A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Queer reimagining of Dracula’s brides, ft. sapphic yearning at the opera and tangled polyamorous relationships

One of the best books I’ve ever read. A dark vampire romance, spanning centuries with polyamory.

For someone who loves polyamory as much as I do, I sure haven’t read all that many books with it. I’m so so glad I read this one. 

I’ve never actually read Dracula, so I can’t say all that much about it. What I CAN talk about is this book, and boy do I have a lot to say about it. 

The writing style is super unique. It’s written, sort of, like a letter from the narrator to her lover. So, first and second person. We never actually find out the name of Constanta’s, the narrator’s, lover, but since Goodreads uses Dracula, let’s go with that. 

“This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession. I suppose both are a sort of gentle violence, putting down in ink what scorches the air when spoken aloud.”

The writing is lyrical, absolutely phenomenal, stunning, flows like a river and is just as beautiful. I binge read this book in two days. 

The start itself is intriguing. We go into the story with the knowledge of how it ends, and that makes it so much better. 

“If you can still hear me wherever you are, my love, my tormentor, hear this: It was never my intention to murder you. Not in the beginning, anyway.”

When Dracula is first introduced, he’s a savior to Constanta, and he’s the perfect gentleman. And us, the readers, would’ve been charmed by him if it weren’t for the way Constanta talks about him. There’s something wrong, and it’s not exactly about secrets. It’s about something rotten hidden behind charms and false love. We know it’s there but we can’t pinpoint it. It leaves you uneasy and eager to read more, read quickly. Find out what’s up. 

Constanta’s character is brilliantly three dimensional. At the start she’s just a girl, so new to everything, naive and trusting and angry. A sharp contrast to the ruthless, calculating, experienced Dracula. The way her character develops, how she becomes more aware, a little more ruthless, yet still managing to retain her morals, her better sides. How she struggles between their lifestyle, and Dracula’s non existent morals, set against her own sense of right and wrong. 

The introduction of the other two lovers is something to behold, Constanta’s struggles with having to share her husband, and then coming to love them. And how they’re all different from each other, contrasting yet fitting each other. How they all love Dracula too, and how they understand that maybe he isn’t as great as they thought of him as. 

That this eternal life isn’t what they’d expected. 

People aren’t meant to live forever. I know that now.

I loved how Constanta slowly becomes more and more aware of things around her, the way she loved Dracula yet understands what’s wrong with the situation. How Dracula deteriorates, showing more and more of his true colors.

The way Dracula manipulates and controls them is horrifying. The only reason I was able to read through some of the worst bits of how he treated his consorts was because I knew the ending. 

And that ending. 

I have so many things to say about it, such a deliciously dark ending, with justice served. Tragic and empowering. It’s not a sad ending, I firmly believe it was a happy ending. But you can see the conflict that Constanta feels throughout the book, and that’s the heartbreaking part. 

There’s also a little epilogue short story, called An Encore of Roses. A slightly spicy look into their lives after the ending events of the first book. 

Soul soothing is what it was. 

There were so many lines from the book that I wanted to quote here, but I’m just gonna let you all read them by yourself, savor the magnificence that this book is.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A Dowry of Blood is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

Amazon | Goodreads

Do you like vampire books? Or polyamory? What’s the last book you read with either?

On Love Stories and Romance

‘True love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.’

– Sadhu Vaswani

I am someone who doesn’t really like romance, and will almost never read a contemporary romance. But I do want to write a love story.

This may come across as weird or confusing to some, how can I write in a genre I don’t like reading? Except, I DO like reading love stories.

There is a difference between love stories and romance.

One very obvious difference would be that romance is about, well, romantic attraction. But love stories are about love, which doesn’t have to be romantic.

One of my friends, when I had this discussion with her, grasped it almost immediately. According to her, love stories are ever lasting. Beyond death. Eternal. You can never unlove someone. You can forget, but you can’t unlove them. 

Romance is about loving someone and wanting to spend your lives together. Romance is about stability at its heart, even with all its ups and downs. Romance is about high school sweethearts and it is in all the little things. Romance is about love in its sweetest form. 

