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Friday, November 17, 2017


So. Many. Books! Check below for book list and links πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
Let me know what videos you'd like to see, whether with these books or with or about any others!


Renegades Blog Tour "Villains" post

The Forgetting: http://amzn.to/2yPvZt1
-- first impressions

BELLES (the Jen Calonita book I couldn't remember the name of, even though I said the name... )
-- review here

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All excerpts shared are copyright the author, and were shared for review and promotional reasons only. Excerpts are subject to change, as (most of) these are an advance version of the book, and thus not final -- so grab a copy and check it out for yourself when released!

Friday, November 3, 2017

THE BEST OF THE WORST -- My Favorite VILLAINS | Renegades Blog Tour

If you followed along with me last month for #30DayBookBinge, you'll know that I spent a good chunk of the month reading Marissa Meyer's Renegades. This take on superheroes is due out next week, and I'll be sharing my thoughts on it then, but TODAY. . . today, we're taking a look at some of my absolute faves, inspired by the Renegades.

Scratch that.


It's no secret I love a good villain, so today I'm gonna play favorites and share my top picks for love-to-hates and hate-to-loves to ever have graced the page.

Starting with  my favorites, the *technical* villains whom I actually really (not so secretly) love.

Elphaba, Maleficent and probably many, many other villains who've had a redemptive story arc, something that explains why they are they way they are. Are they misunderstood? Has their "villainous" image been manipulated by outside influences? Are they secretly good, or actually a tragic hero? I wanna know, I am always here for that.

Along those same lines, shout out to Victor Vale, the villain / anti-hero of Vicious, and all other "mad scientist" types who are doing the wrong things for the right reasons. I love me some gray area, yo!

Merricat Blackwood.
So, spoilers, I guess, but I think, if you ever pick up We Have Always Lived in the Castle (and you should), you'll catch on pretty quickly to the fact that all is not right with Ms. Mary Katherine Blackwood. Merricat is one of my favorite characters of all time, and though the things she does are certainly not okay, the way she tells them. . . well, she's a favorite for a reason.

And one last villain I just love to love, and probably the reason for all of the other sympathetic villains I've loved over the years, and that one is. . . um, Satan?
Hear me out.
Anyone familiar with Paradise Lost will know where I'm going with this; lit nerd that I am, I've always loved a good dynamic, complex character to sink my teeth into, and Byronic heroes give us that in spades. Hell, you probably could have figured out from the few I've listed so far -- I have a type. The fallen angel, the misunderstood, the cursed -- I wanna get to the bottom of their stories.

And now for a few that I just truly love to hate.

Severus Snape, Dolores Umbridge, Lucius Malfoy . . . shall I go on?
Obviously there are a lot of excellent villains in Harry Potter. But I'm not talking about the obvious Villain Who Must Not Be Named; rather the every day, attainable regular ol' people who casually inflict damage just because they can. And though there are few characters I hate more passionately than Umbridge, the rosy-colored, Alan Rickman-shaped glasses people wear in regards to Snape has made me even more critical of just what an unlikeable, mean-spirited douchecanoe he actually was.

The Bitches of the Classics. Mrs. Norris. Lady Catherine. Mrs. Reed. Hansel & Gretel's stepmom. . . All of those many, many women of the classic staples who had a chance to be welcoming and caring and motherly, and instead to every opportunity to torment and lord their power over the powerless heroines of the books.
And yes, we've talked about these "ladies" a time or ten around here.

So many Shakespeare villains, but especially Iago. This perfect specimen of fragile ego combined with a manipulative malicious streak a mile wide makes for a perfect storm of heartache. That we can see these traits in people now, in real life (in our families, our neighborhoods, our governments), and know the havoc they can wreak in a very tangible way, makes Iago all the more insidious and believable as the master villain he is.

My villains and anti-heroes list could fill a book long enough to spawn new villains and anti-heroes, but I'll stop there.
What are some of YOUR favorite villains and anti-heroes -- whether you love to hate them, or hate how much you secretly love them?  Let me know in the comments!

And keep an eye out for my review of Renegades! If you can't wait until then, perhaps amuse yourself with the Renegades website, where you can listen to the audiobook, take a quiz to determine your special power (mine's water, which is exactly what I'd expect, tbh), and pick a side.
Choose wisely. . .

RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer
576 pages; Expected publication: November 7th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


I've never made a secret of the fact that I LOVE Halloween. Every little last thing about it thrills me, from the bats and cats and copious candy, to the creepy costumes and scary movie marathons. And one of my favorite things to do in October to embrace all that Halloween has to offer, is to inject a little bit of the creepy and tense and atmospheric into the books I read. I talked about this recently, at the start of this month's 30 Day Book Binge, and I even used to host an event in October called Helluva Halloween, that was all about these books!

