Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

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A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Goodreads

Hey guys! Happy Halloween! I hope you guys have had or are planning to have an awesome halloween. I know my social media feeds have been full of all my friends going out to wild halloween parties and crazy haunted houses.

However, if you are like me and can’t stand the social scene, I’m here to save you with a book that you can curl up with this halloween. I mean who need friends and parties when you have books right?

So last year, at about this time, I challenged myself to read my very first horror book and I did. I read Slasher Girls & Monster Boys but I realised I never reviewed it here so I’m going to give you a run down of what was good or bad for each story in this book.

Stories

The Birds of Azalea Street – Nova Ren Suma

It was good. It wasn’t scary per say but it was creepy and I know I’m going to start being worried while walking home tomorrow even though I live in the safest country ever. The writing was good. Very gripping and very poetically dark if you get my drift. It was a good introduction to the rest of the book.

My-Rating-4-Stars

In the Forest Dark and Deep – Carrie Ryan

Okay this one was amazing. It wasn’t scary to me. It was chilling but not scary. I literally couldn’t put it down. I mean thank god it finished before I had to get off the bus because let me tell you I would have stayed on that damn bus till it was over even if I missed my stop. This story left me feeling hollow. Just so hollow.

My-Rating-5-Stars

Emmeline – Cat Winters

Honestly this wasn’t scary at all. It was like a childish ghost story. The writing was good but it was pretty expected and there was nothing new.

My-Rating-2-Stars

Verse Chorus Verse – Leigh Bardugo

I was expecting g a lot from this story because I love Leigh. I ended up enjoying it but I feel like it wasn’t properly developed. I mean I see what she was trying to do and of course I understood it. But I think she could have done so much more with the story.

My-Rating-4-Stars

Hide and Seek – Megan Shepherd

This story wasn’t scary but it was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. It was very much like the Hunger Games and I liked how it ended. It was very satisfying.

My-Rating-4-Stars

The Dark, Scary Parts and All – Danielle Paige

I honestly though this one was quite weird and I didn’t really like it. I felt like the boy wasn’t explained properly and everything just seemed so random and strange.

My-Rating-2-Stars

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh – April Genevieve Tucholke

This one started out a bit pretentious. I didn’t like how they started rattling off horror movies like the reader was daft and didn’t know what these movies were. But I think it morphed very nicely into something that was creepy and very nicely done.

My-Rating-4-Stars

Fat Girl With a Knife – Jonathan Maberry

Okay this one was just like no. A major freaking no from me. I don’t get why there was such a need to go into why Dahlia was fat and about her brute strength and anything if the story was just going to end up with zombies I mean seriously. I’d understand if the story went any other way but the way it did was just weird and I really didn’t like it.

My-Rating-1-Star

Sleepless – Jay Kristof

I liked this one. It was creepy and it preyed on a very common thing that we all do. Making friends online. I thought it was very messed up and very good.

My-Rating-4-Stars

M – Stefan Bachmann

I didn’t like the beginning. The ending was alright I suppose but it was still kind of weird and I was really hoping for a nice old twist but that didn’t happen.

My-Rating-2-Stars

The Girl Without a Face – Marie Lu

I was expecting a lot from this because obviously it’s Marie Lu and I was not disappointed. This story was creepy and scary and everything you would expect from a true horror story. In fact I currently am sleeping with my candle burner as a nightlight because I’m scared of every sound my room makes. I keep thinking I’ going to sit up and find a girl sitting in the corner of my room slashing her wrists and crawling towards me.

My-Rating-5-Stars

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow – McCormick Templeman

I started out a bit unsure about this story. It was confusing and I was getting so bored. But I think it developed nicely and while it wasn’t scary, it was still really good.

My-Rating-3-Stars

Stitches -A.G. Howard

This one was interesting and really gory. I would not recommend it if you get queasy easily. Overall I thought the storyline for this one was quite unique and I did enjoy it.

My-Rating-4-Stars

On the I-5 – Kendare Blake

This one wasn’t scary at all. In fact I think it was poorly done. I didn’t enjoy it at all and I felt like a large part of it was just left up to the reader’s interpretation which I personally never like.

