Book Review: Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

dead to me

Dead to Me

4 stars

Annie and Alice grew up in Hollywood. Their parents never really made it but were considered insiders, going to plenty of parties and putting their daughter on display when they hosted their own. Fed up with it all, Annie leaves. Alice doesn’t hear from her in years. Until one day she gets a call saying Annie’s in the hospital. She’s been badly beaten and is in a coma. Alice’s isn’t the child Annie left behind anymore and she’s determined to find out who did this to her sister. Even if that means exposing a huge star in Hollywood and putting her own life in danger.

I am a huge fan of the era of Hollywood when this book was set, along with being a huge fan of film noir, and this book definitely had that feel to it. There were a lot of twists and it was fun to try to keep up with them all as I read.

Alice was a great character. I loved her determination and her fearlessness. She was going to find out who hurt her sister and she was going to expose them. She found herself getting into all sorts of situations and she faced them, even when she knew it would likely put her in danger. She was very Nancy Drew-esque, another character I love. She wasn’t perfect in her investigating, she made mistakes, but also made smart observations and the way she put everything together made sense. She was the only character who got a lot of development, which was a little disappointing, but the story was pushed along by the mystery and by Alice, so it made sense.

Just because there wasn’t a lot of development in the secondary characters didn’t mean they were flat, which I appreciated. Mary McCoy did a great job in making even the most likeable of them seem suspicious at times. There was definitely a ‘I like this character but can I really trust him/her?’ feel through the whole book. They were hard to get a read on, and I loved it all.

The book had a lot of action in a short time. From the moment Alice decided to investigate Annie’s attack, it seemed like there was something happening to push the mystery forward. Everything she did, everyone she met, had the potential to be or to give an important clue. It made for a read that I didn’t want to put down because I wanted to see if I could figure out the mystery and if Alice would get out of each situation. It was fun, tense, and I really enjoyed it.

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Exposing My-Shelf: Shelf Five

I am notorious for being very, very particular about where my books go on my shelves. I have reasons why they’re placed where they are. They might not make sense to anyone else but they make sense to me, so that’s all that matters. Every now and then my reasons will change or there will be an influx of new books(looking at you April/May/September) that will make it necessary for the system to be tweaked. Every Friday(hopefully) I’ll be posting a picture of one shelf and explaining the reasoning behind it. By the time I’ve posted every shelf section, it’ll be time to re-arrange and start all over again.

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Shelf contains:

Emmy and Oliver – Robin Benway

Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer

Open Road Summer – Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord

Something Real – Heather Demetrios

Joyride – Anna Banks

The Night We Said Yes – Lauren Gibaldi

Let’s Get Lost – Adi Alsaid

Between the Notes – Sharon Huss Roat

I call this shelf by “character interactions” shelf. It’s based off standalones that have my favourite character interactions, the ones where I fell in love with the bantering, the friendships, the dynamics. It’s the books where there’s just so much to love about them, but my absolute favourite thing was the interactions.

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June Wrap-Up/July TBR

It’s finally officially summer! That means reading outside, summer reads, poolside reads. Hopefully this turns out to be a great reading month!

June Wrap-Up:

no place like oz No Place Like Oz – Danielle Paige. 3/5 stars. A good addition to the series. Provided a lot of insight into Dorothy’s character, and I always appreciate insight.

all the rage All the Rage – Courtney Summers. Review. 4/5 stars. A hard read, as it should be with the subject matter.

until friday night Until Friday Night – Abbi Glines. Review. 4/5 stars. A great new series from Abbi Glines that I know I’m going to enjoy.

witch must burn The Witch Must Burn – Danielle Paige. 3/5 stars. Another good addition that provided insight into another character.

crash Crash – Eve Silver. 3.5/5 stars. Series Review coming. A good finale to a series I really enjoyed. There were times it got a little too technical into the gaming world for me but other than that, it was good.

wizard returns The Wizard Returns – Danielle Paige. 3/5 stars. And yet another addition to provide insight into a different character of the series.

emancipated Emanicpated – MG Reyes. 3/5 stars. Review coming. It was a great concept but there were times it felt like it was trying to be overly complicated. I got invested enough in the characters to pick up the sequel, when it comes out.