It’s not that romance isn’t fraught with heartbreak and grief, because, in the end, love is still love. And sometimes it hurts. 

But it doesn’t have the enduring nature of love stories. Or, at least, what I personally constitute as love stories. 

Love stories are about devotion, about giving your life over to one person, one cause, one place, one thing. I also think there is this… unhealthy aspect to these love stories. Devotion leading to obsession, selflessness leading to self destruction. 

But also, talking about fiction, don’t we all sometimes crave something complicated, dark and twisted?

I’m not saying there’s a difference between romance and love, I’m saying there’s a difference between a romance, and a love story. 

I also associate love stories with tragic endings, and romance with happy endings. That’s not always the case, of course, but tragedy showcases something that we won’t see in romance. It shows just how far someone is willing to go for something, and how far they’ll fall if the other is gone. 

The Song of Achilles, for example, Achilles’ rage at Patroclus’ death was great enough to need the intervention of the gods. Now that’s a love story for the ages. 

And, for the record, I don’t think I’ve actually ever heard anyone refer to it as a ‘romance’. Huh. I just realised that. 

The absolute devotion and madness and utter tragedy of handing your heart over to someone. 

It’s about vulnerability, it’s about baring every little piece of yourself, the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly, and trusting them to make the right choice. It’s about when you place the object of your devotion on a pedestal so much higher than anyone or anything else.  Devoting your heart, mind, body and soul to it.

Romance, it’s… solid. It’s rarely uncertain. Romance is beautiful and sweet, it’s about finding happiness together. 

Romance comes and goes, but love stories last forever. 

Tell me about your thoughts on this? Do you agree? Disagree?

My Favourite Opening Lines

“Stories never really end…even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don’t end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”

― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

I love this quote, about how a story never begins or ends. It actually reminds me of another one:

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”

― Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Now, even though we have established that a story never truly begins or ends, we also have to admit that the place where we look ‘ahead’ from needs to be intriguing enough to read.

First sentences are super important in books! Sometimes, they provide the hook that the blurb didn’t. They give you a feel of how the book is written, and about the tone of narration. About the point of view, and whether it’s interesting or not. 

Yes, that’s a lot to bear for one single line, but a lot of books manage it very very well! Sometimes if I’m cover buying a book, I’d read the first line instead of the blurb. 

Admittedly, the entire first chapter is quite important in whether a reader will continue reading the story or not. The pace, the writing style, and everything. But every chapter is composed of lines. Could be just one, or several. (I especially love those chapters that are like, just one line. The Bone Houses is the last book I remember with something like this. A stunning line, really.) And the first of those? The most important. 

Titles and opening lines, two of my three obsessions as a writer. The third is names, collecting unusual and pretty names like a raven collecting shiny objects. But we’re talking about first lines right now. 

I’ve already made a post about creative and/or intriguing titles, you can check it out here

In this one, I’ll share some of my other personal faves! Some I’ve finished, others I’m in the middle of. But they’re all excellent reads.

(Book titles lead to goodreads page!)

“The circus arrives without warning.”

-The Night Circus 

Super good book, intriguing style of writing. Third person omniscient? Third person objective? Sometimes second person. Sometimes third person subjective. But suits the whimsical air of the book, and hooks you in from the very first lines. 

“What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands.”

– A Thousand Perfect Notes 

Um?! Horrifying, intriguing, you wanna know why. This is what I call an excellent hook. Stunning book about passion, obsession, and toxic expectations. And music! There’s a lot of music in there, siblings and several animals. The ending is heartbreak in ink and paper. 

“A girl is running for her life.”

-The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Of course I wasn’t going to let this list not have my favourite book on it. It starts off so good! Straight up in the middle of action. Someone is running for their lives. One of my WIPs also actually starts with something similar, the protagonist running for her life. Although not in these exact words. After all, being in mortal danger is so terribly exciting. 

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

-Shatter Me 

Shatter Me has got the most unique writing style I’ve ever read. The chaos in her mind, the evidence of living in a dystopian world, shunned and hated, of being in isolation for 264 days. It’s so well written, and the first line is horrifying and sets off a series of questions in your brain. And isn’t that exactly what the author wants? To make the readers ask questions they’d want answered which would make them read more. 

