Top 5 Wednesday: Creepy Settings

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October is the month to read all things scary and all things that goes bump in the night, but scary books must have one main thing, a scary setting, without the ominous feeling that the backdrop offers, the story tend to fall flat.

Here are 5 of my top favorite creepy settings. Great topic Sam! I will also include some great book recommendations that feature the particular setting

Woods/Forest:
The woods/forest can either be an enchanting scenery or and ominous location, but for sure nothing is scarier than the woods/forest at night. The unexplored usually will give you the goosebumps and the chill down your spine Especially if someone or something is lurking behind its shadows.

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll are great examples of the dark and creepy woods and things that hide within its surroundings.

My Review of Through the Woods

Historical Events:
Yes, some historical events are not a laughing matter and should be handled with care, but there are some authors that use historical events to create an environment that will give you nightmares. While being respectful of the injured, they are still able to create a world that is only seen in your nightmares.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters and Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscolca are two very recent reads for me, but they are perfect examples of authors using historical events to their advantage. While one takes Worlds War I and the Spanish Inlfuenza into a paranormal twist, the latter give the infamous Jack the Ripper a new face.

My Review on In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Asylums:
I have a thing about asylums. I know mental health should be taken seriously, but those few years that asylums were open and experimenting on people is just a setting that needs to be used by authors.

The Asylum Trilogy by Madeleine Laroux is one of the few books that I’ve read that is set in an asylum. Yes, I wasn’t a fan of either the first or third book, but the chills that the second book gave me was almost worth the read. Plus the pictures will send you over the edge. Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island is a much better read that will leave you in shock by the end of the book, the movie was also pretty good.

My Review on Asylum.

Moon/Space:
Space and the Moon is also another one of those setting that is creepy because its the unknown. Very few has been out there and the majority of space has not yet been explored by humans. So of course we are not 100% sure that we are alone in this vast galaxy, definitely a very good setting for creepy books.

Most books I have read set on the moon is Science Fiction or Fantasy, but 172 Hours on the Moon is a book that everyone should read. Although I’m not a fan of the characters, the environment that Johan Harstad created is – everything. It’s been two years since I read this book, but it still gives me the creeps when I think about it.

My Review on 172 Hours on the Moon

172 Hours

Deserted Island/Rain:
‘One dark, Rainy night..’ Yes, it’s cliche, but rain and the dark is very effective in creating a creepy setting and it’s even more powerful when this ‘dark and rainy night’ is happening in a deserted island. Like I keep saying all throughout this post, its really more of the unknown that gives you the chills, and making the environment stormy is even more of a hazard to the protagonist(s).

Ten by Gretchen McNeil is not one of my favorite books, but the use of the creepy setting is definitely a plus on this book. Not so much deserted, but rather isolated, ten teens are stranded on the island with an impending storm, and a killer amidst them. This book definitely gave me some spine chilling moments. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris is also another great example of taking the environment and giving it a creepy twist. Although this book is not set in a deserted island, the main chill factor is the weather and a forest (which is my first point ^^). A recent read for me, its thrilling and will psychologically mess you up as you read it.

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So that’s it for me this week on my Top 5! Hope you guys enjoyed it and comment down below on some of your favorite creepy settings. Also, give me recommendations for more scary/thriller books. Although I’m a scaredy cat, I enjoy getting zero sleep as I lay in my bed having an internal battle with my imagination!

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Cozies Recommendation

It’s not really any secret that I’m a fan of mystery novels. I don’t care if its middle grade, YA or even adult, I would read it as long as it holds my attention. One sub-genre of Mystery is Cozy Mystery and this is one of those comfort reads for me. Anytime I’m feeling slumpy in my reading mood, I would always turn to these books to keep me on track.

Cozy books have a very specific type of writing. Obviously its always centered on a mystery, but these books are usually devoid of gore, violence, blood shed and very rarely does it include any violence towards children. Most cozy books are set in a small town or at least it revolves around a small group of people close to the protagonist.