forgive my fins Forgive My Fins – Tera Lynn Childs. 3/5 stars. This was a cute beginning to a cute series. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it.

more happy than not More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera. Review. 4/5 stars. I think this is an important book to read. I loved the characters, the concept, and the message.

fins are forever Fins Are Forever – Tera Lynn Childs. 3/5 stars. Feelings were the same as the first book in the series. Cute and enjoyable.

just for fins Just For Fins – Tera Lynn Childs. 3/5 stars. And feelings never changed. Very cute series.

emmy and oliver Emmy and Oliver – Robin Benway. Review. 4/5 stars. I loved this book. It was very realistic and had such great character interactions.

joyride Joyride – Anna Banks. Review. 3.5/5 stars. This was a fun book to read with the pranks and it was great to see the friendship between the two main characters.

whispers at moonrise Whispers at Moonride – CC Hunter. 4/5 stars. It makes me very sad that I’m almost done the main part of this series. I’ve really been enjoying the characters and the interactions between the different paranormals.

angel burn Angel Burn – LA Weatherly. 3/5 stars. There was a lot of action but it was predictable and not my favourite Angel series. Still enjoyable.

angel fire Angel Fire – LA Weatherly. 3/5 stars. Same as the first.

angel fever Angel Fever – LA Weatherly. 3/5 stars. Last in the series.

pivot point Pivot Point – Kasie West. 4/5 stars. I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting. I really like Kasie West’s contemporary books but I wasn’t expecting to like the world in this as much as I did.

me before you Me Before You – Jojo Moyes. 4.5/5 stars. I finally gave in and read Jojo Moyes. My heart broke but I’m glad I read it. The main character was very easy to relate to and I loved the banter.

ice kissed Ice Kissed – Amanda Hocking. 3/5 stars. A good follow-up to the first one. A bit of a middle book feel to it.

Untitled-4 The Night We Said Yes – Lauren Gibaldi. Review. 4/5 stars. A cute book that felt like two stories in one. I really liked the plot, the whole concept, and the characters.

5 to 1 big 5 to 1 – Holly Bodger. Review. 4/5 stars. An interesting world and I loved the different narration styles. It worked well.

summer mermaids The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler. Review. 4.5/5 stars. Such a cute book. A really great summer read that ended up having an important message.

dead to me Dead to Me – Mary McCoy. Review coming. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed the mystery and the old Hollywood feel to the book.

paperweight Paperweight – Meg Haston. Review coming. 4/5 stars. Another book with an important message. The main character’s growth into accepting and realizing she needed help was great.

unleashed Unleashed – Sophie Jordan. 3.5/5 stars. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book but there was still a lot of action, I still enjoyed the concept and the characters.

everything leads to you Everything Leads to You – Nina LaCour. Review coming. 4/5 stars. A very cute book. It was interesting to see the glimpse into the behind the scenes of movies and I enjoyed the romance and the mystery.

messenger of fear Messenger of Fear – Michael Grant. 3.5/5 stars. It was an interesting concept and got a little creepy at times. Definitely excited to see the sequel.

girl at midnight The Girl At Midnight – Melissa Grey. 3/5 stars. It was enjoyable but for some reason I found it hard to connect with the characters.

raised by wolves Raised by Wolves – Jennifer Lynn Barnes. 3.5/5 stars. I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was interesting and I really like the main character.

July TBR:

never always sometimeschosen at nightfallevery last wordvortex 2get dirty

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Comparing Before and After: Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke

Dissonance

This one was my WoW pick(hosted by Breaking the Spine) back on March 12th 2014, well over a year ago. Way back then, I’d said:

“The cover! Look at that cover! I must have it! Plus I love the idea of parallel worlds and seeing how even little choices can affect your life years later.”

After I read and reviewed it, I was very happy that I enjoyed the world, the characters, and the theories behind the parallel worlds. It made me look forward to the sequel, which is coming out soon. And the cover is still so pretty!

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Weekly Reading Recap

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I got to read outside this week! It was fantastic! And so far it’s looking like I’ll be able to do the same today, which is good because it’s Canada Day and a nice day means no interference with fireworks.