“Death-Cast is calling with the warning of a lifetime— I’m going to die today.”

-They Both Die At The End

The title is self explanatory, and the first line doesn’t leave much to question. Mateo is going to die that day. And that’s what makes this so good. What would you do if you found out you were going to die today? A morbid question that this book explores. 

“On 11 November 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had – at last! – arrived.”

– Veronika Decides to Die 

Another self explanatory title, and a correlating first line. Also an example of a book whose first line led me to buy it. Leaves you questioning, why? The book is brilliant too, exploring human nature, and the will to live. 

“Nita stared at the dead body lying on the kitchen table.”

-Not Even Bones

I’ve so rarely ever seen anyone talking about this book. Not Even Bones is a great book, the first in a series, about a girl’s slow turning into a villain by force of circumstances. Not that she’d been the paragon of innocence at the start, as evident by the first line. A dead body is fun in itself, but one on the kitchen table? Not that just increases curiosity. And what more could you ask for?

Do you care about opening lines? What are some of your favourites?

Zephyr: taming the tempest

Thank you to Zoovi and Vanae for offering an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodread | Amazon

Content warnings for; self harm, suicide, and sexual assault.

For someone as obsessed with poetry as I, I sure don’t actually read poetry books all that much. I’d entered a sort of reading slump lately, so being able to read and finish this book felt quite great. 

The poems in it are mostly centered around exploration of the self, coming of age, depression and anxiety. 

First of all, I absolutely love the title of it, Zephyr: taming the tempest. I’ve got a thing for alliterations and the word zephyr sounds super aesthetic. 

The poems in Zephyr were something very relatable. I’d gone through a difficult time a few years ago, and I wish I’d been able to read this book then. It’s not something that would cheer you up, exactly, but it certainly would’ve made you feel less alone. 

The type of feeling when you think you’re alone in your experiences, but then turns out you aren’t, really. That there are people out there who know exactly how you feel.

There were a few cliche topics that you see everywhere, but I also think that some topics are cliche because they’re good. 

maybe she is me,
the me i was
before my tongue burned with adulthood.

I loved how it portrayed the struggles of growing up, trying to find yourself, define yourself. Coming to terms with the parts of you that you don’t quite like. Making your way through life with a not quite so great mental health. The way you sometimes have to fight yourself, every day. 

One of my favourites was this poem named ‘reflection’. It was quite stunning. The symbolism, of different parts of you, split and in hundreds. The complexity of humans. 

i stare into her eyes,
identical to mine.
i punch her nose,
broken shards 
nudge my toes.
she is now a million of me
big and small,
whole and not.
she is a moving photo:
vivid and colourful,
like i’m under the sun,
beautiful.
she is shallow,
she is fake,
merely a duplicate.
she tells me who i am
only skin deep
and now
in a hundred piece.

I loved the imagery they evoked with their poems, their word choices, the way it’d paint a clear, colourful picture in the head. Especially the ones alluding to nature, the sun, stars and the moon. 

The poems flowed well, not halting, or with line breaks in abrupt places as I’ve seen a few times. The style reminded me a bit of Rumi. Although my preference leans more towards poets like Richard Siken or Mary Oliver, the topics chosen in Zephyr felt best expressed the way they were. 

They were simple enough to understand, yet written beautifully. Relatable, and something that would leave you feeling slightly bereft. There are so many of the poems from it that I’d have loved to quote here, but then I’d probably be quoting half the book.

 Do you like poetry? Who are some of your favourite poets, and fave poems?

What Big Teeth

Monstrous families, dark secrets, and a darkness within. 

This was such a dark, disturbing book about a girl who comes from a bloodthirsty, monstrous, strange family. Eleanor had been at a boarding school, and then returned after a horrifying incident. 

There are so many secrets in this family, and she knows something is wrong. Living in perpetual fear with people she used to know but has been away for so long she can’t quite remember. 

I love the gothic, dark aesthetic of it all. The monster within. 

“It’s a bit like turning yourself inside out,” Luma said, after I tried asking three or four different ways. “Or like turning your insides into a disguise, and then tucking your disguise into your insides.”