But since I've really been embracing the whole audiobook thing lately (current listen: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I am loving), and since the format of audiobooks adds the potential for a whole extra layer to the creep fest, via sound effects, spine-shivering voices, and the general cozy-creepy aura that comes with late night, cool weather storytelling ala campfire urban legends, I thought I'd share some of MY personal favorite recommendations to cozy up with on a cool October night, when the wind is howling and you're ready to settle in and give yourself the chills.


Do I ever not recommend Anna Dressed in Blood? This straight forward horror novel is by turns gruesome and full of heart, and beyond being one of my favorite YA horror reads, it's one of my favorite reads, period. I don't care if she is a little bloodthirsty, I. Love. Anna!
I recommend this for anyone who doesn't have a weak stomach, but especially for fans of urban legends and Supernatural.

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now armed with his father's mysterious and deadly atheme, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage. She still wears the dress she wore in the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, it is now stained red and dripping with blood.

Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. Yet she spares Cas's life.

Narrated by: August Ross

I've mentioned before that I don't just crave scary things in October, but also (perhaps moreso) things that just have that certain October atmospheric vibe. It's hard to say what it is, exactly, but I think you all know it -- it just feels like an October read.
Moira Fowley-Doyle's debut definitely fits that bill.

Every October, Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season - when Cara; her ex-stepbrother, Sam; and her best friend, Bea, are 17 - is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season - whether she's ready or not.

Narrated by: Colby Minifie

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

Nominated for a 2013 Audie Award (aka, people dig this audiobook), The Diviners is the perfect blend of building atmosphere and flat-out goosebump-inducing horror. You can find more of my coverage of it here, but basically, this was one of my favorite books of 2012, and I kinda can't believe I haven't picked up book 2 already...

Something dark and evil has awakened....

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened....

Narrated by: January LaVoy
This audiobook includes an introduction read by Libba Bray.


This book.
By far one of my all time favorites, with one of the best opening paragraphs and compelling narrators I've ever read.
I seriously, seriously, seriously cannot recommend this underrated little gem enough, ESPECIALLY for this time of year.

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne


This gritty, true-crime-feeling YA is so fraught with tension that it actually got my blood pumping, so it's an obvious choice for this time of year.

For fans of Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell - and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn't have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons - and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they'll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial Callie drifted, and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette - to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie's dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer - and this time it won't be so easy to run away.

Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

As a general rule, I tend to prefer real life horror (stalkers and serial killers and psychopaths) to monster horror, because real horror means it could really happen -- and that's much scarier. I Hunt Killers is a perfect example of this, that ups the ante in some creative ways and is layered throughout with the most glorious nail-biting tension.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer. But he's also the son of a (now incarcerated) infamous serial killer, and "Dear Old Dad" (as Jazz calls him) has taught Jazz everything he knows. But what Jazz doesn't know is whether or not he is destined to follow in his father's footsteps. He knows he has urges, but he also knows (hopes) that he has a conscience, that he isn't like his father, that he can follow his own path. And so, in an effort to right his father's wrongs, Jazz decides to help the police (although they don't know it yet) hunt down "The Impressionist" - a new serial killer in town.

As The Impressionist kills more victims, Jazz uses the "skills" he's learned to determine the killer is copying his father's career - almost to the letter. Everyone in town thinks that Jazz could be the murderer, and why shouldn't they? The only people that stand by him are his hemophiliac best friend, Howie, and his tough, beautiful girlfriend, Connie - one of the few girls Jazz feels comfortable around given his father's history: His dad may have murdered dozens of women, but they were all white, and Connie is black.

As the bodies pile up, Jazz struggles with determining his "true" destiny. Ultimately, he manages to stop The Impressionist, but in the meantime learns his father has escaped from his maximum security prison, and Jazz may have played a role in his escape.... For now he's safe, but he knows his dad is out there, somewhere, looking for his next victim....

Narrated by: Charlie Thurston

There are so, so many more atmospheric or downright horrifying books out there that I heartily recommend (you can find more on my goodreads shelf), and of course, plenty more that I haven't read yet -- a good browse through the mystery & thriller, and horror sections of Audible will likely fill your basket with some creeptastic goodies.

And you can read any one of these that I've recommended or that you found while browsing (or have had on your wishlist!) for freeas part of a FREE 30 day trial from Audible.
I know.

So get to listening and get to shivering, and let me know which delightfully dreadful books YOU recommend for Halloween reading in the comments!
You've got one week to go, my tender lumplings. Make it good.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.  The opinions and text are all mine.


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