at the end he went through various theories and said how they were all wrong. Then gave the correct one of course. I also liked the humor in this one. This is the first time I have read a Hercule Poirot with his friend Hastings narrating the story. They very much had a Sherlock and Holmes kind of relationship and I enjoyed it.

Rating: 5/5

41940236-1

Challenge: Read a thriller (I thought this was a thriller but it is definitely more of a crime mystery)

It took me about 60 pages to get into this book and then I read the roughly 300 more pages all in one sitting. There are some reveals that come out of nowhere and some twists so I can see why people say it is a thriller. It is definitely slow paced though and I didn’t really get the hype but about  the half way point things start happening and it got good. As a mom of three boys though this book was difficult to read because of the children aspect of the story. I also thought the main character, Tom, was annoying especially when it came to how he handled things concerning his son, Jake. I really liked this weaving tale that Alex North put together and how everything fit. The ending was ok but the last page had me so disturbed. I don’t think I will ever forget the way this book ends.

Rating: 4/5

40816622._SX318_

Challenges: Read something you wouldn’t normally read & Read something with red on the cover (this is more of a red orange but I’m still counting it!)

This is my second ever manga and the last one I read was also by Junji Ito. That one was Shiver and it was also a collection of short stories. I liked Shiver more but this one was still really good. I remember with Shiver I thought the title story was the best of the bunch. With this collection I feel like Smashed was the worst story of the bunch. The were also three stories that all kind of connected with each other (and also a couple of stories from Shiver) so that was fun to read. My favorite story of this collection was probably the home library story about a guy who has over 150,000 books. Smashed had some heavy topics like suicide, eating disorders, sexual assault and things of that nature so be mindful of that if you would like to give this book a try.

Rating: 4/5

~Cassie

 

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

41150380

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 352

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 3/5

*Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

The Escape Room is a dual storyline book following four colleagues who are trapped in an elevator (“escape room”) and also Sara Hall who used to work with them. For me this is an average thriller that really suffers from the escape room idea this book is titled after and so I’m assuming it is also based on. However, if this book cut out all the “escape room” aspects of this story than it would have worked so much better. Also, I keep putting escape room in quotations because this is NOT an escape room in any way. It is basically a book about four people who are trapped in an elevator by a nefarious someone. That should have been the synopsis and then just give the book a different title and most of my issues with this book would be gone.

All that aside I did really enjoy this book. The story starts out high stakes because these people are trapped and they are in a terrible position and we are going along trying to figure out everything that led up to them being in the elevator. I thoroughly enjoyed Sara Hall’s story so much and the journey her character goes on. I connected so much with Sara that she kept me wanting to read to find out what was going to happen next. This is another book that I flew through in a couple of days purely because I wanted to know where the story was going. I definitely would have rated this book at least one star higher if this had just been a trapped elevator story.

Most of the ending was really good and I loved how the author, Goldin, laid it all out. It was pretty well thought out and I feel like she told a well rounded story. There is a part of the ending that I think is lacking but I don’t want to spoil anything so I will just say that I wish there was one little thing that had been added in.

While this is a fast paced thriller that I think a lot of people would enjoy, I do want to recommend a movie if you are looking for something that is an actual escape room. Escape Room (2019) is a movie that I recently watched and highly enjoyed the first half of. The second half lost a lot of the suspense but it definitely is an escape room setting. Also, like I said in my previous review, locked room mysteries are my favorite thing so when I pick a book because I think it’s going to have that trope and it doesn’t I’m pretty disappointed. So, if you don’t have the same hang ups about this specific trope then you will probably enjoy this book more than me.

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Dinner Party by R.J. Parker

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

46026035.jpg

Publication Date: October 18, 2019

Publisher: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Pages: 400

Rating: 4/5

The Dinner Party is about a group of eight friends (four couples) who meet for dinner one night and take part in what they think is a harmless trust exercise to help strengthen their relationships. Of course this exercise ends up ruffling some feathers and by the next day two people at the dinner party are dead and things have just started to go bad for the rest of the group.

This was an extremely fast paced thriller that I flew through in a day. I went into this with the preconceived notion that the whole book was going to take place at the dinner party from hell but really the dinner party just sets things in motion for the rest of the story. So while that was slightly disappointing (locked room mysteries are my favorite thing ever!) it was still a fun ride with short chapters and a lot of action and reveals.

