Tag Archives: 2017 ya debut

Book Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

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One of Us is Lying

Release date: May 30th 2017

4 stars

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I really enjoyed this Breakfast Club vibe meets Pretty Little Liars mystery. It had some interesting twists, great characters, and it really drew me right into the story. Putting a Breakfast Club vibe into a book is a sure way to get me to pick it up and I was not disappointed.

The book was told in many POVs as we followed the four main characters trying to figure out who was framing them for Simon’s death. I liked all four pretty equally. Maybe Bronwyn and Cooper edged out the other two but not by much. Even with the book being less than 400 pages and very fast paced, there was still a lot of growth for all four characters. The story was as much about their growth as it was about the mystery and I really enjoyed that.

I wasn’t a fan of how the cops handled the whole case but I could see why they were so short-sighted. They had four teens in the room with the victim, all who were about to be exposed and all who had access to Simon and to the epi-pens in the nurse’s station. With all the publicity the case was getting, of course they wanted to solve it quickly, but they just ended up looking a bit incompetent. I thought the book did a good job showing how their narrowed focus affected the case and the teens and using some outside media sources to call them on their dropping the ball.

The mystery held my interest and I was looking for clues everywhere. It was the type of mystery where the reader could simply read to enjoy it and hopefully be surprised at the twists, or they could try to pick up the clues and solve it. It made it a book that was impossible to put down.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

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I binged watched 13 Reasons Why this weekend. That was…it just was. How do you describe something like that?

Currently reading: Warbringer

Finished reading: Once and For AllHouse of Furiesone-of-us-is-lyingWindfall

Reviewed: traitors-kissRamona Blue

What I’m hoping to get to next week: inconceivable-life-of-quinnDefy the Stars to read

one-of-us-is-lyingWindfall to review

Books read it 2017: 60

Debut authors read in 2017: 18

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Book Review: The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beatty

traitors-kiss

The Traitor’s Kiss

Release date: May 9th 2017

3 stars

An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

This was one book that I was really excited for when I’d first heard about it so when I found myself having a hard time connecting with the characters and getting into the book as a whole, it was disappointing. It felt very slow, which I’m usually fine with as long as there’s great character dynamics and world building. But both of those elements really felt like they were lacking so there was nothing to make up for the slow pacing.

Sage was not a character who really drew me in to her story. She was a very judgmental girl, especially toward other girls, and I wasn’t a fan of the way she thought she was better than them because she was a tomboy with no interest in boys and they liked things like make-up. I’m not a fan of the heroine continuously putting down other girls just so she stands out as different. It felt like one of those “all the boys like her because she’s so different, which makes all the girls hate her” trope that I really, really dislike.

If I had connected more with Sage, I think there’d be a chance I would have liked the book more, or at least been more forgiving of the slow pace and lack of interesting character dynamics. It ended up being pretty predictable, which could also be because I have read so many fantasy books in the last year or so that it feels like not much surprises me anymore. There were glimpses of potential for some great supporting characters.

I will likely pick up the sequel when it comes out to see where the author takes the story, to see if my theories are right, and because I hate leaving a series unfinished.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

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This week is a busy week and it will be hard finding the time to keep up my reading pace but I will succeed!

Currently reading: Windfall

Finished reading: See Metraitors-kissRamona BlueThe Midnight Dance

Reviewed: imageimage

What I’m hoping to get to next week: one-of-us-is-lyingHouse of Furies to read

Ramona Bluetraitors-kiss to review

Books read it 2017: 55

Debut authors read in 2017: 17

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March Wrap-Up/April TBR

Another month done, another month closer to Summer.

March Wrap-Up:

royal-bastards Royal Bastards – Andrew Shvarts. 4/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this world and the misfit feel to the group of characters.

hundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett – Chelsea Sedoti. 3/5 stars. It took me a while to get into this one. Once I did, I thought it got better but it still didn’t pull me right in.

hidden-memory-of-objects The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the twist with the main character being able to see memories attached to objects.

the-crowns-fate The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye. 4.5/5 stars. Review. A great follow-up to one of my favourite books from last year.

upside-of-unrequited The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli. 4/5 stars. Review. Another great follow-up to a favourite from last year.

geekerella Geekerella – Ashley Poston. 4/5 stars. Review. So cute and I enjoyed picking out the parallels between this story and Cinderella.

Blacklist Blacklist – Alyson Noel. 3.5/5 stars. I missed the competition aspect from the first book but this one definitely upped the mystery factor.

Lotterys Plus One The Lotterys Plus One – Emma Donoghue. 3/5 stars. It was a really cute story but it did feel like a MG-written story.

Miss Ellicott's School Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded – Sage Blackwood. 3.5/5 stars. Another cute story and I really enjoyed the magical world.

starfall Starfall – Melissa Landers. 4/5 stars. Review. I did miss that the misfit crew from the first book was less present in this one but it was still great going back to this world.

flame-in-the-mist Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing and this one already has me excited for the next one.

image After the End – Amy Plum. 3/5 stars. I really enjoyed the Revenants series so I had high hopes but it took me a while to get into this one.

image The Last Thing You Said – Sara Biren. 3.5/5 stars. The way the two main characters kept hurting each other out of grief was very realistic.

image Maud – Melanie L Fishbane. 4/5 stars. Review. It was a little strange at first, reading a fictionalized version of LM Montgomery’s life when I grew up in PEI but it was good.

image Wild Beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore. 4/5 stars. There’s something very magical about Anne-Marie McLemore’s writing and the characters she creates.

