13 Underrated Thriller & Horror Novels I’ll Scream About Until You Read Them

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day, and while other people are getting mushy-gushy by talking about books they love or listing the reasons why they love books or their favorite ships in books, I shall stand out by talking about thriller and horror books I’ve fallen in love with, and you really must read immediately.

Because I like to think of myself as a lover and expert of the genre, I thought the best way to express that love was to recommend some books. This is my Valentine’s Day, people

I shall never stick to the status quo.

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[ARC REVIEW] Reasons Why I Fell In Love With FINAL GIRLS (And Why You Should, Too)

final Girls

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Adult

Series: None

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Description:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Holy crap. Well, that was amazing. I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I heard about this book through bookstagram, and as soon as I read the description, I fell in love. Horrors and thrillers have quickly become my two favorite genres after I dived into them for the first time in the last half of the year, and this sounded like a brilliant combination of both. And after hearing good review after good review, I knew I just had to have it. So imagine how happy I was to see that the book was available for request on Netgalley, and how shocked I was when I was actually approved to read it. Whaaat?

This book was just as amazing as the synopsis hyped it up to be. Kudos to whoever wrote that description to draw me in. I’m one of those people that is usually drawn in from the title, and from there, the description. And, sometimes, you read a book and it ends up not delivering to your own expectations. But, wow, did this one completely deliver and blow me away. I couldn’t really tell what the true mystery would be just by reading the synopsis, which I’m thankful for, because it just made the book all the more addicting and leaves you with the feeling of constantly wanting to know what’s going to happen next.

The pacing for this one was perfect. Right off the bat, you’re pulled into the action, and then yanked out into the present. I would say that there’s not a single dull moment in this book. As soon as I started reading the book, I just. Couldn’t. Stop. I needed to know what was going on, what Quincy was going to get herself involved in, what the memories of Pine Cottage would reveal next. This book is basically the definition of “Just one more chapter!” (and I’m sure all my fellow bookworms will understand this). There are several plot twists, but unlike some thrillers I’ve read, they weren’t gimmicky and didn’t feel tacked on to make the book some unpredictable mess. All the twists had clues and a little bit of foreshadowing that when you find out something happens, you’ll be angry at yourself for not noticing it before.

I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this one. Quincy is a complicated character in and of herself, since she feels as if her past and present are colliding, and she just wants to be seen as a normal person. I quickly grew to liking her and cheering her on, even though she made some decisions that might make some frustrated, but I felt like it was realistic and true to her character, especially after what she’d suffered through. Sam is a complicated character, who I feel you’ll either totally love or totally hate, since she can definitely be a bit much, but I won’t dwell on her character too much because she’s more of a person you’ll want to figure out for yourself. We also have Coop, who I truly loved, and was such an interesting character, one who I brushed aside at first.

The ending was absolutely fantastic. I loved how everything tied together so well, and when everything is revealed, it’s truly shocking. I’m definitely not going to spoil anything, but I’m glad that I was knocked so hard off my feet at the revelations. It’s good to know that even though it sometimes feels like some genres are quickly becoming too formulaic, that horrors and thrillers can still manage to keep me on my toes.

Please add this to your reading list. You will definitely not regret it.

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A huge thank you to Dutton for giving me an e-ARC of this novel via Netgalley! This was actually the first e-ARC I ever received on the site, and I’m still shocked because I literally only had about twenty or so followers at that time, so thank you so much for giving me a chance! 

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5 Reasons Why HELLWORLD Disappointed Me

Hellworld Photo

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Series: None

Rating: 1 STAR

Synopsis: 

Five years ago, Abby Booth’s mom, co-host of a ghost hunting reality show, went missing while filming in a ‘haunted’ cave in Arizona.

Since then, Abby’s life has all but fallen to pieces, most notably because of her dad’s deep depression and how they’ve drifted further and further apart.

But now, at seventeen, Abby has decided that things will change. She plans to go to the same cave where her mom and the crew went missing and to find out, once and for all, what happened there.

With the help of the co-host’s son Charlie and two of his friends, Abby sets off on a quest for answers…but what the group ends up finding, what they stumble across in that dark, primordial cave in Arizona, is nothing they could have ever imagined.

Abby was investigating a possible haunting… she never expected that there could be something worse.

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If you saw my Anticipated Spring Releases post, you’ll know I was excited for this book! I love a good YA horror novel, so I was ready to dive into it and fall completely in love with it. Unfortunately, that did not happen. At all.

1. The characters were boring. So, we have our main character, Abby, who really wants to find her mom. Charlie, who’s basically just the love interest and there to look hot. Maybe he did something else in this book, but if he did, I don’t remember. Selby, who’s there to serve as a mechanism of girl hate – because we need more of that. And Alex, who I actually really liked…and, oh, never mind, he’s dead (you figure this out within the first chapter, so no spoilers). Basically flat characters fitting an equally flat book.

2. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. At first, I thought it was a horror, because that’s how it’s marked. Then, somewhere in the middle, it transformed into some post-apocalyptic novel with a mix of paranormal elements. And not to forget the fact that this also somehow managed to combine sci-fi AND Biblical mythology all at once. Did it work? Not necessarily. It just seemed like the book went all over the place and that there wasn’t really a clear direction.

