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

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

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

2016 Book #66 – The Seer’s Spread by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

510nuTTyxbL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Seer’s Spread
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Date finished: 7/3/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Pages in book: 40
Stand alone or series: Short story in the Beautiful Creatures series
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Amazon

Blurb from the cover:

Fate is a powerful thing…
Ethan Wate is still grieving the loss of his beloved Amma when he receives an unexpected gift–the old, yellow Whitman’s Sampler box that held Amma’s most closely guarded secrets. “One day I might let you have a look under that lid, Ethan Wate,” Amma used to say. “But today isn’t the day.”
Now it’s time for one of her greatest secrets to be revealed. In a long-lost letter, Amma tells Ethan the story of growing up as a young Seer with a remarkable gift for reading cards. But with a power that far-reaching comes responsibility, and Amma has been honoring her mission since before Ethan was born–to protect the Wate family at any cost. So when Lila Jane Evers enters Mitchell Wate’s life, bringing the whole Caster world with her, Amma turns to her cards. This time, it’s a the reading that will define the rest of her life–and Ethan’s.
In this second installment of Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl bring you even deeper into the Caster world.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This short story tells the reader how Amma came to be working in Ethan’s household before he was even born. This was a nice addition to the overall Beautiful Creatures story line and added some depth to Amma’s back story. I liked it though it was short and didn’t add too many details. Short and quick read.

The bottom line: I liked this short story though it was very short. I would recommend if you’re a Beautiful Creatures series fan.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #59 – The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

61x4fmYyKmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Cresswell Plot
Author: Eliza Wass
Date finished: 6/5/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages in book: 272
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:

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.
Castella Cresswell and her five siblings-Hannan, Casper, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem- know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.
Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.
Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

My rating:  3.0 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. Also, this book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)” since this book features a family involved in a cult-ish doomsday religion. Castella Cresswell is one of the six children in the Cresswell family. Everyone in town gives the family a wide berth since they are so odd. The patriarch of the Cresswell family has started his own weird religion that is extremely strict and foretells that their family is the only pure one left and therefore they will be the only ones to get into heaven. The more the reader learns about the family though, the more we learn that the patriarch is really just a crazy abusive dad with a short temper. Cass is a junior in high school who makes a new friend in her drama class, and when she starts learning more about who she is as a person and that she wants to have more of what is a normal life, she begins to stand up to her father. Unfortunately, circumstances are not great for the Cresswell family since the mother and father both don’t work, and the father counts on God to provide for the family. When things become bleak, the father decides that it is time for the family to take their rightful place in God’s kingdom, and yes that is as sinister as it sounds.
Overall I thought this was a good idea for a book and I liked the book. I thought that the story line could have been organized a tad bit better and the characters could have been a little better developed but the book itself was dark and thrilling and also a little sad. There was a wealth of emotions in the writing and as a reader I was looking to empathize more with the main character but I couldn’t connect with her enough to feel a lot of emotions towards her. I still think it was an interesting idea for a book though and I would recommend reading it. Although I would add a warning that if you get scared or freaked out easily this may not be something to add to your to read list.

The bottom line: I liked the idea behind this book but I thought it could have been developed a little better. It was a good story but I had trouble connecting with some of the characters. I would still definitely recommend it with a forewarning that it is a little horror-ish.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #58 – Frayed by Kara Terzis

51zDAx+FX2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Frayed
Author: Kara Terzis
Date finished: 6/2/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
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:

Dear Kesley,
My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it’s a stupid idea.
But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born…or died?
I’ll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.
And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town…
Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister’s killer…although she’ll wish she hadn’t. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.
And Kesley’s murderer could be much closer than she thought…
A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!

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. Also, this book will count towards my Book Riot 2016 Read Harder reading challenge, marking off the “read a book with a main character that has a mental illness.” I’m not going to say who because you should read it to find out but one of the main characters in this book is suffering from a mental illness. This book tells the story of Ava Hale, beginning about a month after her sister dies while she tries to figure out who murdered Kelsey. The police have no leads and as Ava starts to delve a little deeper into Kelsey’s life before her death, she discovers that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought. Kelsey managed to hide a lot of things from her little sister Ava, including the fact that she tried to buy a gun to protect herself. But what exactly was Kelsey scared of? And why didn’t she think she could tell Ava about whatever was scaring her?
Overall I really liked this book. It was intriguing and kept me hooked right up until the end. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming, it was one of those great shocker endings. The ending was a little sad for me because I just felt so bad for Ava. The reader learns a lot about Ava through the book and it seemed like at every turn there was someone else betraying Ava’s trust. It was very sad. Other than that though I liked the book a lot! I don’t want to give too much away with the review so I would tell everyone to go read it for yourselves and find out!

The bottom line: I really liked this book, it was definitely a heart-pounding thriller and it kept me guessing right up until the very end. I just felt so bad for Ava, it seemed like there wasn’t anyone who cared about her enough to have her back and it saddened me a little. Other than that, this was a great thriller and I would definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

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