Currently reading: trial by fire wolves

Finished reading: raised by wolvesgirl at midnightmessenger of feareverything leads to youunleashedpaperweightdead to me

Reviewed: Untitled-45 to 1 bigsummer mermaids

What I’m hoping to get to next week: taken by stormnever always sometimes to read

paperweight everything leads to youdead to me to review

What this means for my challenges:

  • Added 7 books overall: currently at 182 books read
  • Added 3 contemporary: currently at 69 books read
  • Added 2 debut author: currently at 41 books read
  • Added 3 paranormal/fantasy: currently at 89 books read
  • Added 1 dystopian: currently at 25 books read

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

distance from me to you

The Distance From Me to You

Release date: October 20th 2015

Goodreads: Wild  meets Endless Love in this multilayered story of love, survival, and self-discovery
McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives.

Why I’m excited: It sounds fantastic! I loved Wild and I love the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail. It sounds like a great book about coming of age and falling in love. And survival.

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten books I’ve read so far this year. Limiting myself to the books that were released this year.

10. red queen Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard. I was so excited for this book that I started my ARC the second the year turned into 2015(so it would count for the debut author challenge) and I was so happy that I wasn’t disappointed.

9. wrong side of right The Wrong Side of Right – Jenn Marie Thorne. I loved the political talk and the main character’s struggle to find herself in her new family.

8. under a painted sky Under a Painted Sky – Stacey Lee. History! Diversity! Awesome females! Cowboys! I loved this book before even starting it.

7. meet you there I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios. Just another reason to love Heather Demetrios. Such a touching book with great characters.

6. summer mermaids The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler. It was sweet and fun but with an underlying message of using your voice.

5. start of me and you The Start of Me and You – Emory Lord. I need a Max.

4. challenger deep Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. A very in-depth look at mental illness that has stayed with me.

3. heart and other black holes My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga. The way the author describes depression was very vivid and it was so well done.

2. shutter Shutter – Courtney Alameda. This one was a great horror book to pick up and left me sleeping with the light on.

1. none of the above None of the Above- IW Gregorio. Such an important read about a subject that doesn’t get enough attention.

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Book Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

summer mermaids

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

4.5 stars

Elyse d’Abreau was on her way to becoming a star with her twin sister, a singing duo, when a tragic accident stole her voice. With too many memories around her island home, Elyse flees to Atargatis Cove to stay with a family friend. All she wants is quiet, to move on, to forget, and she can do that in the small town where everyone is too polite to ask questions. Except one. Playboy Christian Kane is arrogant but girls still flock to him. And Elyse can see why. He is charming and has no problem showing affection for his little brother Sebastian. When Christian needs a first mate for the Pirate Regatta, Elyse is willing to brave her fears of the water to help. But facing her fears means facing her past and all that she’s lost.

I flew through this book. I picked it up, thinking I’d read a few chapters before bed and finish it the next day. Middle of the night later and I’m turning the last page of the book. There were no more words to read. And I had no idea how that happened. It was a really cute story and made for a great summer time read.

Elyse had already been through a lot when the story started. Her whole arc was about accepting what had happened, forgiving, overcoming, and opening herself up. She was trying at the beginning but it was never going to work until she was ready. Even as she struggled with what had happened to her, she had a quiet strength and showed compassion for the people of the cove. She came to care about them and about the town.

I really liked the chemistry between Elyse and Christian. It was playful and fun and it made me smile. They were helping each other in so many ways, just by being together. There were so many colourful characters in this book, unforgettable characters. Christian’s brother Sebastian was a precious highlight, the friendship between Elyse, Kirby, and Vanessa, and Christian and Noah, and all five, was so great and fun, and felt realistic since it wasn’t all happy times between them.

I absolutely loved the small coastal town feel. It was a very familiar feeling, living by the coast myself. There was also a lot of island influence, which I loved. There were mentions of the music, the food, the people, the atmosphere, the culture, the language. I loved it all.

It was definitely an enjoyable read. A loose, contemporary retelling of The Little Mermaid and it was fun to see the references. It wasn’t just a fluffy summer read either. The book said a lot of using your voice, silencing voices, and I highly recommend reading the author’s acknowledgments in this one. Definitely worth it.