My-Rating-2-Stars

And so there you go. I’ve read my very first horror book. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, only 2 stories really ‘scarred’ me of sorts and even then it wasn’t that bad so I guess that’s good.

You’ll be interested to note however that I have not picked up a horror book since. But at least I’ve got over the block in my mind and for that I am proud of myself.

Also just a little fun fact. Last month I watched my very first full length horror film in a cinema. I watched Lights Out and I saw it with *ahem* ‘he who shalt not be named’. He forced me to watch it and I while I can’t say that I enjoyed it, I certainly didn’t hate it. I mean the only nightmare I had after that was about how badly that afternoon went so I’m good.

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The Why I’m A Reader Tag

Hey guys! My editorial calendar tells me that I haven’t done a good ole tag post in a while so I thought why not just do one now.
I’ve seen the ‘Why I’m A Reader’ tag floating around the internet for a while now and I’ve been really excited to give it a spin so here you go!

Choose 1 word that describes being a reader.

Exhilarating.

What’s the very first book you fell in love with?


The Secret Island by Enid Blyton. It was the first book that really showed me how magical reading could be. It was also the book that showed me that the stories in my head could actually be put on paper which ultimately led me to my love of writing.

Hardcover or paperback?


Why aren’t e-books included in this line up?

Okay hardbacks are gorgeous and they don’t usually get that white line crease down the spine when you lay it flat.

But paperbacks are so much lighter and easier to carry around. Plus if you get a floppy paperback then you don’t even have to worry about crease lines.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love hardback books because I hate the white crease lines.

How has reading shaped your identity?

Well I’ve always said that one of the main reasons why I read is because it helps me to see the world through the eyes of very different people who live very different lives.

And I think by doing that, you end up having the very essence of who you are changed because you start to see the world differently. You start to see strangers as more then just strangers. You start being able to empathise more and you just become a better person.

So I really believe that reading has shaped my identity in that it’s made me more tolerant and it’s made me more patient towards people because now instead of thinking: “That douchebag stole my parking lot.”, I think, “Okay. Maybe that guy is in a rush because he has an emergency. Fine. He can have the lot. I’ll move on.”

What book do you read when you need to be comforted?


The Twilight Saga. Usually I pick up Eclipse (the tent scene or when Edward carries her home) or Breaking Dawn (the honeymoon before it went funky) and it honestly just feels like coming home because I think Twilight was the first book series that I completely and utterly sold my soul to so it’s just really comforting.

Also I now have the strongest urge to pick up Twilight right now.

Who taught you to be a reader? (Or did you do it all on your own?)


My dad. My dad used to read to me growing up and sometimes he would make up these stories on my request and I think that’s really what inspired me to read growing up.

I mean the awesome thing about my parents is that they never pushed us to read. So my dad just introduced reading to me and got me books when I asked and by the time I grew too old to be read to, I found that I had already fallen in love with words and that I wanted to keep reading.

Describe your dream reading lounge

It would be in a corner in my house and it would be a two story library. My reading lounge would be on the second floor. There would be a floor to ceiling window on one side with a place where I could stretch out right next to the window. There would be the cosiest carpet on the ground.

There would be a fire place and bookshelves so that it was super cosy. There would be loads of huge pillows and blankets and bean bags because I get very restless when I read and I change positions ten million times. There would also be a really comfy recliner couch next to the window.

But most of all, it would be a corner of the house that is isolated and quiet so that I can really claim it as my space. I think no matter where I end up in life, I am always going to need a space that is just mine so that’s very important.

What book changed the way you act or see the world?

That’s quite a hard question because like I said earlier, I feel like every book you read changes a perspective of yours. Be it the smallest thing like how to slice an orange correctly to the big things like how you think about people of a particular race.

But I think the two books that have stuck with me the longest are The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and You by Caroline Kepnes.

The Nightingale is a historical fiction book that really helped me see history in a different light.

You is a psychological thriller that follows a man that stalks a girl he likes largely through her digital footprint and orchestrates a whole thing so that she will fall in love with him. That book really made me pause and think about everything I share on social media.

