On the outside, Scream All Night looks like a horror novel, but twist: it’s actually a coming of age story. The YA debut follows emancipated teen Dario, who is forced back into the family business (which just so happens to be his father’s B-horror movie film studio). Full of an eccentric cast of characters and some tough subject matter, Milman’s novel explores what happens when the monsters are found behind the camera. [Read our creator Q&A with author Derek Milman.]
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (★★★★★)
I loved this super fast-paced science fiction story more than I ever could have imagined. Full of complex characters and shocking twists and turns, Nyxia features a definitely evil corporation who are taking young people to another planet to mine a mysterious material know as Nyxia. What could go wrong? Since this is the first book in the series, it’s focused solely on the kid’s training before arriving on Eden, a second earth-like planet inhabited by humanoid creatures known as Adamites.
The Traitor’s Kiss started off super promising, but unfortunately, things got real dumb real fast, and the story completely lost me toward the end. Set during an indistinguishable time period where everyone has to be paired by a matchmaker, this book definitely should have been a standalone novel. While things start off great with the matchmaking stuff, this far superior/way more interesting section was mostly glossed over to make way for a time jump and some nonsensical plot about spies and secret princes for no reason.
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My first read of 2018 took me by surprise, mostly because I had no idea it was a murder mystery. Thankfully, I wanted to watch the HBO series and I’m a read it first kind of girl. Due in large part to the suspenseful nature of the novel (who done it and who!?!) I flew threw this Australian contemporary drama. Read: Pretty Little Liars for adults.
A dark fantasy set in the world of faerie, The Cruel Prince hits the ground running with a brutal double murder. What follows is a tale of revenge, beautiful dresses, crosses and double crosses, courtly drama, cruel faeries, even more murder, and magic, proving that this novel is deserving of all the online hype. Could it be Holly Black’s best faerie story yet? Damn straight it is!
I could read 8,000 more books set in the worlds (plural) of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, which takes place at a boarding school for children forever changed after their adventures in other dimensions. The first two books are amazing in their own right, but Beneath the Sugar Sky is my favorite due to its multiple settings, including an underworld inhabited by the dead and a land made entirely of sugary treats. A candy land if you will.
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After being kidnapped by Ray, Alice becomes a living dead girl, forced to stay small forever. Alice has resigned herself to her fate and even looks forward to her impending death at Ray’s hands, until he demands she recruit another girl — a younger Alice who will take her place. Disturbing yet beautiful, Scott’s novel comes with all the trigger warnings.
Sara Shepard’s The Amateurs is a super problematic novel with one hell of a twist ending. From the one-dimensional characters to the deeply disturbing male POVs and the weird way race is handled — not to mention all the relationships centered around statutory rape — Shepard has gone off the rails with this series, and not in her usual good way. [WATCH BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION]
Pitched as young adult Dexter, The Female of the Species is actually a feminist novel disguised as a serial-killer novel. Read: I was pleasantly surprised. In the story, McGinnis unflinchingly tackles rape culture, filling her (at times) disturbing novel with complex women and strong female friendships.
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Loosely inspired by Snow White, The Shadow Queen follows power-infused mardushka Lorelai and dragon-shifting king Kol, who has been sent by the pretender queen to hunt her down. Full of characters I could care less about, too much action and dialogue that tried a little too hard, this is one fractured fairy tale a had a lot of problems with. [WATCH BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION]
I’m so happy I finished the beautifully written Winner’s Trilogy this month! While The Winner’s Crime is filled with horribly exciting twists at every turn, The Winner’s Kiss is the perfect conclusion to Kestrel and Arin’s epic star-crossed love story. Although the final book had a little too much action for my taste, the last 100 pages were absolute perfection.
Two more shorts stories meant to tide us over until The Rose and The Dagger, Renee Ahdieh’s second prequel follows sassy handmaiden Despina as she falls into a dangerous love affair with the charismatic Captain of the Guard, Jalal al-Khoury. While this is a more fun and lighthearted story, the final short is meant to bridge the gap between the two books in the duology and is told from Khalid’s point of view.
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2015 was the year I said goodbye to goals and decided to focus on quality over quantity. Despite promising not to judge my end result, I was still bummed I didn’t hit 100 books. Regardless, even though I still took all of May off to move apartments, I was only two books shy of my goal-centric 2014 total, reading 94 books in 2015.
For this year’s best and worst of wrap up, I decided to do things a little differently and divide my favorites and least favorites of the year by genre. Note: these are the books I read in 2015 and are not limited to books published in 2015.
You can check out a visual list of all the books I read in 2015 over on GoodReads — for the best and worst, continue scrolling!
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