The most common cozy mystery, that almost every book lover has read, are books written by Agatha Christie. I believe that her books are basically the foundation of cozy mysteries. Yes, Christie’s books are a lot more complex and in depth, but the lack of, or even the minimal violence of cozies are very reminiscent of Agatha Christie novels. Please don’t take my words the wrong way, they are not the same at all, but I believe Christie is the root of this sub-genre.

One of the main reason why many readers are drawn to this sub-genre is because it’s an easy read, you tend to get attached to the community that is introduced in the books, and you eventually get to see how each character develop from one book to the next. However, the main downfall of these books, is that the mystery starts to become similar and eventually the ending starts becoming very predictable. Especially, if you have read several books from the same series. I don’t really mind the repetitiveness, but I do need to read these books in between other books, so as not to get bored of the characters and story.

Anyways, I’ve read my fair share of Cozies that I think I can recommend some of them from newbies to this genre. Here are my top five cozy mystery series:

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Library Lover’s Mystery by Jenn McKinlay

I’ve read several of Jenn McKinlay’s books and I love every one of them. She writes her books very well, her characters are all lovable (except of course the killers), and her relationships are all very well written. This book in particular is an amazing read because the protagonist is a librarian, so bonus points.

Murder Past Due

Cat in the Stacks by Miranda James

Most protagonist in cozy books are female, there are those rare occasions that a male protagonist is in the series. The Cat in the Stacks are those rare books, and I really love these books. The protagonist is the lovely old man who has a beautiful main coon that you can’t help but fall in love with.

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A Jaine Austen Mystery by Laura Levine

This book is actually my guilty pleasure in his genre. At times I find myself eye rolling at certain parts of the books, but at the same time its just one of those books you can’t put down. I have a love hate relationship with the protagonist, Jaine. She tends to whine about certain things that’s is present since book one and at the same time Jaine is such a hilarious main characters. All the different shenanigans she gets into are so far-fetched and out of this world.

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A Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett

This is one of the first cozies that I really got into. I’m not a fan of the protagonist in this series, but I really love the minor characters that Barrett includes in this series. This is one of those rare occasions that I prefer the other characters than the protagonist.

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A Novel Idea by Lucy Arlington

This is a recent addition to my favorite cozy series and also the shortest. Since it was recently released there are only five books released so far and I’m patiently awaiting for more to be released. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the first book, but as the series progress, I eventually started enjoying the books. The town that Arlington writes in this series is very vivid and you can’t help but feel like you’re actually part of the community.

So that’s it for my recommendations on my favorite cozies. Hopefully, you found this interesting and PLEASE let me know of any good cozies that you guys enjoy and is not on my list. I’m always in search of a new series to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

Strong Female Protagonist in Books

Last Wednesday it was Women’s International Day and so I wanted to create this post to celebrate strong female characters in amazing books. These are also books that I would recommend to those who enjoys kick-ass female protagonists.

These books range in genre and age target, but one thing they have in common are strong female lead. Some are not as evident as the other, and some are quite upfront.

I know that there are more books that portray strong female characters, unfortunately, these are the only books that I’ve read and feel that they stood far beyond the others.

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Comment down below on book that you would include in this list.

My Favorite Youtubers

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I’ve been a YouTuber creeper for awhile now and there are a few Booktubers that I watch religiously and tend to pick up books that they recommend. I might not like all of their choices, but for the most part, they’re pretty spot on with their recommendations. I follow different YouTubers for different genres because these people tend to prefer specific genres and I find their channels informative

Here are my top YouTubers:

Mainstream: I tend to like books that are ‘mainstream’ or well hyped, so these following BookTubers are my go-to for ‘IN’ books.  I mostly watch their new release posts or anticipated releases because these are the books that will most likely be all over the bookstores.