There’s this general sense of uneasiness enveloping everything, you know something is wrong. Especially with a few characters like Arthur and the Grandmere. There’s more to what meets the eye. But Eleanor is desperate and on unfamiliar grounds. She barely remembers her childhood here, and her grandmother had been keeping too many secrets. 

I’d been a little frustrated by Eleanor because at times it felt like she was being willfully ignorant, especially when most things were right before her eyes. But that also made her seem more real. She’d been scared, and confused, and she made mistakes. 

The slow revelation of the characters’ pasts, their motivations, and secrets? Absolutely stunning. It’s all revealed slowly, the good and the bad. And how things have changed since Eleanor was last here. You’re left in a perpetual state of horror as the story progresses. The state of discomfort increases at every turn, and stays even after you find out what exactly is wrong. 

The anticipation and terror of being trapped in a house with something unfathomable? You can feel it through Eleanor. Her desperate desire to belong, to find the family she’d known when younger. Her need to be normal, yet knowing it’s impossible. 

“My love is a haunted house, a ghost possessing his own body, a fire that burns itself alive. A light almost too bright to look at, but I forced myself to look as long as I could.”

The writing is a creeping thing that grips you in its claws. It felt like an unreliable narrator, but it was just the circumstances that Eleanor found herself in. Nothing made sense to her, nor did it to us, the readers. You’re in half dark yet you still seem to see things that Eleanor doesn’t. 

There was not really any proper romance in it. But the little romance that there was, it felt… it was all cloaked in the same bizarre, disturbing energy that ran through the whole book. 

“That love starts out as something you want to bite into and ends as something that swallows you up.”

That ending! I’m not sure if it was predictable or not, but it was definitely something. It hadn’t quite been a happy ending, but it hadn’t ended in tragedy either. It felt right. 

All in all, this was probably the most disturbing book I’ve read yet. Great for a spooky, Halloween read.

What Big Teeth

Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.

Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.

Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go. 

Goodreads | Amazon

What’s been the spookiest read of this year for you? Have you read this book yet?

My Favourite Quotes from Addie LaRue

Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.

Last month I read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, my first V.E. Schwab book, and I fell absolutely in love. I was only halfway through when I decided that it had become not only my top read of 2021, but of all years. 

The concept is just so interesting, a woman makes a deal with an old god for immortality and gets cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. 

So, I’ve got this really weird relationship with being forgotten and not leaving behind some sort of mark. I recently also turned 18 and the fact that I am now considered an adult? The concept of time, that it’s running out too fast, and it’s going to leave me behind, is terrifying. And this book hit right at both these feelings. 

As I read through it, it felt like this had been written very specifically for me. I related to both the main characters, Addie and Henry. And the relationships were just so well written and complicated. All of them. I usually don’t get on with non linear timelines but god, I loved it here. The way we see where she is now, and all she went through, experienced, to get here. 

The writing is just so phenomenal, sucks you right in, and keeps you in, right up until the end. I nearly clawed my face right off with anticipation. 

Now, not to turn this post into a book review, I wanted to share some of my favourite quotes from the book! It’s just so good, I want to frame all of them and hang them in my room. (Maybe I will. I should. Definitely will.)

“What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?”

“Because time is cruel to all, and crueler still to artists. Because visions weaken, and voices wither, and talent fades…. Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end… everyone wants to be remembered”

The first one, what is a person if not the marks they leave behind? There was an analogy about it in the book too! Comparing this to the question of the tree, if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? 

It’s so haunting, and lovely. The marks don’t have to be big, either. Just… small things too. Of leaving something behind, memories, something. The fact that Addie can’t do this, just… I am speechless. 

History is lasting. Everyone wants to be remembered. Do I need to even elaborate here? Be right back, lemme go scream in a corner. 

“The first mark she left upon the world, long before she knew the truth, that ideas are so much wilder than memories, that they long and look for ways of taking root”

“Art is about ideas. And ideas are wilder than memories. They’re like weeds, always finding their way up.”

There are small… interludes? In the book, where we see some sort of famous art or something, and a description of that art. Could be music, could be paintings, anything. And like… all of them were borne of some ideas. Related to Addie. 

