Halloween Book Tag

Hey everybody, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Do you guys have any halloween traditions? We always get chinese food, pumpkin beer, and watch Hocus Pocus! I went and searched for a Halloween tag and found this one, which seemed kind of fun! Here we go!

This tag was created by Naomi The Book Lover over on YouTube.

Carving pumpkins- what book would you carve up and light on fire?

Oh boy. I’m not sure there’s a book I’ve hated THIS MUCH, although I did extremely dislike No Country for Old Men.

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Trick or treat- what character is a treat, what character is a trick?

I love characters that are BOTH! Exhibit A: Victor Vale. Exhibit B: Kaz Brekker. Exhibit C: Prince Cardan. Do I need to continue?

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Candy corn- what book is always sweet?

Harry Potter. Always and forever.

Ghosts- what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

Ooo yikes none of them. I don’t do ghosts.

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Dressing up in costume- what character would you want to be for a day?

I think I’d like to be Feyre for a day. But in ACOMAF, not in ACOTAR.

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Wizards and witches- what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

ALL OF THEM. But My favorite book was Prisoner of Azkaban, because I loved the time turner portion!

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Blood and gore- what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco. OR anything true crime – I’ll be Gone in the Dark or American Predator.

Now I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! And:

Lilly @ Lair of Dreams | Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills |  Kaleena @ Reader Voracious | Tammy @ Books, Bones, & Buffy | Kayla @ Books and Blends |Mel @ Meltotheany

October Wrap Up

The good news: my reading slump seems to be over! The bad news: I ONLY want to mood read and anything that I’m SUPPOSED to be reading sounds super unappealing. I have managed to review less than half them OOPS. But that’s a problem for another day.

Here are the books I managed to read this month:

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  1. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X R Pan (audio, backlist read, BOTM): 
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (audio, backlist read): 
  3. American Predator by Maureen Callahan (FridayFrightAthon): 
  4. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (ARC): 
  5. The Whisper Man by Alex North (FFAT, BOTM): ★.5
  6. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (audio): 
  7. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (FFAT): 
  8. The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (Dragons and Tea Bookclub pick): 
  9. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (FFAT): TBD
  10. Well Met by Jen DeLuca (BOTM, audio): TBD

How many books did you read in October? Were any of them super spooky??? If you participated in FridayFrightAThon with us, THANK YOU! We had so much fun.

xoxo

Jen

October Haul

October flew by faster than I could blink, although I feel like I say that every month. And I know I said I was hoping to use this month to get my blogging and reading back on track, but I really only managed to accomplish one of those things. My blogging (and reviewing) was still positively abysmal, and I apologize for that! BUT I did read a bunch – which you’ll see tomorrow on my wrap up post!

THIS post is about my haul, and I’ve been doing a decent job of keeping these pretty under control the past few months.

Here are the books I hauled in October:

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  1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  2. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  3. The Power by Naomi Alderman (gift from my best friend!)
  4. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  5. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Barnes and Noble edition)

How many books did you haul this month??

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Escape Room

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Title: The Escape Room

Author: Megan Goldin

Pages:

Rating:

Book 3 for 2019 FridayFrightAThon! Hosted by myself, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, Melanie @ Meltotheany, and Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads Synopsis:

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game.
They’re fighting for their lives.

Review:

“If we all knew the truth, it would bring out our worst, most primitive instincts. We’d turn into feral animals. We’d consume one another.”

The Escape Roomwas the third book for our Friday Fright A Thon picks this year! An escape room in an elevator gone wrong? Sign me up. The premise of this book sounded so incredible! I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Vincent has hand-picked his very own team working on Wall Street – Jules, Sylvie, and Sam. Everything at this level is high adrenaline, high risk, and high reward. But sometimes, with bigger risks comes bigger secrets, and everyone on his team seems to have one. And while the perks of the job may be great, the hours are long and when the company beckons, everyone jumps to obey.

“If truth be told, I think that most of us would have killed for Stanhope.”

One night, the entire team is called to participate in a team-building exercise: an escape room. Only this escape room is located in an elevator inside an empty building. It doesn’t take long for the team to realize something’s gone wrong: their elevator is locked, the clues don’t make sense, and nobody is coming to let them out after an hour. And as tension rises, secrets start to bubble to the surface. This escape room has higher stakes than any deal they’ve ever made.

“Death, after all, was the ultimate equalizer.”

Like I said above, the premise of this book was really exciting to me and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Unfortunately, as I got further into the book I became a little disappointed. But let’s start what I did like first!