Jessethereader

Hailey In Bookland

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Horror: I love this genre. I’m a big scaredy cat, but I love getting my hands on the next creepy book. I only have BookTuber that I follow for this genre and I tend to watch her hauls and book reviews. Mind you I sometimes don’t get to finish her videos because I tend to get scared during her descriptions of certain books. I do love her recommendations though. Unfortunately, she doesn’t post as many videos as the regular booktubers, but I still enjoy her!

DuvetDaysDevours

Fantasy/Sci-fi: Another genre that I love, but don’t read as much as I want to. These YouTubers put me to shame because when they recommend they suggest such good books and my TBR just gets longer and longer when I watch them. I usually watch their recommendations and hauls.

Thoughts on Tomes  – I especially watch her Top 5 Wednesday!

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For Fun: I’m not saying the above YouTubers are not fun. All of them are hilarious, but these YouTubers I love watching because they just go on and on about  books and I love watching their videos just because its so entertaining and hypnotizing. I think its their voice that draws me in. Anyways, I watch specific videos that they post and it differs for each of them.

Bookables – Unboxing, Hauls, Year-end overview, TBR/Wrap-ups, Tags

Pages and Pens – Top 5 Wednesday, Hauls, Reviews

Between Chapters – Hauls/unhaul, Wrap-up, Series Reviews

A Booktube Book – Hauls, Top 5 Wednesday, TBR, Wrap-up

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I know I included specifics on what videos I tend to watch for each BookTuber, but usually when I have a particular book I want to know more about, I tend to watch reviews from these YouTubers, if they have read it. I know they all don’t  have the same taste as me, but I’ve come to distinguish which Youtuber would gravitate more to the story as suppose to another.

Now just because I watch these YouTubers for specific reasons it doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Most of them read a variety of enjoyable books and they all welcome any type of books that interest them. For me, I just find that most BookTuber gravitate towards certain genres, obviously whichever interest them, but this doesn’t mean they don’t try to include books outside their comfort zone. So I would recommend all these YouTubers for any book loves. I find them all to be very entertaining and amazing!

As you can see I don’t follow anyone for my favourite genre, MYSTERY! Unfortunately I haven’t really found a BookTuber that focus, or largely focus, on that genre. Please, please, if anyone follows a great Youtuber who recommends, reviews, etc. mystery books, let me know.

My YA Book Recommendation

New to YA fiction or just thinking of the next book you’re going to read? Here are my top Ya books that should definitely be in your radar!

These are in no particular order. I will try to stay clear of books that are already hyped up…meaning books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc… since they are getting a lot of limelight already.

graceling
1. This is the first book in the Graceling Realm and its a definite must read. I love everything about this book, the story, the characters and the especially the romance. Katsa, the protagonist, is the ultimate kick-ass heroine that I think everyone will love. She definitely made an impression on me. For those who prefer audiobooks, this is one that you definitely must listen to. It is the book that made me start enjoying audiobooks.

I Hunt
2. Enjoy a good serial killer book? Then say no more. This is one of the best mystery/thriller book I’ve read in the YA genre. I’m glad that the author wasn’t hesitant to write in great details about the gore of the crime, which is much appreciated by me. I find that many authors try to gloss over the stories fearing that it isn’t appropriate for the audience. I’ve tried to look for other books with a similar feel, but they never live up to the expectation. This definitely should be on your TBR pile!

monstrumologist3. I love, love the first and second book of this series, but the third book doesn’t live up to expectation. I do have to still recommend it because this is just way too beautiful to be passed up! A must read for those who love books about monsters. Yes, you heard me right, monsters! Just not the type you see in Monsters Inc. Still a book that needs to be in the spotlight. I love the protagonists and you see his growth as the series progresses. I just wished that Yancey put a lot more thought on the ending of this series.

out of the easy
4. I enjoy stand alone books from time to time because they make me happy, knowing the ending has an actual one, and not a cliffhanger. Out of the Easy is a beautiful story set in the 1950’s in New Orleans. Need I say more? This may not have your typical YA romance, but what it lacks makes up for the actual story. We follow our lovely protagonist, Josie, as she tries to find her way out of the Big Easy. This is one book that must be read by those who loves historical fiction!