Especially on Snapchat. I mean it’s my current favourite social media and I really do overshare so I do sometimes need to really think about what I’m sharing. By the way, subtle self promo here but you can add me on Snapchat if you want. My username is: @camilliadeborah or there’s always the snap code.

So there you go! The Why I’m A Reader Tag. I actually think it’s been my favourite so far.

I also wanted to thank you guys for all the love you showed me after what I posted last week. I was going through a rough time. I’m a lot better now mainly because school has started and I’ve got loads to get done so I don’t have much time to dwell on the bad things.

If I’m being completely honest, I tell everyone that I’m over it but I think it takes time and I’m going through that part right now but it will be all okay.

Also, because of school, my blogging schedule is also going to be changing. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed how erratic it’s becoming already.

I’m going to try my hardest to keep posting at least once a week for now so bear with me. It’s a lot of changes happening really fast in my life and I need to adjust.

But thank you guys for being so lovely and patient with me as always. You truly are the best group of readers a blogger could have.

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A Letter To Myself: The End Of A Chapter

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Dear Cam,

I wanted to write you a letter because a lot is going on in your life right now and I wanted to  help you close this chapter. I want to write to you because one day, when everything is okay again, I want you to be able to look back and to see how far you’ve come.

So let’s start from the top. It’s over. Okay. It’s okay. You are okay. It’s hurting like crazy now. You want to cry.  It feels like a knife has been stabbed into your heart. It feels like that knife twists every time you move. Everything in you is shattering and I know it’s so damn hard. I know. But babe, you will be okay.

You survived 19 years and 6 months without him and you will continue to survive. You will continue to be the happy, cheerful person you have always been. You will continue to immerse yourself in life. You will continue to get every bit of life that you deserve and you will be okay.

He was not, and will never be, the sun.

Feeling wanted is a great feeling but look around you. Look at how many people circled you when it all went to hell. Look at how many people fiercely protected you even when it  was going good.

Look around and see how many people love you. Look around and see how wanted you are. My love, you don’t need the validation of a single boy to feel wanted. To feel important. I promise you that you are loved beyond measure.

You will find him one day and it will be magical. Just because it’s not right now does not mean it will never happen. You’ve got everything ahead of you. You’ve got someone so much better ahead of you. Someone who won’t do half the things he did to you. Someone who will look at you and who will actually see you. So hold on and be patient.

School is starting next week and I know you’re so excited but also so scared. Listen to me. You got all the subjects you wanted. God has blessed you with everything your heart desired this semester. I know it feels like you are going to be walking onto a battleground come Monday but I want you to hold your head up high okay?

I want you to walk into that lecture hall and I want you to sit exactly where you want to sit. If no one sits next to you for a whole semester again, who cares. It just means less distraction and a better chance for you to excel.

I know you don’t have a group for the projects yet and that is terrifying but you know what? Who cares. You will get a group and you will work with them and you will do well. You are smart. You work harder then anyone I know and you will do well. Screw what everyone else says or does. You keep doing your thing.

I have watched you grow so much over the last six months. Your internship turned you into a fearless warrior. Look at you. Look at what you have accomplished. What reason does anyone have to look down on you? What reason does anyone in the world have to believe that you are incapable?

Babe, you walked into an embalming room audaciously. Even though the first embalming sent you spiralling for over a month, you walked in there and you did it. What makes you think you can’t walk into a classroom with that same attitude? What makes you so much more afraid of a lecture hall? They are just people. Just people.

After all, school is school and life is life. And you have proven that you can excel in life just as much as you can in school.

I mean for goodness sake! Just would you look at yourself? Just look! You’ve come so far. Where’s the anxious girl who was constantly having anxiety attacks and crying herself to sleep? Where’s the girl who hid herself away all the time and used books as a way to turn invisible? Where’s the girl who was scared to talk to someone unfamiliar much less interview them? She’s gone and you’ve taken her place and I don’t know about you but I really prefer this version of you.