These quotes are just so hopeful. That ideas are powerful, more so than memories. (Inception vibes, anyone?)

“What she needs are stories.
Stories are a way to preserve one’s self. To be remembered. And to forget.
Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books.
Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.”

I am a complete sucker for quotes that refer to stories. Books. There’s just something so magical about them, the power of stories. Some other great quotes like ‘In the end, we’ll all become stories’ (by Margaret Atwood) or ‘We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one eh?’(from Doctor Who) invoke the same feelings as this one. 

I just love them. 

“…it is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”

You know about how humans are social creatures, and we need company? Just… imagine this, to remember when no one else does. The parts where Addie has had the same conversation with a person a hundred times, and they never remember. And she does. And– 

*starts bawling* 

“Blink and you’re twenty-eight, and everyone else is now a mile down the road, and you’re still trying to find it, and the irony is hardly lost on you that in wanting to live, to learn, to find yourself, you’ve gotten lost.”

“Blink, and the years fall away like leaves.”

“That time always ends a second before you’re ready.
That life is the minutes you want minus one.”

Remember how I said I am terrified of time passing? These lines! Hit! Right at it! Like, ma’am you didn’t have to go that hard. 

I really really connected to Henry and Addie because of it. Their fear that they won’t have enough time, that you’d blink and so much of it would have passed.  And that last one! Time always ends one second before you’re ready. Like, yes, it does. Nothing is ever enough. 

“Nothing is all good or all bad,” she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”

Yess so true, turning the world into binaries is just… no. The world isn’t black and white, there are so many shades of grey in between. Maybe it would be easier if it were either all good or bad, but it isn’t. I’ve heard so many variations of this quote. I love all of them. 

“But this is how you walk to the end of the world. This is how you live forever. Here is one day, and here is the next, and the next, and you take what you can, savor every stolen second, cling to every moment, until it’s gone.”

“Do you know how to live three hundred years?” she says. And when he asks how, she smiles. “The same way you live one. A second at a time.”

Once when going through a bad time, I’d read somewhere to take it a day at a time, and if you can’t do that, take it one hour at a time, and if that’s too hard too, take it one breath at a time. That really helped. Can you make it till the next breath? And then the next? And so on. 

This quote ecompasses that so well. One second at a time. One step at a time. 

“History is a thing designed in retrospect.”

This is probably not the best (or perhaps the best?) time for this quote. You don’t live through history, you live and then look back at history. We’re pretty much going through a historical event right now, except it doesn’t really feel like that. 

These are just a few quotes that I loved from this book, because honestly, if I could have quoted the entire book here, I would have. What I am trying to say it, GO READ THIS BOOK.

Have you read Addie LaRue? What did you think about it? What are some of your favourite quotes from books?

A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash

A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash

Raised by a narcissistic mother, the Rowan children’s magical talents were twisted to fit her needs. When Rachel dies, her children must confront the past to have a future.

Rachel Rowan could sniff out secrets and her antique shop, Rosemary Thyme, was a front to torment the residents of Grimsby. When she dies, her children are faced with the deadly fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic.

Victoria, whose empathic talent knows everyone’s hidden feelings; Philippa, whose glamour can bewitch; and Liam, the brother who touches objects to reveal their secrets, all find themselves in danger.

When her autistic brother is arrested, Vic needs to discover the truth to set him free.

A successful art restorer in the big city, Vic’s made a career of ignoring her past and hiding her strange powers. But with Rachel’s death, she must gamble away her secrets to face down forces determined to destroy her and her siblings.

And that hometown boy she dumped way back? He’s in Grimsby, and knows the truth about her.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

Content warnings; child abuse, attempted sexual assault, suicide.

This book had me in its grip right from the first page. It starts with a death and the hooking is the part where people seem to have expected it and not grieving it. 

The three siblings, the Rowans, their powers are really interesting and elaborated on enough that you start seeing the complexities, the curse and the blessing. How it impacts their lives, and how they might use them to their advantages. 

Their relationship is also really well established and complicated. They love each other, and still fight, and make up. There’s good memories and bad, regrets and resentment and gratitude. I just loved every interaction between the Rowans. 