3. The romance was ridiculous and unnecessary. And, yet again, we have a YA novel that shoves in a romance THAT IS NOT NEEDED. AT ALL. And it was a terrible one to boot. Basically, Abby hasn’t seen Charlie in YEARS, and had a crush on him back in elementary school, and for some reason, she’s still swooning over him in the present. And even though Charlie has a girlfriend, apparently a couple of hours together causes him to CHEAT ON HER by making out with Abby. Because insta-love is real, apparently. Please wait while I roll my eyes.

4. There were too many plot conveniences. Seriously, there was this one chapter near the end that was actually ridiculous and managed to happen right after the characters were stuck and couldn’t figure anything out. So, out of the blue, the thing they were looking for mysteriously appears for them. In the middle of the apocalypse. Really?

5. WTF was that ending? Seriously, what was it? We have the most random plot twist in the history of ever. And then the book just…ends. And that’s it. No explanation of the plot twist, no implications of what might happen in the future, no answers to anything that happened. Nada. I mean, maybe it’s supposed to be an open ending, but it’s not done well.

Overall, this book was just really disappointing. Nothing is more annoying than another lackluster YA horror, especially since they come so few and far in between, but this one was just…bleh. Pick up Gretchen McNeil’s Ten instead, or The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.

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[ARC REVIEW] Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem

ubo

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Horror

Series: None

Rating: 3 STARS

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Description:

A blend of science fiction and horror, award-winning author Steve Rasnic Tem’s new novel is a chilling story exploring the roots of violence and its effect on a possible future.

Daniel is trapped in Ubo. He has no idea how long he has been imprisoned there by the roaches.

Every resident has a similar memory of the journey to Ubo: a dream of dry, chitinous wings crossing the moon, the gigantic insects dropping swiftly over the houses of the neighborhood, passing through walls and windows as if by magic, or science.  The creatures, like a deck of baroquely ornamented cards, fanning themselves from one hidden world into the next.

And now each day they force Daniel to play a different figure from humanity’s violent history, from a frenzied Jack the Ripper to a stumbling and confused Stalin to a self-proclaimed god executing survivors atop the ruins of the world. The scenarios mutate day after day in this camp somewhere beyond the rules of time. As skies burn and prisoners go mad, identities dissolve as the experiments evolve, and no one can foretell their mysterious end.

My Thoughts:

So, this book is basically the definition of “WTF?” Seriously, all you have to do is read the description, and you’ll probably be saying, “Wait, what?” It’s the main reason why I requested it in the first place, and I was so excited when I got the e-mail that I was approved.

 First, a bit of a warning: this book is slow. SO SLOW. Like, it literally took almost half a month for me to read this. It’s just one of those books where I had to read it in spurts, because it doesn’t have that binge-able quality. It’s not a bad thing, but for those who like faster-paced books, this will probably be the ultimate torture.

 There’s a cast of characters, but, really, we only focus on the main character, Daniel, who has a rough sort of past. He has a son who suffers from a heart disease, and he feels as if his marriage is quickly falling apart, and before he knows it, he’s been dragged off to this torture chamber/science lab where he has to relive history’s worst moments. He’s one of those main characters that’s so easy to cheer for, because you want him to get out of this unimaginably awful situation, but he might not be someone who you’ll relate to, just for the fact that I’m a teenage girl who doesn’t even want kids, and I know most of you guys reading this probably won’t relate either, but he’s definitely someone you’ll sympathize with.

 Of course, the plot is interesting. A weird world where all these people are dragged out of their homes to play the worst men in history? What? And, my God, did it take the weirdest turn. Not like I minded, since I’m a huge fan of super weird sci-fi stories (have you seen Black Mirror? If you haven’t, you need to). I thought it was definitely carried out well, and this actually ties into the world-building of the book. We’re only stuck with Daniel in the limited world of Ubo, and it’s not until we’re in the point of view of the God of Mayhem (“Wait, what?” you’re probably saying, and that’s a 100% accurate feeling) and in the final chapter that we get to see more of the world, so for those who are huge on world-building in sci-fi, you’ll probably hate how this one is very light on it.

 Honestly, it’s so hard to talk about this book without spoiling it, but it’s definitely interesting and I thought it was okay. Not the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read, but it certainly makes me want to see if there’s more sci-fi/horror out there! And, also, a real warning: if you’re not into/sensitive to reading descriptions of graphic violence from the POV of Jack the Ripper or shooters or horrible men in history, or don’t want to read descriptions of horrific events such as the Holocaust, then this book is definitely not for you.

 Overall, a solid sci-fi/horror story, and if you’re pretty curious to read it, feel free to check it out once it comes out on Valentine’s Day!

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Does this book interest you? 

(Also, I finished Caraval today! So good! Hopefully, my review should be up tomorrow!)

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I was provided with a free e-ARC of this book through Netgalley. Thank you so much Steve Resnic Tem and Rebellion Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this early.