2018 Book #14 – You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

51hQYpC879LTitle: You Will Be Mine
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 2/9/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult, horror, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Love turns deadly in a new heart-pounding thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar and The Cabin!

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
WATCH YOUR BACK
I’M COMING FOR YOU

Lylah and her friends can’t wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She’s been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way…

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It’s an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:

YOUR TURN

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Killing for revenge on Valentine’s Day

Lylah and her friends try to outrun a killer bent on revenge and fixated on their little household. They obviously don’t do too well though since more than one of them ends up murdered. The characters in this novel were ok, although I found Lylah to be a tad whiny, but I guess that’s to be expected when your friends are being killed off. The plot of the book was really good. Even though I did kind of see the plot twist at the end coming, it was still super creepy and dark/twisted and I thought it was great. The book was appropriately creepy too, I found myself looking over my shoulder for bad guys while I was reading it. I also like that this was a horror story centered around the Valentine’s Day holiday, I thought that was a fun twist on what is normally just a mushy day. My issues with the story line mostly consisted of what felt like holes in the plot or incomplete sections. At one point Riley and Lylah argue and I don’t think the reader knows what happens to Riley then but Lylah goes upstairs and goes to sleep with Chase. Just felt a little scattered with the plot line in some parts. Other than that I liked the book a lot and I thought it was a great book for what’s normally a romantic holiday.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2018 Book #5 – The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

518u1R1zo6L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Safest Lies
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 1/14/18
Genre: Young adult, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: May 30, 2017 (Paperback; hardcover was released May 24, 2016)
Pages in book: 357
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: My friend Alex

Blurb from the cover:

Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her—Kelsey.

Kelsey knows she’s supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

What do you do when your worst fears are realized?

Kelsey’s whole life her mother has been subtly training her, giving her the knowledge that she would need to survive. Kelsey always believed that her mother was paranoid because of what she experienced when she was around Kelsey’s age – being abducted and held against her will. But after Kelsey’s mother disappears and Kelsey finds herself in danger, facts start to surface that don’t fit with this story. As Kelsey fought her way to freedom and in the days and interrogations that followed, I found the thought process for the police and for some of the other adults in charge to be a little unrealistic. Overall though I liked this book and found it to be an interesting read. I especially liked how Ryan and Kelsey’s relationship developed through the book, I thought it was really sweet. And I think the part where they were trying to escape the panic room was one of the best parts of the book, I only wished it had been closer to the end since it created such great tension in the story. I thought this was a good read though and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #75 – Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

41eDiHG-MLLTitle: Bad Girl Gone
Author: Temple Mathews
Date finished: 9/1/17
Genre: Fiction, young adult
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Pages in book: 265
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.­­­­

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Echo (Eileen) who wakes up in Middle House, unsure of how she got there. Middle House is an orphanage and Echo is very sure her parents are still alive. Unfortunately when she leaves to prove that, she instead discovers that she was (**SPOILER**) murdered, and Middle House is more of a halfway house where kid ghosts live until they can find and take revenge on their killers/ Echo misses her boyfriend Andy but from the stories we hear from when she was alive, Echo was a pretty shitty person. And now Echo has Cole at Middle House, another dead-o like her. Unfortunately Echo can’t decide between them so she strings both of them along for the next few days, generally making them both miserable. And all the while her new friends are helping her discover who it was that murdered her.
Overall I didn’t particularly care for this book. The premise behind it was just a little too far-fetched for me – the thought that a kid would get to Heaven (the After) only after haunting/killing someone (even if it was their murderer) seems not right to me. Also, Echo as a person/character really was just not at all likable. The plot was not my favorite and I hated how devoted Andy and Cole were considering what a shitty person Echo was. And everything really was just so sad, Echo’s parents lost their only child. And there were many pieces of the plot that just didn’t feel like they really fir to me – the stuff with Mrs. Tourney and thinking Echo is someone else wasn’t necessary in the plot at all and felt superfluous. Overall wasn’t my favorite book but there were some creative thought to it.

The bottom line: Eh this book was ok, it wasn’t my kind of story and it was super sad. If you like ghost-y stories though I would give this one a try, it was kind of interesting.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #31 – Geekerella by Ashley Poston

41vbwsnJrILTitle: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Date finished: 4/9/17
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale. 
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Danielle Wittimer, a girl with a positively awful stepmother and two equally awful step sisters. Ever since her father died Elle has felt alone in the world, just trying to sludge through the days and save up enough money to move to LA. Her only outlet for her frustrations is her blog where she writes about Starfield, a show that her and her Dad would watch together. Her Dad even started a convention nearby in Atlanta years ago, a convention that Elle hasn’t been to in years. This year though there is a contest and the winner gets $500 and a chance to meet the new star of the upcoming Starfield movie, Darien Freedman. Elle could care less about meeting the previously unknown actor, she wants to win the cash prize to help her on her way to her dream. But she also wants to meet the boy that she’s been talking to for weeks, her own Prince Carmindor. But he turns out to be who she least expects.
Overall I really liked this book. It was an interesting and modern retelling of the Cinderella tale. The cast of characters in this book was awesome, I loved each of the characters and what they added to the story. There were a couple of frustrating points in the book for me and one of them was that I felt the villainous characters in the book, specifically Chloe, should’ve gotten a bit more punishment for their wrongs. At one point Chloe steals Elle’s life-savings (which is about $700) and NOTHING HAPPENS. If someone stole $700 from me I would call the cops and have her ass arrested. So there were certain points that I thought Elle (and Darien really) should’ve fought back a little more. But the parts about Elle’s Mom and Dad and keeping their memories alive were truly touching. And I loved the ending, how Darien came riding in on his “white horse” (LOL) to save the day. This was a really cute retelling of Cinderella’s tale with all the modern twists that will attract a fandom of its own.