The book is told from the perspective of Ted who hosted the dinner along with his wife, Juliette, and I really feel like this helped to add to the suspense of the book because we are trying to figure out what is going on at the same time as Ted. This is one of the rare books where the reader is given all the clues so it is possible to put it all together along with Ted. I had most of the story figured out but I forgot about some little details that were added in so I didn’t completely figure it out. The ending was a bit melodramatic and over the top but honestly isn’t that part of the fun?

~Cassie

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

40489648

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 384

Genre: Thriller, Gothic, Suspense

Rating: 4/5

This book follows Rowan, who interviews and then becomes the live in nanny for three (potentially four with the oldest daughter at boarding school) young girls who live in a state of the art smart house in basically the middle of nowhere in Scotland. This is by far the best Ruth Ware book that she has written. I have yet to read her debut but I have read her three other books and wow does she just keep getting better and better. This was gothic, creepy, disturbing and spooky. I read a lot of thrillers and I don’t shy away from horror and there were definitely a few times I was creeped out reading this.

The characters all felt realistic to me even though I didn’t particularly like any of them. You go into the story knowing that one of the girls that Rowan is watching died in her care and she is writing to a lawyer from prison to tell her side of the story in the hopes that he will take her case. That plus the creepy smart house that she is living in with the girls really helped to amp up the suspense of this book. Honestly, if I was Rowan I would have run out of that house and never looked back.

After I finished this book I was really blown away by how well rounded this story was. When I first read the ending I wasn’t too sure how I felt about it but the more I think about it the more I realize it really is the perfect ending. I still think it fell a little flat compared to the high suspense that I felt during the rest of the book, especially the closer we got to the ending.

If you are in the mood for a fantastic thriller with a superb setting then I highly recommend this book to you. The Turn of the Key is the perfect October read and I can’t wait to read whatever Ruth Ware comes out with next year. If you liked this book than I suggest you give Lock Every Door by Riley Sager a try because this is another gothic thriller that recently came out.

~Cassie

ARC Review: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

44774415._SY475_

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Lion Forge

Pages: 256

Genre: Graphic Novel, Magical, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

This book follows Nova, a witch, and Tam, a werewolf, and their romance as they try to stop a demon. Nova and Tam are the cutest and I really appreciated how accepting of each other they both were. There is a lot of really great representation in this graphic novel which was another plus. Another aspect to this story was the unexpected family drama that both Nova and Tam have. This is just a really well done contemporary story with a lot of witchy, magical elements thrown in. The pacing of this story was also really well done because the author, Walker, did a great job of balancing the magical elements of this story with the more realistic parts.

The majority of the arc that I read was in color and I adored the art style. It is not as whimsical as  The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill but it was equally as cute. I loved the colors and way Nova and Tam looked at each other. Such a sweet romance and I hope we get more from these two in the future. Also, the side characters in this story added so much to the different layers of the story. I really liked Nova’s best friend and her Grandma’s. I also wouldn’t mind a story based on the Grandma’s when they were younger.

Definitely check this out for a fun, sweet, cozy fall read. Mooncakes has all the elements for the perfect (non scary) October read.

~Cassie

Spookathon TBR

One of my favorite readathons of the year is upon us!! I love setting aside a week during the spookiest time of the year and reading all the thrillers, mystery and horror that I can. For all the information on #spookathon you can check out Lala’s (the creator of this readathon) video here and the official Twitter here. This readathon goes from the 14th- 20th and there are five challenges.

Read a thriller

41940236-1

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Read a book with red on the cover

41154336-2

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.

And no one is safe.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Read a book with a spooky word in the title

*I chose the word thirteen because I was born on Friday the 13th and on my birthday in elementary school all the kids would call me a witch haha

51lWFL1nZsL._SL300_

Here is another thriller by the master of mystery – and the most popular author of all time. Lady Edgware wants to marry a duke, but Lord Edgware won’t divorce her. She jokingly tells Poirot that if he won’t kill Lord Edgware, she may have to. When the lord turns up dead, Lady Jane is suspected. Will her alibi hold up?

Thirteen at Dinner

Read a book with a spooky setting

*The book I picked is set at a haunted boarding house!

35533431._SY475_

A suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Read something you wouldn’t normally read

*I chose a horror manga because I have only read one and some of the stories genuinely freaked me out.

