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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Bite-Sized Reviews | Lying, Con Artists, & Missing Girls

Oh, look, Series II in “Mikaela Catches Up On Reviewing All The Books She Read In December” edition!

But, really, today I’m here to review three of my most anticipated releases in YA thrillers last year! Clearly, you were all waiting for my thoughts on these highly anticipated releases obviously. Enjoy my extremely late thoughts!

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “Wonder Woman, Warcross, Genuine Fraud, Oh My!” Edition

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Look at me, I read ARCs!

So, I got a lot of ARCs at Bookcon, and earlier this month, I finally dived into them! I still have all of my October and 2018 releases left, but just one September release, and I thought it’d be a good idea to just review all of some of my anticipated releases in one big post! So here are five positive reviews of some books coming at you in August and September!

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wonder woman

Genre: Fantasy, YA 

Series: DC Icons #1

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Synopsis:

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

My Thoughts

I actually wasn’t really planning on reading this one, but then the hype reached me and I ended up getting a copy at Bookcon, so I caved – and I’m so glad I did! The cast of characters in this book were absolutely fantastic, especially Aila, who I found so relatable as a heroine and a character. I also loved learning more about Wonder Woman; I hadn’t watched the movie yet when I read the book, so this was my first exposure to anything about her, so it was really interesting getting to know more about her background and seeing her as a teenager. It’s pretty much impossible to not fall in love with her. This story was a journey-type story, and even though I’m not a huge fan of those types, I actually really enjoyed it in this case! Also, this book was hilarious, and I rarely find books funny, so that was definitely a treat! The ending was also really sweet; I actually teared up a little. Overall, I think people will really enjoy this one!

(Also, this book had the plot twist of the century. That’s all I’ll leave it at.)

In Summary:

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Genuine Fraud

Genre: Thriller, YA

Series: None 

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.

Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 

A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Thoughts

I didn’t really expect anything from this novel for two reasons: I’ve never read We Were Liars, and the summary is extremely vague. I’m so glad I had zero impressions, because I absolutely loved this book with all my heart. It was a genuinely good, mature YA thriller that seemed to be written just for me: an unreliable narrator, backwards story-telling, an addicting fast pace, a twisted female friendship. I literally could not stop raving about this book in my head while I read it. Also, to top it all off, the ending was absolutely perfect for this novel. Overall, I’m almost happy I trudged through so many meh and just plain terrible YA thrillers to get to this one – it was so worth it.

In Summary:

blessed

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they both die at the end

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Series: None

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis:

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

My Thoughts

Well, this was probably the most anticipated release of the second half of 2017 for me, and BOY, it did not disappoint. Adam Silvera has done it again. Like his first two books, I binged the entire thing in less than a day and left me completely ruined. Honestly, you can’t help yourself; it’s an addicting and intense read because you just need to know – will they both die at the end, and if so, how? I absolutely loved Rufus and Mateo as characters; both have completely different lives, and seeing them meet and watching their bond grow from being tentative acquaintances to close friends that (slowly) blooms into a beautiful romance made my heart ache. We also get to see other people’s POVs of those that personally effect them and those whose lives they have effected. The ending was so, so good, and, yep, I cried. I finally cried at a book. Overall, a powerful book that if you haven’t added to your TBR yet, you absolutely must.

In Summary:

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Warcross

Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller, Dystopian, YA

Series: Warcross #1

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Synopsis: 

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

My Thoughts

As soon as I heard the concept for this book, I was set on getting it into my hands and reading it, so when I managed to meet Marie Lu AND get an ARC signed at Bookcon, I basically died. And, boy, did Marie Lu not let me down whatsoever. WHERE DO I BEGIN? First off, I want the Warcross game to exist in real life. I WILL FIGHT FOR IT. As per usual, Lu’s writing was absolutely terrific and was so fantastic at transporting the reader into the story. The characters were all diverse and well-rounded, and really made this story shine, even the background characters. Honestly, the concept could not have been carried out better, and I absolutely LOVED the direction Lu took it at the very end. This book actually didn’t have a cliffhanger, but it was left so open and I have so many questions! Overall, what do I have to do to get the sequel again?

In Summary:

perfection 2

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Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, YA

Series: None

Rating: 4 STARS

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Synopsis:

Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release. 

From the New York Times-best selling author of A Monster Calls comes a raw, darkly funny, and deeply affecting story about the courage it takes to live your truth.

My Thoughts

Look at me, I’ve finally read a full Patrick Ness book! After finally reading A Monster Calls last year and loving it, I told myself I’d read more of his work, and I’m so glad I did! I absolutely loved Adam and was so sympathetic to his situation since terrible thing after terrible thing kept hitting him. I could totally feel for his really crappy day, especially since I know I have those days as a teenager myself where it just seems like the only place I could go is down. This was quite the fast-paced book, especially since it was so short, and I really liked the frank way the book dealt with sex, especially since I feel so many YA books can deal with it in the most unnecessarily cheesiest way possible and it seems completely unrealistic to boot. This book has an open ending, so if you don’t like those types of endings in contemporary novels, you’ll probably hate this book. My one complaint was probably the magical realism. It follows a character mentioned in passing in the beginning of the novel, and, unfortunately, the parts were just so boring and didn’t make any sense until the end of the novel. I ended up skipping over them since Adam’s story was much more compelling then hers. Overall, I need to read all the Patrick Ness books!

