Aug 31, 2021

Challenges Monthly Wrap-up: August

CHALLENGE 1: 2021 New Release Challenge

Mary, Will I Die? by Shawn Sarles (ARC) (9/7/21)--Review to come this week!
The Buried by Melissa Grey (ARC) (9/7/21)--Review to come next month!
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake (ARC) (9/21/21)--Review to come next month!

I'm at 31/20 titles and I just passed my chosen tier! Haven't really planned on upping the challenge since I'd like to try to focus on more of my TBR books with a few new releases still here and there.

CHALLENGE 2: Beat the Backlist 2021 Reading Challenge

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim (3/27/18)
Horrid by Katrina Leno (9/15/20)
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace (1/26/16)
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (6/5/18)

No formal tiers in this one but I'm up to 24. I guess ideally I'd love to hit 30, but I'm too chicken to up the challenge just yet! Lol. Let's see how September goes...which I've got a few new horror releases I want to read to see if they're potential picks for my giveaway in October!

CHALLENGE 3: 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge

Sadly, none this month. I hate that I have a zero for this month on the challenge. Though I already did pass up my twice revised goal.

CHALLENGE 4: 2021 Discussion Challenge

Dreamy Book Covers Redux

I realllllly need to get working on this one! I think this is the first time I'm not going to hit the top tier! I always aimed for the lower tiers and waited for discussions to come to me or to find fun new tags to join in on. I've not been in the best of mood lately to think of fun discussions and tags seem to have become a thing of the past. I'm at 18/25 now, so I might have to revisit tags I've done in the past again to help this one out!

ARC Review--Mary, Will I Die? by Shawn Sarles


Bestselling author Shawn Sarles' most terrifying YA horror yet...

It starts innocently enough. Four kids - three girls, one boy - are at one of their houses, playing games. One of them has read about "Bloody Mary" and the idea that if you look into a mirror and say her name thirteen times, she will show you the future. Some legends say she'll show you your one true love or a skull to mark your death within five years. Others say that conjuring Bloody Mary will bring her into your world.

Both sets of legends are true. The kids go through with the act, saying her name thirteen times. One girl looks in the mirror and sees her longtime crush. One girl looks in the mirror and sees the boy in the group. But she pretends to see something else. One girl looks in the mirror and sees a girl she's never seen before but can't get out of her mind. And the boy . . . he sees a skull. But he pretends to see something else. They try to laugh it off. And mostly they forget about it. Or at least they don't talk about it. Yes, over the next few years, whenever they look into a mirror, it's like there's always another figure standing in the background, getting closer.

Just short of five years later, the four of them are no longer friends, having gone on separate paths. The girl whose house it was has always tried to avoid the mirror they used - because she always sensed someone in the background. One morning as she's passing by, she sees much more than her own reflection - it's a scary figure taunting her. She startles and breaks the mirror. When the pieces are put back together (barely), the figure is gone.

That day in school, a new girl arrives. Her name is Mary...



I received this ARC from the author in a contest I won. I offer my review honestly and freely and was not compensated for writing this.


Shawn Sarles has taken on a new horror story and this time it involves the urban legend, “Blood Mary” in Mary, Will I Die? This was a creeptastic tale that will leave you chilled to the bone and being leery of  mirrors! Mirrors have always been something that fascinated me as a child after reading Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Of course in later years, I became a little terrified of them when they started taking a darker turn!

When four friends decide to amuse themselves with a game of “Bloody Mary” no one expected anything to come out of it. But five years later, these teenagers are realizing just how dangerous that game became. Steph sees the face of a girl she has never met, Grace sees her crush, Calvin, Elena sees her own longtime crush (not Calvin), and Calvin sees a terrifying face. They were all changed by what they saw that day and somewhere down the line, they all drifted apart.

Five years later they are all freshman in high school and living their lives in the most normal of ways. Calvin sees terrifying things now and is always sketching the outcomes, Grace has become a social outcast, while both Steph and Elena are vying for volleyball team captain. But then things start to happen. Little things at first that are barely noticeable and then they escalate. After a classmate is gravely injured the teens find themselves drifting back together as they become connected to something far greater and darker beyond their imaginations.

Then when a new girl comes to school, Steph is taken aback when she realizes it’s the girl she saw in the mirror all those years ago. Is it coincidence that she is showing up just as all the strange things start happening or is it fate? The fact that her name is Mary is also pretty telling!

This book was downright creepy! I love how Shawn was able to incorporate those little instances where you see something out of the corner of your eye or we, the reader see that hand lashing out of the mirror just as the main character walks out of the room! It was just so freaking creepy! Definitely not a story you want to read next to a mirror…or other reflective surfaces, just to be safe (thanks, Supernatural!)!

The story alternates between the four teenagers in third person point of view. I enjoyed getting inside each of the character’s heads. They were all mostly relatable. You had Grace, the social outcast with her social awkwardness (hello self!), there’s Steph who’s going through some self-realization about her identity, there’s poor Calvin who has been haunted by his visions for the last five years and then there’s Elena who I really did not care for the majority of the novel as she has that stuck up, Miss Popular thing going on. But I can happily say that all these characters go through growth and changes and that I was rooting for all of them by the end!

The pacing to this one was pretty moderate. It was a speed that had you needing to find out what would happen next though there were bouts of more “ordinary” moments as well that weren’t really filled with horror or weirdness. Luckily, those didn’t last too long. It did make for a rather quick read as well in that sense as I read over half the book in one day without even realizing it!

I liked that Shawn also included a reason for the spooky happenings, the terror didn’t really come about for no reason. Though I would have liked a little more detail to why and how it happened way back when it started. We get enough of answer that things make sense, but you know me, I always want to know more and find myself asking “why?” a lot! Lol.

If you’re looking for a creepy read this Halloween I would be sure to add Mary, Will I Die? to the list as it was quite the bone-chilling tale! It will have you rethinking the amount of mirrors you want to keep in your house for sure!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars


Mary, Will I Die? releases September 7, 2021







Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.


"For a moment, I swear I see something on Burden Bridge it's only a speck from this far away, but I think there's someone crossing the bridge, heading toward the manor. I lean closer, my breath lightly misting the window.

Is is her?

I reach up to clear it with my sleeve, but the figure is gone." p 16




TITLE: Burden Falls
AUTHOR: Kat Ellis

GENRE: YA Horror
RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


This week's topic is: Top Ten Fictional Crushes


*in no particular order
**Shockingly, my list doesn't really change much over the years. I still gravitate towards my original crushes! Lol.



10. ETHAN (Chicagoland Vampires)
9. CLAY (Women of the Otherworld)
8. BARRONS (Fever)

7. CASTEEL (From Blood and Ash)
6. HUNT (Crescent City)
5. REYES (Charley Davidson)

4. IAN (Night Rebel)
3. BONES (Night Huntress)
2. VLAD (Night Prince)

1. LUCIAN DE VINCENT (de Vincent)