Book Riot YA Quarterly Box #3

The Book Riot YA Quarterly Box shipped this past weekend and it’s filled with spooky-themed goodies!!

Just a quick recap of what a Book Riot YA Quarterly Box is: Book Riot is website/company/thing-a-ma-bob which provides book recommendations, literary commentary, book schwag, pretty much all things literature!  After I started regularly following Book Riot, I found out about their YA Quarterly Boxes.  This is the third box I have received.

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Book Riot: Young Adult – Books and Bookish Goods for YA Fans.  In the spirit of the season, this box is all about delightfully chilling YA horror reads.

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics is described as Little House on the Prairie meets Children of the Corn – sounds terrifying and I can’t wait to read it!  When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries. 

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol and David Ostow – Winnie Flynn doesn’t believe in ghosts. (Though she wouldn’t mind a visit from her mom, explaining why she took her own life.) When her mysterious aunt Maggie, a high-profile TV producer, recruits Winnie to spend a summer working as a production assistant on her current reality hit, Fantastic, Fearsome, she suddenly finds herself in the one place her mother would never go: New Jersey.

New Jersey’s famous Devil makes perfect fodder for Maggie’s show. But as the filming progresses, Winnie sees and hears things that make her think that the Devil might not be totally fake after all. Things that involve her and her family. Things about her mother’s death that might explain why she’s never met Aunt Maggie until now.  Winnie soon discovers her family’s history is deeply entwined with the Devil’s. If she’s going to make it out of the Pine Barrens alive, she might have to start believing in what her aunt is telling her. And, find out what she isn’t.

Additionally there are super creepy temporary tattoos to go with The Devil and Winnie Flynn.

I love the goodies featured in this month’s box.  There are forest-themed Book Stickies by Duncan Shott Studio and a ‘Fight Evil, Read Books’ Print by Katy Dwyer.  I can’t wait to get this printed framed.  I continue to be impressed with Book Riot’s collection of quarterly bookish items.  Every box seems to include something I know I will like while introducing me to something new and unexpected.

Have you checked out Book Riot YA Quarterly yet?  Or do you have a different book mail subscription service that you love?

A Shot of Reckless Cover Reveal!

Two of my badass bookclub friends teamed up to write a new adult novel and after many months of blood, sweat and tears, they succeeded!  A Shot of Reckless from Elephantine Publishing is being released October 14th as an e-book with a physical copy to follow! – how cool is that??

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Art major, Roxy Thompson, is a ball of fun—but she’s also careful to keep her walls intact when it comes to men. She likes relationships just like her coffee: light and sweet. After having her heart shattered once before, she’s determined not to ever feel that broken again. 

College senior, Lake Foster, is just tempting enough to make Roxy rethink her rules of engagement. Suddenly, high-dollar shots and a no-strings night out aren’t enough anymore. But Lake isn’t looking for long-term. His future is set, and in four months, he intends to graduate and leave Georgia—and everything in it—behind. Luckily, short-term fun is Roxy’s specialty, and Lake can’t resist what he promises will be a fleeting taste. 

Will Roxy and Lake really walk away when their time is up? They only have one shot to find out. 

You can win your very copy of A Shot of Reckless here and be sure to check out Maddie Paige on twitter!  A Shot of Reckless by Maddie Paige promises to be fun and sexy, I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts. – Goodreads

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1930’s New York is a lively setting for four orphans living in a Museum of Oddities to work together to solve a mystery.  Philippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max each possess unique qualities –  minding reading, super strength, elasticity, and deadly knife throwing.  Their lives are not glamorous though, their abilities are not fail-safe and they still go through the struggles associated with early teenage years – anxiety, shyness, and self-doubt.  Dumfrey’s Museum survives financially by attracting visitors to view the strange collection of worldly wonders as well as a freak show of sorts featuring the orphans and the array of odd inhabitants of the house.  Their fortunes begin to rise when an Amazonian shrunken head is procured for the museum however shortly thereafter the head is stolen and the museum is in danger of permanent foreclosure.

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I read a lot of YA (surprise, surprise) but I haven’t read too many middle-grade novels, including Lauren Oliver’s (Liesl and Po, The Spindlers).  Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with the young protagonists or get behind their search for the thief of the shrunken head.  About a third of the way through the book, the plot seemed on repeat – do some digging, someone’s dead!, do some digging, someone’s dead! – literally everyone kept kicking the bucket.  The mystery (and murders) were solved in the end while leaving a larger mystery arc to be continued in the second book Curiosity House: The Screaming Statue, due out in 2016.  The Shrunken Head was likable enough, the story was a bit slow in the middle and the mystery reveal was a little predictable.  That said, I will probably read The Screaming Statue, picking it up from my local library.

In other Lauren Oliver news, the author shared that Before I Fall (one of my favorite novels from Oliver) is being made into a movie staring Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy), see here.  There had been previous talks about developing the novel into a movie and then even a TV show with Emma Roberts.  Third time’s the charm?

Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head will be released September 29th, 2015.  A big shout-out to Harper Collins for sending me a copy for review ❤

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

I can’t describe to you my triumph of nabbing the ARC of Black Widow: Forever Red off the Little Shop of Stories’ ARC shelf before anyone else in my bookclub could get to it!  Bwahaha!  Black Widow is beloved by my bookclub and pretty much all superhero-loving, women-kind.

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Nastasha Romanov stands out as the lone female in the testosterone heavy group of the Avengers.  But being the only woman is tough because we hold her to a higher standard, she’s the only one we have to look up to.  We want her to be all the things – she can’t be perfect but she can’t be too flawed, she has to be relatable but still awe-inspiring, and so on and so forth.  It’s a tall order for sure.

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It’s no surprise after the Avengers movies that women (and men too) were clamoring for more Black Widow (hello Marvel where is our stand alone Black Widow movie??).  Coming out this October is a new Black Widow YA novel from Margaret Stohl (co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series and author of the Icons series) – here’s the Forever Red synopsis from Goodreads:

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.

Until now.

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams. . . .

For starters, look at this badass cover – it’s amazing!

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Forever Red reads like a movie script, it’s fast-paced and action-packed and with some familiar faces (namely Phil Coulson and Tony Stark) it’s impossible not to read the dialogue using the actors’ voices (not that that is a bad thing!).  This book is written like a movie in your mind.  The story is told from 3 different POVs – Natasha’s, Ava’s and Alex Manor’s (a seemingly normal American teenage except that Ava has been dreaming about him for months even though she has never met him).  There is at least one chapter that was titled as an Ava chapter and halfway thru it turned into a Nastasha chapter, I’m hoping that gets cleared up #eek.

Overall, I liked the story/adventure/mission/whatever you want to call it, the novel is also full of witty dialogue and entertaining cultural references though I would have liked some more feels.  There is backstory (primarily referring to Natasha) but I want more – there can never be enough origin story.  I think maybe because it read like an action movie, it lacked some depth, the story was bam bam bam scene scene scene.  The downside – the climax was over in an instant (insert sex joke), it happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to process that the final showdown was happening.  Had it been a bit more drawn out, I would have had more feels because I was definitely supposed to.  The story wrapped, no cliffhangers but there are unanswered questions so I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a series.  All said and done, I really enjoyed Forever Red and can’t wait to let my bookclub fight over and then we can all dissect it!

Moral of the story is WHERE IS THE GODDAMN BLACK WIDOW MOVIE???

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Book Mail!

  1. I love books
  2. I love mail
  3. I love book mail!

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I received The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich from Kristina (@gone_pecan) in a Twitter giveaway – the first book I’ve ever won in a giveaway!!

From Goodreads: Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.  Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’’

The second piece of book mail this week actually took me completely by surprise!  I received Shrunken Head (The Curiosity House #1) by Lauren Oliver and H.G. Chester from Harper Collins.

From Goodreads: Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.

Both books are to be released September 15th.  I’m going to do my darnedest to read them in time.  I’m plan to finish Black Widow: Forever Red tomorrow and then I think I’ll dive into Shrunken Head.

What’s been your favorite book mail?

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys – Stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke

I have decided I love short story compilations though in truth it is a very recent love affair.  Last year Stephanie Perkins (author of the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy) edited the lovely ‘My True Love Gave To Me’, a collection of heart warming holiday themed short stories from YA authors.  Next year she will be releasing Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories #squee.

The collection I want to talk about today though is one of a very different variety.  Slasher Girls and Monster Boys features 14 stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke (author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) guaranteed to make your skin crawl.  Like MTLGTM, this collection features some of my favorite authors – Kendare Blake, Marie Lu, and Cat Winters but also introduced to some new authors that I can’t wait to read more of – Carrie Ryan, McCormick Templeman, and Jay Kristoff.

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The collection as a whole is very strong, there were very few stories that didn’t send shivers down my spine and considering there are 14 authors that’s pretty impressive.  Each of the stories is inspired by classic horror films, spooky campfire tales, and even Disney movies. I want to share my top 3 favorites (I had a hard time narrowing it down to 3 favorites, a testament to how great this collection is) but I’m only going to give a short blurb because I don’t want to give anything away!!

  1. Stitches by A.G. Howard – This went in a direction I did not expect – AT ALL – as teenage girl must play Dr. Frankenstein to save her family.
  2. In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan – A twisted tale inspired by Alice in Wonderland with one helluva creepy rabbit.
  3. Sleepless by Jay Kristoff – It begins with fervent teenage instant messaging but in the end, neither Justin nor Cassie is who they pretend to be online.

If you read Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Scary and Stories to Tell in the Dark as kid, pick up Slash Girls and Monster Boys!  Tell me your favorite horror novels, YA or adult!!

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I received an ARC of Slasher Girls and Monster Boys from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA – its book birthday is in one week, Tuesday August 18th!!

Last by not least, I absolutely adore the dedication page:

For everyone who read Stephen King when they were way too young – A.G.T.