graffiti moon

5. I’m not much into YA contemporary and for this to be on my list, then there is a definite reason why. I love the story behind these characters and not just our protagonists, but their friends as well. This was my only 5 star of 2015 (so far)! Not only was this a one day read, but its so beautifully written that you won’t even realize that you’ve already finished reading it. Everyone should definitely put this on their radar!

the knife
6. I know I haven’t finished this trilogy, but these books must be read by every book lover! I admit the first 100 pages are a bore, but once you get passed it, you won’t ever regret it. I love everything about these books from our protagonists, to the world building. There is really not much to complain about, since I need to still finish the last book, but these have come to be one of my favorite trilogy and favorite author.

Poison Study
7. Now I’m really not sure if you would consider this YA, but I certainly do, although it’s not really found in the YA section of your bookstore. Anyways, this is about Yelena and her adventure as a food taster for the king. Sounds boring, trust me its not. Although I haven’t read the whole entire series, and not really sure if I want to, I still think that this book is a must on your TBR! If you enjoyed Throne of Glass, I guarantee that you will enjoy this book as well. It’s full of action, adventure and mystery!

far far away

8. Now I feel that this next book doesn’t get enough attention and it’s pretty sad because it is beautifully written in a weird, creepy way. Now if you love the Brother’s Grimm’s original fairy tales, then you will highly enjoy this tale. In fact, one of the brothers is in the story. I have to admit though, I wanted to give up on this book on the first few chapters because it was tedious, but I pushed through and totally loved it! I don’t want to give that much away, but at least give it a try. On another note, the audiobook is also fantastic!

the naturals

9. If you haven’t heard of this book, then I suggest you go to your nearest bookstore and grab this book. Let’s just say, if you enjoy criminal minds, then you would definitely enjoy this. The heroine, Cassie, is no ordinary teenager. She has the ability to read people’s actions and notice the smallest details that will allow her to analyze who you are. Kinda like Sherlock Holmes on crack. Since her ability is beneficial for profiling, she is enlisted by the FBI to help solve cold case files. Now if that doesn’t get you to want to read this book, then I am shocked!

rotandruin

10. I’m not much of a zombie fan. I love watching them, but when it comes down to reading about them, I tend to chicken out. But this series, hands down, is one of the best and beautifully written YA novels about zombies. Let me rephrase that, its actually about Bennie Imura and his friends trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. What’s nice about this story is that it’s not just the fighting and the brain eating, but its about the teens growing up and learning to live in this new environment that they are thrust upon. Really, zombie fan or not, you have to check this book out.

I would love to recommend more books, but I think 10 is enough for this post. Stay tuned for Part Two!

Top Ten Books that will Leave you Wide Awake

So for this week Top Ten Tuesdays we were given freebie, but it must be Halloween themed. I feel like I’ve already done this, since I did post this in the beginning of October.

Creepy Scary YA Books for October

But since I’ve been doing such a great job on keeping up with the TTT. I really want to do this, but without using any of the books on my previous thread. I’ll keep my fingers crossed since I don’t know if I have enough books for this.

1. The Asylum Trilogy by Madeleine Roux
To be honest, I haven’t actually finished this series. Mind you the first book was ok for me, the second was great and the third I haven’t even gotten around to reading. But there are elements of the spook here and at time I did get scared with the story. I listened to this on audio and it was great. So if you like audiobook you might want to get your hand on this one.
asylumSanctumcatacomb

2. Slasher Girls and Monster Boys Short Stories by April Tucholke, et. al.
I recently read this book and it made me a bit sleepless in the night. Many enjoyed one particular part of it that had to do with Alice, but I actually prefer another story. Each one is just as good as the other, but some are better depending on the author.
slasher girls

3. Lockwood & Co. Series by Jonathan Stroud
I actually just read the first book on this series, but the book that I read made a good impression. Yes, it’s not as creepy as other books I’ve read, but gory enough for some of your more mature middle grade readers. At least check out the first book before judging the cover!
Screaming Staircase
Click here for my review!