Two weeks ago, you made the decision to talk about something that you probably should not have talked about. Now I’m not an oracle and I can’t tell you what the consequences of telling will have or even if it was the right choice to make. But for now, stop worrying. You did what you thought was best at that time and there’s no taking it back. All you can do is trust that it will be handled the way it should be. Believe that it will be okay alright? You made a brave decision and now you will deal with the consequences because that is what you need to do. He trusted you and only you because of this. You have not betrayed him. You have saved him.

This week, your family came together in a way that you thought no longer possible. I am so happy that if only for a few days, you could experience a life that you really deserved. You never deserved what happened. What’s happening. You never did anything wrong even though I know you blame yourself. So I’m happy for you okay. Hold on to that feeling. Hold on to that scrap of normal because you will need it in the months to come.

They are there. Even though it seems like your family is slipping through your fingers. Even though you feel like you are drifting very far from them. They are there. They are here and they love you and when the storm clears, they will still be there. So just please hang on to that knowledge okay?

You have come so far and I’m so proud of you. No matter what happens from this point on, you will always have so much to be proud of. I love you very much and quite frankly that’s all that matters. Keep your chin up. You got this.

Lots of Love,
Cam

Review: The Girl Before By J.P. Delaney

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In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Goodreads

Publishing Date: 24th January 2017

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump for the past few months. My reading has dramatically reduced and admittedly, that’s been taking quite a toll on me.

So when I started this book and found myself flying through it, picking it up at every spare moment and constantly thinking about it, all I could think was that “Hey. I’m freaking back!”

This book pulled me out of a slump guys. It was that good.

Plot

In this book, we are introduced to two main narrators. We have Jane, who exists in the present, and we have  Emma, the woman who died tragically in the house that Jane now lives in.

We follow both these woman as they go through personal tragedies. However, the one thing that they have in common is One Folgate Street. A pristine house that was designed by the illustrious Edward Monkford.

Both woman, at one point in their lives, find themselves living in One Folgate Street and in a relationship with Edward.

So we follow Emma as she goes through her life up to the point that she dies mysteriously in One Folgate Street.

Simultaneously, we are also following Jane as she lives in One Folgate Street in the present day. Jane is trying to find out what exactly happened to Emma. So she visits all the people involved with Emma in that time and slowly works through the mystery that her death was.

Characters

This is going to be so hard to do without spoiling anything so bear with me.

Emma

Emma was a very interesting character from the very beginning. It’s quite fascinating because even though you’re in her head, you don’t start seeing any red flags till much later in the story.

I think in the end I just felt sorry for her. I mean Emma obviously had a lot of things that were out of her control. While that did not excuse anything that was done by her, I really think the people around her just failed her so badly.

Jane

Wow. What do I even say about Jane. At the end, all I wanted to do was to give her a standing ovation. She was brilliant. Scarily brilliant. Every decision just seemed to be haphazard but in the end, when everything solves itself with a big red bow, she comes out and topples every single thing you thought about her throughout the entire book. I mean seriously. I applaud her. She was something that’s for sure.

Overall

I thought this book was excellent. I mean it was paced supremely well, it built up very nicely and it didn’t turn Jane into a complete Nancy Drew which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to mystery books.

Probably my only complaint is that Emma and Jane’s voices sounded terribly similar and I had to check back to see who’s POV I was reading from many times because they literally sounded like the same person.

However considering how the story evolved, I can forgive her *wink wink* (God I wish I could spoil this)

I think it was just a story that was thought through very throughly. I mean I thought the mystery was pretty airtight and I only saw the ending when we were literally at the ending so either I’m clueless or this author is just brilliant.

I mean I would kill to know who the heck is behind J.P. Delaney. If you didn’t know, this book was written under a pseudonym. So really I am completely expecting someone dynamic behind this name because gosh. It was amazing.