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Book Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

5 to 1 big

5 to 1

4 stars

It’s the year 2054 and India has a ratio of five boys for every 1 girl. Suddenly girls are highly valued. The city of Koyanagar, formed by women tired of seeing their daughters married off to anyone with a lot of money, has implemented a series of tests to determined the worthiest boy in the group and he shall be chosen to be married to the girl. Sudasa has no intentions of being someone’s wife and Kiran, chosen to compete for her hand, has no desire to be a husband. They could help each other, if they could only figure out that they want the same thing.

The concept of this book was really interesting. My favourite thing was the two different styles of narration between the POVs. Sudasa’s POV was told in beautiful verse, flowing and dramatic. Kiran’s POV was in prose, more detailed, heavier. It was a good contrast and the switch between the two styles was done well.

I liked both main characters. They were very different, came from different background, but ultimately wanted the same thing. Their freedom. Sudasa never wanted to be a wife, to be pressured to have children, baby girls, marriage to her meant being put in a cage. Her grandmother was one of the founders of their city so there was a lot of pressure on Sudasa as she started her tests to determine her husband and I loved every time she threw a curve ball into it. Kiran was a farm boy and knew he was destined to be sent to protect the wall if not chosen, a fate most boys don’t come back from. But he had an escape plan and I was hoping it would work for him.

Since most of the book was set during the testing phase, it was interesting to see how the interactions between the two main characters played out. Most of the time, there were many people watching them so they could never talk openly. Their interactions were very limited, which led to confusion as to what they each thought the other wanted, what their intentions were. It was confusing to them, but as the reader, I found it easy to follow.

I do wish there had been more world-building, especially where the tests were concerned. Considering the limitations of the two POVs, teenagers not involved in politics, I understood why not a whole lot of the details were revealed but it would have been good to know more.

It was a fast read, under 250 pages, especially with one style being verse, but there was also a lot of details woven into the little amount of pages. There was no romance, which was a big change from what I was used to, and I found myself just enjoying the read.

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Book Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Untitled-4

The Night We Said Yes

4 stars

Told in alternating timelines between the past and the present, the past tells of Ella meeting Matt and having a crazy night with him and her friends after the party they were at is crashed by the cops. They spend the entire night coming up with wild ideas and saying yes to them all. It was a friendship, a bond, that was strong. Until Matt suddenly left town and broke contact. The present tells of Matt’s return, his wanting a second chance, and of recreating that special night a year ago. But can Ella forgive him for breaking her heart? And if she does forgive him, does he deserve a second chance?

I was a little unsure going into this book of how the two separate timelines would play out. Would the present give away major clues of the past’s plot? Would it be hard to follow? Would the recreating make it feel like I was reading the same thing twice? Turned out it was easy to follow, fun to read, and since each ‘night of yes’ had a different focus, it didn’t feel like it was the same thing repeated.

I really liked Ella. In the past timeline she was still getting over a breakup and hesitant about the feelings she was having toward Matt, but it was impossible not to fall for his shy charm. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in her between the two timelines. Jake and Meg, Ella’s best friends, were loud and fiery together. They were dysfunctional in a way that worked for them because they could admit they were dysfunctional. The whole group of friends had a great dynamic that was so enjoyable to read.

The whole concept of the ‘night of yes’ game was a lot of fun, and slightly terrifying. Which was the point of it all. To be pushed outside your comfort zone by people you can trust, to be safe, to have fun. And they definitely had fun. I liked that it wasn’t a completely perfect night. There were definitely some bumps, some fights, some close calls, along the way but when they looked back on the night from the present, I could understand why it meant so much to them.

In the present, the night was more complicated. There were a lot of hurt feelings from Matt’s sudden departure and lack of contact. There was a lot of anger and frustration and longing. I loved that Ella stood up for herself and didn’t take Matt back just because he’d returned. She wanted answers, she deserved answers, and she knew she’d deserved better. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to root for Matt’s redemption in the present knowing that he’d disappeared and broke Ella’s heart, but he was sincere and trying to make up for his mistakes.

It was a fun, fast read with great, flawed characters. It had a cute build up to romance and a strong friendship that was present throughout the whole book.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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