Unfortunately, that’s all I have to add to my list of creepy stories. There are a lot more out there so please let me know in the comments below if you have any recommendations for books that will leave you wide awake. Also, check out the link above for other books that are worth the read on Halloween or any other month you feel like being scared.

Creepy, Scary YA Books for October

October for me is a time when reading becomes all creepy and scary. Seriously, October just screams Halloween, so of course, creepy books are in order!

Here are some books I would recommend for those, like me, who loves being scared. These are in no particular order. I think all of them are good in their own creepy way.

divinersThe Diviners by Libba Bray
If you love historical fiction and you love supernatural books, then look no further because this book screams “read me”. Not only do you get a spunky and up beat protagonists but you also get the golden age of the roaring twenties. Really, this book is the glorification of the twenties, with speakeasies references, flapper fashion and the introduction of Jazz music. Everything you love in the twenties is in here, plus of course, the supernatural. (note: Audio version is pretty good!)

the naturalsThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Since we’re talking about the supernatural, then we might as well move on to this book. The Naturals almost has the same feel as the Diviners, just minus the flapper trend. It’s set in modern times, but still has the creepy vibes. If you’re a Criminal Minds fanatic, or you just enjoy the show, then definitely this is a must read. I don’t have a physical book of this since I borrowed the ebook, but this is going to be something that I will purchase in the future.

I HuntI Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Now, if you like the whole serial killer aspect of the creepy, scary part of The Diviners and The Naturals, but doesn’t necessary like the supernatural attributes, then this is the book for. I Hunt Killers actually take scary in a more sub-conscious part only because there are no ghosts or demons in these books. Just people who do what they do. But this book is beautifully written in a very haunting way. I have yet to finish the trilogy, but from what I have read so far, its a series that you won’t regret you started.

monstrumologistMonstrumologist by Rick Yancey
I cannot stress enough how good this book is. I’m not really sure why not a lot of people like this book, but I think its just amazing. The author not only write about the different monsters Will Henry and his master hunts for, but it also discusses the growing up of the narrator. I love how each book shows just how much more mature Will Henry has gotten and I even enjoy the small story in the Prologue and Epilogue. This is just a very beautiful story that more people should read.

rotandruinRot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Now, I’m not really much of a zombie reader, but I found this series to be really good. There are different elements as to why this series is good, and I think for me the main reason is that the author emphasis the importance of family and friendship. He does a great way of balancing the gore with the love. Which makes me love reading these books. For those zombie lovers though, don’t worry, there is plenty of that in here too.

badgir;sBad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender
Now if you’re not into serial killers, zombies or historical fiction, say no more. I’ve got the book for you. This is a great read for those who wants to be just plain scared. I admit, the chill factor of this book is not as intense as the other books I’ve mentioned, but it still has a great story plot, and it will still make the back of your hair rise! Plus, I think Alender is such a great writer of scary books.

name of the starThe Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Seriously don’t let the name fool you. It does sound like an all girl rock band, but its not. Now a list, in my opinion, is not complete without a little Jack the Ripper. This book is perfect for those who enjoys reading about the most feared serial killer in 19th Century London. So its just natural that a good haunting story must be written about him and Maureen Johnson does a perfect job of joining 19th century and present London.

through the woodsThrough the Woods by Emily Caroll
I really cannot end this post about all things creepy without mentioning this graphic novel, yes it’s not a books, but it’s still worth mentioning. Seriously, just spare less than one hour of you time, pick up this book and start reading. You won’t regret it. The stories are haunting, the pictures are creepy and it will leave you scarred for awhile.

So that’s my list of creepy and scary Ya books that should definitely be read in October, or any day of the year. Comment down below, what are your favorite Halloween reads? or do you even like reading scary, horror books during this time of the month or any other months!