40816622._SX318_

Thirteen Chilling Nightmares Presented by the Master of Horror.

Try not to be noticed when you eat the secret nectar, otherwise you’ll get smashed… What horrific events happened to create the earthbound-people tied to a certain place for the rest of their short lives? A strange haunted house comes to town, but no one expects it to lead to a real hell… Welcome to Junji Ito’s world, a world with no escape from endless nightmares.

Smashed by Junji Ito

~Cassie

 

ARC Review: Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

Thank you to the author Saffron Kent and Give Me Books Promotions for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Publication Date: October 10, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

Dreams of 18 is a forbidden age gap romance with an 18 year old girl and her best friends dad. Violet has had a crush on Graham since he moved in next door on her 16th birthday. On her 18 birthday Graham finds her in his rose garden late at night and she decides that she wants to kiss him (since she has dreamed about it for two years) but they are immediately caught by his son and her sister. This causes a huge scandal with devastating effects on both of them and after almost a year has passed Violet decides that she wants to find him and apologize.

This book is the angsty slow burn romance that I was looking for and Graham is the dark swoon worthy love interest I love to read about. I loved “watching” the romance unfold and how much they were both there for each other. Violet and Graham have such a strong connection and I liked that the author, Kent, really built that aspect of their relationship up. I also really appreciated that when the smutty scenes were happening that Kent put an emphasis on how important the emotional connection between them was as well as the physical. That things are so good between them not only because of the physical things happening but also the things they are saying to each other and the way they are looking at each other.

I do think that some of the scenes in this book went on for a little too long and I wish some of it had been edited down but for the most part this was a very enjoyable read. Also, there was a few instances where Violet would be telling the reader something and then be like “well it happened” and then we would have a flashback. It felt a little disjointed to me and took me out of the story a bit.

Also, if you are a fan of light romance and/or smut then I would caution you that some of the sexy scenes in this are more erotica than smut. If forbidden romances are your favorite trope (like me) then I highly recommend this book to you. It was so good and I devoured this book in about a day because I couldn’t put it down.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

US: https://amzn.to/2omE3RQ
UK: https://amzn.to/2oSnsWf
CA: https://amzn.to/2LRggm1
AU: https://amzn.to/2MbEdDu

Free in Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

~Cassie

September Wrap Up + Stats

I can’t believe we are already so far into October. I feel like the end of the year always goes by in a blur. So before we get too far into this month I thought I better hurry up and share what I read last month. I read 14 books and DNF’d one. Also, at the end of this post will be my monthly stats.

34826911._SY475_

This was an enjoyable forbidden romance with a dark hero. I really liked the twists in this book and I loved watching Graham open up more and the journey his character goes through. Definitely a sweet romance that gave me all the feels.

827523

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

43887636._SY475_

Netgalley Review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

46019039._SY475_

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

787660

This was not as good as I remember it being but it was still a fun trashy read. Heaven annoyed me a lot this book because she was naive and judgmental. Obviously terrible stuff happens to her that isn’t her fault but I just liked her a lot more on my previous reads of this book. Although the Lifetime movie of this book is easily way worse than the book.

43189874._SY475_

Well Met by Jen Deluca

35965001._SX98_

I really liked the main character, Chloe and her friends but the romance is this book was majorly lacking. The smutty scenes in this book would sometimes happen out of nowhere and there was no build up in those scenes. When things started to get serious between Chloe and her main guy I was honestly shocked because there was no time spent on making the relationship believable or important.

44774415._SY475_

I loved this! Look for my review next Tuesday.

24885831._SY475_

I DNF’d this at 31%. I was so disappointed by this book. It is a young adult but it came across like a middle grade. Or at least it would have if we didn’t have the main characters obsessing over each other when they don’t even know each other. I was so annoyed the little bit I read of this.

397440._SX318_

This is the sequel to Heaven and I liked this one less than I did the first book in the series. Parts of this were good but for the most part it was blah. The pacing was all over the place and there was a reveal that happened at the end of the book that was pretty disturbing but yet it was normalized and basically pushed under the rug. I do want to continue on with the series just to see how everything ends up but I’m not as into it as I once was.

28940._SY475_

This is fantastic! I can’t believe that this is Atkinson’s debut novel because it was so well done. She writes such unique stories and I am on a mission to read everything she has written. If you love character driven stories than she is definitely an author you need to check out.