Metaltown Metal town – Kristen Simmons. 3/5 stars. This was another one that was hard to get into. The pacing was a bit uneven.

The Midnight Dance The Midnight Dance – Nikki Katz. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed the dark and twisted spin the plot took but there was a lot of things that could have been explained better.

April TBR:

Ramona Bluetraitors-kissWindfallone-of-us-is-lying

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Book Review: Maud by Melanie L Fishbane

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Maud

Release date: April 25th 2017

4 stars

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.
But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.

At first, I admit, it was a little strange reading a YA version of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life since I grew up on PEI and Anne and Emily were a huge part of my childhood, as was visiting Green Gables and all the sights. It didn’t take long to get over it and become completely absorbed into the story.

The book was very well researched and it was easy to see the connections between Maud, Anne, and Emily. It focused more on her childhood in PEI and her teenage years in Saskatchewan, before the huge success of Anne. After finishing this book I wanted to go back and re-read the Anne of Green Gables series. This book worked as a standalone for anyone interested in reading a well-researched fictionalized version of LMM’s life but it also would work well as a prelude to the Anne and Emily series.

Maud was a very relatable character. It could be I found it so easy to relate since I’m from the same area and grew up on her writing, but I do think I would have found her relatable without that. It was also easy to see parts of Anne and Emily in her, where she may have drawn inspiration from her own experiences and given her characters some happiness she wished she could have had.

The book was very character-driven so there were a few times it was slow, but not in a way that made me enjoy it less. It was that the plot focused on Maud’s growth, her goals, her dreams and her survival in a time when women were not encouraged to go to college. It meant there wasn’t a lot of action in the plot but I do love character growth so I really enjoyed that the plot was so character driven.

Overall, a great fictionalized telling of LMM’s life and one that fits in wonderfully with her series.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Sometimes I feel like all I do is read. And I’m perfectly content with that. Actually, I’m ecstatic.

Currently reading: The Midnight Dance

Finished reading: Metaltownimageimageimage

Reviewed: flame-in-the-miststarfall

What I’m hoping to get to next week: traitors-kissRamona Blue to read

imageimage to review

Books read it 2017: 51

Debut authors read in 2017: 15

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Book Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

geekerella

Geekerella

Release date: April 4th 2017

4 stars

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 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. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
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.

There has been quite a few books out recently that highlight geek culture and fandoms in a way that has been really fun to read. Geekerella does a great job of blending fandom with the fairy tale Cinderella, giving the reader a fun plot and characters that I easily fell in love with.

Elle, our main heroine, was especially easy to relate to. Her love for an old sci-fi show called Starfield, her excitement over an announced reboot, and her anger over the casting of Hollywood’s up-and-coming “it” actor landing the role of her beloved Prince Carmindor. To stay true to the fairy tale, Elle lived with her step-mother and step-sisters and they were terrible. All she wanted was to attend ExcelsiCon and enter the CosPlay contest. Darien was hoping Prince Carmindor would be his chance at being taken seriously as an actor and shared a love for Starfield with Elle. I loved seeing them bonding over their love of the fandom and they were really cute together.

There were many, many fandom references and each one put a smile on my face. The Starfield fandom that was created for this book had a familiar feel to it, like it was one I would be a part of if it were real. The romance was cute and it was easy to spot the Cinderella-ness of their relationship.

It was a quick read that was really cute and a great addiction to the fandom-related books already released.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Busy, busy week.

Currently reading: Miss Ellicott's School

Finished reading: Lotterys Plus OneBlacklistgeekerellaupside-of-unrequited

Reviewed: royal-bastardshidden-memory-of-objectsthe-crowns-fate

What I’m hoping to get to next week: flame-in-the-miststarfall to read

upside-of-unrequitedgeekerella to review

Books read it 2017: 43

Debut authors read in 2017: 13

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Book Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

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The Hidden Memory of Objects

Release date: March 21st 2017

4 stars

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

I really love when an author takes a plot I’ve seen quite a few times before and adds a very unique spin to it. In this case, a girl dealing with her brother’s death and not accepting the answers the police were giving because, to her, it didn’t sound like her brother. There were plenty of twists, a great friendship, a slow burn romance, and a lot of historical facts added to the overall story.

Megan loved scrap-booking, always taking random papers from places she’d been to remember or to add to a collage later. By going through her brother’s belongings, she discovered an ability to see memories attached to certain objects and it was a way for her to investigate the circumstances of his death. Her abilities seemed to be a form of psychometry which I found interesting, especially as she learned more about what she could do. Her investigation led her to get closer to her brother’s best friend and to get re-acquainted with an older friend of her own. Another thing I liked was getting to see the flashbacks and the memories where Megan and Tyler were together. They were obviously close.

I really liked the supporting characters, especially Nathan and Eric. Nathan was a strong presence that was protective and calming, most of the time, while Eric added humour and support. Megan’s parents also play important roles in the story. They’re grieving for their son and trying to protect their daughter from what the police are telling them as truth. There were many times Megan would notice changes in her parents’ behaviours.

I also enjoyed the addition of the historical aspect to the plot. The assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth played a big role in the story. Tyler had a book about him, her mother worked at the Ford’s Theater Museum, and there were many artifacts that linked to the night of the assassinations, objects that had memories attached that Megan could see. The deeper Megan’s investigation went, the more memories she saw, the more it felt like she was so close to figuring everything out. That meant I had to keep reading because I didn’t want to stop and have a huge clue be right in the next chapter.

Overall, it was a really addicting read. I was sucked into the mystery and I loved the characters.

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

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