One of the fun parts of this book is the fact that at the end of most of the chapters, the book will present you with a multiple choice question and a made up scenario created to test your heart and mind. In keeping with the fun, I thought I would answer the main question posed in this book myself:

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life:

  1.  My Kindle
  2.  The special pillow my mum gave me when I was born (and which I’ve slept with my whole life)
  3. My teddy bear
  4. My phone
  5. My laptop

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by the publishers. All opinions are my own.*

My-Rating-5-Stars

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Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

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John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

Goodreads

Publication Date: 4th October 2016

Okay I have this thing where I tend to read the perfect books at the perfect time. I mentioned this after I read Dreamology but I somehow feel like I manage to always relate to certain characters and situations and I tend to read these things right when I’m going through the situation or when I’m dealing with a person.

Did that make sense? You still with me? Okay. Good.

Anyway, Henry and Grace’s love story kind of reminded me of something that I’m going through right now in the lightest sense possible. I mean most certainly I’m not in a secret relationship with a guy who has a tragic backstory but in a lot of ways, I feel very much like Henry and like the person I’m dealing with is a Grace.

I just really felt like this book was telling me something. It felt like a message in some way that I needed to hear to help me finally let go of this ‘Grace’ in my life.

Again, have I confused you? Yes? Okay I’m sorry. Let’s talk about the book.

Plot

This book follows Henry and Grace through their complicated love story. We have Grace. A girl with a tragic backstory and who is trying (and failing) to learn to love again.

Then, we have Henry. The boy who loves Grace with all his heart but is terrified because Grace is a very hard person to love and she constantly pulls away and in a way ridicules his efforts to show her how much he cares for her.

In an interesting twist, we have a guy who can somehow express his feelings properly, is a gentleman and who willingly and obviously cares too much. This of course is as opposed to the girl always having to be the one caring more and the one who ultimately gets more hurt.

Characters

Henry

I related so much to Henry mainly because of the above (albeit vague) life tidbit above. I think I just really understood him because he cared so much more then Grace did which is exactly what I do.

I always seem to be the one that cares more, that loves harder. I always seem to be the one ready to make sacrifices, to make excuses for unacceptable behaviour and I hate it.

I hate that I do this to myself. That I prioritise everyone above myself and I think somehow reading about a character that had a lot my own tendencies was a lot like stepping out of myself and just getting to see how this affects me as a person.

I guess it just made me feel really protective over Henry. Every time Grace did something to throw his love back in his face, I just loved Henry even more.

And while I did think that he could be sometimes quite pretentious (he talked too much about people being atoms), I think the fact that he was a writer kind of evened out the scale and made it okay.

Admittedly I don’t agree with every decision Henry made but it’s very hard to say that I didn’t like his character.

Grace

For exactly the reasons why I loved Henry, I’ll say that I hated Grace. Grace came into the story with a tragic backstory and she was a girl with a lot on her shoulders.

So naturally I thought, okay. I guess I’ll have to excuse her behaviour and I’ll have to be okay when she pushes Henry away because dude, the girl has been through so much.

However Grace very quickly crossed the line between behaviour that is acceptable for what happened to her to just plain old nasty.

I hated how she treated Henry. I mean if she was not ready for a relationship, why lead Henry on? Why force him to love you in private just because you’re not ready?

If you aren’t ready, end it before people get hurt. Don’t drag it out for your own ego.

I feel really strongly about Grace because, again, there’s that life tidbit above. So really Grace is pretty much exactly the person that I’m currently dealing with and reading about what she was doing just infuriated me because I’ve been in Henry’s shoes and I know how much it sucks to want something and to be led on and then to have the person basically take you on a ride and to give you mixed signals.

Overall

Overall I think I just had very mixed feelings about this book. I mean for starters, I don’t think that it should be compared to Rainbow Rowell. I mean I can see John Green’s typical pretentious teens in there but I see nothing of Rainbow Rowell except perhaps how honest they were about how unremarkable sex is.

Secondly, I was obviously just a little too emotionally invested in the characters and how they crossed the lines into my own life to be impartial.

Finally though, I will say this. The book was good and you probably won’t expect the ending. However I think that majority of the book was just a bit too infuriating and so it kind of dulled the ending in my opinion.

It’s a good book. Just that it takes a while to get there. It’s worth it though. The ending is worth sticking it out.

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions are my own*

My-Rating-3-Stars

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