This book bounced back and forth between two points of view: That of the team inside the elevator, and that of Sara Hall, a former member of their team providing flashes of the past. I can’t say that I liked any POV better than the other – I enjoyed them both, and I really liked how the past and present seemed to blend together and provide clues along the way.

I think the biggest problem is that this story started off with a bang – trapped in an escape room with nowhere to go. It sounds absolutely terrifying! But then the story kind of stuttered to a halt. But the bigger problem was the characters. While I liked Sara and another character named Lucy, I despised everyone in the elevator, and over time even came to dislike Sara. They weren’t very redeemable characters, and I found that I didn’t really care what happened to them at the end of the story. I also HATED the ending, which was a big bummer.

Overall, I have to say this book was decidedly average, and I hope you like it more than I did! I will say that I did like the writing and the way the book was set up, and I would try out another book by Megan Goldin again! Hopefully I enjoy the next one more.

 

ARC Review: The Grace Year

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Title: The Grace Year

Author: Kim Liggett

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 416

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Speaking of the grace year is forbidden, but it hasn’t stopped me from searching for clues.”

Imagine living in a world where girls have so much power that they can lure men from their wives and their families. That their very essence and womanhood holds a magic that, if allowed to survive inside their skin, could drive the whole county into madness.

In Garner County, they’ve found a solution to this danger. In their sixteenth year, girls are banished into the wilderness. There, they can release their magic safely and return pure and ready to begin their lives with whichever man chose them prior to leaving – if they survive the year. This is called the Grace Year.

Speaking of the grace year is forbidden, but that hasn’t stopped Tierney James from digging with her friend Michael. She dreams of a world where she doesn’t have to belong to a man to find a place in society, and when the veiling ceremony comes the day before she leaves for her own grace year, she is confident that she is safe knowing no one would possibly choose her to be their wife upon her return. All of her plans are changed, however, when she ischosen, and by someone she never expected.

“Veiled or not, depraved or saints, we’re all equals in death.”

Still reeling from watching her future dissolve into something she never imagined before her very eyes, Tierney leaves for her grace year with the other girls. Before they even arrive at the camp, danger lurks in every corner. Poachers trail the girls, waiting for them to wander off the path to gather their skin and blood to sell on the black market. But even more than that, Tierney realizes that their biggest danger, and the biggest threat for the year to come…is each other.

You guys, I absolutely loved this book. This may be one of the best 2019 releases I’ve read thus far. This book is a little bit Handmaid’s Tale, a little bit Lord of the Flies, and a little bit Hunger Games. The writing was gripping and fast-paced – I didn’t want to put this one down. I stayed up way to late reading it, and even downloaded the audio book so I didn’t have to stop reading when I was cleaning/walking/driving. Basically, I had my nose in this book from the time I opened up the first page.

I loved Tierney with my whole heart. It’s obvious that she’s your typical 16-year-old girl just trying to find her way in the world. Can we just pause and appreciate that for a minute? I love that this book highlighted how much one ordinary girl can change things. No special powers, no hidden talents, no high station. Just a girl following her heart and using her brain, and showing kindness where others wouldn’t. And it was so relatable watching her try and navigate the relationships between other girls her age as they are all just trying to grow up the best they can. I felt like I was back in the lunchroom at school: you had your popular/mean girls and your loner girls, and that one girl that everyone whispered about and avoided. Watching these power struggles occur, even so far from civilization, and then spiral out of control as the girls realized just how alone they really were, was honestly terrifying.

“I know what I saw. I know what I felt. They can call it magic. I can call it madness. But one thing is certain. There is no grace here.”

This book brought so many important issues up: how important it is for women to support women, and that we remain stronger united than we are divided. How one helping hand, one moment of kindness, can change an entire outcome for the better. How true love knows no reason. And how one person, one action, can change the world for the better. This book makes you take a hard look at who you really are: what would you do if there were no consequences for your actions, and no one to hold you accountable? Would you help others up? Or would you crawl over them as the fell to reach the top?

This book made me feel so many raw, brutal emotions. I laughed, I cried, I raged. I grieved for the brutality of people left unchecked, and I marveled at the hopefulness felt at the female camaraderie shown at the end. There was no happy ending, but there was a hopeful ending. And maybe that’s the best we can ask for. There were some truly horrific things that happened in this book, so I urge you to go in with caution. But if you can weather the storm and make it to the end, I promise that you’ll be left with such a bright feeling of hope and strength that you won’t regret the journey.

“The things we do to girls. Whether we put them on pedestals only to tear them down, or use them for parts and holes, we’re all complicit in this. But everything touches everything else and I have to believe that some good will come out of all this destruction. The men will never end the grace year. But maybe we can.”

All quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

The Grace Year released on Oct 8, 2019.

Review: The Whisper Man

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Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Pages: 355

Rating: ★★★.5

Book 2 for 2019 FridayFrightAThon! Hosted by myself, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, Melanie @ Meltotheany, and Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads Synopsis:

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…

Review:

“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.”

If ever a line from a book has given my shivers just from reading the synopsis on the cover, it’s this one. I mean come on, how terrifying is that rhyme? That single line gave me hope that this book would be one of the spookiest I’ve ever come across. All of the hype surrounding it didn’t hurt, either.

And it really did start out pretty spooky! Told between real time and flashbacks, we have two stories layered over each other that eventually weave together and come to a head in the present.

Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted, tortured and murdered five young boys on Detective Pete Willis’ watch. Prior to his capture, the serial killer Frank Carter was known as “The Whisper Man”, as he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows. While he was eventually caught and sent to prison for his crimes, his fifth victim was never recovered, and Pete is still haunted by his failure to save this little boys every day.

In the present, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to Featherbank after the sudden death of his wife, looking for a new start. Always a peculiar boy, Jake has grown even more introverted and is becoming more attached to his imaginary friends by the day. Just as they move to the area, another young boy vanishes and the old rhyme resurfaces:

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.

If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.

If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.

If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

As Jake starts to act more and more strangely, and things start to happen that Frank can’t explain, the town starts to question: has the Whisper Man returned somehow? And then Jake starts hearing whispering in the night…

Like I said, the story started off with SO MUCH SPOOKY. From the rhyme to Jake knowing things he possibly couldn’t know…I had the shivers. I even started to wonder if there was going to be a little bit of a supernatural element! I’d say I truly enjoyed the first third of the book, and it was on par to be one of the spookiest I’ve ever read.

“Over the years I’ve told you man times that there’s no such thing as monsters.

I’m sorry that I lied.”

Unfortunately, the middle half fell a little flat for me. We received a lot of answers to our questions, yes, but in a way that almost left me disappointed? I guess I liked the mystery surrounding the whole thing. And the ending… woah guys. I don’t want to say TOO much because you know how I feel about spoilers, but I did NOT care for this ending at all. I will say this: I like to have some plausible answer to who-done-it books. I don’t like when the bad guy is someone I never even met/considered because he was SO FAR REMOVED from the story that I don’t even care when they are unveiled. And while the answer to this story was a plausible person…they were JUST BARELY plausible, if that makes any sense.

Now that I’m just spewing word vomit, I will also say that the story got decidedly less spooky as it went on. I did enjoy the read, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think it quite lived up to the hype for me. Maybe that was the problem – my expectations were too high. But I did end up giving this book a solid 3.5 stars, and I did LOVE Jake so much. He was easily my favorite character in this book, and I will go to my grave protecting him forever and ever.

Thanks so much to everyone who read along with us for Friday Fright A Thon, and I hope you enjoyed this one a little more than I did!

Review: American Predator

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Title: American Predator

Author: Maureen Callahan

Pages: 304

Rating: ★★★★

Book 1 for 2019 FridayFrightAThon! Hosted by myself, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills, Melanie @ Meltotheany, and Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads Synopsis:

Most of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern time. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as “a force of pure evil,” he was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried “kill kits”–cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools–in remote locations across the country and over the course of fourteen years, would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger’s house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter.

When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years–uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous, randomly committed crimes in his wake–many of which remain unsolved to this day.

American Predator is the ambitious culmination of years of on-the-ground interviews with key figures in law enforcement and in Keyes’s life, and research uncovered from classified FBI files. Callahan takes us on a journey into the chilling, nightmarish mind of a relentless killer, and the limitations of traditional law enforcement, in one of America’s most isolated environments–Alaska–when faced with a killer who defies all expectation and categorization.

Review:

“Payne thought of a documentary he’d seen the other night about ambush predators: animals that kill with lightning speed and vanish just as fast. That’s what this guy is – a true ambush predator.”

One of these days, I’m going to wise up and stop torturing myself by reading true crime. But until that day comes, I hope every single true crime book I ever read is as fully immersive as this one.

Israel Keyes is the most terrifying serial killer you’ve never heard of. Living in Alaska at the time of his capture, he was one of the most ambitious killers the world has ever seen. He struck all over the United States, picking strangers on a whim and having no MO. He buried ‘kill kits’ in remote areas and would cross the entire country to use them at his leisure. He was bold, he was brazen, and he was fast. He could abduct victims in broad daylight, torture, kill and dispose of them in a few hours, and be back to his quiet life with is daughter with nobody the wiser. He did this for fourteen years undetected.