In Summary:

i feel you

Let's Chat

Are you excited for any of these books? Have you read any of these books? What’s your most anticipated release for the second half of 2017? 

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Bite-Sized Reviews | The “It Is NOT A Cult!” Edition

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And I’m back with another edition of Bite-Sized Reviews! 

Tomorrow, two books are coming out that deal with very similar themes, but one ended up disappointing me and one ended up being a fantastic book! I decided to just go ahead and review the both of them today!

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The Marriage Pact

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Series: NONE

Rating: 5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017 

Synopsis: 

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
  
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
            
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .
            
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
            
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
            
And then one of them breaks the rules.
            
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
            
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

My Thoughts

I was originally going to give this one four stars, but I don’t even remember why I took off a star, so five stars it is! I was really intrigued with this one mainly because the synopsis tells you next to nothing, and I am a very nosy person, so I needed to know what was going to happen! I definitely liked seeing from Jake’s point-of-view, since I rarely ever read a thriller from a guy’s point-of-view. I was definitely intrigued with the whole cult-ish vibe of The Marriage Pact, and this book was extremely addicting, especially since it took a lot of twists and turns I really wasn’t expecting. Not only that, but I ADORED the writing. It was very formal, but not so pretentious, you don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just never read a thriller like that before. Also, this one inserted a bunch of facts about marriage, so I learned things! And I also really loved the ending. Basically, this was like Fates and Furies, but with a cult.

In Summary:

cult

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first we were iv

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, YA

Series: NONE 

Rating: 2.5 STARS

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Synopsis:

A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.

My Thoughts

Hm, I was sort of disappointed by this one. I absolutely loved The Creeping, so I was really excited for this one, but it was just meh. First off, I thought this book was going to be about a girl gang when I read the synopsis, so I was already let down when there were two boys in the group, especially since these two boys end up being the heart of a mini love triangle – probably the dumbest one I’ve ever seen. It also had this weird feminist slant where they stand up to sexist dress codes and girls can masturbate, too, but we also have girl hate THE ENTIRE BOOK since our main characters are outcasts and the people they hate are popular, so what was the point? I also thought the whole IV thing was dumb. I am a teenager, so I highly doubt teenagers would get up to this. They’re cutting themselves to bleed on a statue, dancing around in their underwear, going out until the early morning to dump blood on people’s houses and throw rocks at their window, and I’m supposed to believe teenagers would do this why? All because of the murder of some girl they didn’t know that they found the dead body of as kids? And I’m not even going to bring up the lack of parenting that goes on as well. It just seemed really far-fetched and dumb. I will say, this was an addicting book and it was very dark, and that’s not seen much in YA, so I’ll give it that! But, overall, I was disappointed. Hopefully, The Telling is better.

In Summary: 

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A huge thank you to Ballantine and Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing for the e-ARCs via Netgalley!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Pick Up THE BREAKDOWN

The Breakdown

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adult

Rating: 4 STARS

Series: None

Release Date: July 18, 2017 (today!)

Synopsis: 

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

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“Mikaela, are you reviewing on a Tuesday???” I know, I know; I’ve broken my schedule (which I truly, truly hate). But, I wasn’t able to get this up yesterday, so I’m putting it up today, just in time for this book’s publication date! Hopefully, this will be the first and last time I do this.

1. I thought it was addicting. I mean, of course it was. I didn’t expect anything less from B.A. Paris, to be honest. As soon as I read the first chapter, I knew I was hooked, and I ended up reading this in a day. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF WHEN IT COMES TO B.A. PARIS. I know most people really appreciate having an addictive psychological thriller to read, and this one definitely fits the bill.

2. Cass was a great main character. I absolutely loved being in her point-of-view for the entirety of the book! It’s very easy to be sympathetic to her situation, especially since imagining yourself in her shoes is actually terrifying. I know I’m also one who can be quite paranoid about dumb things, especially when it’s at night and I think I’m hearing noises that aren’t even there and completely over-thinking the worst-case scenario in situations that really aren’t that bad, so I could definitely relate to her and understand how she felt. If I told you guys the type of paranoia I have about some serial killer coming to get me at night, it probably sounds dumb to you, but it makes sense to me, so I definitely understood the predicament she was caught up in.

3. It was different from Behind Closed Doors. I actually loved Behind Closed Doors, but I know some people might not like it that much, and worry that this one won’t be too good. I actually thought this was quite different, and had more of a mystery feel than her previous domestic thriller feel. It definitely still had that element of psychological suspense that I really loved and was extremely addicting, of course, but I’m glad that it shows that Paris can branch out if she wants to!

4. The writing was fantastic. I talked a bit earlier in this review about how it really captured how it felt to be paranoid, and that’s what made the writing SO GOOD. Her writing also managed to make the book so suspenseful and kept me turning the pages, which is always good for a thriller.

5. I absolutely loved the ending. I really, really did! I’ve been a bit frustrated with some thrillers when it comes to their endings since some seem to build up to some out-of-this world ending that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but this one ended up having not just a pretty realistic ending, but a shocking ending, showing that thriller endings don’t have to be outlandish to be good. Not only that, but it also managed to tie up the story in a neat little bow, which will make a lot of readers happy.

All in all, B.A. Paris has done it again! I can’t wait to see what she puts out next!

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for giving me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley; I truly appreciate it!  

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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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