Contemporary-a-thon Round 5 Wrap Up

Stats

Male Author:  0                               1-299 pages: 5                       Physically own: 3

Female Author: 13                          300-499 pages: 9                   Ebook own: 4

Mx: 1                                                  500+ pages: 0                        Library ebook: 2

Library physical: 5

1*:  0                      Classic: 1                                  ARC: 2

2*:  2                      Thriller: 0                                Recently Published: 3

3*:  4                      Romance: 8                              Older Release: 9

4*:  3                      YA Contemporary: 1

5*:  5                      Middle Grade: 1

Historical: 1

Graphic Novel: 1

General Fiction: 1

 

~Cassie

Preorder Sale: Dreams of 18 by Saffron Kent

*Thank you to Give Me Books Pr and the author Saffron Kent for allowing me to promote this book and read an early copy of this book to review.*

 

 

 

 

 

Attention all my romance lovers out there: you will want to read this book! I just finished this (look for my review this Thursday) and it is the edgy, sexy forbidden romance that we have been craving! I devoured this book because I could not get enough of Violet and Graham. 99 cents is a steal for this book but if I haven’t sold you then keep scrolling for the link to read the first two chapters.

Title: Dreams of 18
Author: Saffron A. Kent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 10, 2019

BLURB

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing a huge scandal in their sleepy suburban town.

Now everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is, how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually – again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41830260-dreams-of-18

Read the first two chapters: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/u4pkhek9mt

PRE-ORDER LINKS – 99c pre-order price!

US: https://amzn.to/2omE3RQ
UK: https://amzn.to/2oSnsWf
CA: https://amzn.to/2LRggm1
AU: https://amzn.to/2MbEdDu

AUTHOR BIO

Saffron A. Kent is a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling author of Contemporary and New Adult romance. More often than not, her love stories are edgy, forbidden and passionate. Her work has been featured in Huffington Post, New York Daily News and USA Today’s Happy Ever After.

She lives in New York City with her nerdy and supportive husband, and a million and one books.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSaffronKent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesaffronkent
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesaffronkent
Website: http://www.saffronkent.com
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ybw47r
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/saffron-a-kent
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192760.Saffron_A_Kent

VICTOBER TBR

Along with being the spookiest time of the year October is also for reading all things Victorian. One of my bookish goals this year was to read more classics since I used to read a lot more of them before I had kids. And my oldest is ten so its been a DECADE since I read more than one classic in a year. I already participated in #Classicsathon this year but when I heard about this readathon I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to read some more classics. To make sure that what I picked to read was truly Victorian I looked up this list on Goodreads and I was surprised by how many of these I already own. Also, just because I didn’t know what the actual definition of Victorian literature was, it is a book that was written when Queen Victoria reigned, 1837-1901. Most of the popular classics that we think of were written in this time so this is a pretty easy readathon to take part in. There are five challenges for this readathon and two group plays by Oscar Wilde. I don’t think I will be participating in the group read but if you want to know more about it and all the readathon info here is the link to the Goodreads group.

General Challenge: Read by candlelight

This is an easy one and one that can be done throughout the month

Lucy’s Challenge: Read an underrated Victorian book from the same year as your favorite Victorian classic

*This one I’m bending this challenge a little because my favorite classic is Little Women which was written in the Victorian era but I can’t find anything underrated that I want to read from that year. So I just decided to pick any underrated Victorian novel and that would be a good substitute.

156538

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.

Katie’s challenge: Read a Victorian book under 250 pages and/or over 500 pages

46766

A young governess falls in love with her employer in this classic coming-of-age tale set in nineteenth-century England.

Kate’s challenge: Reread a Victorian book

1934._SY475_

Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

Ange’s challenge: Read a book by a Victorian female author (bonus: one that’s new to you)

*I can’t believe I’ve never read this book!!

288409

An unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, Wuthering Heights revolves around the willfully childish Catherine and the dark Heathcliff, who, in the words of Charlotte Bronte, “exemplifies the effects which a life of continued injustice and hard usage may produce on a naturally perverse, vindictive, and inexorable disposition.” Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destines to love each other forever. But when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.

Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.

 

I would love to read all four of these books this month but realistically I will be happy if I can get through one of these. I also want to read all my thrillers I have planned so we will see how much I am able to actually to read by the end of the month.

~Cassie