“Keyes wasn’t motivated by money or psychosis or anything other than pleasure. He did it because he wanted to do it.”

After his capture, it seems Alaska law enforcement made mistakes at every turn, while Israel Keyes played them like a fiddle. As a result, after his death, many of his crimes remain unsolved, and we may never know just how many victims Keyes accumulated or how many horrors he committed.

“What else he had planned we may never know, as we will never know his full victim count. But just as Keyes told his stories backward – starting at the end – the end of his life is perhaps another beginning. He made sure of it, dropping clue upon clue before committing suicide, certain of one outcome: His case will never be closed.”

Last year, I thought I’d never be as scared as I was when reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. But this man scared the living daylights out of me. Even knowing he is deceased and off this planet, I was terrified. I couldn’t sleep at night, I left lights on in my house, and I didn’t go anywhere alone. If you are looking to be scared out of your pants, pick up this book. But be warned, friends: so many trigger warnings (murder, torture, rape, just to name a few). The author pulls no punches when describing Keyes’ crimes, and the portions where he is being interviewed and describing them himself were utterly chilling. I cannot imagine crossing paths with this man. While I didn’t have the same emotional connection with the author that I developed with I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, this was still a really great true crime read.

Thanks for everyone who read along with us for FridayFrightAThon!

Down the TBR #39

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s what’s on the chopping block this week:

ONE: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I’ve been hoarding this series for over a year, and still haven’t cracked it open. But I loved Schwab’s other work, so I will definitely be reading it at some point!

VERDICT: KEEP

TWO: Die Rebellinnen by Tracy Banghart

LOL this is actually the original Grace and Fury which I’ve already read, of course! Also… it’s in another language.

VERDICT: DELETE

THREE: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

I loved My Plain Jane so much that after I read it I immediately bought this one. It’s sitting on my shelf, just waiting to be read!

VERDICT: KEEP

FOUR: We Are Young by Cat Clarke

After reading the synopsis of this one, I’m going to give it a big, solid, ‘meh’.

VERDICT: DELETE

FIVE: Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

I liked the first book in this series, so I’m definitely planning on reading the sequel. I’m just not sure when.

VERDICT: KEEP

Have you read any of these? Let me know if I made any mistakes!

xoxo

Jen

September Wrap-Up

Anybody else hit a massive book slump in September? No, just me? I had such big intentions what with contemporaryathon and everything, but man. It just didn’t happen. Hopefully October goes better for me.

Here are the books I did manage to get to this month (with a lot of help from audio):

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  1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (audio): 
  2. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (audio, BOTM book): 
  3. The Chosen by JR Ward (audio): 
  4. The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (audio): 
  5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (Dragons and Tea Book Club pick): 
  6. Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Granger (ARC): 
  7. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory (ARC): ★.5
  8. Heart of the Moors by Holly Black (ARC): 

BIG YIKES so many audio books. And I haven’t read touched my backlist reads in a few months…and we’re in the last quarter of the year. Maybe I should get going on those…

How many books did you read in September?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Numbers in the Title

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Happy Tuesday everybody! I missed last week’s topic, and I didn’t love this week’s a whole lot, so I decided to swap. This week the prompt is books with number in the title, so here are some ideas, in no particular order!

 

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Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

I read this earlier in the year, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. If you like books like The Fault in Our Stars, then this read is for you. Make sure you have kleenex on hand, though.

 

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

If you like a little bit of flirty with a little bit of fun, then try this series. I only read about 3-4 of them (they seemed to get a little repetitive with time) but they were fun while they lasted.

 

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

I listened to this on audio, and really enjoyed the full cast! I think she also came out with another book, but I haven’t read that one yet.

 

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I read this in January and it is still in my top 5 reads of the year, so let that sink in. If you haven’t read this yet, read it immediately. It’s probably in my top 5 reads of all time.

 

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Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

I just read this earlier this month and really enjoyed it! It takes some good hard looks at some really difficult situations, and what it’s like to navigate loss and grief as a kid with OCD and anxiety.

 

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This was a no-brainer for this list. I love this world, and I loved this duology. I can’t wait to see the Grishaverse series on Netflix!

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This is definitely a polarizing read and TV show, but I do think it makes some really good points about your actions having impact on those around you.

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware is always a little hit or miss for me, but I did enjoy this one! There were some pretty spooky twists and turns, and it would definitely be a good read for the month of October!

Well, that’s it! Have you read any of these? Happy Tuesday, bookworms, and happy reading.

xoxo

Jen