The bottom line: I thought this was a cute novel with an interesting twist on the Cinderella tale. There were a couple of frustrating points for me but other than that was a great book.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #90, #91 & #92 – Short stories by Renee Ahdieh

So last year I read The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and just loved it. I pre-ordered the 2nd book in the series pretty much immediately (The Rose and the Dagger) which unfortunately I haven’t gotten to yet. I was also excited to discover that Ahdieh published a few short stories within The Wrath and the Dawn series to help give the reader various backgrounds to the main story line. I recently read all 3 so I thought I would share my thoughts, though since they were such short reads I decided to put them all into one post.

The Moth and the Flame – 4.0 stars – 37 pages – This short story tells some of the back story of Despina and Jalal, which I really enjoyed. I almost felt like I would have been interested in hearing a longer version of this, maybe even a full-length novel. I thought this was a great pre-quel to the series. This short story even has some interactions with Ava, the first Queen so it has some great background information for the first book.

The Crown and the Arrow – 3.25 stars – 11 pages – This short story tells of Khalid’s point of view on the day that Shahrzad was chosen as his seventy-second bride. I thought it was a good view into Khalid’s thoughts and a good lead-in to The Wrath and the Dawn but other than that did not include many new details.

The Mirror and the Maze – 3.75 stars – 11 pages – This short story is actually from the period after the first book but before the second book in the series. It tells Khalid’s point of view upon returning home to Rey and finding his city is in flames and his people killed and injured. I think this was a great short story for leading into the second book and I find that I’m itching to get to it now!

2016 Book #83 – The Cabin by Natasha Preston

51rglr8mdxl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Title: The Cabin
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 9/7/16
Genre: Young adult, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake
They think they’re invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They’ve left me no choice.
It’s time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead-murdered.
With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over…

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I had read another of Preston’s new releases last year, Awake, and really enjoyed the creative and original story line. I liked Preston’s voice as an author and while I didn’t necessarily connect with the characters in the Awake story, I definitely wanted to read another of Preston’s novels. So I was really glad to see this upcoming release available on NetGalley, and the description of the story line sounded just as interesting and original. This book tells the story of Mackenzie, who has an overnight trip with her and her friends to a cabin with no parental supervision to celebrate their graduation from high school and their upcoming enrollment in university. Things turn gruesome though when the group wakes up to find two of their own brutally murdered. And with the doors and windows all still locked and no indication that anyone broke in, the most likely suspects are the friends Mackenzie survived with, the ones she has known and trusted for years, or the newcomer Blake (the murdered boy’s brother) who Mackenzie can’t seem to stop herself from being attracted to. But is the attraction clouding her brain and keeping her from seeing that he’s the murderer? Or are her long-time friendships blinding her to the maniac that’s lived in their midst all along?
Overall I really liked this book. I thought the premise behind the story was different and unlike other books I’ve read. I really liked Mackenzie’s character, I was able to relate a lot to her as a person. She was a little naive because she always wanted to see the good in people and always tends to trust the people around her, which is something I suffer from as well. I thought Blake was kind of a jerk but his character turned around for me about halfway through the book. This book was creepy and suspenseful but it didn’t outright scare me which I liked. I like a little thrill in my reads but I also like being able to sleep without the lights turned on. I thought this was a great read and I would definitely recommend it!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, I thought it was a great YA thriller. Suspenseful, kept me on my toes, but not overtly scary where I had to sleep with the lights on. Great read, I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #77 – The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges

61+KY1TUYgLTitle: The Form of Things Unknown
Author: Robin Bridges
Date finished: 8/18/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Connected to previous publication, Dreaming of Antigone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the Author/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.
Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge. This book tells the story of Natalie Roman, who has recently moved with her family to Savannah to take care of her grandmother, a once stable woman who has recently decided to stop taking her prescription medication to treat her schizophrenia. Natalie herself was somewhat glad to move since all the kids at her new school won’t know that she recently spent some time in a psych ward. So Natalie begins her new life in Savannah and makes new friends. But she’s worried about what will happen when her new friends find out that she’s not quite sane. And there seems to be a good chance they’ll find out since one of the guys in Savannah spent time in the same psych ward as Natalie.
Overall I liked this book. I liked Natalie for the most part, although I thought she became a tad bit whiny at times. I think that those scenes were supposed to underscore her extreme insecurities but it made it hard for me to connect with the character. And while overall I liked the plot line, the premise behind some of it didn’t really make sense. Like why would Natalie’s parents put her in a psych ward after one drug-induced psychotic episode, when her only other history was that her grandmother also has schizophrenia. I feel like Natalie should have shown more of a psychotic pattern before being hospitalized? Other than that is was a cute and sweet story about second chances and learning to appreciate who you are and I thought it was nice that Natalie found someone that she cares about. I would recommend.

The bottom line: I liked this book, though not as much as I liked Dreaming of Antigone. I had more trouble connecting to Natalie’s character. I still think the author did a great job of dealing with common teen issues in this book though: bullying, insecurities, drugs, alcohol and mental illness. A good read and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page