The trauma depicted in the story, from being abused to being assaulted, is real and not downplayed. The small glimpses we see of their history, the traces it left on them, are horrifying and makes you want to murder a dead woman. 

The presence of their mother even in death, the impact she’s having on everyone and everything around them even from beyond the grave? Profound and so very well written.

The love stories weren’t slow burn, but they didn’t feel like insta love at all. I could see what chemistry they might have together, and I could see myself rooting for them.

Although I was a little disappointed at the lack of explanation as to why Victoria’s empath abilities didn’t seem to work on Reed.

The murder mystery part? I did not see that coming. There were clues everywhere, you just didn’t notice them until the very end. Everything fell into place little by little, forming the full picture. 

Things about their past, about the extent of their abilities, information about different characters, everything was revealed slowly and at the appropriate moments. The writing is brilliant and well paced.

I was a little curious about a few things that were left open at the end, but all in all everything was wrapped up quite nicely. I can definitely see this book becoming one of my top reads of 2021.

The book comes out October 26th, 2021.

What’s been your favourite read of 2021 so far? Have you read any more works by Byrd Nash?

Book Recs for When You’re in a Reading Slump [Standalone edition]

We’ve all been here before. (And if you haven’t, GOOD FOR YOU! Please teach me how you do it.) You want to read but just can’t bring yourself, all books, no matter how interesting, never manage to keep you engaged. And you keep feeling guilty about your growing tbr while you’re not reading. 

So I made a list of stand alone books that I think would be a really good way to either get you out of your reading slump, or at least read IN your slump. Most of them are books I managed to read during some of my own slumps. 

I’ll make a version with series recs too. Because what’s better than a series to say you’ve read more than one book in a slump?

(book covers leads to goodreads page)

1. Harrow Lake

Author: Kat Ellis
Genre: Horror

It’s horror, its short, its thrilling. The story follows that of a girl named Lola who’s sent to her grandmother’s house in a strange town after her father, a famous slasher film director, is attacked at his own home. Lola is an unreliable narrator and the story hooks you right from the beginning! Binge worthy. 

2. They Both Die At The End

Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: YA fiction

It’s one of my top 5 books! In a world where people get the Death Cast call around midnight on the day they’re going to die, the main characters are two boys who meet on their last day. And how they try to live a whole life in one day. I was absolutely sobbing by the end, it’s so beautifully written. 

3. The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Historical fiction. 

Another fast paced book that hooks you right from the start! Its a retelling of Achilles and Patroculs’ story, very gay and absolutely devastating. The ending is going to leave you a complete wreck. I’d been afraid of reading it because of all the reviews about how sad it was, but let me tell you, getting your heart devoured by it is absolutely worth it. 

4. Veronika Decides to Die

Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Contemporary, fiction

This was one of the books I read during my slump. It just shows human nature, relationships, so well, and the ending is amazing. Veronika decides to die one night, out of the blue, and then she wakes up in a mental hospital where they tell her that she’s only got days to live. She spends them with the other patients there and finds herself wanting to live. 

5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy. 

Another book in my top 5, this is the first V.E. Schwab book I read after seeing it so many times over on bookstagram. Totally worth the hype!! About a girl who makes a deal with an old god for immortality, and gets cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Until, three hundred years later, she meets a man who does remember her. Her relationship with the old god as it evolves, and the way this story ends? Phenomenal. 

6. And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Short and thrilling! The only Agatha Christie book I’ve read but would definitely recommend anyone either just starting out with reading or in a slump. It leaves you baffled right up until the very end, keeps you guessing. The way it’s connected to the nursery rhyme, Ten Little Boys, is so ominous. 10 people are invited to spend a weekend on a private island. They’re the only ones on the island when they all start dying one by one, way too similar to in the nursery rhyme. 

7. The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Another unreliable narrator, creepy and thrilling. Rachel takes the same train, at the same time, every day, passes the same places, and sees the same people. She makes up stories about them and then one day sees something which changes everything. At the end you’ll be left completely bamboozled. I literally went back and reread several parts after finishing it because they FINALLY made so much SENSE. 

What are some of your favorite stand-alones? Or a book that got you out of your reading slump? Or are you on of the blessed that don’t get reading slumps?

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